The Department aims at developing research activity by improving the conditions for research and by maintaining and developing research equipment in areas given high priority. Physics is an experimental science and first class research in physics requires excellent apparatus!

The main research fields are materials physics, condensed matter physics, applied physics and particle and nuclear physics. The research resources, both the budget funding and personnel resources, have been concentrated in these fields. Collaboration among the main research fields has been encouraged.

In particle and high energy physics the research effort in Finland is concentrated in the Department of Physics. According to a governmental decision research performed at accelerators has been concentrated in the universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä.

The Department of Physics has participated in research in the priority areas of the Faculty of Science. These are materials and structure research, environmental research and research serving the emerging information society. The research groups of the Accelerator Group, Aerosol Physics and Forest Ecology (APFE), and Particle Cosmology were chosen as "groups of excellence" in the Faculty of Science in 1996.

The Department of Physics presented three high level research groups in the top research unit competition at the University of Helsinki. They were Aerosol Physics and Forest Ecology (APFE), the Accelerator group and the Particle Cosmology group. The first two groups got into the second round of competition. The APFE group was chosen as a unit of excellence in the University of Helsinki in 1996.

A list and short descriptions of ongoing research projects are given in the supplement part of the Annual Report. There are about 60 research projects ongoing in the Department. Twenty of these are financed by the Academy of Finland. Eight projects are part of an EU network. Three projects are supported by Tekes - Technology Development Centre.