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Department of Physics & Astronomy



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Welcome to the Department of Physics and Astronomy

 

Our goal is to lead research efforts in several subfields of physics and astronomy and to infuse that research into undergraduate and graduate education. We seek greater understanding of the origin and structure of the universe, and the basic interactions that govern it. We study condensed matter and biological systems, both at microscopic and macroscopic scales, with an eye on their potential practical applications. In doing so, we seek to provide the nucleus of interaction between materials, biological, and environmental science and engineering researchers at UCR.

Interested in earning a degree in Physics & Astronomy at UCR?

Graduate Program           Undergraduate Program

It’s Filamentary: How Galaxies Evolve in the Cosmic Web

UC Riverside-led team proposes that filaments in the cosmic web played a critical role in the distant universe

Galaxies are distributed along a cosmic web in the universe. “Mpc/h” is a unit of galactic distance (1 Mpc/h is more than 3.2 million light-years).IMAGE CREDIT: VOLKER SPRINGEL, VIRGO CONSORTIUM.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – How do galaxies like our Milky Way form, and just how do they evolve?  Are galaxies affected by their surrounding environment? An international team of researchers, led by astronomers at the University of California, Riverside, proposes some answers.

The researchers highlight the role of the “cosmic web” – a large-scale web-like structure comprised of galaxies – on the evolution of galaxies that took place in the distant universe, a few billion years after the Big Bang.  In their paper, published Nov. 20 in theAstrophysical Journal, they present observations showing that thread-like “filaments” in the cosmic web played an important role in this evolution.

“We think the cosmic web, dominated by dark matter, formed very early in the history of the universe, starting with small initial fluctuations in the primordial universe,” said Behnam Darvish, a Ph.D. graduate student in theDepartment of Physics and Astronomy at UC Riverside, who led the research project and is the first author on the paper.  “Such a ‘skeletal’ universe must have played, in principle, a role in galaxy formation and evolution, but this was incredibly hard to study and understand until recently.”

 Read the complete story here.

Physicist Featured in New Series on Science Channel

UC Riverside’s Umar Mohideen, an expert on the Casimir force, will be featured in the first episode of “Strip the Cosmos”

Umar Mohideen is the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Casimir force, also known as the Casimir effect, is typified by the small attractive force that acts between two close parallel uncharged conducting plates. Today, this force has become an interdisciplinary subject of study, playing an important role in condensed matter physics, quantum field theory, atomic and molecular physics, gravitation and cosmology, mathematical physics, and nanotechnology.

The University of California, Riverside’sUmar Mohideen, an expert on the Casimir force, will be featured in the first episode of a series called “Strip the Cosmos” premiering at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 12, on the Discovery Communications’ Science Channel.

 Read the complete story here.

Public Lecture Series to Explain Wonders of Astronomy

Eight monthly talks have been scheduled at UC Riverside covering a range of topics in astronomy

A gravitational lens mirage. Pictured above, the gravity of a luminous red galaxy (LRG) has gravitationally distorted the light from a much more distant blue galaxy. More typically, such light bending results in two discernible images of the distant galaxy, but here the lens alignment is so precise that the background galaxy is distorted into a horseshoe -- a nearly complete ring. Since such a lensing effect was generally predicted in some detail by Albert Einstein over 70 years ago, rings like this are now known as Einstein Rings. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA.

A gravitational lens mirage. Pictured above, the gravity of a luminous red galaxy (LRG) has gravitationally distorted the light from a much more distant blue galaxy. More typically, such light bending results in two discernible images of the distant galaxy, but here the lens alignment is so precise that the background galaxy is distorted into a horseshoe -- a nearly complete ring. Since such a lensing effect was generally predicted in some detail by Albert Einstein over 70 years ago, rings like this are now known as Einstein Rings.IMAGE CREDIT: ESA/HUBBLE & NASA.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside is hosting a new series of eight public lectures aimed at making astronomy understandable to all. The free lectures will take place the first Thursday of every month (except the one in January 2015).

The first lecture of the series, scheduled for 6 p.m., Nov. 6, will address how gravitational lenses can be used to study the distant universe. Titled “Einstein’s Telescope: Using Gravitational Lenses as Telescopes to Reveal the Distant Universe,” the one-hour talk will be given by Brian Siana, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside. It will take place in Room 3035 in the Physics Building on campus.

Gabor’s Research Paper Honored

OCTOBER 22, 2014

Nathaniel Gabor

Nathaniel Gabor

A research paper by Nathaniel Gabor, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, received one of the three “Best Paper Awards for 2014″ at the 2014 SPIE Optics + Photonics Meeting in August in San Diego, Calif., that had more than 3,000 presenters in the fields of optical spectroscopy and photonics research. The conference is the largest international conference for optics and related fields.

