Illinois Physics | The Grainger College of Engineering | UIUC

Chitambar, Covey bring quantum expertise to DOE InterQnet initiative

Electrical & computer engineering professor Eric Chitambar and physics professor Jacob Covey are bringing their quantum knowhow to InterQnet, a three-year initiative to demonstrate that quantum computers separated by large distances and even based on different hardware architectures can work in tandem. By leveraging their expertise in quantum protocols and neutral-atom quantum computing, respectively, they and their research groups will help solve important problems in the realization of such “distributed quantum computers.”

Illinois Physics Alumnus Ramon Lopez elected to UTA Academy of Distinguished Scholars

The University of Texas at Arlington has elected two longtime professors to the Academy of Distinguished Scholars, considered the University’s most prestigious research and scholarship honor.

Ramon Lopez, professor of physics, and Michael D. Nelson, associate professor of kinesiology, are being recognized for their sustained and significant contributions to research and creativity. Ramon Lopez received his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1980, before earning a PhD in physics from Rice University in 1985.

Spotlight on New Faculty: Pengjie Wang joins Illinois Physics

The Department of Physics welcomes Professor Pengjie Wang, an experimental condensed matter physicist who brings extensive experience in quantum matter and quantum information science. His research primarily focuses on strongly correlated quantum phenomena and emerging topological quantum physics within two-dimensional (2D) crystals and semiconductors.

Illinois Physics postdoc Hemani Chhabra named Beckman Fellow

Chhabra believes that DNA data storage, a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional rewritable data storage systems, may be the answer to the growing global demand for data storage. The intricately folded nanostructures of DNA along with the ability to add or remove different proteins and defects make so-called “DNA origami” an ideal medium for storing, reconfiguring and customizing data. She is working in the Aleksei Aksimentiev, Charles Schroeder, and Martin Gruebele labs to develop reconfigurable DNA data storage systems, inspired by Lego blocks.


Research Highlights 

Click on a research highlight to vote for your favorite submission to the Research Highlight Science Writing Contest for graduate students.

Donor support for undergraduate research is funding student participation in cross-disciplinary study of dark matter

Donor support for undergraduate research is funding student participation in cross-disciplinary study of dark matter

Illinois Physics rising junior David Balut, the 2024 A.C. Anderson Undergraduate Research Scholar, has been a member of the Peter Abbamonte research group since November 2022. This summer, his donor-supported research includes collaborating with the Yoni Kahn group on the physics of dark matter, using organic scintillators for anisotropic detection. He will also continue to study strange metals in the Abbamonte lab. In addition to the AC Anderson Award, Balut is a recipient of the T.R. Schlaeder Engineering award, the Robert M. Stephens Engineering award, and has been a James Scholar since Fall 2022.

The A.C. Anderson Undergraduate Research Scholar award is made possible by Illinois Physics donors. The award is named for Ansel C. Anderson, an alumnus (PhD, 1961), faculty member (1962-1992), and department head (1986-1992) who  made seminal contributions to low-temperature physics, particularly on the thermal properties of metals and glasses. 

Learn more about how to become a donor and support initiatives like undergraduate research opportunities!

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Give to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship.

EVS attracts the brightest students, ensures a diverse and talented class, and helps reduce student debt.

“The relief of financial burden this scholarship has lifted from my family’s shoulders is truly a priceless gift, and the generosity of donors that have made this possible inspires me to want to give others this same gift of relief, security, and most of all educational opportunity, as it has done for me.”

— Sara Shahid, Engineering Physics Class of '22, EVS Scholarship recipient

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Sara Shahid
Sara Shahid, Engineering Physics Class of '22

Watch Illinois Physics and Astronomy Professor Charles Gammie on The UIUC Talkshow. From the origins of black holes to the nature of time itself, enjoy this captivating odyssey through the cosmos, guided by a brilliant scientific mind. 


Watch "The Physics PhD," a parody of the Barbie movie's "I'm just Ken" scene, created by graduate students in the Fahad Mahmood research group with support from the Illinois Physics graduate student community. Earning a PhD in physics is long road that can leave one feeling like they are living in a world of plastic... or maybe a graphene lattice.




I am working on my science fair project- I am freezing orange juice and soda to see which will freeze faster. My orange juice froze before the soda- is it because of the carbonate water in the soda or the sugar?

Molly (age 10)

Find Out Now

The Illinois Physics Van is a traveling science show for kids! Visit the Physics Van

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