Welcome to Physics & Astronomy

2018 has been a year to remember. We had a fire in June that displaced us from our research space. We are (almost) back and going strong. Our concept for a new Physics research building received the green light. With luck, it will be shovels-down next Fall. Will Percival, the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Distinguished Chair in Astrophysics, has arrived and is energizing the department. Five exceptional graduate students received Vanier awards in physics. Emily Pass won the triple crown in Co-Op undergraduate astrophysics. In October we learned that our own Donna Strickland won the Nobel Prize in Physics. And, as of this writing, 2018 is not over. It’s taken months for all of this to sink in as we prepare for our December sojourn to Stockholm. The festivities and excitement will surely continue long after the ceremonies in Stockholm have ended. I look forward to telling you about it in the new year. For those of you considering physics as a way of life, please take a close look at our programs. If you are lucky to be admitted in 2019, come and share in the excitement of doing physics at Waterloo, a great department, at a great university, located in a great community that lives and breathes physics.

Come to Waterloo!

Brian McNamara, Chair

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

  1. Dec. 7, 2018Physics alumnus makes 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list30 under 30

    From manufacturing and industry, robotics, healthcare and more, eleven of Waterloo’s alumni and former students have earned spots on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. The list, which represents innovative minds from Canada and the United States, stretches across 23 categories for a total of 600 people. Among the group, are two Science a

  2. Oct. 31, 2018Hotspot discovery proves Waterloo astrophysicist’s black hole theoryAvery Broderick

    The recent detection of flares circling black holes has proven a decade-old theory - co-developed by Waterloo physicist Avery Broderick - about how black holes grow and consume matter.

  3. Oct. 2, 2018Donna Strickland wins Nobel Prize in PhysicsDonna Strickland

    Donna Strickland, a University of Waterloo professor who helped revolutionize laser physics, has been named a winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.

    Strickland, an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, shares half the $1.4 million prize with French laser physicist Gérard Mourou. The other half was awarded to U.S. physicist Arthur Ashkin.

Read all news
  1. Jan. 16, 2019Study of Surface Quantum Wells in InSb/AlInSb Heterostructures

    M.Sc. Thesis Presentation

    Candidate: Emma Bergeron

  2. Jan. 16, 2019Astro Jamboree

    Astronomy Lunch Series

    Learn about the exciting projects happening in the Astronomy & Gravitation research group. Each grad student will be presenting a short overview of their project, or other research relevant to their subject area.

  3. Jan. 20, 2019Lunar Eclipse Viewing PartyLunar eclipse progression (Credit: Sky & Telescope / Akira Fujii)

    Witness the latest act in the ancient cosmic ballet at the Observatory!

    • Telescope viewing beginning with partial eclipse at 10:30 PM (observatory / rooftop; access from 3rd floor of PHY); totality ("blood moon") begins at 11:41 PM
All upcoming events

Meet our people

James Taylor

James Taylor

Associate Professor; Graduate Officer

Dr. Taylor is using whatever tools he can, including numerical simulations, astrophysical theory and observational data, to try to figure what dark matter is, where it is, and how it behaves. His research includes gravitational lensing and dynamical studies of galaxy clusters, the properties of the smallest galaxies in the local universe, and the theory behind dark matter halos around galaxies and clusters.