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CASS News

2019

Prof. Keating
22 May 2019 : Keating recipient of Excellence in Stewardship award

Prof. Brian Keating is one of three recipients of the Seventh Annual Excellence in Stewardship award. Prof. Keating demonstrates excellence in stewardship when engaging with our community of supporters.

Exemplary stewardship ensures that our supporters -- donors, volunteers, and corporate and foundation partners -- understand the significance of their involvement with UC San Diego. In addition to expressing gratitude, excellent stewardship cultivates meaningful relationships to advance the university's intellectual, physical, and cultural growth.

The Excellence in Stewardship awards are presented by the Trustees of the UC San Diego Foundation. The honorees will be recognized on June 6th at the annual UC San Diego Foundation Dinner. Congratulations, Prof. Keating! Read More


Prof. Burbidge
3 May 2019 : UC San Diego Announces Margaret Burbidge Visiting
Professorship

Heising-Simons Foundation helps boost participation of women scientists as part of new initiative in the Division of Physical Sciences. Read More


Prof. Coil
19 April 2019 : Coil recipient of the 2018/19 Distinguished Teaching Award

Prof. Alison Coil has been selected as a recipient of the 2018/19 Distinguished Teaching Award for Academic Senate Members.


The Distinguished Teaching Award is a prestigious award bestowed upon up to five members of the Academic Senate, three non-Senate faculty members, and three graduate students at UC San Diego each year. The Distinguished Teaching Award was created because UC San Diego faculty recognize the important role excellent teaching plays at the University. This Award is a tangible expression of UC San Diego's commitment to excellence in teaching and to ensuring that this commitment is maintained. The Committee on Distinguished Teaching seeks to select those who exhibit creativity, innovative teaching methods, the ability to motivate students to actively seek out knowledge, and an extraordinary level of teaching commitment. Congratulations, Prof. Coil!


Black hole
11 April 2019 : Scientists on Wednesday revealed the first image ever made of a black hole, depicting its hot, shadowy edges where light bends around itself in a cosmic funhouse effect

Alison Coil discusses this first image of a black hole with KUSI-TV. Read More


Prof. Coil
20 March 2019 : Prof. Alison Coil comments on diversity of SpaceX and whether we should colonize Mars

A new CNBC video on SpaceX and Elon Musk examines the company and space travel, and asks questions about the diversity of the SpaceX workforce and whether solving climate change on Earth should be a higher priority than colonizing Mars. Read More


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4 March 2019 : Einstein's Quantum Riddle: Special PBS NOVA Screening and Panel Discussion

Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance," but today quantum entanglement is poised to revolutionize technology from computers to cryptography. NOVA follows a unique experiment in the Canary Islands to use quasars at opposite ends of the universe to push back alternative explanations for entanglement to the beginning of time. Join us for a screening of the PBS NOVA documentary "Einstein's Quantum Riddle," hosted by UC San Diego's Andrew Friedman, one of the collaborators on the project, followed by a panel discussion. Moderated by UCSD CASS Prof. Brian Keating, associate director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, Friedman will be joined by Jason Gallicchio (Professor of Physics, Harvey Mudd College) and David Brin (physicist and Hugo & Nebula-winning author). Monday, March 4 2019, 6-8p, Atkinson Auditorium, UC San Diego. Free and open to the public. Please RSVP here. Read More



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19 February 2019 : UCSD Astronomers Contribute to Disk Discovery

Adam Burgasser and Jon Rees contributed to the discovery of a white dwarf with an unusual debris disk orbiting it. The system, LSPM J0207+3331, was originally identified by citizen scientist Melina Thévenot of Germany working through the Backyward Worlds/Planet 9 Project. The discovery was reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters today. Read More


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15 February 2019 : Chris Theissen awarded NASA Sagan & NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships

Chris Theissen, a postdoctoral scholar at UCSD, has been awarded both NASA Sagan and NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2019. The Sagan is one of the most prestigious postdoctoral awards in Astronomy, with an oversubscription rate of 16:1. Chris will be conducting his fellowship work with Prof. Quinn Konopacky.


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4 February 2019 : Angela Berti named 2019 Bouchet Scholar

Angela Berti, CASS/Physics Graduate Student, has been selected as a 2019 Bouchet Scholar. Named for the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States (in Physics from Yale University in 1876), the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.

