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The Division of Physical Sciences is committed to sharing information about its administration, academics, outreach and research—from people to their changemaking activities—with a full-service news and multimedia team. From writing stories and media training, to coordinating press interviews and posting social media news, we cover the physical sciences around the clock, year-round.

For a complete list of news items, see our News Archive below. 


LIPID MAPS International Advisory Board

‘Phat’ on potential, Lipidomics is gaining Weight
A new generation of chemists & biochemists is pounding out research to further understand the complex nature of lipids using a database established by the division’s Ed Dennis and other UC San Diego researchers.

Figure expressing the process researchers used to identify choice peptides. Image by Lorille Tallorin

Scientists Surf Peptides with New POOL
Michael Burkart and student researchers Lorillee Tallorin and Woojoo Eunice Kim recently published a paper in Nature Communications describing their methodology for creating peptides that could produce biomaterials, like nanostructures and microstructures, to modify proteins.

Graduate student Jiaxi Wang assembles and characterizes polariton samples. Photo by Michelle Fredricks

UC San Diego Strikes New NSF Funding with Laser Speed
Chemist Wei Xiong receives nearly $600K to investigate hybrid particles with ultrafast lasers while diversifying science.

High-resolution models of influenza, developed by integrating X-ray crystallography with electron microscopy, enable the interrogation of the functional balance of the flu’s two glycoproteins. Image by Jacob Durrant, University of Pittsburgh

New Study Might Help Unlock Secrets of the Flu
Every year, millions of people around the world suffer from severe illness caused by influenza. Now a new study, led by Rommie Amaro in chemistry & biochemistry, suggests a new approach for combatting the sometimes deadly virus.

Massimiliano Di Ventra

Synthetic Cells Command New Powers of Communication
From kryptonite for Superman to plant toxins for Poison Ivy, chemical reactions within the body’s cells can be transformative. And, when it comes to transmuting cells, University of California San Diego researchers are becoming superhero-like copy cats.

Massimiliano Di Ventra

Division Scientists Earn Spots on List of Highly Cited Researchers
UC San Diego chemists and physicists are among an elite list of highly cited researchers. According to the Clarivate Analytics Web of Science, these faculty members are among the top 1% of researchers by citations for their field.

Robert Continetti

Chemist Stands Boldly Among New AAAS Fellows
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s Robert Continetti was recently named, along with six other UC San Diego faculty members, as an AAAS Fellow. The senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and distinguished professor is renowned for his novel studies of energetics and dissociation dynamics of transient species.

Q-MEEN-C logo

Physicists Brainstorm World’s 21st-Century Energy Challenges
The Department of Energy (DOE) entrusted nearly $10 million to UC San Diego’s award-winning, Distinguished Professor of Physics Ivan Schuller, who is working with his condensed matter physicist colleagues Alex Frano and Oleg Shpyrko, to establish the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) at the university. With a mission to conduct basic research to create a new, energy-efficient platform for neuromorphic computing using quantum materials, the EFRC on campus is part of a network of 40 centers nationwide. 

Graduate and undergraduate students work together in the Schmidt Group lab.

Chemists Suited to Break Rule, Devise New Chemical Tool
An organic chemist who specializes in synthesis, catalysis and developing experimental methods, Valerie Schmidt, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego, recently published an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society outlining her team’s work on developing a new, low-cost method for chemical syntheses involving the use of ammonia.

Members of the public experience UC San Diego's first portable planetarium hosted by Professor Shelley Wright and graduate students Maren Cosens and Lindsay Lowry. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego

NIH Awards $15 million to Research Team led by Physics Professor
David Kleinfeld will lead a team of scientists to conduct research exploring how mammals sniff, nod, and move their faces and mouths—backwards. The five-year study is part of the NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative.

Graphic showing sequences for peptide clusters

Scientists Extend Mechanism for Cracking Biochemical Code
After eight years of study, a team of researchers from the University of California San Diego and Johns Hopkins University published new findings about how to read the body’s histone code in the Nov. 7 issue of Science Advances. The findings answer a key question in the dynamic research area of epigenetics—adding chemical tags to DNA and histone proteins to alter cell functions without changing DNA sequence.

