The Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS) is an interdisciplinary research unit for research and graduate study in astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences. Areas of specialization include high-energy astrophysics, optical and ultraviolet astronomy, infrared astronomy, radio astronomy, theoretical astrophysics, cosmology, solar physics, space plasma physics, interferometry, and astronomical instrumentation. CASS includes faculty, research staff and students affiliated with UCSD's departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.
| 3 May 2013 : Extreme Star Formation Reveals a Fleeting Phase of Galactic Evolution - Alison Coil and Aleks Diamond-Stanic Helped Make the Discovery
Astronomers have spotted a galaxy that is igniting new stars faster than ever seen before. Measurements from several instruments show that gas in this galaxy is condensing to form stars close to the maximum rate thought possible. “What is unique about this particular galaxy is that it is forming stars so rapidly with such a tiny supply of gas,” said Aleksandar Diamond-Stanic, a fellow at the University of California’s Southern California Center for Galaxy Evolution who helped make the discovery. A team of nine astrophysicists recently reported the finding in Astrophysical Journal Letters. Read More
| 26 April 2013 : Grad Student Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi awarded Friends of the International Center scholarship
CASS-Physics Graduate Student Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi has been awarded a Friends of the International Center Graduate Scholarship for 2013-2014. In her application, Daniella describes her personal goal as promoting science and scientific development in her home country of Peru. The Friends of the International Center is a volunteer organization which supports international education, and fosters friendship, understanding, and cooperation within the international community. Scholarships are awarded to students each year to assist in paying their tuition, fees, or expenses related to research towards their PhD degrees. The scholarships are funded equally by the Friends organization and the University of California. Read More
| 18 April 2013 : Navy names new Scripps Research vessel to honor legacy of space explorer Sally Ride
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the nation's newest research vessel will be named R/V Sally Ride, in honor of the former UC San Diego faculty member who was the first American female astronaut and the youngest American to fly in space. The ship is owned by the U.S. Navy, will be operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and will have its home port at the Scripps Nimitz Marine Facility in Point Loma on San Diego Bay. Read More
| 14 April 2013 : Fuller recipient of Hans A. Bethe Prize
CASS Director and Distinguished Professor of Physics George Fuller was awarded the 2013 Hans A. Bethe Prize on April 14, 2013 at a special award ceremony held during the APS April 2013 meeting in Denver, CO. The prestigious award is given annually by the American Physical Society to "recognize outstanding work in theory, experiment or observation in the areas of astrophysics, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, or closely related fields." The prize, which was established to honor Bethe, a renowned nuclear physicist at Cornell University, consists of $10,000 and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient. Read More
| 7 March 2013 : Angel Flight West Event Features Volunteer Pilot, Astrophysicist Brian Keating
Angel Flight West attracts aviation enthusiasts to San Diego Air and Space Museum event where AFW volunteer pilot and University of California San Diego professor of astrophysics, Brian G. Keating, PhD, describes and depicts first moments after Big Bang gleaned from South Pole microwave telescopes. Read More
| 31 January 2013 : Mark Thiemens' Group Reveals History of Two Mysterious Space Rocks
Two unusual space rocks that survived their fiery falls through Earth’s atmosphere have ended up in the Urey Hall chemistry laboratory of Mark Thiemens, whose group identified one as a new class of Martian meteorite that likely originated from the Red Planet’s crust. Read More
| 9 January 2013 : New Telescopes to Give UC San Diego Researchers Glimpse of the Beginning of Time
Simons Foundation gives $4.3 million in funding for construction and installation of new telescopes to measure universe at its inception. "The Simons Array will inform our knowledge of the universe in a completely new way," said Brian Keating, associate professor of Physics at UC San Diego's Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. Keating will lead the project with Professor Adrian Lee of UC Berkeley. Read More
| 18 December 2012 : Moon impact site named for UCSD Physicist and first female American astronaut Sally Ride.
