First Name
Last Name
Office Room
Hennings 320B
Lab Room
Hennings 308
Tel (Office)
(604) 822-2696
Research Groups

Students Wanted

Bachelor's Degree
University of Toronto, 1979, Astronomy & Astrophysics

Master's Degree
University of Western Ontario, 1982, Astronomy & Astrophysics

Doctoral Degree
University of Western Ontario, 1987, Astronomy & Astophysics

Employment History

NSERC and Killam Postdoctoral Fellow, UBC (1988 - 1990)
Attache de recherche, Universite de Montreal (1990 - 1992)
Assistant Professor, UBC (1992 - 2000)
Associate Professor, UBC (2000 - 2008)
Full Professor, UBC (2008 - present)


Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012

Officer of the Order of Canada, 2006
Canadian Association of Physicists Education Medal, 2002
Just Desserts Award from the UBC Alma Mater Society & Alumni Association, 2002
UBC Killam Faculty of Science Teaching Award, 1999


Research Area
Astronomy & Astrophysics

Research Field
Stellar astrophysics, stellar pulsation and asteroseismology, exoplanetary science

Research Topics
Stellar seismology, stellar structure and evolution, exoplanets, magnetic peculiar stars, photometry and spectroscopy, space astronomy

Research Title


I'm an astro-paparazzo who unveils the hidden lifestyles of stars by eavesdropping on “the music of the spheres.” My version of an interstellar iPod is Canada’s first space telescope, MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars), which detects vibrations in the light of ringing stars too subtle to be seen even by the largest telescopes on Earth. As Mission Scientist leading the Canadian Space Agency’s MOST project, and an astrophysicist, I and my team of students and collaborators are trying to write a biography of our Sun – past and future – by studying its neighbours in the Milky Way. Our research sometimes sounds more like astromedicine than astrophysics: performing “ultrasound” on stellar embryos, checking on the hyperactivity of a pre-teen sun, and taking the pulses of stars in their twilight years. We are also using MOST to forecast the weather on planets beyond the Solar System, and have begun the search for Terra Nova – exoEarths around other stars.

In addition to heading the MOST Mission, I've also sat on Canada's scientific steering committees for the international Gemini Twin 8-Metre Telescopes Project and the Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer satellite, and the Joint Committee on Space Astronomy which advises the Canadian Space Agency and the Canadian Astronomical Society. I'm a member of the International Astronomical Union's Commission on Variable Stars, and a frequent invited review speaker at meetings around the world, from Prague to Porto, Moscow to Mmbatho (South Africa), Cancun to Calgary.

Astronomy education and public outreach are also very important facets of my scientific career. I served two terms on the Board of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre (one as Vice-President) and continue to sit on its Programming & Education Committee. My media (mis)adventures include appearances on CBC, CTV, Global, CityTV Vancouver and Toronto, CNN, and Space: The Imagination Station. I posed in multiple guises (from a superhero flying in the ozone layer to an X-ray version of Austin Powers) in the Discovery Channel documentary series "Light: More Than Meets The Eye". I have yet to live down being quoted in Discover Magazine as saying "Exploding Star Contains Atoms From Elvis Presley's Brain - Scientists Confirm The King of Rock & Roll Lived In Another Galaxy 160,000 Years Ago!”

Selected Publications

Croll, B.; Matthews, J.M.; Walker, G.A.H.; Rowe, J.F.; Miller-Ricci, E.; Kuschnig, R.; Sasselov, D.; Rucinski, S.M.; Walker, A.; Guenther, D.B.; Moffat, A.F.J.; Weiss, W.W.; “Spot modulation of the transit exoplanet system HD 189733: MOST detects moderate spin-orbit misalignment”, 2007, The Astrophysical Journal, in press.

Matthews, J.M., 2007, "One small telescope, so many light curves", Communications in Asteroseismology, Invited Review Paper, in press.

Barban, C., Matthews, J.M., De Ridder, J., Baudin, F., Kuschnig, R., Mazumdar, A., Samadi, R., Guenther, D.B., Moffat, A.F.J., Rucinski, S.M., Sasselov, D., Walker, G.A.H. and Weiss, W.W., "Detection of solar-like oscillations in the red giant star epsilon Ophiuchi by MOST spacebased photometry", 2007, Astronomy & Astrophysics, in press.

Cameron, C.; Matthews, J.M.; Rowe, J.F.; Kuschnig, R.; Guenther, D.B.; Moffat, A.F.J.; Rucinski, S.M.; Sasselov, D.; Walker, G.A.H.; Weiss, W.W. “MOST Photometry of the roAp star HD 134214”, 2006, Communications of Asteroseismology, 148, 57

King, H.; Matthews, J.M.; Rowe, J.F.; Cameron, C.; Kuschnig, R.; Guenther, D.B.; Moffat, A.F.J.; Rucinski, S.M.; Sasselov, D.; Walker, G.A.H.; Weiss, W.W., “HD 114839 - An Am star showing both δ Scuti and γ Dor pulsations discovered through MOST photometry”, 2006, Communications of Asteroseismology, 148, 28

Rowe, J. F.; Matthews, J. M.; Seager, S.; Kuschnig, R.; Guenther, D. B.; Moffat, A. F. J.; Rucinski, S. M. Sasselov, D.; Walker, G. A. H.; Weiss, W. W.; “An Upper Limit on the Albedo of HD 209458b: Direct Imaging Photometry with the MOST Satellite”, 2006, The Astrophysical Journal, 646, 1241-1251

Matthews, J.M., Kuschnig, K., Guenther, D., Walker, G.A.H., Moffat, A.F.G., Rucinski, S., Sasselov, D., and Weiss, W.W. 2004, “No stellar p-mode oscillations in space-based photometry of Procyon”, Nature, 480, 51-53.