Losing the Nobel Prize

The Amazon Science Book of the Year Goes to…
Brian Keating’s “Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science's Highest Honor" was named one of Amazon's 2018 Best Science Books of the Year." The distinction puts him on the same list as noted writers like Stephen Pinker, Stephen Hawking and Carl Zimmer. Coincidentally, the fact that only two women in history—including UC San Diego’s Maria Goeppert Mayer (1963)—won the Nobel Prize in Physics changed this year when Donna Strickland became the third female physicist to win it.

Members of the public experience UC San Diego's first portable planetarium hosted by Professor Shelley Wright and graduate students Maren Cosens and Lindsay Lowry. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego

Astrophysicist Enlightens Campus, Community with Portable Planetarium
Astrophysicist Shelley Wright noticed an important gap in space—right on the grounds of campus. A proponent of teaching and training students through the observation of the night sky, Wright realized that it was time the university featured its own portable planetarium. Her vision materialized recently when she introduced UC San Diego’s first portable planetarium to 100 members of the public.

CalBridge news graphic UC San Diego Hosts First Cal-Bridge Professional Development Workshop
UC San Diego is part of a consortium of UC and CSU campuses that received a five-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to dramatically increase diversity in physics and astronomy through the Cal-Bridge program. Adam Burgasser recently hosted the program’s first professional development workshop. Quinn Konopacky and Karin Sandstrom participate in the program as faculty mentors.
Vicki Grassian
Four UC San Diegans Named 2018 APS Fellows
The American Physical Society (APS) recently announced its 2018 fellowship class with a 77 percent increase in the number of women compared to last year’s class. This is the most women elected as fellows since tracking the number of females nominated and elected began in 2015. Professor Vicki Grassian was among this year’s class of fellows.
Alison Coil
High School Journalists ‘Space Out’ with UC San Diego Astrophysicist
Professor Alison Coil met with students from Etiwanda High School (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) to discuss issues around what’s being called the current space race. The student-produced video segment titled, “A New Race for Space,” is part of the PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs program.
George Feher
Physical Sciences to Honor Late Founding Faculty Member George Feher
UC San Diego’s Office of the Dean of Physical Sciences, the Department of Physics and the International Society of Photosynthesis Research is hosting a memorial symposium in honor of George Feher, one of UC San Diego’s founding faculty members, who died last fall at age 93. Called “George Feher: Commemorating a Life in Biophysics,” the symposium will take place in the Fred Kavli Auditorium in Tata Hall, Friday, Oct. 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event is free/open to the public.
Devaraj and the Blavatnik awards
Professor Honored as Chemistry Laureate
Chemistry & Biochemistry’s Neal Devaraj (pictured at far right) was recently celebrated as one of three 2018 Blavatnik National Laureates at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Devaraj was recognized as the national laureate in chemistry for his transformative work on the synthesis of artificial cells and membranes. Also pictured (left to right) is Sergei Kalinin, laureate in physical sciences & engineering (Oak Ridge Laboratory);  Len Blavatnik, founder and chairman  Access Industries and Blavatnik Family Foundation and Janelle Ayres, laureate in life sciences (Salk Institute for Biological Studies).
Schuller lab Physicists ‘Condense’ Diversity, Outreach, Blue Jeans’ Dye in NSF Research
The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the UC San Diego Schuller Lab and The University of Texas at San Antonio over $500k to explore the electronic and magnetic behavior of one-dimensional (1D) metallic chains. The findings could lead to the development of new, smaller and faster electronic devices that can be used in computer memory, as well as to promising careers for future scientists.
Vergassola project on teaching gliders to fly like birds Physicists Train Robotic Gliders to Soar like Birds
Physics Professor Massimo Vergassola, PhD candidate Gautam Reddy and Salk Institute's Terry Sejnowski's findings provide a navigational strategy that is directly applicable to the development of autonomous soaring vehicles. Their research results of how birds find and navigate thermal plumes have been published in "Nature."
Mario Molina Nobel Prize-winning Chemist Opines about California Climate Summit
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Nobel laureate Mario Molina teams with fellow UC colleagues Veerabhadran Ramanathan and Durwood Zaelke to share their views on why Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate summit may be his last chance to alter the course leading to climate devastation. The professors refer to this course as the “disaster” trajectory since in their view that’s where the planet is headed, faster than most realize.
Professor Godula New National Training Program Aims to Mainstream Glycosciences
Kamil Godula, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is part of a research consortium that received $20 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a study of glycans. Mounting evidence suggests that glycans play important roles in human development, health and disease, and should be considered when designing and testing new therapeutics.



