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51 Eri b
13 August 2015 : Quinn Konopacky and team analyzes 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

PB with CMB3.jpg
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 Brian Keating's observational cosmology group on the POLARBEAR telescope project. He earned his PhD in Physics from Caltech.

Congratulations, Dr. Teply!

FreeWill poster 01small1.jpg
29 July 2015 : "The Physics of Free Will" panel discussion with Professor Brian Keating on August 6th

Professor 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 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 as 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!

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 Brian Keating and CASS Associate Research Scientist Dr. 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 - Link to another 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. 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 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

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 and Mike Norman 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 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, (link to paper). Read More

Professor Konopacky
1 January 2015 : Quinn Konopacky appointed as 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 as 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!


Professor Keating
10 November 2014 : Brian Keating presents talk at 2014 TEDx San Diego's Chain Reaction event

Professor Keating's TEDx talk outlined his team's epic research - trying to unravel the origins of the universe. The Polarbear study involves peering skyward with space-age instruments from cold, distant locales in Chile's Atacama desert and in Antarctica, or more precisely, the South Pole, the coldest, driest, highest continent on earth, ideal for obtaining images of the distant universe. Read More

Dr. Tiglio
15 July 2014 : Manuel H. Tiglio appointed CASS Associate Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Manuel H. Tiglio has accepted an appointment in CASS as an Associate Research Scientist, effective July 1, 2014. Dr. Tiglio is formerly from Caltech and the University of Maryland, College Park. Welcome to CASS!

15 July 2014 : Lee Lindblom appointed CASS Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Lee Lindblom has accepted an appointment in CASS as a Research Scientist, effective July 1, 2014. Dr. Lindblom is formerly from Caltech. Welcome to CASS!

Dr. Kaufman
15 June 2014 : Jon Kaufman appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Jon Kaufman has been appointed to CASS as a Postdoctoral Scholar effective June 15, 2014. Dr. Kaufman works in Brian Keating's observational cosmology group on the POLARBEAR telescope project. He earned his PhD in Physics from UCSD. Congratulations, Dr. Kaufman!

Professor Coil
13 June 2014 : Professor Alison Coil appointed Hibben Chair

Professor Alison Coil has been appointed as the holder of the Ingrid and Joseph W. Hibben Chair in Space Science and Education. The late Professor Emerita Sally Ride previously held this chair. The appointment was based on the recommendation of campus reviewers and the enthusiastic endorsement by Dean Thiemens and EVC Subramani. The appointment is effective July 1, 2014 and will be held for a period of five years. This distinguished appointment is a direct reflection of the high regard in which Alison is held by the UC San Diego academic community. Please join me in congratulating Alison.

Dr. Laurence Peterson
24 March 2014 : Dr. Laurence Peterson writes historical perspective on the early years of High Energy Astrophysics group

Dr. Laurence Peterson, retired head and founder of the High Energy Astrophysics group has written "A Personal Perspective on the Early Years of High Energy Astronomy: from Minnesota to San Diego", which documents the people and events that led to the establishment of the group, as well as the history of discoveries in the earliest days of hard X-ray and gamma ray astronomy in the United States. Read More

Professor Keating
17 March 2014 : Professor Keating and scientists see 'fingerprint' of Big Bang

Professor Brian Keating and scientists at four other universities announced they've found circumstantial evidence of the spark that caused the Big Bang 13.78 billion years ago. Read More

Grad student Jon Kaufman replenishes liquid helium for BICEP2's sensors
17 March 2014 : Professor Keating and other cosmologists report evidence for cosmic inflation

Professor Brian Keating is among the cosmologists in the consortium that reported a detection in curling patterns in the faint glow of the universe's oldest light that appear to be traces left by cosmic inflation, an exponential expansion of the universe thought to have occurred fractions of a second after the Big Bang. The evidence comes from observations made by BICEP2, a telescope that operated at the South Pole for three years, continuously scanning the sky for variations in the cosmic microwave background, or CMB. Read More

