Research in the Case Western Reserve physics department builds on a legacy going back to the 19th century when Albert Michelson and Edward Morley (professors at the then-separate Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University) performed their famous experiment disproving the existence of a “luminiferous aether” and setting the stage for the scientific revolution embodied by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. In the 21st century, we aim to preserve the same spirit of discovery and innovation, focusing on areas of key importance for modern society. Research in the CWRU physics department is focused in three main areas. In the area of nanoscale and quantum materials, we explore the unique properties of materials that emerge because of quantum physics and nanometer-scale structure. The ability to understand and engineer these properties may lead to the next generation of electronic, photonic, or magnetic devices. In the cosmology and astrophysics area, research focuses on understanding the origins of the universe, and the most fundamental laws that govern its evolution. Finally, the bio/soft physics area seeks to answer fundamental questions about the highly complex materials and systems that occur when things become squishy, with applications ranging from photovoltaics, to liquid crystals, to human health.
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Research efforts in the CWRU physics department are enhanced by making use of external and internal facilities, as well as by making connections with related centers in the local area.