Welcome to Physics & Astronomy

The Department of Physics & Astronomy is in the futures business. Our faculty and students are developing tools to build a quantum computer. We study the Universe’s distant past in order to understand its future. Our biophysicists are developing the knowledge for a healthier future society.  The students we teach and mentor will shape the world’s future workforce.

Are you someone who likes math, gaming, or programming? Are you curious about how things work?  Do you want to start a company? If you have thought about any of these questions, why not think about a Waterloo Physics degree? A physics degree is not just about solving the mysteries of Quantum Mechanics or General Relativity. A physics education teaches you to solve complex problems by deconstructing them into simple parts and figuring out how those parts interact as a system. These skills can be applied to almost anything: medicine, law, finance, engineering, business, and so forth.  You can take your degree anywhere. Or you can use it to solve the mysteries of the Universe. Do you have an idea that you would like to develop and market?  Why not study physics and develop your idea with Concept Science, our ideas incubator?

Keep us in mind when choosing the path to your educational and professional goals.

Come to Waterloo!

Brian McNamara
University Research Chair
Chair, Physics & Astronomy

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

  1. Oct. 31, 2019DESI opens its 5,000 eyes to capture the colours of the cosmos
    Mayall telescope

    by Mike Brown on October 28, 2019
    taken from Inside the Perimeter

    A new instrument mounted atop a telescope in Arizona has aimed its robotic array of 5,000 fibre-optic “eyes” at the night sky to capture the first images showing its unique view of galactic light.

  2. Sep. 5, 2019Event Horizon Telescope team awarded 2020 Breakthrough Prize
    Breakthrough Prize trophy; breakthroughprize.org

    The 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team, of which Dr. Avery Broderick is a member. The citiation reads "For the first image of a supermassive black hole, taken by means of an Earth-sized alliance of telescopes."

  3. Aug. 27, 2019A first look at laser-cooled ions
    Eight individual ions levitating in a near-perfect vacuum

    The atomic ions here are laser-cooled close to the absolute zero temperature (at a few milliKelvin above the absolute zero temperature of -273.15 deg C or 0 Kelvin).

    Pictured left: eight individual Ytterbium ions levitating less than 10 microns apart from each other in a nearly perfect vacuum

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  1. Nov. 20, 2019Unlocking the Radio Sky - new results mapping transients and cosmic structure with novel digital telescopes

    Astronomy Seminar Series

    Matt Dobbs

    Technology advances has opened a new era of radio observations. We are now monitoring the sky at millisecond cadence and discovering a vast catalog of new fast radio transients while simultaneously making deep maps of structure in the universe using hydrogen intensity mapping as a tracer.

  2. Nov. 20, 2019Generating quantum light using nonlinear optics
    Agata Branczyk

    Phys10 Undergraduate Seminar Series

    Agata Branczyk (Perimeter) 

    Light moves at nature’s speed limit, and doesn’t degrade for hundreds of kilometres, making it our best medium for sending information over long distances. But to send quantum information, we require quantum light.

  3. Dec. 4, 2019End of Term Study Break
    hot chocolate, cookies, and a book

    Set the books aside for a couple of hours and join us for a study break!

    We see you working hard all term – let’s take a minute to relax and celebrate your accomplishments.

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