10 March 2014 : UCSD-CASS Ph.D student in Physics Darcy Barron: TV hash could signal evidence for the Big Bang

The snow-like hash on an analogue television is caused by background radiation from the Big Bang, the explosion 13.8 billion years ago which led to the formation of the Universe. But the Big Bang and the inflation of the universe which followed is presently just a theory. Darcy Barron's work has the potential to produce evidence which would turn theory into fact. Read More

The Cloudy Cores of Active Galaxies
19 February 2014 : Drs. Alex Markowitz and Mirko Krumpe led team to reveal the cloudy cores of active galaxies using RXTE satellite data

An international team of astronomers, led by scientists Dr. Alex Markowitz, CASS Assistant Research Scientist (also with Karl Remeis Observatory, Germany) and Dr. Mirko Krumpe (with the European Southern Observatory, Germany) has mapped out clouds of gas orbiting distant supermassive black holes using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer.

The video was the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb. 24, seen here:

Click on 'Read More' for the NASA Feature web page and video animation by NASA/GSFC and Wolfgang Steffen, UNAM, Mexico. Read More

The late Professor Arthur M. Wolfe
18 February 2014 : Sad News

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Arthur M. Wolfe, distinguished astrophysicist, and Professor Emeritus in Physics at the University of California, San Diego. Art was a true leader in the fields of cosmology (Sachs-Wolfe effect) and extra-galactic astronomy. He was known as the founding father of the Damped Ly-alpha Systems. He influenced the research of hundreds of colleagues with his deep physical insight and was a terrific mentor to young researchers. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and by the entire world of physics and astronomy communities.

Dimitri Basov (Chair, Department of Physics, UCSD)
George M. Fuller (Director of CASS, UCSD)
J Xavier Prochaska (UCO)

Please see UCSD News Center article for additional information. Read More

The three telescopes will be known as the Simons Array
7 February 2014 : Brian Keating and Adrian Lee awarded $4.3 million by
the Simons Foundation

The Simons Foundation has awarded co-investigators Brian Keating and Adrian Lee $4.3 million to build two additional telescopes, and implement improvements to the existing device. Together, the three telescopes will be known as the Simons Array. Keating is a member of CASS and Associate Professor of Physics. Read More

Lunar-ranging laser illuminates a spot of high thin clouds on its way to the surface of the eclipsed moon.
6 February 2014 : Source of 'Moon Curse' Revealed by Eclipse

Tom Murphy, CASS member and Associate Professor of Physics, is among the scientists who have aimed laser beams at suitcase-sized reflectors placed on the moon by Apollo astronauts and unmanned Soviet rovers. By precisely timing the light's return to Earth, Murphy can measure the distance from here to the moon with millimeter precision. Read More

Dr. Kishimoto
31 January 2014 : Chad Kishimoto appointed as Assistant Project Scientist

Chad Kishimoto has been appointed to CASS as an Assistant Project Scientist effective February 1, 2014. Dr. Kishimoto's research is in theoretical astrophysics, neutrino astrophysics, nuclear and particle astrophysics. Prior to his appointment at UCSD, he was a UCLA postdoc and UCSD Physics graduate. Congratulations, Dr. Kishimoto!

Professor Burgasser
30 January 2014 : Adam Burgasser 2013 UCSD EO/AA Diversity Award recipient

The Chancellor of UCSD has announced that Adam Burgasser, Associate Professor of Physics and member of CASS, has been awarded the 2013 Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action and Diversity Award. This award is given to individuals, departments, and organizational units who have made outstanding efforts to further diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action at UCSD. We in CASS are very familiar with Adam's extensive outreach/diversity efforts and are grateful for his leadership on these issues. This award was richly deserved. Congratulations Adam.