One year after their arrival at the moon, NASA's twin Grail spacecraft got a grand sendoff into oblivion, climaxing with a well-orchestrated crash onto a crater's rim. The place where they crashed will be named after Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, who passed away this summer. Ride was in charge of the Grail mission's MoonKam project, which let students from around the world select targets for the probes' cameras. MIT's Maria Zuber, the mission's principal investigator, announced just after today's double whammy that her team received clearance from NASA to name the crash site after Ride. Read More
| 3 December 2012 : Professor Art Wolfe elected as Fellow of AAAS
Professor Art Wolfe has been elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He will be recognized for his contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum to be held on 16 February 2013 during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, MA. Professor Wolfe will receive a certificate and a blue and gold rosette as a symbol of his distinguished accomplishments. Read More
| 20 November 2012 : Professor Alison Coil awarded extensive access to the Keck Telescope over the next 4 years to undertake a new survey of distant galaxies
Professor Alison Coil is the co-PI of a major new faint galaxy redshift survey being undertaken at the 10-meter Keck I Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey will exploit the new capabilities of a recently-completed multi-object near infrared spectrograph called MOSFIRE, built at the UCLA Infrared Laboratory. Using this new spectrograph, the MOSDEF survey will target 2,000 extremely distant galaxies, lying 9 to 11.5 billion light years away. With these data, the team will obtain rest-frame optical spectra to study the stellar and gaseous content of very young galaxies, charting galaxy evolution when the Universe was only 2-4 billion years old. Professor Coil will study in particular the growing supermassive black holes in these distant galaxies. The MOSDEF team has been awarded a total of 47 observing nights on the Keck I telescope for the survey, which will take four years to complete and will result in more than an order of magnitude improvement over existing surveys. MOSDEF is a UC-wide collaboration; additional co-PIs include Alice Shapley (UCLA), Mariska Kriek (UCB), Naveen Reddy (UCI), Brian Siana (UCI), and Bahram Mobasher (UCI). Read More
| || 9 October 2012 : Professor Pat Diamond awarded 2012 Nuclear Fusion Prize
Professor Pat Diamond has been awarded the 2012 Nuclear Fusion Award from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Board of Editors voted his paper, Physics of Non-diffusive Turbulent Transport of Momentum and the Origins of Spontaneous Rotation in Tokamaks, as the most outstanding paper from the 2009 volume. The Nuclear Fusion prize is awarded annually to recognize outstanding work published in the journal.
Each year, a shortlist of ten papers is nominated for the prize. These are papers of the highest scientific standard, published in the journal volume from two years previous to the award year. Nominations are based on citation record and recommendations by the Board of Editors. The Board then votes by secret ballot to determine which of these papers has made the largest scientific impact.
The award was presented at the 2012 Fusion Energy Conference in San Diego.
| 21 September 2012 : CASS Director and Distinguished Professor of Physics George Fuller wins prestigious Hans Bethe Prize
CASS Director and Distinguished Professor of Physics George Fuller has been selected to receive the 2013 Hans A. Bethe Prize. The prestigious award is given annually by the American Physical Society to "recognize outstanding work in theory, experiment or observation in the areas of astrophysics, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, or closely related fields." The prize, which was established to honor Bethe, a renowned nuclear physicist at Cornell University, consists of $10,000 and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient. Fuller was cited for "outstanding contributions to nuclear astrophysics, especially his seminal work on weak interaction rates for stellar evolution and collapse and his pioneering research on neutrino flavor-mixing in supernovae." He will formally receive his award at a special session of the society's April 2013 meeting in Denver.
Fuller has focused much of his recent research at CASS on the physics of the mysterious and ghostlike particles in the universe known as neutrinos, which hold the keys to physicists' improved understanding of cosmology, exploding stars called supernovae, and the origin of the elements. Fuller and his research group at UC San Diego have been calculating how neutrinos likely changed their "flavors" in the early universe, how they do so now within supernovae and how this process affects the synthesis of elements within stars--a process astrophysicists call nucleosynthesis. Read More
| 21 August 2012 : Dr. Aleks Diamond-Stanic leads study on Intense Bursts of Star Formation Driving Fierce Galactic Winds
Fierce galactic winds powered by an intense burst of star formation may blow gas right out of massive galaxies, shutting down their ability to make new stars. Sifting through images and data from three telescopes, a team of astronomers led by CASS Postdoctoral Fellow Aleksandar Diamond-Stanic found 29 objects with outflowing winds measuring up to 2,500 kilometers per second, an order of magnitude faster than most observed galactic winds. Read More
| 20 August 2012 : Professor George Fuller co-authors paper with UCSD Physics graduate student JJ Cherry on how a halo of neutrinos alters physics of exploding stars
Sparse halos of neutrinos within the hearts of exploding stars exert a previously unrecognized influence on the physics of the explosion and may alter which elements can be forged by these violent events. Physics grad student JJ Cherry models stellar explosions, including a type called a core-collapse supernova. As these stars run out of fuel, their cores suddenly collapse to form a neutron star, which quickly rebounds sending seas of neutrinos through the surrounding stellar envelope and out into space. Prof. Fuller leads the neutrino-modeling research group and is a co-author of the paper. Read More
| 15 August 2012 : Professor Dusan Keres and collaborators apply new computational approach to accurately follow formation and evolution of thousands of galaxies over billions of years.
