Applied Physical Sciences

Applied Physical Sciences lives in the collaborative space between science and engineering, combining knowledge and discovery with an engineering mindset, team-based science, and entrepreneurship to address real-world problems. Organized around “Ideas to Impacts”, the Department will unite with campus themes in health, water and energy to help Carolina continue to be a leader in science innovation and the application of knowledge.

New faculty hired into Applied Physical Sciences will join an extensive interdisciplinary environment including a number of applied scientists in other departments who have been instrumental in the formation of the Department. Affiliated faculty have utilized nanotechnology to target drug treatments for cancer and for cystic fibrosis, among other diseases. They have developed improved “lab on a chip” technologies to develop new devices for clinical diagnostics and for environmental monitoring. And they are working across many fronts to make solar energy more economical.

As the Department continues to expand, we will work with these affiliates and others to successfully address some of the great “What if?” questions of our era, using new advanced materials for applications that enhance health, improve water quality and sustainability, and make the scientific and technological advances that will be central to our energy future.

Groundbreaking - Entrepreneurial

Drawing on the talents of faculty and researchers across the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, one of the highest rated educational institutions in the country, as well as those of individuals at other universities and research institutions in the Triangle, the Department of Applied Physical Sciences is on the cutting edge of the research and development, creating materials, methodologies, and solutions that will have worldwide impact for decades to come.

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The Department of Applied Physical Sciences educates the next generation of groundbreaking and entrepreneurial scientists in its nationally ranked Material Sciences graduate program. In the future, the Department will extend this training to a new Applied Sciences undergraduate major that embraces and leverages the Carolina culture in the liberal arts and innovation.

Samulski Award

Chair of the Applied Sciences Department, Professor Edward T. Samulski, has been awarded the Herman F. Mark Polymer Chemistry award for 2017

Professor Samulski

Professor Samulski designed and now chairs the Department of Applied Physical Sciences, Carolina's first new science department in 40 years. In 1989 he established UNC’s internationally recognized polymer chemistry program through judicious hiring and the development of curricula integrated with traditional chemistry courses, all while maintaining a top research program spanning a range of topics based on the interplay of basic polymer physics and inherent molecular orientational order found in liquid crystals.

His major advances include adapting nuclear magnetic resonance to map the stress in elastic networks and sheared polymer melts, “RheoNMR,” and the discovery of a biaxial nematic, a phase with implications for fabricating ultra-high strength polymers. He cofounded two startups, Allotropica Technologies, 2008, which makes “extreme materials for extreme conditions,” and Carbon, 2013, which pioneered a new 3D printing method based on oxygen-inhibited free radical polymerization. He served as a senior science advisor to the State Department from 2005 to 2006.