Welcome to Physics & Astronomy

The Physics & Astronomy Department, situated at the heart of North America’s Quantum Valley, Canada’s technology hub, is located an hour south-west of Toronto. Waterloo is like no other place in the world to study physics. Come to Waterloo to study quantum information, holographic landscapes, and supermassive black holes. Create exotic materials, study laser optics, and build bio-sensors. The Physics & Astronomy department is your link to the Institute of Quantum Computing and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.  

Join our community. Study with some the best physicists in the world. 

Be inspired. Inspire us.  

Come to Waterloo!

Brian McNamara, Chair

The Physics & Astronomy department encourages an inclusive, tolerant, respectful, and diverse, intellectual environment

  1. Mar. 19, 2018Waterloo Science student wins co-op triple crownEmily Pass looking through a telescope

    Astronomy and Physics student, Emily Pass, wins faculty, provincial and national Co-op Student of the Year Awards

    A third-year Science undergraduate student has won the National Co-op of the Year Award for developing a data analysis program that rapidly detects objects in the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond Neptune.

  2. Mar. 12, 2018A new way to use neutrons

    Novel neutron interferometry technique is more powerful and practical

    Researchers at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), in collaboration with researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), have developed a neutron interferometry technique that is more powerful, robust and practical than existing techniques, paving the way for advances in imaging, materials science, and fundamental physics and quantum research.

  3. Mar. 1, 2018Waterloo Science students reflect on their experience at CERNCharging Cavaliers and Ambassador of Canada to Switzerland group photo

    Last September, Paul McKarris and Marina Robin were part of a group of Canadian students who won the opportunity to test their high school experiment at CERN. Now, first-year Waterloo Science students McKarris and Robin share their experience at the Beamline for Schools Competition.

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  1. Mar. 21, 2018Galaxy Evolution in Dense EnvironmentsLaura Parker at the 2009 Polanyi Prize reception

    Astronomy Lunch Series

    Laura Parker

    Department of Physics & Astronomy
    McMaster University

    Dr. Parker specializes in observational cosmology and galaxy evolution, with particular interest in the processes of galaxy and structure formation.

  2. Mar. 23, 2018Controlling iron-based superconductivity with spin currentsJhinhwan Lee

    Quantum Matters Series

    Jhinhwan Lee

    Department of Physics
    Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
    Republic of Korea

  3. Mar. 23, 2018Counting Single Molecules at the NanoscaleJoshua Milstein

    The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and the Department of Physics & Astronomy
    Seminar Series

    Dr. Joshua N. Milstein

    Associate Professor
    Department of Physics, University of Toronto
    Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences, UTM

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QS World University Rankings by subject 2017 TOP 150

Meet our people

Norbert Lütkenhaus

Norbert Lütkenhaus


Professor Lütkenhaus' research group explores the interface between quantum communication theory and quantum optical implementations. They translate between abstract protocols (described by qubits) and physical implementations (described for example by laser pulses); they benchmark implementations to properly characterize quantum advantage and exploit quantum mechanical structures for use in quantum communication.