Five UC San Diego Bouchet Scholars were selected from among an outstanding group of nominees — Angela was the only one from Physics — , all of whom demonstrated a commitment to the tenets of the society. The Bouchet Scholars will be invited to attend the annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity in Graduate Education April 5-6, 2019 where they will be inducted into the society. Congratulations, Angela!


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3 January 2019 : PBS NOVA airing documentary, "Einstein's Quantum Riddle"

PBS NOVA is airing a documentary, "Einstein's Quantum Riddle" about the cosmic Bell experiment where CASS Assistant Research Scientist Andrew Friedman and collaborators tested fundamental questions about quantum entanglement with astronomical observations in the Canary Islands (S46 E2). It premiers Wed Jan 9 at 9pm on local PBS stations. Here is a teaser trailer. It is currently streaming for free on the PBS NOVA Website, and for $3 on Amazon Prime. The DVD can also be purchased from Amazon or NOVA. Read More



2018

Prof. Coil
29 November 2018 : Professor Alison Coil among the world’s most influential researchers

Professor Coil is among the world’s most influential researchers in their fields. Clarivate Analytics, which provides insights and analytics on research trends, compiled its 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list of more than 6,000 scientists from around the world whose studies were among the top one percent of most-cited publications in their field over the past 10 years. Read More


Dr. Andrew Friedman
20 November 2018 : Cosmologist Andrew Friedman's cosmic Bell test research recently spotlighted in two science magazines

The cosmic Bell test experiment which used astronomical observations of quasars to help test quantum entanglement was recently featured in an article for Symmetry Magazine and as the cover story for this week's issue of New Scientist Magazine. Read More


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18 November 2018 : CASS physics Faculty Wright and Keating featured in San Diego UT piece

Awash in money, UC San Diego enjoys a golden age in research. Read More


Prof. Keating
16 November 2018 : Keating's book selected as one of Amazon's 20 Best Science Books of 2018

Professor Brian Keating’s book, Losing the Nobel Prize, has been selected as one of Amazon’s 20 Best Science Books of 2018. Read More


Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego
1 November 2018 : Astrophysicist Shelley Wright enlightens campus, community with portable planetarium

As a scientist who observes distant galaxies and black holes both far and near, Shelley Wright noticed an important gap in space—right on the grounds of the University of California San Diego. A proponent of teaching and training students through the observation of the night sky, Wright realized that it was time the university featured its own portable planetarium. Read More


Photo courtesy of TMT International Observatory
1 November 2018 : Hawaiian court clears the way for construction of one of the world’s most massive telescopes

The Hawaiian Supreme Court ruled Oct. 30 to support the construction permit of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) atop Mauna Kea. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the telescope would be the biggest and most expensive in the Northern Hemisphere. It would also be one of three huge prospective telescopes that could transform astronomy in the 21st century. UC San Diego astrophysicist Shelley Wright is the Project Scientist for TMT’s first light instrument, IRIS. Read More


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20 August 2018 : Andrew Friedman and colleagues' "Cosmic Bell" experiment in the news: testing quantum entanglement with quasars

CASS Assistant Research Scientist Andrew Friedman's work testing quantum theory using light from distant quasars to choose measurement settings in an entanglement test has been featured as an Editors Suggestion in Physical Review Letters. See press releases from UCSD, MIT, Vienna IQOQI, and Harvey Mudd College. Also see other news coverage from Space.com, Motherboard (Vice), Gizmodo, and Physics World. Read More


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30 January 2018 : Alison Coil and Karin Sandstrom receive 2017 UC San Diego Diversity Awards

Professors Alison Coil and Karin Sandstrom are each a recipient of the 2017 UC San Diego Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award. The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 1, 2018 from 1:30-3:00 pm, in the Price Center West Ballroom. All are welcome to attend.


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12 January 2018 : Alison Coil appointed Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Division of Physical Sciences

Alison Coil has been appointed to the newly created position of Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Division of Physical Sciences.