Galaxy formation hopkins.jpg
22 January 2014 : Galaxies on FIRE: Star feedback results in less massive galaxies

Dusan Keres and collaborators convincingly show that large amount of energy released by individual stars has dramatic consequences for the evolution of galaxies. For a long time astrophysicists attempted to understand why galaxies contain only a small fraction of the material available in the universe. In a new set of realistic supercomputer models of galaxies in our universe called FIRE (The Feedback in Realistic Environments) multi-university collaboration convincingly showed that this lack of cosmic material in galaxies is related to energetic events that closely follow formation of stars. Energy released by individual young stars substantially affects the evolution of galaxies and pushes large quantities of galactic gas into the inter-galactic medium preventing its accumulation in galaxies. (Link to press release from Caltech:
Click here for the ScienceDaily news article: Read More

POLARBEAR telescope
9 January 2014 : New telescopes search for origin of Universe

Two new telescopes will be built to join a single Polarization of Background Radiation (POLARBEAR) telescope located in Chile's high elevation Atacama Desert. The telescopes will be known as the Simons Array and used to probe the skies for extremely faint signatures of inflation. Read More

7 January 2014 : Massive weather systems revealed in a study of the nearest brown dwarfs

Adam Burgasser reported the results of an international monitoring campaign targeting the nearest brown dwarfs, during a press conference at the 223rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Prof. Burgasser's collaboration made spectral and photometric measurements of the Luhman 16AB system, and L dwarf and T dwarf pair, using a dozen telescopes on four continents. The reported measurements, based on just two telescopes, allowed the team to constrain the size and variation of storm cells in mineral and metal clouds in the atmosphere of one of the brown dwarfs, which is only 6.5 light-years from the Sun. Read More


13 November 2013 : RXTE AGN Timing and Spectral Database release

Alex Markowitz, Liz Rivers, and Rick Rothschild released the RXTE AGN Timing and Spectral Database ( -- click on "Read More" below to link to URL) containing light curves and spectral fits to over 100 active galaxies observed by the Rossi X-ray Timing Experiment over its 16 years of observations. Light curves in various X-ray bands and spectral data may be downloaded for immediate use. UCSD analysis of these objects may be found in Rivers et al. 2013 Astrophysical Journal, volume 772, page 114. Read More

5 November 2013 : Kim Griest pioneers new technique in search for primordial black holes; paper is published and "Highlighted" in Physical Review Letters

CASS scientists Professor Kim Griest and Agnieszka Cieplak, Kim's graduate student and now a postdoc at Brookhaven National Lab, have used data from NASA's Kepler planet finder spacecraft to do something that mission was never intended by its designers to do: look for primordial black holes. They did not find any, but they did close an important black hole mass window in which these objects could have been a very significant portion of the dark matter. In doing this study they have pioneered a new technique in the search for primordial black holes. Their work is published in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters ("New limits on primordial black hole dark matter from an analysis of Kepler source microlensing data", Kim Griest, Agnieszka M. Cieplak, and Matthew J. Lehner) and has been "Highlighted" by the editors of that journal, an honor implying the special significance of this work. Click on 'Read More' for link to synopsis of work. Read More

projected density image
28 October 2013 : Alexei Kritsuk lead author on paper advancing explanation for star formation

CASS Research Scientist Alexei Kritsuk, lead author on a paper published this month in MNRAS entitled "A Supersonic Turbulence Origin of Larson's Law," collaborated with other CASS research team members Michael Norman, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Director of SDSC, and undergraduate researcher Christoph Lee, to provide for the first time an explanation for the origin of three observed correlations between various properties of molecular clouds in the Milky Way galaxy known as Larson's Laws. The team utilized recent observational measurements and data analysis from six supercomputer simulations of the interstellar medium to conclude that there are not three independent Larson laws, but that all three correlations are due to the same underlying physics, i.e., the properties of supersonic turbulence. Read More

Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi
22 October 2013 : Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi earns an IPAC Visiting Grad Student Fellowship for 2014

Graduate student Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi has earned an IPAC Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship for 2014. She will be working with Dr. Chris Gelino at Caltech/IPAC for six months, analyzing Hubble Space Telescope images of late-type T and Y dwarfs identified by WISE. Muchas felicidades Daniella! Read More

