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James Forrest

Professor, Physics and Astronomy; University Research Chair

Research interests: surfaces and interaction of softmaterials (polymers, proteins, colloids) at the nanoscale


At Waterloo, Professor Jamie Forrest is head of the Polymer Physics group that works out of a $2 million facility funded by the federal and provincial governments. The facility provides a wide variety of characterization techniques to study synthetic polymer and proteins in thin films or near surfaces and interfaces.

A particular strength of the Polymer Physics group is the investigation of the glass transition and associated dynamics in thin polymer films. This is combined with detailed investigations into the static structural properties, as well as surface and interfacial properties. Recently they have begun investigations into a number of biological systems which include the kinetics of protein adsorption onto surfaces as well as the structure of adsorbed proteins. We pursue both applied and fundamental problems and continue to make significant scientific advances in physics, chemistry, biology and health sciences.

Forrest’s group is widely published, including a recent article in Science Magazine that showed how solids behave like liquids at the nanoscale. The discovery was considered a major step forward in measuring polymer substances using nanoscale technology. For this, and many of his contributions to the field of polymer physics, Forrest was elected as a 2009 fellow of the American Physical Society, a leading organization of physicists, including 60 Nobel Laureates.

Forrest obtained a BSc from the University of British Columbia and an MSc/PhD from the University of Guelph. He worked at Chalmers University in Sweden and the University of Sheffield in England, before coming to University of Waterloo in 2000.


  • PhD, University of Guelph
  • MSc, University of Guelph
  • BSc, University of British Columbia

James Forrest

    University of Waterloo