The award, which recognizes originality, depth of research, significance of findings and historical interest, was presented to Gabor at SPIE Optics + Photonics: Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, and Associated Devices by the conference chairs for his research on graphene optoelectronics.

Gabor joined UC Riverside in 2013. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2010 after which he was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT until 2013. His research is focused on the discovery of new quantum phenomena in atomically thin two-dimensional electronic materials. His lab also focuses on optoelectronic measurements of nanoscale quantum materials.

Read the complete story here.

Undergraduate Student Does Research at CERN, Switzerland

OCTOBER 22, 2014

Martha Nunez

Martha Nunez

Martha Nunez, an undergraduate student working with physicists Bill Gary and Owen Long at UCR, spent 10 weeks this summer at CERN, Switzerland, her second visit in as many years to the research center. CERN is the location of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a powerful particle accelerator.

Nunez worked on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, a general purpose detector at the LHC. She directly contributed to the hardware and electronic upgrades for CMS at its experimental cavern. She also was involved in a search for supersymmetric signals.

“From working on these projects, I have come to appreciate the interplay between understanding the detector and searching for new physics,” she said. “The CMS detector is designed to exploit the full set of physics opportunities presented via LHC collisions by reconstructing remnants from the particle collisions, giving us a glimpse at particles that existed in the early universe.”

Read the complete story here.

Michael Devirian '66 — Distinguished Alumnus Award

Congratulations to Michael Devirian ’66, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award, by the UCR Alumni Association. This former ASUCR President went on to pursue an extraordinary career at JPL and NASA, including working as Mission Control for the Mars Mariner and Lunar Lander Missions from 1966–70. He was also the operations manager for the Hubble Space Telescope and Camera Installation.

For twenty-eight years, the UCR Alumni Association has honored graduates who personify the University’s tradition of excellence and service. Through their personal and professional achievements, these individuals bring distinction to UCR, contribute to the betterment of society and enhance their communities.

 

Read the complete story and watch video here.

Assistant Professor Nathaniel Gabor to receive one of the three Best Paper Awards at the 2014 SPIE Optics + Photonics Conference in San Diego

 Self Image

The 2014 Best Paper Award has been awarded to Assistant Prof. Nathaniel Gabor at the SPIE Optics + Photonics: Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, and Associated Devices in August for his research on graphene optoelectronics. The presentation described his recent work on atomically thin optoelectronics incorporating graphene. Graphene, an atomically thin sheet of hexagonally oriented carbon, is a zero band gap conductor (semi-metal) that exhibits extraordinary electronic behavior and broadband optical absorption. Hexagonal boron nitride, which shares a similar structure to that of graphene, is a highly insulating electronic material that does not absorb any light in the visible spectrum. By combining graphene and boron nitride into ultrathin vertical stacks, Gabor demonstrated the fabrication of novel optoelectronic devices that exhibit highly sensitive optical response, yet are only as thick as the width of a DNA molecule.

The conference, which took place in San Diego and is the largest international conference for optics and related fields, brings together over 3000 presenters in the fields of optical spectroscopy and photonics research. The Best Paper Award recognizes originality, depth of research, significance of findings and historical interest, and was presented by The 2014 conference chairs: Manijeh Razeghi, Young Hee Lee, and Maziar Ghazinejad. Prof. Gabor joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2013, was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT from 2010-2013, and graduated from Cornell University in 2010.

Free Public Viewing at UC Riverside of Partial Solar Eclipse on Oct. 23

 Special eclipse viewing glasses will be provided

By  On OCTOBER 14, 2014

A partial solar eclipse.

A partial solar eclipse takes place when the moon obscures only a portion of the sun from our view.PHOTO CREDIT: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The next total solar eclipse, when the moon hides all of the sun from our view, will take place in August 2017. But we need not wait that long.  A partial solar eclipse, when the moon obscures only a portion of the sun from our view, will be seen in most of the continental United States on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014.  For Riverside, the eclipse will begin at 2:10 p.m. and end at 4:40 p.m., with a maximum eclipse at 3:29 p.m.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside will host a free public eclipse-viewing that day near the bell tower on campus. The viewing will begin at 2 p.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.  Special eclipse viewing glasses and telescopes will be available for the public to use.

“The partial solar eclipse on Oct. 23 will be the last opportunity to see this kind of event in the country up until the total solar eclipse of August 2017,” said Mario De Leo Winkler, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy who is organizing the viewing. “On Oct. 23, the farther north you are in the country – Alaska, Washington, Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota – the more the moon will cover the solar disc, up to approximately 60 percent. The west coast will be able to see the eclipse easily, while the eastern portion of the United States will have the sun very low in the horizon during the maximum eclipse time.”

