a black CCAS undergraduate physics student researching on a laptop. Department of Physics, Columbian College seal


innovative thinkers pushing the boundaries of discovery
Preparing the next generation of physicists in the classroom, the laboratory and the world beyond


Who We Are


GW CCAS Physics student working with a radioactive instrument inside a physics lab


At the GW Department of Physics, faculty and students are at the forefront of transformative, interdisciplinary scholarship, as they seek answers to fundamental questions about matter, motion and the mysteries of the universe.

The department engages in collaborative research with some of the Washington, D.C., area's world-renowned centers and institutes, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, NASA and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

Through in-depth research, faculty mentorship and unique learning environments, physics students are exploring the countless applications of physics to the working world.



Happening in the Physics Department

Professor Alexander Van Der Horst and Deal Paul Wahlbeck sit on stage talking in front of a Columbian College logo

Exploring Cosmic Extremes

In a conversation with CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck, Physics Professor Alexander van der Horst discusses his research on the multi-wavelength observations and modeling of a variety of high-energy cosmic transient sources, including gamma-ray bursts, gravitational wave sources, magnetars and tidal disruption events.

group photo at conference

GW students present their research at the 19th American Astronomical Society HEAD meeting

In March 2022 eight (!) GW astrophysics  graduate students and one undergraduate student traveled to the 19th AAS High-Energy Astrophysics Division conference in Pittsburgh and presented their

Headshot of Gabe Grauvogal

Fantastic Voyage: Physics Student Peers into Protons

Junior Gabriel Grauvogel is taking his CCAS Luther Rice Fellowship research to a subatomic level, joining an international effort to unravel the puzzling proton.

Research Areas

Graphic of a planet and stars


Astrophysics explores the evolution of stars, galaxies and the entire universe. Undergraduates can major or minor in the field, and graduate students can join the department's astro group in collaborations with NASA, the Naval Research Laboratory, the University of Amsterdam and more.

Graphic of a DNA double helix


The biophysics lab offers expertise in epigenetics, chromatin dynamics, bifurcation of diseases and more. The Physics Department offers a minor and a bachelor's degree in the field, as well as research opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

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Nuclear Physics

GW hosts one of the largest university-based nuclear physics groups in the nation. The lab collaborates with top researchers in Virginia, Germany and Switzerland. Both undergraduate and graduate students can choose between Experimental, Theoretical and Nuclear Phenomenology research groups


Jason Starita

Jason Starita

BS '20, Astronomy and Astrophysics

"As a physics major, I’m realizing that you can relate what you learn to anything you want to do. You’re not just restricted to doing research, you’re not restricted to academia. The skills that you learn are skills that employers want."