Dearborn Telescope Observatory

Welcome to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University

Physics explains the natural world in the most universal manner possible. Physicists look for the hidden symmetries that underlie and govern the multitude of phenomena in the world around us. Our department has active research programs in areas ranging from theoretical astrophysics and observational astronomy to complex systems, condensed matter physics, atomic, molecular and optical physics, and high-energy physics.

Facebook LinkedIn

Trapped Molecular Rotors Laser Cooled to the Ground Quantum State

September 2, 2014 - Trapped molecules are widely recognized as holding promise for applications ranging from quantum information processing to searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model. However, the requisite internal state control and non-destructive state readout have proven challenging.  Now, Brian Odom’s group has developed a technique to use a single broadband laser to pump trapped molecules to their ground rotational-vibrational state, achieving cooling from room temperature to 4 Kelvins in a fraction of a second.  The results were in published in Nature Communications 5, 4783 (2014).


Vicky Kalogera Elected Trustee of Aspen Center for Physics

July 21, 2014 - Prof. Vicky Kalogera was elected as the astrophysics trustee, among only nine trustees, of the NSF-funded Aspen Center for Physics on July 9. The ACP is a center for physicists that offers long-term workshops, conferences, and research opportunities for those invited to attend. ACP Trustees provide overall scientific, financial, and administrative guidance; typically, only one or at most two astrophysics positions open up every decade.



Xiaowen Chen Wins Krieghbaum Award

June 23, 2014 - Undergraduate physics student Xiaowen Chen has received the Katherine L. Krieghbaum Scholarship Award as well as a Weinberg Summer Grant to work on a project on doubly transient chaos with Prof. Motter.  Xiaowen, who is also a major in Mathematics and ISP, has in addition been elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, received the prize "Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics by a Junior" from the Math department, and was selected Best Junior in Physics and Astronomy.

Find more information about the Krieghbaum Scholarship here.





September 2, 2014