The School of Physics and Astronomy has an internationally recognised set of research programmes in astrophysics, condensed-matter physics and photonics. Around thirty academic staff work with approximately fifty research fellows and contract research staff and around sixty PhD students. Our work is carried out in modern laboratories in St Andrews, as well as at major international research facilities in the UK and abroad. Members of the School of Physics and Astronomy are very active in interdisciplinary activities, building bridges between the traditionally distinct disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. An illustration of our vibrant and on-going efforts can been seen in our biophotonics collaboration, which is at the interface of these disciplines. Additionally we have a range of advanced materials and nano-sciences research, linking our school with the School of Chemistry.
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, the School of Physics and Astronomy was ranked joint second (with Cambridge and Nottingham) of all departments in the UK. The School of Physics and Astronomy also plays an active role in the Scottish Universities' Physics Alliance (SUPA) which aims to place Scotland at the forefront of international research in physics through an agreed national strategy, a pan-Scottish graduate school offering over 600 lecture hours of graduate courses, an inter-institutional management structure, and co-ordinated promotion and pursuit of excellence in research. Building on that SUPA infrastructure, we were successful in winning the new Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Condensed Matter Physics and a share in the Engineering Doctorate Center in Photonics.
Recent research highlights include: the theoretical prediction of invisibility cloaking, the development of diode-based skin cancer phototherapies, the extreme slowing of light in optical waveguides, the discovery of cool earth-like planets through gravitational microlensing, and the discovery of new forms of electronic self-organisation near quantum critical points in special oxide metals.
For more information, visit the School of Physics and Astronomy website.