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CASS News

2016

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


Devour.jpg
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


CASS Logo.jpg
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

Inamori.jpg
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


Polarbear.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 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


FreeWill poster 01small1.jpg
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!


NSF logo.jpg
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!



2014

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3 December 2014 : Brian Keating wins NASA Achievement Award

Associate Professor of Physics Brian Keating wins NASA Achievement Award from Administrator Charles Bolden for designing and flying the Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRiment (CIBER) four times on a NASA sounding rocket. Read more about the experiment here.


Professor Keating
10 November 2014 : Brian Keating presents talk at 2014 TEDxSanDiego's Chain Reaction event

Associate Professor of Physics Brian 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, Dr. Tiglio!


Lindblom.jpg
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. Lindblom!


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 Associate Professor of Physics 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

Associate Professor of Physics 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 us in congratulating Professor Coil!


Professor Burgasser
22 May 2014 : Professor Adam Burgasser awarded UCSD Outstanding Mentor of the Year

Associate Professor of Physics Adam Burgasser is the recipient of the Faculty Mentor Program Outstanding Mentor Award for 2014 in the Biological and Physical Sciences. Honorees are selected based on student testimonials, innovative or unusual mentoring practices, and other considerations, such as the number of mentees served and years of service as a mentor to undergraduates. Congratulations, Professor Burgasser! Read More


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

Associate Professor of Physics 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

Associate Professor of Physics 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


Polarbear.jpg
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, Associate Professor of Physics at UCSD, and Adrian Lee, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, $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. 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 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, Professor Burgasser!


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

Assistant Professor of Physics 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. Caltech press release 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


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

Associate Professor of Physics 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


2013

Launch.jpg
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 (cass.ucsd.edu/~rxteagn -- 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


PhysRevLett.png
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 of Physics 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


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

Associate Professor of Physics 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 Dr. Melis!


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. Muratov!


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 : Professor Dusan Keres named 2013-2014 Hellman Faculty Fellow

Assistant Professor of Physics 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. Congratulations, Professor Keres! 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. Way to go, Daniella. Read More


Ship 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. Congratulations, Professor Fuller! 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 Associate Professor of Physics, Brian Keating, 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. Weber!


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, Dr. Johnson!!


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, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences, 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 UCSD 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


2012

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 of Physics 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. Congratulations, Professor Wolfe! 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

Associate Professor of Physics 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


Professor Diamond
9 October 2012 : Professor Pat Diamond awarded 2012 Nuclear Fusion Prize

Professor of Physics 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. Congratulations, Professor Diamond!


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. Congratulations, Professor Fuller! 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 of Physics 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 Assistant Project Scientist

Ramin Skibba has been appointed in 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. Congratulations, Amy. 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 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!


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1 March 2012 : Angiola Orlando appointed 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!


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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


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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


2011

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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


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31 August 2011 : Professor Alison 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. Congratulations, Professor Coil! 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


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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


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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


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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!


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

Assistant Professor of Physics 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. Congratulations, Professor Coil! Read More


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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.


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

Michael Norman, Professor of Physics 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


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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, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Dean of the Division of Physical 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, Professor Coil!


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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


2010

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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


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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. Congratulations, Professor Diamond! Read More


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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. Congratulations, Professor Burgasser! Read More


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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. Congratulations, Professor Coil! Read More