Chair's Message

Dr. Soma MukherjeeThe Department of Physics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) welcomes you!

The department has 22 tenure track and tenured faculty members and several lecturers, post-doctoral scholars, researchers, and visiting faculty members actively engaged in research in the areas of Applied Optics, Biophysics, Computational Physics, Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Nanotechnology, Optical Astronomy, Physics Education, Radio Astronomy and Relativistic Astrophysics.

Besides excellence in research and teaching, the department places special emphasis on the early involvement of undergraduate and graduate students in research. Several opportunities for generous financial support are provided to deserving students at all levels. Integration of research and education at all stages is one of the strengths of the department. The department lays emphasis on high-quality teaching and student mentoring.

The department has a strong, well-funded research program. The department faculty members have close research collaborations with scientists across the globe.

To facilitate such cooperation and collaboration, an interdisciplinary research center - Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy (CGWA) - has been formed in 2003 that has been supported by NSF, NASA and DoD grants of over $25 million. On September 14, 2015, the first gravitational waves were detected by the Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors. Detection of gravitational waves has led to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. The department of physics and astronomy at UTRGV has the largest group of gravitational-wave researchers in Texas and is one of the largest in the United States involved in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration global research team. Its scientists and student researchers are key contributors to the first direct detection of gravitational waves!

In 2011, a second research center, the Center for Radio Astronomy (CARA), has been formed with funds from DoD and NSF. CARA has received over $5 million in external funding. The Spacecraft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Giga-hertz Astrophysical Transient Emission (STARGATE) is a space exploration based technology park that combines higher education, research, economic development, and commercialization. STARGATE resources will give students and faculty unprecedented opportunities for near and deep space exploration research and technology development. STARGATE has been funded by the UT System, the State of Texas and the Brownsville Economic Development Board for over $15 million.

The department offers Bachelor's (B.S.) and two graduate programs - (i) Master of Science in Physics (M.S. Physics) and (ii) Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Technology (MSIS: S&T). In addition, a Ph.D. in physics is under development.

The department has locations at Brownsville and Edinburg. At Brownsville (east campus), the Physics department is spread across the Science, Engineering, Technology Building (SETB), Cavalry Building, Rusteberg Building and the Life and Health Sciences buildings. At Edinburg (west campus), the department is spread across the Physical Sciences and the new Science buildings. There are several cutting edge laboratories in the department - Applied Optics and Lasers, Nanotechnology, Biophysics, Arecibo Remote Command Center (Radio Astronomy), Gravitational Wave Creep Experiment, Optical Observatory, and Computation facilities.

The department abounds with opportunities! You are invited to browse our web site for more information.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Soma Mukherjee
Department Chair
(956) 665-2041

Ms. Laura Ramos
Administrative Assistant
Brownsville 956-882-6679 
Edinburg 956-665-2531