Faculty of Physics

MailMSU, Faculty of Physics, Russia, 119991, Moscow, GSP-1, 1-2 Leninskiye Gory

Dean - Prof. Nikolay N. Sysoev

Physics first arose as a science that describes Laws of Nature using precise mathematical methods. Physical laws govern all our beautiful planet, all nature, both animate and inanimate, as well as the Solar system and the entire Universe. That is why physics has played an enormous role in the development of human civilization. Everything people use today, such as electricity, X-ray methods, radioactivity, aircraft, computers, etc. is has something to do with discoveries made by physicists. Methods of physics research play a significant role in all natural and engineering sciences.

Physicists study Laws of Nature, the only right and genuine ones, as they are determined by Nature itself. Knowledge of Laws of Nature is important not only for physicists, it is indispensable for researchers in all fields, including the Humanities, Economics and Social Sciences.

Physics has been taught at Moscow University since 1755 when the Department of Experimental and Theoretical Physics was opened at the first Russian university.

The Faculty of Physics and Mathematics was founded in 1850, while the Faculty of Physics was established in 1933.

The cornerstone of modern physics was laid, among others, by Moscow University professors: Alexander G. Stoletov who discovered the laws of photoelectric effect; Nikolay A. Umov who was the first to deduce the equation of motion for energy; Pyotr N. Lebedev who experimentally proved the existence of radiation pressure on solid bodies and gases. These scientists were recognized internationally, they founded the well-known Moscow University school of physics. The Faculty of Physics has always seen outstanding scientists working for it: Sergei I. Vavilov, Anatoly A. Vlasov, Rem V. Khokhlov, Nikolay N. Bogolyubov, Andrei N. Tikhonov, Leonid V. Keldysh, Vladimir A. Magnitsky, Georgy T. Zatsepin, Anatoly A. Logunov, Alexei R. Khokhlov, Vladimir G. Kadyshevsky, Andrei A. Slavnov, Victor P. Maslov. Seven out of ten Russian Nobel Prize winners in Physics studied and worked at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University: Igor Y. Tamm, Ilya M. Frank, Lev D. Landau, Alexander M. Prokhorov, Pyotr L. Kapitsa, Vitaly L. Ginzburg, and Alexei A. Abrikosov.

Since 1933 the Faculty has constantly been expanding and widening the scope of its research and academic activities.

In 1945 academicians Otto Yu. Schmidt, Vassily V. Shuleykin and Vladimir A. Magnitsky established the Geophysics Department of the Faculty. In 1956 the Astronomy Department working for the Shternberg Astronomical Institute joined the Faculty of Physics. In 1958 the Department of Biophysics, the first in the world, was founded here. In 1966 our outstanding theoretical physicist Nikolai N. Bogolyubov founded the Department of Quantum Statistics.

In the recent 6 years five new departments have been founded at the Faculty. They are: Department of Experimental Astronomy, headed by Acad. Alexander A. Boyarchuk; Department of Neutron Diffraction ,headed by Prof. Victor L. Aksyonov; Department of Medical Physics, headed by Corresponding Member of RAS Vladislav Y. Panchenko; Department of Nanophysics , headed by Corresponding Member of RAS Ilya V. Kovalchuk; Department of Particle Physics and Cosmology, headed by Acad. Albert N. Tavkhelidze.

Since 1933 we have trained over 28, 000 physicists and have awarded over 4,000 Candidate’s and 500 Doctor’s degrees. A third of the members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, experts in Physics, Geophysics, and Astronomy, are our graduates.

Our 35 professors have become Honored Scientists of Russia; 8 Nobel Prize winners have worked at the Faculty, as well as 38 Lenin Prize winners, 172 State Prize winners, and 78 Lomonosov Prize winners.

Our six divisions (Experimental and Theoretical Physics, Solid State Physics, Radio Physics and Electronics, Nuclear Physics, Geophysics, Astronomy) with their 39 departments offer fundamental education covering nearly all the branches of modern physics: Experimental and Theoretical Physics, Geophysics and Astronomy, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Accelerator Physics, Solid State Physics, Radio Physics and Quantum Electronics, Nonlinear Optics and Laser Physics, Classical and Quantum Field Theory, Theory of Gravitation, Earth Physics, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Cosmic-Ray Physics and Cosmophysics, Black Holes and Pulsar Astrophysics, Biophysics, Medical Physics, etc.

