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. Sep. 25, 2019Optically thick accretion: theory and new developments

    Astronomy Seminar Series

    Maciej Wielgus

    I will discuss the optically thick models of accretion, including analytic models such as Shakura-Sunyaev's thin disk solution, slim disks and geometrically thick disks. I will talk about their properties, such as stability, angular momentum transport, and the importance of radiation.

  2. Oct. 2, 2019Gustav Bakos Observatory Tour
    A visitor observing through a telescope

    Come visit the observatory during the October public tour!

    • Presentation at 7:30 PM in PHY 150
    • Telescope viewing at 8:00 PM (access from 3rd floor of PHY)
  3. Oct. 4, 2019Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics Launch Event - The Future of Astronomy

    On October 4th, we formally launch the Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics.

    Between 10:00am - 4:00pm we will host a scientific meeting with the theme, The Future of Astronomy. Speakers include

    • Neil Turok, Director Emeritus of the Perimeter Institute, Waterloo
    • Scott Tremaine, Richard Black Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

    From 4:00 pm, we will host a reception formally opening the new centre, which will provide a chance to meet and talk to the members.

All upcoming events