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What is Physics?

The goal of physics is to understand matter, energy, and their interactions at the fundamental level. Physicists learn the underlying mechanisms and laws and we develop the principles that support applications. The principles of physics underlie the physical sciences in general, and they also have extensive influence on engineering and the biological sciences. Physics is a continually evolving science, with interdisciplinary aspects that shift as new technology and new ideas bring new fields and new possibilities to light. Sub-fields of physics that are especially active at UMass include biophysics, condensed matter physics, quantum matter and quantum information, soft-matter, particle physics, gravity, low-temperature physics, nanoscience, and nuclear physics. In each field, participants may specialize in carrying out experiments or developing theories. Although it is traditional for physicists to identify as "experimentalists" or "theorists," the boundaries can be blurry and undergraduates are trained for both. 

During your time at UMass, we encourage you to join our faculty in research, teaching, and outreach. The majority of our majors do this. Most faculty members are engaged in experimental or theoretical research and engage with the public or with K–12 students. Excellent facilities and federal research funds make undergraduate research opportunities widely available through independent study, honors research, or summer employment. This is fantastic training.