Natural sciences rely on confronting mathematical models with experiments. Numerical simulations, often referred to as The Third Way, play a key role by bridging theory and experiment in a powerful way. Simulations enable the exploration of new ideas, they help validate the accuracy of theoretical predictions, and they can minimise cost by reducing the number of expensive experiments, and in many cases simulations are the only means of testing models or predicting the behavior of complex non-linear systems.
Natural sciences also relies on the systematic exploration of experimental data in order to extract meaning and aid their interpretation, or to discover new medicines or novel classifications. This approach relies heavily on statistical tools. Data science is now playing an active role in many fields of the natural sciences to promote innovative research and to explore experimental or simulation data.
Using advanced computing tools, we are addressing fundamental questions in natural sciences such as: How did the universe form? What is the origin of stars and planets in the Milky Way galaxy? What are the conditions for life? What are the critical steps in evolution? How does the human brain work?
The Institute for Computational Science is promoting research in all of these areas and is coordinating teaching in simulation and data science. Learning computational science will allow our students to become professional simulation scientists and data scientists. These profiles are highly desired in academia and industry. By studying here, students can develop new skills as computational scientists in one of the many fundamental sciences studied in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at UZH. Students can express their creativity in areas such as astrophysics, condensed matter physics, molecular dynamics, protein folding, statistics and applied mathematics. They can prepare for their future careers as simulation and data scientists and participate actively in the ongoing digital revolution of our society.