Physics and Astronomy - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Exploring space and STEM to save Earth

5 August 2016 University of Canterbury students got a chance to pick the brains of one of the United States' most influential scientists, NASA Deputy Administrator Dr Dava Newman. (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 was impressed with the quality of the teaching and the support given by the lecturers...’

Liz Comery BSc in Physics
Senior Test Design Engineer, Tait Communications Ltd
(read profile)

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.

33rd Departmental Conference

Click here for programme.


Department Seminars are held each Friday in Room 701, Level 7 of the Rutherford Building at 11am. See upcoming seminars for more details.


Departmental Newsletters are distributed electronically on a regular basis - see archived newsletters.

"Life, the Universe and Everything" - George Ellis lecture series

George Ellis, a renowned theoretical cosmologist, is giving an intense programme of 8 general lectures on "Life, the Universe and Everything", which cover the diversity of interests in fundamental questions, including cosmology, physics, philosophy, neuroscience and astrobiology. The full schedule can be found here including links to You Tube recordings.

Professor David Wiltshire's Public Lecture view recording here:
Black holes making waves around the Universe

Calculator Checks - click here

Roy Kerr - UC's highest honour May 2016

Watch Canterbury Distinguished Professor Roy Kerr receive the Crafoord Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2016)

The Townsend Teece Telescope: Saving a piece of Christchurch’s astronomical heritage exhibition

CTV News - Townsend TelescopeThe University of Canterbury is aiming to return a piece of scientific history back to the Christchurch's central city - the Townsend Telescope was badly damaged in the quakes but a generous donation will ensure the structure will return. View CVT News interview with Prof David and Leigh Teece here.

For more than a century, the Townsend Telescope was available for public stargazing on clear Friday nights, and introduced people of all ages to the wonders of the night sky and the science of astronomy.
Donated to UC in 1891, the historic Townsend telescope, a 6-inch refractor made by Thomas Cooke and Sons of York, England in 1864, was recovered from the rubble of the Arts Centre tower which collapsed on February 22 2011 in the earthquake. The telescope was badly damaged but miraculously the objective lens was completely unscathed. A generous donation by UC Alumnis Prof David Teece, his wife Leigh and their family will now allow the restoration of this historic telescope to be restored.
This exhibition showcases the history of the telescope as well as the restoration project currently underway.

You can donate to the future of the Townsend Teece Telescope via the Townsend Observatory Restoration Fund on the Alumni and Fundraising donation page.

Townsend Telescope Restoration Video.


RSIC Construction Webcam and Timelap

ownsend-Teese of the Old Maths demolition.

Construction on the Rutherford Science and Innovation Centre can be viewed via a webcam in realtime here and a timelapse of the demolition of the Old Math building can be veiwed here

Dept Group Photo

Here is the 2014 Dept group photo taken during the Annual Dept Conference held on 4th September. In the past the dept photo was taken on the steps of the Old Maths building however Old Maths was being prepared for demolition at that time and is now down. This year's department photo is the first of many to be taken in its new location on the steps of the Puaka-James Hight, Central library.

Get to know Department Staff with nUCleus

The aim of nUCleus is to provide a connection between the academic staff of the physics and astronomy department at the University of Canterbury to the wider public. 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.

PhD Studentship opportunities


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

News Archive

Department of Physics News Archive

  • 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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