The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, shines above Bear Lake, Alaska.

Physics is the science that studies the structure and properties of matter and transformations of energy. With math as the language and experimental verification as a guide, physical study has established the fundamental laws of nature that are the foundation of all natural science and technology. The study of physics includes learning the general principles and the phenomena that have been discovered and developing the skills that enable such knowledge to be advanced through research. Materials Science is an interdisciplinary field encompassing several disciplines of science and technology. Physics lies at the heart of materials science since it provides a rationale for understanding the mechanical, thermal, optical, and magnetic properties of matter. The emphasis area in materials science prepares students in areas of high demand for the 21st century workforce in the US. Materials scientists are employed by companies who make products ranging from metals, ceramics, and biomedical implants to integrated-circuit chips and superconducting materials. A major concentration of the program is on nanomaterials, which prepares students in areas of nanotechnology and energy-related issues.

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