Department News

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006


July 10, 2012

McMaster Physics and Astronomy Professor Cliff Burgess is much in the news of late fielding questions about the recent Higgs boson announcements. For more on what the discovery means please see his op-ed piece in the Toronto Sunday Star Higgs boson explains a lot about nothing and the Daily News article Concerning CERN: Cliff Burgess on the discovery of the Higgs boson.

June 11, 2012

McMaster Physics and Astronomy alumnus, Gary R. Davis, will receive an honorary doctorate at the Spring 2012 Convocation. After completing degrees at Toronto and Oxford he joined tbe University of Saskatchewan as a professor of physics and engineering physics before becoming the director of the Joint Astronomy Centre at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii. Davis led the team that developed the Fabry-Perot subsystem for the Long Wavelength Spectrometer(LWS) instrument and played key roles in developing the SCUBA-2 camera and in organizing Canada’s participation in the SPIRE instrument on the Herschel Space Observatory. A member of the American and Canadian astronomical societies and the Royal Astronomical Society, Davis has received a Certificate of Recognition from the European Space Agency and a Group Achievement Award from the Royal Astronomical Society.

June 11, 2012

Congratulations are in order to two of our graduate students, Annie Hou and Yasuhiro Hasegawa, who excelled at the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) held at the University of Calgary during the first week of June.

Anne Hou - Best Student Talk
"The impact of group dynamics and substructure on galaxy evolution"
Supervised by Laura Parker and Bill Harris

Yasuhiro Hasegawa - Best Student Paper
"The origin of planetary system architectures - I. Multiple planet traps in gaseous discs"
Supervised by Ralph Pudritz

May 2, 2012

Physics and Astronomy Professor Emeritus John Berlinsky is this year's recipient of the MUFA (McMaster University Faculty Association) award for outstanding service and was honoured with a reception in the Great Hall of the University Club. The award is presented annually to faculty and professional librarians who have made an outstanding contribution to the University through the provision of exceptional service to faculty, librarians, staff, students or alumni.

April 24, 2012

Physics and Astronomy Professor Christine Wilson made the front page of the Hamilton Spectator in an interview that related her studies of ‘our local neighbourhood’ using the new Scuba-2 camera at the 15-metre James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

arrow Hamilton Spectator

April 3, 2012

Rob D'Ortenzio has been awarded the Carl Westcott Memorial Fellowship. This is given annually to an outstanding graduate student who does most of their thesis research at TRIUMF. Congratulations Rob!

February 16, 2012

An international team of scientists, including two astronomers from McMaster University, has been able to re-observe an event first seen on Earth more than 150 years ago. Physics and Astronomy Professor Doug Welch and PhD student Brendan Sinnott assisted the investigation of a distant stellar eruption that was first observed 150 years ago by looking at the light from the event reflected off of space dust.

arrowDaily News , also see the CBC , and the CBC's Quirks and Quarks

January 19, 2012

Master's student in astronomy, Brittany MacDonald, received some international attention when a photograph she took while working with the Mayall Telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in southern Arizona, was included by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in an announcement that was picked up by news services around the world.

arrowDaily News

  Back to Top

November 30, 2011

Alexandra Terrana, Honours Mathematics & Physics, was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal at the Fall Convocation. The Chancellor's Gold Medal is awarded to an undergraduate student in his or her final year of study who ranks highest in scholarship, leadership and influence.

October 25, 2011

The Department of Physics & Astronomy sent ten undergrad students who did summer research projects at McMaster to the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference 2011 held at Saskatoon this year with three students receiving awards for their presentations:

2nd place talk - condensed matter and materials physics
category:  Paul Fowler (supervisor Dalnoki-Veress)

2nd place talk - theoretical and mathematical physics / particle
physics category: Samantha Benincasa (supervisor Wadsley)

Top overall poster: Casey Marjerisson (supervisor Gaulin)

October 24, 2011

Rob Cockcroft has received the 2011 Dean's Award for Excellence in Communicating Graduate Research. This award recognizes, among other things, Rob's outstanding contribution in managing the McCallion Planetarium, and in designing and presenting many planetarium shows to the public, and to high school classes.

arrowDaily News

June 3, 2011

At the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA), our department graduate students had an excellent showing winning three of the four student presentation awards. The CASCA board awarded Best Talk to Tara Parkin, "The unusual environment of Centaurus A as seen by Herschel" and Best Poster to Rachel Ward "Connecting the Dots: Comparing Simulations and Synthetic Observations of Star-forming Clumps in Molecular Clouds". Awarded by the grad students the Best Poster winner was Blair Cardigan Smith, "Comparing the Dark Matter Haloes of Isolated and Group Galaxies".

Congratulations to all.

June 2, 2011

Alison Sills of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, presented research at the Canadian Astronomical Society Conference (CASCA) that sheds new light on stellar evolutionary models for globular clusters.

arrow Daily News

April 21, 2011

Caroline Burgess, Outreach coordinator for the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been chosen to receive a President's Award for Outstanding Service in 2010. This is the highest award that McMaster has for our non-teaching staff.

arrow Nominee Biography

April 15, 2011

Physics and Astronomy Professor Bruce Gaulin has been awarded the CAP/DCMMP Brockhouse Medal by the Canadian Association of Physicists. The medal, named after Nobel prize recipient Bertram N. Brockhouse, recognizes outstanding experimental or theoretical contributions to condensed matter and materials physics. Bruce was cited "for his internationally recognized contributions to the field of collective phenomena in magnetic, superconducting and structural systems using X-ray and neutron scattering techniques."

arrow CAP press release , Daily News , Hamilton Spectator

January 29, 2011

A one day Symposium, "Berlinsky Condensed" on May 6, 2011, at McMaster University, will celebrate the 65th birthday and career of John Berlinsky. John has been a distinguished contributor to theoretical condensed matter physics for more than 35 years. He served 10 years as Director of the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research at McMaster, 5 years as the Chair of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster, and is currently Director of Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics . The Symposium features an outstanding program. Attendance is free and open to all, but we ask you to register (PDF) by April 15, 2011 so that we can appropriately plan the event.

January 26, 2011

Allison MacDonald, a fourth year Honours Physics Coop student, has been selected as one of only five Canadian students to receive special funding from the Institute for Particle Physics to spend part of Summer 2011 at CERN. Allison will be able to take full advantage of this opportunity as she has also been awarded an NSERC USRA from Simon Fraser University to work under the supervision of Professor Dugan O'Neal, a researcher on the ATLAS project at CERN. Allison will participate in the renowned CERN Summer Student Lecture Program as well as active research.

More details about the program can be found at

January 4, 2011

Physics and Astronomy Professor An-Chang Shi has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society for "outstanding contributions to the theoretical study of phases and phase transitions of block copolymers." APS Fellowships are awarded after an extensive review and reflect the respect of one's professional peers. Congratulations to An-Chang on his election.

  Back to Top

Oct 27, 2010

The Department of Physics & Astronomy sent sixteen of our Physics undergrads to the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference 2010 held at Dalhousie this year.

In particular, five of our students were recognized for their talks or posters as follows:

1st Place, Best Talk Overall: Hilary Noad, Level 5 Arts & Science and Physics ( Supervisor Dr. Graeme Luke)
2nd Place, Best Talk Overall: Evan Sinukoff, Level 5 Physics Co-op (Supervisor at NASA)

2nd Place, Best Poster Overall: Kathleen Nelson, Level 4 Physics Co-op (Supervisor at SFU)

1st Place, Best Condensed-Matter Talk: Hilary Noad
2nd Place, Best Condensed-Matter Talk: Rob D'Ortenzio, Level 4 Physics (Supervisor Dr. David Venus)
3rd Place, Best Condensed-Matter Talk: Dan Thompson, Level 5 Physics Co-op (Supervisor Dr. Duncan O'Dell)

1st place, Best Astro Talk: Evan Sinukoff

All sixteen students had participated in summer research in the department or at outside institutions (Western, Waterloo, Lethbridge, SFU, NASA) and were supported by the department as well as by their supervisors. All sixteen presented talks or posters at CUPC.

