Physicists and astronomers try to understand nature: from the smallest building blocks of matter and their interactions to the evolution of the universe at a cosmological scale. Ultimately, this endeavor leads to new insights that are helpful in other scientific disciplines, and to many applications in our daily lives such as lasers, nuclear magnetic resonance, GPS, ... Although our insights go ever deeper and reach ever further, there is much we still do not understand. If we are honest, we must admit that we today do not understand 95% of the content of the universe, including e.g. the nature of "dark matter". That is why basic research is and remains so important. The fundamental and profound ways of thinking and analysing that you learn in physics and astronomy can also be applied also in many other areas and in different professions.
Physics and Astronomy in Brussels have a tradition far longer than you might think at first sight. A history that goes back to the famous Solvay Councils for Physics that took place in Brussels from 1911 onwards and during which, among other things, the interpretation of quantum mechanics was discussed. The Solvay Institutes continue to organize conferences and councils to which the most prominent physicists are invited. The Physics and Astronomy Department at the VUB is proud of this tradition. With us you can go for studies in both the Bachelor and Master in Physics and Astronomy. Our teaching is done in small groups, with a strong component of personal interactions between teachers (professors and assistants) and students.
Our research covers a wide spectrum: experimental elementary particle research, where we look at high-energy particles that coming from deep space, and at the results of collisions in accelerators at CERN; theoretical research on elementary particles and cosmology, and how we can reconcile e.g. quantum mechanics and general relativity; applied research on semiconductor lasers, metamaterials, and also the study of the principles of biological systems; and let us not forget astronomy and astrophysics where we look at binary star systems and how high-energy cosmic rays are produced in supernova explosions and black hole jets. And so, physics indeed reconciles the knowledge of the infinitely small and the infinitely large ... and many things in between as well.