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Physics of the Earth

Exploring the gravity field of the Alps
Exploring the gravity field of the Alps

The study programme "Physics of the Earth" targets the functioning of the Earth, and how to explore its structure; it thus approaches some of the major challenges facing humanity that arise through our dependence on natural resources, and our need for environmental and societal safety.

The joint master study is a two-year programme offered by the major universities of Austria and Slovakia: University of Vienna and Comenius University in Bratislava building on the strength and complementary expertise.

"Physics of the Earth" refers to our physical environment, and what we can learn about it through the application of principles from physics. The focus of the study programme is on furthering the exposure to mathematics and physics as relevant in the Physics of the Earth, and the quantitative methods used in the field. Students learn how to observe and mathematically describe phenomena occurring in the Earth interior.

Students obtain a strong knowledge of seismology and elastic wave propagation as well as of the gravity and magnetic field of the Earth. The fundamental education advances analytical thinking, independence, and develops problem-solving competence that can be applied to questions of basic research as well as industrial application.

1) Study Overview
2) Admission
3) After Graduation
4) Contact

Why Study Physics of the Earth?

1) Study Overview

Five compulsory modules develop the students’ basic knowledge of mathematical and numerical tools and of the main principles of the physics of the Earth:

  • Basic mathematical and numerical methods applied in modelling, time series analysis and in solving inversion problems
  • Continuum mechanics and basics in rheology
  • Basics of seismology
  • Physical properties and structure of the Earth and tectonophysics
  • Dynamic processes of the Earth interior
  • Magnetic field and gravity field of the Earth
  • Instrumentation in earthquake seismology as well as in gravity and magnetic field observation

Students deepen their knowledge and focus on specialization topics within two compulsory elective modules.

Prof. Dr. Bruno Meurers - Director of Studies

"Geophysics connects working in the field and in observatories, making use of advanced instrumental technology. It explores the physical properties of the inaccessible Earth’s interior and the dynamical processes within this restless planet by field experiments and observations on and above the Earth’s surface. All this makes Geophysics a fascinating subject."- Prof. Dr. Bruno Meurers – director of studies

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Seismic broad-band stations deployed for the AlpArray experiment, which investigates the crust and mantle structures beneath the Alps.
Seismic broad-band stations deployed for the AlpArray experiment, which investigates the crust and mantle structures beneath the Alps.

2) Admission

Students having successfully completed a Bachelor's degree programme in Physics have direct access to the Joint Master study. Bachelors of other geophysics programmes or related fields (astronomy, meteorology) will have access with restrictions according to the national legislation.

Students need knowledge of the English language at level B2 at least (Common European Framework of Reference). Proving the language knowledge is not required for admission. Knowledge of the German language is not necessary.

Students need to apply for admission at the Comenius University in Bratislava. The application is possible only in the winter semester

Comenius University Bratislava

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3) After Graduation

Students will find career options in fundamental research and technologically-oriented companies, particularly in the fields of energy, security, raw materials, groundwater, and environment. Pertaining research is performed in national research organizations, universities, and the private sector. These are applied in national and international organizations (e.g., CTBT, IAEA), in companies dealing with oil and gas or other natural resources, and in the insurance industry. The rigorous approach learned in this programme allows graduates to use their skills also in other physical and natural science occupations. Students acquire skills in information technologies and data processing, as well as physical measurement. Beyond job opportunities that are available exclusively to quantitatively-trained graduates, more general opportunities exist in public administration, engineering companies, consulting etc.

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4) Contact

For further information see the Physics of the Earth-Website.

University of Vienna:
ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Bruno Meurers
Department of Meteorology and Geophysics,
ZUA II, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria; Room: 2D504
Phone: +43/1/4277 - 53724
bruno.meurers@univie.ac.at 

Comenius University Bratislava:
Prof. RNDr. Peter Moczo, DrSc.
Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics
Mlynska dolina F1, 84248 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Phone: +421/2/654 290 25
moczo@fmph.uniba.sk

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Superconducting gravimeter operating in the Conrad Observatory (Austria)
Superconducting gravimeter operating in the Conrad Observatory (Austria)

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