About the School
Physics lies at the heart of most science and technology. Even modern biology seeks to analyse many of the processes of life in terms of physical laws.
The search for a fundamental understanding and the drive towards technological development in areas such as computer hardware continue to pose fresh challenges to physicists. They are tackled with a combination of experiment, theory and computation. Our undergraduate degree courses combine all three of these elements, and prepare the student for a wide range of careers.
The School offers four Moderatorship (honours degree) courses in which Physics is a main component:
- Physics and Astrophysics
- Theoretical Physics (taught jointly with School of Mathematics)
- Nanoscience (taught jointly with School of Chemistry)
All four of our Physics degree courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics, which is the professional body for physicists in Ireland and the UK. Holders of accredited degrees can follow a route to Institute of Physics Membership and the 'Chartered Physicist' (CPhys). professional qualification. Details of the full requirements to achieve chartered status are available from the Institute of Physics.
The School of Physics has a long and distinguished history of teaching and research. Richard Helsham, the original Erasmus Smith's Professor, was the first to lay out Newton's methods in a form suitable for the undergraduate, so that his Lectures in Natural Philosophy were in use for a hundred years in the College and elsewhere in Europe.
Later holders of the chair include G. F. Fitzgerald, famous in relativity theory, and E. T. S. Walton, the only Irish recipient of a Nobel prize in Science. Fitzgerald campaigned for the building of a dedicated Physical Laboratory, but sadly he did not live to see the erection of the elegant building completed in 1906. The Sami Nasr Institute for Advanced Materials, completed in 2000, houses the central part of the School today.
Excellent modern facilities for teaching and research are provided over a number of buildings including CRANN, a state of the art centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology research housed in a purpose built 6000m² building.
The School now consists of a very lively community of over 200, including 28 academic staff, 50 postdoctoral fellows and over 100 graduate students, representing many different nationalities.
The School of Physics Research Programme is impressive with 60 postdoctoral researchers and over 100 postgraduate research students working alongside 28 academics. The areas of research in the School are: