Ohio State nav bar

About Us

Photo credit: © Nobel Prize Outreach. Photo: Nanaka Adachi 

The Department of Physics at the Ohio State University is one of the university's largest departments.  As a department in the division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences in the College of the Arts and Sciences, the Department of Physics occupies the Physics Research Building as well as instructional and advising space in Smith Laboratory, the former home of the department. The department currently has 55 faculty and approximately 29 postdoctoral researchers and research scientists, 200 graduate students, and 400 undergraduate majors.  



The Ohio State Department of Physics seeks to develop a new and transformative understanding of the physical universe through a research program whose excellence is recognized internationally; to educate a large, diverse group of students to obtain a mastery of the subject and critical skills necessary for solving 21st-century challenges; and to disseminate our knowledge, for the betterment of society and the field, through impactful publications, education, and service & outreach.


The Department of Physics seeks to raise its visibility and impact through systematic strengthening of its research, education, and service & outreach programs. It will:•Enhance existing research efforts, grow efforts in areas of emerging interest, and expand interdisciplinary collaborations between these efforts, other departments, and institutions.•Expand its role as a national leader in the training of students by improving its educational programs through the use of contemporary pedagogical techniques and by increasing the representation of women and under-represented minorities.•Increase its impact on society through national service as well as vibrant outreach programs that target a wide range of public audiences. To achieve these aspirations, a foundational element is a highly qualified and diverse faculty, staff, and student body working in an inclusive and supportive environment as engaged scientists and citizens.


Our faculty, postdocs, research scientists and students conduct world-class research in the following

  • Astrophysics
  • Atomic, Molecular & Optical Experiment and Theory
  • Biophysics
  • Condensed Matter Experiment and Theory
  • High Energy Experiment and Theory
  • Nuclear Experiment and Theory
  • Physics Education

World Class Faculty

Our faculty members are fellows of elite organizations and winners of prestigious awards both at the university level and at the national and international level.  Be sure to look at our complete list of awards.

2023 Nobel Prizewinner

Pierre Agostini, professor emeritus of physics at The Ohio State University, has been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics with two of his colleagues.

The Ohio State University Distinguished Faculty Awardees

Distinguished University Professor

The Distinguished University Professor title is awarded permanently to no more than three exceptional faculty per year. The title recognizes accomplishments in research, scholarly or creative work, teaching, and service that are both distinguished and distinctive.

  • 2015 - Ulrich Heinz
  • 2018- Steven A. Ringel
  • Emeriti recipients:
    • 2003 - Eric Herbst
    • 2000 - Frank DeLucia
    • 1997 - Arthur Epstein (deceased)
    • 1989 - Bunny Clark (deceased)
    • 1988 - David Edwards 

Distinguished Scholar

Senior professors are honored for their exceptional scholarly accomplishments and younger faculty members for their demonstrated scholarly potential.

  • 2023 - Mohit Randeria
  • 2022 - John Beacom
  • 2021 - Christopher Hirata
  • 2020 - Michael Lisa
  • 2019 - Nandini Trivedi
  • 2017 - Len Brillson
  • 2014 - Samir Mathur
  • 2012 - Lou DiMauro
  • 2011 - Junko Shigemitsu (emerita)
  • 2007 - Ulrich Heinz
  • 2003 - Eric Braaten
  • 2002 - Tin-Lun (Jason) Ho
  • 1999 - Frank De Lucia (emeritus)
  • 1998 - Eric Herbst (emeritus)
  • 1996 - David Stroud (emeritus)
  • 1992 - Gary Steigman (emeritus - deceased)
  • 1991 - Arthur Epstein (emeritus)
  • 1985 - C. Jayaprakash
  • 1984 - David Edwards (emeritus)
Brian Skinner surprised at faculty meeting with award

Brian Skinner receives 2024 Early Career Distinguished Scholar Award 


Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Honored for their superior teaching, faculty members are nominated by present and former students and colleagues and selected by a committee of alumni, students and faculty.

  • 2020 - C. Jayaprakash
  • 2018 - Andrew Heckler
  • 2013 - Douglass Schumacher
  • 2009 - John F. Beacom
  • 2008 - Robert J. Perry (emeritus)
  • 2007 - Brian L. Winer
  • 2005 - Richard Hughes
  • 2005 - Bruce Mainland (emeritus)
  • 2004 - Klaus Honscheid
  • 2003 - Samir Mathur
  • 2001 - Greg Kilcup
  • 2000 - Linn D. Van Woerkom
  • 1999 - Robert Scherrer
  • 1997 - Richard Furnstahl

President and Provost's Award for Distinguished Faculty Service

Faculty members are recognized for their contributions to the development and implementation of university policies and programs through non-administrative roles, while continuing to teach and pursue scholarship.

  • 2008 - Gordon Aubrecht (emeritus - deceased)
  • 2001 - Robert J. Perry
  • 2000 - Bunny C. Clark (emerita - deceased)


The faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Physics take part in several activities aimed at engaging the public and cultivating an interest in science among young people.

The OSU Women in Physics Blog aspires to give young people, especially females, a sense of what it is like to live a life in physics, whether it be studying, researching, or teaching.

Breakfast of Science Champions - This annual program invites middle school children from the Columbus Public Schools to breakfast and then provides a program of a short lecture followed by hands-on fun experiments in physics.  The Center for Emergent Materials has organized this effort in physics an includes physics faculty, staff and students.


In 2013 the Department of Physics in collaboration with the Society of Women in Physics designed, constructed and furnished a Wellness Suite. This is a room designed for use primarily by breastfeeding mothers, but also for any other individuals who require a private, clean space during the day for physical or mental health needs. The room is on the third floor, lab side - Room #3100, and is equipped with a sink, refrigerator and microwave, comfortable chair, and phone. Use of the room will be governed by a reservation system. Contact Kris Dunlap for Room code and schedule.


Gender neutral restrooms are available on the office side in the hallway outside of 4138 PRB.