In 1913, the “WuLi Men” (physics division) was established at Peking University, and this was later renamed the Department of Physics in 1919. With the reorganization of the Chinese system of higher education in 1952, the new Physics Department of Peking University was created from the merger of the physics departments of Peking University, Tsinghua University and Yenching University. This became the premier center for physics in China. The School of Physics was established in 2001, and includes not only the traditional fields of study in physics, but also related physical sciences. Today, the School of Physics includes Physics, Astronomy, Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, and Nuclear Science & Technology and consists of eleven divisions and seven related research institutes, including the State Key Laboratory for Artificial Microstructure and Mesoscopic Physics and the State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology.

It has been over 100 years since Peking University established its Department of Physics. The Department’s founding in 1913 was not only an announcement of the importance that Peking University placed on the physical sciences, but also a milestone in the development of modern science in China. One hundred years on, the School has made distinguished contributions to the nation and to the world in both education and academia. As it embarks on its second century, the Peking University School of Physics extends a warm welcome to distinguished scholars and outstanding young students from China and abroad who wish to join its ranks.

To celebrate its centennial, the School of Physics created the distinguished lecture series: Centennial Physics Lectures at Peking University starting in 2010. Eminent scholars around the world are invited to present lectures on both fundamental and cutting-edge problems in physics, astronomy, and atmospheric and oceanic sciences. We hope that this lecture series will establish a thought-provoking forum, stimulate lively and topical intellectual debates, strengthen global and interdisciplinary collaborations, promote the advancement of physical sciences, extend the distinguished and innovative scholarly tradition at Peking University.

The Peking University School of Physics now has the following divisions and related research institutes:

  • Institute of Theoretical Physics

  • Institute of Condensed Matter and Material Physics

  • Institute of Modern Optics

  • Department of Technical Physics

  • Institute of Heavy Ion Physics

  • Department of Astronomy

  • Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

  • Teaching Center for General Physics

  • Teaching Center for Experimental Physics

  • Electron Microscopy Laboratory

  • State Key Laboratory for Artificial Microstructure and Mesoscopic Physics

  • State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology

  • Beijing Key Laboratory of Medical Physics and Engineering

  • Center for High Energy Physics

  • International Center for Quantum Materials

  • Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics

  • Institute of Nuclear Science & Technology

  • ……

Today, the School of Physics has about 300 faculty and staff, including 21 Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (double employment included), 14 “Cheung Kong” Scholars and 38 National Distinguished Young Scholars. There are 7 innovative research groups sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

The School of Physics grants Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Around 200 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students are admitted each year by the School of Physics. Most undergraduate students pursue advanced studies after finishing their Bachelor degrees, and about one-third of them go to leading international universities for their advanced study.

The School of Physics has a tradition of teaching excellence in both graduate and undergraduate courses. Faculty members have received one grand, four first-class, and five second-class National Teaching Awards, along with more than 30 teaching awards at provincial and ministerial levels. Scholars in the School of Physics have published more than one hundred textbooks and monographs since 1991.

Research in the School of Physics is devoted not only to the frontiers of fundamental physics but also to the innovation of advanced technology. The School plays a leading role in planning and executing regional, national, and international scientific research programs. Major research fields include: high energy physics,astrophysics and cosmology, radioactive nuclear physics, high energy-density physics, key technologies for advanced light sources and particle beams, the interaction of particle beams with materials, mesoscopic semiconductor light emission and laser physics, ultra-fast physics, optical properties of artificial microstructures and mesoscopic devices, electro-magnetic properties of mesoscopic functional systems, mesoscopic theory and material computation, high-temperature superconductivity physics and devices, nano-material and devices, near-field optics, quantum materials and quantum manipulation, soft condensed matter physics, biophysics,medical physics and imaging, atmospheric physics and the environment, meteorology and climate change, physical oceanography, and many others. Scholars in the School were awarded three National Prizes and two National Science & Technology Progress Awards in the past five years. During this period, the School has more than 300 on-going and completed research projects, including several national basic research programs (“973” projects), national high technology research and development programs (“863” projects) and key projects of the NSFC. Research funding in the School has progressively increased in recent years.

The School is involved in a wide range of international activities. A number of faculty members serve as committee members in many international scientific organizations and as editors for leading international journals. Peking University participates in many international collaborations, in particular the world’s largest high-energy physics project, LHC-CMS, as well as a number of other projects, such as RIKEN and KEK in Japan, GSI and DESY in Germany, and JLab and ANL in the United States. The School of Physics organizes various international conferences and international summer schools and seminars.

There has been rapid improvement in the facilities and equipment for scientific research in recent years. This has resulted in a number of flagship instruments, including a seven-femtosecond CE-phase-stabilized laser amplifier system, a molecular beam epitaxy system, a metal-organic chemical vapor deposition system, a focused ion beam workstation, and several electrostatic ion accelerators.

(Updated by 2019-10-18)