Big Research Questions

The following big research questions cut across traditional disciplines and are the core of the research currently being conducted by UAB's Department of Physics. They have been identified as Grand Challenges for condensed matter, materials, and optical physics by the National Academy of Sciences:

  • How do complex phenomena emerge from simple ingredients?
  • How will the energy demands of future generations be met?
  • What happens far from equilibrium and Why?
  • What new discoveries await us in the nano- and mesoscale world?
  • How will the information technology revolution be extended?

Motivated by these grand challenge questions, we have focused the department’s research profile on three strategic areas aligned with the National Quantum Initiative, the Materials Genome Initiative, the National Photonics Initiative, and the Exascale Computing Project:

  • Data-driven Modeling and High-Performance Computing- Quantum Matter
  • Advanced Materials under Extreme Conditions-Nano, Bio, Quantum, Smart Energy, Optoelectronic
  • Advanced Optics & Lasers-Mid-Infrared-driven Intense-field Laser Science

See Research Areas and Faculty to learn more about our research in these areas.