Theoretical Physics - Physics and Astronomy - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

‘I would like to work as an astronomy researcher overseas in various observatories...’

Rosemary Dorsey Studying towards a BSc in Astronomy and Physics
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Theoretical physics

Members of the group have a wide range of interests in theoretical physics spanning the areas of group theory, quantum chemistry, quantum field theory, particle physics, statistical mechanics, general relativity, quantum gravity, classical and quantum cosmology.

Academic staff

Associate Professor Jenni Adams

Cosmology. Astroparticle physics. Detection of high-energy neutrinos.

Professor Philip H Butler

Algebraic and group theoretic methods for solving eigenvalue problems arising in quantum mechanics, especially the calculation of 3jm and 6j coefficients for various compact groups. Properties of electromagnetic solutions of the Dirac equation. Design and development of copper-vapour and carbon dioxide lasers. (See also Medical Physics section.)

Dr Chris Gordon

Cosmology and Astroparticle physics.

Associate Professor Michael F Reid

Optical properties of lanthanide and actinide ions in condensed matter. Energy levels, one and two-photon transitions, optical activity, non-radiative transitions, energy transfer. Parametric analyses of experimental data, many-body calculations, group-theoretical techniques.

Professor David L Wiltshire

General relativity, quantum gravity and cosmology. Averaging and backreaction in inhomogeneous cosmologies. Dark energy.

Research Associates

Professor Geoff E Stedman

Diagram techniques in quantum field theory and group theory. Phonon interaction and Jahn-Teller effects in condensed matter spectroscopy. Polarisation dependence of nonlinear optical processes. Interferometric tests of physical theories. (See also Ring Laser section.)


Emeritus Professor Alister G McLellan.
Lattice dynamics. Thermodynamics of anisotropic media.


Dr Dharamvir Ahluwalia

Interface of gravitational and quantum realms, neutrino oscillations, representation space theory, theory of quantum fields, and nature and questions related to dark matter and dark energy.

Past Staff

Dr Ishwaree Neupane

Cosmological implications of quantum field theories, general relativity and M/superstring theories, theories of inflation, cosmological perturbations, warped extra dimensions, models of dark energy and modified gravity, and black hole physics.


  • 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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