Read the complete story  here.

Get a Close-up View of Total Lunar Eclipse

UC Riverside to host free public telescope observation of Oct. 8 lunar eclipse

By  On OCTOBER 2, 2014

A total lunar eclipse.

A total lunar eclipse.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – On Wednesday, Oct. 8, California, along with several states in the western United States, will witness a total lunar eclipse, the last eclipse in 2014. The eclipse will be visible with the naked eye.  It will start at 1:15 a.m. and end at 6:33 a.m., Pacific Time.

The University of California, Riverside will host a free public telescope observation at the bell tower on campus from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.  Two telescopes will be available for the public to use.  Light refreshments will be served.

Parking on campus will be free for the duration of the viewing, except in red zones.

“Lunar eclipses are a great opportunity to see the moon in full detail and to understand why some ancient civilizations knew thousands of years ago that the Earth was round,” said Mario De Leo Winkler, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, who is organizing the lunar observation at UC Riverside.  “There is no harm to the eyes when watching a lunar eclipse.”

Read the complete story here.

Finding Answers to Basic Questions About the Universe

UC Riverside graduate students make significant contributions to particle physics research at CERN

Elizabeth Kennedy ad Jesse Heilman.

Elizabeth Kennedy (left) and Jesse Heilman are two UC Riverside graduate students working at CERN, Switzerland.PHOTO CREDIT: SARAH CHARLEY, CERN.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Hundreds of graduate students from around the world work diligently at CERN in Switzerland, the location of the powerful particle accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  Among them are graduate students, such as Jesse Heilman and Elizabeth Kennedy, from theDepartment of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside, who are working on theCompact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, a large particle-capturing detector at the LHC.

Heilman has been at CERN a little over two years, and expects to stay there until the end of 2015. He got interested in high energy physics as an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia, Canada, when he took a class on particle physics as an elective. He works with Stephen Wimpenny at UC Riverside.

Kennedy has been at CERN since April 2013 and plans to stay at CERN through at least 2015.  She knew for a very long time that she wanted to study the most fundamental aspects of the universe, and got to do research on astroparticle physics as an undergraduate at Ohio State University. She works with Robert Clare at UCR.

Watch the short video here of them discussing their research on CMS that could lead ultimately to discoveries that can help answer questions such as: Are there undiscovered principles of nature? What is the origin of mass? Do extra dimensions exist? What is dark matter? How can we solve the mystery of dark energy? And how did the universe come to be?

Read the complete story and watch video here.

UC Riverside at the Large Hadron Collider 

Published on Jul 16, 2014

UC Riverside graduate students share what it is like to build one of the world's largest and most complicated machines.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpfsYSR_lNM

Summer Physics Academy Draws Local High School Teachers to UC Riverside

For a week, participants learn the latest in physics research

By  On JUNE 24, 2014

Photo shows a classroom with teachers in it.

The popular Summer Physics Academy is taking place this week (June 23-27) at UC Riverside.BETHANIE LE, UC RIVERSIDE.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Twenty-one high school teachers from Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties are participating this week (June 23-27, 2014) at the Summer Physics Academy hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside.

The academy is a weeklong workshop that trains and equips local high school physics teachers with practical and conceptual physics lessons, hands-on activities, curriculum and technology to use in their own classrooms. (See below for a slideshow.)

The workshop is taking place in Room 3041 (Reading Room) in the Physics Buildingon campus. The goal is to reach out to local high school students through their teachers so that the students are encouraged to learn physics and be prepared for physics courses at the college level.

Read the complete story here.

 

UC Riverside to Lead New Energy Frontier Research Center Project

The project “SHINES” will receive $12 million from the Department of Energy to pursue fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use

By  On JUNE 18, 2014

Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, to lead the SHINES initiative
 University of California, Riverside

Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, to lead the SHINES initiativeUNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE

 WASHINGTON – A UC Riverside-led research project is among the 32 named today by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as an Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), designed to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build a new 21st-century energy economy in the United States.

“Spins and Heat in Nanoscale Electronic Systems” (SHINES) will receive $12 million over four years from the Department of Energy. The lead researcher is UC Riverside Professor of Physics Jing Shi, who will work with researchers from seven universities.

SHINES is one of 10 new projectsannounced today, along with 22 other projects receiving new funding based on achievements to date. The Department of Energy announced a total of $100 million in funding to support fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use.

“Today we are mobilizing some of our most talented scientists to join forces and pursue the discoveries and breakthroughs that will lay the foundation for our nation’s energy future,” Secretary Moniz said. “The funding we’re announcing today will help fuel innovation.”

