As physicists, we explore the most basic and fundamental science, which is crucial to our understanding of the world around us. Physics explores the laws under which our universe operates from the incredibly small, sub-atomic scale to the size of the universe.  

Our physics research and teaching leads to great innovations that change our lives – from discovering new fundamental particles and waves that make radiotherapy safer to developing new solutions for defence. 

Physics also forms the basis of many other sciences, including chemistry, oceanography, seismology, and astronomy. Problem solving and critical thinking skills learnt in physics, through our study programs, can be applied to diverse areas such as finance, climate modelling, software development, engineering, and medical sciences. 

The discipline of physics at the University of Adelaide was established in 1886 – just twelve years after the University was founded.  



Our researchers contribute to projects which range from – studies of the structure of sub-atomic matter; to the development of novel optical and photonic systems; to medical physics and geophysics; to the investigation of the structure of the universe, understanding the atmosphere and extreme astrophysics. We contribute to the biggest international physics projects including Ice Cube, Large Hadron Collider and LIGO Gravitational Wave Detector.  

Our research


David Ottoway

Discipline lead

Professor David Ottaway

Tel: +61 8 8313 5165