Welcome to Physics & Astronomy

I am so excited to begin the new academic year.

Among the many privileges that come with serving as department chair, my favourite is welcoming our incoming students from the four corners of the globe who have chosen Waterloo Physics & Astrononomy.
This year we welcome more than 250 new students, postdocs, faculty, and staff members to the department. Students and researchers come to Waterloo to develop the skills needed to solve the most pressing problems in physics, and to apply those skills to creating technological solutions to the worlds most intractable problems. Waterloo physicists are committed to making the world a better place.

The 2018-2019 academic year was full of excitement and unprecedented successs. Highlights include the first image of a supermassive black hole, captured by Professor Avery Broderick and his team, and the unforgettable moment when Professor Donna Strickland was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Following on their successes, I encourage our physics community to reach greater heights in 2019/20.

Once you’ve settled in, I hope you’ll join us on Friday, October 4 for the launch of the newest addition to our department: the Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics. Astrophysics is among the many thriving areas of research at the University of Waterloo.

Welcome to Waterloo!

Brian McNamara, Chair

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

  1. 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."

  2. 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

  3. Aug. 21, 2019Physics & Astronomy welcomes major award winning first-year student

    By Natalie Quinlan
    University Relations

    Four exceptionally talented students are making their way to Waterloo with a prestigious scholarship in tow.

Read all news
  1. Oct. 16, 2019Superbubbles, Galactic Winds and the limits of Supernovae on Galactic Scales

    Astronomy Seminar Series

    James Wadsley, McMaster University

    Different modes of stellar feedback play different roles within galaxies. We study the role of supernovae, an historically popular choice, on the evolution of galaxies and their stellar content. We argue that prior work  has modeled supernovae poorly by ignoring stellar clustering and also the key physics of conduction that governs hot gas evolution. Clustered supernovae create superbubbles, kpc-scale feedback events that can drive strong galactic winds.

  2. Oct. 17, 2019PRL at 60+: You have your physics results, now what?

    Colloquium Series

    Sami Mitra

    Editor, Physical Review Letters (APS)

    In a talk that I am hoping will quickly morph into a free-flowing Q and A session, I will discuss the role that PRL plays in disseminating your physics results. The process is a cascading sequence that entails interacting with journal editors, referees, conference chairs, journalists, department chairs, deans, funding agencies, and others. The tools, however, have changed in recent years; the arrival of social media, search engines, and electronic repositories have us in a state of flux. PRL published its first paper 60 (plus 1) years ago. Let's look back and forward.

  3. Nov. 6, 2019Gustav Bakos Observatory Tour
    A visitor observing through a telescope

    Come visit the observatory during the November public tour!

    • Presentation at 7:00 PM in PHY 150
    • Telescope viewing at 7:30 PM (access from 3rd floor of PHY)
All upcoming events