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 and theory of galaxy formation, origin and nature of Dark matter and Dark Energy
  • Numerical simulations of galaxy formation
  • Galaxy dynamics
  • X-ray active galactic nuclei, high redshift radio galaxies
  • Stellar Black holes
  • Neutron Stars and Pulsars
  • Planetary interiors and atmospheric dynamics
  • The Center for Space Science: Sun and stars physics, astroseismology, modeling and observations



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