Professor Coil has extensive experience related to equity, diversity, and inclusion issues at UC San Diego. She created and leads the Graduate Women in Physics group, chaired Excellence Through Diversity faculty hires in Physics for four consecutive years, and was an integral force in more than doubling the representation of women faculty in Physics in the last decade. Professor Coil has served on multiple campus-wide efforts related to equity, diversity, and inclusion and was awarded a University-wide Diversity award in 2010. She has served as the Faculty Equity Advisor for the Division of Physical Sciences since 2014, where she has taken an active role in mentoring and advocating for women and underrepresented minority faculty in the division. She currently chairs the Divisional Excellence Committee, related to inclusion in faculty hiring, and co-chairs the Task Force on the Status of Women in the Division of Physical Sciences.

Congratulations, Professor Coil!


2017

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21 December 2017 : New Study Finds 'Winking' Star May Be Devouring Wrecked Planets

Carl Melis, CASS Associate Research Scientist and co-author of the paper says, "the result concerns a nearby, dusty star that has been considered as both being young with possible terrestrial-like planet building ongoing and as old with possible companion disruption. Our work demonstrates the youth of this source through X-ray and optical observations and also the existence of significant quantities of gas orbiting with the dust. We conclude that this young star is likely in the process of consuming a close-orbiting gas-giant planet." Read More


Viire, Weir & Keating
21 December 2017 : 'The Martian' author Andy Weir speaks at UCSD

Andy Weir, author of 'The Martian', as part of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination with Prof. Brian Keating and CASS Scientist Andy Freidman. Read More


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20 December 2017 : UC San Diego Researchers Shed Light on Formation of Black Holes and Galaxies

Latest findings increase understanding of how powerful winds generated by super- massive black holes impact growth of a galaxy. Read More


Professor Keating
18 December 2017 : UC San Diego to design telescope to search for "ancient light" from the universe

UC San Diego has begun designing a powerful telescope that will be placed in Chile’s Atacama Desert to search for “ancient light” that could help explain how the universe arose from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
The $10 million telescope will be the largest of five instruments that are being developed as part of the Simons Observatory, which will be located on a high, arid plateau that’s well-suited for searching the cosmos. Read More


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13 December 2017 : UC San Diego signs on to study cosmos with massive new telescope in South America

On behalf of collaborators at institutions worldwide, the University of California San Diego recently signed a contract for the design and construction of a state-of-the-art millimeter wave telescope for the Simons Observatory. The telescope is the first of several which will be located in the high Atacama Desert of Northern Chile in 2020. Read More


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.



2016

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15 December 2016 : Raphael Flauger appointed Assistant Professor of Physics

Raphael Flauger has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Physics and is a member of CASS. Welcome aboard, Prof. Flauger!


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25 November 2016 : Lucas Johns recipient of the 2017 Inamori Fellowship

Graduate student Lucas Johns has been selected by the Division of Physical Sciences as the recipient in the Department of Physics of the 2017 Inamori Fellowship. The intent of the Inamori Fellowship Program is to support our best and brightest current graduate students who will ensure the future of humanity through the balance of the scientific process and the human spirit. This investment in our students is parallel to the Inamori Foundation's commitment to the Kyoto Prize that is given annually to those who have made significant contributions to the progress of science, the development of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit. Congratulations, Luke!


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24 October 2016 : Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi 2016 SACNAS Awardee

Physics graduate student Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi won the award for an outstanding oral presentation at the 2016 SACNAS The National Diversity in STEM Conference in Long Beach, CA. Congratulations, Daniella!


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10 October 2016 : Brian Keating elected Fellow of the APS

Professor Brian Keating has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society. 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 peers of their outstanding contributions to physics.

The citation that will appear on Keating's fellowship certificate is: "For his role in designing the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP) experiment to search for the unique cosmic microwave background polarization pattern predicted by models of inflationary cosmology, and his founding of the POLARBEAR experiment, which produced the first measurements of both the B-mode power spectrum of the cosmic microwave background, and the detection of the gravitational lensing detection power spectrum from the cosmic microwave background's polarization." Congratulations, Professor Keating!


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1 October 2016 : Jerome Maire appointed CASS Assistant Project Scientist

Dr. Jerome Maire has been appointed in CASS as an Assistant Project Scientist effective October 1st. Prior to coming to UCSD, Dr. Maire held a prestigious Dunlap Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto. Welcome, Dr. Maire!


