Physics has been taught at the University of Wisconsin from its foundation in 1848. A full-fledged research department was created in the 1890s, which saw the transformation of Wisconsin into a research university. This was a part of the rise of American research universities based on the German model. Though the Department maintained active research programs from the outset, its rise to national eminence in the 1930s came through the development of electrostatic accelerators to support an extensive program in nuclear physics. In the 1960s particle physics became the dominant research area. Important research is conducted in many fields, but some have been hampered by problems of faculty retention.