Oct 14, 2010

Graduate student Kiana Setoodehnia's work has been featured in the current issue (Oct 2010) of "Physics - Spotlighting Exceptional Research" by the American Physical Society.

September 16, 2010

The Royal Society of Canada, the country's oldest and most prestigious scholarly organization, has announced honours to three members of the department, Bruce Gaulin, Kari Dalnoki-Veress, and Doug Welch.

Bruce Gaulin, a professor in physics & astronomy and director of the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, has been named as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada with the following citation: " Bruce Gaulin's neutron and x-ray scattering work established new low temperature properties in exotic magnets, especially those related to geometrical frustration. He is also recognized for leadership in North American neutron scattering. " Being elected a Fellow is considered the highest honour that can be attained by scholars, artists and scientists in Canada.

Professor Kari Dalnoki-Veress received the Rutherford Memorial Medal in Physics with the Society citing Dalnoki-Veress as "a dedicated young scientist with a genius for simple but profound investigation. In an era dominated by large funding initiatives and complex instrumentation, Dalnoki-Veress is an inspired scientist and research supervisor who can find deep insight from brilliant direct experiments."

Professor Doug Welch received the McNeil Medal for his outreach work in communicating astronomy to the general public with the citation "Doug Welch is a professional astronomer who has always engaged in numerous and varied science outreach activities - from showing passers-by the sky through telescopes to reviving and reinvigorating a local planetarium, writing a children's book on astronomy, podcasting about astronomy, an art exhibition on supernovae, and running a nationwide lecture series."

arrow Click here for more details

September 8, 2010

Physics and Astronomy Professor Doug Welch has been awarded the prestigious McNeil Medal by the Royal Society of Canada. Awarded for demonstrating an outstanding ability to promote and communicate science to students and the public within Canada, Doug joins previous medal winners that include David Suzuki, Jay Ingram, and Bob McDonald.

arrow Click here for more details
Click here for the Hamilton Spectator article

June 14, 2010

Congratulations to Kate Ross, Patrick Clancy, and Clare Armstrong for their research presentations at the Canadian Association of Physicists Congress in Toronto last week. Kate Ross and Patrick Clancy (both working under the guidance of Prof. Bruce Gaulin) won 3rd and 1st place in the division of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. Clare Armstrong (supervised by Prof. Maikel Rheinstadter) won first place in the division of Medical and Biological Physics. The first place winners then went head-to-head in the finals with Clare claiming first place and Patrick second.

June 11, 2010

Scott Geraedts has been awarded the Governor General's Academic Medal at the June 8, 2010 Faculty of Science Convocation where he graduated with a BSc in Honours Physics. This award is given to the student from a first baccalaureate degree program who has attained the highest standing throughout the program.

From the Convocation program:

"Scott Geraedts is a native of Grimsby, a proud Welcome Week coordinator, and a graduate of the Physics program at McMaster.

Scott has been the recipient of two NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards. During his first of these, he participated in nuclear astrophysics experiments at TRIUMF and at Yale to help determine the origin of elements in exploding stars, and became a valuable member of the US Nuclear Data Team. The following year, Scott turned his attention to theoretical condensed matter physics, and worked at the University of Waterloo creating computational models of unusual phases of matter.

He has presented his work at the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference and at two international Nuclear Physics meetings. He has published two papers in major physics journals, including his senior thesis. Scott has earned many academic awards at McMaster, including being named multiple times to the Provost's Honour Roll for achieving a perfect 12.0 grade point average.

Scott will be pursuing his PhD in Physics at CalTech in September."

Scott is the fourth McMaster University Honours Physics graduate in five years to receive the Governor General's Academic Medal. Daniel Laycock (2006) received his Master's of Physics from McGill University in 2008 (Dark Matter Annihilation) and is currently pursuing a PhD in Geophysics at the University of Alberta. Matthew Farrar (2007) is currently a PhD candidate in Physics at Cornell University focusing on developing optical tools to study aspects of neuropathology and, specifically, spinal cord injury. Emma Mazurek (2008) is currently a medical student at McMaster.

May 20, 2010

Professor Emeritus Jim Waddington will have the art of the Group of Seven showcased with his modern-day photographs of the original locations at the McMichael Gallery starting May 22, 2010.

arrow Click here for more details

April 22, 2010

Professor Emeritus Jules Carbotte will be awarded a Doctor of Science at the Faculty of Science Convocation on the afternoon of June 8. This McMaster Honourary Degree will be part of the 2010 Spring Convocation ceremonies.

arrow Click here for the DailyNews article

April 14, 2010

Department Professor and Associate Member of the Perimeter Institute, Cliff Burgess has been awarded the 2010 Canadian Association of Physicists Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics. Cliff was cited for "his prolific and influential work in theoretical physics, which covers many different topics ranging from condensed matter theory to particle physics and string theory. Professor Burgess made seminal contributions in all these fields." The citation goes on to note especially Cliff's recent pathbreaking work in string theory and its connections to the very early evolution of the universe.

As the most highly cited theoretical particle physicist in Canada, Cliff has also been awarded a prestigious Killam Research Fellowship, and been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

arrow Click here for the DailyNews article

February 19, 2010

Physics & Astronomy professor William Harris has been recognized by the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) as the 2010 recipient of the Society's Beals Award. This award for an outstanding achievement in research is the Society's most prestigious, and recognizes Bill as a leader of the Canadian research community. As announced by the CASCA Board, "Dr. Harris is being recognized for the signficant impact his research has had in many areas of astrophysics ranging from our understanding of globular clusters, globular cluster systems, galaxy formation and evolution, and observational cosmology. Dr. Harris will present the Beal's lecture at the Society's annual meeting, in Halifax, May 25-28".

This is third major award for Bill in the last five years. Previously he held a Killam Research Fellowship, and was recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

arrow Click here for the DailyNews article

January 4, 2010

In a study published in the December 24, 2009 issue of Nature, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, Alison Sills, and a team of international colleagues, have reported that they have found two populations of "blue straggler" stars in the globular cluster Messier 30 whose origins have been likened to "vampirism" and "cosmic facelifts".

arrow Click here for the DailyNews article

  Back to Top

December 1, 2009

Christine Wilson, professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is a principal researcher on the Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium of Very Nearby Galaxies project which is part of the research being carried out with the Herschel Space Observatory launched in May by the European Space Agency.

Click here for the DailyNews article

Nov 20, 2009

Laura Parker, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is a 2009 Polanyi Prize winner. Laura specialises in observational cosmology with an emphasis towards galactic structure and formation and the interaction between galaxies and dark matter distribution. The Polanyi Prizes are named for John Polyani, who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1986.

Click here for the Hamilton Spectator article
Click here for the DailyNews article

Nov 13, 2009

Donald Sprung, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, at the recommendation of the Topical Group on Few-Body Systems. The citation will acknowledge Don's many important contributions to the understanding of nuclear dynamics, including the development of the first realistic soft-core two-nucleon interaction, and the identification of the role of long-range interactions in the deuteron. Don is a very active Emeritus member of our department, and a former Chair of the Department, and Dean of the Faculty. He has the distinction of having the longest time span of continuing publication in the prestigious Physical Review series of journals of anyone ever in the department -- over half a century.

