Robert Cockcroft, Assistant Professor


Contact Information

Office: PAB 232
Tel: (519) 661-2111 x87991
E-mail: robert [dot] cockcroft [at] uwo [dot] ca

Research Areas

Western Integrated Science (WISc);
Pedagogical research

Research Interests

Teaching science and communicating science to the general public, or "outreach", are both fields that are extremely important to me and activities I enjoy. My position at Western involves both activities, with my teaching time split between the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Western Integrated Science Program.

My background is in astrophysics, physics and the history of science. I trained as an astrophysicist with Dr Bill Harris, with my PhD on galaxy formation and evolution, and I was very fortunate to gain experience through my first postdoctoral position in the history of science - specifically, ancient Egyptian astronomy with Dr Sarah Symons, with whom I continue to collaborate.  My main focus during my second postdoctoral position in the McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (MIIETL) was to learn how to use and further investigate evidence-based teaching practices to tailor science education for future physicists and astronomers.  Throughout both my postdoctoral positions I taught a variety of physics, astronomy and science literacy courses in McMaster's Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Honours Integrated Science Program, and the McCallion Planetarium. 


  1. Cockcroft, R., Symons, S. L, Goff, L., Knorr, K., Robinson, S. J., van Wersch, G., Charney, D., & Farquharson, M. “New Interdisciplinary Science Course for First-Year Faculty of Science Students: Overview and Results from the Pilot”, 2016 Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 9, 43.
  2. Cockcroft, R. and Symons, S. L. “Ancient Egyptian Diagonal Star Tables: A New Fragment, and Updates for S16C and S1C”, 2014 Journal for the History of Astronomy, 45, 197.
  3. Harris, W. E., Morningstar, W., Gnedin, O. Y., O'Halloran, H., Blakeslee, J. P., Whitmore, B. C., Côté, P., Geisler, D., Peng, E. W., Bailin, J., Rothberg, B., Cockcroft, R., & Barber DeGraff, R. “Globular Cluster Systems in Brightest Cluster Galaxies: A Near-Universal Luminosity Function?”, 2014 The Astrophysical Journal, 797, 128.
  4. Cockcroft, R. and Symons, S.L. “Diagonal star tables on coffins A1C and S2Hil:  A new triangle decan and a reversed table”, 2013 PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology, 10, 1.


Undergraduate for 2016-17:
Astronomy 1021 - General Astronomy
Integrated Science 1000Z - Evolution of the Scientific Process
Integrated Science 1001X - Exploring the Landscape of Science 


  • McMaster University's Arts Research Board Conference Grant (International Planetarium Society Annual Conference), 2016
  • McMaster University's Forward with Integrity Grant (Six Nation's Planetarium Show), 2015
  • McMaster University's Arts Research Board Conference Grant (American Research Centre in Egypt Annual Meeting), 2014
  • McMaster University's Forward with Integrity Grant (HISTReENet; History of Ideas, Science and Technology Research and Education Network), 2013

Professional Activities

  • Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA): 2006-present
  • Inc. Education and Public Outreach Committee: 2014-present
  • American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE): 2013-2016
  • International Planetarium Society: 2016-present