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From sub-atomic to astronomical scales, we are working on the frontiers of science. Founded by Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences, our departments have all played a central role in UC San Diego’s rapid rise to national and international prominence.

A tradition of bridging boundaries long before interdisciplinary research became fashionable has allowed us to probe fundamental questions at the intersections different branches of science and mathematics and to create new fields of study. Because mathematics and the physical sciences are fundamental to many pursuits, including engineering, medicine and biology, we contribute to the education of most undergraduate students at UC San Diego.

News from the Physical Sciences

calibration satellitePrize for proposal to test fundamental physics

Two UC San Diego astrophysicists together with a colleague at Columbia University have been awarded a 2014 Buchalter Cosmology Prize for a paper proposing a way to significantly enhance cosmological measurements in a way that should enable sensitive tests of ideas fundamental to our understanding of physical laws. The paper by postdoctoral scholar Jonathan Kaufman, physics professor Brian Keating, and Bradley Johnson, professor of physics at Columbia, was posted to the online repository arXiv in September 2014.

The newly established prize “seeks to motivate and recognize innovative theoretical, observational, or experimental work in cosmology that has the potential to produce a breakthrough advance in our thinking.” Winners were announced at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle. More.

A time series of a single E. coli cell from birth to division.What causes cells to divide

When a rapidly-growing cell divides into two smaller cells, what triggers the split? Is it the size the growing cell eventually reaches? Or is the real trigger the time period over which the cell keeps growing ever larger?

A novel study published online today in the journal Current Biology has finally provided an answer to this long unsolved conundrum. And it’s not what many biologists expected. More.

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Research Highlight

Detecting microRNA

Chemistry professor Neal Devaray's group has developed a more effective way to detect minute amounts of microRNAs. Because some microRNAs have been implicated in cancers, doctors would like sensitive and seletive tests to recognize them in samples with minimal preparation, but low levels of th tiny molecules have made this challenging. Devaraj's group reports a novel amplification technique to detect oncogenic microRNA in live cells and fluid samples that requires little sample preparation, a method they think will prove useful for diagnosis within medical clinics.

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