30 September 2013 : Professor Adam Burgasser to perform in La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls Festival

Prof. Adam Burgasser will be presenting a collaborative work between faculty from Physics, Theatre Arts and Visual Arts at the upcoming La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls Festival, October 3-6, 2013. The piece, entitled "Our Star Will Die Alone", is a participatory, outdoor performance that tracks the lifecycle of a star from formation to white dwarf remnant, integrating stellar data and models with art and music design. Performances are Friday 10/4 and Saturday 10/5 at 10:30pm, and tickets are $15. A free preview will take place on Thursday at 8pm. All performances are on the south patio of Galbraith Hall. Read More

Dr. Carl Melis
4 September 2013 : Carl Melis receives Chancellor's Postdoc Scholar Award

Dr. Carl Melis has been selected as a recipient of the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Scholar Award, 2013-14. The award is based on his outstanding research innovations and productivity, service to the community, and outstanding mentorship. Dr. Melis will be honored and presented his award at the Postdoc Appreciation Luncheon and Award Reception on Friday, September 13, 2013. Congratulations, Carl! Read More

Dr. Carl Melis
1 September 2013 : Carl Melis appointed CASS Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Carl Melis has been appointed as an Assistant Research Scientist in CASS, effective September 1, 2013. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Melis held an NSF AAPF Fellowship in CASS, preceded by serving as the CASS Postdoctoral Fellow. He received his B.S. in Physics and Mathematics-Applied Sciences at UCSD, and earned his master's and doctoral degrees in Astronomy from UCLA. Congratulations to Carl!

Dr. Muratov
1 September 2013 : Alexander "Sasha" Muratov appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Sasha Muratov has been appointed in CASS as a Postdoctoral Scholar effective September 1, 2013. Dr. Muratov works in Dusan Keres' group on Computational Astrophysics, with a focus on galaxy formation, stellar feedback, the cosmic dark ages, and globular clusters. Welcome to CASS!

Dr. Arnold
1 July 2013 : Kam Arnold appointed CASS Assistant Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Kam Arnold has accepted an appointment in CASS as an Assistant Research Scientist, effective July 1, 2013. Previously, Dr. Arnold held a postdoctoral scholar appointment in CASS. He came to UC San Diego from UC Berkeley, where he received his doctoral degree and also held a postdoctoral scholar appointment. Please welcome Dr. Arnold to CASS!

Keres named Hellman Faculty Fellow 2013-2014
23 May 2013 : Dusan Keres named 2013-2014 Hellman Faculty Fellow

UCSD-CASS Assistant Physics Professor Dusan Keres has been named a Hellman Faculty Fellow for 2013-2014. The award will support Keres' work in building a set of novel supercomputer numerical models of formation of galaxies that include important, but previously unappreciated, physics processes. Results from these models will greatly improve our understanding of the origin and evolution of galaxies such as our own Milky Way. Read More

The late Sally Ride
21 May 2013 : Presidential Medal of Freedom to honor Sally Ride

Sally Ride will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year, at a ceremony at the White House on November 20th, the Obama administration announced. Read More

Infrared light pours from the galaxy, just a tiny red dot in this  wide-angle view of the sky captured by WISE. Image credit: NASA
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

Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi
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

A ship to be named after Sally Ride
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

Fuller receiving award
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

Professor Brian Keating
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

Dr. Weber
21 February 2013 : Fridolin Weber appointed CASS Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Fridolin Weber has accepted an appointment in CASS as a Research Scientist, effective February 21, 2013. Dr. Weber's research interests are in theoretical and computational physics. Also a Professor of Theoretical Physics at SDSU, he is an expert on the equation of state of dense matter in neutron stars and quark stars, and in nuclear many-body theory. Welcome to CASS!

Dr. Johnson
15 February 2013 : Calvin Johnson appointed CASS Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Calvin Johnson has accepted an appointment in CASS as a Research Scientist, effective February 15, 2013. Dr. Johnson, also a Professor of Physics at SDSU, is a nuclear theorist specializing in aspects of nuclear structure physics and computational quantum mechanics. Dr. Johnson has pioneered studies of the structure and spin/isospin response of large nuclei at high excitation energy. Welcome to CASS!

