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Welcome to the Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics was co-founded in 1961 by the University of Belgrade and the Government of Serbia. The IP was created with the following principle objectives in mind:

From a handful of young scientists occupying a couple of offices near the Department of Physics, the Institute has grown and evolved. In 1961 the above goals seemed very far away - now they are a reality. Today the Institute of Physics represents one of the premier research institutions in the region. The IP has a permanent faculty of more than 60 research scientists organized into five centers. At a given time more than 60 graduate students are working at the IP towards their Ph.D.'s.

In addition, through its Center for Advanced Studies the Institute intends to attract postdocs and visiting scientists from around the world, and organizes international conferences, summer schools and workshops. The Institute is also host to several small high-tech companies whose products represent a serendipitous result of the research activities in various fields of fundamental and applied physics conducted at the IP.

The principle activities of the Institute of Physics are oriented towards scientific research in theoretical and experimental physics. Theoretical investigations in quantum field theory, gravitation and into the fundamental and methodological problems of quantum mechanics have a long and successful history here. At the same time there have been important strides in understanding the physics of condensed matter systems, as well as in the development of theoretical atomic and molecular physics. Plasma physics as well as the study of nonlinear dynamics have also generated much interest and are being pursued by researchers here both from the theoretical and experimental sides. Significant results have been obtained in the field of laser physics. There is a varied and extensive research program in nuclear physics, as well as in high energy physics. Active areas of research are in the study of gaseous discharges, and in atomic and molecular spectroscopy. The work going on in applied physics forms a natural complement and extension to the above mentioned fundamental research. Of note are results of the Institute?s faculty in environmental protection, in designing a wide range of sensing equipment, as well as in the development and manufacture of microwave and light sources.

The Institute maintains strong ties with many similar institutions world wide. This international co-operation includes advanced training of longer and shorter duration, study grants, participation in various international conferences and workshops, joint organization of international summer schools and workshops and joint research programs. The principle institutions that have a long standing interaction with the Institute of Physics include the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, and the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. There has been a long-standing and particularly fruitful collaboration with France through its National Center for Scientific research (CNRS), as well as directly through a host of its physics institutions. Apart from active relations with many top universities in the US, the Institute has taken part in important joint projects with the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST), and the National Scientific Foundation (NSF) in Washington DC.
July 1983 was an important date in the history of the Institute of Physics. It was then decided to move the IP to a new location in Belgrade?s quite Zemun suburb. The beautiful new location on the Danube river was an ideal one for a large campus. Everything else about the move was less than ideal: the building (an old factory bombed out in World War II) lacked a roof, there were problems getting telephone lines to the site, the University of Belgrade libraries were far away... Still, there was something about the new location that instilled a dream to make it the location for a joint campus for mathematical and physical sciences. One by one, the practical problems were solved in the next few years. After a while the Institute library became the largest repository of physics books and journals in the country.

Recently (November 1994) the IP has acquired title to the land and buildings of its campus. This has made it possible to conduct extensive expansions and renovations. An addition to the main building is scheduled for 1997. In the near future there are plans for a new building for the Center for Advanced Studies, with living accommodations for a larger number of visitors from abroad. These are necessary expansions for CAS to grow into a strong regional center. These expansions will also make it possible to attract several other related institutions to migrate from their locations all over Belgrade to our Zemun campus. The dream that the Institute campus will in time evolve into a central location for many mathematical and physical institutions is still very much alive.

The thirty-fifth anniversary is a time to look back proudly at the achievements of the past. However, for all these successes we at the Institute of Physics see many more important tasks in front of us. The further integration into the international community of physics institutions is of paramount importance. The fears initially voiced that this interaction would lead to a brain-drain have been shown to be unfounded. Rather than causing the degradation in the quality of research conducted, the greater mobility of our researchers has led to an increase in the free exchange of ideas, and so to an increase in the output and quality of work done at the IP.

It is our belief that Serbia and the southeast region of Europe have a lot to offer the global physics community. The countries of the region have a long standing tradition of excellence in the physical sciences and in mathematics. The central reason for optimism when speaking of the future of physics in this region is the continued exceptional quality of students that embark on a career in physics.

For the fututre we want to set explicit goals in front of ourselves with the ultimate wish that, by so doing, we may better the quality of research coming out of the Institute of Physics. For the future:

There is a general feeling of optimism present at the Institute, a vision that we will be able to turn our expectations into reality. This is the task we set before us.

Aleksandar Belic,
Director, Institute of Physics Belgrade