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.


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.

Moiré (multi-period) gratings


The research group of Prof. Sabat at RMC has recently published on the fabrication of large-scale hierarchical macroscopic Moiré (multi-period) gratings on azobenzene molecular glass thin films on a glass wafer. These novel structures were inspired by the surface features found on Peruvian lily flower petals. Optica (previously known as The Optical Society of America) recently featured these new surface structures on their Instagram feed. Further details are found at Applied Optics Vol. 61, Issue 18, pp. 5428-5434 (2022)


Pairwise images showing the similarity between the Peruvian lily flower petal structure and the Moiré diffraction grating structure.


Photonic quasicrystals with magnified inset showing the microscopic structure of the grating, as measured using an atomic force microscope (AFM).


Microscopic views - A series of three diffraction gratings with different symmetries, and their corresponding Fourier transforms.

These images are from the paper Large-area photonic crystals, quasicrystals, and Moiré quasicrystals fabricated on azobenzene molecular glass films by pyramidal interference lithography

(Optical Materials Express Vol. 12, No. 11 / 1 Nov 2022)

Atomic force microscopy images of the photonic crystals formed using pyramidal interference lithography (PIL) with number of pyramid faces (N) equal to (a) 2, (b) 3, (c) 4 and (d) 6.

Moiré photonic crystals and quasicrystals. (a) Schematic of the formation of a Moiré pattern with 4-fold symmetry. (b - e) AFM images and corresponding simulations of gratings with 3-fold symmetry, 8-fold symmetry, and 12-fold symmetry.