Iti-Riin Jaagant is a young woman from Southern Estonia who is in her second year of study in Applied Physics at TalTech. In her spare time she actively practises yoga, loves running in the natural environment and enjoys playing the piano. Personal development in every area of life is extremely important to her in her daily activities.
Applied physics sounds like solving formulas all day. What does it really entail?
That is what it principally involves. Solving and contemplating alternate with the joy of discovery and finding solutions – patience and the ability to concentrate are of benefit. Applied physics may seem dull and dry but it is actually very multifaceted, a combination of chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics and electronics. To me, studying physics is a fascinating and educational hobby that is more than just a daily routine.
What attracted you most to this programme?
Probably the word “applied” in its title. The desire to learn more than just the theory, to see how and where all this can be applied. For me it is also important that I am not studying a specific profession and that there is no societal pressure on me to take certain steps after graduation. It grants me enough freedom to tackle new challenges in life.
What are you going to do after you graduate?
Ever since high school, I have liked the idea of teaching. Particularly because I learn better through explaining and children are a lot of fun. In addition, I want to contribute to the renewal of the Estonian education system. At the same time, I feel like my exact job has not yet been created and that I will probably devise my own profession where I can contribute to the world in my own way.
What is the next big breakthrough that you are looking forward to?
A discovery related to our brains. Scientists have not yet been able to fully explain, for example, why we sleep and what happens in our brains during that time. This is all very fascinating to me.
What is the most exciting thing that you have learned during your studies in this programme?
I now understand how some devices work. A microwave or photocopier, for example. Or a polaroid camera. These are all items used in our daily life and often we do not really think about what is going on inside these machines.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of studying applied physics?
A good method that can help you make a decision is to write down all the advantages and disadvantages. Another option would be to contact students who are already studying in your field of interest and ask them questions about the programme. When making the final decision, I recommend following your heart.
Where and in what professions do graduates of this programme work?
There are quite many options actually – from research work in Estonia or abroad to teaching. Some also work in IT companies or as engineers. Physicists can solve and look at problems from a different point of view and are in demand in the above-mentioned professions. I also know graduates who have started their own business, for example, to produce glass stress measurement equipment, which is a highly regarded equipment in the automotive industry.
For what discovery would you like to win a Nobel Prize?
Maybe not so much for a discovery but for my actions. I am happiest when I have managed to do something that will change the world and as a result of which the snow and ice that are creating tensions and barriers in society will melt.
The applied physics study programme is an excellent choice if you are interested in developing new and innovative solutions. You will receive an interdisciplinary education that will provide you with analytical thinking and problem-solving skills which are valued by employers in a variety of fields. Applied physics is also ideal if you are interested in engineering but do not yet know which type of engineering you want to study. The applied physics programme will provide you with such universal knowledge that your further study opportunities are virtually endless – from meteorology to material science, from biophysics to oceanography, from econophysics to particle physics. Read more about the study programme: www.taltech.ee/en/physics