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1 September 2016 : Nicholas Galitzki appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Nicholas Galitzki has been appointed in CASS as a Postdoctoral Scholar effective September 1st. He will be conducting research with PI Brian Keating primarily on the CMB including deployments to field the Simons Array in Chile. Dr. Galitzki comes to us from the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his PhD. Welcome aboard, Dr. Galitzki!


Mark Thiemens with meteorite
12 August 2016 : Mark Thiemens awarded prestigious Meteoritical Society Medal

Mark Thiemens, a former dean and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego, has won the most prestigious prize awarded in the field of meteoritics —the scientific discipline concerned with the study of solar system origin, evolution and history. Read More


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1 August 2016 : Hsiu-Shan Yu appointed Assistant Research Scientist in CASS

Hsiu-Shan Yu has been appointed as an Assistant Research Scientist in CASS effective August 1st. She was formerly a postdoc scholar in CASS. Congratulations, Dr. Yu!


Emeritus Prof. Margaret Burbidge
19 July 2016 : Margaret Burbidge to house papers at UCSD

Renowned astronomer Margaret Burbidge has decided to house her personal papers at UC San Diego, where she has been on the faculty for more than a half century.

The papers will be stored in the university's Mandeville Special Collections Library, which already holds the papers of her late husband, astrophysicist Geoffrey Burbidge. Read More


Professor Arnold
1 July 2016 : Kam Arnold appointed Assistant Professor of Physics

Kam Arnold has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Physics and is a member of CASS. Prior to this appointment, he was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Assistant Professor of Physics. Welcome aboard, Prof. Arnold!


Chambliss Medal
28 June 2016 : Debby Tran receives Chambliss Student Poster Award

Debby Tran, an undergraduate research student for Quinn Konopacky, won a Chambliss Student Poster Award at this month's 228th American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting in San Diego. Congratulations, Debby! Read More


Prof. Wright
16 June 2016 : Professor Shelley Wright named 2016-17 Hellman Faculty Fellow

Assistant Professor of Physics Shelley Wright has been named a UCSD Hellman Faculty Fellow for 2016-17. 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 Wright! Read More


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13 June 2016 : Carl Melis works with group on planet-devouring stars revealing possible limestone crumbs

CASS Research Scientist Carl Melis and a group of researchers using the W. M. Keck Observatory have discovered a planet-like body that may have been encrusted in limestone and is having its surface layers devoured by its deceased host star. Read More


UCSD AW Event
2 June 2016 : Alison Coil featured faculty speaker at UC San Diego Alumni Weekend event

Professor Alison Coil is a featured faculty speaker included in the faculty discussion series at the UC San Diego & You event on campus June 2nd for Alumni Weekend. Join campus leadership and fellow Tritons to hear from her and other distinguished faculty who will share their passion projects and groundbreaking, brilliant work. Read More


Professor Keating
12 May 2016 : $40 Million Observatory to Search for Signals from Early Universe

UCSD has received $40 million in gifts to create and lead an observatory in Chile that’s expected to greatly improve scientists’ ability to study how the universe evolved after its calamitous birth 13.8 billion years ago. “The generosity of this award is unprecedented in our field, and will enable a major leap in scientific capability,” said Brian Keating, Professor of Physics at UCSD's Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences and the current project director. “We have this beautiful edifice of everything that’s happened in the universe and the laws of physics since about a second after the Big Bang. But we want to go back orders of magnitude—perhaps as many as 30 orders of magnitude farther back in time or higher in temperature. We’re trying to understand the nature of matter and energy and understand the first moments of the universe, potentially what brought it into existence.” Here is the Union-Tribune press release, and the story in Nature. For the UCSD News story: Read More


Three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth
2 May 2016 : Astronomers Discover Three Potentially Habitable Earth-Sized Worlds Around A Dim Star 40 Light-years Away

