Proton Neutron

About Prof. M. E. de Souza

Dr. Mario Everaldo de Souza

Full Professor of Physics at Universidade Federal de Sergipe

Email: mariodesouza.ufs(at)

The Universidade Federal de Sergipe is a medium size federal university of the High Education system of the Brazilian government.


Educational Background:

B.Sc. in Physics – Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), 03/1974-11/1977

M.Sc. in Nuclear Engineering (without dissertation) – Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), 03/1978-06/1979

M.Sc. in Physics – Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), 07/1979-07/1982

PhD  in Physics – University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), 09/1982-10/1990

The Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) is a large federal university of the High Education system of the Brazilian government located in the city of Recife which is the capital of the state of Pernambuco.  It has outstanding  research groups in Physics in the fields of Optics, Laser Physics, Condensed Matter, Nonlinear Dynamics and Theoretical Physics. It has a Nuclear Engineering Department that has a Nuclear Reactor for research purposes since the 1960s. In 2017  UFPE has about 30,500 undergradutes and 12,500 postgraduates enrolled.

I studied Nuclear Engineering within the Brazilian Nuclear Program Agreement between Brazil and Germany through which Siemens/KWU sold two Nuclear Power Plants to Brazil. But I interrupted the Nuclear Engineering studies and came back to Physics.  The Nuclear Engineering studies were really terrifying, because every month students were eliminated (those who did not get a minimum grade of 7 (maximum 10) in any course) and our class that started with 30 students ended with only 4 students (me and 3 other guys). These three guys wrote their MSc theses at COPPE (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)) and their PhD theses at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (Karlsruhe, Germany) and I came back to Physics and followed a MSc Physics program at UFPE. A month after the end of the MSc degree I was awarded a scholarship from CNPq (A funding agency for research of the Brazilian government)  to do the PhD degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago.



The University of Illinois at Chicago is a well-known outstanding American university, currently with the following research fields in Physics: Atomic and Molecular Physics, Biophysics, Experimental Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, Experimental Nuclear Physics, Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, Theoretical Nuclear Physics, Theoretical Particle Physics, and Sustainable Energy Production and Use.

I spent wonderful years at UIC which had students from the whole world. Almost every day there was a dance presentation on the campus of some culture of the world: Greek, Arabic, Spanish, etc. There was art all over campus, beyond its own architecture. And around the campus there were Greek, Italian, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants that served delicious and special dishes. The courses at UIC were very tough and also so good that I ended up attending more than twice the required number of courses for the PhD, in all fields of Physics. At UIC I was a B+, A-  or A+ grade student. The teachers could apply surprise tests at any time, so that the students had to be always prepared for them. Some tests lasted just half an hour, although most exams lasted up to an hour. At the entrance of the Physics Dept main office there was the line from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno

All hope abandon, ye who enter here.

 which was a reference to the high level of the Physics courses. During the first four and a half years I had a scholarship from CNPq and during the rest of the time I had research scholarships from the Microphysics Lab and a teaching scholarship from UIC.

PhD students had two chances to pass the Qualify Examination. I passed it the first time. I recall that only 4 passed out of 12 students. I was the third in terms of the overall grade. The first and the second ones were my colleagues John Reno and Siva Sivananthan, but I don’t recall anymore in which order. The Qualify was extremely tough. Its written part was constituted of Classical Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Classical Electrodynamics and Quantum Mechanics. The oral examination was also tough. In the oral each student (those who passed the written part) answered questions (any type of question at the BSc level) from 3 examiners. Some questions had to be answered with the use of the blackboard.


Research Interests:

  • Former Research Interest: Semiconductor Physics 

I have written 6 papers on Semiconductor Physics. They are the last six papers in the list of Selected Publications.

  • Present Research Interest: Particle Physics Phenomenology and Astrophysics (for details go to the section Interests and Propositions)

Please, find in  Selected Publications  the papers related to this.


Courses that I have taught at Universidade Federal de Sergipe:

Physics 1 (Textbook – Resnick & Halliday, Vol. 1)

Physics 2 (Textbook – Resnick & Halliday, Vol. 2)

Physics 3 (Textbook – Resnick & Halliday, Vol. 3)

Physics 4 (Textbook – Resnick & Halliday, Vol. 4)

Solid State Physics (Textbook – Introduction to Solid State Physics, C. Kittel, Wiley)

Modern Physics (Textbook – Fundamentals of Modern Physics, R. Eisberg, Wiley)

Quantum Mechanics (Textbook – Quantum Physics, S. Gasiorowicz, Wiley)

Classical Mechanics (Textbook – Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, S. Thornton, J. Marion, CENGAGE Learning)

Classical Electrodynamics (Bachelor degree textbook – Electromagnetic Fields, R. K. Wangsness, Wiley;

MSc degree textbook – Classical Electrodynamics, J. D. Jackson, Wiley)


Statistical Mechanics (Textbook – Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, F. Reif; McGraw-Hill)

Thermodynamics (Textbook – Thermal Physics, C. Kittel, H. Kroemer; W. H. Freeman)

Introduction to Nuclear Physics and Elementary Particles (Textbook – Fundamentals of Nuclear Physics, A. P. Arya, Allyn and Bacon, Inc.)

Quantum Electrodynamics (Two textbooks – Introduction to Elementary Particles, D. J. Griffiths, Wiley;  Gauge Theories in Particle Physics: A Practical Introduction, I.J.R. Aitchison & A. J. G. Hey, Hilger)

Mathematical Physics 1 (Textbook – Mathematical Methods for Physicists, G. B. Arfken & H. J. Weber, Elsevier)

Mathematical Physics 2 (Textbook – Mathematical Methods for Physicists, G. B. Arfken & H. J. Weber, Elsevier)

General Relativity (Textbook – Essential Relativity, W. Rindler, Springer-Verlag)

Introduction to Cosmology (Textbook – Introduction to Cosmology, M. Roos, Wiley)



Languages which I speak:

Portuguese (mother tongue)

English (2nd language)

French – I have studied French since the time of high school. I have even written a book of poems in French and I was a translator of poems of Arthur Rimbaud from French to Portuguese.

Spanish – I used to speak Spanish with many latin friends in Chicago. Spanish and Portuguese have many words in common  and many words that are slightly different, so that it is an easy language for me. In 2013 there were more than 1.9 million Hispanics in the Chicago metropolitan area, about 21.5% of the metropolitan population.

German  – German is tough. I have been attending a German course for about four years. I am now in the beginning of the C1 level and I am speaking quite a lot already. Maybe I should move to the south of Brazil (states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná), where there are many Germans, to speak more German. There are also German communities (many towns) in the countryside of the state Espírito Santo, but these Germans speak the German dialect pommersch. There are towns in Rio Grande do Sul in which kids speak German at school, such as Santa Cruz do Sul.  Deutsch ist eine Herausforderung, die ich in ein paar Jahren überwinden möchte.