Read the complete story here.

Prospective Undergraduate Students 

Prospective Undergraduate Students please learn more about our undergraduate program in physics at the following link: Undergraduate Program

Driven to High-energy Excellence

UC Riverside’s Connor Richards has won a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

By  On APRIL 14, 2014

UC Riverside undergraduate Connor Richards has won a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Photo credit: Iqbal Pittalwala, UC Riverside.

UC Riverside undergraduate Connor Richards has won a
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.PHOTO CREDIT: IQBAL PITTALWALA, UC RIVERSIDE.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Listening to Connor Richards, one might easily mistake him for a graduate student.  His grasp on high energy physics is solid, his explanations of abstruse concepts in particle physics both clear and complete.

But Richards is a second-year undergraduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside, and has just won a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, considered by many to be the most prestigious undergraduate award given in the sciences, with only about 300 students nationwide earning one each year.

“This is an incredibly humbling honor,” said Richards, 20, who expects to graduate in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in physics.  “The generous monetary award — $7,500 per year for my junior and senior years of study — will really allow me to focus on my classes and research. I think, more than anything, this is a testament to the wonderful opportunities that UC Riverside and the University Honors Program offer students.”

The Goldwater Scholarship is the latest of many awards Richards has won.  He is the recipient of the University of California Regents Scholarship, a Dean’s Academic Distinction Award, a University Honors Enrichment Scholarship, a Robert Wild Family Scholarship, a Michael Devirian Scholarship and a Ben Shen Memorial Scholarship.  He has consistently made the Chancellor’s Honors List and the Dean’s Honor List at UCR.

Read the complete story here.

Masterclass outreach to local high school students: search for the Higgs boson

Dates: March 11-12

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Physics and Astronomy to Host Annual Open House on April 12

Event runs from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Physics Building and features free admission and free parking

By  On MARCH 25, 2014

 RIVERSIDE, Calif. — TheDepartment of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside will host its annual open house on April 12, 2014 from 1–4:30 p.m., allowing visitors to campus to have one-on-one interactions with faculty and students and get to know all about the cutting-edge research the department conducts.

The annual open house will be held in the Physics Building as well as outside in the adjacent courtyard.Parking in Lot 30 is free.

Presentations that showcase the research being done in the department will be held in the lobby and classrooms of the Physics Building.  The presentations will each be about 20 minutes long.  Presentations on astrophysics, cosmology and condensed matter physics will start at 2 p.m., take place in Room 3041 (the Reading Room), and be given twice; the talk on high energy physics will be ongoing in the lobby.

The flyer for the 2014 Physics Open House

The flyer for the 2014 Physics Open House

 

Fun, hands-on demonstrations will take place in the courtyard and inside the Physics Building.  The demonstrations, which in the past have been very popular with children, will cover a variety of topics, including electricity, magnetism and sound/music.

The open house is on the same day as Highlander Day.

Scientists Reach New Precision for Mass of Top Quark

UC Riverside’s Stephen Wimpenny worked on analysis leading to new value for fundamental particle

By  On MARCH 20, 2014

Photo shows a graphic related to top quark measurements.

This graphic shows the four individual top quark mass measurements published by the ATLAS, CDF, CMS and DZero collaborations, together with the most precise measurement obtained in a joint analysis.PHOTO CREDIT: FERMILAB.

 
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Scientists working on the world’s leading particle collider experiments have joined forces, combined their data and produced the first joint result from Fermilab’s Tevatron and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider(LHC), both very powerful particle colliders on Earth. Scientists from the four experiments involved —ATLASCDFCMS and DZero — announced their joint findings yesterday on the mass of the top quark, the heaviest known elementary particle, at the Rencontres de Moriond international physics conference in Italy.

The University of California, Riverside’s Stephen Wimpenny, a professor of physics and astronomy, is one of the key scientists involved, and has been working on the analysis since last summer.

“It is the first analysis to combine the results from the four different big experiments at the LHC and the Tevatron — CDF and DZero at the Tevatron and ATLAS and CMS at the LHC,” he said. “It was performed by a team of four researchers representing the four collaborations involved. The results significantly improve the precision of the mass of the top quark.”

Photo shows Stephen Wimpenny.

Stephen Wimpenny is a professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside.PHOTO CREDIT: UCR DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY.

Together the four experiments pooled their data analysis power to arrive at a new world’s best value for the mass of the top quark of 173.34 +/- 0.76 GeV/c2. The analysis required a very detailed understanding of the detectors and the 11 measurements that contributed to the combination, paving the way for further improvements in the future. Read the complete story here.

