Tallinn University of Technology

Joann Gustav Arro is from Tallinn and has graduated from TalTech with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Applied Physics and is currently working at Lennuliiklusteeninduse AS as a surveillance engineer. He spends his spare time with friends and family, enjoys playing music and is interested in photography.


Applied physics sounds like solving formulas all day. What does it really entail?
Applied physics definitely involves solving formulas, but to me it was so much more. It gives us the opportunity to understand what is going on around us, and broadens our horizons. In addition, during the laboratory work and internship we could experience in practice what we had learned in theory. At work, I often use what I learned in practice.

What attracted you most to this programme?
Since I did not know what I wanted to do after high school, I was looking for something that would provide me with the most comprehensive knowledge of science and engineering so that I would have as many career doors opened as possible. Applied physics met the criteria, so that is what I chose. In hindsight, I am very happy with the choice I made because it has been very useful for my career.

What do applied physics students do after graduation?
As I have already graduated, the simple answer is that I became an engineer, but if we look at other graduates, then you can become almost anything. As far as I know, applied physics graduates have become, for example, aeronautical, construction, industrial, and product development engineers. I also know some who have become financial analysts – applied physicists often reach high positions. My wife, who has also graduated from this programme, works for a startup that develops ventilation systems.

What is the next big breakthrough that you are looking forward to?
In terms of work, I am waiting for the pandemic to end and aviation to recover. More generally, I am waiting for the first fusion power plant to be built as this would solve all energy problems.

What is the most exciting thing that you have learned during your studies in this programme?
Definitely the knowledge I gained from writing my bachelor’s and master’s thesis, for example, why the water on the beaches in Northern Estonia is so cold in the summer or how to digitally synthesise the sound of guitar strings.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of studying applied physics?
Do not let yourself be put off by the word “physics” in the title and think that it will be too difficult. If you are interested in physics but your mathematics and physics skills are not the best as yet, they will help you get on track in no time. This programme definitely does not require extensive knowledge of physics and mathematics.

Why should someone study applied physics?
To gain good knowledge of hard sciences and engineering. After graduating from this programme, it is easy to focus on a field that interests you. An important thing that this programme teaches you is problem-solving and identifying connections – these skills are very useful in other areas as well.

What is the coolest thing that has happened at work?
Very hard to say, everything is awesome. Perhaps the first time I got to ride on the runway of the Tallinn Airport. My work brings new challenges every day, thus every day is different and there is no risk of routine setting in.

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