Astronomy and astrophysics today is in the midst of a worldwide golden age of discovery that will continue far into the new century. How did the giant structures called galaxies actually form in the early Universe? How do the gaseous clouds within a galaxy condense into stars, and how does a galaxy evolve over time? How do planetary systems form, and will we ever find Earthlike planets around nearby stars? Benefitting from remarkable advances in telescope technology, instrument design, computing techniques, and software for data analysis, modern astrophysics combines many branches of physics, mathematics, and computing to explore the universe beyond the Earth.
The Astrophysics Group at McMaster provides a wide range of expertise and a vital research environment for staff, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting colleagues. All of its faculty members are national and world leaders in their subdisciplines, and have wide connections with other groups and international organizations in astronomy.
Our observational astronomers use telescopes all over the world including the Gemini twin 8-meter giant optical telescopes in Chile and Hawaii; the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii; the telescopes in the SMARTS2 Consortium in Chile; and the Hubble Space Telescope and other new satellite observatories. Our graduate students learn to use these facilities in close contact with their supervisors, and to analyze the frontier data from them. Astrophysics theory students at McMaster can expect to use and develop tools for the most advanced computer modelling of astrophysical processes such as galaxy formation in the early universe, star formation, protoplanetary disks, and to test the underlying physical processes by simulating these situations. We take full advantage of close links with the local SHARCnet high-speed computing network in which we are central members. All of our graduate students enjoy access to modern computing hardware and high-level systems support that is unexcelled in Canada.
Our outlook to research encourages both wide and deep thinking. We do research with the view that most important modern astrophysical problems require a simultaneous attack from both the observational and theoretical fronts. We foster a friendly, supportive working atmosphere which is strongly designed to encourage day-to-day collaboration amongst all the group members.
McMaster offers outstanding opportunities for graduate studies in forefront astrophysics. Get in touch with any of our faculty (see links below), visit and talk science with us, and explore the possibilities for working and studying here.