Applied Physics and Materials Science Department
The Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science is home to academic and research programs in Applied Physics and in Materials Science — each having its own philosophical approach and administering its own educational activities. The programs share a dedication to answering the most important questions in science and engineering and to delivering lasting impact in broad areas of technological importance. Research in Applied Physics is built on the foundations of quantum mechanics, statistical physics, electromagnetic theory, mechanics, and advanced mathematics. Materials Science research uses these same tools of physics and mathematics and adds to them chemical insights to understand and control matter across lengths scales from clusters of atoms to structural components. Both the research activities and curricular offerings in the department bridge traditional engineering disciplines with those in the sciences. Accordingly, many faculty colleagues from across campus, including those in the Divisions of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy; Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; and Geological and Planetary Sciences contribute to the intellectual vitality of the department. The style of research in the department is both theoretical and richly experimental. State-of-the-art facilities are housed in the Steele, Keck, and Watson Laboratories and in associated laboratories across campus. The small size of Caltech in combination with its flat organizational structure and the interdisciplinary culture of the department of Applied Physics and Materials Science often results in collaborations that are nothing short of spectacular.