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

University of Canterbury flies high in stellar new partnership with China Southern Airlines

21 April 2017 Asia’s largest airline has joined the University of Canterbury (UC) in a new partnership which will benefit Tekapo and the Mackenzie District. (read article)

More News

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. 

‘Regardless of your circumstances, persistence, hard work and confidence can get you where you want to go...’

Mahali Matehe Studying towards an MSc in Medical Physics
(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".

Other news and departmental notices can be found here.

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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