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Astronomy and Astrophysics

Faculty List

Professors Emeriti 
C.T. Bolton, MSc, PhD 
C.M. Clement, BSc, MA, PhD 
M.J. Clement, MSc, PhD 
C.C. Dyer, MSc, PhD (University of Toronto Scarborough) 
J.D. Fernie, MSc, PhD, FRSC 
R.F. Garrison, BA, PhD 
P.P. Kronberg, MSc, PhD, DSc 
S.W. Mochnacki, MSc, PhD 
J.R. Percy, BSc, MA, PhD (University of Toronto Mississauga) 
S.M. Rucinski, MSc, PhD 
E. R. Seaquist, MA, PhD 

Professor and Chair 
R.G. Carlberg, MSc, PhD, FRSC 

Associate Chair, Graduate Studies 
C.D. Matzner, BA,MA, PhD

Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies 
D.-S. Moon, PhD 

University Professor 
J.R. Bond, OC, MS, PhD, FRSC, FRS * 

R. Abraham, BSc, DPhil 
P. Artymowicz, MSc, PhD (University of Toronto Scarborough) * 
B. Gaensler, BSc DPhil, FAA (Director, Dunlap Institute) 
J.B. Lester, MS, PhD (University of Toronto Mississauga) * 
P.G. Martin, MSc, PhD, FRSC * 
N.W. Murray, BSc, PhD * 
C.B. Netterfield, BSc, PhD * 
A.C. Thompson, BSc, PhD *
M.H. van Kerkwijk, MA, PhD 
H.K.C. Yee, BASc, PhD, FRSC 

Associate Professors 
C.D. Matzner, BA, MA, PhD
K. Menou, DEA, PhD (University of Toronto Scarborough)
U-L. Pen, MSc, PhD * 
M. Reid, MSc, PhD *  
Y. Wu, PhD 

Assistant Professors 
J. Bovy, MA, PhD 
R. Hlozek, BSc (Hon), MSc, DPhil * 
J. P. Lowman, MSc, PhD (University of Toronto Scarborough) 
H. Neilson, BSc, PhD 
H. Pfeiffer, PhD * 
H. Rein, BA, PhD 
S. Sivanandam, BSc (Hon), MSc, PhD * 
K. Vanderlinde, BSc, PhD * 
D. Valencia, BASc, MA, PhD (University of Toronto Scarborough) 

Status Only Faculty 
J. J. Dubinski, BSc, MSc, PhD (Associate Professor) 
R. Jayawardhana, BS, AM, PhD 
* Cross-appointed 


Astronomy explores the universe beyond the earth and attempts to understand the physical processes that describe its contents. Essentially all civilizations have developed astronomy to some degree, with records extending back to the Babylonians.  The modern development of astronomy began with Galileo turning a telescope to the sky and the heliocentric model of the solar system. Astronomy and astrophysics have undergone a revolution in the past fifty years as telescopes ranging from the radio to the gamma ray have discovered the relict radiation from the Big Bang, stars and galaxies that were forming not long after, ultradense neutron stars and black holes, as well as planets around other stars. Astronomy as a discipline is a distinctive integration of many of the sciences. At the introductory level it is used to provide a non-technical overview of the scientific approach to questions and our current understanding. At the more advanced level a quantitative physical understanding of astrophysical systems is developed. A graduate in astronomy has a wide grounding in modern physical science which is important for a wide range of roles in society.

Several courses are offered to suit persons of diverse backgrounds and depths of interest. Two beginning courses (AST101H1AST201H1) require no special knowledge of mathematics or other sciences and are best suited to students taking non-science programs. These courses develop an understanding of the universe in a qualitative way and in terms of natural laws familiar to us on Earth. AST121H1 is an introductory astronomy course for all science students, while AST210H1 is intended for science students who do not intend to pursue an astronomy program. AST251H1 is best suited to life science students. 

The remaining courses are designed for physical sciences and astronomy program students. For all Astronomy & Astrophysics programs, the first astronomy courses normally start in the second year, as they require the mathematical and physical grounding provided in the first year.  In third year, after further physics and mathematics, follow more advanced theoretical study as well as a lab course that includes the use of the campus telescopes.  For the major program, this is complemented by electives in more advanced mathematics, physics or numerical methods, as well as an introduction to astrophysical research.  For the Astronomy & Physics specialist program, intensive training in all aspects of physics is added, allowing supervised, forefront research in fourth year, and preparing for a career in (astro)physical research via graduate studies or otherwise.

The Department works closely with two related academic units, the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (DI). With a national mandate, CITA fosters research in theoretical aspects of the discipline, including the exploitation of high performance computers in house and in SciNet. Complementary to this, a focus of DI is on the design and development of astronomical instrumentation. Undergraduate students will find diverse research opportunities through the Department and these two cognate units.

Undergraduate Enquiries: (416-946-5243)

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