Earth and Space Science and Engineering

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Welcome to the Petrie Science and Engineering Building

The Petrie Science and Engineering Building, which opened in 1968, houses the Departments of Physics and AstronomyEarth and Space Science and Engineering  and part of the Chemistry Department as well as the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science (CRESS). This juxtaposition has provided fruitful opportunities for interdisciplinary research, with an area of about 17,000 square metres, as well as a number of specialized research facilities. These include 30 cm and 60 cm telescopes, CCD cameras, ultra high vacuum chambers, mass spectrometers, high bandwidth transient digitzers, lock-in amplifiers, and a variety of lasers including YAG, excimer, argon ion and stabilized ring dye lasers. The Petrie building houses the CRESS Space Instrumentation Laboratory, in which students will develop and test prototypes of instruments for space flight, the GeoICT lab (Geospatial Information and Communication Technology Laboratory) and computing facilities associated with the project “A Community Approach to Multiscale Air Quality Modelling and Forecasting”, all funded through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

A number of Atmospheric Science research projects are conducted in collaboration with the Environment Canada and groups from other universities, while Space Science projects such as Phoenix, OSIRIS on Odin, and SWIFT involve collaboration with local companies (MDA Space Missions, ConDev, Optech, EMS technologies etc) as well as the Canadian Space Agency, ESA, NASA and JPL.

The Petrie Science Building is connected to the Chemistry and Computer Science Building (CCB) which houses the Departments of Chemistry and Computer Science. Other York facilities include a professionally staffed glassblowing shop, a machine shop, an electronics shop, numerous desktop computers, VAX workstations, and IBM mainframe computers. The University library has a collection in excess of 1,000,000 volumes.

Check out this video about the history of the building’s construction from 1966 – 1968.

Student and Faculty workspace in the Petrie building