University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32215
Fax: (519) 746-8115
To the year 2+ students, welcome back. To the first-year students and new postdocs and graduate students, welcome to Waterloo Physics & Astronomy. It’s exciting to think about the great science these talented scholars are going to do here in the next few years. We have much to celebrate. This is the first term in three years to feel nearly normal. Masks are no longer required but suggested should you choose to be extra cautious. The beautiful new digs for the Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics, located in the laboratory wing, were completed over the summer and are now occupied. Our spiffy new undergraduate laboratory teaching space (seen here with Trish Van Berkel and Heather Anderson) is open for Fall teaching.
I enjoy reading Harper’s Magazine. One of my favourite columns, Harper’s Index, lists odd facts and figures about things I never thought to think about but turn out to be fascinating nevertheless.
A recent example, “Percentage of Canadians who will return a lost wallet containing money: 64. Of Americans who will: 57.” Why is this facinating? Who knows? It just is. Of course, the first question that comes to a physicist’s mind is, “what are the errors on those numbers? Is the difference significant?”
This is a lot of fun. So lets do our version here. We’ll call it the “Waterloo P&A Index.” Here we go:
I believe Waterloo is an exciting and welcoming place to learn and do research in Physics and Astrophysics. Evidently that view is widely shared. If you are considering us, visit and give us a look. Let us convince you to come to Waterloo.
Have a great term.
University Research Chair
Chair, Physics & Astronomy
The Physics & Astronomy department encourages an inclusive, tolerant, respectful, and diverse, intellectual environment.
Energy is present everywhere in the universe, from the tiniest particles to the vastness of space. According to quantum mechanics, vacuum states like outer space are not actually empty, because when observed at microscopic scales, there are spontaneous energy fluctuations.
Meet Isaac Cheng, 2022 Co-op Student of the Year Award - Science
Growing up, Isaac Cheng went camping each summer and was fascinated by the night sky. He was inspired by an opportunity he had as a child to explore the sky with an astronomer. Cheng is also the 2022 winner of the Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) Student of the Year Award. He is an honourable mention for the 2022 EWO Co-op Student of the Year Award.
Water has many unique properties. An interdisciplinary team of Waterloo scientists has discovered a one-dimensional chain of water molecules could produce a quantum phase transition. This breakthrough is a key development for future water-based quantum devices.
A talk by Dr. Natasha Holmes
Ann S. Bowers
Assistant Professor in Physics Education Research at Cornell University
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.