Physicists Race to Demystify Einstein’s ‘Spooky’ Science

UC San Diego Climbs to No. 2 in the Nation for Quality Education at the Right Price

Two Grad Students’ Chance Meeting Leads to Research Breakthrough

Chemistry Research ‘Rocks’ New Data about Ancient Life

Scientists Introduce New Way to Mimic ‘Machine of Machines’

Physical Sciences at Comic-Con

UC San Diego Researchers Charge Quest to End ‘Voltage Fade’

Professor Judy Kim Named 2018 Fellow of the American Chemical Society

UC San Diego Partners with Warner Bros. to Celebrate Iconic Film at Comic-Con

Physicists Practice ‘Spin Control’ to Improve Information Processing

UC San Diego Physicist Named a 2018 Simons Investigator

Scientists Present New Cold Facts about Antifreeze Proteins

UC San Diego Chemists Develop New Strategy for ‘Hard-to-Study’ Lipids

Chemistry Professor Wins Blavatnik Award for Outstanding Young Scientists

Scientists Go to Great Heights to Understand Changes in Earth’s Atmosphere

‘Gold Standard’ Research Presents Promise for Plasmonic Devices

Scientists Race to Outpace Lethal Bacterial Infections

Distinguished Math Professor’s Road to Success Takes her Full Circle

Physicists’ Room-Temperature Research Leads to ‘Exciting’ Possibilities for Science

Chemist Makes List of Finalists for 2018 Blavatnik National Awards

Chemists Fashion New Biomaterial Design

Scientists, Middle School Students Share Research Space

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs with Alison Coil

Vicki Grassian Named ‘Chemical Pioneer’

Space Scientists See Clear Skies around ‘Hot’ and ‘Salty’ Planet

Chemists ‘Crystallize’ New Approach to Materials Science

Scientists Sniff Out How the ‘Nose Knows’

Physics Professor Named to Academy of Arts and Sciences

Chemistry Alumnus Wins 40 Under 40 Award

UC San Diego Physicist Flexes 'BICEP' to Introduce Controversial New Book

UC San Diego Chemist Stirs Hope for a New Flu Treatment

UC San Diego's 'ZeroGDoc' Recalls Flight with Stephen Hawking

Distinguished Professor Mario Molina Receives Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award

Mathematics Professor Contributes to High Profile Study about Mothers who Drink While Pregnant

Astrophysicist Encourages Elon Musk to Boost Inclusion of Women, Minorities at Tesla

Three UC San Diego Physicists Earn Sloan Research Fellowships

UC San Diego Chemists use Light to Pinpoint Gene Expression

Adam Burgasser Contributes to New Findings about Densities of Trappist-1 Planets

UC San Diego Mathematician's Contributions Add Up to Fellowship in New Program Honoring Women

