News and announcements

Stars align for UVic graduate student, resulting in a cosmic thrill

The Times Colonist followed up with doctoral student Clare Higgs on her chance encounter at a Chilean observatory this summer. She was at the observatory when two neutron stars collided and merged, the first time the celestial event has been seen and recorded on Earth. Ondrea Clarkson was also interviewed for this article.

Astronomy graduate student participates in unprecedented observation of neutron star collision

A UVic, Astronomy doctoral student visiting an observatory in Chile unexpectedly became a participant in the observation of the first recorded gravitational wave signature caused by a neutron star collision – a discovery that is transformational to our understanding of the universe.

When galaxies collide: In search of supermassive black hole pairs

Dr. Sara Ellison in Physics and Astronomy at University of Victoria has discovered an inspired method of finding the elusive pairing of supermassive black holes that mark merging galaxies, a discovery that may provide clues to the future of Earth’s own galaxy. Read more:

Nobel Prize to Weiss, Barish and Thorne for gravitational waves

The 2017 UVic Astbury Lecturer Barry Barish (Caltech) along with Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics earlier today, for their contributions to LIGO and the observation of gravitational waves. For details see:

MITACS student’s experience in galactic astronomy

Braulio Antonio, an undergraduate student at National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City participated in the MITACS Globalink program this summer at the University of Victoria. Under the supervision of Dr. Sara Ellison in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, he shares his experience working on the phenomenon of galaxy mergers.

Solar Eclipse Open House

Join us on Monday, August 21 from 9:00-11:30am for a special public open house at the UVic Observatory (5th floor of Bob Wright Centre) to view the solar eclipse. The eclipse will be visible at 90% coverage from Victoria. The eclipse begins at 9:08am, reaches maximum coverage at 10:20 and will end at 11:38. The event is free and no pre-registration is necessary.

Cafe Scientifique

The Café Scientifique series is an informal series of talks given in a relaxed setting such as a café. These talks are designed to engage the public in learning about recent research in science. The talks, which are given by experts in the field, provide an opportunity to stimulate discussion around some of the most exciting topics in modern science. Join us for this exciting series of talks in 2016-17! **Café Scientifique is sponsored jointly by UVic's Office of the Vice President Research and the Faculty of Science and is hosted by the Centre for Biomedical Research and the Department of Physics & Astronomy**

Mike Roney elected Fellow of the American Physical Society

Mike Roney has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). The citation reads: "For contributions to lepton flavor violation measurements, detailed studies of the tau lepton, precision measurements of the electroweak interaction, and leadership of the BABAR experiment at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory."

BC government contribution to TRIUMF's Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory (ARIEL)

On October 6, the BC government announced an $8.7 million investment in a national initiative to bolster Canada's world-class rare isotope capabilities. The contribution from the BC Knowledge Development Fund supports TRIUMF's Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory (ARIEL), a multidisciplinary research facility. ARIEL lead investigator Dean Karlen is quoted in the Times Colonist news coverage.

Dr. Chris Pritchet to receive the 2016 Beals Award from CASCA

It is a pleasure to pass on the news that Chris Pritchet has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Carlyle S. Beals Award by the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA). The Beals Prize is awarded biennially "to a Canadian astronomer or an astronomer working in Canada, in recognition of outstanding achievements in research (either for a specific achievement or for a lifetime of research)”.

LIGO announces first detection of gravitational waves

This morning the LIGO Scientific Collaboration announced that they have evidence for gravitational waves from a signal detected in September 2015. The signature matches theoretical expectations, based on General Relativity, for waves produced by the merger of two roughly 30 solar mass back holes. A paper has been published in Physical Review Letters, and is described here: The theoretical prediction of the gravitational wave signature of black hole mergers was aided by the ground-breaking numerical work of a former UVic MSc student, Frans Pretorius, now a Professor at Princeton University.

Inaugural Astbury Lecture by CERN Director General Rolf Heuer - webcast available

On April 27, 2015, as part of the Alan Astbury Memorial Symposium, Dr. Rolf Heuer, CERN Director General, presented the inaugural Astbury Lecture. TITLE: Breaking the wall of the hidden universe - what the discovery of the Higgs boson tells us about Physics, Mankind and the Universe Abstract: With the start of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, particle physics entered a new era. The LHC will provide a deeper understanding of the universe and the insights gained could change our view of the world, and the talk will present some of the reasons for the excitement surrounding the LHC. The LHC is expected to yield insights into the origin of mass, the nature of dark matter and into many other key questions. This lecture will address the exciting physics prospects offered by the LHC, discuss in particular the recent discovery of the Higgs-Boson, and present a look forward.