The Department of Physics at Colorado School of Mines is dedicated to high-quality physics education for undergraduate and graduate students and advancing the world’s knowledge in the areas of condensed matter physics, applied optics, quantum physics, renewable energy physics, and subatomic physics.

Education and Research

Our faculty and students at all levels conduct more than $6 million in externally funded research every year, with many projects associated with Mines’ pioneering research centers.

Research centers with strong connections to Physics include the Mines/NREL Nexus, High Performance Computing (HPC), the Microintegrated Optics for Advanced Bioimaging and Control Center (MOABC), and the Nuclear Science and Engineering Center (NuSEC).

Our faculty are consistently recognized for both their research and their teaching, while our graduate and undergraduate students are often the recipients of awards and grants.

Physics is also heavily involved with Mines’ interdisciplinary graduate programs in Materials Science, Nuclear Engineering, and Quantum Engineering.

Watch the video below to learn more about the varied and exciting physics research taking place at Mines.

Upcoming Events,

Announcements, & Info

Four of our Engineering Physics majors were featured in the
Mines Philharmonic Orchestra Fall 2022 Concert
Professor Masa Ito, Mines Music Director
AJ Gray, junior, viola
Jude Lykins, junior, bass
Connor Hewson, senior, cello
Paul Varosy, senior, French horn



Dr. Susanta Sarkar receives a $1.14M 4-year NIH R01 grant

Grant: Single-PI NIH R01 grant of $1.14 million over four years. This is the first single-PI NIH R01 grant at Mines

and the fifth NIH R01 at Mines as the lead ( Getting NIH R01 is a defining moment of a
biomedical career.Title: Allosteric control of collagen fibril degradation by matrix metalloprotease-1Abstract: Fibrils are the extracellular matrix (ECM) components that provide a scaffold for resident cells to maintain tissue integrity. Collagen fibril degradation by matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) is involved in the majority of the top ten causes of death and plays an essential role in normal and pathological tissue remodeling. Despite such overwhelming significance in human health, the mechanism of fibril degradation (as opposed to well-studied monomers) by MMPs is lacking, which limits the full potential of MMP ligands for therapeutics. Additionally, targeting MMPs for improving human health is challenging because MMPs interact with and degrade many proteins in the human body. Due to such diverse functions, any drug used for inhibiting MMPs results in adverse side effects. If we can identify allosteric ligands that bind at distant sites and change the activity, we may alter MMP1 activity on collagen fibrils with higher specificity and fewer side effects. This grant will enable molecular understanding of collagen fibril degradation byMMPs using a multidisciplinary approach and reveal general principles of protein function at the fundamental level.Broader impact for human health: Most drugs target proteins in our body to make us feel better. All drugs have some side effects because they alsoaffect unintended functions. We still do not know how to control protein for a specific function. Over the years, we have developedmethods for precision control that this grant will support testing experimentally. If successful, we will be able to develop drugs with a fewerside effects. Importantly, we will be able to target MMPs for drug discovery in many human diseases, an elusive goal for several decades.  

Moon, Earth, Webb Telescope images, NASA