An international team of astronomers, including UC San Diego’s Professor Adam Burgasser and graduate student Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi, has reported in Nature the discovery of three Earth-sized planets orbiting near the “habitable zone” of an ultracool dwarf star named TRAPPIST-1, 40 light years in the direction of the constellation Aquarius. These are the first terrestrial planets to be discovered around such a tiny and dim star, and opens a new avenue in the search for life beyond Earth. The planets were found via the transit method, in which a planet passing between us and its host star blocks a small portion of the starlight, producing a subtle but periodic dimming pattern. Multiple transits for this star were detected with the TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope, and their timings indicate the presence of three planets with orbit periods between 1.5 days and 73 days. These short orbits are likely to be in or around the habitable zone of the star, a zone in which liquid water could potentially exist on the planets’ surfaces. Evidence that this is the case will have to wait until the 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, which will have the capability of measuring the chemical composition of these planets’ atmospheres. Also the ESO press release can be found here, USA Today story here, The Atlantic story here, National Geographic story here, and a conversation piece here. For the UCSD press release: Read More


Professor Alison Coil
20 April 2016 : Alison Coil acts as scientific consultant for the play
Constellations at The Old Globe Theater

Professor Alison Coil served as the scientific consultant for a play at the Old Globe, called Constellations. She also headed up a post-show Q+A with the audience on April 16th called “Subject Matters".

The play takes place in a multiverse, based on the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, and the lead character is a female astrophysicist. The audience sees the same two people play out their relationship in different parallel universes in which they make different decisions.

Coil met with the director, Rick Seer, to discuss the science behind the play and talked about how to stage it and convey the multiverse idea to the audience. She met with the two actors to answer their questions about the science and the characters. She also advised the scenic designer to create a hexagonal set that referenced the male character, a beekeeper, and because of the hexagonal mirrors used at the Keck Telescopes. Read More


Professor Keating
12 April 2016 : 50 Voices of the Future: Brian Keating shares the secrets of the Universe

Professor Brian Keating is part of a team of scientists trying to view and analyze the light emitted in the instant after the Big Bang – light that “has traveled since essentially the beginning of time to reach us.” The work of Keating and his colleagues might, among other things, help prove or disprove the existence of multiple universes. Their research has implications beyond the field of science. Read More


Professor Kosuga
6 April 2016 : Yusuke Kosuga receives the 10th Young Scientist Award
of the Physical Society of Japan

Congratulations to Yusuke Kosuga (PhD 2012) for winning the 10th Young Scientist Award of the Physical Society of Japan (Division 2, Plasma Physics). Kosuga, who is currently Assistant Professor in The Institute for Advanced Study and Research Institute of Applied Mechanics of Kyushu University, was cited for: 'Research on plasma turbulence and transport with statistical fluctuation in real and velocity space'.

Work done at UCSD, the WCI Center for Fusion Theory (RoK), and Kyushu University was listed in the full citation. At UCSD, Kosuga was a member of the Diamond group in CASS and Physics. The full announcement in English can be found here, and in Japanese and English here. Read More


Professor Burgasser
31 March 2016 : Adam Burgasser: 2015/16 Distinguished Teaching Award
for Academic Senate Members

Professor Adam Burgasser has been selected by the Committee on Senate Awards as a recipient of the 2015/16 Distinguished Teaching Award for Academic Senate Members.

The Distinguished Teaching Award is a prestigious award bestowed upon up to five members of the Academic Senate, three non-Senate faculty members, and three graduate students at UC San Diego each year. The Distinguished Teaching Award was created because UC San Diego faculty recognize the important role excellent teaching plays at the University. This award is a tangible expression of UC San Diego's commitment to excellence in teaching and to ensuring that this commitment is maintained. The Committee on Distinguished Teaching seeks to select those who exhibit creativity, innovative teaching methods, the ability to motivate students to actively seek out knowledge, and an extraordinary level of teaching commitment. Congratulations, Professor Burgasser!


Dr. Michelsen
31 March 2016 : Eric Michelsen: 2015/16 Distinguished Teaching Award
for Non-Senate Members

Dr. Eric Michelsen has been selected by the Committee on Senate Awards as a recipient of the 2015/16 Barbara and Paul Saltman Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-Senate Members.

The Distinguished Teaching Award is a prestigious award bestowed upon up to five members of the Academic Senate, three non-Senate faculty members, and three graduate students at UC San Diego each year. The Distinguished Teaching Award was created because UC San Diego faculty recognize the important role excellent teaching plays at the University. This award is a tangible expression of UC San Diego's commitment to excellence in teaching and to ensuring that this commitment is maintained. The Committee on Distinguished Teaching seeks to select those who exhibit creativity, innovative teaching methods, the ability to motivate students to actively seek out knowledge, and an extraordinary level of teaching commitment.

