The Department of Physics of the University of Coimbra was created in 1772,
as part of the Faculty of Philosophy, and named Gabinete de Fysica Experimental,
ruled by Giovanni António Dalla Bella.
According to documents from the epoch, the Gabinete de Fysica Experimental had
then "one of the most complete set of instruments for the study of Experimental Physics
existing in Europe".
In the XIX century the Laboratory maintained contacts with the most prestigious scientific centres
in Europe and kept updated with the developments of this period. In 1975, the
Gabinete de Fysica Experimental changed name to "Laboratory of Physics" and since
1981 has been named "Department of Physics". It is now part of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of
the University of Coimbra.
The Department of Physics is presently installed in a building dated from 1975, that holds
modern facilities both for research and teaching. Its library is one of the most
complete of its kind in Europe.
Its teaching staff has presently 51 PhD, and is one of the most qualified in the country
(cf. Report from the Universities External Evaluation Committee, 1997)
The research activity covers many areas of the Physics. The number of scientific publications in the
later years is one of the highest in the country. The Department is involved in many scientific networks and
in some of the greatest international laboratories and collaborations. It has 7 scientific units evaluated by
independent entities in a regular basis, rating presently as: 2 excellent (maximum), 3 very good and 2
The original instruments plus others from the history of this Department are now part of the
Physics Museum, installed in the original location of Colégio de Jesus, a building
from XVIII century. This set of pieces is of world importance.