Congratulations, Don.

September 9, 2009

Fourth-year honours physics co-op student Evan Sinukoff has spent the last eight months working for NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, helping in the development of the proposed Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope (SPIRIT) that would provide views of planet, star and galaxy formation in unprecedented detail.

Click here for the story by Matt Terry

September 3, 2009

Graduate student Rob Cockccroft and department professor William Harris are contributors to the Nature letter published today "The remnants of galaxy formation from a panoramic survey of the region around M31" describing the region around the Andromeda galaxy. The letter also prompted the BBC article entitled "Galaxy's 'cannibalism' revealed".

August 18, 2009

Duncan O'Dell was named an Early Research Award recipient yesterday by The Honourable John Milloy, Minister of Research and Innovation and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. The Early Researcher Award (ERA) program helps to attract and retain research talent by assisting new researchers with building their research teams. Duncan's research involves the application of quantum mechanics to computing and communication in an effort to transfer photons over a computer network connected by optical fibres.

Click here for more details

June 9, 2009

Congratulations to Clare Armstrong and Phillip Ashby as they were both awarded first place for their poster and oral presentation respectively at the Canadian Association of Physicists Congress in Moncton. Clare, an MSc student working under the supervision of Prof. Haugen, presented her work on "Selected Applications of Ultrafast Terahertz Spectroscopy". Phillip, a PhD student working under the guidance of Prof. Kallin, presented his work on "Spontaneous Supercurrents in a Chiral p-wave Superconductor".

May 29, 2009

Congratulations to Sarah Nickerson who, while attending the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA), won the best poster as judged by the graduate student committee of CASCA as well as an honourable mention by the CASCA board - the only student to be recognised by both bodies! Her poster was entitled "Stellar Feedback in Cosmological Simulations of Galactic Substructure". Sarah is pursuing her MSc with Prof. Couchman.

April 3, 2009

Physics & Astronomy professor and Origins Institute director, Ralph Pudritz, will be inducted into the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Society of Scholars at the school's next commencement ceremony. The Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars inducts post-doctoral fellows and junior or visiting faculty who have gained distinction in the fields of physical, biological, medical, social or engineering sciences, or in the humanities.

Luke and Imai Fellows of American Physical Society Click here for the story by Matt Terry

Mar 27, 2009

Department of Physics & Astronomy associate professor Alan Chen has been awarded the McMaster Students Union 2008-2009 Teaching Award in the Arts & Science category. Alan was also the 2008 recipient of the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award given in recognition of outstanding work by young faculty researchers at post-secondary institutes in Canada.

February 11, 2009

Department of Physics & Astronomy professor John Berlinsky has been named as the academic program director for the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Dr. Berlinsky's new role will include setting up the Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) program which is a one-year graduate course that will constitute a master's degree in physics.

Luke and Imai Fellows of American Physical Society Click here for the story by Wendy Hostein

January 31, 2009

Associate professor Alison Sills in conversation with CBC Radio's 'Quirks and Quarks' host Bob McDonald explaining recent research that examines evidence of 'stellar cannibalism' and 'vampire' stars in globular clusters.

January 19, 2009

Associate professor Alison Sills and her colleagues-Nathan Leigh, a PhD student in Physics & Astronomy at McMaster, and Christian Knigge, Reader in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Southampton University, have found evidence for "stellar cannibalism" as a mechanism for explaining the extended lifetime of blue stragglers which are massive rogue stars that exist in globular clusters.

Luke and Imai Fellows of American Physical Society Click here for the story by the Faculty of Science

January 15, 2009

After undergoing extensive renovations the William J. McCallion Planetarium has its grand reopening today with public shows beginning January 28 with titles that include "The Seven Ways a Black Hole Can Kill You" and "The Power of the Dark Side: How Dark Matter and Dark Energy Dominate Our Universe."

Luke and Imai Fellows of American Physical Society Click here for the story by Matt Terry

  Back to Top


Decmber 3, 2008

Thomas Mason Ph.D. (McMaster ) has been made a recipient of the McMaster Distinguished Alumni Award. Completing his PhD in condensed matter physics under professor emeritus Malcolm Collins, Thom continued his research at AT&T Bell Labs, Riso National Laboratory in Denmark, and the University of Toronto as and associate professor before joining the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee where he is now the laboratory director for Neutron Sciences. He has been named one of the "100 Canadians to Watch" by Maclean's magazine and was listed as one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40.

Luke and Imai Fellows of American Physical Society Click here for the story by Wendy Hostein

November 25, 2008

Congratulations are in order for department professors Graeme Luke and Takashi Imai on their very recent selection as Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). This is the largest and most active professional society devoted to the promotion of research, education and other matters in the discipline of physics. Less than .5% of the members of the APS can be Fellows. This is a recognition of their outstanding contribution to physics.

Both Graeme and Takashi are experimentalists in the condensed matter group at McMaster, members of the BIMR, and members of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Quantum Materials program.

Graeme Luke was cited "For the study of exotic magnetism and superconductivity using muon spin rotation techniques."

Takashi Imai was cited "For important studies of quantum magnetism and superconductivity using NMR techniques."

Luke and Imai Fellows of American Physical Society Click here for the story by Wendy Hostein

October 3, 2008

This year's Hooker Distinguished Lecturer is Dr. Tom Abel from Stanford University. He will be giving his lecture, Cosmic Dawn: The First Star in the Universe, as part of the Public Lecture series by the Origins Institute on Wednesday October 15, 2008 at 8:00 pm in room 147 of the Burke Science Building. Please see the PDF poster for more information.

Sept 19, 2008

We are very sorry to report the passing of professor emeritus Martin W. Johns, B.A. & M.A. (McMaster), Ph.D.(Toronto) on Thursday Sept 18, 2008. Dr. Johns was one of the first to receive an undergraduate (1932) or graduate (1934) degree from McMaster after it had moved to Hamilton, and went on to a lifetime of contributions to McMaster as professor, chair of physics, and later as the Co-ordinator of Part Time Degree Studies. The Department of Physics and Astronomy in particular owes a great debt to Martin, as his leadership as chair during a rapid expansion in the years 1961-67 established the department's international reputation. Martin was a valued participant in departmental activities up until early this year. He will be greatly missed. (DV)

remembrance by Dr. Donald Sprung

Sept 18, 2008

Honours Physics Coop student, Maxim Mitchell has won the Canadian Radiation Protection Association's ( annual Anthony J. MacKay Student Paper Contest. The papers entered are rated against the following criteria: relevance/interest, originality/novelty, technical content, style/format, and clarity. The contest prize includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the annual CRPA conference, which was held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, this past June. The winning paper is also published in the CRPA Bulletin. This year the winning entry was Maxim Mitchell's paper, "Tritium." Maxim wrote this paper while on a work term at SENES. As a result of the fine work he did there, SENES and McMaster's Office of Science Career & Cooperative Education will be nominating Maxim for the Canadian Association for Cooperative Education Student of the Year Award.

Sept 17, 2008

James Wadsley, assistant professor in the department of physics and astronomy, and post-doctorate fellow Gregory Stinson, have reported the results of a computer simulation in The Astrophysical Journal Letters that suggests that stars can migrate within a galaxy.

stars migrate Click here for more details

September 12, 2008

Cliff Burgess, professor of physics and astronomy and an associate member of the Perimeter Institute, has been elected to the Royal Society of Canada, the most prestigious scholarly organization in the country.