In 1999-2000, the establishment of an endowment in memory of Professor Paul D. Saltman extended the Distinguished Teaching Awards to non-Senate faculty members and graduate students who meet the award criteria and who also exhibit other qualities that emulate Professor Saltman's passion for teaching and learning. Kudos, Dr. M.!


Swirls for Swirls, courtesy of UC Berkeley
23 March 2016 : Quantum detectors search for signatures of Quantum Gravity

Detectors developed for UCSD’s POLARBEAR-2 and Simons Array experiments are featured in this article in the IEEE Spectrum magazine. These antennas were invented in the 1980s to solve important problems in microwave polarimetry and were later perfected for use in Cosmology experiments such as POLARBEAR-2 and the Simons Array by CASS Professor Gabriel Rebeiz. These novel sensors will be deployed in 2017 to search for primordial gravitational waves from the Inflationary cosmological epoch which, if convincingly detected, would provide the strongest evidence for quantum gravity — a goal long sought after by physicists. Read More


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16 March 2016 : Zhibin Guo appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Zhibin Guo has been appointed in CASS as a Postdoctoral Scholar effective March 16th. He will be conducting research with PI Professor Pat Diamond primarily on models of synchronization of modes by toroidal coupling, and the destruction of synchronization by shear flows. Dr. Guo comes to us from Seoul National University where he was a Postdoctoral Researcher. Congratulations on your new appointment, Dr. Guo!


Professor Keres
25 February 2016 : Dusan Keres named a 2016 Cottrell Scholar

The Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) has named Professor Dusan Keres as a 2016 Cottrell Scholar. He is part of a very select group of 24 early career academic scientists nationwide to receive this distinction. Congratulations, Professor Keres! Read More


Professor Rebeiz
8 February 2016 : Gabriel Rebeiz elected to the National Academy
of Engineering

Gabriel Rebeiz, Wireless Communications Industry Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSD and CASS affiliate, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his work on reconfigurable radios/RF MEMS and phased-array technologies. Read More


Karin Sandstrom's video
26 January 2016 : Karin Sandstrom's work on space dust featured in UCSD
video series

Assistant Professor of Physics Karin Sandstrom’s work on space dust is featured in the first of a video series produced by the Division of Physical Sciences, using computer animation to show science on scales too big and too small to see. Professor Sandstrom studies the interstellar medium - the dust and gas in galaxies and between stars, and especially how ultraviolet light interacts with soot-like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. That, she says, is key to everything - how stars (and planets) form, how galaxies evolve, and perhaps how life emerged. Read More


(L-R) Professors Wright, Konopacky & Sandstrom
21 January 2016 : Star Role Models: Quinn Konopacky, Karin Sandstrom,
Shelley Wright

These recent assistant professors of physics hires in the Department of Physics and CASS are giving humanity a view of the universe as it’s never been seen before. Read More


UWIP Conference
21 January 2016 : Campus conference welcomes Undergraduate Women in
Physics

At a time when women remain underrepresented in the sciences and a student can still complete a physics degree without taking a class in her major led by a female professor, UC San Diego welcomed nearly 200 students to a conference for undergraduate women in physics this past weekend. Read More


Dr. Stebor
1 January 2016 : Nathan Stebor appointed as an Assistant Project Scientist
in CASS

Nathan Stebor has been appointed as an Assistant Project Scientist in CASS, effective January 1st. He was formerly a CASS Postdoctoral Scholar. Congratulations, Dr. Stebor!



2015

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11 December 2015 : David Leon named a 2015 Inamori Foundation Fellow

The intent of the Inamori Fellowship Program is to support our best and brightest current graduate students who will ensure the future of humanity through the balance of the scientific process and the human spirit. This investment in our students is parallel to the Inamori Foundation's commitment to the Kyoto Prize that is given annually to those who have made significant contributions to the progress of science, the development of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit. Congratulations to David! Read More


Dr. Simmons
7 December 2015 : Brooke Simmons appointed Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow
in CASS

Brooke Simmons has been appointed as an Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow in CASS effective December 1, 2015. Dr. Simmons studies accreting supermassive black holes in galaxies without a detectable stellar bulge. This work has implications for black hole scaling relationships and galaxy-black hole co-evolution. She earned her PhD in Astronomy from Yale University and completed a postdoctoral researcher position at the University of Oxford prior to coming to UCSD. Welcome to CASS, Dr. Simmons!


