Research

Physics Research with Lab Equipment
We have one of the most diverse faculties of any Physics and Astronomy department in the country. 
We have 30 core faculty conducting front-line research who supervise graduate students, in addition to several cross-appointed or adjunct faculty from other departments or institutions who can also supervise grad students

In Physics, our faculty work on a broad range of experimental, theoretical and computational problems in condensed matter and materials physics, nanotechnology, biological physics, medical physics, atmospheric physics, theoretical physics, and planetary science.

In Astronomy, we carry out observational, theoretical, and computational research on exoplanets and planet formation, the solar system, star formation, stellar astronomy, the interstellar medium, extragalactic astronomy, and astronomical instrumentation.

Potential Thesis Projects

There are a variety of potential Master's and Doctoral thesis projects available to choose from.

To view the project abstracts please select a research area:

Astronomy Topics

Project Supervisor
Data-mining nearby galaxies Dr. Pauline Barmby
Application of Machine Learning to Radar Meteor Echo Detection Dr. Peter Brown
Measurement of Plasma Resonance in Radio Reflections from Meteor Trails Dr. Peter Brown
Multi-technique Modelling of Small Meteoroid Ablation Dr. Peter Brown
Space-based Detection of Meteor Shower Fireballs Dr. Peter Brown
Wavelet-based Detection of Asteroidal Meteor Showers Using Radar Data Dr. Peter Brown
Boson Star formation in a Gravitational Collapse and the Weak Gravity Conjecture Dr. Alex Buchel
Neutron Stars with Holographic Equation of State for the Nuclear Matter Dr. Alex Buchel
Hydrodynamics at High Order Gradient Expansion in Viscoelastic Materials Dr. Alex Buchel
A New Look at an Old Mystery: the Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) Dr. Jan Cami
Buckyballs in Planetary Nebulae Dr. Jan Cami
PhD in Astrochemistry Drs. Jan Cami, Els Peeters & Viktor N. Staroverov
The Meteoroid Environment from Optical Observations Dr. Margaret Campbell-Brown
Meteoroid Fragmentation from High-Resolution Observations Dr. Margaret Campbell-Brown
Winds Around Supermassive Black Holes Dr. Sarah Gallagher
Compact Galaxy Groups Over Cosmic Time Dr. Sarah Gallagher
Numerical Simulation of Disks Surrounding Massive Stars Dr. Carol Jones
Detecting the Shadows of Outer Solar System Comets Dr. Stan Metchev
Extraterrestrial Storms: in the Solar System and Beyond Dr. Stan Metchev
PAH revolution with the James Webb Space Telescope Dr. Els Peeters
Probing Star Formation in the Universe with Carbonaceous Molecules Dr. Els Peeters

Measurements of Clouds, Aerosols, Forest Fire Smoke, and Volcanic Ash from the Canadian Micro-pulse Lidar Network (MPLCAN)

Dr. Robert Sica
Probing the Atmosphere Using High Power Lasers (Lidar) Dr. Robert Sica
Alignment of Stellar Rotation Axes Dr. Aaron Sigut
CNO Abundances for Rapidly-Rotating Stars Dr. Aaron Sigut
Discovering New Asteroids and Comets Dr. Paul Wiegert
The Earth's Meteor Environment Dr. Paul Wiegert
Mysterious Exoplanets: epsilon Eridani Dr. Paul Wiegert
Mysterious exoplanets: Proxima Centauri, the closest exoplanet to Earth
Dr. Paul Wiegert

Physics Topics

Project Supervisor
Oceanic detection of meteorite impacts Dr. Peter Brown
Boson Star Formation in a Gravitational Collapse and the Weak Gravity Conjecture Dr. Alex Buchel
Neutron Stars with Holographic Equation of State for the Nuclear Matter Dr. Alex Buchel
Hydrodynamics at High Order Gradient Expansion in Viscoelastic Materials Dr. Alex Buchel
The Meteoroid Environment from Optical Observations Dr. Margaret Campbell-Brown
Meteoroid Fragmentation from High-Resolution Observations Dr. Margaret Campbell-Brown
Multiscale modeling of nanostructured soft materials Dr. Colin Denniston

Characterization of Graphene-Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) nanocomposites

Dr. Giovanni Fanchini

Fabrication and Characterization of “persistent” Solar Cells

Dr. Giovanni Fanchini

From “living” materials to artificial “memory” – Organic polyradicals for flash memory devices and other applications in digital electronics.

Dr. Giovanni Fanchini
From “living” materials to quantum optical materials – Advanced characterization of photoactive organic polyradicals as strongly-correlated spin systems.  Dr. Giovanni Fanchini
Electrical transport mechanisms in the ensembles of silicon quantum structures Dr. Lyudmila Goncharova / Dr. Peter Simpson
Si-based infrared up-converting devices Dr. Lyudmila Goncharova   /   Dr. Peter Simpson
Time-resolved Measurements for Quantum Dots Systems Dr. Lyudmila Goncharova   /   Dr. Peter Simpson

Impact of Turbulence Anisotropy on Wind Measurement by Atmospheric Radar (MSc)

Dr. Wayne Hocking

Changes in Humidity in the High Arctic due to Global Warming over the last 10 years (MSc)

Dr. Wayne Hocking
Various topics on Waveguide Evanescent Field Fluorescence and Scattering Microscopy (WEFF and WEFFS microscopy) Dr. Silvia Mittler
Development of Microfludic "lab-on-a-chip" Devices for Mechanotransduction Studies Dr. Tamie Poepping
Modeling and Measurement of Flow in Aneurysm Models Dr. Tamie Poepping
Measurements of Clouds, Aerosols, Forest Fire Smoke, and Volcanic Ash from the Canadian Micro-pulse Lidar Network (MPLCAN) Dr. Robert Sica
Probing the Atmosphere Using High Power Lasers (Lidar) Dr. Robert Sica
Intratumoral Modulation Therapy for Glioblastoma Dr. Eugene Wong

Assessment of Radiation Response From Lung-On-a-Chip Microfluidic Devices

Dr. Eugene Wong

Please note: These lists are not intended to be exhaustive; they are just to give you an idea of the kind of science we do here at Western. Many other projects are possible! Please feel free to contact any of our faculty if you have an interest in any of the listed projects, or in their research area in general.