Research Centers

Black Hole Initiative

The Black Hole Initiative (BHI) is an interdisciplinary center at Harvard University involving a collaboration between Principal Investigators from the fields of Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics, and Philosophy. It is the first center worldwide to focus on the study of black holes.


Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM)

The Center for Integrated Quantum Materials is a collaboration between by Harvard University, Howard University, MIT, and Museum of Science, Boston, to study extraordinary new quantum materials with striking 'non-conventional' properties with the promise to transform signal processing and computation.

The Center is committed to attracting young students to science and engineering, and to provide them with exciting opportunities to become future leaders. Our Center's research and education programs will bring together a diverse community to address these challenges that involves undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and professors.


Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS)

The Center's scientific focus is on how nanoscale components can be integrated into large and complex interacting systems. It brings together the disciplines of chemistry, physics, engineering, materials science, geology, biology and medicine.

CNS is a member of the National Science Foundation’s National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) initiative to create a national network of world-class facilities available to all researchers. Through our CNS/NNIN User Program, the CNS facilities are available for use by researchers not just at Harvard, but by any academic or non-academic researchers in the country. The Center welcomes and encourages researchers from Harvard and beyond to take a look at the many facilities that it has to offer to assist in their research goals.


Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature

This interdisciplinary theoretical research center aims to advance our basic knowledge of the universe through the interactive collaboration of physicists, mathematicians, and cosmologists.


Center for Ultracold Atoms (CUA)

CUA brings together a community of scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) to pursue research in the new fields that have been opened by the creation of ultracold atoms and quantum gases. The CUA is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CUA's research is currently organized around the themes of strongly correlated states of ultracold atoms and quantum state control of atoms and photons. The research is carried out in dedicated facilities at MIT and Harvard University by a community of approximately 100 graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, undergraduate students and visitors who work under the supervision of the Center's senior investigators in collaborative projects.


Condensed Matter Theory Group

This group conducts research on a wide variety of topics in hard and soft condensed matter physics theory.


Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)

The Center for Astrophysics combines the resources and research facilities of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to study the basic physical processes that determine the nature and evolution of the universe. Some of its pioneering achievements include:

  • Development of instrumentation for orbiting observatories in space
  • Ground-based gamma-ray astronomy
  • The application of computers to problems of theoretical astrophysics, particularly stellar atmospheres

Max Planck Harvard Research Center for Quantum Optics

Max Planck Harvard Research Center for Quantum Optics is a joint effort of The Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Germany) and the Harvard Physics Department to create a platform for generating new scientific synergies between partners, stimulate the attraction and exchange of high profile researchers between the participating institutions, and mutually support and train young scientists at PhD and Post-Doc level to live up to their full potential. The main objectives and goals of the center include:

  • Within the interdisciplinary field of quantum science, accomplishing cutting-edge, frontier defining research that could not be addressed by the individual partners alone.
  • Promoting the career development of young scientists ranging from graduate students to junior group leaders and junior faculty members.
  • Initiating innovative and collaborative research projects between MPG and Harvard.
  • Attracting outstanding young scientists (PhD students and Postdocs) to be part of and enhance this unique scientific milieu, and supporting them in a top-level scientific environment.
  • Establishing a center on quantum science that is internationally recognized as a worldwide leader.
  • Providing a role model for international collaborative activities in science.

Institute for Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics (ITAMP)

The Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics was established in November 1988 at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in order to address the critical shortage of theorists in atomic and molecular physics at major universities throughout the nation. The objectives of the Institute are: attracting and training graduate students of the highest quality in theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, maintaining an active visitors program to bring senior researchers together for varying lengths of time for scientific collaboration, and establishing a strong post-doctoral fellowship program as a source of potential University faculty.


Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology (KIBST)

KIBST at Harvard University seeks to develop a deeper understanding of the functioning of life and biology at the nanoscale level. The most tangible outcomes of the KIBST will be the future discoveries, applications, and technologies that such foundational research enables.


Laboratory for Particle Physics and Cosmology (LPPC)

The Laboratory for Particle Physics and Cosmology carries out forefront programs in high energy physics research and provides first-rate educational opportunities for students. LPPC's experimental programs are carried out at the major accelerator centers throughout the world and addresse important questions both within and beyond the Standard Model. This year LPPC is expanding its program to include astrophysics with the intention to study the fundamental properties of dark energy.


Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)

The Materials Research and Engineering Center is the focus of Harvard’s long tradition of interdisciplinary materials research. Twenty-six faculty members from the the DEAS, the Departments of Physics, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the Harvard Medical School participate in the Center.