The Department of Physics was established in 1947, in Govt. College, Hoshiarpur (Punjab). In August 1958, the department was shifted to the present campus. At that time, the department was headed by Prof. B.M. Anand who had worked with Nobel laureate C.F. Powell. The faculty numbered about a dozen and Prof. Anand soon established a high-energy particle physics group (nuclear emulsion) and optical UV spectroscopy group. The experimental nuclear physics group and mass spectrometry section came into existence soon after.
With Prof. H.S. Hans joining the department in the late sixties, the research activities got a major fillip—cyclotron was installed. Three major research groups in nuclear physics, particle physics and solid-sate physics including both theory and experiments were strengthened and mass spectroscopy laboratory was modernised. Since then the department never looked back. It has UGC Special Assistance Programme (SAP) from 1980 to 1988 and College Science Improvement Programme from 1984 to 1991. With the success of the above programs and of research activities in particle physics, nuclear physics and solid-state physics through national and international collaborations, the department became a major research centre amongst Indian universities.
In 1988, the department was accorded the status of Center of Advanced Study (CAS) by UGC with three major thrust areas, particle physics, nuclear physics and solid-state physics, which is a unique feature in itself. The department is now in CAS forth phase. At present the department has a strength of 29 faculty members, 47 non-teaching/administrative staff, around 120 research students, 15 M.Phil. students, 10 Post-M.Sc. Course in Accelerator Physics students and about 350 graduate and undergraduate students. Our students clear various entrance examinations, like GRE, BARC, TIFR, DRDO, UGC/CSIR test for research and career in teaching, besides entering professional courses, like M.Tech., MCA, etc. About 30 research projects worth eight crore rupees under national/international collaborations are operating in the department.
Besides imparting quality education to the department students, the faculty also teach specialisation subjects, like nano-technology, nuclear medicine and medical physics to name a few.
The department participates in various national and international research initiatives and also hosts various conferences, seminars, meetings etc. of research interest regularly. The department has an 11-inch telescope to encourage/inculcate the scientific temper among public and with particular emphasis on college and school students.
The department houses Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) office and actively leads in IAPT and Indian Physics Association (IPA) activities.
The faculty members have been honoured with Meghnad Saha award, Goyal Prize (Kurukshetra University), Sir C.V. Raman Award, Hari Om Trust Award, Mercator Professorship, Homi Bhaba Fellowship, Emeritus Scientistships, Ramanna Fellowship, S.N. Satyamurthi Young Scientist Award and DAE Young Scientist Award. They have been elected for Indian Academy of Sciences Fellowship, Joliot Curie Fellowship, Alexander Von Humboldt Fellowships, DFG (German Research Society) Fellowship, UNESCO/IAEA Fellowdhip, WE-Heraeus Fellowship, Henrich Hertz Foundation Fellowship, Fullbright Fellowship, Commonwealth Fellowship, Third World Academy of Sciences Fellowships, UGC National Lecturer Fellowship Awards, Associateship of ICTP, CERN Associate, etc. The department had the honour of having Prof. Yash Pal, former UGC Chairman on its faculty, Prof. K.N. Pathak was Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh from July 2000 to July 2006 and Prof. S. Prakash was Vice-Chancellor, Jivaji University, Gwalior from February 2001 to November 2006.
About 30 research projects worth eight crore rupees under national/international collaborations are operating in the department.
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