The Department of Physics has its origins in Costa Ribeiro Institute of Physics and Mathematics, founded in 1957 on the initiative of Father Francisco Xavier Roser, SJ, established to promote research (then: radioactive soil and atmosphere), and “also with explicit order to make more efficient and scientific teaching of physics taught to students of other faculties of the Catholic University “(Yearbook 1958).

The teaching activities began shortly after the signing of the decree n ° 45583 of 29 December 1959, which officially created the Institute of Physics of the Catholic University (IFUC), with the first class of students in 1960 ingressada. Throughout the 60s, the Institute consolidates.

The Undergraduate course, under the responsibility of brilliant master Pierre Lucie, brings together nationally and internationally renowned faculty and attracts an increasing number of students. The Graduate is installed in 1965 and is now receiving students from home and – thanks to an effort of disclosure in the Northeast – a relatively high number of students in this region, for contacts abroad, students also flock to Central America Masters in Physics at PUC. região; por contatos no exterior, alunos da América Central também acorrem ao Mestrado em Física da PUC. However, research is occurring in the great leap in quality that will launch the IFUC among the top three research centers in the country Physics. Three lines of research are created:

i) Nuclear Physics, which will strengthen existing research in natural radioactivity, the decision to install a Van de Graaff accelerator type and enter the area of Medical Physics Nuclear;
ii) of the Solid State Physics, facing the revolution of Materials Science then booming;
iii) the Physics of Elementary Particles, area particularly attractive when César Lattes and had as one of its leading edge in the Brazilian international.
he settlement, pioneering and daring these decisions would, for decades, to the PUC a leading Latin American references in teaching and research in physics. Moreover, a host of excellent teachers gathered in IFUC would participate – centrally – in restructuring the courses Undergraduate and Postgraduate PUC through the creation of so-called “Model PUC.” The academic makeover gave up in the early 70s, when it was created the Scientific Technical Center: the IFUC became the current Department of Physics.