Texas Tech University

Our Vision

Welcome to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas Tech University

As an ambitious department, we are on our way to becoming one of the major physics and astronomy departments in our nation. We are inspired by the words of Dr. Paul Horn, the first president of the university: "Everything that is done on these West Texas Plains ought to be on a big scale. It is a country that lends itself to bigness. It is a country that does not harmonize with things little or narrow or mean. Let us make the work of our college fit in with the scope of our country. Let our thinking be in world-wide terms." As you will find in these pages, we are making strides towards this noble goal.

Our journey is marked by achievements like this year's Highest Research Activity university designation in the latest Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning, which is a singular distinction for the university. Our department is proud to have contributed towards this goal. We currently consist of 19 faculty members, over 14 research professors and postdoctoral fellows, and 60 graduate students working towards their master's or doctoral degrees.

Our departmental research spans astronomy and astrophysics, high-energy particle physics, condensed matter physics, including nanotechnology and optics in nanoscale, physics education, and biophysics. Our high-energy particle physics and astrophysics faculty members are distinguished members of the collaborations that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012 (CMS CERN) and detected, for the first time, the gravitational waves originating from a black hole merger in 2016 (LIGO). More about our ground-breaking research can be found in these web pages.

Education is our passion and we take pride in teaching our students well at all levels. Our introductory courses comprise inquiry-based sections as well as sections dedicated for physics majors and honor college students. In the recent past, we upgraded teaching labs and classrooms to include technologies that make a better learning environment for our students and we will continue on this path. Our undergraduate majors now number 130+ and are individually advised by a dedicated faculty advisor and staff throughout their careers here. The American Institute of Physics has, in the last several years, repeatedly acknowledged our Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter as outstanding for their myriad activities in research, peer mentoring, community engagement, and other initiatives. In addition to the courses we offer, we engage our undergraduate students in cutting-edge research in the department and at research facilities around the globe where we work.

We are also proud of our many successful alumni who hold prominent positions in science, politics, law, health care, and business. As Texas Tech continues to mentor the next generation of scientists and leaders and to expand our capabilities, we turn to our graduates for guidance and support. I look forward to hearing from our friends, who are always welcome to visit our department. In these web pages you will find information about our research, courses, seminars, and outreach activities. Enjoy!

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Nural Akchurin
Professor of Physics and Chair

Department of Physics and Astronomy