A group of science students with cobalt the dinosaur in the middle.
Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Semester Wrapped: Fall 2023

By Sarah Fullerton

Digital Communications Specialist

From space missions to pumpkin explosions, it's safe to say we had a busy term here in the Faculty of Science. Scroll to catch some stand-out moments that made Fall 2023 one of a kind!

Indigenized the Science Communication requirement

Science students gathered around a table working on a project for the Science Communication course.

This semester, first-year students were among the first cohort to experience the indigenizing of the Science Communication requirement. The course consists of four models focused on Traditional Ecological Knowledge, an interdisciplinary framework of Indigenous Knowledge. The models engaged students with Indigenous Knowledges, particularly in their relationship with science and the environment.

Enjoyed a long-standing tradition

A cake with multiple layers that represent the earth's surface.

A long-standing tradition in Earth and Environmental Sciences continued as new first-year students took part in Cake Week! Using a layered cake to represent the Earth’s structures, this hands-on experience helps students understand the geologic structures of the Earth, its formation process, and the link between the Earth’s history and its ancient structures. Following the demonstration, students created a geologic map using geologic structures and symbols while enjoying a tasty treat! 

Danced the night away! 

Five students dancing.

It was a night of non-stop dancing, fun and good times at the UW Science Society’s Masquerade Ball. The Science Society is the Faculty of Science's student government that organizes fun events and professional development opportunities throughout the year. If you are an undergraduate science student, you're automatically a member! Be sure to follow their page to stay up to date on ways to get involved.

Welcomed prospective students

Science students stand in front of a blue "science" background. Cobalt the dinosaur is standing next to them with his thumbs up.

We welcomed nearly 6,000 guests to science at the Fall Open House, hosting over 50 faculty tours as we showed off our amazing science spaces. Prospective students had the chance to meet faculty, staff and current students while getting their admission questions answered. Cobalt was so excited to meet our future warriors and can’t wait to see them on campus again next year!

Made pumpkins explode!

Six chemists pose in tie dye lab coats. One chemist is holding a pumpkin over her head.

After a four-year hiatus, we brought back the Kids’ Science Open House! We welcomed families from across the Waterloo Region for a day full of learning, exploring, and discovering new things. Of course, the Chemistry Magic Show was a smashing hit with pumpkin explosions, fire, and cool chemical reactions. Shoutout to our 300+ student volunteers that made the event a success. We can’t wait to see everyone again next year!

Had inspiring conversations 

Students sitting at rows of desks with four panel speakers sitting in the front of a dimly lit room.

A panel of students interviewed Nobel Laureate Dr. Donna Strickland, unveiling the details of her undergraduate years, her evolution into a renowned researcher, and the extraordinary path that led to her Nobel Prize. If you didn't catch it live, you can view the recording on our YouTube channel!   

Celebrated milestones

Roan Haggar standing with his arms crossed in front of a banner that says "Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics."

The Water Institute celebrated a special milestone marking the 10th anniversary of the University of Waterloo’s Collaborative Water Program! This unique, interdisciplinary program has trained over 400 students during its first ten years, preparing them as future leaders in the water sector and beyond. 

The Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics (WCA) celebrated its fifth anniversary, becoming a destination for those wanting to further their education and research in astrophysics. Whether they are exploring dark matter, black holes, or mapping the unknown parts of our universe, the researchers at the WCA are pushing boundaries daily and exploring unchartered territory so we can better understand our world. 

Took part in a space mission

Spiral galaxy IC 342 captured by the Euclid satellite.

The European Space Agency’s Euclid space mission revealed five of its first full-colour images of the cosmos! These images showcased Euclid’s potential, demonstrating the quality of its data and readiness to develop the most extensive 3D map of the universe to date. Dr. Will Percival and Dr. Mike Hudson, professors of Physics and Astronomy, hold vital roles in the mission.

Cleaned up local wetlands

A group of volunteers stand in front of bags full of trash they collected in the wetlands behind them.

The Waterloo Wetland Lab held its second annual Wetland Cleanup! Armed with gloves and garbage bags, a dedicated group of volunteers sifted through the wetlands, collecting 20 bags full of trash. A heartfelt thank you goes out to every volunteer who dedicated their time and energy to improving our local environment and making a difference in our community! 

Hosted the 59th annual Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference 

A large hallway full of students and professionals as part of the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference.

Over 100 students showcased their research to leaders in the industry at the 59th annual Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC). The conference offered an environment for academia and industry to unite, providing the next generation of physicists with enriched networking and learning opportunities.  

Thanks for a great semester – see you in the New Year!