Structure of Matter and Science of the Universe

What are matter, space and time? What are the fundamental forces of nature? Where does our universe come from? How is it going to evolve? How do we explain the emergence of complex systems from simple constituents?

A large number of ULB researchers are very active in different fields of science - both theoretical and experimental, as mathematical physics and string theory, quantum gravity, theoretical and experimental particle physics, astroparticle physics, cosmology, astrophysics and exoplanet research, nuclear physics, theoretical chemistry, quantum chemistry, experimental spectroscopy, complex systems and non-linear processes.

All this work is fully in line with the ULB's strong tradition of theoretical research going back to Théophile De Donder (1872- 1957), and upheld by Ilya Prigogine (1917-2003), winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977, François Englert (born in 1932), Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013 and Robert Brout (1928-2011), winners of the Wolf Prize in 2004 or, on a more recent note, Marc Henneaux and Pierre Gaspard, holders of the Francqui Prize.

Much of this research is conducted in dialogue with other disciplines, whether fundamental or applied: mathematics and computer science, theoretical biology, engineering, materials science, medical imaging, electronics, instrumentation, etc. Among the top achievements in the experimental field we need to highlight the contribution by Jean Jeener (born in 1931) to two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance, an invention behind today's medical imaging.

Main research projects (since 2010)

Actions de recherche concertée, ARC

Interuniversity Attraction Pole, IAP

ERC Grants

  • Geoffrey Compère, starting grant 2013: Holography for realistic black holes and cosmologies

  • Marc Henneaux, advanced grant 2016: High-Spin-Grav

  • Marc Henneaux, advanced grant 2010: Symmetries and Dualities in Gravity and M-theory, SYDUGRAM - finished

Main prizes and international recognition (since 1970)

  • Radu Balescu, prix Francqui 1970 (physique théorique)

  • Robert Brout, prix Wolf 2004

  • François Englert, Francqui Prize 1982 (theoretical physics); Wolf Prize 2004; Nobel Prize in Physics 2013

  • Pierre Gaspard, Francqui Prize 2006 (statistical mechanics)

  • Marc Henneaux, Francqui Prize 2000 (theoretical physics)

  • Jean Jeener, FNRS quinquennial prize 1986

  • Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1977