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  • Cavendish Laboratory - Department of Physics

The Department of Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory carries out a range of research into biological, extreme, materials and quantum physics themes, as well as undergraduate and graduate teaching. This diversity of approach allows for cross-fertilisation of ideas and synergies for the analysis of physics problems.

At the forefront of discoveries in physics

The core of the Laboratory’s research programme is experimental physics supported by excellence in theory. Our colleagues have a strong collaborative ethic, working with researchers from other disciplines and with industrial partners. This expansive approach has underpinned the success of 30 Nobel Prize winners whose names are associated with some of the world’s most fundamental discoveries: the electron, the neutron, the structure of DNA, and pulsars.

This film looks at the impact of the innovations and ideas that have come out of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory over the past 140 years. It also introduces one of the most important and ambitious projects ever embarked upon by the University: the Ray Dolby Centre. The Dolby family have donated £85 million to Cambridge to help reimagine the possibilities of physics now, and develop a new Cavendish Laboratory for the 21st century.

Ray Dolby Centre - Cavendish Laboratory - Cambridge University

Addressing big questions

The Cavendish embraces physics as a dynamic discipline, uncovering the nature of our physical universe from the smallest to the largest scales. From probing the wonders of quantum-scale physics within each atom, to deciphering the extraordinary evolution of the structure of the Universe, the Cavendish’s experts are working on the most advanced and ambitious research projects ever undertaken by the human race.

Our research projects include many of the ‘big questions’ in physics, such as honing our ability to discover and analyse new planets; quantum communication and computing; ultra-low temperature physics and new states of matter; nanoscience; and the physics of new materials and polymers. Most recently the Cavendish has launched a major initiative in the physics of sustainability, emphasising the role that physics plays in addressing the major problems of the global sustainability of our planet.

The core research groupings within the Department of Physics are:

Philanthropic opportunities

  • Supporting studentships
  • Endowing professorships
  • Redeveloping the Cavendish Laboratory's facilities

Next steps

To discuss your philanthropic goals or explore opportunities for collaborative investment, please contact me.

Glen Whitehead

Glen Whitehead

Senior Associate Director - School of Physical Sciences

+44 (0)1223 330112 or mobile: +44 (0)7711 500332

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Related gift announcements

Cambridge owes its world-leading excellence in research and teaching to the generosity of its supporters. Our history is synonymous with a history of far-sighted benefaction, and the same is as true today as it has ever been.

Gift announcement
The University of Cambridge has received an £85 million gift from the estate of Ray Dolby, founder of Dolby Laboratories and its world-renowned Dolby Noise Reduction, Dolby Surround, and successor audio signal processing technologies, which have revolutionised the audio quality of music, motion pictures, and television worldwide. 

Related impact stories

Philanthropic giving is at the heart of the success of the Collegiate University, enabling us to make discoveries that change the world and to ensure that our students received an unrivalled education.

Students at a graduation ceremony
Philanthropic impact story
The campaign for the University and Colleges has reached the £1 billion mark, enabling Cambridge to respond to the new and complex challenges facing the world.
Battcock Centre
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The Battcock Centre for Experimental Astrophysics brings together astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology at Cambridge.