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 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. Mar. 12, 2018A new way to use neutrons

    Novel neutron interferometry technique is more powerful and practical

    Researchers at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), in collaboration with researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), have developed a neutron interferometry technique that is more powerful, robust and practical than existing techniques, paving the way for advances in imaging, materials science, and fundamental physics and quantum research.

  2. Mar. 1, 2018Waterloo Science students reflect on their experience at CERNCharging Cavaliers and Ambassador of Canada to Switzerland group photo

    Last September, Paul McKarris and Marina Robin were part of a group of Canadian students who won the opportunity to test their high school experiment at CERN. Now, first-year Waterloo Science students McKarris and Robin share their experience at the Beamline for Schools Competition.

  3. Feb. 22, 2018Researchers bring high res magnetic resonance imaging to nanometer scaleResearchers members of the Budakian lab

    A new technique that brings magnetic resonance imaging to the nanometer scale with unprecedented resolution will open the door for major advances in understanding new materials, virus particles and proteins that cause diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

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  1. Mar. 21, 2018Galaxy Evolution in Dense EnvironmentsLaura Parker at the 2009 Polanyi Prize reception

    Astronomy Lunch Series

    Laura Parker

    Department of Physics & Astronomy
    McMaster University

    Dr. Parker specializes in observational cosmology and galaxy evolution, with particular interest in the processes of galaxy and structure formation.

  2. Mar. 23, 2018Controlling iron-based superconductivity with spin currentsJhinhwan Lee

    Quantum Matters Series

    Jhinhwan Lee

    Department of Physics
    Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
    Republic of Korea

  3. Mar. 27, 2018Shedding Light on Artificial Quantum MaterialsKyle Shen

    Colloquium Series

    Kyle Shen

    Professor of Physics
    Department of Physics, Cornell University

    Dr. Shen's research focuses on investigating many-body interactions in quantum materials, with the aim of controlling potentially exotic properties such as superconductivity, magnetism, metal-insulator transitions, and topological properties.

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QS World University Rankings by subject 2017 TOP 150

Meet our people

Mike Fich

Michel Fich


Dr. Fich is an astronomer specializing in studies of star formation, the interstellar medium, and the structure of galaxies. His recent research activities have focused on “small scale” formation studies of low and intermediate mass stars, circumstellar disks, and the formation of proto-solar systems.