Hubble Unveils a Deep Sea of Small and Faint Early Galaxies

UC Riverside-led research shows the galaxies are the faintest and most numerous ever seen in the early universe

Image shows early galaxies.

An image taken with the Hubble Space Telescope of Abell 1689, a massive cluster of galaxies whose gravitational pull is so strong that it bends light, acting like a lens. This “gravitational lens” magnifies galaxies behind the cluster, making them appear far brighter than they would if the foreground cluster of galaxies were not there. The galaxies discovered in this study (circled) are magnified by factors of 3-100 and are fainter than any galaxies seen at this distance before. These previously unseen distant galaxies are so numerous that they are likely producing the majority of stars formed in the early universe. Zoomed in images of many of the galaxies are shown on the right. The galaxies are very compact (diameters 1/30th – 1/100th the size of our own Milky Way galaxy) and very blue, meaning they have recently formed many new stars. Photo credit: NASA and ESA; Space Telescope Science Institute.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A team of scientists led by astronomers at the University of California, Riverside has used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to uncover the long-suspected underlying population of galaxies that produced the bulk of new stars during the universe’s early years.

The galaxies are the smallest, faintest, and most numerous galaxies ever seen in the remote universe, and were captured by Hubble deep exposures taken in ultraviolet light.UC Riverside Astronomers Help Discover the Most Distant Known Galaxy  Read the complete story here.

UC Riverside Astronomers Help Discover the Most Distant Known Galaxy

Galaxy is seen as it was just 700 million years after the Big Bang

An artist's rendition of the newly discovered most distant galaxy z8-GND-5296.

UC Riverside astronomers Bahram Mobasher and Naveen Reddy are members of a team that has discovered the most distant galaxy ever found. The galaxy is seen as it was just 700 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only about 5 percent of its current age of 13.8 billion years.  Read the complete story here.

Driven to High-energy Excellence

Research Project to Capture Infrared View of Distant Universe

Photo shows Brian Siana at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.Astronomers at the University of California, Riverside have received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a very large new survey of galaxies using a new instrument — MOSFIRE — on the Keck I telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawai`i’s Big Island. The survey, which already began this spring, will be conducted during 47 nights over the next four years.
Read the complete story here: http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/17633

Physicists Recognized for Repairs on Pixel Detector at CERN

Photo shows Kira Burt, Martina Malberti, Mauro Dinardo and Manuel Olmedo.

A team of University of California, Riverside physicists recently received recognition for their work on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) pixel detector, a particle tracker integral to the study of fundamental particle physics. Kira Burt, Martina Malberti, Mauro Dinardo and Manuel Olmedo (shown here clockwise from top left) make up part of the group responsible for repairing malfunctioning channels in the forward pixel detector.

The group has been working on a project called the CMS experiment, located at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), part of the CERN complex in Switzerland. The project seeks to uncover new physics that will help to complete the Standard Model of physics, a comprehensive theory that explains the interactions between all fundamental elementary particles, accounting for most measurements to date.

“Basically, we collide protons together and create new particles,” explained John Ellison, a professor of physics and astronomy and collaborator on the CMS project, “Then we look for new physics that arise from those conditions.”

CMS research has already led to the discovery of the Higgs boson earlier this year, and in the future may lead to future evidence for supersymmetry, heavy neutrinos, and extra-spatial dimensions. The CMS pixel detector is essential for such research.

Photo shows John Ellison and Gail Hanson.

Gail Hanson, a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy and team leader of the project gave details on the repairs. “We are currently in a shut-down period to allow for magnet upgrades that will allow the LHC to achieve its final design energy,” she said. “That has provided us with the opportunity to work on the detector.”


Read the complete story here: http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/17345

Ultrasound measurements reveal a long-sought phase transition in superconducting cuprates

Former UCR postdoc Arkady Shekhter and his colleagues at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Los Alamos National Laboratory have discivered the thermodynamic signature of a phase transition to the so-called pseudogap state  found in a large region of the phase diagram of high-temperature cuprate superconductors. It is believed that the nature of this state holds the key to understanding the mechanism behind the high-temperature superconductivity. This new finding is consistent with the theory pioneered by Prof. Chandra Varma. Read the complete story in Physics Today.

Middle School Teachers Acquire Rich Online Experience to Improve Classroom Teaching

Photo shows Maria Simani with four middle school teachers. 

 

 

 

 

 

Academic Senate Recognizes Faculty With Top Awards for Teaching, Research, Service

Professors Gabriela Canalizo and Jeanie Lau are among the recepients of top awards in research, teaching and service for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The Distinguished Teaching Award, conferred on the basis of student evaluations and peer reviews, went to Gabriela Canalizo, an associate professor of physics and astronomy.

