One of New Zealand's leading astronomers retires

5 March 2014 One of New Zealand's leading astronomers, who has been studying the binary and variable stars for decades, has retired from the University of Canterbury (UC). (read article)

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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 hope that I can make some form of discovery that is useful to mankind...’

Kane O'Donnell BSc(Hons) in Mathematical Physics
(read profile)

Find us on Facebook

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

Please come and like the page to receive updates.

Smoking gun for the Big Bang!

Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.

It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.
The work will be scrutinised carefully, but already there is talk of a Nobel.
"This is spectacular," commented Prof Marc Kamionkowski, from Johns Hopkins University

See more here

International Young Physicists' Tournament

UC Outreach and the Department of Physics and Astronomy are supporting both the Canterbury and the National rounds of the International Young Physicists’ Tournament this year in March. Prior to that on February 11th we will hold an introductory session in the Department labs for prospective school teams and their teachers. The idea is to have some equipment set up and other resources available to give the teams a head start on their investigations. We will need some enthusiastic helpers who have already thought about the questions and come up with a few ideas/resources to show the school students to get them started.
If you are interested in any of that please contact Joan Gladwyn in Science Outreach,

Mt John University Observatory 50th Anniversary Symposium
7th -8th May 2015

Click here for details on the symposium to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Mt John University Observatory


Click here for information on our up and coming Friday Seminars. These are held in Room 701,
Level 7 of the Rutherford Building at 11am each week.

New Course - SCIE304 - Science Communicators

Would you like to get some real experience communicating science ideas to the public? This course will place you with a local school, or give you a real community project to work on which will develop your communication, organisation, creativity and team-working skills. Click here to learn more. Contact

Surviving Antarctica Video

Features department technician Matt Pannell -

IceCube awarded the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year

PHYSICS WORLD EMBARGO: Friday December 13, 4 a.m. U.S. Central Time 13/12/2013

Note: A multimedia gallery is available at:

MADISON – The IceCube project has been awarded the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year by the British magazine Physics World. For Press Release click here

Introducing nUCleus

In these videos you will be able to get to know our staff better, find out what goes on in the department and learn new and interesting facts regarding Physics and Astronomy.

PhD Studentship opportunities

Calculator Checks

Calculator checks for tests/exams will take place in Rutherford, Room 213a each Wednesday from 12.45 - 1.15.


Archive of Departmental conferences and other conferences hosted and/or sponsored by the Department


Sean Gourley (Dept Alumni) interviewed for "The Cashmere Circuit" produced by Cashmere Highschool. Article by Ella Jacobs

Einstein Medal for UC Professor Roy Kerr

Department of Physics News Archive

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
    University of Canterbury,
    Private Bag 4800,
    Christchurch 8140,
    New Zealand.
    Phone: +64 3 364 2404
    Fax: +64 3 364 2469
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