Physics deals with the investigation of inanimate nature. It forms the basis for many other physical and engineering sciences. Its approach to understanding nature has two typical, complementary aspects: on the one hand, natural processes that occur during an experiment are recorded quantitatively. On the other hand, the observed laws are described in a mathematical language.Within a larger scope, new predictions are derived from these models (”theories”) which will then be reassessed in further experiments. If the models are confirmed, they lead to new ”laws”. If some observed phenomena cannot be explained by the theory, more extensive models have to be sought. These processes explain the division of physics into Theoretical Physics and Experimental Physics, which also applies for the main fields of research in the physics department at the University of Mainz: Atomic Physics, Physics of Condensed Matter, Physics of the Atmosphere (Meteorology), as well as Nuclear, Particle and Astroparticle Physics. The academic landscape at the University of Mainz is exceptionally broad, and includes large research facilities. The scientists cooperate with other research institutions all over the world, including two Max-Planck-Institutions located on the campus. Correspondingly diverse is the choice of lectures which guide students on their way to modern research.
According to physics’ character as a fundamental science, physics graduates are ”all-arounders” that find employment in diverse fields. Physicists, for example, find professions within the fields of electro-technical, chemical, information- and communication industries, as well as in the car industry, banking and business consultancy. Other examples are stock market analysis, public research and education (universities and research institutions) and school teaching.
Knowledge of foreign languages and mathematics
Just as in other natural and social sciences, most of the literature (publications and books) is published in English. Sufficient knowledge of English is therefore necessary. Physics is intertwined with mathematics. On the one hand, physics has been a source of inspiration for new mathematical insights throughout the ages. On the other hand, physics depends on mathematics to describe all physical phenomena. In other words: studying physics also means studying the foundations and various special fields of mathematics. This requires extensive studying, in particular during the first semesters. To ease the transition to the University, the department offers special preparatory classes in mathematics for beginning students twice a year.
Introductory reading matter
- Brochures, Physics and Meteorology at the University of Mainz
- University prospectus (including tips and explanations about the study programs and research institutions at the University of Mainz): available at the Dean’s office, Staudinger Weg 7, 55128 Mainz, room 05-423
- Tipler/Mosca/Pelte (authors): Physik (German). Spektrum (publisher)
- Demtröder: Experimentalphysik I. Springer
- Gerthsen/Meschede: Physik, Springer
- Otten: Repetitorium Experimentalphysik, Springer
- Scheck: Mechanik, Springer