Western University Physics adn AstronomyWestern Science

Jan Cami, Associate Professor

Jan Cami

Contact Information

Office: PAB 203
Tel: 519 661-2111 ext 80978
E-mail: jcami [at] uwo [dot] ca 

Personal web page

Research Areas

Observational Astronomy; Evolved stars (including planetary nebulae); interstellar matter; astrochemistry; molecular spectroscopy.

Research Interests

I use astronomical (spectroscopic) observations to study the surroundings of dying stars and the interstellar medium. In those environments, we see a rich mixture of molecular gas and various dust grains. The aim of my research is to figure out the physical processes and chemical pathways that lead to these species. Since our discovery of "buckyballs" in planetary nebulae, much work has focused on understanding how these large and stable species form and evolve, and what other, related molecules may exist in space. A second large research program is the study of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs), a set of hundreds of mysterious interstellar absorption lines that are unidentified to date. We can derive a lot about the molecules responsible for these DIBs by careful analyses of astronomical observations.

Most of my research is based on observations from the UV to the radio with ground-based, airborne or space telescopes, but generally includes some theoretical work or a comparison with theoretical models as well, or uses advanced statistics or computational methods. A typical research project will combine astronomy, physics, chemistry and computer science. All research is part of large international collaborations, including with researchers from NASA.

Here you can find an up to date List of Publications


2016-2017: Physics 1302/1402: Introductory Physics
Astronomy 1021: General Astronomy
Astronomy 2801: Stars, Galaxies & Cosmology
Physics 4999: Honors Research Projects

Astronomy 9612S/Physics 9612S: Fundamentals of Computation
Astronomy 9028S: Principles of Statistics and Data Analysis
Astronomy 9609: Stellar Structure
Astronomy 9610: Introduction to Modern Physics
Astronomy 9612S/Physics 9612S: Fundamentals of Computation


  • Faculty of Science Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2016.
  • Faculty Scholar 2012–2014 
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, June 2011
  • Science and Technology Innovation Award, Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce / Flanders Investment and Trade, Dec 2010 
  • Faculty of Science Outreach Award 2010 (awarded to entire Astronomy group)
  • NASA Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding contributions in Information Security at NASA Ames Research Center from 2004 through 2005

Professional Activities

  • Director of the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory, 2010--present.
  • Associate Director (Acting), Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX).
  • Member, CASCA Education & Public Outreach Committee, 2008--present.