Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Research at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences is one of six faculties at the University of Bergen, and has around 2700 students. Teaching is offered at undergraduate and graduate (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) levels. The Faculty consists of 8 departments, which provide the foundations for its teaching and research activities.

A Marine Faculty

The marine environment is a central topic of interest for the natural sciences at the University of Bergen. Aquaculture is one of the Faculty's core areas of competence, and UoB has become a stronghold in petroleum research. The Faculty has also concentrated its efforts on more technological and mathematically oriented disciplines. The University's predecessor, Bergen Museum, was closely linked to great scientists like Wilhelm Bjerknes, the founder of modern meteorology. Bergen Museum's scientific profile was oriented towards the biological and earth sciences, and these created the foundations of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences when it became the first scientific unit of the University of Bergen in 1946. Ever since, the Faculty has profiled its activities in such a way as to take advantage of its geographical position. Natural phenomena and industrial activity on the coast and at sea are central factors in the research plans of most departments. Bergen's marine biology research groups are internationally recognised for the quality of their facilities, while petroleum development activity in the North Sea has involved scientists from areas such as geology and seismics.

Marine biological base for Europe

The Bergen area offers European scientists facilities ranging from advanced seawater laboratories in the High-Technology Centre, via the Marine Research Institute's aquaculture station in Austevoll and the field stations at Espegrend and Øygarden, to the use of research vessels in lagoons and fjords that have already been thoroughly studied by Norwegian scientists.

In 1997, the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology was created. Using molecular techniques, the Sars Centre aims to use marine animals as models to study morphological development within the context of chordata evolution. The Centre also studies eukaryotic gene regulation and genome organization by computational methods. In addition, the Sars Centre is involved in other projects, some of which are finalised towards aquaculture and fisheries, through various collaborations.

Centres of Excellence

Centre for Geobiology was established at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in 2007. This is a national Centre of Excellence and its goal is to be a central hub for international research and research training in this new scientific frontier. New methodologies will be developed that may be used to search for signs of early life on Earth and life on other planets. This Centre of Excellence will evaluate the deep biosphere, its environment, its ancient roots, how it is sustained by energy from inorganic water-rock reactions, and how such reactions may form essential building blocks of life.

Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research is the largest climate research centre in the Nordic countries, with a focus on the natural science aspects of climate change.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change. Eystein Jansen, the Research Director of the Bjerknes Centre, was lead author of the IPCC-4 chapter on past climates (palaeoclimate) and coordinated the input from ten co-authors. Christoph Heinze, researcher at the Bjerknes Centre, also made significant contributions to the IPCC report, investigating oceanic uptake of CO2.

Centre for Integrated Petroleum Research (CIPR) aims at contributing to increased oil recovery by improving current understanding of mechanisms for oil recovery, and developing better methods for safe CO2 storage. This can only be achieved through an interdisciplinary approach, utilising the highly specialised competence found within fundamental research environments.