Physics Is the Foundation of Everything

Explore this essential and boundless field at NYU

Students working with equipment in a physics lab.


In some ways, physics is the most fundamental of the sciences. It asks how we exist. It investigates how time, energy, and matter interact. And at NYU, physics is renowned for its advanced research and superstar faculty. Professors here helped discover the Higgs boson and have won the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize, which many consider to be a precursor to the Nobel Prize. The department is equally known for being a tight-knit and supportive community. “The faculty here are invested in helping you,” says Serah Moldovsky, a Physics major who is also completing a minor in Mathematics.

This is certainly the case for Serah. She is working with magnetic thin films as part of a research project for Professor Andrew Kent, director of NYU’s Center for Quantum Phenomena. It is also the case for Mitchell Karmen, a Physics major working with Professor Glennys Farrar. Professor Farrar’s research is part of the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics. “We’re looking at tidal disruption events. These events occur when stars get really close to a supermassive black hole and get shredded apart,” Mitchell explains. His portion of this research, which has become his thesis, is destined for publication. “Because we get so involved in research with professors, a lot of us end up with publications around the time we graduate,” he says. 

A professor writing physics equations on a whiteboard.
A student writing in a notebook.

The Society of Physics Students

Serah and Mitchell are copresidents of the Society of Physics Students. The club is open to all Physics majors along with any student who happens to have an interest in the field. Together, they learn and find support. “We invite faculty and graduate students to come speak at our Undergraduate Lecture Series,” says Serah. “They talk with us about their research in a way that is understandable at the undergraduate level.” Mitchell also emphasizes the club’s mentorship program. “We match first- and second-year students considering a Physics major with juniors and seniors,” he explains. “Physics can be an intimidating subject. For me, having a mentor who had been through it was invaluable when I was a first-year student.”

Find Your Fit

Physics at the College of Arts and Science, NYU Abu Dhabi, and NYU Shanghai as well as Applied Physics at the Tandon School of Engineering can be your major or your minor. Want to explore a complementary area? You can always add mathematics. And many of our Physics majors also minor in Data Science. This growing field is a natural fit and opens up a wide world of career options.

Students working with physics equipment.

A Commitment to Inquiry

NYU is home to dozens of research centers and institutes. For example, check out the NYU-ECNU Institute of Physics at NYU Shanghai. NYU in New York City boasts the Center for Soft Matter Research and the Center for Quantum Phenomena, to name just a few. And if you head to NYU Abu Dhabi, check out the Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics. When you add in faculty labs, the amount of research happening at NYU is staggering. To learn more, start your search here.