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About the Divison of Physical Sciences

From sub-atomic to astronomic 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

Chemist elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Clifford Kubiak, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies. Kubiak develops catalysts for reactions that could be used to wring liguid fuel from sunlight in a system of artificial photosynthesis. That work is part of a broader program to understand how electrons are transferred at the molecular scale, which could pave the way for the development of molecular electronic devices. Learn more about the Kubiak research group.

fragile X protein bound to ribosomeDiscovery could lead to novel therapies for Fragile X syndrome

Scientists studying the most common form of inherited mental disability—a genetic disease called “Fragile X syndrome”—have uncovered new details about the cellular processes responsible for the condition that could lead to the development of therapies to restore some of the capabilities lost in affected individuals.

In a paper to be published in Molecular Cell, a group led by Simpson Joseph, professor of chemistry and biochemistry shows how the fragile X mental retardation protein, which is in short supply in individuals with Fragile X, affects the protein-making structures of cells in the brain to cause the disease. Read more.

Kiran KedlayaMathematician awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Professor Kiran Kedlaya has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, to further his work in number theory, one of the most classical branches of mathematics.

The award will support a project that explores computational aspects of the Langlands program, a grand unifying framework - akin to the Standard Model in particle physics - that incorporates much of the progress in number theory in the late 20th century, The Langlands program is not always completely precise in its predictions, however. To address that shortcoming, Kedlaya will be leading a research program to develop new computational infrastructure for making and testing precise predictions in the context of the Langlands program at ICERM in fall 2015.

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Public Lectures

Randy Schekman

Wednesday, May 7

Traffic inside a cell is as complicated as rush hour near any metropolitan area. But drivers know how to follow the signs and roadways to reach their destinations. How do different cellular proteins "read" molecular signposts to find their way inside or outside of a cell? More information.

Jill Tarter, SETI

Friday, May 9

The search for ET: An investment in our long future. More information.