Whether the universe first appeared in one form or another (Did it result from a blast or was it all in place?), or at one time or another (Is it young or old?), the ultimate source of the laws that govern the universe remains the big conundrum. The troubles of cosmology echo our basic questions as a conscious species. If we cannot decipher the patterns of the material universe to orient ourselves within creation in an understandable way, then is there any hope of finding the metaphysical behind the physical? It seems that even the heavens themselves, or at least human interpretation of them, are untrustworthy. Is there a source of information concerning the past, present and future of the universe that is reliable and above human bias? Is there another medium to explore for answers to our deep questions, a guide to an accurate rearview so that we may move forward in a more effective and contented way?
Jagiellonian University has an ongoing tradition of research in natural sciences. It is the second oldest (after the Charles University of Prague) educational and research institution in Central and Eastern Europe. The Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science consists of the Astronomical Observatory, Smoluchowski Institute of Physics, and Department of Applied Computer Science.The faculty trains students in physics, biophysics, astronomy and applied computer science on BSc and Master level. It also offers PhD studies in these areas. In collaboration with other faculties in Natural Sciences of Jagiellonian University, it runs interdisciplinary Mathematics and Natural Sciences studies (SMP) and, in collaboration with the Faculty of Chemistry, studies on Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology. There are currently three programs of international PhD studies: Applied Nuclear Physics and Innovative Technologies, Physics of Complex Systems, and Geometry and Topology in Physical Models.The faculty plays an important and active role in international and local developments in research, education and in application-related projects. The research run in the departments of experimental and theoretical physics covers many fields in nanotechnology and nanoscience, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices, solid state physics, surface physics, phase transition physics, atomic and molecular physics and molecular dynamics in condensed phases of matter. Other domains of physics represented and extensively developed are investigation of biological systems, nuclear physics of low and high energies, and the structure of hadrons. The departments of theoretical physics perform research on high-energy physics, statistical physics, field theory, theory of relativity, astrophysics and string theory. The Astronomical Observatory carries out solar studies and investigations of space: physics of galaxies, physics of radio sources, extragalactic astronomy, variable stars, observations of comets, relativistic astrophysics and cosmology. The Department of Applied Computer Science carries out extensive applied computer science investigations contributing to the information society technologies. The areas covered in the research include brain-computer interfaces, real-time physics simulations, modeling techniques for games, graph theory and applications, pattern recognition, machine learning, artificial intelligence, intelligent systems in bioinformatics, medicine and biochemistry.The permanent staff of the Faculty includes 100 senior and 60 young researchers in physics, astronomy and computer science. In general, our leading staff is well recognised in Europe as high-quality researchers, having continuous cooperation with leading scientific centers in Europe, the USA and Japan. 180 foreign research institutes cooperate with the departments of our Faculty. The Faculty currently hosts over 50 national and 10 international scientific projects. In recent years, the research potential of the faculty was strengthened by a number of large EU and structural funds projects in the Bio, Techno and Info domains.One of the funded projects is the National Centre of Electromagnetic Radiation for research applications, associated with the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. The Polish synchrotron is going to be the first research infrastructure of such substantial size and potential constructed in this part of Europe. Collaborations with groups interested in the usage and the development of the facility is eagerly foreseen and planned, following the spirit of opening the facility for exploring any sound research ideas with partners from abroad. 781b155fdc