Mathematics, physics and chemistry are basic disciplines upon which the rest of scientific knowledge is built. Research in these areas is driven by the objective of understanding the world that surrounds us. Learning about its physical laws, chemical structure and composition, the relationship between its components, or describing those by means of mathematical language and models … or applying this to other matters, including current social challenges: sustainable and cleaner energy, low cost electronics, the discovery of new planets in outer space, devices for data and energy storage, technological contributions towards personalised medicine, etc. Advances in the previous areas allow scientists to benefit from a variety of tools to keep expanding scientific and technical knowledge. Engineering, on the other hand, is the field in which mathematics, physics and chemistry meet to study and create machines, applications and devices. It develops and perfects advances in information and communication technologies, robotics, and supercomputing, among many other areas.
The centres and units addressing these topics sum up to a total of 23 institutions. Some are focused on physics, both experimental and theoretical, encompassing high energy physics, photonic sciences, condensed matter physics, astrophysics and cosmology. Others, are devoted to nanoscience, nanotechnology and materials science, deploying a largely interdisciplinary profile, spanning fields from physics, chemistry and biology, to engineering. Chemistry centres and units are focused on chemical research and molecular science, from both a theoretical and an experimental approach, with a large technology and knowledge transfer expertise towards the industry and the society. Mathematics centres and units conduct research in all of the many branches of mathematics, facing abstract problems from number theory, mathematical analysis, differential equations or geometry, but also developing mathematical solutions for the industry. Lastly, the centres and units in the engineering group conduct research in supercomputing, information and communication technologies, robotics and informatics, and present us with a clear vision of present and future applications and technologies.