Doctoral students in physics at NYU Abu Dhabi conduct research in a number of labs within the Division of Science. Physics at NYU Abu Dhabi is concentrated in the following areas:


The Universe spans all scales, from the subatomic particles believed to comprise Dark Matter, which dominates the mass in the Universe, to large scale structures which span the observable universe.  Astrophysics research at NYUAD spans all of these scales, as described below:

  • Cosmology, origin and nature of Dark matter and Dark Energy
  • Theory and simulations of galaxy formation
  • Galaxy dynamics
  • Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Accretion onto stellar-mass and super massive black holes
  • Formation and physics of compact objects (black holes and neutron stars)
  • The Center for Space Science: Sun and stars physics, astroseismology, modeling and observations
  • Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics: The center aims to provide answers to fundamental questions about the composition and evolution of our Universe by combining state-of-the-art observational data from the ground and space on the nature of visible and invisible matter, with detailed theoretical and numerical modeling from planets to galaxies, and linking them together cohesively.

Everything obeys the laws of physics, and biological systems are no exception. The complexity of biological systems, however, is compounded by the fact that they span a broad range of interacting spatial scales from a few atoms to global ecosystems, and that life inherently functions far from the equilibrium. This complexity poses problems for physicists that are at once interesting and challenging. Biophysics research at NYUAD includes the following areas:

  • Statistical mechanics of the crowded cell
  • Single molecule mechanics
  • Molecular machines
  • Intracellular transport
  • Super-resolution imaging
  • Molecular sensors
Particle Physics

Ordinary matter constitutes less than a fifth of the total matter of the universe; the rest is in the form of dark matter. Identifying dark matter's nature and properties is among the most pressing pursuits in the particle physics community, creating a bridge between astrophysics and particle physics.

  • Dark matter detection (experimental)
  • Application of physics techniques to cultural heritage

Research Highlights

Exciting research is happening at NYU Abu Dhabi. 

Unsolved Mystery

Scientists like Francesco Arneodo and Lotfi Benabderrahmane
have spent decades searching for something they can’t see.

NYU Abu Dhabi's Universe of Virtual Galaxies

The simulated birth and evolution of a virtual galaxy — billions of years of space activity was envisioned by Andrea Macciò, Associate Professor and Program Head of Physics.

Mind Over Dark Matter

Professor Andrea Macciò has been searching his entire life for something that science knows is there but has never seen.

Learn about our faculty.