We have recently opened a new Science and Innovation Centre with state-of-the-art equipment, ranking among the best of its kind at the world’s leading universities.

Our Mathematics Department founded by Acad. Andrey N. Tikhonov teaches a broad range of mathematical subjects and conducts research in many areas of mathematical physics and mathematical modeling.

The Faculty offers a 4-year Bachelor’s Degree program and a 2-year Master’s Degree program in Physics; there is also a 5.5-year Specialist’s Degree program in Astronomy and Physics at the Division of Theoretical Physics.

Environmental problems that have become an issue in Russia as well as in other countries made us open a new education and research program in Ecological Physics. Among our most recently launched programs is Master’s Degree program in Physics and Management of Scientific Research and High Technology.

Our curriculum includes the core disciplines such as General Physics, Studies in Advanced Mathematics, Computer-Aided Physics, Theoretical Physics, the Liberal Arts subjects, foreign languages, etc. studied in the first five semesters. In their 6th semester our undergraduates choose their major area and continue their education at their respective departments. In addition to the core subjects, they study over 600 special disciplines in their senior years.

At the Astronomy Department students start their special disciplines as early as their first year. We pay a lot of attention to students’ gaining practical experience in workshops and specialized laboratories, as well as during their internships, work and field placements.

As the Faculty of Physics trains researchers in physics, our students participate in research work from their second year – or earlier, if they wish. In their second year all our students write their first course paper.

The Faculty of physics has its own well-equipped laboratories and affiliations with research centers, such as the Shternberg Astronomical Institute and the Scobeltsyn Nuclear Physics Institute. Some of our departments are located outside Moscow, at the High Energy Physics Institute (Protvino, Moscow region), at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, Moscow region), and at the RAS scientific centers in Chernogolovka and Pushchino.

With our international links with universities in Europe, America, and Japan, our senior students may participate in internship programs and write their graduation papers at universities, research centers, and institutes abroad.

The curriculum of the Geophysics department includes students’ expeditions on land and at sea; summer field work is done in the Crimea. Our Astronomy students gain their practical experience at the Shternberg Astronomical Institute and observatories in various regions of Russia, in the CIS and other countries.

The Faculty of Physics enjoys all the benefits of modern computer and information technology, such as computer classrooms, Intranet with Internet access, video conferences, etc.. The core curriculum includes a compulsory 2-year Computational Physics and Software Engineering course, a number of general and special lecture courses follow in the senior years. Their IT training allows our students to contribute to developing new generations of computers and processor devices on new principles, such as optical memory and optical computers, neural networks, quantum information, quantum computers, quantum counting, etc., thus our graduates have competitive advantage in the labor market over “pure” IT professionals. Our senior students are offered the optional program in Communications and Computer Network Security.

An old University tradition is very democratic relationships between professors and students which is true of the Faculty of Physics as well. Numerous issues concerning students’ life are addressed by students themselves through self-governing organizations.

Our graduates have no problems finding a job in Russia or abroad. For them the doors are open to the most prestigious laboratories and research centers. The graduates also work successfully in other fields: economics, finance, business, management, etc.. This is not surprising, as they receive an excellent education in Fundamental Physics, Advanced Mathematics, and Information Technology.

Today the faculty of Physics successfully competes in the field of research with the leading institutes of Russian Academy of Sciences and holds the highest ranks in fundamental physics globally. The presence of young researchers, students and post-graduates, in a team is a competitive advantage of the Faculty over research institutes.

We confidently look into the future. Today the Faculty is training 2500 undergraduates, 400 post-graduates; we employ 20 academicians and corresponding members of Russian Academy of Sciences, 120 professors, 300 instructors, 330 research fellows, 200 Candidates and 500 Doctors of Science.

Gifted young people who decide to devote themselves to studying Laws of Nature, governing everything from the smallest subatomic particles to giant spiral galaxies lost in the depths of the Universe, will come across a lot of interesting and unsolved scientific riddles. The years spent at the Faculty will become the best years of their lives, and after graduation they will join a fascinating community of physicists.