Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering
The Faculty (further referred to as FNSPE) was established in 1955 and at that time its primary mission was to train new experts with a strong theoretical background for the starting Czechoslovak nuclear programme. Gradually, however, its responsibilities were extended to cover a wider scope of fields and courses in mathematics, physics and chemistry so that, in keeping with its tradition, it can offer excellent education and personal approach to students. It also provides barrier-free access to its premises and up-to-date technology and teaching equipment for the visually impaired. As part of the programmes, students are involved in the activities of the Departments and scientific teams, will master two foreign languages, and familiarize themselves with advanced computer technology and thus quickly orient themselves in interdisciplinary issues. Many students can also join university programmes abroad. The graduates are thus perfectly prepared for specialized occupational assignments to embark on a successful career.
Location of the Faculty and how to get there. Contacts and invoicing information are available at Contacts.
Departments and Scientific Centres
The Faculty has ten departments and several scientific centres. More information and contacts are available at Departments and Scientific Centres.
Governance and Academic Authorities
The list of Faculty governance members and academic authorities is available at Governance and Academic Authorities.
Dean's Office is the administrative unit servicing all sectors of the Faculty. More information is available at Dean's Office.
People: Academics and Administrative Staff – Contacts
Telephone directory and room numbers of employees are available at People - Contacts.
Official Notice Board
Establishing documentation, documents and information to be disclosed by the Faculty in compliance with the law are available at Official Notice Board.
The Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering, ground-breaking in its profile and teaching methods, was founded in 1955, the early era of peaceful international use of nuclear energy. With the first nuclear explosions towards the end of World War II, the release of nuclear energy became a reality and general acceptance of Einstein´s relation between energy and mass a serious fact. This made international coordination of nuclear research a necessity. The first international conference on nuclear energy, convened in 1955 by the United Nations, was held in Geneva, with active attendance of Czechoslovak experts. Economically and ecologically, the use of nuclear energy in Czechoslovakia seemed quite tempting mainly due to the shortage and disadvantages of other sources of energy, and, moreover, Czechoslovakia was rich in uranium ore deposits. In fact, it was the Jáchymov (Joachimsthal) pitchblende that helped Marie Curie detect radioactivity.
The year 1955 was also important for several other reasons: several “nuclear” institutions were established, namely the Commission of Atomic Energy and the Nuclear Research Institute in Řež, near Prague, housing a reactor and a cyclotron, and others. Also, a decision was made to establish a new faculty, nuclear-oriented, as part of the Charles University to educate experts in this field, while technicians were trained at the newly-opened Secondary Nuclear Technical School. The inauguration day – the date when the Government Decree was issued- of the new faculty of the Charles University named the Faculty of Technical and Nuclear Physics is August 25th 1955, and inaugural classes started immediately on September 6th. It became a sister faculty of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University, established shortly before, and since then both have had very close cooperative relations.
The first Dean of the Faculty was Václav Petržílka, then one of the very few Czech experts acquainted with nuclear research abroad. Initially, there were only three departments: of nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, and nuclear engineering, nuclear chemistry and dosimetry having been represented by František Běhounek, former student of M. Curie, and nuclear engineering both by Bohumil Kvasil, expert in physical electronics, and later also Jaroslav Němec, leading scientist in physical properties of materials.
Very soon, however, it became obvious that nuclear technology cannot be restricted to purely nuclear issues and that there should be an interrelation between natural sciences, i.e., physics, chemistry, as well as mathematics and engineering practice, namely in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and civil engineering. Thus the Faculty has become an interface between our two oldest and traditional institutions of higher education, namely the University and the Technical University, having become a physical engineering institution in character. As of August 12th 1959 by Government Decree the Faculty was transferred from Charles University to become the fourth faculty of the Czech Technical University. The first graduates were thus awarded the degree of Ing. (equivalent to today´s Master of Science). In formal recognition of the programmes offered by the Faculty, its name was changed to the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering (FNSPE). In 1967, some academics, more mathematically- or theoretical and nuclear physics-oriented natural scientists, returned to the Charles University, which enhanced the engineering character of the Faculty.
Gradually, the teaching and research profile embraced four main subject areas: mathematical engineering (including software engineering), nuclear engineering (oriented towards physics and techniques of nuclear reactors and dosimetry), physical engineering (specializing in physical electronics, solid state engineering, and materials science), and nuclear chemical engineering. Morevoer, since its foundation, the Faculty has been concerned with education in doctoral programmes (earlier referred to as the Candidate of Sciences programmes) and in special upgrading non-degree programmes designed for engineers in industry.
The gradual profiling process was based on examples and experience of foreign universities and schools of similar character both in the former Soviet Union and in the West, stressing the importance of course instruction that was broad in scope, grounded in natural sciences, physical and mathematical sciences, and chemistry. Such education provides graduates with a good overview of the newly arising up-to-date fields in engineering, into which knowledge of physics is yet to find its way. In fact, FNSPE is training engineers for fields yet to come.
Although the student and graduate body fluctuated slightly in the past, at present the number of applicants to enter the programmes is quite high. Generally speaking, the expected performance standards are quite high; in fact students receive individual guidance, and, having mastered the fundamentals of mathematics and physics, they are oriented towards problem-solving skills and research on a step by step basis. A characteristic of the Faculty courses has always been the combination of coursework and involvement in research. Moreover, due to extensive relations and cooperation with partner universities and institutions fostered by the Faculty, students can now even enjoy the chance of joining courses and doing research abroad.
In addition to teaching, the research programme of the Faculty has always been very strong, and, in fact, the Faculty resembles a research institute. It cooperates with engineering institutions in mathematical solutions to engineering problems; the development of new physical methods of measurements, control and modelling; and the development of new technologies used, for example, for lasers, semiconductors, materials, physical chemistry, cosmic research, biomedicine; etc. The training reactor (commissioned in 1990), located on the school premises, is a unique facility for observing and studying physical processes under way in the core of the reactor and for carrying out experiments in neutron physics. It serves both for training experts in nuclear power engineering and for acquainting the general public and young people with the latest nuclear issues of today.