Physics is concerned with describing and predicting natural phenomena. Applied physics is concerned with applying physics in technical solutions. Design and construction are important aspects of this.
Applied physics is at the heart of society. It forms the basis
for many of the products we use in daily life. The programme has a
strong interdisciplinary orientation, with an emphasis on
combinations of subjects: physics with design studies,
nanotechnology, new materials and systems and control
Applied physics involves studying not only how phenomena come about, but also how to use them for technical solutions. The programme focuses on theory and practice.
Critical appraisal skills
Applied physics is an academic subject, which means that you acquire not only knowledge, but also skills such as presentation, working in a team and setting up and conducting research. We teach you critical appraisal skills, which you will learn to apply to your own and other's work.
Applied physics can certainly be described as a 'tough' subject. In order to study it you need to have an affinity for sciences and you need to have an enquiring and creative mind that wonders how things work.
Physics is learning about everything around you
My name is Mare and I chose to study Physics since I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. In secondary school, I enjoyed many subjects, making my choice even more difficult.
I knew that I wanted to study something that involved maths but not Mathematics itself, since that is too abstract for my liking. That is why, in the end, I chose Physics. For me, physics is learning about everything around you and trying to understand it by linking it to mathematics.
Along the way, I realized that I wanted to get into the technological side of things and put the physics that I know to use. I’d rather try to find new applications or develop some new device using physics than invest my time into the more abstract side of physics. This is the reason why I switched to Applied Physics in my second year.
I just finished a project in Cambodia involving solar cells and I am now starting my Bachelor’s project on the degradation of perovskite LEDs. In the future, I hope to do more research, possibly on (perovskite) solar cells. What is certain is that I want to do something that contributes to our future with clean energy.
I am also a member of the lacrosse association; I play lacrosse and enjoy all the activities connected to my student association.
I'm interested in science and I love technology
Ever since I was a little boy, I was very interested in science and had an insatiable curiosity about how the world works. I also love technology and that is why I chose to study Applied Physics.
You learn about topics ranging from how electricity and magnetism are related, for example, to what the structure of matter entails and, moreover, how these subjects are related through quantum mechanics. Furthermore, you learn how to solve equations analytically in the numerous Calculus course units as well as numerically through programming.
What I struggled with during my degree programme was the huge difference in solving equations compared to what was taught in secondary school, but that can surely be overcome if you invest enough time and effort.
Besides studying Applied Physics, I also have an active social life. Most often you can find me at my study association, T.F.V. ‘Professor Francken’, where I can just have a quick chat with my friends and play a round of cards. I also play squash at the UG’s sports facility, ACLO, and I train there once a week.
I want to play a part in the move towards a CO2-free society
When I left school, I couldn't decide whether to study economics or technology. One thing that I was sure of was that whatever it was, it had to involve maths. I'd always been interested in finding out how things work, and this is what finally tipped the scales towards choosing Applied Physics. The programme examines the workings of everyday concepts.
We learn about practically everything, from generating electricity to deciphering quantum mechanics data. It was this broad-based, in-depth approach that clinched it for me. So that’s what I like best about the programme; it gives you a fundamental understanding of the things around you. But it also has practical elements, so you’re challenged at various levels.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge can best be described as the world championship for cars powered exclusively by solar energy. Teams of students design cars that run on solar energy with the aim of getting from northern to southern Australia as quickly as possible; 3,000 km through the desert. I was looking at the Top Dutch Solar Racing website and saw that they needed someone for the strategy part of the challenge, so I got in touch.
Last year, I mainly worked on developing a mathematical model to determine the strategy during the race. I had to use the data from our car, the route and weather models to predict how fast we needed to drive to finish in the fastest possible time. The fact that this was the first time that Groningen had taken part made it even more exciting. As you can imagine, we’re incredibly proud of achieving 4th place (behind Belgium, Japan and America). We’re now looking for students for the team that will take part in next year’s edition in October 2021.
The degree programme in Applied Physics and the Top Dutch Solar Team adventure convinced me that I should specialize in energy and optimization, so the Master’s programme in Energy and Environmental Sciences was a logical choice. I find energy a fascinating concept and I think that global warming will bring many changes in the years to come. I want to play a part in the move towards a CO2-free society.