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Welcome

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 Biochemistry, and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and others.

CASS News

2017

Prof. Konopacky
26 October 2017 : Quinn Konopacky named 2017-18 Hellman Faculty Fellow

Assistant Professor of Physics Quinn Konopacky has been named a UCSD Hellman Faculty Fellow for 2017-18. The Hellman Fellows Program annually awards funding to recognize faculty who show capacity for great distinction in their research and academic work, and is intended to support activities that will enhance their progress towards tenure. Congratulations, Professor Konopacky! Read More


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16 October 2017 : Jérémy Chastenet joins CASS

Jérémy Chastenet has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective October 16th. Dr. Chastenet is under the supervision of Prof. Karin Sandstrom. His research activities include studying the properties of dust in nearby galaxies using observations from the Herschel Space Observatory and the WISE All-Sky survey. Welcome aboard, Dr. Chastenet!


Dr. Malkov
12 October 2017 : Malkov elected a 2017 Fellow of the APS

Mikhail Malkov has been elected a 2017 Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) by the APS Council of Representatives upon the recommendation of the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP). The number of APS Fellows elected each year is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership. It is a prestigious recognition by their peers of their outstanding contributions to physics. Dr. Malkov is being recognized for his ground-breaking contributions to the theory of charged particle acceleration by collisionless shocks, the theory of nonlinear shock acceleration and injection, and the propagation of accelerated particles; for key contributions to modeling the LH transition. Congratulations Mischa!


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5 October 2017 : UCSD professor and CASS engineers pioneered significant development of electron sensors for the advancement of electron microscopy

The Nobel prize in chemistry was awarded for the development of cryo-electron microscopy. The latest technical developments that made the recent breakthrough possible was the introduction of new electron detectors in electron microscopy. Early reports on the use of these sensors for the detection of electrons were presented around the mid-2000s, but these sensors had already been used as a tool in studies of charged particles in other research areas, such as astronomy. This sensor work was pioneered by Dr. Xuong of the UCSD Physics department with the support of CASS engineers Fred Dutweiler and Philippe LeBlanc.


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18 September 2017 : Alex Lowell joins CASS

Alexander Lowell has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective November 8th. Dr. Lowell is under the supervision of Prof. Steven Boggs and his research activities will involve Compton Spectrometer and Imager gamma rays. Welcome aboard, Dr. Lowell!


Courtesy: UCSD Communications
21 August 2017 : CASS Astronomers Take Flight for Rare Solar Eclipse

Several CASS astronomers traveled far and wide to view today's special eclipse, which was the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the United States in 99 years. Read More


Dr. Roberts
14 August 2017 : Jarred Roberts joins CASS

Jarred Roberts has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective August 14th. Dr. Roberts is under the supervision of Prof. Steven Boggs and his research activities will involve high-energy physics instrumentation development for experiments like the Compton Spectrometer and Imager Explorer (COSI-X) and the General Antiparticle Spectrometer (GAPS). Welcome aboard, Dr. Roberts!


TRAPPIST-1
11 August 2017 : TRAPPIST-1 is Older Than Our Solar System

Adam Burgasser -- first author on paper outlining a new study that the TRAPPIST-1 star is quite old: between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years. This is up to twice as old as our own solar system, which formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Read More


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4 August 2017 : Primordial Black Holes May Have Helped to Forge
Heavy Elements

Astronomers like to say we are the byproducts of stars, stellar furnaces that long ago fused hydrogen and helium into the elements needed for life through the process of stellar nucleosynthesis.

As the late Carl Sagan once put it: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.”

But what about the heavier elements in the periodic chart, elements such as gold, platinum and uranium?

Astronomers believe most of these “r-process elements”—elements much heavier than iron—were created, either in the aftermath of the collapse of massive stars and the associated supernova explosions, or in the merging of binary neutron star systems.

“A different kind of furnace was needed to forge gold, platinum, uranium and most other elements heavier than iron,” explained George Fuller, a theoretical astrophysicist and professor of physics who directs UC San Diego’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. “These elements most likely formed in an environment rich with neutrons.” Read More


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26 July 2017 : Milky Way’s origins are not what they seem

Prof. Keres and the FIRE team found that a large fraction of matter in the Milky Way comes from far-flung galaxies. Read More


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1 June 2017 : Sibasish Laha joins CASS

Sibasish Laha has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective June 1st. Dr. Laha is under the supervision of Dr. Alex Markowitz and his research activities will involve studying how supermassive black holes residing in other galaxies are fueled. He will use observational X-ray data on dozens of gas-accreting black holes to study how matter is transported from the host galaxies. Welcome aboard!


An artist’s conception of SIMP0136. Image by NASA/JPL
9 May 2017 : Nearby Brown Dwarf Appears to be a Free-Floating ‘Planet’

Adam Burgasser was part of an international team which has discovered that one of the closest brown dwarfs to our Sun has the same mass as a giant planet. It's called SIMP J013656.5+093347, or SIMP0136 for short, and is a well-studied brown dwarf only 21 light-years from the Sun in the constellation Pisces. Read More


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9 March 2017 : Adam Burgasser awarded a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholarship

Adam Burgasser has been awarded a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholarship to conduct astrophysical research in the United Kingdom. The Fulbright Program, initiated by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and managed by the US Department of State, aims to increase mutual understanding and support of friendly and peaceful relations between people of the US and the people of other countries by awarding exchange grants to US and foreign researchers in over 155 countries. Over 370,000 Fulbright Awards have been awarded since the programs inception, and many have gone on to win Nobel Prizes and become leaders and innovators in scientific research. Adam will be in residence at the University of Exeter investigating cloud formation in the atmospheres of the coolest stars, brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets.


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23 February 2017 : Andrew Friedman's work on cosmic tests of fundamental quantum mechanics spotlighted

New CASS Assistant Research Scientist Andrew Friedman's work on cosmic tests of fundamental quantum mechanics has been featured as an Editors Suggestion in PRL, and is written up in Forbes, New Scientist, Quanta, and The Atlantic magazines. Here are the articles in Forbes, Quanta, and The Atlantic. For the PRL release: Read More


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23 February 2017 : Andrew Friedman newly appointed in CASS

Andrew Friedman has been appointed as an Assistant Research Scientist in CASS, effective March 1st. Welcome aboard!


Edward Bouchet
23 February 2017 : Two graduate students selected as members of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

Mojegan Azadi and Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi have been selected to be members of the UC San Diego Chapter of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society for 2017. Their nominations demonstrate their exemplification of the characteristics of Edward A. Bouchet: Character, Leadership, Advocacy, Service, and Scholarly Achievement. Congratulations! Read More


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22 February 2017 : Adam Burgasser contributes to discovery of potentially habitable planetary system

Adam Burgasser is part of an international team that discovered a record-setting seven-planet system around a very low-mass, low-temperature star called TRAPPIST-1. All seven planets are roughly Earth-sized, and three reside in the star's habitable zone. Read More



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30 January 2017 : Quinn Konopacky receives 2016 UCSD Diversity Award

Congratulations to Quinn Konopacky, Assistant Professor of Physics, for being nominated to receive a 2016 UCSD Diversity Award!

The annual Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards Program honors staff, faculty, students, departments, and organizational units or groups that make outstanding contributions in the areas of equal opportunity, affirmative action, diversity, and the UCSD Principles of Community during the year.


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