Environmental Physics

Study Guide

1. Objectives of the program

The Program of Post Graduate Studies (PPS) on Environmental Physics educates Physics graduates and graduates from other relevant departments of Sciences and Technical Universities, in advanced topics of the atmospheric environment. The main objective of the PPS on Environmental Physics is to provide to its graduates the ability to detect, understand, analyze, and finally handle various environmental problems that concern the modern society. At the same time, it aims at inspiring and attracting its students to research and education in fields related to the environment, boosting their competitiveness in new, growing sectors of employment and research. The plan to achieve these goals includes:

• Ongoing updating and training students on current issues of environmental concern and in new practices used to address environmental problems

• The development of entrepreneurship and adaptability of students to the labor market by strengthening the cooperation on applied research and expertise production with organizations in the public and private sector

• The familiarization with experimental methodologies and assessment of environmental impacts

• To familiarize students with international activities on environmental issues through their involvement in ongoing research activities of faculty members and researchers that support the function of the PPS.

The scientific field of the PPS in Environmental Physics is in the forefront of international basic and applied research and development and will continue to be so for as long understanding and solutions of global environmental problems are open issues.

2. History

The PPS in Environmental Physics has been operating since the academic year 1992-1993. It has demonstrated intense activity in research subjects, aiming at continuous improvement of knowledge and updating of activities according to international developments on environmental issues. To achieve this objective, the curriculum and syllabus of courses has been reformed three times, in 2002, 2008 and 2014.

During the external evaluation of the Physics Department in March 2011, the PPS in Environmental Physics was evaluated very positively. The activities of the Sector of Applied Physics and Environmental Physics, as well as of the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics that support the PPS on Environmental Physics, educationally and research wise, were also evaluated positively.

3. Organisation of Studies

The studies are completed when students collect 120 ECTS and last at minimum 2 years, leading to MSc Degree. The program of courses aims at providing specialization to graduates in a range of subject areas, offering the opportunity of balanced education enabling them to monitor and respond dynamically to different environmental problems. A significant percentage of its graduates have used their Master’s Degree for professional occupation in research institutes, public and private enterprises, Universities, Technical Colleges, etc., while a significant portion continued in doctorate studies at Universities or Research Centers in Greece and abroad.

The ongoing international research activities of the PPS’s teaching staff ensure continuous updating of the provided knowledge, and engage the students in cutting-edge research topics, coming into direct contact with internationally acknowledged research groups.

3.1. Courses

The syllabus of the courses has been designed in such way to cover the needs of graduates of the Physics Department of AUTH and other Universities, from which most of the students originate. Physics graduates have accomplished sufficient theoretical background to support more thorough studying of Environmental and Atmospheric processes. Through the courses offered, students get a deeper insight of dynamical, radiative and chemical processes in the Atmosphere, are acquainted with advanced modelling and data analysis tools, are familiarized with the available technology for investigating these processes and are trained in environmental policy and management subjects. Through a series of optional course the students can personalize the curriculum of their studies focusing and elaborating on specific subjects.

The program is completed in two years. All mandatory and optional courses are offered in the first 3 semesters and the fourth semester is completely devoted to the preparation of the graduation thesis. Attendance to the courses is compulsory and students are continually evaluated in different ways, such as homework exercises, bibliographic work, written or oral presentation of special topics and written examinations. For the laboratory courses, the contemporary research facilities of the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics are used.

3.2 Resources

The infrastructure of the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics that is used by the students of the PPS on Environmental Physics include:

• Remote sensing system Lidar-DIAL for the measurement of the vertical distribution of ozone and aerosols in the troposphere

• Spectroradiometer Brewer (Mk II) for the measurement of the spectral solar ultraviolet radiation (UV-B) and the total column of O3 and SΟ2

• Double monochromator spectroradiometer Brewer (Mk IΙI) for the measurement of the spectral solar ultraviolet radiation (UV-B) and the total column of O3 and SΟ2

• DOAS/MAX-DOAS (Phaethon) and Long Path DOAS (SANOA) systems for the measurement of trace gases and air-pollutants (e.g., ΝΟ2, CH2O, O3, SO2, etc) as well as of spectral optical depth of aerosols

• A network of 9 multiple-filter radiometers for the measurement of solar radiation at six spectral bands between in the UV and PAR

• Radiometers for the measurement of total and broadband ultraviolet solar radiation (UV-B, erythema, UV-A, total shortwave)

• Facility for calibration and optical characterization of radiation instruments

• Filter photometer CIMEL for the measurement of aerosols’ optical properties

• GRIMM analyzer for the measurement of the mass concentration of aerosols in 31 size bins from 0.25 to 32 μm.

• Cloud imaging system with digital camera

• Radiosondes and ECC type Ozonesondes for the measurement of the vertical distribution of atmospheric ozone

• Monitor of sound-level RS103 (Retey Electronic)

• Mesoscale Meteorological models (PSU/NCAR - MM5 and WRF)

• Photochemical dispersion models (CAMx and UAM-V)

• Dispersion model (RIMPUFF)

• Global Climate Model ECHAM5/Messyv1.4 (Atmospheric Chemistry- General Circulation Model)

• KRCM Model (1-D radiative-convective-oceanic model)

• Radiative transfer models (Libradtran v1.2, TUV v4.4)

3.3 Special Educational Programs

The programme of courses is supplemented with lectures by external scientists from Greece or abroad. The students have opportunities to participate in national or international research projects. They are also encouraged to attend special seminars by international research groups or organizations, and to participate in scientific conferences.

4. Administration

The Director of the PPS in Environmental Physics is responsible for its orderly operation and coordination. This position is currently held by Professor Alkiviadis Bais.

5. Employment of graduates

Graduates of the PPS on Environmental Physics are employed in national organizations and institutes, such as in ministries, local authorities, public institutions, industries, state organizations, and in education. In the private sector graduates are employed in industries and certain big craft-based facilities, but also in environmental consultation and assessment companies. According to P.A. 256/1998-OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC 190/A/1998 the graduates of the PPS have the required qualifications for registration in the record of surveyors and specifically in category 27 (Environmental Surveyors).

Finally, a good portion of the graduates continue in doctoral programs either in Greece of abroad, and are absorbed either as post-doctoral researchers or as academic personnel in higher education establishments.