Mars Meteorite
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

Professor Brian Keating
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


The late Sally Ride
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

Professor Wolfe, AAAS Fellow
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

One of the fields they will actually be targeting
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

Diamond awarded 2012 Nuclear Fusion Prize
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.

Fuller awarded Hans Bethe Prize by APS
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

Matter blasts out of the starburst galaxy M82
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

Inside the core of a supernova explosion
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

Still frame taken from the Arepo-generated animation
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

Ramin Skibba
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!

Sally Ride, first American woman in space
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

Professor Alison Coil among featured successful female researchers
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

Amy Christensen shows off her poster
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

Amy Christensen shows off her poster
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

University of California San Diego astrophysicist Brian Keating with a map of cosmic microwaves in the form of a blowup ball
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

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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

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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

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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


19 October 2011 : Room Temperature Brown Dwarf/Planet Confirmed

Astronomers at Pennsylvania State University, UCSD and Carnegie Observatories, including CASS's Adam Burgasser, have confirmed the existence of an extremely low-temperature companion to the nearby white dwarf WD 0806-661. With an estimated temperature between 80 and 160 F, WD 0806-661B is the only directly detected companion to a star with a temperature similar to Earth's. In addition, its mass is only 7 times that of Jupiter, so it is unclear whether WD 0806-661B should be called a brown dwarf or a planet. Read More

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11 October 2011 : Suspects in Quenching of Star Formation Exonerated

A new study has shown that rapidly growing supermassive black holes, known as active galactic nuclei, are found in every kind of galaxy - massive and smaller, old elliptical red galaxies and younger blue spirals - exonerating active galactic nuclei as a suspect in the quenching of star formation in galaxies. The study, led by CASS postdoc James Aird, searched for X-rays from active galactic nuclei within PRIMUS, a large-scale survey to map the distances of over 100,000 galaxies that involves many CASS members. Read More

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9 September 2011 : UCSD to guide cameras on spacecraft bound for moon

NASA today launched a pair of small spacecraft that will give middle-school students an unprecedented opportunity to study the moon by way of cameras guided by undergraduates at UC San Diego. The university will use software to project the path that the GRAIL spacecraft will follow while orbiting the moon next year. Middle-school students can ask UCSD to use the spacecraft's MoonKam imaging systems to photograph specific spots on the surface. CASS Researcher Karen Flammer is involved in education and outreach for the GRAIL mission. Read More

31 August 2011 : Dr. Coil awarded the NSF CAREER Grant (2011)

Dr. Coil will carry out three complementary research projects to tackle several key outstanding questions in galaxy evolution. Her goal is to uncover the physical processes behind the dramatic evolution observed in galaxies and AGN in the latter half of cosmic history, focusing specifically on the build-up of stellar mass in galaxies, the role of environment on AGN accretion, and the prevalence and importance of outflowing galactic winds. Read More

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30 August 2011 : Nearby baby star identified

CASS Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Carl Melis has helped identify the nearest "baby" star, a 40 million-year-old pre-main sequence star called AP Columbae. The cool red dwarf star is about 1000 times less luminous that our Sun, and is located a mere 27 light-years from Earth in a newly recognized group of stars known as the Argus/IC 2391 association. The study appears in this month's issue of the Astronomical Journal. Read More

23 August 2011 : A new class of cold star is discovered

A consortium of researchers, including CASS Professor Adam Burgasser, have identified a brand new class of cold star-like objects called Y dwarfs, with temperatures as cool as the human body. The discoveries were found using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), and identified as Y dwarfs with a sensitive near-infrared spectrograph called FIRE that Prof. Burgasser helped construct for the Magellan Telescopes in Chile. The results will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal. Read More

