Welcome to Physics & Astronomy

Now well into the Fall 2020 term, I am pleased that most of our new and upper-year students chose to attend Waterloo rather than to defer. This is an encouraging development for many reasons. Most importantly, living in a dynamic and rapidly-changing social landscape, the world cannot afford a delay in graduating Waterloo talent. The world needs you ready to solve hard problems sooner not later. Our return to campus is primarily virtual.

Our research laboratories and upper-year teaching labs are operating while observing physical distancing and other health guidelines. We have retooled and reimagined our classes using a variety of media to train the next generation of physicists, scientists, and entrepeneurs. We were able to redirect financial assets to hire coop students and teaching assistants to move course material on-line and to perform advanced research in our labs and virtual blackboards.

Don’t be misled by the disorientingly-tranquil campus atmosphere - UW is humming along. While moving toward a C19-free future, we are watching its Fall resurgence closely.
We are ready to maneuver on a dime to protect the health of our students, faculty, and staff.

Brian McNamara
University Research Chair
Chair, Physics & Astronomy

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

  1. Nov. 25, 2020NSERC honours Donna Strickland with a new prize for research excellence
    Donna Strickland

    The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is honouring Canada’s most recent science Nobel laureates by launching prizes in their names that will highlight Canadian research excellence.

  2. Nov. 24, 2020Q & A with the experts: The problem with herd immunity and COVID-19

    The “herd immunity strategy” has been discussed and largely rejected by scientists as a strategy to combat COVID-19.

  3. Nov. 23, 2020Professor David Hawthorn’s lab uses x-rays to see waves of electrons in superconductors

    Although physicists understand the properties of metals, insulators and semiconductors extremely well, the basic physics of high-temperature superconductors has remained a great mystery for over 30 years.

    A new study using cutting edge experimental techniques by University of Waterloo researchers has now shed some light on the properties of one class of superconductor, known as cuprate superconductors, which have copper oxide layers inside of the material.

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