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Master in Physics

  • academic year
    2019-2020
Master in Physics

This formation is taught in french.

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  • Programme title
    Master in Physics
  • Programme mnemonic
    MA-PHYS
  • Programme organised by
    • Faculty of Sciences
  • Degree type
    Masters 120 credits
  • Tier
    2nd cycle
  • Field and branch of study
    Sciences and technics/Sciences
  • Schedule type
    Daytime
  • Languages of instruction
    french
  • Theoretical programme duration
    2 years
  • Campus
    Plaine
  • Category / Topic
    Sciences and technics - Sciences
  • Jury President
    Geoffrey COMPERE
  • Jury Secretary
    Bortolo Matteo MOGNETTI

Details

General information

Degree type

Masters 120 crédits

Theoretical programme duration

2 years

Learning language(s)

french

Schedule type

Daytime

Campus

Plaine

Category(ies) - Topic(s)

Sciences and technics - Sciences

Organising faculty(s) and university(ies)
Infor-études

Succeed in your studies

ULB offers a number of activities and resources that can help you develop a successful strategy before or during your studies.

You can make the transition to higher education easier by attending preparatory courses, summer classes, and information and orientation sessions, even before you start your studies at ULB.

During your studies, many people at ULB are there specifically to help you succeed: support staff in each faculty, (inter-)faculty guidance counsellors, tutors, and experts in academic methodology.

Presentation

  • Acquire scientific expertise in physics

  • Master the scientific thought process and approach

  • Learn to communicate appropriately depending on context and target audience

  • Develop professional skills while applying ethical principles in one's area of expertise

  • Acquire scientific expertise in physics:

o Be critical and develop a scientific method: an analytical and rigorous way of thinking

o Identify and understand the principles underlying natural phenomena (conservation laws, symmetries, etc.)

o Understand the laws of nature through their formulation in classical and quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum field theory, special and general relativity, thermodynamics, statistical physics, astrophysics, etc.

o Master the main mathematical, experimental, and technological tools used in modern physics

o Use the fundamental principles of physics to create or innovate

  • Master the scientific thought process and approach:

o Deduce new laws from observational facts, possibly through an interdisciplinary approach, and formalise them within a theory

o Discover new consequences of existing theories

o Conceptualise and model complex principles

o Formulate working hypotheses or experimental protocols that can be tested and possibly refuted in order to determine the accuracy of these theories

o Develop, optimise, and exploit experimental devices

o Analyse data

o Confront experimental measurements with simulations and theoretical predictions

  • Learn to communicate appropriately depending on context and target audience:

o Present research in a scientifically rigorous way, with an appropriate bibliography

o Present various aspects of physics, taking context and target audience into account

  • Develop professional skills while applying ethical principles in one's area of expertise:

o Be self-critical in the evaluation of one's own skills

o Respect sources and intellectual property

o Be conscious of the importance of applying ethical rules when dealing with technological applications of physics

o Act as a teacher, decide how to teach a subject, analyse the organisational and institutional context of the educational system in which one practices (Master programme with a teaching focus)

o Conduct—individually or with peers—a critical and rigorous analysis of one's own teaching practices and their impact on students (Master programme with a teaching focus)

  • To acquire scientific expertise in physics

    • To be critical and to develop a scientific method: an analytical and rigorous way of thinking

    • To identify and understand the principles underlying natural phenomena (conservation laws, symmetries, …)

    • To understand the laws of nature through their formulation in classical and quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum field theory, special and general relativity, thermodynamics, statistical physics, astrophysics…

    • To master the main mathematical, experimental and technological tools of modern physics

    • To use fundamental principles of physics to create or innovate

  • To master the scientific thought process and approach:

    • To deduce new laws from observational facts, possibly through an interdisciplinary approach, and to formalize them within a theory

    • To discover new consequences of existing theories

    • To conceptualize and to model complex principles

    • To formulate working hypothesis or experimental protocols that can be tested and possibly refuted to assess the precision of these theories

    • To develop, optimize and exploit experimental devices

    • To analyze data

    • To confront experimental measurements with theoretical predictions and with simulations

  • To communicate in a manner adapted to the context and the public:

    • To present research in a scientifically rigorous way, with an appropriate bibliography

    • To present different aspects of physics in a manner adapted to the context and the public

  • To develop oneself professionally while respecting ethical questions in ones area of expertise:

    • To be self-critical in the evaluation of ones own competences

    • To respect sources and intellectual property

    • To be conscious of the importance of applying ethical rules when dealing with the technological applications of physics

    • To act as a pedagogue, to conceive how to teach a subject, to analyze the organizational and institutional context of the educational system in which one practices (MA finalité didactique)

    • To realize, individually or with peers, a critical and rigorous analysis of ones own teaching practices and their impact on students (MA finalité didactique)

The programme is balanced between lecture courses, exercise sessions, practical laboratory classes, and individual projects. Courses, exercises, laboratory work, and projects are assigned and coordinated by researchers who are highly involved in international physics research projects and collaborations.

  • Prizes and distinctions: Nobel 1977, Nobel 2013, Wolf Foundation 2004, Gravity Research Foundation 1978, Franqui 1982, 2000, and 2006

  • First physics department (in the French Community of Belgium) in publications and citations

  • Active collaboration with major research centres (CERN, European Space Agency, European Southern Observatory, DESY, ESRF, etc.)