Cliff Burgess elected to RSC Click here for the story by Wendy Hostein

August 15, 2008

Cliff Burgess, professor of physics and astronomy and an associate member of the Perimeter Institute, was interviewed by the CBC concerning the startup of the Large Hadron Collider in Europe in september.

August 1, 2008

Alan Chen, associate professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is the 2008 recipient of the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award. The award, in the amount of $25,000, is given in recognition of outstanding work by young faculty researchers at post-secondary institutes in Canada. This award will allow Alan Chen, along with the department's Dr. Graeme Luke, to change the focus of a senior laboratory course towards one that will more directly connect the course material to students' research areas.

Click here for the story by Lynn Easson-Irvine

June 10, 2008

Congratulations to Emma Mazurek who received the Governor General's Silver Medal at today's Science Convocation. This medal is awarded to the student graduating from an Honours program at McMaster with the highest academic average. Emma joins previous winners of this award Matt Farrar and Daniel Laycock, so that a graduate from Honours Physics has been presented with this award 3 out of the last 4 years.

June 9, 2008

The Department of Physics & Astronomy held its first alumni reunion on Saturday June 7 with a program that included lectures by guests Dr. Doug Bonn and Dr. Russell Donnelly, and current faculty members Dr. Alison Sills, Mr. Ken Sills, Dr. Kari Dalnoki-Veress, Dr. Ralph Pudritz, and Dr. John Berlinsky.

Click here for pictures

May 8, 2008

Andy Duncan, Department of Physics & Astronomy technician, has been awarded the McMaster University Health and Safety Award of Excellence for 2008. Andy received the award for designing and creating the Safety Training Database system that our department and the Department of Chemistry is using to organize, track and keep records of safety training requirements and completion. Andy's program is now being studied by the Faculty of Science Health and Safety Committee for adaptation for use within the entire Faculty of Science. Congratulations Andy.

April 24, 2008

Department of Physics & Astronomy professor Doug Welch has a feature article in this month's Sky and Telescope Magazine (June 2008) entitled How to Hunt for Supernova Fossils in the Milky Way.

  Back to Top

December 12, 2007

The Department of Physics and Astronomy teams up with the Department of Chemistry to offer Physical Sciences@Mac hands-on activities to high school students as part of the outreach program.

Click here for the story by Lynn Easson-Irvine

December 5, 2007

Department of Physics & Astronomy professor Ethan Vishniac is profiled on Daily News.

Click here for the story by Jane Christmas

November 29, 2007

Sergey Mashchenko, James Wadsley and H.M.P Couchman (all from our Department) published a research paper titled "Stellar Feedback in Dwarf Galaxy Formation" in Science (appeared online on on 29 Nov. 2007, - abstract).

Click here for more from Michelle Donovan

November 8, 2007

Cliff Burgess, professor in subatomic physics at McMaster and a member of the Perimeter Institute, is the co-author with Fernando Quevedo, of the article "The Great Cosmic Roller-Coaster Ride" in the November issue of Scientific American.

Oct 29, 2007

Michael Massa, graduated in 2006 from our Ph.D. program, supervised by Kari Dalnoki-Veress, has been awarded the 2006-2007 Governor General's Academic Medal. The Governor General's Academic Medal is awarded to the graduate student who achieves the highest academic standing in his/her graduate degree program.

Oct 22, 2007

Congratulations are in order for Sara Cormier and Rob Welch as they were awarded third and first place respectively for their talks at the recent 43rd annual Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference held this year in Vancouver. Sara, in second year and currently supervised by Kari Dalnoki-Veress, won for her talk "Ellipsometry investigations of a morphological transition in thin diblock copolymer films" and Rob Welch, supervised this summer by Kari and now studying at the University of Toronto, won for his talk entitled "Plateau-Rayleigh instability as a probe for the mechanical properties of confined thin polymer films".

Click here for the full story by Lynn Easson-Irvine

Oct 18, 2007

Christine Wilson, professor in the department of Physics & Astronomy, will be giving a talk on Oct 21 at the Science on Sunday lecture series on hosted by the Royal Canadian Institute.

Click here for the full story by Lynn Easson-Irvine

October 3, 2007

Kari Dalnoki-Veress, associate professor and associate chair, has been awarded the 2008 John H. Dillon Medal of the American Physical Society. This medal was established by the Division of Polymer Physics in 1983 "to recognize outstanding research accomplishments by young polymer physicists who have demonstrated exceptional research promise early in their careers" (10 years or less since PhD).

The citation for Kari's medal will be "For significant and innovative experiments in glass formation and polymer crystallization at the nanoscale." He will address the Division of Polymer Physics in a Medal Lecture at the 2008 APS March Meeting. Congratulations to Kari on being awarded this prestigious international medal.

Click here for the full story by Lynn Easson-Irvine

October 2, 2007

Dr. Claudia de Rham, currently a postdoc at McMaster and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, is the subject of an article in this month's Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. She is working on aspects of braneworld cosmology with Professor Cliff Burgess.

Click here for the full article (with kind permission of JRASC)

June 6, 2007

Graduating student Matt Farrar received the Governor General's Academic Silver Medal as well as his bachelor’s degree yesterday at the Faculty of Science Spring Convocation. The Silver Medal is awarded to the undergraduate who achieves the highest academic standing upon graduation from a bachelor degree program.
Our heartiest congratulations to Matt!

Click here for more details

June 6, 2007

The honorary degree of Doctor of Science was conferred on physicist William Unruh from the University of British Columbia at McMaster's Spring Convocation for the Faculty of Science on June 5, 2007. The degree is another in a long line of awards that include a Sloan Fellowship, Rutherford Medal, Herzberg Medal, and the Steacie Prize. His research has contributed to the areas of gravity, black holes, and quantum mechanics, and where the three mix in quantum gravity theory.

May 14, 2007

The Origins Institute presents Mysteries of the Dark Universe on Tuesday, May 15 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. in the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery, Room 1305/1307.

Click here for more details

April 27, 2007

A conference on the Origins of Dark Energy, organized by the Perimeter Institute and McMaster's Origins Institute, is scheduled for Monday May 14 to Thursday May 17.

Click here for the full story by Jane Christmas

February 23, 2007

Two Department of Physics & Astronomy professors, Bruce Gaulin and Bill Harris, have received Killam Research Fellowships awarded to scholars to enable them to devote two years to research free of teaching and administrative duties. They join Cliff Burgess, professor, subatomic physics, to make three fellowships awarded to members of the department in the last two years.

Click here for the full story by Susan Bubak

February 22, 2007

SHARCNET was thrilled to be a recipient of a national award at the Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA) at their gala event in Toronto on November 1, 2006. CIPA is Canada's highest-prestige and longest-running IT awards program which recognizes Canadian organizations for their innovative use of technology. SHARCNET was selected as a Silver Award of Excellence winner for Efficiency and Operational Improvements in the not-for-profit category based on an entry which outlined its use of high performance computing technology over an advanced fibre optics network.

February 6, 2007

PhD astronomy student Kristin Woodley is highlighted in the Daily News as one of six graduate students who run shows at McMaster's William J. McCallion Planetarium.

  Back to Top

Nov 10, 2006

Cliff Burgess, professor in subatomic physics at McMaster as well as a member of the Perimeter Institute, will have his new book on the standard model of particle physics published in December 2006.

October 24, 2006

The McMaster contingent of our Honours Physics and Medical Physics undergrads to the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference 2006 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, performed extremely well garnering four out of six prizes:

Sheetal Saxena, 4th year honours medical physics,second prize for her poster
Katie Woods, 3rd year honours physics, third prize for her poster
Daryl Mason, 4th year honours physics, second prize for his talk
Matt Farrar, 4th year honours physics, first prize for his talk

Congratulations to the entire group.

