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Physics

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Physics

Physics explores our universe in all of its diversity - from particles to planets, from crystals to chaos, from quanta to quasars and from superstrings to superconductors. Its applications are to be found in modern communications, in computers, lasers and many other technologies of vital importance. A physics degree will help you develop flexible skills in theory, data analysis and instrumentation.

Physics at Trinity enjoys a worldwide reputation, and provides an exceptionally stimulating environment for study and for subsequent postgraduate research. In the Senior Sophister (fourth) year you will carry out a three-month research project in a modern research laboratory either in Trinity or at another institution in Ireland or abroad, and many find this part of the course particularly rewarding. Project topics range from photogalvanic effects in semiconductors, to monitoring of uranium enrichment, to computational analysis of climate models or to the biophysics of proteins.

Studies in physics cover experimental and theoretical training in core subjects, including:

  • Mechanics and special relativity
  • Electromagnetism
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Laser and modern optics
  • Solid-state physics

You will also take specialist courses in areas such as nanoscience, astrophysics, nuclear and elementary particle physics, superconductivity and computer modelling.

Study abroad

Final-year students Physics may get the opportunity to carry out their research project at a laboratory abroad. In recent years students have worked at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, at the Universities of Potsdam and Regensburg in Germany, at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States and at the European Space Agency in Madrid.

Career opportunities

Physics graduates are always in demand in Ireland and elsewhere in modern high-technology industries, as well as in teaching. You may also find a career in academic institutions, government and industrial research organisations and production facilities, or the meteorological service. There are diverse opportunities in electronics, telecommunications, biophysics, hospital and health physics, automation and computing. There is also a wide range of careers for which employers value the skills of problem-solving that come with the degree. It could also be a useful primary training for a legal, managerial or actuarial career for which a technical background is very attractive.

Did you know?

  • The School of Physics in Trinity is the biggest physics department in Ireland (north or south). Over 100 physics graduates from Trinity and other universities are currently doing research leading to Masters and PhD degrees. Much of this research is in collaboration with research groups in other leading universities and institutes around the world.

Further information

www.physics.tcd.ie

Tel: +353 1 896 1675

Graduate profile


Patrick Kenny, Chief Physicist at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital since 1998.

"I graduated from Trinity in 1982 with an honours degree in Experimental Physics. My Master degree (Physical Sciences in Medicine) is also from Trinity, and I hold a PhD in physics from UCD. At the Mater I am responsible for ensuring that medical physics support services provided by our 9 hospital physicists safe, high quality and cost-effective.

Coming from a basic rural background, my access to a university education was hindered by ignorance of university entrance requirements. Trinity was the only university in Ireland in which I could study my favourite school subject, physics, to degree level.

University learning is about much more than just attending lectures and passing exams (although that's quite important too!). It's about developing and testing skills required throughout life. The compact nature of Trinity's campus encouraged interactions and appreciation of people from diverse backgrounds. At Trinity I studied hard and played hard - in my third year I was vice-captain of the Athletics Club.

My appreciation of the true value of my physics degree and the scientific problem-solving skills it imbues continues to grow. Modern Medicine involves many sophisticated physics applications for diagnosis and treatment of illness, e.g., CT x-ray machines. Basic physics principles learned at undergraduate level in Trinity are applied to understand and optimise such complex and potentially hazardous systems."

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