Chemistry and Physics are considered to be the central sciences and are important subjects in first-year for many programmes of study. Both disciplines are offered on our Pietermaritzburg (PMB) and Westville (WVL) campuses.
Chemistry is the study of atoms and molecules and how they react and interact with one another and with the environment. When a material with new properties is needed, when a drug needs to be found or synthesized, or when a new pest is encountered in agriculture, the chemists are asked to provide the solution. Chemists create new products from atoms and molecules, ranging from paints and water purification chemicals, to medicines and medical implants.
Physicists study the structure and behaviour of individual atoms and their components, the different forces of nature and their relationships, the physical properties of matter, and phenomena such as electricity and magnetism. They study the smallest particles found in nature to the physics of the sun, and provide understanding of how the universe is made up. Physicists provide high-tech expertise in many places – studying car crashes, investigating nuclear fusion or teaching in the classroom.
Areas of specialisation within Chemistry and Physics include:
- Analytical and Environmental Chemistry
- Applied Chemistry
- Applied Physics
- Drug Discovery
- Experimental High Energy Particle Physics
- Green Chemistry
- Material Science
- Open Quantum Systems
- Physical Chemistry
- Quantum Information Processing and Communication
- Space and Plasma Physics
- Synthetic Chemistry
- Theoretical Physics