The first scientific-research center of the physical and mathematical profile in the Republic of Belarus — the Institute of Physics and Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the BSSR — was founded on January 17, 1955. In 1959 it was reorganized into two independent establishments — the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Engineering. The key role in the organization and development of the Institute of Physics was played by the prominent Scientists A. N. Sevchenko (first director of the Institute), B. I. Stepanov (director of the Institute of Physics from 1957 to 1985), and M. A. El'yashevich, invited to Minsk from the State Optical Institute (Leninngrad), as well as by the Belarusian physicists H. A. Borisevich and F. I. Fedorov. Under their supervision, fundamental investigations were launched on spectroscopy and luminescence of complex molecules, optics of anisotropic and scattering media, spectroscopy and diagnostics of low-temperature plasma, and physics of elementary particles.
At present the Institute of Physics works in the following main directions: laser physics, development and fabrication of new laser sources and systems for various applications; nonlinear and quantum optics, laser spectroscopy; nonlinear dynamics of complex systems; physics of quantum-dimensional structures; transfer of optical radiation and optics of scattering media, optical methods of investigation and diagnostics of natural objects and biological media; Physics of elementary particles and nuclear reactions.