CanalizoCanalizo studies quasars, host galaxies and galaxy-evolution. She brings her passion and excitement for science and astronomy to her classrooms at UCR, where she teaches non-majors, majors, and graduate students.  She has inspired her students to succeed not only in science but in their own lives. As further evidence of her passion for teaching, she is actively engaged in outreach at the K-12 level. In addition to wide-ranging public lectures, she is principal investigator of the Inland Area Science Program, a collaboration between UNEX, several UCR teaching programs, and local school districts, which has raised funds for teacher-training in the sciences. She lectures and mentors students in the AVID and SACNAS programs in California and beyond. She spends several weeks every summer teaching English and science in an orphanage in Africa.

The faculty recipients of the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement are Richard Hooley, an assistant professor of chemistry, and Jeanie Lau, a professor of physics and astronomy

JeanieLauOver the past 7 years, Lau has mentored eight undergraduate students, with several students training in her laboratory for at least two years. Five of these students have graduated and gone on to pursue doctoral degrees. Under her guidance, these students have received several grants. Her students’ success is due in part to her close attention to their professional training and access to publication opportunities in top journals. Lau includes her students in her research on the physics of nanoscale systems and the properties of graphene.  Read the complete story here

Astronomers Measure the Elusive Extragalactic Background Light

UC Riverside-led team relies on the attenuation of high-energy gamma rays from supermassive black holes to come up with a solution

Photo shows Alberto Domínguez.

Alberto Domínguez is a a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Riverside.

Read the complete story here

A Historical Journey of Physics Inspiration to Naval Research

Alumnus Starnes E. Walker will give a free public lecture at UC Riverside on May 16, focusing on discovery and innovation

Starnes E. Walker is the chief technology officer and technical director for the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet, U.S. Navy, and a UC Riverside alumnus.Photo courtesy of Starnes Walker.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — From the early 1900s physics contributions have created a foundational understanding of phenomena that play a significant role in naval research — an understanding that has led to discoveries and innovation, allowing exploration and operations from the deepest ocean depths to far space.

With the ability to explore these extreme environments, physics research, spanning interdisciplinary fields, continues to provide a leading role in defense science that is important to the nation’s security.

Starnes E. Walker, the chief technology officer and technical director for the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet, U.S. Navy, will give a free public lecture on May 16 at the University of California, Riverside in which he will present a historical review of these physics contributions.

The talk, titled “A Historical Journey of Physics Inspiration to Naval Research: A Pathway to Discovery and Innovation,” will begin at 3:40 p.m. in Room 138, Chung HallParking on campus costs $6 per day or $2 per hour in marked, numbered spaces in select parking lots.

Walker is a UC Riverside alumnus, receiving his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in physics in 1968, 1970 and 1973, respectively.  He also has an honorary degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. Working closely with the U.S. Department of Defense, his award-winning research and development has revolutionized science and technology systems in homeland security. Developing critical programs and strategic system alignment across domestic and global technical sectors, he has transformed U.S. homeland security and won recognition from the U.S. Congress.

His work with diverse communities has led to strong partnerships with the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Israel, Canada and Sweden for an integral and fiscally responsible approach to security and anti-terrorism.

Currently, he also serves as the chief engineering and technical director for the University of Hawai`i system. He has served as director of research in the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, technical director at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and chief scientist and technical director/executive director at the Office of Naval Research.

 

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-6050
E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu
Twitter: UCR_Sciencenews

Additional Contacts

John Ellison
Tel: (951) 827-4301
E-mail: john.ellison@ucr.edu

 

UC Riverside Natural Sciences and Engineering Ranked Top Ten in the World in Leiden Ranking

 

UC Riverside ranked 10th in natural sciences and engineering in the annual Leiden ranking of the top 500 major universities in the world in terms of research impact.  UCR’s  Read the complete story here

Fun With Physics and Astronomy

UC Riverside Department of Physics and Astronomy invites the community to an afternoon of exciting activities and talks on April 13

How does a hybrid car use electricity to move?  And how does it convert the car’s movement back into stored electric energy when it slows down?  How do electricity and magnetism work?  Are they always coupled?  And how exactly does physics explain sound and music?

Read the complete story here 

Higgs physics on the cheap

Tabletop Higgs particles may illuminate cosmic cousin.
higslike particles

Physicists have found Higgs-like particles in a superfluid at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany. 

More than three decades ago, before the world’s most powerful particle collider was even on the drawing board, two physicists discovered a Higgs boson. On a tabletop.

