The University of Waterloo today announced the appointment of retired Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, as a professor of aviation.

Professor Hadfield

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“We are delighted to welcome Chris Hadfield to the University of Waterloo as a member of our faculty,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and researchers to work with, and learn from, one of the greatest Canadians of recent times.”

Professor Hadfield’s first role on campus is to conclude his participation in research on heart health in space with professor Richard Hughson. Professor Hughson is looking into why some astronauts are prone to fainting spells when they return to earth by predicting how they recover from rapid changes in blood pressure.

The research, known as BP Reg, will not only help understand dizziness in astronauts, but also have direct benefits everyday on Earth – particularly for elderly people predisposed to falls and resulting injuries.

In addition to his involvement with heart health research, professor Hadfield is expected assume some teaching and advising responsibilities in aviation and related programs from Fall 2014. Waterloo's offers two undergraduate degrees in aviation, a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies.

“As you would expect for a man who has just returned to Earth after five months in space, Chris has a very busy schedule,” said professor Ian McKenzie, director of aviation at Waterloo. “We are excited that he is willing to share his extensive career knowledge and experience in aviation with our faculty and students when he is able.”

Professor Hadfield’s role at the university is not his first experience with Waterloo:

  • He studied as an NSERC postgraduate in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 1982, looking at aircraft fuel pump design.
  • He was the keynote speaker for the official launch of the Waterloo Aviation program in June 2007.
  • He conducted a downlink to the University of Waterloo from the International Space Station during Expedition 34/35 in February 2013.
  • He and his wife, Helene, married in Waterloo in 1981 and their eldest son was born in Kitchener in 1983.

Professor Hadfield will give a guest lecture at the University of Waterloo on December 3, 2013. Details about the event will be released closer to the time.

Professor Hadfield is cross-appointed to Waterloo’s Faculties of Science, Environment and Applied Health Sciences.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit


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