As one of the fundamental natural sciences – if not THE fundamental natural science – physics investigates a fascinating abundance of phenomena on all time and length scales.
Spatial scales in physics range from attometers (a billionth of a billionth of a meter), the spatial extent of the smallest elementary particles, to many billions of light years in astrophysics. The temporal scales are also enormous: They range from attoseconds (a billionth of a billionth of a second) in ultra-short laser pulses for example, to the age of the universe at over 13 billion years.
The Department of Physics at the University of Münster is distinguished by an extraordinary range of research activities that are reflected in a broad spectrum of course subjects. When selecting their specialist areas, both for their study program and for their bachelor’s and master’s theses, students can choose between the main research fields of nanophysics, nonlinear physics, particle physics, and geophysics. Students aspiring to a teaching profession may write their thesis in the field of science education. All these research fields also offer many possibilities to do a PhD. Research activities in all institutes are characterized by their highly interdisciplinary nature. Within the University of Münster, scientists from the Department of Physics collaborate with their colleagues from other departments in interdisciplinary centers such as the Center for Nonlinear Science (CeNoS), the Center for Nanotechnology (CeNTech), the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Center (CiMIC), the Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy (ICEM), the European Institute for Molecular Imaging (EIMI) and the Center for Philosophy of Science (ZfW). The Physics department’s research activities are also an integral part of numerous international research collaborations.
In order to inform prospective students about what both studying physics and working as a physicist entail, the Department of Physics regularly organizes the Autumn Physics Academy. Furthermore, workshops and seminars are offered at the MExLab ExperiMINTe students’ laboratory, where school classes are welcome to enroll. In the MExLab Experimentum hands-on exhibition, pupils can gain insight into the various research activities in the Department of Physics. Besides a life-size tornado, other experiences include granular media, the nonlinear physics of oscillations, and exciting phenomena of structure formation, self- organization, and chaos. Other exhibits on neutrino oscillations, seismic waves, and cosmic radiation likewise illustrate the breadth of research in the Department of Physics at the University of Münster.