School of Physics

History of the School of Physics

Physics at Nanjing University arises from the Division of Physics and Chemistry, which was founded in 1915 when the university was known as Nanking Higher Normal School. It was later renamed the Department of Physics in 1920 and was one of the earliest physics departments in China.


With the development of physical science at Nanjing University, the Department of Information Physics and the Department of Material Science and Engineering were separated from the Department of Physics in 1984 and 1994, respectively. Based on these three departments, the School of Physics, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the School of Electronic Science and Engineering were founded in 2009.


Over the past hundred years, the School of Physics at Nanjing University has contributed significantly to the scientific developments and the modernization of the country, and has itself become one of the best physics departments in China. The university’s Physics was ranked number one in China in 2007 and 2012 by the Academic & Graduate Education Development Center of the Ministry of Education of China.


In this new era, the School of Physics aspires to become one of the most highly ranked physics departments in the world. We extend our warm welcome to distinguished scholars and outstanding young talents to join our efforts from China and beyond. 


Faculty and Divisions

Centennial celebration of Physics at Nanjing University

Currently, the school has 215 faculty members and supporting staff, including 94 professors and 49 associate professors. Among the faculty members, there are ten academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, two 1000-Talents Program Scholars, 17 Changjiang Professors of the Ministry of Education of China, 22 winners of the National Outstanding Young Investigator Prize awarded by the National Nature Science Foundation of China, eight 1000 Young Talents Program Scholars, nine chief scientists of the National Basic Research Program (973 Program), four APS Fellows, and two OSA Fellows.


The School of Physics now has four departments and one teaching center. They are the Department of Modern Physics; the Department of Physics; the Department of Photonics and Quantum Optics; the Department of Acoustic Science and Engineering; and the Center of Physical Teaching & Experiments.


Physics Education

The school offers Bachelor of Science degrees in physics, applied physics and acoustics, and advanced programs leading to Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in theoretical physics; condensed matter physics; acoustics; optics, atomic and molecular physics; computation physics; particle physics and nuclear physics; and biophysics and soft matter.


It provides more than 80 core and optional courses, more than 100 physics experiments and dozens of research training programs. The school has a tradition of excellent teaching in both undergraduate and graduate courses. It is the National Training Base of the Basic Science of Physics, its experimental center is the National Experimental Teaching Demonstration Center and is now supported by the National Physics Undergraduate Top-Notch Training Plan. The school has won three first class National Teaching Achievement Awards in Higher Education.


Now, the school has over 800 undergraduate students and 700 graduate students (of whom more than half are Ph.D. candidates). More than 70% of graduates pursue both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. degree. In recent years, a dozen graduates have entered world famous universities to continue their studies, and nine Ph.D. graduates have had their dissertations win the title of the “National Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation.”


Research and Laboratories

Physics at the university includes a wide variety of disciplines and specializations, ranging from practical, technology-driven fields to the study of fundamental physics and the structure of the universe. The major fields of study include condensed matter; atomic, molecular, and optical physics; acoustics and its applications; and nuclear, particle and high energy physics (cosmology). There are also some fields that cross into other disciplines, such as computational physics, biophysics and soft matter.


Since 2002, the School of Physics has won one National First Award for Natural Science and eight National Second Awards for Natural Science. The school has received research funding of over 100 million yuan RMB per year for the past five years, and is well-represented in international journals (SCI).


Every year it has over 450 publications, and among them more than ten research papers have been published in internationally renowned professional journals, including Phys. Rev. Lett, and Nature’s subsidiary periodicals such as Nature Physics, Nature Materials, and Nature Photonics.


The National Laboratory of Solid State Microstructures (NLSSM) was founded in 1984 and was one of the first state key laboratories founded in China. As a multidisciplinary science and engineering research center, the goals of NLSSM are to design and fabricate new artificial microstructured materials by designing and tailoring the energy band structures in reciprocal space, to discover new macroscopic and microscopic quantum effects and principles, to develop new theories and methodologies based on quantum physics, and to endeavor to meet the scientific challenges and technological requirements encountered in the post-Moore era and the post-petroleum era. In all of the assessments for state key laboratories, NLSSM always received an “excellent laboratory” assessment. The journal Nature assessed that NLSSM was one of the institutes in the Pacific Rim of Asia, excluding Japan, that approached world-class standards in research in 1997 [Nature 389, 113 (1997)]. The laboratory sincerely welcomes international cooperation in areas of material design, quantum physics, nanooptics and plasmonics, clean energy and environment-related studies.  


In 2014, the School of Physics took the lead in founding the Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures (CICAM), which was initially established under the 2011 plan by the Ministry of Education of China. This is a project in partnership with the physics departments at Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Zhejiang University, the University of Science and Technology of China, and the Hefei Institute of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Science.   


In addition, it has the following laboratories & interdisciplinary institutes:

  • Nanjing National Laboratory for Microstructures (under construction)

  • Ministry Key Laboratory of Modern Acoustics

  • Provincial Key Laboratory for Nanotechnology

  • Center for Eco-Materials and Renewable Energy Research

  • Joint Center for Particle, Nuclear Physics and Cosmology with Purple Mountain Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences

  • Center for Superconducting Physics and Materials

  • Institute of Solid State Physics

  • Institute of Applied Physics

  • Institute of Biophysics


International Exchange

The School of Physics has established academic exchange and research cooperation with over 40 institutions in nearly 20 countries and has invited internationally-based faculty members and scholars to the school to give lectures or to conduct research here. Now our exchange program has been extended to international students.

For more information visit the school's website

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