MSU Faculty of Physics

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Department (Faculty) of Physics of Moscow State University is the largest department of Moscow State University. Established in 1933. The dean of the faculty - Nikolay Sysoev.


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.

General information

Since 1933 the department trained over 28'000 physicists and has awarded over 4'000 PhD’s and 500 post-doctoral (Doctor nauk) degrees. A third of the members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, experts in Physics, Geophysics, and Astronomy, are the department's graduates.

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.

The six divisions (Experimental and Theoretical Physics, Solid State Physics, Radio Physics and Electronics, Nuclear Physics, Geophysics, Astronomy) with their 39 groups 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.

Department 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.

The Chair of Mathematics 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.

The 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, the 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 United Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, Moscow region), and at the RAS scientific centers in Chernogolovka and Pushchino.

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.

Divisions of the department

  • Division of experimental and theoretical physics
  • Division of the physics of solid bodies
  • Division of radiophysics and electronics
  • Division of nuclear physics
  • Division of geophysics
  • Division of astronomy
  • Division of additional educating programs

Notable alumni

Nobel Prize winners

Famous physicists

Famous politicians

Famous educationists

Famous businessmen

External links

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