Click here for the full story

October 20, 2006

Congratulations to Ralph Pudritz, professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Origins Institute, for receiving the Hamilton Spectator Publisher's Education Award for his dedication and contribution to community education.

Click here for more

October 2, 2006

The MACafé Scientifique returns this term with physics and astronomy professors Doug Welch and Ralph Pudritz and the topic of Planetary Systems and Prospects for Extraterrestrial Life.

June 20, 2006

The Hubble Space Telescope main web page currently features a picture and article on unusual-looking galaxy Arp 220 by Christine Wilson and Bill Harris, among others.

Click here for the full article

June 14, 2006

McMaster physics and astronomy professor Christine Wilson and her team reports surprising similarities between extreme galaxies and more normal ones like our Milky Way galaxy, as outlined today at a press conference at the 208th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Calgary.

Click here for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Press Release

June 14, 2006

The second annual Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering has been awarded to three University of British Columbia professors, Dr Walter Hardy, Dr Doug Bonn and Dr Ruixing Liang. The prestigious award honours the 1994 Nobel prize in physics co-recipient and former McMaster professor, Bertram Brockhouse.

Click here for the full story

June 9, 2006

James Wadsley, assistant professor of Physics & Astronomy, and his student Sijing Shen have shown in simulations (using the SHARCNET facility) that brown dwarf stars can be created when two young stars surrounded by gas and dust pass close to each other. Their results were announced this week at the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society in Calgary.

Click here for more

June 8, 2006

Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Doug Welch, is among a group of 17 astronomers whose study has indicated that supernovae made major contributions to dust that existed during the early formation of the universe. The paper (pdf) is to be published today in Science Express.

Click here for the story by Jane Christmas

Click here for the story from or at MSNBC

June 7, 2006

Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Doug Welch, has just had published his children's book on astronomy "Amazing Facts about Australia's Southern Skies". It is now available at McMaster's Titles bookstore under both "Science" and "Mac Authors". Click here for the publisher's flyer in pdf form.

Click here for the story by Christine MacLean

June 7, 2006

Soko Matsumura and Ralph Pudritz continue to garner news attention for their work on the formation of planets with an article in Astrobiology Magazine. Please see below, June 5 and 6, for more information.

Click here for the Astrobiology Magazine article

June 6, 2006

Physics & Astronomy grad student Soko Matsumura, and Professor Ralph Pudritz are in the news as their findings concerning the formation of planets have been reported in New Scientist Space. Also see below, June 5, 2006, for more information.

Click here for the New Scientist Space article

June 5, 2006

Astronomers from McMaster University find that dead zones - which typically extend out to 13 astronomical units from the central star of an extrasolar planetary system - can significantly slow planetary migration so that planets are not lost to the systems. This work is to be described in a press conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Calgary, Alberta on June 5, 2006, and in an invited talk at a scientific session during the meeting.

Click here for more

June 5, 2006

Graduating student Daniel Laycock will receive the Governor General's Academic Medal today at the Spring Convocation where he will also receive his B.Sc. in Theoretical and Computational Physics. Congratulations Daniel!

Click here for the story by Deborah McIvor

June 5, 2006

Dorian Smith, a student in grade 9 at Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catherines has won the Department of Physics & Astronomy Entrance Award Draw for 2006. Congratulations Dorian!

June 2, 2006

Phase two of the Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET) was marked on Tuesday May 30 with a video conference at the University of Western Ontario. SHARCNET is a high performance computing network that links together 16 universities and colleges in south central Ontario including McMaster where a significant portion of the computing hardware is located.

Click here for more

April 12, 2006

Professor of physics and astronomy, Doug Welch, will have 180 orbits of the Hubble Space Telescope allocated to his research on the Coma cluster of galaxies.

Click here for the story by Jane Christmas

April 7, 2006

Grad students David Lepischak and Steve Bickerton receive much attention from a Hamilton Spectator article and a McMaster Dailynews story with their hectic schedule running the popular shows at the William J. McCallion Planetarium.

March 1, 2006

Among the eleven Killam Research Fellowships renewed for a second year is the department's Clifford Burgess, also of the Perimeter Institute, for his study of String Cosmology.

Click here for more

February 1, 2006

Physics & Astronomy professor William Harris is interviewed by SPARK writer Graham Jansz for the McMaster daily news.

Click here for more

January 16, 2006

Ralph Pudritz, Physics & Astronomy professor and Origins Institute director, has had a theory he published with then-student Jason Fiege confirmed by observations made by Berkeley astronomers using the Virginia-based GBT radio telescope.

Click here for more

  Back to Top

December 5, 2005

Physics & Astronomy professor Bruce Gaulin has been elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society as a recognition by his peers of his outstanding contributions to physics. He is being cited "For leadership in the application of scattering techniques to problems in phase transitions and magnetism", and the election will be published in March 2006.

November 4, 2005

Physics and Astronomy graduate student Michael Massa and Assistant Professor Kari Dalnoki-Veress were praised in the journal Nature by professor of physical chemistry at the University of Sheffield, Anthony Ryan, for their "elegantly simple" technique to study nucleation, the beginnings of crystallization. Ryan was commenting on their work published in Physical Review Letters (92, 255509; 2004).

Click here for more

October 12, 2005

University Avenue was officially renamed today to 'Brockhouse Way' in honour of Bertram Brockhouse, the 1994 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Phyics.

Click here for the original story by Jayne Johnston

October 12, 2005

The inaugural winners of the prestigious Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering, Sajeev John and Geoffrey Ozin, will discuss their work on photonics at the Brockhouse Canada Prize Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The prize was formed as a tribute to the co-winner of the 1994 Nobel prize in Physics by Bertram Brockhouse, professor of physics at McMaster from 1962 to 1984.

Click here for the original story by Graham Jansz

September 22, 2005

The first annual Jim Waddington Prize in Physics & Astronomy was awarded to Emma Mazurek by Jim Waddington at a gathering of undergraduates and Professors in the Department. Emma, who achieved the highest standing in Physics 1BA3, is currently in Level 2, Honours Physics.

Click here for details on the Jim Waddington Prize

July 12, 2005

All 153 members of the department were congratulated by way of a free lunch at the University Club for the best participation on campus for the Commuter Challenge, a week-long event that takes place across the country to encourage people to find other ways of getting to work other than by driving alone. Lecturer Ken Sills and senior physics student Christian Veenstra were commended and presented with gifts for their successful organizational work.

Click here for the original story

June 30, 2005

Effective July 1, 2005, David Venus takes over the reins from John Berlinsky as the chair of the department of Physics & Astronomy. Stepping in as associate chair is Kari Dalnoki-Veress who replaces Graeme Luke.

June 29, 2005

Physics & Astronomy professor Peter G. Sutherland will end his term as Dean of Science at the end of the month handing over those duties to John Capone.

June 1, 2005

Joseph Ian Jeyaseelan, a student in grade 12 at St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton has won the Department of Physics & Astronomy Entrance Award Draw for 2005.

May 18, 2005

Congratulations are in order for our grad students returning with end-of-meeting prizes from the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society which just wound up in Montreal.

From the national astronomy grad student association, one of the two prizes for Best Poster Presentation by a student went to Sijing Shen (McMaster), and for Best Oral Presentation to Steve Bickerton (McMaster).

From the CASCA Board of Directors, the prize for best oral presentation went to Soko Matsumura (McMaster) with an honourable mention to Steve Bickerton.

March 29, 2005

Cliff Burgess, a high-energy particle theorist, has accepted the offer of a position as Professor at McMaster. Recently awarded a Killam Research Fellowship, he will continue to divide his time between McMaster and the Perimeter Institute.

