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Institute of Physics


In 1949, the Brazilian Center for Physics Research was created. Two years later, the National Research Council was inaugurated, immediately followed by the creation of the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics in 1952. In 1953, the Center of Physical Research from University of Rio Grande do Sul (URGS) was opened, and six years later, the Institutes of Physics and Mathematics were created. Over those 50 years, the Institute of Physics at UFRGS had relevant participation in Brazilian academic life.

The Institute has a distinguished reputation for offering high quality education for students of biology, engineering, physics, geology, mathematics and chemistry. The Institute was one the first institutions to conduct research on science education in Brazil, results which are still distributed by the Departments of Physics in almost all Brazilian universities. It was pioneer in setting up courses on Graduate Education in Physics.

Graduate Program

The Graduate Program in Physics, both at Masters and PhD levels, received an "A" in its first evaluation by CAPES in 1979. Since then, the IF-UFRGS has continuously achieved top marks in the CAPES evaluation. In the last evaluation in 2010, the Institute received the maximum grade.


In terms of scientific research, the Institute has followed a very unique path. Since the initiation of the Brazilian Center for Physics Research-UFRGS, the creators and managers of the Institute of Physics have always had independent guidelines for organic development as a research policy. Originality and innovation has been the visible consequence of this management proposal.

The benches of the electronics laboratory of the Brazilian Center for Physics Research and its successor in the Institute of Physics, educated engineers to create the EDISA, the computer factory that originated the informatics technology pole of Rio Grande do Sul. Other graduates dedicated themselves to the creation of the Graduate program in Computer Science, the starting point of the Institute of Informatics at UFRGS.

In the area of basic research, the success is even more remarkable. In 1960, with little equipment, the Institute’s faculty members conducted their first experiment with angular correlation, an achievement initially considered impossible by colleagues from other Brazilian universities. A study published in 1966 by professors Gerhard Jacob e and Theodor Maris was the most quoted research in developing countries between 1973 and 1978.

The first ion deployer in Latin America was also installed here in Rio Grande do Sul. When the Hubble Telescope was launched into orbit in 1990, only two Brazilian astronomers participated in the project. One of these astronomers was Professor Eduardo Bica, from the Institute of Physics at UFRGS.

The Nobel Prize in Physics of 2007 was divided between the French Albert Fert, and the German Peter Grünberg, for their contributions to the study of giant magnetoresistance, a physical phenomenon related to the manufacture of magnetic memories and other electronic devices. Of all the papers published in this area, the most quoted was author Professor Mario Norberto Baibich, from the IF-UFRGS, who took his post doctorate training in the laboratory of Professor Fert when the phenomenon was discovered.




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