Early 21st Century
2001: George Sawatzky joins joins the department. He becomes the Director of AMPEL in 2004. He is one of the most cited researchers in the department.
- WMAP (Halpern) is launched to explore the cosmic microwave background. First satellite ever to go to stable point beyond the Moon(L2).
- Harvey Richer (PI) awarded 5 full days on the Hubble Space Telescope - the largest block of time ever given to a Canadian principle investigator.
- A Volkswagen car is suspended under the Golden Gate bridge during UBC's Engineering Week.
- Astronomy faculty finally move into the Hennings building, which they had left 30 years before. Yes, it took five years to complete the move.
2002: Dr. Brett J. Gladman, recipient of the 2002 Harold C. Urey Prize, joined Physics and Astronomy this year. The Urey Prize, awarded annually by the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS), the largest division of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), was established to recognize and encourage outstanding achievements in planetary science by a young scientist.
2003: Brian Turrell becomes head again for one year.
- MOST launched in June 2003 from a Russian ICBM rocket: this suitcase-sized satellite, built partially in the UBC PHAS shops, looks for minute variations in the brightness of stars. These data are used to carry out stellar seismology and search for planets around them.
- Lore Hoffmann retires.
2004: Jeff Young becomes Head of the Department.
2005: The Department has hired over 20 new faculty members in the last five years.
2006: Carl Wieman (Nobel laureate) joins the department.
- Erich Vogt receives Order of British Columbia.
- Andre Marziali takes over as Director of Engineering Physics.
2007: Jaymie Matthews becomes an Officer of the Order of Canada.
2009: Doug Bonn becomes Head of the Department.
2010: Gordon Semenoff wins the Brockouse Medal for seminal contributions to the theory of graphene and its massless quasiparticles.
- Carl Wieman is called to Washington, D.C. as Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
2017:Gary Hinshaw is elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada — see http://www.phas.ubc.ca/hinshaw-elected-royal-society-canada
2017: Ingrid Stairs is awarded the Rutherford Memorial Medal by the Royal Society of Canada — see http://www.phas.ubc.ca/stairs-receives-rsc-rutherford-memorial-medal-physics
2017: Reiner Kruecken is elected a fellow of the APS.
2017: Gary Hinshaw and Mark Halpern are awarded the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, for their work on the WMAP experiment that measured the Cosmic Microwave Background. See http://www.phas.ubc.ca/hinshaw-receives-2018-breakthrough-prize-fundamental-physics