School of Physics & Astronomy

Welcome to the School of Physics & Astronomy

Welcome to the University of Nottingham Physics & Astronomy Department, where our teaching philosophy is deeply intertwined with our cutting-edge research.

  • We are ranked 7th (ahead of Oxford, and just behind Cambridge) out of 44 UK physics departments in the last REF assessment and 2nd only to Cambridge over the last three assessments for research quality.
  • We are the home of the Nobel Prize for the development of MRI body scanners, and we remain a world-leader in this area of medical physics.
  • We have won Blavatnik Awards for groundbreaking work in quantum technologies and dark energy research.
  • We are home to numerous research fellows from the most prestigious research funders, such as the Royal Society.

b1"Making a Cloud" at one of our many public outreach events.

Watch the latest Sixty Symbols Video:

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The Gravitational Wave Background - Oliver Gould & Swagat Mishra discuss groundbreaking findings in the field of gravitational waves.

Our curiousity knows no bounds...

Our areas of study and innovation range from the minuscule - examining subatomic particles and quantum nanostructures - to the vastness of galaxies. We span extreme temperatures, from near-absolute zero conditions to the intense heat of the Big Bang. We come up with new theories to fit what we observe and then design experiments and use advanced methods such as machine learning and AI to understand what we measure.

In our astronomy group, we treat the Universe as a playground, a laboratory in which to test theories of gravity, fusion and particle physics in the most extreme environments. There is nowhere better to test your theories of gravity than at the edge of a black hole - and that’s exactly what we do in our award-winning Gravity Laboratory.

... and neither does our passion for teaching.

As much as we love our research, it is our passion for teaching that makes Nottingham special. The Institute of Physics has recognised our commitment to our students with twelve Teaching Prizes. We want you to have a great time learning about the subject that we research and teach, and we strive to prepare you for whatever direction you choose to take your love of the subject, whether it be launching a medical startup, entering industry or joining academia.

The Institute of Physics (IOP) found that, in 2019 alone, physics directly generated 11% of total UK gross domestic product (GDP).

The UK physics sector accounts for 10% of total UK employment, and labour productivity in the sector is strong, at £84,300 per worker, per year.

Opt for a degree in physics, and a wide array of career paths will open up for you. Opt for Nottingham, and not only will you enjoy your journey towards earning that degree in a down-to-earth atmosphere, but you’ll also benefit from the unwavering support and dedication of our entire staff committed to helping you achieve your dream.

We can't help but share how mind-blowing we find physics:

  • Our award-winning outreach programme includes an inflatable planetarium, 3D printed galaxies, and primary school, special needs schools and retirement home intiatives. As an undergraduate you can apply for paid opportunities helping out and sharing your passion too.
  • Our YouTube channel, Sixty Symbols has over 800,000 subscribers.
  • We are home to three best-selling popular science authors.

University of Nottingham is first to achieve Athena Swan Gold Award

It fills us with immense pride to announce that our university is the first in the nation to receive the prestigious Athena Swan Gold Award, recognising our unwavering dedication to promoting gender equality in higher education and research. This commitment is a core value deeply ingrained in our School's ethos too, as well as in the wider institution. We take great pride in collaborating closely with our students to create the most supportive and enriching environment possible. Your insights and perspectives are invaluable to us, and we thoroughly enjoy learning from you as well!

Find out more about the award


Professor Clare Burrage wins prestigious award

The School is delighted to announce that Professor Clare Burrage has been awarded a prestigious Physical Sciences and Engineering Laureate award from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences. The award recognizes Clare's work on dark energy in the Universe, one of the biggest challenges in contemporary science.

Find out more about Clare and the work she's won the award for


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Public Lecture Alert!

Undergraduate students are welcome to attend all seminars.

Latest News

Quantum technology company formed by our students and staff one of Bloomberg's start ups to watch

University of Nottingham, School of Physics and Astronomy spin-out company Cerca Magnetics has been named as one of Bloomberg UK's 'start-ups to watch'.

Immersive space experience is out of this world

Dr Ulrike Kuchner, astrophysicist, artist, and curator from the School is part of the international art and science collective SEADS (Space Ecologies Art and Design) who are collaborating with Zurich's Theater Neumarkt for their new production, Mimikry: Exomoon, An immersive Space Experience.


Project Juno - advancing the careers of women in Physics.

Midlands Physics Alliance Graduate School

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School of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

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