Picture of the Week

LUX dark matter detector

Detecting dark matter

The kind of matter and energy we can see and touch – whether it is in the form of atoms and molecules, or heat and light, only forms a tiny proportion of the content of the Universe, only about 5%. Over a quarter is dark matter, which is totally invisible but whose gravitational attraction can be detected; while over two thirds is dark energy, a force that pushes the Universe to expand ever faster.

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Departments and Institutes

The dome of the Wilkins Building in spring. Credit: UCL Creative Media Services

The Faculty comprises the following departments: Chemistry, Earth Sciences, London Centre for Nanotechnology, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Science and Technology Studies, Space and Climate Physics and Statistical Science.

For further information, please see below:


Chemistry. Photo (c) Matt Clayton

The Chemistry Department at University College London was founded in 1828, making it the oldest in England, and from inception it has been recognised for achieving academic excellence. Today it remains one of the best chemistry departments in the UK, attaining the highest possible ranking (5**) in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (one of only 7). It has internationally recognised strengths in organic synthesis, chemical biology, computational chemistry, nanotechnology, inorganic and materials chemistry and physical chemistry and chemical physics with programmes funded from many sources including the Research Councils (EPSRC, BBSRC, NERC and MRC), charities, the European Community, US Government sources and industry in the UK, Europe and the USA.



Earth Sciences


The Department of Earth Sciences at UCL lies in the heart of London on the Bloomsbury campus. Our research spans a diverse range of activities including: crustal processes, Earth and planetary evolution, mineral physics, palaeobiology and palaeoclimatology, polar observation and modelling, natural hazards, environmental geochemistry and sedimentology.

Our teaching, reflecting the diversity of our research, encompasses a wide range of undergraduate and taught graduate programmes together with an active body of graduate research students.

The department collaborates closely with neighbouring Birkbeck, University of London through the Institute of Earth & Planetary Sciences.



London Centre for Nanotechnology

LCN cleanroom

The London Centre for Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary joint enterprise between University College London and Imperial College London. In bringing together world-class infrastructure and leading nanotechnology research activities, the Centre has the critical mass to compete with the best peer institutes world-wide. Research programmes are aligned to three key areas, namely Planet Care, Healthcare and Information Technology and exploit core competencies in the biomedical, physical and engineering sciences. 





The Department of Mathematics was one of the founding departments of UCL and as such it is the third oldest Mathematics department in England. Since its beginning, Mathematics at UCL has been enhanced by its many outstanding members of staff including JJ Sylvester, WK Clifford and Sir James Lighthill. Two of its students (and later staff) Professors Klaus Roth (1958) and Alan Baker (1970) have gone on to win the Fields Medal, the Mathematician's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Another former member of staff, Professor Tim Gowers won the Fields Medal in 1998 for work he did whilst at UCL.

The department engages in world-leading research in both pure and applied
mathematics including analysis, number theory, inverse problems, fluid mechanics with industrial and environmental applications, integrable systems, combinatorics, field theories and gravitation, mathematics applied to biology and medicine, and theory of composites and homogenisation. The department is committed to excellence in teaching and its broad range of research interests is reflected in the large choice of courses available in the third and fourth years of the degree programmes.



Natural Sciences


The Natural Sciences BSc and MSci degrees at UCL enable students who wish to maintain a breadth of science subjects to design a unique degree which is suited to their personal interests. The programmes have been designed to offer students the flexibility to combine science subjects into a structured and coherent programme.

The programmes have been designed to offer students the flexibility to
combine science subjects into a structured and coherent programme, drawing together elements of physics / astrophysics, mathematics, chemistry, earth sciences, life sciences, maths/statistics and science and technology studies.



Physics & Astronomy

University of London Observatory

Scientific research and study has been a strong feature of UCL since its inception in 1826 and the Physics and Astronomy Department is currently one of the top rank Physics departments in the country, and indeed the world. They have forged an internationally renowned reputation for being at the forefront of world leading research and providing high class teaching.



Science & Technology Studies

Space history

The Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication, and policy. Founded in 1921, this department was the first UK academic department in the subject.

Though the department maintains research programmes over a wide range of subjects in science (broadly construed to include medicine, mathematics, and technology), all staff have active research programmes concentrating in one of three topical clusters:

  • history of twentieth century science and science policy
  • science, governance and the public
  • integrated history and philosophy of science

RAE ratings confirm the department’s reputation for academic excellence. In the RAE 2008, Science and Technology Studies staff split between the History department and the Philosophy department, which were ranked, respectively, at 40% and 45% the highest grade 4* (‘of world-leading quality’). We offer three undergraduate degrees and two intercollegiate Masters degrees, and we have a sizeable group of students. Undergraduate courses offered in the department also attract a wide variety of students within UCL.

STS has an international reputation for its teaching programme. Our staff includes award winning tutors, and our curriculum regularly receives accolades for innovation. Course evaluations from students consistently praise staff for their academic and pastoral support. In the annual National Student Survey, STS receives top ranks in nearly every category.



The website for the Department of Science and Technology Studies can be accessed here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/

Space & Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory)

Solar flare

The Department of Space and Climate Physics (originally opened as the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in 1967) and is now the largest university-based space research group in the UK. The department undertakes research in astrophysics, planetary sciences, solar physics, space plasma physics and climate extremes. This programme is underpinned by a comprehensive technology base that has led to MSSL-built instruments being flown by all of the major space agencies. Our postgraduate teaching programme reflects the quality and breadth of  our research and technology programmes.



Statistical Science


The Department of Statistical Science is the longest established university statistics department in the world.  It was founded in 1911 by Karl Pearson and has played a pioneering role in the development of the subject.  The Department carries out high-quality teaching at all levels (undergraduate single and combined honours, service courses, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research) and internationally-leading research across a wide range of theoretical and applied areas.  Research in the Department is based on a blend of project-based research groups, multidisciplinary collaborations and individual research programmes.



The Faculty also includes the following Centres and Institutes:

Page last modified on 31 mar 14 15:01