New York University was founded in 1831 by a group of businessmen with a vision to serve emerging needs for highly skilled individuals in a rapidly developing and multicultural city. A strong physics curriculum was developed at NYU when the University acquired the Uptown Heights campus in the Bronx in 1894, where the Engineering School was housed and the Physics Department emerged as part of the University. We awarded the first PhD in physics in 1904.
A transition to modern physics at NYU took place with the arrival of Gregory Breit (of the Breit-Wigner Formula), who served as the Physics Department Chairman in 1929-1934. Breit established a vigorous research program in quantum physics, and attracted a number of young outstanding researchers, such as John A. Wheeler (of the Wheeler-DeWitt Equation), and Jenny Rosenthal Bramley (of the Breit-Rosenthal Effect, and the first woman to receive a PhD in physics in a US institution).
In 1966, the Department began hosting the Stanley H. Klosk lectures, and since then, 23 luminaries have been invited to deliver these prestigious lecture series at NYU. 12 of them won Nobel Prizes. Among the last 5 Klosk lecturers, 4 received Nobel Prizes (3 after delivering the lectures at NYU).
Currently, the Department is located in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. There are 36 tenure and tenure-track professors in the department, two clinical faculty members, a few dozen research scientists and postdoctoral fellows, and over 80 graduate and 90 undergraduate students. The majority of the faculty are engaged in cutting-edge research in astrophysics and cosmology, particle and astro-particle experimental and theoretical physics, hard and soft condensed matter physics, biophysics, fluid dynamics, and applied mathematical physics.