  Back to Top

December 1, 2004

Two University of Toronto professors, Sajeev John and Geoffrey Ozin, have won the first-ever Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering, worth $250,000, for research into the containment of light in crystals, a technology that is expected to be key to the future development of optical computers. The new prize honours Bertram Brockhouse, a McMaster professor who won the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics "for pioneering contributions to the development of neutron-scattering techniques for studies of condensed matter."

(Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Nov. 30, 2004)

Click here for the original story

September 13, 2004

Professor of Physics and Astronomy Peter G. Sutherland has announced that he will be stepping down from his position as Dean of Science effective June 30, 2005. "I want to do more teaching and explore new research and other opportunities at McMaster", Sutherland said.

Click here for the original story

July 26, 2004

The Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET), has received an investment totaling $50 million that will allow the investigation of the structure of matter, through computer simulations, down to the nanometer scale.

Click here for the original story

July 16, 2004

William Harris, professor of physics and astronomy and the world's leading expert in the study of globular clusters in galaxies, has been inducted into the Royal Society of Canada. Fellowship in the society is considered one of Canada's most prestigious academic accolades to which scholars and scientists aspire.

Click here for the original story , citation

June 22, 2004

On June 11, 2004, Roby Austin successfully defended her PhD thesis, “Lifetimes of Superdeformed States in 38Ar”. She has been granted a NSERC University Faculty Award at Saint Mary's University where she will be an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy and Physics. Her accompanying $50,000 NSERC Discovery Grant was the largest such grant awarded this year in the UFA competition.

May 12, 2004

Guillaume Gervais, who completed an MSc in nuclear physics with Stephane Flibotte and Jim Waddington, has accepted a junior faculty position at McGill. After completing his MSc at McMaster, Guillaume continued on to a PhD in low temperature physics at Northwestern University and then a postdoc with Nobel laureates Stormer and Tsui, based at the National High Field Magnet Lab in Florida.

May 10, 2004

Third-year science student Kristen Koopmans has been awarded a $6,000 travel scholarship from the T. Russell Wilkins Memorial Scholarship, which she will use to work with researchers at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN is the world’s leader in research into elementary particle physics, investigating the inner workings of the fundamental particles that make up the universe. Koopmans will work with a team in the commissioning, testing and data collecting of a cosmics calibration set-up of the calorimeters.

February 27, 2004

A $250,000 science and engineering research prize in honour of the late Bertram Brockhouse, winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics, was announced Friday at McMaster by Beth Phinney, member of parliament for Hamilton Mountain on behalf of Lucienne Robillard, minister of industry and minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. The award, the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering, was conceived as a 25th anniversary project of NSERC to permanently recognize Dr. Brockhouse's contriibution to science and to Canada.

Click here for the original story

February 3, 2004

In recognition of professor Jim Waddington's retirement and his dedication to teaching, the department, his friends and colleagues have established the The Jim Waddington Prize in Physics & Astronomy to be given annually to the student with the best performance in Physics 1BA3 who then goes on to enter an Honours Program in Physics or Astronomy.

  Back to Top

December 24, 2003

Hugh Couchman, professor of physics and astronomy, has been appointed the Scientific Director of SHARCNET (Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network), a multi-institutional high performance computer network system. Dr. Couchman has been a significant contributor to SHARCNET over the last few years, being one of the original grant writers and founders of the organization.

December 12, 2003

An obituary of Bertram N. Brockhouse (1918–2003), written by Tom Timusk, a physics and astronomy researcher at McMaster, appears in the December issue of Nature.

Click here for the original story

November 26, 2003

McMaster astrophysicist, Christine Wilson, is the Canadian project scientist for the international ALMA project (Atacama Large Millimetre Array). The project has just received a $7.9 million investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Click here for the original story

November 19, 2003

Cecile Fradin, assistant professor of physics & astronomy and biochemistry, is among five budding Ontario researchers to receive the prestigious John Charles Polanyi Prize. The prize is named for the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipient, John Polanyi, and is awarded annually to outstanding researchers early in their careers. Fradin's research involves the use of laser optics to study the dynamics of molecules inside biological systems.

Click here for the original story

October 23, 2003

Catherine Kallin, professor of physics and astronomy, has been appointed the Canada Research Chair in the Theory of Quantum Materials. Kallin studies condensed matter physics and quantum materials and her work is directed toward the development of new devices, finding new applications for quantum computers, magnetic resonance imaging and satellite communications.

Click here for the original story

October 22, 2003

Distinguished scientists Ralph Pudritz and Sir Martin Rees, who are at McMaster this week to share their knowledge of the universe and lasers, appeared on CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks Oct. 11. Listen to an mp3 of this topic or visit the site to download the Ogg file -- an audio compression format.

Click here for the original story

October 14, 2003

It is with deep regret that we inform you that Prof. Bertram N. Brockhouse passed away yesterday in Hamilton, Ontario. Dr. Brockhouse was a heroic figure in the development of neutron scattering as a technique to study materials at a microscopic level. His invention of the triple axis neutron spectrometer and the "constant-Q" technique for inelastic scattering allowed the first detailed determination of the dispersion relations for spin and lattice vibrations in solids. These in turn allowed for a detailed microscopic understanding of the forces present between atoms in materials, and for the nature of atomic motion in solids. He was recognized for these achievements at the highest level, culminating with the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shared with Cliff Shull of MIT.

Bert was a remarkably modest individual, and always a fine gentleman. We mourn his passing, and offer our sincere condolences to his family and close friends. Ultimately however, we look back on a magnificent life of accomplishment in science.

September 4, 2003

J.J. Kavelaars, a former research associate in McMaster's Department of Physics & Astronomy, was one of three astronomers who discovered 12 new moons around Saturn in the fall of 2000. The moons were given Inuktitut names last month at the Astronomical Union's meeting in Sydney, Australia. Kavelaars is currently a research officer working at the National Research Council of Canada's Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics in Victora, BC.

(CBC Online News, Sept. 3, 2003)

Click here for the original story

August 29, 2003

Kari Dalnoki-Veress gets the front page treatment in the September 2003 issue of the McMaster Review. Allison Sills and Dalnoki-Veress, both professors of physics and astronomy, were co-applicants in a project to develop demonstrations to make introductory physics courses more engaging to undergraduate students. The article outlines departmental grants provided by the Centre for Leadership and Learning (CLL).

Click here for the original story by Andrew Vowles (PDF, 460 kB)

August 5, 2003

Gregory Morozov was hailed as a hero for his heroic efforts for jumping into the lake in Point Pelee to save an 18-year-old boy from drowning. Morozov, 30, didn't feel particularly heroic as he described the incident in the presence of his postdoctoral supervisor, Donald Sprung, at McMaster University. He also felt a little embarrassed by all the media attention. "I just did what I was able to do," he said as he groped for the right words to explain his feelings. But he was clearly disappointed he couldn't save the brother.

(The Hamilton Spectator, July 30, 2003)

July 22, 2003

The McMaster dailynews reprises the McMaster Review story of Cecile Fradin, assistant professor of physics & astronomy and biochemistry, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biophysics. Her research involves the use of lasers to study the dynamics of cells.

Click here for the original story by Shelley Easton

June 23, 2003

The McMaster dailynews Web of the Week focuses on the Faces of Innovation and those people who exemplify the spirit of research here at the university. Among the Faces from the department are Bruce Gaulin, Christine Wilson, Catherine Kallin, and Hugh Couchman.

