Research opportunities

Dalhousie's Physics and Atmospheric Science Department is world-class when it comes to research. Most of the professors teaching your first-year courses—as well as higher-level courses—are pursuing major research projects in addition to teaching a full courseload. Their projects range from a theoretical study of the early universe, to the use of the scanning probe microscope in biology, to the applied use of physics to develop a better battery.

Atmospheric Science research is focused on understanding the physics and chemistry of the climate system. Our professors are involved in designing and building instrumentation, conducting field and laboratory experiments, interpreting observations, and developing sophisticated models.

Professors engaged in these research projects often hire students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. As an undergraduate student, you’ll have numerous opportunities to participate in research projects.

One such opportunity is the Undergraduate Summer Research Awards. In any year of study, you’ll have the chance to spend the summer months working with an active research group. For 16 consecutive weeks between May and August, you could earn up to $2,100 a month while contributing to cutting-edge research.

What are Dal's Physics and Atmospheric Science profs researching now?

Dr. Kimberly Hall’s group is using super fast and precise "femtosecond" lasers to investigate charge and spin dynamics in semiconductor materials to develop new semiconductor technologies.

Dr. Ian Hill is developing materials for new solar cell technologies, including organic, hybrid organic/inorganic, and dye-sensitized solar cells.

Dr. James Drummond is investigating the remote sounding of the atmosphere—important not only for the scientific insight that it brings, but also for raising awareness of the importance of the environment to our well-being, perhaps even our survival as an advanced society. The research, so far looking only at planet Earth, spans three major themes: changes in the ozone layer, air quality, and climate change.

Find out what other professors in the Physics and Atmospheric Science Department are researching.

Undergrad research opportunities


  • Work with Dr. Jordan Kyriakidis, as he pursues research on supercomputers.
  • Participate in Dr. Andrew Rutenberg’s research into how bacteria use physics to perform life functions at a simple level.
  • Spend the summer working with Dr. Randall Martin, compiling satellite remote sensing data about the atmosphere and analyzing that data using computer models.


Make new discoveries about how the world works.
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In addition to applied physics and atmospheric science research, professors and students in the Department of of Physics and Atmospheric Science are also doing research in biophysics, condensed matter and material physics, medical physics, and sub-atomic physics. Discover more about these projects.