Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy

Physics and astronomy involve the study of matter, forces, and energy as they relate to the understanding of our environment from Earth to the distant reaches of the universe. The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Western studies natural phenomena such as star formation, the Earth’s atmosphere, and meteors as well as applications of physics to medicine in the form of imaging, and radiotherapy and technology -specifically, nanofabrication, optoelectronic devices, and biomaterials.

What You’ll Learn

Physics is a foundational discipline of STEM careers and enables students to develop logical reasoning skills based on underlying principles. Our undergraduates (testimonial)  also acquire proficiency in problem-solving, mathematics, experimental design, computer simulation, and data analysis while experiencing the tools and techniques of modern high technology.

Careers

All of our students are well-prepared to enter graduate school to become professionals in rapidly evolving disciplines. Graduates are employed worldwide in fields as diverse as pure and applied research, medicine, engineering, teaching, science journalism, and finance.

Career examples include:

Academic and Industrial Scientist Entrepreneur Tech Start-Up Government Scientist in Weather Forecasting and Climate Prediction Radiation oncologist University/College Professor
Science Educator Financial Analyst Imaging Medical Physicist Data Scientist 

 

Recent graduates have gone on to work as industry scientists at medical imaging companies, software specialists working with Big Data and completing MD degrees at Ontario medical schools.

Distinguishing Features

Astrophysics

Our Astrophysics modules emphasize the study of the physics of the universe and its components. Offering a combination of Astronomy and Physics courses, students learn about a wide range of topics, including the life of stars and black holes and the evolution of the universe, from the most diverse astronomy group in Canada. With the skills acquired in this module, our graduates stand out with their involvement in cutting-edge research, including the recent discovery of gravitational waves and new planets beyond our solar system.

Medical Physics

Western is home to one of the largest groups of medical physics researchers in Canada, with instrumentation, experimental, clinical and theoretical research interests. Our modules in Medical Physics are perfect for students who are interested in medicine or medical imaging, captivated by physics and look forward to gaining hands-on lab experience with world-class medical physicists.

Faculty mentorship and research skill development

In their final year, students synthesize their experience by undertaking a significant research project with a member of our faculty. Financial support for undergraduate research is made available each summer to support experiential learning and the development of professional skill sets and network development. 

Developing skills, network, and confidence

The ability to share scientific understanding within and well beyond the scientific community is one of the hallmarks of success for our students. The undergraduate seminar course brings together students in all years of the Physics and Astronomy modules, to train confident and effective speakers and presenters of complex material. Our Physics and Astronomy Student Association (PASA) hosts and annual research conference and multiple social events throughout the year.