University at Albany

About the Physics Department


Current Focus Areas

A bright new star of the physics department is Information and Computational Physics. This area of physics develops both the foundations of information theory and the computational techniques for extracting useful information from noisy or complex data. Five faculty members, Profs. Caticha, Earle, Knuth, Goyal, and Petrucelli, contribute to this area, which has rapidly lifted Albany to a level of international prominence in the field. Applications are widely varied, including the development of autonomous robotics for exploring space, and providing new understanding of the structure of quantum mechanics, of electronic spectra and of neurological function.

This area of development is closely tied to another rising star of the department, biophysics, which includes Profs. Earle, Khmaladze, Knuth, MacDonald, and Sharikova. In recent years the department has been expanding in particle physics, where our research ranges from experimental work on the ATLAS experiment at CERN (Profs. Ernst, and Jain) and on the LUX/LZ Dark Matter searches (Profs. Levy and Szydagis) to theoretical studies of string theory (Profs. Lunin and Robbins). ATLAS and LUX/LZ are among the world's most high-profile scientific experiments. The department has also maintained strength in two areas related to materials physics, x-ray and electron analysis (Profs. Fotso, Kuan, Lanford, and MacDonald).

More information about research in the department can be found here. Information about the department from the website GradSchoolShopper can be found here.


We graduate about 20 BS students per year (out of 2500 in the US) and 5 PhD students (out of about 1000 nationally)

In the last 5 years we have

  • published 8 books and more than 400 articles
  • ranked as number 2 in the nation in articles per author (Academic Analytics)

In the last 3 years we have

  • generated more than $1M in grant funding
  • graduated 2 UAlbany valedictorians
  • received 2 patents
  • had 100% of our doctoral students placed in research post doctoral positions or permanent industrial jobs before graduating.

Faculty Awards and Honors

  • Fellows of the American Physical Society (Kuan)
  • Past Chairs of the NYS section of the American Physical Society (Lanford, MacDonald) and Chair of an APS Topical Group (MacDonald, 2007)
  • UAlbany Excellence in Research Award in 2007 (Kuan), and two others (Lanford) previously.
  • Organization of International Conference: Knuth, Caticha (27th International Workshop on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Entropy Methods in Science and Engineering, Saratoga Springs, 2007).
  • Many invited keynote addresses:
    • Kuan 2007, 1 of 5 invited keynote speakers for the International Copper Interconnect Technology Symposia, Beijing and Shanghai
    • Kuan 2008, 2008 SEMI Technology Symposium Seoul, Korea
    • Inomata, Max-Planck-Institute for Physics Complex Systems, 2008
    • Caticha, 28th International Workshop on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Entropy Methods in Science and Engineering (Sao Paulo, Brazil 2008).
    • Knuth, Facets of Entropy Workshop (Copenhagen, 2007).
  • Lanford, Medal of the University, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2003
  • Invited Editorships
    • MacDonald, invited lead editor, Cairo-based Journal of X-ray Optics and Instrumentation
    • MacDonald, associate editor, five volume Handbook of Optics, to be published 2009 Optical Society of America.
    • Caticha, associate editor for the online journal "Entropy".
  • Invited Conference Organizer
    • Inomata, Invited Advisory Board, 10th International Conference on Path Integrals
    • MacDonald APS March Meeting 2008 Program Committee
  • Patents: (MacDonald, 2 issued), (Earle, Provisional application filed).
  • Alam, Fellow of the Islamic Academy of Sciences. Listed in the Highly Cited list on
  • External Reviewers for Journals and Grants (11 faculty)
  • Undergraduate Student Awards and Honors
    • Semiconductor Research Corporation Fellowship
    • NSF summer fellowships
    • Provost Research Excellence Award
    • Valedictorian