Welcome to Physics & Astronomy

The Department of Physics & Astronomy is in the futures business. Our faculty and students are developing tools to build a quantum computer. We study the Universe’s distant past in order to understand its future. Our biophysicists are developing the knowledge for a healthier future society.  The students we teach and mentor will shape the world’s future workforce.

Are you someone who likes math, gaming, or programming? Are you curious about how things work?  Do you want to start a company? If you have thought about any of these questions, why not think about a Waterloo Physics degree? A physics degree is not just about solving the mysteries of Quantum Mechanics or General Relativity. A physics education teaches you to solve complex problems by deconstructing them into simple parts and figuring out how those parts interact as a system. These skills can be applied to almost anything: medicine, law, finance, engineering, business, and so forth.  You can take your degree anywhere. Or you can use it to solve the mysteries of the Universe. Do you have an idea that you would like to develop and market?  Why not study physics and develop your idea with Concept Science, our ideas incubator?

Keep us in mind when choosing the path to your educational and professional goals.

Come to Waterloo!

Brian McNamara
University Research Chair
Chair, Physics & Astronomy

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

  1. Jan. 21, 2020Gravitational wave echoes may confirm Stephen Hawking’s hypothesis of quantum black holes
    An artist's rendition of gravitational waves.

    Echoes in gravitational wave signals suggest that the event horizon of a black hole may be more complicated than scientists currently think.

    Research from the University of Waterloo reports the first tentative detection of these echoes, caused by a microscopic quantum “fuzz” that surrounds newly formed black holes.

  2. Jan. 7, 2020Waterloo researcher awarded 2019 Buchalter Cosmology Prize

    The Buchalter Cosmology Prize recognizes “ground-breaking theoretical, observational, or experimental work in cosmology that has the potential to produce a breakthrough advance in our understanding.”

  3. Dec. 28, 2019Donna Strickland appointed to the Order of Canada

    On December 28, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada announced 120 new appointments to the Order of Canada. The new member list included Donna Strickland, appointed for outstanding contributions in their field and for enriching the lives of others.

    Companion of the Order of Canada

    Donna Strickland

Read all news
  1. Feb. 5, 2020Gustav Bakos Observatory Tour
    A visitor observing through a telescope

    Come and view the observations that literally changed our place in the Universe!

    • Presentation at 6:30 PM in PHY 313
    • Telescope viewing at 7:00 PM (access from 3rd floor of PHY)
  2. Mar. 4, 2020Gustav Bakos Observatory Tour
    A visitor observing through a telescope

    Experience the profound surprise of viewing the brilliant evening "star" Venus through our telescope!

    • Presentation at 6:30 PM in PHY 313
    • Telescope viewing at 7:00 PM (access from 3rd floor of PHY)
  3. Mar. 18, 2020Gustav Bakos Observatory March Break Tour
    Gustav Bakos observatory exterior in daylight

    Special Daytime public tour!

    • Presentation at 2:00 PM in RCH 307 (note the special room)
    • Telescope viewing at 2:30 PM (access from 3rd floor of PHY)

    The Observatory will be open for a special public tour, offering a chance for elementary and secondary school students and familie

All upcoming events