Polarized emission from Milky Way dust, which complicates the search for B-modes from the era of inflation, as seen by the Planck telescope. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration
28 October 2015 : The B-Mode Story You Haven't Heard

It's a tough time to be a B-mode.

B-modes rocketed to fame in March 2014, when a team of scientists working on an experiment called BICEP2 announced the first direct evidence for primordial gravitational waves rippling out from the earliest moments of the universe: a distinctive imprint in the cosmic microwave background (the light left over from the Big Bang) called "B-mode polarization," or B-modes for short. Polarization describes the way that light-waves are oriented, and B-mode waves are twisted into a swirling pattern. The detection of these swirls was a stunning confirmation of the theory of cosmic inflation. Suddenly, B-modes were electromagnetic celebrities. PBS story: Read More


Dr. Reasenberg
1 October 2015 : Robert Reasenberg appointed CASS Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Robert Reasenberg has accepted an appointment in CASS as a Research Scientist, effective October 1, 2015. Dr. Reasenberg is from Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Welcome to CASS, Dr. Reasenberg!


Multiple spots in a simulated galaxy glow brightly at submillimeter wavelengths of light
23 September 2015 : Dusan Keres and team illuminate origin
of brightest galaxies

In the new issue of journal Nature, a team of scientists including Dusan Keres, Assistant Professor of Physics, presents a new supercomputer simulation that can help explain the origin of some of the most extreme objects in the universe, bright submillimeter galaxies. These objects can form stars with rates up to 1000 times faster than our own Galaxy. Read more in the UCSD press release, an article in LA Times or the paper and related News & Views in Nature. Read More


Dr. Johnson
18 September 2015 : Cliff Johnson appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Cliff Johnson has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective September 21, 2015. Dr. Johnson works in Assistant Professor of Physics Karin Sandstrom's group on multiwavelength observational studies of the interstellar medium and stellar populations in nearby galaxies. He earned his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Washington. Welcome to CASS, Dr. Johnson!


51 Eri b
13 August 2015 : Quinn Konopacky and team analyze the atmosphere
of a 'Young Jupiter' exoplanet

Assistant Professor of Physics Quinn Konopacky with a team of other astronomers used the Gemini Planet Imager to detect an exoplanet, called 51 Eri b, which is like a young Jupiter, a gas giant about twice Jupiter's mass but hotter and even younger than its star. The newly discovered planet orbits 51 Eridani, a nearby star a lot like our own, though brighter and much younger, just 20 million years old. UCSD News story, and U-T story: Read More


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1 August 2015 : Grant Teply appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Grant Teply has been appointed to CASS as a Postdoctoral Scholar effective August 1, 2015. Dr. Teply works in Professor of Physics Brian Keating's observational cosmology group on the POLARBEAR telescope project. He earned his PhD in Physics from Caltech. Welcome to CASS, Dr. Teply!


Dr. Jorgenson
30 July 2015 : Former Physics Graduate Student named new Director of
Astronomy at the Maria Mitchell Association

Dr. Regina Jorgenson will join the staff of the Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) as the new Director of Astronomy on January 4, 2016. Dr. Jorgenson earned her Ph.D. in physics at UCSD, specializing in studies of galaxy formation and evolution. She worked in CASS under the tutelage of the late Professor Arthur Wolfe. Read More


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29 July 2015 : "The Physics of Free Will" panel discussion with Professor Brian Keating on August 6th

Professor of Physics Brian Keating will be part of a panel discussion on "The Physics of Free Will", on Thursday, August 6th at 6:00 pm at Atkinson Auditorium, first floor of Qualcomm Institute/Calit2. The event is sponsored by the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and is free and open to the public. RSVP required. Read More


The POLARBEAR Telescope in Chile
14 July 2015 : Inner Workings: Probing cosmic mysteries in a remote desert