In 1981, Peter Littlewood and Chandra Varma, two solid-state theorists at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, realized that a mysterious effect seen in a niobium selenide superconductor could be explained by the jiggling of the invisible field that causes electrons in the material to pair up and move as one without resistance. Mathematically, the disturbance in the field looked very like one that is associated with the Higgs particle found by particle physicists.

Read the complete story here

Local High School Students to Perform University-level Particle Physics Research

 

Now, for the sixth year in a row, UC Riverside will host the International Particle Physics Masterclass, in which visiting high school students are introduced — through lectures and exercises — to particle physics, experiments and detectors.

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UCR Astronomer Awarded Sloan Research Fellowship

Graduate Student Receives Kennedy Reed Award

Photo shows Michael MarounUC Riverside’s Michael Maroun  has won the Kennedy Reed Award for Best Theoretical Research by a graduate student. Michael's field of research is mathematical physics. He received this award for an oral presentation — “A Metric on the Space of Quantum Fields” — he gave on November 2, 2012, during the American Physical Society California-Nevada annual meeting.

UC Riverside’s Richard Seto and Jing Shi are elected as fellows of the American Physical Society

Professor Richard SetoProfessor Jing Shi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two UCR physicists — Richard Seto and Jing Shi — have been elected fellows of the American Physical Society (APS).  Only 250 researchers received the high honor this year.          

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Alumnus Receives Fellowship to Work on Policy Issues in California

UC Riverside’s alumnus Kyle Hiner will bring sound science to policy making in Sacramento.

Photo shows UCR alumnus Kyle Hiner.For the first time, a University of California, Riverside alumnus has received a California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship from the California Council on Science and Technology,
a nonprofit organization that offers expert advice to the state government and recommends solutions to science- and technology-related policy issues.

Read the complete story here.

Physics Postdoctoral Scholar Receives High Honor at CERN

Photo shows Sudan Paramesvaran at CERN.Sudan Paramesvaran, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, has won the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) achievement award for the Hadron Calorimeter subdetector at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.

Paramesvaran serves as the Hadron Calorimeter (HCAL) Operations Manager for the 2012-2013 data-collection run of CMS.

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UC Riverside to Participate in Inaugural Long Night of Arts & Innovation on October 4

Downtown Riverside event will showcase the best of innovation and creativity in the arts and sciences. Admission to Long Night events is free and all events are open to the public. For more information, visit their website at http://riversideca.gov/longnight/.

Long Night of Arts & Innovation

UCR Astronomer Helps Children in Africa Reach for the Stars

UCR Professor Gabriela Canalizo volunteers several weeks each summer in an orphanage in Malawi to raise awareness of science.

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New Center to Focus on Nanomaterials

Professor Jeanie (Chun Ning) Lau has been named the director of UC Riverside’s Center of Nano-scale Electronics, Phenomena, and Technology, with Prof. Marc Bockrath serving as the center’s assistant director.

Learning to Build a Cosmic Ray Detector

High school teachers participate in three-day Quarknet workshop at UC Riverside

A three-day workshop in which high school physics teachers worked on building and using cosmic ray detectors concludes today at the University of California, Riverside.  The workshop is sponsored by Quarknet, a project headquartered in Fermilab that provides professional development and on-going support for physics teachers.
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Ann Heinson Named Woman Physicist of the Month

Photo shows Ann Heinson.
Ann Heinson, a research physicist at UC Riverside, has received the Woman Physicist of the Month award for July 2012 from the American Physical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women. 
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UC Riverside Physicists Participate in Hunt for Higgs Boson

Physicists on experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the particle physics laboratory on the border of Switzerland and France, announced on July 4 that they have observed a new particle. Whether the particle has the properties of the predicted Higgs boson, the world’s most sought-after particle, remains to be seen.

The University of California, Riverside is a founding member of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, a large particle-capturing detector at CERN, and is one of only five U.S. institutes to be a founding member.  UC Riverside was a key contributor to the design, prototype testing, and construction of the endcap muon chambers, one of the principal detector components used in the search for the Higgs boson. Other central UCR contributions include participation in the design, construction, commissioning, and operation of the silicon-based tracker, and the commissioning and operation of the hadron calorimeter, both of which are fundamental to most CMS physics studies including the Higgs boson search. 

 
 
 Read the complete story here.

Teachers brush up on Physics at UCR

UCR physics and astronomy professors want more students to take physics to alleviate a shortage of engineering graduates.  So they organized a Summer Physics Academy five years ago to help teachers get more students interested.  Twenty teachers, from Temecula to Barstow to Los Angeles, attended the academy held again in June, 2012

Physics Graduate Student Gets Rare Opportunity to Consort With Nobel Laureates

\Michael Maroun, a physics graduate student at the University of California, Riverside, is one of only 580 young researchers from 69 countries who will spend six days next month with more than 25 Nobel laureates at the 62nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.
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Fifth Annual Summer Physics Academy Begins June 25

For the fifth year in a row, the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside is hosting the Summer Physics Academy – a weeklong workshop (June 25-30) that trains and equips local high school physics teachers with practical and conceptual physics lessons, hands-on activities, curriculum and technology to use in their own classrooms.
Read the complete story here.

