Our goal is not simply teaching scientific and engineering skills. We seek to develop reason, logic and persistent problem-solving skills – some of the building blocks of a better tomorrow.

The Faculty of Physics has the honor of more than a century of educational and research tradition. Indeed, every scientific and technological innovation in Bulgaria, from the first buzzing of the telegraph, through the first radio emissions, up until fission and modern laser experiments – have happened thanks to physicists and engineers trained by us.

Our story

The Mathematics and Physics Department of the first Higher School in Bulgaria was founded in 1889, offering programs in physics, mathematics and chemistry. In 1894 the Higher School was renamed to Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.

The Physics and Mathematics program was introduced in 1899, spanning four years of education in mathematics, experimental and theoretical physics. It included seven courses and 72 students. This laid the foundations of higher education in natural and mathematical sciences in Bulgaria. Following the Higher Education Act in 1904, the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics was established, then including an applied and pedagogical profiles.

In 1907 Sofia University, including the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, endured their first major challenge. Following jeering of then-Tsar Ferdinand by students, the university was closed down, and all faculty were fired. Several months later the University reopened but without any of its original staff, until the change of Minister of Education resulted in the complete rehabilitation of teaching personnel and researchers.

After the end of World War II, the Physics program of the Faculty underwent significant changes and expansion. To respond to the rapidly growing industrial demand for physicists, the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics significantly expanded its capacity for research and education, particularly from the 1960s onward. In 1963, the Faculty of Physics became a separate faculty of Sofia University, and relocated to its current campus in 1971. A year later, the Engineering Physics program was launched.
Measuring terrestrial electricity in Boyana, 1894
Sofia University's Astronomical Observatory, pictured by the first Astronomy associate, Yordan Kovachev, on 26 November 1899.
Prominent Bulgarian scientists, including Faculty researchers, in 1970. Left to right, standing: Aleksey Sheludko, Dimitar Totomanov, Emil Dzhakov, Stefan Hristov, Rostislaw Kaischew; sitting: Tsvetan Mutafchiev, Georgi Nadzhakov, Ivan Stranski, Dimitar Ivanov.
The political changes of 1990 led to an internal reorganization of the Faculty. In 1999, the conventional three-stage system of education – bachelors, masters and PhDs – was implemented. The Faculty concluded the 20th century with a long list of achievements: prof. Georgi Nadzhakov, a disciple of Marie Curie, discovered photoelectrets; acad. Nikola Bonev established the Bulgarian Astronautical Society (1957), the Institute of Astronomy at the Academy of Sciences (1958), and the National Astronomical Observatory (1981); under the supervision of senior researcher Ivan Enchevich, the Faculty launched the first particle accelerator in Bulgaria; and many others.

Today the Faculty of Physics is one of Bulgaria’s core scientific institutions, generating 40% of the science output of Sofia University and 10% of the entire scientific output of the nation. Our students, researchers and professors continue their world-class work under cooperation agreements with CERN, the Joint Nuclear Institute, the European Space Agency, NASA, Max-Planck-Institut, and many others.

Prominent faculty members

Assoc. Prof. Nikola Stoyanov (1874 - 1967)

Astronomer, one of the founders of the Society of Physics and Mathematics.

Prof. Ivan Stranski (1897 - 1979)

Physical chemist, father of crystal growth research.

Prof. Elisaveta Karamihaylova (1897 - 1968)

One of the founders of the Atomic Physics Department, natural radioactivity researcher, first female professor of Bulgaria.

Acad. Lyubomir Krastanov (1908 - 1977)

Geophysicist and founder of meteorological research in Bulgaria.

Prof. Emil Dzhakov (1908 - 1978)

Electronics, radio technology and electrical equipment pioneer.

Prof. Georgi Nadzhakov (1896 - 1981)

Founder of photoelectret properties of materials, founder of the Physics Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.