Astronomy, the oldest of the sciences, originated in the human urge to understand the mysterious lights we see in the sky above us — the Sun, the Moon, the planets, and the stars. Over the centuries, new tools have become available to study these cosmic icons — telescopes that allow us to see further and fainter, detectors that are sensitive to electromagnetic signals at non-visible wavelengths, and satellites that can observe from outside the confines of the Earth’s atmosphere. These tools have answered many questions, but raised even more. How did the Universe begin, and how did the stars and galaxies within it form? How will it end? Are there habitable planets around other stars — and has life emerged on these planets?
The UW Astronomy-Physics program builds on a foundation of classical and modern Physics, to embark on a comprehensive study of the observable Universe at scales extending from planets and stars, through to galaxies and the cosmic web.