The University of Edinburgh's School of Physics & Astronomy is one of the leading Physics departments in the UK. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercises (RAE2008) it was ranked 6th, with 45% of our research rated 3* (internationally excellent), and a further 20% rated 4* (world-leading).

The School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh carries out research in a broad range of areas such as Astronomy, Cosmology, Particle Physics, Nuclear Physics, Condensed Matter Physics, Biophysics and Astrobiology.



The School has more than 300 researchers, each belonging to one or more of its research institutes: the Institute for Astronomy (IfA); the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (ICMCS); the Institute for Particle Physics and Nuclear Physics (IPPNP) and EPCC, the University's supercomputing centre which is home to some of the world's most advanced high-performance computer systems. 


The School also has a number of research centres: the UK Centre for Astrobiology, the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics, the Tait Institute, and the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions. These centres bring together researchers from different institutes, departments and universities to address multi-disciplinary problems.


Research activities

Researchers in the School are regularly involved in high-impact work such as the search for the Higgs Boson, the study of the oldest galaxies in the Universe, and investigating the nature of the "dark matter" and "dark energy", which make up 95% of the universe. The School also engage in public outreach, with staff and students collaborating with the Royal Observatory Visitor Centre, running a very successul programme called Particle Physics for Scottish Schools and attending science festivals around the country. The School's research varies from being highly fundamental to very applied and a number of our research groups are involved in collaborative projects with industrial partners. Our industry pages explain how we help businesses.