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. 2, 2018Donna Strickland wins Nobel Prize in PhysicsDr. Donna 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.

  2. 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.

  3. June 8, 2018The role of frequency-shifting in quantum scalability

    Physicists at IQC have developed new methods for preventing leakage errors due to cavity modes, an important obstacle in building a scalable quantum computer.

Read all news
  1. Oct. 24, 2018Star Formation in Cluster Galaxies since z~1Photo of Howard Yee

    Astronomy Lunch Series

    Howard Yee

    Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto

  2. Oct. 25, 2018The Architecture of Exoplanetary SystemsJosh Winn

    Colloquium Series

    Josh Winn

    Professor, Department of Astrophysical Sciences
    Princeton University

  3. Oct. 27, 2018Science Open House 2018beakers with coloured liquid, arranged in proper spectral order

    Join us on October 27th for an extravaganza of hands-on science discovery for school-age kids

    From 10am to 4pm on Saturday we'll fill the Science Teaching Complex (STC) and EIT with opportunities for kids to explore science! This is a free event.

All upcoming events

QS World University Rankings by subject 2017 TOP 150

Meet our people

Joseph Sanderson

Joseph Sanderson

Associate Professor; Physics & Astronomy Teaching Fellow

Dr. Sanderson's research and that of his students focuses on the study of how matter interacts with intense Femtosecond laser pulses.

One of the ways which the interaction of matter with femtosecond laser pulses can be utilised is as a means of imaging some of the smallest fastest moving and most complex units of matter, molecules.