Cavendish Laboratory, Dept Physics, Univeristy of Cambridge, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 0HE

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The Cavendish Laboratory was founded in 1871, with the simultaneous appointment of James Clerk Maxwell as the first Cavendish Professor. It has a distinguished history of contribution to science.

Twenty-nine Nobel prizewinners have worked for considerable periods within the laboratory, and the Cavendish is associated with many notable discoveries, including the identification of the electron and neutron, the structure of DNA, and the discovery of pulsars.

A new era is beginning for Physics at Cambridge, with construction work underway for a new purpose-built centre for world-leading research, replacing our current buildings which date from 1971.  The new building, the Ray Dolby Centre, and our strategic plan, both represent a renaissance in the way we carry out physics research and achieve our research goals.  The spirit of adventure and innovation will be fostered in the Cavendish tradition,

but adapted to the new needs of frontier research.

About the Department
At the heart of the new approach is a more flexible alignment of our research activities into research themes.




This change of emphasis has been inspired by a number of changes in the nature of contemporary physics research.  See:


In addition to serving as a home for physics research at Cambridge, the new Cavendish Laboratory will be a top-class facility for the nation—much of the specialised research equipment in the new building will be made available to other institutions.  The new facility has been designed to match the more exacting standards of current research, and to serve the educational needs of future generations of students much better than is possible at our existing site.  Capacity for public events has also been incorporated into the design, so that our extensive programme of outreach work with schools, and with the general public, will continue to serve the local population well into the future.  We are looking forward to moving into our new home in 2023.


Key information

Currently the Department comprises about 55 academic staff, 200 postdoctoral researchers, and 300 graduate students.  Together with administrative and technical support staff and academic

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