Physics and Space Science News and Events

Annual Physics for Defence Lecture 2023


The Royal Military College's Annual Physics for Defence Lecture 2023 will be presented in Sawyer Theatre (S 1303) by Dr. Shiliang (Dan) Shan on 6 April 2023, 10:00 - 11:00.

Public Lecture: "Operational Ocean Prediction: Using Physics to Forecast the Ocean's Future".

Contact: LCdr Steve Semenuk


Operational ocean prediction has become increasingly important in recent years due to the growing demand for accurate and timely information about ocean conditions. This presentation will introduce the basics of operational ocean prediction, including physical oceanography, numerical modelling, and data assimilation techniques. The challenges associated with operational ocean prediction, such as the difficulty of obtaining accurate and reliable oceanographic data and the limitations of current modelling techniques will be discussed. Some practical applications and real-world examples of operational ocean prediction, including marine weather forecasting, environmental monitoring, and search and rescue operations will also be discussed. This presentation will be of interest to anyone who would like to learn about the challenges as well as opportunities involved in predicting ocean conditions in particular, and the ever-evolving ocean science in general.


Seeing Beyond the Visible - First Results from the James Webb Space Telescope


Dr. Nathalie Ouelllette, of the University of Montréal, Deputy Director, Institute Trottier de recherche sor les exoplanèts (iREx) and Observatoire Mont-Mégantic, delivered a public talk in historic Currie Hall on 9 March 2023.

The Department of Physics and Space Science presents: "Seeing Beyond the Visible: First Results from the Webb Telescope"


The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor of the famous Hubble Space Telescope, is finally working and has already blown us away with amazing images taken during its first six months of operations! The Webb Telescope, a 6.5m infrared telescope, is without a doubt one of the most complex machines ever built by humanity and the largest telescope ever sent to space. Thanks to Webb, we now have the capacity to see farther than ever in our Universe, peer through the cosmic dust sprinkled throughout galaxies and discover and study new alien worlds. This project is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. In addition to contributing the FGS/NIRISS instrument, Canada and its astronomers are already some of the first to use the telescope and have already begun producing groundbreaking science thanks to its revolutionary data. With this overview of what astronomers have already done with Webb data, you will learn about some of Webb's very first exciting discoveries and what this mission means for the future of space astronomy.

Speaker biography:

Nathalie Ouellette is an astrophysicist and an avid science communicator. Her research is on the formation and evolution of galaxies, particularly those found in groups and clusters such as the Virgo Cluster. Nathalie is currently the Deputy Director of the iREx at the University of Montreal as well as at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory. She is also the Outreach Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency.

2022 Cowan Prize for Excellence in Research awarded to Dr. Kristine Spekkens



Dr. Kristine Spekkens, of the RMC Department of Physics and Space Science, presented the Cowan Prize lecture titled Galaxies, Cosmology and the Radio Telescope Revolution on 28 November 2022.

Understanding how galaxies form and evolve within the standard cosmological framework that describes the universe is one of the biggest challenges in astronomy today.

The properties of gas-rich, star-forming nearby galaxies are key to this picture, both because they resemble the Milky Way in which we live and also because they dominate the galaxy population in most cosmic environments.

The lecture by Dr. Spekkens described the connection between galaxies, dark matter and cosmology, how the atomic gas in galaxies can be a powerful cosmological probe, and how a revolution in our view of these objects and others in the night sky is underway with a new generation of powerful radio telescopes.

Presented with the support of the RMC Alumni Association, Inc.