Join the group

What we do

Students in the the balloon astrophysics group work as a diverse team to design, build, and fly balloon-borne instruments, and then exploit the data from these instruments to answer questions of profound astrophysical interest.  The projects are generally multi-institutional, with our group specializes in gondolas and pointing systems.  

The day-to-day work of our students ranges from machine-shop work and electronic/mechanical design, to data analysis on super-computers, providing a very broad range of experience.  Our students travel to exciting places, and work closely with students and professors from other institutions, helping to generate a close network before graduation.  Students from the group go on to a range of exciting jobs inside and outside astrophysics.

Graduate students

Our group is open to students from the Department of Physics, the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, or (working with professor Chris Damaren) the Institute for Aerospace Studies.  

For Astronomy and Astrophysics students, and for Physics students, a great way to see if working in the balloon astrophysics group is for you is to take AST1501 or AST1500 with us.  It is also a great idea to chat with one or more of our current team members to hear about what we really do.  Check out our current projects to see what we are up to right now, and some of our past flight campaign blogs to see that is all about.

Undergraduate Students

There are always opportunities for undergraduates to get involved with what we do!  We take students through the physics USRA program, and the Dunlap Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Program, or you can explore the possibility of doing a senior thesis with us.  Or, if you are at UofT, and are looking for casual work during the semester, please contact Professor Netterfield.  We take students from Physics, Astronomy, or Engineering, and from both the University of Toronto, and across Canada.

As an undergraduate research student, you will be fully engaged in the operations of the lab, working with the graduate students and the professors.  You will even have the opportunity to travel to any field campaigns we have during your tenure.  As well as being a fun job, and providing you with that invaluable letter-of-reference for grad school applications, doing undergraduate research in our group is a great way to see if you would like to do a Ph.D. in balloon astrophysics.  Several of our current and past graduate students started out doing undergraduate research in our group.

The type of work we do is very broad - ranging from playing with power tools to coding on super computers, and it may seem to you that you are not prepared.  But don't panic.  All students start that way; all we really require is enthusiasm for the project, and a desire to learn.  So if you are thinking about it, contact us - or just apply today!


Prof Barth Netterfield
Prof. C. Barth Netterfield
Balloon Borne Astrophysics
University of Toronto 

Dept. Of Physics 
60 St. George  Street 
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A7

Lab: ES4150 
Phone: (416) 845-0946
Lab Phone: (416) 946-0946