Short information about the Union of Physicists in Bulgaria /UPB/

Bulgarian Physics-Mathematical Society (BPMS) was established in February 1898 – merely 20 years after the liberation of Bulgaria and 10 years after the Sofia University was founded – by a small group of representatives of the newly bourn physics-mathematical community. It is the ancestor of the present day Union of Physicists and Union of Mathematicians in Bulgaria. The founders were inspired university lecturers and high school teachers as well as the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Education. This is an important event in the history of Bulgarian mathematics and physics which gave rise to an environment conducive to their development and stimulating creativity. In 2018, 120 years from the creation of the BPMS will be celebrated.

On 17.10.1971 Bulgarian Physics-Mathematical society hold its last general assembly. It took the decision to split in two: Society of Physicists and Society of Mathematicians. Acad. Christo Christov was elected first president of the Society of Physicists in Bulgaria. In 1989 the Society was registered as Union of Physicists in Bulgaria (UPB). A number of prominent scientists such as acad. Milko Borisov, prof. Ivan Zlatev, prof. Ivan Lalov, acad. Matey Mateev served as presidents. The present president acad. Alexander Petrov was elected in 2011.

UBP is a voluntary professional association of individual and collective members who are engaged in activities related to physical sciences. It has over 1500 members most of whom are university and high school lecturers, teachers and researchers, which is a reflection of one of the main activities, namely education in physics. Being a fundamental science, physics is important for the education of every person who is involved in natural, technical and medical sciences, teaching, etc. The unending reforms in education lead to ever diminishing share of physics. Not surprisingly various international bodies concluded that Bulgarian students leg behind their European peers in the field of natural sciences. Things are going to get even worse unless there is a change of attitude both in teaching and education of teachers and the procurement of modern equipment. A brief look at the activities of the UPB during the last decades shows that the education in physics in high schools and universities has been and is our main concern. Annual conferences organized by the Union and the Ministry of Education are devoted to this problem.

National conferences on education in physics will continue to be one of the basic activities of the Union, but by no means are they its only educational functions. Teaching plans and programs are a topic of constant discussions between UPB and Ministry of Education at various forums. UPB often provides means and stage for these discussions and serves as a voice of the scientific and educational community.

For more than 10 years specialized scientific high school student sessions have been part of the annual conferences. They are also part of the long term program of the BUP for developing of a modern scientific worldview and supporting the creative talents of the young people. The student sessions are organized jointly with Evrika foundation.

Another important part of UPB activity is focused on scientific research. The Union takes part in organizing conferences, publishing journals and promoting international contacts. In 2013, 30 years after the first National Congress on Physics, UPB decided to hold a new one in order to review this long and difficult period marked by a change of the political system. The congress attracted people from universities, scientific institutes, industry and government administration. It outlined the most important issues and tasks facing physics in Bulgaria. The governing board of UPB decided to organize national congresses every three years.

The UPB has become an acknowledged representative of the Bulgarian physical community on the international stage. UPB is a collective member of the European Physical Society. It is also very active in the Balkan Physical Union (BPU). In 2015 acad. Alexander Petrov was elected BPU president.

The popularization of physics and mathematics was the main reason the Bulgarian Physics-Mathematical Society was created nearly 120 years ago. UPB continues this noble task. Prominent scientists lecture at schools and try to explain to the young generation the beauty and importance of physics. UPB is the main organizer of “Physics on stage” and “Science on stage” national festivals which are becoming ever more popular among teachers and high school students. On these events the Bulgarian representatives to the European “Science on Stage” festivals (held each 2 years in different European cities) are elected.

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