Physics and Astronomy
Astronomy and Astrophysics: Faculty research interests include galaxy formation and evolution, clusters of galaxies, large-scale structure, computational astrophysics, galactic structure, stellar structure and evolution, gravitational lensing and stellar chemistry. The Astronomy Group benefits from close relations with the nearby Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, its staff, telescopes (1.2m and 1.8m), and instrumentation. Faculty and students also have access to Canadian facilities such as the Canada-France-Hawaii 3.6m Telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell mm/submm Telescope, the Atacama Large Millimetre Array and the Gemini twin 8m telescopes.
Condensed Matter Physics: Condensed Matter Physics is the study of materials and their properties. The main focus at the University of Victoria is on nanoscale physics, in which the physical properties of magnetic, semiconductor and superconducting materials are studied on the nanometer range, that is, a bit larger than the size of individual atoms. Nanoscale physics is a new and rapidly developing field that encompasses both fundamental studies and applications. Current research activities include ultrafast magnetic imaging using modern femtosecond laser techniques, in-situ studies of magnetic properties of both thin film and nanostructured magnetic materials, computational magnetic microscopy, semiconductor spintronics and quantum information, dynamics of superconducting materials on nanometer length scales, and time-resolved and spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy.
Experimental Particle Physics: The particle physics group is engaged in research at facilities around the world and, as one of the designers and builders of the TRIUMF facility in Vancouver, it benefits from interactions with TRIUMF physicists and access to TRIUMF facilities. The current activities of the group include the operation of the BABAR detector at SLAC and analysis of the data collected with it; detector construction and physics studies for the ATLAS experiment at CERN; detector research and development projects associated with the T2K long-baseline neutrino experiment and future e+e linear colliders; and development and deployment of grid computing.
Medical Physics: Application of radiation (photons and electrons) to the treatment and diagnosis of disease. Project areas include the development and application of Monte Carlo based dose calculations, 3D radiation dosimetry, intensity modulated radiation therapy, portal imaging, radionuclide therapy, and the application of spectroscopic techniques for treatment monitoring. Work is carried out in conjunction with the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre of the BC Cancer Agency in Victoria and the life science program at TRIUMF in Vancouver.
Ocean Physics and Geophysics: Research is conducted in the department and also in association with the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at UVic and at the nearby Institute of Ocean Sciences, the Pacific Geoscience Centre, and the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis. Current ocean physics activities include observational and theoretical studies of ocean mixing, air-sea interaction, estuarine circulation, breaking waves and bubble clouds, and the investigation of many topics related to the analysis and modelling of interannual variability of the earth’s climate. The program includes applications to programs of societal concern as well as basic research.
Theoretical Physics: Current areas of research focus on questions in particle and astroparticle physics: the physics of the electroweak scale, the nature of dark matter, and the role of particle physics in the early universe. Further research areas include more formal study of strongly interacting regimes of quantum field theory and fluid dynamics, using various techniques e.g. from string theory. The group has links with TRIUMF, and the Perimeter Institute.