Professor Gabriela Canalizo on black holes and the universe

 

For more than a century, generations of astronomers like Prof. Canalizo have travelled to the hills above San Jose, California and searched the stars from the UC-owned Lick Observatory. Her own research on black holes requires the use of highly advanced telescopes like those housed at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii (also co-managed by UC). Such sensitive instruments enable her to measure infrared data that pinpoint the location of black holes and assess their effects on nearby stars, gas and dust.

UCR Physicist Awarded 2012 Bardeen Prize

DistinguisheProdessor Chandra Varmad professor Chandra Varma is recognized for his scientific contributions in the field of superconductivity. 

Sponsored by the Department of Physics of the University of Illinois and by the Friends of Bardeen, the prize recognizes theoretical work that has provided significant insights on the nature of superconductivity and has led to verifiable predictions. Specifically, Varma is recognized for his work on “the identification of the pairing symmetry, pairing mechanism, and multiple superconducting phases in heavy-fermion superconductors.” 

Read the complete story here. For more information on the Bardeen prize go here.

UCR professor gets NASA Hubble contract

Bahram Mobasher Bahram Mobasher, a professor of astronomy at UC Riverside, has landed a NASA contract to help expand our knowledge of the universe. As the Hubble Space Telescope approaches the end of its mission life (and the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope moves closer to launch), Mobasher and a team of fellow researchers will build a searchable catalog of all the galaxies discovered by the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys during the past decade.;
Read the complete story here.

In the News

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  • May 10, 2012
    Boffins baking big-data single chip architecture
    'Graphene, electrons and the end of 'conventional silicon electronics' A team led by scientists from the University of California have returned to electrical engineering fundamentals with work that will produce a chip combining memory and logic. Only this will overcome what they call the "ultimate limits" of conventional silicon electronics the others are trying to circumvent. Today, you have memory in RAM and logic in the CPU connected by a bus that causes a bottleneck as instructions are relayed.
  • January 24, 2012
    Bilayer Graphene Works as an Insulator
    RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A research team led by physicists at the University of California, Riverside has identified a property of "bilayer graphene" (BLG) that the researchers say is analogous to finding the Higgs boson in particle physics. Graphene, nature's thinnest elastic material, is a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Because of graphene's planar and chicken wire-like structure, sheets of it lend themselves well to stacking. BLG is formed when two graphene sheets are stacked in a special manner. Like graphene, BLG has high current-carrying capacity, also known as high electron conductivity. The high current-carrying capacity results from the extremely high velocities that electrons can acquire in a graphene sheet. The physicists report online Jan. 22 in Nature Nanotechnology that in investigating BLG's properties they found that when the number of electrons on the BLG sheet is close to 0, the material becomes insulating (that is, it resists flow of electrical current) - a finding that has implications for the use of graphene as an electronic material in the semiconductor and electronics industries.
  • January 11, 2012
    NASA Telescopes Help Find Rare Galaxy at Dawn of Time
    Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have discovered that one of the most distant galaxies known is churning out stars at a shockingly high rate. The blob-shaped galaxy, called GN-108036, is the brightest galaxy found to date at such great distances.
  • July 14, 2011
    UC Riverside Physicists Discover New Way to Produce Antimatter-containing Atom
    New method allows positronium to be produced for the first time at a wide range of temperatures and in a controllable way RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Physicists at the University of California, Riverside report that they have discovered a new way to create positronium, an exotic and short-lived atom that could help answer what happened to antimatter in the universe and why nature favored matter over antimatter at the universe's creation. Positronium is made up of an electron and its antimatter twin, the positron. It has applications in developing more accurate Positron Emission Tomography or PET scans and in fundamental physics research.

Upcoming Events!

View upcoming seminars and workshops through our calendar.

 

CommProf. Tom gives a presentation at the Summer Academy for High  
School Teachers.unity Outreach

On July 19–30, 2010, the Department of Physics and Astronomy will host its third annual Summer Physics Academy for High School Teachers. Teachers from Inland Empire schools will attended lectures and take part in laboratory exercises designed to illustrate the concepts taught in the lectures. The goal of the Summer Academy is to help teachers increase their students’ interest in physics.

For the press coverage of the past  Summer Physics Academies for High School Teachers check here and here.


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