UT opens the most modern physics building in Eastern Europe with a science festival
On Monday, 25 August, the University of Tartu opens Physicum, a new modern building of the Institute of Physics situated in the university's Maarjamõisa science campus, with a big science festival "There's Physics in the Air". The building of ca 13,000 square metres provides contemporary facilities for research in physics, materials science and nanotechnology.
“The new building of the Institute of Physics brings under one roof the teaching and research activities that were so far scattered between different buildings,” emphasised Jaak Kikas, the Director of the Institute of Physics at the University of Tartu, describing the main goal of the new building.
The new physics building will house four Estonian centres of excellence and 14 physics laboratories, the experiments of which will among other places reach MAX-lab, the Swedish national centre of synchrotron light source. Students of physics, materials science, computer engineering, etc. can make use of modern facilities for studies and conducting experiments. In addition to the spacious lecture halls, teaching activities can be conducted in eight study laboratories equipped with all necessary fittings for practical lectures.
According to Kikas, the improved laboratory facilities and innovative lab spaces will take the science of physics done in the building to a whole a new level. The most expensive and newest piece of scientific equipment is the transmission electron microscope (TEM) that cost two million euros. The new Physicum also has a scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM), allowing to investigate the inner structure of materials. It also enables to cut nano-thin pieces of materials and create a 3D image of the researched object on a nanoscopic scale. “Contemporary physics is engaged in technology, as technology provides the conditions necessary for experiments. This is why nowadays most of the work is done on the computer screen,” explained Kikas, talking about the operating principles of the electron microscope.
The physicists will also be able to use ISO class 5 and class 6 cleanrooms. “Dust is one of the biggest enemies for physicists,” explained Kikas, referring to the importance of a dust-free environment when conducting scientific experiments.
The meteorological field that was situated on the roof of the physics building on Tähe street will be relocated to the rooftop of Physicum to continue with meteorological observations. The control antennae of the student satellite ESTCube-1 will also be taken to the roof of Physicum.
The building includes two large conference rooms which accommodate 300 people in total. The rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia solutions allowing cross-use, meaning that one conference can be simultaneously held and followed in both rooms. “The innovative conference facilities contribute to the image of Tartu as a city of scientific conferences,” said Kikas, hoping that the new rooms will bring even more international scientists to the top-level science conferences held in Tartu. “I am certain that this building will help the Institute of Physics widen its international cooperation and will support the internationalisation of the University of Tartu in general.”
The opening of the new building of the University of Tartu’s Institute of Physics will take place on Monday, 25 August. Starting from 13:00, guests can take part in a free whole-family science festival “There’s Physics in the Air” that includes entertainment by the science theatre and guided tours of the new building. The opening ceremony of Physicum will begin at 16:00. Everyone is welcome to take part in the science festival as well as the opening ceremony of the building. The programme is available on the web page of the Institute of Physics.
The construction of the physics building cost more than 16 million euros, 13.5 million of which was covered by the resources of the European Regional Development Fund via the Archimedes Foundation. The construction works were conducted by Astlanda Ehitus OÜ and the architectural part was designed by Kadarik Tüür Arhitektid OÜ (architects Ott Kadarik, Mihkel Tüür and Villem Tomiste, interior architect Kadri Tamme).
Additional information: Jaak Kikas, Director of the Institute of Physics of University of Tartu, tel: 737 4601, 5116 462, e-mail: jaak.kikas [ät] ut.ee.