Physics in the most basic Science: Physics is the most fundamental Science and underpins the foundations of all Science and Engineering. Physics seeks to uncover, formulate, and apply the laws of Nature to benefit humankind through technological innovation, examples being the invention of the World Wide Web, the first digital computer, and detector technologies employed in cameras, smartphones, and medical imaging devices.
There is a high demand for Physicists: There is a severe shortage of skilled scientists, engineers, and technologists, in Botswana, the region, and globally. The Governments of Botswana and South Africa have emphasized the high demand for Physics and Astronomy occupations in the region, meaning that these occupations are currently experiencing shortages in the labour market (short term) or will show relatively strong employment growth (long term). Physics graduates from BIUST will readily be absorbed into existing and future job markets locally and in the region.
Physicists are highly employable in diverse professions: A BIUST Physics qualification will develop critical, scarce skills that are in high demand by local, regional, and international, employers spanning diverse professions. Many physicists are employed by the private sector to solve complex technical problems in the fields of engineering, computer science, and information science, whereas the rest are either self-employed or work for educational institutions, government sectors, or in non-scientific organizations, such as: consulting firms, trading companies, investment groups, and international banks, patent attorney offices.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy is committed towards the realization of vision of Faculty of Sciences to be a World Class Centre for Research, Education and Innovation in the Sciences. Our Department is still in its infancy and graduated its first cohort of undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University’s inaugural graduation ceremony in February 2017. Our teaching and research teaching programmes are aligned with Botswana’s national priorities (as expressed in Vision 2036) to develop sustainable human capacity through the assimilation of knowledge and skills to drive industrialization in the region. Departmental research areas include:
- Materials Science, with focus on: thin films, optoelectronics, solar energy materials, advanced characterization techniques, nanomaterials and their applications in electronics, pharmacological and food industries;
- Applied Nuclear and Radiation Physics, with focus on: radiation damage to nuclear detector materials, accelerator-based production of radio-isotopes, development and application of nuclear technologies for studying and addressing local problems, monitoring environmental radiation, dense nuclear matter;
- Astronomy and Astrophysics, with focus on: extragalactic astrophysics using N-body simulations and dynamical modelling to study dark matter and galaxy evolution, exploding stars, properties of pulsars.
- Complex Systems, with focus on: Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos in Complex Physical Systems, Biophysics, Quantum Information Science and Engineering.
BIUST to Build Human Capacity for the Square Kilometre Array Project: BIUST has been tasked to lead the implementation of part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project in Botswana, an international collaboration to build the world’s largest radio-telescope (with a square kilometre of collecting area), which aims to explore some of the most pressing questions in fundamental physics and to drive technological development worldwide. Our Department has secured international funding (Newton Fund UK in collaboration with the University of Leeds), together with a 2-aerial dish interferometer and 10-PC laboratory (through the AVN project of SKA-South Africa), to provide local and regional training in Radio Astronomy.
Research Equipment: Researchers have on-campus access to following specialized equipment: X-Ray Diffractometer, UV/VIS/NIR Spectrophotometer, Coating System, Atomic Force Microscope, Atomic Emission Spectrometer, Raman Spectrometer, Scanning Electron Microscope and Electron Microprobe.
Undergraduate Programme: Our Department offers a four-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics which is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in the fundamentals of Physics, while emphasizing the increasingly interdisciplinary role played by physicists in the scientific and technological community. The curriculum focuses on preparing students with a rigorous theoretical, experimental, and computational education in Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Thermal and Statistical Physics, and Quantum Physics, while also exposing students to departmental research specializations in Materials Science, Applied Nuclear and Radiation Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Complex Systems. Furthermore, students will assimilate sought-after, scarce skills (problem-solving, investigation, analytical, communication, innovation, entrepreneurship, Information Technology, good working habits and personality traits, and ethical behaviour) that are transferable to all other scientific, engineering, and non-scientific disciplines.
Postgraduate Programme: Students with a Bachelor Degree in Physics may enroll for Masters and Doctoral programmes (by research) in any of the Departmental research specialization.