22 August 2011 : Astronomers discover water ice and possibly methane on the dwarf planet "Snow White"

Observations conducted by CASS Professor Adam Burgasser have revealed the presence of water ice and possibly methane on the distant dwarf planet 2007 OR10, nicknamed "Snow White". Prof Burgasser measured the planet's near-infrared spectrum using a new instrument called FIRE he helped build. Analysis by lead investigator Prof. Michael Brown of Caltech revealed features of water ice and methane, possibly be the remnants of an early atmosphere. The results appear in this month's issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Read More

1 July 2011 : David Lai appointed as CASS Assistant Research Scientist

David Lai has been appointed to CASS as an Assistant Research Scientist effective September 1, 2011. Dr. Lai is an optical observer specializing in stellar spectroscopy and abundance determinations. Prior to his appointment at UCSD, he was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Santa Cruz Astronomy Department. Please welcome Dr. Lai to CASS!

4 May 2011 : Assistant Professor Alison Coil has been selected as recipient of the 2010-2011 Hellman Faculty Fellows Award

Assistant Professor Alison Coil has been selected as recipient of the 2010-2011 Hellman Faculty Fellows Award. The Hellman Fellowship Program was established at UCSD in 1995 through the generosity of Chris and Warren Hellman. The program is designed to provide financial support and encouragement to young faculty in the core disciplines who show capacity for great distinction in their research and creative activities. Funds awarded are primarily intended to enhance the individual's progress toward tenure. Read More

3 May 2011 : Alex Markowitz, CASS researcher, has been awarded an 18 month Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship

Alex Markowitz, CASS researcher, has been awarded an 18 month Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship for experienced researchers to travel to the Dr. Remeis Sternwarte (Observatory) in Bamberg, Germany for the study of the temporal/spectral properties of X-ray emitting galaxies. He will join the X-ray group headed by Dr. Joern Wilms, and will participate in the early results from the eRosita mission to be launched in 2013.

25 April 2011 : Prof. Michael Norman Appointed to the Advisory Committee of the NSF's Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate

Michael Norman, CASS faculty member and director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, has been appointed to serve on the advisory committee of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) Directorate of the National Science Foundation. MPS encompasses the Divisions of Astronomical Sciences, Chemistry, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, Physics, and the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities. These organizations provide the basic structure for MPS support of research and education. Read More

8 February 2011 : Profs. Alison Coil and Mark Theimens honored for improving diversity in the physical sciences at UCSD

Alison Coil, assistant professor of physics, and Mark Theimens, Dean of Physics Sciences, were recognized for helping women navigate the transition from graduate student to independent scientist, a critical time when many women drop out of the field. She has gathered a group of graduate students and postdocs in physics who regularly meet to discuss career strategies. With a roster of visitors and among themselves, they have talked about how to apply for jobs and negotiate an offer, how to counter the often unacknowledged biases that can work against their advancement, and the variety of employment opportunities available to people with a doctorate in physics.They also meet each spring with visiting prospective students, aiding the department's successful efforts to attract more women to the program. This thriving group now serves as a model for similar efforts to form communities among graduate students in other departments and for undergraduates.Chancellor Fox will recognize Theimens and Coil with campus-wide 2010 Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards at a ceremony to be held Tuesday, February 8. Read More

Professor Coil
19 January 2011 : Alison Coil 2010 UCSD EO/AA Diversity Award recipient

The Chancellor of UCSD has announced that Alison Coil, Assistant Professor of Physics and member of CASS, has been awarded the 2010 Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action and Diversity Award. This award is given to individuals, departments, and organizational units who have made outstanding efforts to further diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action at UCSD. We in CASS are very familiar with Alison's extensive outreach/diversity efforts and are grateful for her leadership on these issues. This award was richly deserved. Congratulations Alison.

