Chile is a natural laboratory in many fields, but particularly so in astronomy. By 2020, about 70% of the astronomical observation capacity in the world will be located in Chile. This has contributed to the growth and solid reputation of astrophysics departments in Chile. Astrophysics Chair Tim Beers has been to Chile more than thirty times for observation purposes. He is very enthusiastic about strengthening the research, student and faculty exchange, and other avenues of collaborative work with the PUC astronomy department, as well as with other national and international institutions in the field that are housed in Chile.
In 2016, Notre Dame, PUC, Catholic University Leuven (Belgium) and Sacro Cuore University-Milan (Italy) signed an agreement to establish an International Ph.D. in Science. Students can apply to any two of these universities to obtain a dual PhD in science that could benefit from the diverse research and collaboration opportunities offered by these universities. There have been important steps towards a dual PhD agreement in Chemistry and Astrophysics between ND and PUC.
One of the highlights of the relationship between the School of Physics of Notre Dame and PUC has been in 2017, when Professor Chris Howk took his sabbatical at the astronomy department at PUC. Professor Howk’s research is the continuation of the work conducted by a group of Notre Dame astrophysics professors in October 2015.