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 of 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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Sep. 13, 2018Waterloo welcomes five Vanier scholars in Physics and Astronomy

    A Physics graduate student exploring quantum optics is one of five Vanier Scholars starting their graduate careers in the University of Waterloo’s Department of Physics and Astronomy this fall.

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  1. Nov. 21, 2018Men's Circle: Faculty of Science Workshop

    Through interactive exercises and discussions, the Men’s Circle will explore some of the ways in which men can become leaders in creating a safer campus for everyone.

  2. Nov. 22, 2018Production and Analysis of Highly Monodisperse Oligomeric Poly (Ethylene Oxide)

    M.Sc. Thesis Presentation

    Candidate: Junjie Yin

  3. Nov. 22, 2018Ace your Grad School Applications

    Thinking of applying to graduate school this year or next? Attend our information session for tips and tricks on how to ace your grad applications. Prof. Shawn Wettig, the Faculty of Science Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, will give the talk.

    Discussion topics:

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Meet our people

Donna Strickland

Donna Strickland


Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Professor Strickland is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. They published this Nobel-winning research in 1985 when Strickland was a PhD student at the University of Rochester in New York state. Together they paved the way toward the most intense laser pulses ever created. The research has several applications today in industry and medicine — including the cutting of a patient’s cornea in laser eye surgery, and the machining of small glass parts for use in cell phones.