Upcoming Dates
  • Mar 10–Mar 16: Spring Break
  • May 11: Spring Semester ends
  • May 27: Memorial Day
  • Jun 3: Summer Semester begins
  • Jun 19: Juneteenth
  • Jul 4: Independence Day
  • Jul 27: Summer Semester ends
  • Aug 19: Fall Semester begins
Peer Undergraduate Mentorship Program

Build connections within the physics and astronomy community at UNM


New Campus Observatory Proposed

Support our educational, research, and public outreach efforts

Chair: Richard Rand

An undergraduate education in physics provides a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning in a variety of disciplines, including science, engineering, math, finance, education, law, and medicine. Find out more.

Meet our Graduate Student Association and get their tips for prospective students

Alumni testimonials: Read success stories from alumni of our department and their reflections on the quality of our programs.

March 7-8, 2024

UNM Optical Science & Engineering Program Celebrates 40 Years

Streams of Color 1: Photo copyright 2012 by Alexander Albrecht

The OSE Program will celebrate its 40th anniversary with two days of scheduled events and invited speakers on March 7 and 8, 2024.

The invited speakers include Dr. John Hall, Nobel Laureate of Physics; Dr. John McIver, former UNM Vice President of Research and former UNM Physics and Astronomy Chair; Scott Diddams, professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and graduate of the OSE program.

Read more about the program here.

News from the Chair

Applications open for QU-REACH summer quantum undergraduate research experience

Participants in the 2024 Qu-REACH poster session

Applications are open for the fourth-annual QU-REACH program, during which students can gain hands-on experience in the competitive field of quantum technology. The program will take place from May 28 to Aug. 2, and participants will receive a $7,000 stipend.

A limited number of housing stipends are also available for students attending schools outside the Albuquerque metro area. Students studying STEM at any college or university in New Mexico are invited to apply. Applications are due Friday, March 1.

Find out more about this opportunity.

Special Free Public Lecture

The University of New Mexico launches The Quantum New Mexico Institute

Quantum New Mexico Institute

New Mexico scientists played a pioneering role in the development of Quantum Informational Science; now The University of New Mexico (UNM) is partnering with Sandia National Laboratories to launch the University's newest research center, the Quantum New Mexico Institute (QNM-I).

See the UNM Newsroom article for details.

Special Free Public Lecture

Opening the infrared treasure chest with the James Webb Space Telescope

John Mather Special Lecture

NASA's Senior Astrophysicist and Nobel Winner John C. Mather returned to UNM for the first time in 10 years to share the excitement about the James Webb Space Telescope's successful launch and stunning results.

See his public talk, Opening the infrared treasure chest with JWST which he delivered on Thursday, Jan. 25.

See the UNM Newsroom article for details.

News from the Chair

Federal Physics Advisory Panel recommends groundbreaking strategies for U.S. investment in particle physics research

Federal Physics Advisory Panel recommends groundbreaking strategies for U.S. investment in particle physics research

Scientists from across the country and key international partners making up the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) have recently sent their recommendations to U.S. funding agencies for what research projects in particle physics should be pursued in the next decade.

UNM assistant professor Francis-Yan Cyr-Racine was among the panelists who gave their recommendations for the research.

UNM professor Sally Seidel led the panel that accepted the report.

Assistant Professor Darcy Barron is also heavily involved in the CMB-S4 project discussed in the article, as a member of the Governing Board among other important roles.

You can read more about the Advisory Panel in the UNM Newsroom article.

News from the Chair

UNM launches innovative quantum photonics graduate program with $3 million NSF grant

A green tinged photo of an optical table

The University of New Mexico recently announced its new Quantum Photonics and Quantum Technology (QPAQT) graduate program.

QPAQT is a dynamic graduate program situated at the intersection of physics, chemistry, and engineering. With a core focus on interdisciplinary training, the program aims to equip students with a versatile skill set in quantum technology. This approach empowers graduates to excel in a broad spectrum of basic research and applications within the field of Quantum Science & Technology.

"It's a way for students that are already getting a Ph.D. or intend to get a Ph.D. in Chemistry, Physics, Optical Science & Engineering (OSE), and Engineering for them to gather together in a cohort working on the diverse topics in Quantum Photonics and Quantum Technology, and QPAQT offers students a formal way for them to do it together," said Victor Acosta, director of QPAQT.

See the UNM Newsroom article and visit the website.

News from the Chair

Anthony Gravagne Wins 2023 Gerald May Outstanding Staff Award

Anthony Gravagne

December 2023 -- We are very excited that our Senior Machinist, Anthony Gravagne, won the 2023 Gerald May Outstanding Staff Award.

Anthony started working in the Machine Shop as a student in 2004 and joined UNM staff in 2006.

Anthony has headed the shop since 2011. Under his leadership, the shop has consistently provided excellent, efficient service to our research mission.  He has also shown a dedication to students, teaching them the skills of the machinist in our student machine shop.  It is of tremendous benefit to us in terms of time and money not to have to outsource this vital work. 

Anthony’s machining work is of such high quality and renown that our shop has also fabricated for many other departments in Arts & Sciences, as well as other schools and colleges, the Cancer Center, the Mind Research Network, Los Alamos National Lab and Kirtland Air Force Base, and also two premier instruments for cosmology in Chile, the Simons Array and CMB-S4, of which UNM astronomers are a part.  We are very lucky to have him!

You can read more about the awards in the UNM Newsroom article.

Congratulations Anthony!

News from the Chair

October 14 Annular Eclipse

Eclipse crowds by Jim Thomas

Thousands of people gathered at UNM's Johnson Field for an eclipse viewing event put on by the department. It featured a wide range of educational activities, an eclipse viewer giveaway, a balloon launch for the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project, and a popular lecture series in PAÍS which included a live projection of the eclipse from our heliostat in Regener.

See the UNM video and event photos. Thanks to countless people for volunteering their time to make this event such a success!

News from the Chair

Towards a New Campus Observatory

Observatory Fundraising
We want to make sure our educational, outreach, and research activities are preserved, expanded, and able to continue for a long time to come

The UNM Campus Observatory has initiated a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to raise funds for the planning of a new Campus Observatory. The current Campus Observatory was built in the 1950s and is now outdated among other concerns.

Read the UNM Newsroom article about the planning for this new facility.

Find out how to donate to our goal.

News from the Chair

Join Our TeamJob Opportunities at UNM Physics & Astronomy


Upcoming Events


Fri 2/23, 3:30PM in PAIS-1100, Prof. Henric Krawczynski (Washington Univ), Observations of Compact Objects with the Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), and Upcoming and Proposed Balloon-Borne Astroparticle Experiments

Other Events:

Tue 2/20, 2:00PM in PAIS-3205, Emil Mottola (UNM), Vacuum Energy & Condensate Stars in the Effective Theory of Low Energy Gravity

Thu 2/22, 11:00AM in PAIS-2540, Benjamin Smith from Lindsay LeBlanc’s group at the University of Alberta. Benjamin is a PhD..., Broad-tunable microwave-to-optical conversion in a room-temperature atomic vapor


Interactive Astronomy Apps

Javascript apps

9 Educational Apps

Written by Kevin Dilts for the Astro 101 Lab, these free interactive javascript apps illustrate common astronomy concepts. Enjoy!

UNM P+A Facebook UNM P+A Twitter UNM P+A RSS UNM P+A YouTube