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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

Cells can use dynamic patterns to pluck signals from noise

many cells

Scientists have discovered a general principle for how cells could accurately transmit chemical signals despite high levels of noise in the system.

Roy Wollman and colleagues combined advanced microscopic imaging with information theory to determine how cells might encode information about the level of incoming chemical signals, given their variable states.

No single measure captured the cells' responses in a way that accurately preserved information about the concentration of the chemical signal outside the cell. Instead, a measure that captured the change of the cell's responses over time accurately recorded the level of the incoming signal. And information theoretical analysis concluded that the 'noise' of varying cellular states could be eliminated in this way. More.

particles decayPhysicists explain puzzling particle decays

An anomaly spotted at the Large Hadron Collider has prompted scientists to reconsider a mathematical description of the underlying physics. By considering two forces that are distinct in everyday life but unified under extreme conditions like those within the collider and just after the birth of the universe, they have simplified one description of the interactions of elementary particles. Their new version makes specific predictions about events that future experiments at the LHC and other colliders should observe and could help to reveal “new physics,” particles or processes that have yet to be discovered. More.

Marvin GoldbergerMarvin Goldberger, physicist and former dean of natural sciences, dies at 92 

Marvin L. "Murph" Goldberger, an emeritus professor of physics who was dean of UC San Diego’s Division of Natural Sciences from 1994 to 1999, following a prominent career that included working on the Manhattan Project and serving as the president of Caltech, died Nov. 26 in La Jolla.

Frequently sought after on the UC San Diego campus for his sage advice on issues ranging from academe to science policy, Goldberger—who was appointed a professor of physics at UC San Diego in 1993 and retired in 1999 as an emeritus professor—often returned to campus to have lunch with faculty, many of whom had become long-time friends. More.

galaxies collide Galactic blowout: Stellar winds expel fuel for future stars

Stars igniting at rates rarely seen in a distant, massive galaxy are blowing cold, dense gas tens of thousands of light years into space, depleting the galaxy's supply of stellar fuel. The loss will limit future star birth, a driver of galactic aging for which evidence has been mounting. Read more.

Cancer training program has supported 300 trainees in 30 years

Daniel Donoghue, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and provost of Sixth College, directs the program, which has just received renewed funding from the National Cancer Institute through 2019.trainees and program administratorsLeft to right: Annie Chou, predoctoral trainee; Laura Castrejon, program coordinator; Daniel Donoghue, program director; David Cheresh, vice-chair of the executive committee; Juliati Rahajeng, postdoctoral trainee; Amy Haseley Thorne, postdoctoral trainee; Jasmine Wang, program webmaster.

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