A Message from the Chair

Manoj Kaplinghat
Professor of Physics & Department Chair
Physics & Astronomy

Phone:  (949) 529-0108,  Fax: (949) 824-2174  
Email: mkapling@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
4129H Frederick Reines Hall
Irvine, CA  92697-4575

In 1965, physicist and future Nobel Laureate Frederick Reines became the founding dean of UCI’s School of Physical Sciences.  Reines won his Nobel prize for the discovery of the elusive neutrino, a feat that he set out to complete “Because everybody said, you couldn’t do it.”  This bold mindset, one that allows us to tackle the hardest problems in nature, is alive and thriving today in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  
Research within our department includes aims to decipher the makeup of the universe as a whole, to understand the behavior of quantum materials, and to build novel approaches to medical imaging that will save lives.  Our quest connects the smallest scales in nature (particle physics) to the largest scales in the cosmos (astrophysics).   Biophysicists seek to understand the world within us while astro-biologists seek to discover habitable worlds beyond the solar system.  The largest and most advanced private fusion company in the world, TAE Technologies, was founded on ideas developed by our plasma physics group and employs many of our graduates (including CEO Michl Binderbauer).  We are proud to have been ranked the 22nd best physics department in the world by Shanghai Ranking in 2018.  We are also proud to foster an environment of inclusive excellence for all of our faculty, staff, and students.
Undergraduate majors in Physics or Applied Physics from our department are well-positioned for  success in a variety of fields.   Physicists are trained to reduce complex problems to their basic constituents — an ability that is valued throughout industry and the public sector, and one that enables entrepreneurial success as well.  Recent studies by the American Institute of Physics show that about half of physics majors go on to graduate study in fields that include astronomy, chemistry, engineering, law, and medicine, as well as physics. New physics bachelors entering the workforce receive some of the highest salaries of any undergraduate major, surpassing many fields of engineering.  Whatever your interest, a Physics or Applied Physics major at UC Irvine will put you in position to succeed.

Our graduate students participate in cutting edge research, understanding systems ranging from the largest reaches of the Universe to the tiniest quantum materials necessary to build a generation of quantum computers, and learning the rules which govern everything from the most complicated biological systems to the simplest fundamental particles.  The skills they learn serve them very well, and they are in high demand to work in variety of environments including academia, data science and analysis, and technical industries.

In closing, I’m happy to welcome you to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Irvine.  As you explore our web site, please bear in mind that the rich intellectual environment revealed on these pages is set within the beautiful, unsurpassed year-round climate of Irvine and Newport Beach. Taken together, this setting provides a perfect background for the study and discovery that bring success and happiness to academic life.