Professor of Physics Brian Keating's group is part of an international team of cosmologists manning the POLARBEAR Telescope in Chile's Atacama Desert, in hopes it will illuminate the conditions of the universe just after its dawn 13.8 billion years ago. Read More


Professor Sandstrom
1 July 2015 : Karin Sandstrom appointed Assistant Professor of Physics

Karin Sandstrom has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Physics at UCSD effective July 1, 2015. Professor Sandstrom's main interest of research is in the interstellar medium: the gas and dust between the stars in a galaxy. In particular, she is interested in the properties of interstellar dust - how dust properties evolve over time, vary within and among galaxies, and how they influence the physics of the interstellar medium. Please welcome Professor Sandstrom to CASS!


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1 June 2015 : Professor Brian Keating and CASS Associate Research Scientist Kam Arnold to share $5,000,000 NSF Award for the Simons Array Experiment

Professor of Physics Brian Keating and CASS Associate Research Scientist Kam Arnold received a $5,000,000 NSF Award for the Simons Array Experiment. Both are Co-I's on the project. The title of their project is "POLARBEAR/Simons Array: High-fidelity maps of CMB polarization to study large-scale structure, measure neutrino masses, and search for the signature of inflation." Congratulations! Read More


Canadian PM supports TMT
6 April 2015 : Canada announces significant support for TMT

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the Government of Canada's intention to provide significant support for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), an international project that will build one of the world's largest and most advanced astronomical observatories in Hawaii. One news story. Read More


Neutrino flavor transformation
20 March 2015 : Alexey Vlasenko appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Alexey Vlasenko has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective March 20, 2015. Dr. Vlasenko works in George Fuller's group on neutrino astrophysics. He earned his PhD in Physics from UCSD. Congratulations, Dr. Vlasenko!


Wright and NIROSETI Team @ Lick
19 March 2015 : Shelley Wright plays key role in developing NIROSETI

Astronomers have expanded the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light. Shelley Wright, Assistant Professor of Physics, led the development of a new instrument called NIROSETI for near-infrared optical SETI, which has been installed at UC's Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton. The new instrument has just begun to scour the sky for messages from other worlds. Read More


1 of 3 South Pole Telescopes
12 February 2015 : Cosmology: The oldest cosmic light

Associate Professor of Physics Brian Keating discusses CMB photons, "massless messengers", in this Nature article. Read More


Professors Norman & Keating with Chancellor Khosla
4 February 2015 : Professors Brian Keating and Mike Norman receive 2014
UCSD Diversity Award

Congratulations to Brian Keating, Associate Professor of Physics, and Mike Norman, Professor of Physics and Director of SDSC, for being nominated by Suresh Subramani, Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, to receive a 2014 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. Read More


The proposed satellite, CalSat
6 January 2015 : Jon Kaufman and Brian Keating awarded a 2014 Buchalter
Cosmology Prize

Associate Professor of Physics Brian Keating and CASS Postdoctoral Scholar Jon Kaufman, along with Brad Johnson, Professor of Physics at Columbia, have been awarded a 2014 Buchalter Cosmology Prize for a paper proposing a way to significantly enhance cosmological measurements in a manner that should enable sensitive test of ideas fundamental to our understanding of physical laws. Their paper was posted to the online repository arXiv in September 2014, http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1409.8242 (link to paper). Congratulations! Read More


Professor Konopacky
1 January 2015 : Quinn Konopacky appointed Assistant Professor of Physics

Quinn Konopacky has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Physics at UCSD effective January 1, 2015. Professor Konopacky's research focuses on planet formation and evolution, high contrast imaging, star formation, stellar and substellar evolution, orbital dynamics, high angular resolution imaging and spectroscopy, adaptive optics, astrometry, speckle interferometry, optical and infrared astronomy. Please welcome Professor Konopacky to CASS!


Professor Wright
1 January 2015 : Shelley Wright appointed Assistant Professor of Physics

Shelley Wright has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Physics at UCSD effective January 1, 2015. Her research encompasses experimental and observational astrophysics, optical and infrared instrumentation, adaptive optics, galaxy formation and evolution, and SETI. Please welcome Professor Wright to CASS!