Physical Sciences research is the foundation for innovation.
In general, Physical Sciences scholarship is characterized by long-term goals and curiosity driven research. Although our students and faculty are keen to solve today’s problems, they are even more keen to provide revolutionary concepts and knowledge that will lead to solutions that are not predictable today.
For example, F.S. Rowland, our Nobel Chemistry Laureate, had no idea that his pioneering research on chlorofluorocarbons would save society from an epidemic of skin cancer. He was following his curiosity regarding what was the eventual fate of spray can propellants. Similarly, laser surgery was made possible by pioneering studies in atomic physics over the last century, and the computer industry is built on 19th century advances in Boolean Algebra and early 20th century studies of the properties of a strange class of materials called semiconductors.
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