We have excellent facilities and technology that meet undergraduate and postgraduate student needs as well as international academic standards. Jewels in the crown include Mount John Astronomical Observatory in Tekapo and the Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre in Christchurch.
The School of Physical and Chemical Sciences manages Aotearoa New Zealand's largest telescopes at the University of Canterbury Mount John Observatory, near Lake Tekapo.
We also have field stations at Scott Base and Antarctica, where UC conducts meteor and atmospheric research.
Medical physics activities occur at Christchurch and St Georges Hospitals.
The new $216 million Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre (RRSIC) gives Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry and Astronomy students the benefit of the most modern university science and research facilities in the Southern Hemisphere.
The hub for Canterbury's science and innovation network will be dynamic and adaptable to the diverse needs of today's learners. The centre has been purposefully designed to encourage innovation and support flexible learning and teaching methods, with:
- State-of-the-art laboratories
- Built-in technologies
- Informal social and study spaces.
It will enable easy interactions between departments, investigative laboratory research, online work, and individual or group learning. Such interconnectivity means that science education at UC will be delivered in a way that is unique in the tertiary sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.
It also features an Innovation Hub where students will be able to build knowledge and networks while working on industry projects.
The library provides a central resource facility for research and Canterbury carries most of the leading scientific journals in the fields of physical science.
UC has plenty of learning locations for the scientific-minded. They can be found investigating and discovering around the globe - from the leafy suburb of Ilam in Christchurch to the largest international dark sky reserve in the world, from the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland to the extreme continent of Antarctica.
Applied learning happens in laboratory sessions and on fieldtrips, using facilities that include:
- An internationally important astronomical observatory at Mt John, Tekapo, with computer-controlled instruments and cryogenic detectors. This UC-operated observatory is Aotearoa New Zealand's leading observatory. It is situated in the 4367 square kilometre Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve — the world's largest such reserve.
Find out what facilities are operated there, how the weather is looking in Tekapo, and who can book the telescope.
- UC-constructed Hercules, a high resolution spectograph to search for planets and conduct improved stellar astrophysics.
- The world-leading MARS spectral X-ray imaging scanner.
- The Chemistry Department is well equipped with technology of an international standard. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electron spin resonance, mass spectrometers, X-ray crystallography as well as laser and computer facilities are available to all research personnel. See the complete list of Chemistry equipment here.
- UC was one of the founding investors in the Australian Synchrotron. New Zealand researchers get access to the Synchrotron's beamlines. This facility is one of the largest and most important items of science infrastructure in the Southern Hemisphere.
- The Physics Department has nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, X-ray diffraction and laser and computer facilities. See the complete list of technology available here.
A rare scientific instrument, the Cooke 6-inch refractor telescope was made in 1864 and used by James Townsend of Christchurch before donating it to Canterbury College where it was housed in the Arts Centre Observatory Tower from 1896 onwards, introducing people of all ages to Astronomy for more than 110 years.
Then the February 2011 earthquake hit Christchurch and the Tower was damaged. The telescope was recovered from the rubble and is able to be restored.
The funds to restore the telescope have been generously donated by UC Alumnus Professor David Teece and his family, but funds are still sought for education and outreach programmes and future maintenance. Read more.
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