Associate Professor Adrian McDonald


Associate Professor of Physics

200-level Course Co-ordinator


PhD (Aberystwyth, Wales)


604, Physics and Astronomy

Contact Details

Phone: +64 3 364-2281
Internal Phone: 6281

Postal address:
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Canterbury,
Private Bag 4800,
New Zealand


Born in Birmingham (UK) in 1971. Went to High School in Birmingham and Swansea. Graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Physics from University College Swansea. I then went on to do a PhD in Atmospheric Physics at the University of Wales Aberystwyth entitled "Lidar and Radar Observations of the Vertical Propagation of Gravity Waves in the Middle Atmosphere" with Prof. Lance Thomas. After my PhD I completed my first postdoctoral research position based on Lidar (Laser radar) studies of the propagation of gravity waves into the stratosphere at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. My next post was at the University of Leicester (UK) where I was a postdoctoral research associate working on optical remote sensing of the Earth's surface. This was part of work carried out in the Geography Department of the University of Leicester with Dr. Fraser Gemmell. I then went to work at the University of Sheffield (UK) using synthetic aperture radar data to examine the Earth's surface and vegetation. During my time at Sheffield I worked with Prof. Shaun Quegan in the Department of Pure and Applied Mathematics. After this postdoctoral post I went to work for Alenia Marconi Systems as a Systems Engineer where I helped research the use of monopulse radar systems on-board homing missiles. In November 2001 I took up a post as a Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

More importantly while doing all these work related things I have managed to find enough time to marry my wife Sian and have two children (Bill and Lucy).

Recent mention in media

Undergraduate Courses

  • PHYS101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves and Thermal Physics
  • PHYS102 Engineering Physics B: Electromagnetism, Modern Physics and 'How Things Work'
  • PHYS205 Semester 1 Waves, Optics and Mechanics
  • PHYS319 Atmospheric, Oceanic and Climate Dynamics (Not offered in 2016)
  • 200-level Course Information

Graduate Courses

  • PHYS419 Atmospheric, Oceanic and Climate Dynamics

Supervision of thesis students



Department Administration

  • Department Teaching Committee (Chair)

UC Research Profile

  • 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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