  • Many projects and international missions (CMS experience, GAIA, etc.)

  • Competitive research grants (4 ERC grants in the last 5 years)

  • Heading the Solvay International Institutes for Physics and Chemistry

A physicist’s education requires in-depth knowledge of mathematical tools. It also implies a strong methodology and a scientific background, in order for the physicist to tackle new problems and develop new avenues of research (in research institutes, but also in the private sector). It involves learning advanced computanional tools, and designing and using complex devices. It drives each student towards the most advanced understanding of the properties of nature.

The Master in Physics aims at enabling students to specialise in every possible branch of modern physics, opening the doors to worldwide research, industrial development, or teaching.

For over a century, Brussels has been a widely recognised centre of excellence in physics, through the Solvay Conferences, created in 1911. ULB's Physics Department still hosts the governing board of the International Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry. By organising, on a regular basis, colloquia, chairs, and conferences that students are welcome to attend, the Solvay Institutes contribute to the development and international recognition of the Physics Department.

Lastly, an important aspect of ULB's Physics Department is the constant participation of many researchers (PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, and career researchers) in the teaching activities (projects, dissertation, classes), keeping a tight link between education and research at the highest level.

The physicist’s education necessitates an in-depth knowledge of mathematical tools. It also implies both a working method and a scientific background allowing one to tackle new problems and to develop new research axes (in research institutes, but also in the private sector). It implies learning computing sciences as well as designing and using complex devices. It drives each student towards the finest state-of-the-art understanding of the properties of nature.

The Master in Physics aims at allowing students to specialize in every possible field of modern physics and to open to them the doors to worldwide research, industrial development or teaching.

For more than a century, Brussels has been a widely recognized place for physics excellence, through the Solvay Conferences, created in 1911. The ULB Physics Department still hosts the direction of International Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry. Through the organization, on a regular basis, of Colloquia, Chairs and Conferences that students are very welcome to attend, the Solvay Institutes contribute to the development and international recognition of the Physics Department.

Finally, an important aspect of the ULB Physics Department is the constant participation of many researchers (PhD students, post-doctoral and confirmed researchers) in the teaching activities (exercises, master thesis, training courses), keeping a tight link between physics education and research at the highest level.

  • Students may complete an Erasmus exchange programme for 1 or 2 semesters, in the Bloc 1 or 2.

  • They may also attend classes in other departments, faculties, or universities (UCL, KUL, ULg, UMons, etc.), subject to approval by the Master jury (Bloc 1 or 2 of the Master).

  • Work placements and summer schools are also available at CERN.

  • Dissertation topics can be chosen in partnership with research centres (CERN, Royal Meteorological Institute, Royal Observatory of Belgium, etc.), hospitals (Erasme), and private companies.

  • Some courses are given jointly with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and KULeuven.

Access conditions

Programme

Physics is concerned with the fundamental laws that govern nature. From elementary particles to the universe at large, physics explores all possible scales, allowing a better understanding of the structure of matter and how to predict its behaviour.

ULB's Master in Physics provides a comprehensive education in physics covering in particular:

  • Plasma physics

  • Nuclear physics

  • Elementary particle and astroparticle physics

  • Fundamental interaction physics

  • Quantum physics

  • Astrophysics and cosmology

  • Statistical physics

  • Complex systems physics

  • Nonlinear optics

  • Condensed matter physics

  • Hydrodynamics

What's next ?

Prospects

Today, a wide range of activities needs a physicist’s skills:

  • Fundamental research in physics, astrophysics, geophysics, or biophysics (developed in universities or large research centres such as CERN or ESA)

  • Applied research (physics, nuclear medicine, imagery, telecommunications, energy production, meteorology, etc.)

  • Teaching (in secondary schools or universities)

  • Applied research in computer science, engineering, actuarial sciences, etc.

  • Private sector (aerospace, microelectronics, environment, medicine, information technology, banking, insurance, consultancy etc.)

With their strong analytical capabilities, physicists are very much in demand on the job market.

Their broad knowledge base and capacity for adaptation allow physicists to work in a wide range of capacities: academic researchers, industrial researchers, teachers, in the financial sector, in consulting, etc. They are present wherever new technologies are developed: research laboratories, or industrial development and production units. They are able to take up new challenges such as inventing new materials, investigating global warming and pollution, developing space missions, and many more. Their skills helps them apply analytical reasoning to other disciplines (environment, finance, biology, medicine, etc.), enabling them to solve the problems encountered in our modern societies. All of these qualities make it easy for physicists to find jobs.

Their broad knowledge base and their capacity of adaptation allow physicists to exert in a wide range of professions: academic researcher, industrial researcher, teacher, financial sector, consultant,… They are encountered where new technologies develop, in research laboratories, in development or production industry units. They are apt to take up new challenges such as inventing new materials, investigating global warming and pollution, developing space missions… Their physics background helps them to apply analytical reasoning to other disciplines (environment, finance, biophysics, medicine,…), thereby enabling them to solve the problems encountered in our modern societies. Thanks to all of these qualities, physicists easily find jobs.