About the School of natural and physical sciences
The University of Papua New Guinea commenced academic programs in 1966 with a Preliminary Year and undergraduate studies in the Faculties of Arts, Education, Law, and Science. Science consisted of the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. Later Geology (1973) and Environmental Sciences (1982) were added to the Faculty. Environmental Science and Geography merged in 2004.
Today the School of Natural and Physical Sciences has the disciplines of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences and Geography, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science and Physics. Students continue to undertake their first year in Science Foundation Year before moving into second year programs at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Taurama or continue their studies within the School.
The Science Foundation program is also available through the Open College campuses; NCD Open Campus, Hagen Open Campus and Honiara Open Campus in the Solomon Islands via distance learning. Starting from the 2015 academic year, the Science Foundation Year will also be offered in the Enga University Centre, Enga Province via distance learning.
The early teaching programs included students in the first two years of Forestry and first three years of Agriculture before transferring to the then newly established PNG University of Technology in Lae, Morobe Province. The school also contributed to teacher training via the Education Faculty with a small number of courses until Education was transferred to the University of Goroka when it was established.
The first graduation held in 1970 included four science and two Master of Science graduates. The first PhD graduate was in 1974 and the first national PhD graduate was in 1983.
Important research centres and facilities include the Motupore Island Research Centre, Natural Sciences Resource Centre, Centre for Biodiversity and Natural Products Research, National Fish Collection, Remote Sensing and GIS Centre, Disaster Reduction Centre, Geological Collections, a Meteorological site, Chemical analysis facilities, specialised IT/computer laboratories as well as the TB5/6 complex and greenhouse. The journal, Science in New Guinea commenced publication in 1973 and continued until 2010.
The School of Natural and Physical Sciences has developed a wide range of collaborative arrangements with a number of universities.
Professor Peter Petsul