• Accolades

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Assistant Professors Julia "Jessie" Shelton and Peter Adshead have been named W. Dale and Jeanne C. Compton Fellows in Physics. This faculty appointment supports outstanding research and high scholarly productivity of early-career physicists at Illinois Physics. 

Shelton and Adshead are the department’s inaugural class of Compton Fellows. The faculty will retain the title designation for as long as they hold faculty appointments at Illinois Physics. This named appointment comes with a one-time spending allowance to support ongoing research.

  • Outreach
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Student Groups
  • Student News

Advocating for diversity and equity in STEM, supporting student voice and ownership, fostering supportive learning communities, promoting authentic science practices, and encouraging professional development all fall under the Access Network’s mission. This summer from June 7 to June 9, 2019, members of Illinois Guidance for Physics Students (Illinois GPS) hosted eight other student-formed university-based organizations, which together make up the Access Network—a coalition of student-centered and student-initiated groups that work on broad inclusivity initiatives while supporting local goals.

  • In the Media
  • Alumni News

Dr. Jonathan M. Berkson, a former U.S. Army officer, U.S. Navy civilian and U.S. Coast Guard civilian, recently concluded a 48-year uniformed and civilian career at the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters.

Part of the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Waterways and Ocean Policy, the marine science program empowers Coast Guardsmen with information that enables them to succeed in today’s complex operating environment.

From conducting the first oceanographic survey of Alaska to providing the weather data for the D-Day landings, marine science has contributed to the security and prosperity of the United States since the inception of the Coast Guard and its predecessor services.

  • Accolades
  • Postdoctoral Researcher Stories
  • Condensed Matter Experiment

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign physics postdoctoral researcher Matteo Mitrano has received the 2019 Young Investigator Award of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University for his pioneering new techniques to probe high-temperature superconductivity.

The early-career award was presented to Mitrano on September 26 at the 2019 SSRL/LCLS Users’ Meeting in Menlo Park, CA. The awardee is selected by the LCLS Users Executive Committee based on nominations from across the user community. 

Mitrano, who has been a member of Illinois Physics Professor Peter Abbamonte’s research group since March 2016, has developed new and innovative techniques in ultrafast X-ray scattering.

  • Accolades
  • Condensed Matter Theory
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Urbana Style

Physics Professor Smitha Vishveshwara has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) “for pioneering theory of quantum dynamics in nonequilibrium systems and novel phenomena in cold Bose gases.”

Vishveshwara is a theoretical condensed matter physicist with broad research interests in non-equilibrium and strongly correlated systems at all scales, from subatomic to cosmic. A common thread throughout her work is the characterization of emergent phenomena in quantum states of matter—including superconductivity, superfluidity, Mott insulators, topological systems, fractional quantum Hall states, and Majorana wires. In true “Urbana style,” Vishveshwara’s collaborations at Illinois and beyond, often involving close rapport with experimental colleagues, have produced viable experimental stratagems and identified clear signatures that characterize particular states of matter.

donor stories

Alumnus gift continues legacy of excellence at Illinois Physics

“We deeply appreciate Gary Kelly’s generosity and his investment in our department’s core missions of research, teaching, and outreach,” comments Head of Department and Professor Matthias Grosse Perdekamp. “Unrestricted funds such as these are applied where they will make the greatest impact. Through his generosity, Gary Kelly’s legacy at Illinois will include his support of important new opportunities directly in line with our core missions. A large portion of Gary’s gift will support the research of exceptional women faculty early in their careers, enabling Illinois Physics to attract and retain promising women physicists.”

Engineering Visionary Scholarships

$25 Million

Now through the end of 2019, The Grainger Foundation will match all donations made to the College's Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative.

Learn more

Watch the Center for the Physics of Living Cells video

Watch the Center for the Physics of Living Cells video

The Center for the Physics of Living Cells is an NSF Physics Frontiers Center. In true "Urbana style," theoretical and experimental scientists collaborating at the CPLC are elucidating the fundamental processes at the core of life in quantitative physical detail.  The CPLC Summer School is world renowned for its training of young scientists in leading-edge research methods, advancing this interdisciplinary physics frontier.

Why choose Illinois Physics? Here's a video!

Why choose Illinois Physics? Here's a video!

Are you ready to study the glow of black holes? Or how superconductors can carry electricity without resistance? Physics opens the secrets of the universe. Illinois has a long tradition of excellence in physics, and we continue to advance the frontiers of science every day. Watch the video!


Why do water molecules need an impurity to form crystals (or freeze) ? I get that it does need an impurity to start the process of forming the first crystal and that all the other crystals follow to form afterwards, but why is this impurity needed? I mean what does it do to the molecules of water? And can water molecules form without this impurity?