June 9, 2003

Alison Sills, professor of physics and astronomy, is the subject of an article in the Enterprise (PDF, 62 kB) section of the June issue of the McMaster Review. The recipient of the 2002 Polanyi Prize for physics, Sills is the only one in Canada of a worldwide few studying the dynamics of globular clusters and star collisions.

May 5, 2003

Andy Duncan, a technician in the department, appears in the Lasting Impression (PDF, 132 kB) section of the May issue of the McMaster Review in his role as the commissioner of the McMaster three-pitch co-ed softball league. Playing since 1981, Duncan is also the scheduler for the popular league that began more than 40 years ago with games between the physics and chemistry departments.

April 29, 2003

Jim Waddington, professor of physics and astronomy, is the 2003 recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Instruction. This Award was established in 1993 to recognize outstanding contributions to education at McMaster. Jim Waddington has taught introductory physics courses for the past 30 years and has been nominated for the MSU Teaching Award 12 times. He won the Physics Club Teaching Award in 1989. This Award includes an honorarium, a citation of excellence and a memento to be presented at the Spring Convocation, as well as a place on McMaster's Wall of Recognition.

January 14, 2003

Two McMaster undergraduates, Wesley Fraser and Dan Milisavljevic, have helped J.J. Kavelaars of the National Research Council of Canada and an international astronomical research team find three new moons of Neptune.

Click here for the CBC story

Click here for the National Research Council article

Click here for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics press release

  Back to Top

December 9, 2002

McMaster's Catherine Kallin, professor of physics and astronomy, is one of 33 cutting-edge researchers featured in inno'va'tion and inno'v@-tion: Essays by Leading Canadian Researchers, a collection of essays that tell the stories of researchers in Canada.

The project is presented in two formats, a Web site with interactive essays and a book with 25 essays. Kallin's essay, High Temperature Superconductivity, is featured in the book. Kallin, who served on a number of international scientific boards, recently returned from Santa Barbara where she co-organized a five-month workshop on high temperature superconductivity.

November 28, 2002

McMaster researcher James Wadsley is part of a team who have demonstrated that giant gaseous planets like Jupiter could have formed in hundreds, not millions of years, as previously thought.

Click here for the original story by Shelley Easton

October 28, 2002

Research by assistant physics & astronomy professor Alison Sills is included in a story in the November issue of the science magazine, Scientific American. The story, called When Stars Collide, notes that Sills and colleague Piet Hut of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. have argued that stellar dynamics and stellar evolution regulate each other by means of subtle feedback loops. Sills was recently awarded a prestigious 2002 Polanyi Prize for Physics for her research into stars. (McMaster Daily News, October 28, 2002)

October 18, 2002

Alison Sills, assistant professsor of physics and astronomy, is one of four McMaster recipients of the 2002 John Charles Polanyi prizes. The Polanyi prizes are awarded to promising young researchers in Ontario and were established to recognize Dr. Polanyi of the University of Toronto who was the co-recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Click here for the original story by Shelley Easton

October 1, 2002

Contributions from McMasters's Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada were honoured at a recognition dinner at Hamilton's LIUNA Station. Election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada is the highest academic honour for scientists and scholars in Canada. Fellows from the Physics and Astronomy department and the year they were elected are Bertram Brockhouse (1962), Jules P. Carbotte (1974), W. Ross Datars (1979), John A. Davies (1971), Martin Johns (1958), John Kuehner (1977), Melvin Preston (1961), Donald Sprung (1980), and Thomas Timusk (1995).

Click here for the original story

September 5, 2002

We are very sad to report the passing of professor emeritus W. Brian Clarke, B.A. (Dublin), Ph.D. (McMaster), on Tuesday September 3, 2002, while visiting family in California.

July 25, 2002

Exceptional undergraduate students from McMaster and beyond are taking part in a summer school being held by the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research (BIMR).

Click here for the original story by Julia Thomson

July 8, 2002

Alison Sills, assistant professor in the physics and astronomy department, is one of ten McMaster researchers to receive at total of $1.8 million from the New Opportunities Fund distributed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Her award of $174,422 will allow her to acquire a rare hybrid teraflop supercomputer to be used to study the dynamics and evolution of groups of stars called globular clusters.

Click here for the original story by Shelly Easton and Lori Dillon

June 26, 2002

McMaster University has been awarded three new Canada Research Chairs including one to Paul Higgs. Higgs, from the University of Manchester in the UK, is a recent tenured addition to the Department of Physics & Astronomy and will hold the title Canada Research Chair in Biophysics.

Click here for the original story by Chantall Van Raay

June 6, 2002

SHARCNET (Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network), a high performance computer network system, was celebrated on Thursday, May 30, 2002 by representatives from the private sector, the government and McMaster University. Astrophysicist Hugh Couchman, McMaster's director in the project, uses the collection of computers to simulate the growth of cosmic structure, while physicist Eric Sorensen, the first recipient of a SHARCNET research chair, employs the system to study condensed matter physics.

Click here for the original story by Julia Thomson

June 6, 2002

McMaster researcher James Wadsley is working with astrophysicists at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) in Toronto to discover more about the nature and origins of the universe. The CITA researchers analyzed data from Caltech's Cosmic Background Imager (CBI) experiment that measures the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) light originating from an era just after the theoretical big bang. On large patches of the sky, the CMB light is smooth, however on small scales, there are ripples. Some of the ripples are primordial and accurately indicate conditions in the universe 13 billion years ago. The CBI experiment exhibited additional features due to foreground objects expected to be large clusters of galaxies known to contain hot gas - which have altered the light.

Wadsley has created a simulation that contains many clusters of galaxies and the associated hot gas in a huge volume of the universe 1.3 billion light years across. From it, the scientists can predict the foreground effects and remove them or use the foregrounds to work out how to locate distant clusters of galaxies and estimate their properties. "This is the original light from just after the big bang. It is almost unchanged, more than 13 billion years old and contains a wealth of information about a simpler time very early in the age of the universe", said Wadsley, a research associate in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. His work is featured on the Discovery Channel the week of June 3.

May 14, 2002

Ralph Pudritz of McMaster University and Melinda Weil of the City College of San Francisco have had their findings from new computer simulations of the formation of star clusters reported on the Scientific American News in Brief webpage. The announcement of their work ("From Darkness to Light - Forming the Oldest Stars in the Cosmos") was made at the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA).

January 7, 2002

Have you ever wondered why we have no sensation of movement here on our rotating, orbiting earth? The CBC radio show Quirks and Quarks put that question to Alison Sills , assistant professor of physics & astronomy , for their "Superstring Bowl Edition" that answered some of the various questions submitted by the show's listeners over the past year. Sills answered the question, "Why do we have no sensation of movement here on earth, despite the fact the earth is rotating, orbiting and gravity is pulling on us?" by explaining that we have no sensation of movement because we're moving at a constant speed. She offers the example of putting a ball on the floor of a moving car: the ball does not move until the car's motion is slowed or stopped. Sills' complete explanation can be heard by connecting to the Quirks and Quarks Web site and listening to the sound files from the Dec. 29 broadcast.

  Back to Top

December 12, 2001

Physicists Hugh Couchman and Erik Sorensen and their research with a supercomputing network are featured in a special report in the Dec. 12 edition of the Hamilton Spectator. Couchman heads the University's high-performance computing involvement in SHARCNET or Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computer Network. The initiative links clusters of high-performance computers at McMaster with the University of Western Ontario, the University of Guelph, the University of Windsor, Wilfrid Laurier University, Fanshawe College and Sheridan College. Sorensen, who specializes in computational physics, is the first SHARCNET research chair. (Hamilton Spectator, Dec. 12)

Click here for the original story in the Hamilton Spectator

November 29, 2001

Industry Minister Brian Tobin was on campus to announce the appointment of McMaster’s two newest chairholders as part of a national announcement of the newest recipients at Canadian universities.

