UBC Physics Circle

Are there giant ants in outer space? How is DNA crammed into the cell nucleus? How many Starbucks stores are there in Seattle? Can you extract information from a black hole?

Physics provides a powerful set of tools for understanding the world around us and answering remarkably diverse questions like the ones above. The UBC Physics Circle invites motivated high school students (grades 10–12) to join us as we build up this toolset, and apply it to everything from buying a cup of coffee to the deepest mysteries of the cosmos. Our main goal is to foster curiosity, creativity, and a sense of community.

Physics Circle consists of 2-hour sessions on Thursdays (from 5:15–7:15 PM), every 2–3 weeks. Physics Circle 2020/2021 meetings will begin in mid-October. The first four sessions will be on Oct 15/29 and Nov 12/26. This year, all sessions will be held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We strongly encourage students underrepresented in STEM – girls, Indigenous youth, and those from underprivileged communities – to participate.

Please email physics.circle@phas.ubc.ca if you have any questions.


  • Meetings start with lectures. Typically, a UBC physicist or astronomer will introduce their research, more advanced physics concepts, some applications of physics, or ideally all three (5:15–6:00).
  • After the lecture, students are let loose on an auxiliary discussion topic or problem set (6:00–7:15). This is an informal setting where students can explore, ask questions, and learn actively together. We commonly make explorations beyond the high school syllabus, but the technical scope is limited to suit most backgrounds.
  • Physics Circle volunteers facilitate discussions and provide guidance, as well as hold occasional problem-solving tutorials.

Topics and Resources of Current Cycle

The following list outlines the upcoming speakers and the approximate topics to be presented. Actual speech topics may vary.

Topics and Problems from Past Cycles




We are grateful to the past Physics Circle speakers.

Our Volunteers

Pedram Amani, Mariposa Casida, Amritabha Guha (program coordinator 2020-21), Candice Ip, Tiffany Matthe, Marianne Moore, Joshua Tindall, Chris Waddell, David Wakeham, Ashley Warner, Rio Weil (program coordinator 2020–21), Alice Xiong (program coordinator 2020–21), Grace Zhang

Past volunteers: Hailey Ahn, Connor Bevington, Philip Bement, Sean Chen, Sean Ghaeli, Peter Gysbers, Andy Hsu, Daniel Korchinski, Pedram Laghaei, Ennio Moreau


Spherical cows may happen.