In quarter-based schools, you are usually only charged tuition (and other per-quarter costs) for 3 quarters, not 4 (yes, I know this makes no sense). You can see the per-quarter/per-year breakdown through this page: https://www.ssa.uchicago.edu/tuition-fees
(Yes, this is for a different field, hence the numbers are different, but hope it shows that it's charged for 3 quarters, not 4).
According to this: https://bursar.uchicago.edu/page/physic ... tion-rates
(for physical sciences), it is only the first few years (when you're in courses) that tuition is this high. Afterwards, the tuition is much lower.
Of course, you don't actually pay this tuition yourself for funded PhD programs. It might be useful to know that the "on paper" cost of tuition can be very different than what the department actually pays. For example, at my school, the graduate tuition "on paper" cost is the same as the undergraduate tuition cost, which is about $40,000 per year. However, my supervisor/department does not have to pay the school this amount. Instead, the graduate office actually charges the supervisor some smaller amount (they don't tell us what it is) as "overhead".
However, since this effectively counts as a "tuition subsidy" by the Graduate Office to the supervisor/department, they can attach some strings to it, in ways that are good for the student. For example, there is no way to officially enforce an on-campus minimum stipend. Instead, the Graduate Office incentivizes departments paying their graduate students above some minimum---professors that pay students below this minimum stipend are no longer eligible for the "tuition subsidy" and thus must pay the Graduate Office the full $40,000+ per year. This effectively sets a minimum stipend on campus
The reason I tell you all this is to say that for funded PhD programs (which is typically the case for US Physics PhD programs), you don't have to worry about this tuition cost. It's one of those things that I had to learn when I was first applying to grad schools too! If you are an international student worried about proving financial ability to get a student visa, rest assured that your offer letter will include tuition waiver (if it's a fully funded offer) so that this will be covered.