McMaster’s newest Canada Research Chairs both hail from the Faculty of Science: John Brennan, an associate professor of bioanalytical chemistry and Cecile Fradin, an associate professor of physics & astronomy and biochemistry.

Both recipients received Tier 2 awards which means they are researchers whose peers acknowledge them as having the potential to be world leaders in their field. The appointments are for a five-year period and can be renewed once.

Click here for the original story by Shelley Easton

November 16, 2001

JJ Kavelaars and fellow astronomers from France and the U.S. recently discovered yet another binary object in the Kuiper Belt region of the outer solar system. Using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), the astronomers uncovered the binary, which is made up of two small comet-like bodies. Unlike the Pluto/Charon binary, this pair of Kuiper Belt objects are orbiting around each other slowly, at about the speed of a brisk walk. "What’s curious about this discovery is that we’ve only found four binary Kuiper Belt objects and three of these were found inside this past year. Did we just miss them before? Our next step is to determine their mass, density and composition, then continue to monitor them to establish their orbits," said Kavelaars. The discovery was officially announced in the International Astronomical Union Circular on Nov. 9.

October 29, 2001

Christine Wilson, a professor and associate chair of physics & astronomy, is the keynote speaker Tuesday (Oct. 30) at the Ottawa breakfast series known as "Bacon and Eggheads." Wilson is the first McMaster researcher to be featured at the breakfasts that are held on Parliament Hill. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering designed the breakfasts to bridge the gap between policy makers and science and engineering experts. Wilson's address focuses on millimetre-wave radio astronomy and its ability to let scientists probe space to aid our understanding of the origins of planets, stars and galaxies. She will explain her own work tracking a spectacular collision between two spiral galaxies that has triggered the formation of massive clusters of stars. Wilson is the Canadian project scientist for the Atacama Large Millimetre Array.

October 12, 2001

Tom Timusk, professor emeritus in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the 2002 Frank Isakson Prize for Optical Effects in Solids by the American Physical Society for "Spectroscopy in strongly correlated electron systems leading to elucidation of many-body physics."

August 10, 2001

Hugh Couchman , professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been profiled in the August 10, 2001 edition of ComputerWorld. The article emphasizes Dr. Couchman's modelling of the large scale structure of the universe using the recently acquired AlphaServer supercomputer. For more information please visit

July 13, 2001

Astronomer JJ Kavelaars hopes to break a tradition in cosmic naming circles. Kavelaars, a research associate in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, wants to start a tradition using Inuit names of spirits and legends for new Saturn moon discoveries. In the past, moons have been named after Shakespearean characters or Greco-Roman gods. Kavelaars came across Inuit names such as Ijiraq and Qallupilluit in children's books written by Canadian Inuit author Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak and suggested the idea after he and a group of astronomers found 12 Saturn moons. The International Astronomical Union will make a final decision on the moon names at its general meeting next year. The discovery of the new Saturn moons was initially announced last year and detailed descriptions are published in the current issue of the science journal Nature. (Hamilton Spectator, July 12)

July 12, 2001

Three McMaster researchers have been awarded grants totalling more than $618,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for facilities required for their research.

The recipients are Samir Chidiac, an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, Bernardo Trigatti, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, and Kari Dalnoki-Veress, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, who received $304,929 for facilities related to his research on a project titled Mechanical properties and morphology of thin polymer films.

Click here for the original story by Shelley Easton

July 3, 2001

Dean of Science Peter Sutherland has been named acting provost and vice-president academic. The appointment was approved last month by Board and the Senate Committee on Appointments and was effective July 1. His appointment could be for a few months or up to one year depending on how soon a new provost is in place. "Peter brings a wide range of experience to the position and his understanding of the University's success and current priorities will be important to McMaster's ongoing operations," said University President Peter George. Sutherland has informed the Board and Senate that he would not be a candidate for the position. A search is currently under way for a new provost to take up the post. John Drake, director of the School of Geography & Geology, is acting dean of science.

May 1, 2001.

Canadian scientists like Bruce Gaulin, the Brockhouse Chair in the Physics of Materials, are concerned about a decision by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to back off on supporting a new $450 million research reactor. Gaulin and others believe the new reactor is essential to carry out research in materials science which in turn contributes to advances in drug development, telecommunications, fuel cells and molecular biology. Gaulin, a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy who heads the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering, told the Toronto Star any delay "is potentially a big blow." The federal government is poised to issue a decision whether to go ahead with a proposed Canadian Neutron Facility. (Toronto Star, May 1)

Click here for the original story

January 26, 2001.

Christine Wilson, associate professor in physics & astronomy, was interviewed by Peter Mansbridge for his TV show, One on One, which aired on CBC Newsworld earlier this week. Wilson discussed the involvement by Canadian astronomers in a new international project to build a series of telescopes more powerful than any seen before. Wilson, one of the Canadians most involved, talked about how astronomy is evolving and what it all means for Canadian scientists like herself.

  Back to Top

November 28, 2000.

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Anatole Volkov, B.S. (North Carolina), M.S., PhD. (Wisconsin), Professor of Theoretical Nuclear Physics, McMaster University from 1964 until his retirement in 1988. Local tribute from the Hamilton Spectator.

Oct 26, 2000.

Four new satellitesof Saturn have been discovered by an international team of astronomers that includes J.J. Kavelaars of McMaster University.

  Back to Top

Sept 17, 1999.

Three additional candidate irregular satellites of Uranus have been discovered during July 1999 using the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Adding to the first 2 irregular satellites of the planet (found by members of the same team in 1997), this brings the uranian inventory to 16 regular and 5 irregular satellites, the most for any planet in the solar system.

The discovery team consisted of an international collaboration of astronomers from the Observatory of Nice, France (B.Gladman, J-M. Petit, H. Scholl), McMaster University, Canada (J. Kavelaars), the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA (M. Holman), and Cornell University (P. Nicholson, J.A. Burns). Follow up observations were obtained at the Mount Palomar 5-meter and Kitt Peak 4-meter telescopes (the latter in conjunction with D. Davis and C. Neese of the Planetary Science Institute (Tucson, USA). B. Marsden and G. Williams of the IAU Minor Planet Center computed preliminary orbits for the reported objects.

July 29, 1999.

The discovery of two new candidate moons of Uranus was announced by JJ Kavelaars of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster University and Brett Gladman of the Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur (OCA).

Mar 4, 1999.

A Wilkin's Memorial Travel Scholarship (worth $6000) has been awarded this year to one of the department's undergraduate co-op students, Phil Eles. Only two scholarships were awarded this year. Phil is in level IV of the V year Medical & Health co-op degree program. He is going to use the money to pay his travel expenses to Australia, where he has a co-op workterm placement. He will work at Queensland University of Technology from the beginning of May to the end of December on a bioimpedance project.

  Back to Top

Nov. 30, 1998.

Philip Waldron, an M.Sc. student in the department of Physics and Astronomy, has just returned from a trip to Japan, where he competed in the World Championships in Pairs team GO. He and his team partner (Jean Waldron, his mother) lost their first game to a Japanese team, but won all their remaining games to win the "Foreign Minister's Cup", ahead of all the Western nations. They beat teams from U.S., Germany, Ukraine and Australia, and in claiming the Foreign Minister's Cup have advanced further than any previous Canadian pairs team in GO. They will be eligible to return to the World Championships next year, if they successfully defend their Canadian national title next year.

Congratulations to team Waldron on this impressive achievement.