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How does ultrasound visualise an embryo?
How do galaxies evolve?
Is there a difference between the light of the sun and that of the stars?
Why does nuclear fission provide us with energy?

These and lots of other small and big questions are what physicists look into: Interests range from the beginning of the universe to the interaction of the smallest fundamental particles. Physical research is based on the interplay of theoretical considerations and calculations as well as experiments and thorough observations. Usually, the aim is to find theories for the principles of nature and to test these in experiments or, conversely, explain results gained from experiments theoretically. The language used in physics is mathematics.

In 1911, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes accidentally discovered the property of some metals to lose their electrical resistance beneath a given temperature and become superconductive. It was a challenge for theoretical physics to explain this phenomenon, which was only achieved half a century later with the introduction of Cooper pairs. Electrons in a metal are particles with spin ½ and obey the Pauli principle. The idea is that in case of superconductivity these electrons combine in pairs to become bosons (Cooper pairs).
On the other hand, theoretical physics can challenge experimental physics as well: Albert Einstein had found a connection between the gravitational force of planets and other celestial bodies and what happens during a ride in a lift. This led to his well-known gravitational theory. It took several years for observations and measurements to verify even parts of this theory and the work is still ongoing.
With its methods and findings physics also has an impact on other natural and engineering sciences. For example, physicists inspire fields like chemistry and biology.

Physical research doesn’t only lead to new insights but also enriches our daily life. Modern technology isn’t possible without physics. Imagine there would be no smartphone to keep you occupied on a long train journey or think about the excitement when a 3D TV brings the atmosphere from the cinema to your living room.

Are you fascinated by technological wonders as well as miracles of nature? You don’t want to settle for being amazed by modern technology and natural phenomena but also want to explain them? The physics study programme at Ruhr-Universität Bochum gives you the opportunity to find solutions for previously unexplained physical problems. In the course you will learn quickly that physics is not about learning facts by heart. It’s a lot more important to structure information and analyse data critically, identify principles and put everything in context.

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