Formation of disk-like galaxies observed in our cosmic neighborhood is a long standing problem in astrophysics. Recently a team of scientists applied new computational method to model formation and evolution of a large number of galaxies from the times when our Universe was very young to present. These new computer simulations provide much better accuracy than previous models and for the first time produced a large population of galaxies with extended gaseous disks similar to the ones in in our neighborhood. The team from CASS-UCSD, Harvard-Smithsonian CfA and HITS Institute in Germany described their work in three recently accepted publications; UCSD Assistant Professor of Physics Keres is the leading author on one of these publications. Read More
| || 1 August 2012 : Ramin Skibba appointed as Assistant Project Scientist
Ramin Skibba has been appointed to CASS as an Assistant Project Scientist effective August 1, 2012. Dr. Skibba is an expert on galaxy clustering and interpreting large- scale structure measurements to constrain models of galaxy evolution. Prior to his appointment at UCSD, he was at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory. Please welcome Dr. Skibba to CASS!
| 23 July 2012 : Sally Ride passed away at age 61
Sally Ride, trailblazing first American woman in space, passed away peacefully this morning, July 23, 2012. She joined the Physics faculty in 1989, and was a popular instructor in large lower-division courses for non-majors. During her time at UCSD, she also served as Director of the California Space Institute for many years, and created and oversaw the EarthKam project. After her retirement from UCSD in 2007, she devoted her energy to Sally Ride Science, a company she established to encourage girls' participation in science. Read More
| 9 July 2012 : Bright Minds Shine in Science
Associate Professor of Physics Alison Coil is among seven featured successful female researchers in San Diego. Read More
| 4 July 2012 : Dr. Carl Melis Discovers a Disappearing Disk
Dr. Carl Melis, NSF and CASS Postdoctoral Fellow reports in the journal Nature that a dusty disk observed around a Sun-like star has changed dramatically in only a couple years. They observed a rapid decline in infrared light, which they propose corresponds to a sudden depletion of the dust disk. While the process by which this happens remains uncertain, it should provide new insight into how rocky planets like the Earth form. Read More
| 15 June 2012 : CASS Undergraduate Earns Chambliss Award at AAS
UCSD undergraduate Amy Christensen was awarded a Chambliss Award Honorable Mention at the 220th American Astronomical Society meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, for her poster on variable L dwarfs in the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey. Amy's poster drew a crowd in part for its creative xkcd-style format, a popular comic among scientists. Read More
| 20 May 2012 : Telescope peers into the origins of the universe
UC San Diego has begun operating a powerful new telescope that’s focused on one of the toughest questions in physics: Exactly what happened at the precise instant that the big bang created the universe? Read More
| 2 April 2012 : CASS grad student Jonathan Kaufman awarded Congressional medal
CASS grad student Jonathan Kaufman awarded the Antarctica Service Medal of the United States of America, authorized by Congress in recognition of his contributions to exploration and scientific achievement under the U.S. Antarctica Program. Read More
| || 1 April 2012 : Dusan Keres appointed as Assistant Professor of Physics
Dusan Keres has been appointed to UCSD as an Assistant Professor of Physics effective April 1, 2012. Dr. Keres' research encompasses broad area of formation and evolution of galaxies, their halos and the inter-galactic medium. Prior to his appointment at UCSD, he was a Hubble fellow in the Theoretical Astrophysics Center at UC Berkeley. Please welcome Dr. Keres to CASS!
| || 1 March 2012 : Angiola Orlando appointed as Assistant Project Scientist
Angiola Orlando has been appointed to CASS as an Assistant Project Scientist effective March 1, 2012. Dr. Orlando's research is in experimental and observational cosmology. Prior to her appointment at UCSD, she was a Moore Senior Postdoctoral Scholar at Caltech. Please welcome Dr. Orlando to CASS!
| 17 January 2012 : NASA's Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer Completes Mission Operations
After 16 years of observations of hundreds of cosmic X-ray sources, the Rossi X-ray timing Explorer was turned off and ceased operations. The High Energy X-ray Timing Experiment, conceived, designed, and built at UCSD, was one of three instruments aboard RXTE. RXTE opened the realm of time domain astrophysics with sub-millisecond timing of accreting neutron stars, magnetars, and Galactic black holes, thousands of monitoring observations revealing details on the spectral states and variability of active galaxies and micro-quasars, and all-sky monitoring of persistent and transient sources. The rapid response of RXTE to unpredictable cosmic events was a hallmark of the mission. Read More
| 10 January 2012 : POLARBEAR Experiment First Light
We are proud to announce that we got "first light/microwave" today with POLARBEAR. We saw the planets Venus and Jupiter, not in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, but with microwave/radio "vision". Read More
| 1 January 2012 : Spacecraft to be used by UCSD reaches moon
NASA's twin Grail spacecraft have entered orbit around the moon, where they'll offer a unique opportunity for undergraduates at the University of California San Diego to help photograph the lunar surface, starting in March. Karen Flammer, a researcher at UCSD's Center for Astrophysics and Space Science, said when the mission began last fall that, "Hands-on learning can really inspire kids, and in the case of MoonKam, there is pride of ownership since they select the area to be photographed." Read More
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