Dr. Matthews’ Story

Astro-paparazzo unveils the hidden lifestyles of stars

Dr. Matthews’ Story
CategoryFaculty
NameJaymie Matthews
ProgramPhysics & Astronomy
ActivitiesOfficer of the Order of Canada

 

Designed and built at UBC by Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Canada’s first space telescope – MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of Stars) – detects changes in the light of vibrating stars too subtle to be seen by even the largest telescopes on Earth.

“I like to think that I study the ‘body language’ of stars,” says Dr. Matthews. He says you can learn a lot about a person from how she moves and acts, just as you would a star. “If she’s cold or nervous, she might quiver, for example,” he says. “It turns out that many stars quiver as well, not because they’re cold, but because of sound waves bouncing around inside their gaseous interiors. If we can record the vibrations at the star’s surface, it tells us about what that star is like inside, and about its stage in life.”

You might expect a professor of Astronomy and Physics, recognized with two prestigious teaching awards, and who is an Officer of the Order of Canada, to be a rather intimidating sort of person. But around Jaymie Matthews it’s easy to feel at home. His office, filled with pop culture references from Star Wars to Ghostbusters, is a place where students can meet with him one on one. Like all UBC professors, Dr. Matthews schedules regular office hours in order to be available to his students.

He also has a few words of advice for  high school students interested in becoming astronomers: “If you dream of becoming an astronomer and studying the Universe, don’t become discouraged. You could make a lot more money in another field with a lot less training, but nobody goes into astronomy for the money. It’s a passion. You can’t lose by following your dream, even if it doesn’t lead you where you expect when you start.

Dr. Matthews brings his ability to make complex scientific concepts relevant and his easygoing style to both the classroom and the lab, where many of his students are directly involved in his research.

 

Latest Stories

Previous
Indigenous Destination UBC Story

Choosing the right place to study

How one student made her first friends through Indigenous Destination UBC
student

Choosing the right place to study

“I was excited that this university is so welcoming to Indigenous peoples, and that it has accepted me.” - Cecilia Raweater
Crag D'Costa UBC Story

Searching for new challenges

Why Craig chose to study in a new country
student

Searching for new challenges

"I strongly believed that North America was full of opportunity and the place to be, so I applied." - Craig D'Costa, Mechanical Engineering
Valie Madejska UBC Story

Jack of all trades

How UBC's varied courses helped one student to pursue all her interests
student

Jack of all trades

"The interesting thing I like to point out is that the quote 'Jack of all trades, master of none' has a second part, which goes 'but ofttimes better than a master of one.'" - Valie Madejska, BFA

COVID-19: Finding a new way to live and study

How four UBC students have adjusted to the global situation
student

COVID-19: Finding a new way to live and study

Discover how four UBC students each meet with their professors and connect with their friends, how they're keeping up their hobbies, and what advice they have for future students.
Daniel Fan Future Global Leaders 2020

Finding the right fit

Discovering his dream school in Canada with the help of Future Global Leaders
student

Finding the right fit

"Future Global Leaders has managed to imitate what university life truly is – and from my personal experience, I think that’s where the uncertainty for most high school students comes from." - Daniel Fan, Bachelor of Kinesiology

Exploring her future

How UBC's Future Global Leaders program helped Kate decide where to study
student

Exploring her future

“I would say it's a great chance to understand if UBC is a good fit for you, or find out how you would feel at a big university in general.” - Kate Theriault, BA in Political Science
Leonardo Moutinho Caffarello Student Story

All roads lead to space

From Brazil to Canada, en route to Mars
student

All roads lead to space

"UBC has inspired me to reach for new heights and leave my mark on this planet in a positive way." - Leonardo Caffarello, Physics
Noa Berman Mayer UBC Student Story

Discovering the impact of a Forestry degree

How one student unearthed her passion for conservation
student

Discovering the impact of a Forestry degree

"There are intricacies in the smallest of ecosystems, and there is so much more to discover," - Noa Mayer, BSc in Natural Resources Conservation
next