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1 January 2011 : UCSD Physicists To Assemble Microwave Telescope in Chile

The assembly of UCSD's telescope will commence shortly now that formal approval from the Chilean government for deployment in Chile's Atacama desert has been received. The telescope is part of the POLARBEAR project seeking to detect evidence for the inflationary epoch of the Big Bang. Read More


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6 December 2010 : New observations of exploding stars

A team led by Bernie Jackson, using the Solar Mass Ejection Imager the team developed, has traced the waxing and waning light of exploding stars more closely than ever before and seen patterns that aren't yet accounted for in our current understanding of how these eruptions occur. Rebekah Hounsell, a graduate student at Liverpool John Moores University in Britain, made the measurements while visiting UCSD. Read More

4 December 2010 : Prof. Patrick Diamond shares Hannes Alfvén Prize

Patrick Diamond, professor of physics, will share the European Physical Society's 2011 Hannes Alfvén Prize for outstanding contributions to plasma physics with Akira Hasegawa and Kunioki Mima, both of Osaka University in Japan. The three will be recognized "for laying the foundations of modern numerical transport simulations and key contributions on self-generated zonal flows and flow shear decorrelation mechanisms which form the basis of modern turbulence in plasmas." Diamond leads the plasma fusion group at UCSD. He founded and co-led the group with Marshall Rosenbluth, who was the 2002 recipient of this prize. Read More

5 May 2010 : Assistant Professor Adam Burgasser awarded the 2010-2011 Hellman Fellowship

Adam Burgasser, a recently appointed member of the UCSD Physics Dept., was awarded the Hellman Fellowship to support his research on brown dwarfs using the FIRE spectrograph. The Hellman Fellowship Program was established at UCSD in 1995 through the generosity of Chris and Warren Hellman, and is designed to provide financial support and encouragement to young faculty in the core disciplines who show capacity for great distinction in their research and creative activities. Eight proposals were selected for funding out of twenty-four submitted by the Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Engineering Divisions. Read More

16 February 2010 : Dr. Alison Coil awarded Sloan Research Fellowship

The Sloan Research Fellowships have been awarded since 1955 and is by far the oldest program of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, although those who receive the grants are among the youngest researchers the Foundation assists. The Fellowship program has grown in size and cost over the years and now includes several disciplines not covered in the beginning; but its purpose - to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise - remains the same. The Sloan Research Fellowships support the work of exceptional young researchers early in their academic careers, and often at pivotal stages in their work," says Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Dr. Coil's field of research lies at the interface between large-scale structure and galaxy evolution, and she will receive a grant of $50,000 over a two year period. Read More


9 September 2009 : Dr. Adam Burgasser joins CASS

Adam Burgasser works on the physical properties and processes associated with the lowest mass stars and brown dwarfs Read More

16 June 2009 : Astrophysicists Solve Mystery in Milky Way Galaxy

Rich Lingenfelter and Rick Rothschild Read More

16 June 2009 : Particles Larger Than Galaxies Fill The Universe

Prof. George Fuller & Chad Kishimoto Read More

19 June 2009 : Prof. Michael Norman appointed as Interim Director of San Diego Super Computer Center

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19 June 2009 : Prof. Frank Shu receives The Shaw Prize in Astronomy for 2009.

This prestigious honor has been awarded in recognition of his outstanding lifetime contributions to astronomy Read More

2 June 2009 : Prof. Alison Coil receives Hellman Faculty Fellows Award.

Dr. Alison Coil, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego, has been named a recipient of the 2009-2010 Hellman Faculty Fellows Award to support her research and creative activities Read More

5 May 2009 : Prof. Frank Shu awarded the 2009 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

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1 October 2008 : First Detection of Magnetic Field in Distant Galaxy produces a suprise

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9 September 2008 : Professor Alison Coil joins CASS

Dr. Coil is a leader in extragalactic observation and observational cosmology Read More

10 June 2008 : Prof. Michael Norman appointed as Chief Scientific Officer of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC)

Michael L. Norman, distinguished professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, was appointed to the new position of Chief Scientific Officer for SDSC Read More

4 June 2008 : Prof. Frank Shu awarded Centennial Medal from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University

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7 May 2008 : Professor Arthur Wolfe is awarded the 2008 Karl G. Jansky Lectureship

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