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Shelley Wright is using the wide light-gathering power of Fresnel lenses, similar to those used in lighthouses, to search for alien laser signals. FRANK ROGOZIENSKI

How big money is powering a massive hunt for alien intelligence

Crystal structure of the self-assembled materials. Blue dots represent strongly bound water. The variation of the number of water molecules reflects the potential heterogeneity of the strongly bound water numbers in each site. Credit: Haoyuan Wang

Sleuthing Their Way to Discovery with a New Microscope

This snapshot of turbulence density and vorticity from a simulation using SDSC’s ‘Comet’ supercomputer illustrates a notable physics concept: the formation of zonal (i.e. y-direction) structures, which have important consequences for magnetic confinement devices. Credit: Robin Heinonen, UC San Diego Center for Energy Research

Machine Learning Helps Plasma Physics Researchers Understand Turbulence Transport


Chemistry & Biochemistry

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is committed to excellence in research, education and service. As part of this mission, the department values and promotes equity, fairness and inclusion of diverse members. It welcomes opportunities to engage a broader audience in the excitement of discovery and to connect more members of the campus and local communities with the chemistry of everyday experiences.

Chemistry website


From algebra and combinatorics to statistics and probability theory the Department of Mathematics offers a vast array of research areas and opportunities for collaboration. Its talented faculty members include Breakthrough Prize, Fields Medal and John von Neumann Theory Prize winners, as well as mathematicians who also are musicians and painters. UC San Diego mathematics helps the world in a variety of ways, from developing algorithms for big data to applying math for easing traffic congestion.

Mathematics website


The foundational science, physics informs us about what is possible and impossible—from the outer reaches of space to the pockets of everyday life. At UC San Diego, physics is where the university’s first students enrolled in 1960. The Department of Physics’ faculty attracts some of the brightest scholars in the world, asks fundamental questions about the universe and develops the methods and tools to answer those questions.

Physics website

About Us

The Division of Physical Sciences is committed to inclusive excellence in research and teaching, providing the resources and environment for all our community members to excel. Our priorities support the Chancellor’s strategic goals as we focus on facilitating student success, growing the faculty for the future and enabling new research directions. We offer students a wide range of undergraduate degrees and top-ranking graduate programs, and our world-renowned faculty contribute to our students’ success through mentorship. We also support the state’s need for qualified science teachers through the California Teach Science and Math Initiative. At UC San Diego, we’re where research and teaching excellence begins.

The Campaign for UC San Diego

At the University of California San Diego, challenging convention is our most cherished tradition. The Campaign for UC San Diego is a $2 billion comprehensive fundraising effort to transform the student experience, our campus and ultimately the world.

Continue the Nontradition


Since 1960, UC San Diego has been educating the next generation of leaders and thinkers in science. Our alumni embody the spirit of the division, and they are a key reason why UC San Diego is known for scientific excellence in research, education and discovery. The Triton family includes more than 13,000 physical sciences alumni, all part of the larger UC San Diego Alumni Network. We encourage you to stay connected with us through email, social media and this website. Please let us know what you’re up to—we’d love to reach out and stay in touch!

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