Physics and Astronomy - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

The Department of Physics and Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy is about understanding the behaviour of matter: from the scale of subatomic particles to that of the Universe itself, and encompassing everything in between, such as the materials we use to make almost everything around us, and the stars and galaxies. The Department works in areas of fundamental science and in applications, and this informs all our teaching and research. Key application areas are in medical physics and nanoelectronic devices, and our fundamental focus is on cosmology, theoretical particle physics, and astronomy, but in many cases work bridges fundamental science and applications, and our program in atmospheric physics is a good example of this.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is one of the larger departments at the University of Canterbury and has a vibrant culture of teaching and research. We have 13 continuing academic staff, 14 support staff, and more than 30 research students.

If you want further information on courses, the policies and procedures the Department follows, or about particular research areas, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will arrange for you to see the most appropriate person. We welcome your enquiries, and welcome your participation: we invite you aboard.

Seminars here

Newsletters here

Making children proud to be Great KIWI learners

24 March 2017 Measuring children’s progress in New Zealand schools has just become a bit more distinctly and competitively KIWI. (read article)

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More Science

More Science

Science study at UC doesn’t just take place in a lecture theatre or lab. Find out what Laura is researching at our Cass Field Station, an amazing facility for students.

John Hearnshaw

Introduction to John Hearnshaw

John Hearnshaw is a professor of astronomy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. John's main areas of research are in stellar spectroscopy and detection of exo-planets.

John Hearnshaw

Introduction to Cliff Franklin

Cliff Franklin is a lab technician at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Karen Pollard

Introduction to Karen Pollard

Dr. Karen Pollard is involved in researching 'The music of the stars' by looking at modes of non radial pulsations within the stars. 

David Wiltshire

Introduction to David Wiltshire

David Wiltshire is a professor of physics at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. David's main area of research is on explaining dark energy and developing cosmological models that do not require its presence to drive an expanding universe. 

Anthony Butler

Introduction to Anthony Butler

Dr. Anthony Butler works on the MARS project at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Peter Cottrell

Introduction to Peter Cottrell

Prof. Peter Cottrell is an astronomer at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Peter researches the spectra of stars and stellar evolution. 

‘I’ve always wanted to run my own business, so now I’m living the dream...’

Frank Ansell BSc in Physics
Managing Director, Ironclad GPS Tracking
(read profile)

Job Vacancy - Biomedical Physics

Applications are invited for the continuing position of Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Candidates should hold a PhD or an appropriate equivalent qualification in Physics/Biophysics/Medical Physics and have demonstrated potential for research in Biomedical Physics with expertise in Radiation Physics. Click here for more information.

Recent News

PhD Scholarships in Physics - 2 opportunities in Nanotechnology

  • A Computer Chip that thinks like the Brain - view description here
  • Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Studies of Topological Nanostructures - view description here

Adrian McDonald joins the Deep South science leadership team

Processess and Observations Science lead here .

David Wiltshire secures Catalyst seeding grant

David has been successful in obtaining a Catalyst seeding grant to start a new collaboration with Thomas Buchert's group at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Lyon, on "Relativistic Lagrangian perturbation theory and foundations of early Universe cosmology".

Post-Doctoral Fellow Vacancy

The Nano group are looking for a new post-doctoral fellow read more here

Prof Roy Kerr honoured in UC Chancellor's Dinner

Canterbury Distinguished Professor and Emeritus Professor Roy Kerr, recipient of the Crafoord Prize - read more here

2016 Marsden Grant success in Department

Associate Prof Michael Albrow (Astronomy) and Dr Saurabh Bose (Nanotechnology)... here

$1m study: microchips that think like we do...

Read more of Prof Simon Brown and Dr Saurabh Bose's work here

Associate Prof Jenni Adams gives UC Connect Lecture:- Hunting the elusive neutrino in Antarctica

Read abstract here. View on You Tube here.

Work by a team including Associate Prof Jenni Adams, just published in Physical Review Letters 117, 141102 (2016)

has been highlighted by the American Physical Society in this write-up:

Professor Simon Brown awarded MBIE funding in 2016 Endeavour Round

Simon's research application entitled: A Neuromorphic Computer Chip: computational hardware that works like the brain receives one million dollars over three years (excl GST). See full list of recipients here.

Other news and departmental notices can be found here.

Get to know Department Staff with nUCleus

In these videos on the nUCleus youtube channel you will be able to get to know the staff better, find out what goes on in the department and learn new and interesting facts regarding physics and astronomy.

Find us on Facebook

The Physics and Astronomy department is on Facebook.
The page will be updated with events and news as they come to hand and will be a great place for current students and staff as well our Alumni to keep in touch with the department. Please come and like the page to receive updates.




  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
    University of Canterbury,
    Private Bag 4800,
    Christchurch 8140,
    New Zealand.
    Phone: +64 3 364 2523
    Fax: +64 3 364 2469
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