Physical Sciences Adds EDI Leadership Role to Division


Department of Physics' Brian Keating and Kam Arnold to Study Cosmos with Massive New Telescope in South America
Division Researchers Shed Light on Formation of Black Holes and Galaxies
Clarke Center for Human Imagination Hosts Sir Roger Penrose Jan. 19
Mathematics Professor among Three UC San Diego Breakthrough Prize Winners
Chancellor's Postdoctoral Scholar Award goes to Chemistry and Biochemistry Fellow
SUMO' Research at UC San Diego Wrestles with New Way to Read Cellular Function
Six UC San Diego Professors Named 2017 AAAS Fellows
UC San Diego Mathematics Multiplies Excellence by Three
UC San Diego Chemist Named among World's Top 10 'Public Defenders'
Associate Dean Recognized for Incorporating Sustainability in Chemistry Education
Distinguished Chemist Wins 2017 Russell M. Pitzer Award
Chemistry and Biology Researchers Create a More Environmentally Friendly Flip Flop
The Last Woman to Win a Physics Nobel
Department of Physics Celebrates Sheldon “Shelly” Schultz
New Lab at UC San Diego Strengthens Cross-Disciplinary Science
Associate Dean of Physical Sciences to give Tedx talk, Oct 14
Why Men Don’t Believe the Data on Gender Bias in Science
American Chemical Society Honors Retired Chemist Marjorie Caserio
UC San Diego Physicists Travel Path of Totality
Jason Schweinsberg Named Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics
Newly Discovered Exoplanet System Found to be Older Than Our Solar System
Physicist Elizabeth Simmons Named Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Primordial Black Holes May Have Helped to Forge Heavy Elements
Solar Fuels Conference Comes to Campus
Brian Druker ’77, MD ‘81 Named 2017 Alumni Honoree
DJ Patil ’96 Named 2017 Alumni Honoree
UC San Diego Chemists Create the Ultimate Natural Sunscreen
Biological Activity Found to Affect Aerosols Produced from Sea Spray
Jennie Chen in Chemistry & Biochemistry Wins 2017 Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Award
Nearby Brown Dwarf Appears to be a Free-Floating ‘Planet’
Talking Science
Chemists Receive $7.5 Million to Develop Innovative Uses for Melanin
Oleg Shpyrko Wins 2016-17 Distinguished Teaching Award
Guy Bertrand Wins 2017 Luigi Sacconi Medal
Study Discovers Fundamental Unit of Cell Size in Bacteria
Astronomers Observe Early Stages of Milky Way-like Galaxies in Distant Universe
New Sally Ride Fellowship to Support Women in Physics
Adam Burgasser Awarded Fulbright Scholarship
Kamil Godula Named 2017 Cottrell Scholar
UC San Diego Astrophysicists Contribute to Major Planet Discovery
Three Division of Physical Sciences Professors Named 2017 Sloan Research Fellows
In Memoriam: Sheldon Schultz 1933-2017
Astrophysicist Steven Boggs Named Dean of Division of Physical Sciences


UC San Diego Physicist Leads $1.6 Million Magnetic Neuroimaging Research Effort
Physics Professor Shares ‘Two Supercomputing Achievement’ Awards
UC San Diego Professor Wins Major Prize in Mathematics
Hacking a Revolution in Biology
Nine Physical Sciences Graduate Students Awarded ARCS Foundation Fellowships
Kim Prather Named One of 'Top 50 Women in Analytical Science'
Breaking Ground
Neal Devaraj Receives $1.9 Million NIH Award for Diabetes Study
Rommie Amaro Wins 2016 Corwin Hansch Award
Five UC San Diego Physicists Named APS Fellows
Surfing the World for Microbes
Nobel Prizewinning Physicist Was Professor at UC San Diego
Elizabeth Villa Wins Prestigious NIH Grant
Barbara Sawrey Honored as one of San Diego's Most Inspirational Women
SLAC’s X-ray Laser Glimpses How Electrons Dance with Atomic Nuclei in Materials
Promising Drug Leads Identified to Combat Heart Disease
Biochemists’ Discovery Could Lead to Vaccine Against ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria
UC San Diego Professor Wins Top Academic Prize in Theoretical Chemistry
UC San Diego Chemist Wins 2 Prestigious National Awards
UC San Diego Dean Awarded Prestigious Meteoritical Society Medal
Scientists Determine How Birds Soar to Great Heights
Synthetic Membranes Created to Mimic Properties of Living Cells
James McKernan Named Simons Investigator
X-Ray Snapshot of Butterfly Wings Reveals Underlying Physics of Color
Scientists Design Energy-Carrying Particles Called ‘Topological Plexcitons’
Tehseen Lazzouni a 2016 Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Awardee
UC San Diego Chemistry Professor Wins Prestigious California Air Resources Board Honor
$40 Million Observatory to Search for Signals from Early Universe
Researchers Develop New Way to Explore Mathematical Universe
Neal Devaraj named Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar
Guy Bertrand Wins Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Award
New Tool Allows Scientists to Visualize ‘Nanoscale’ Processes
‘Adaptive Protein Crystal’ Could Form New Kind of Protective Material
How DNA Can Take on the Properties of Sand or Toothpaste
Three Earth-Sized Planets Found Orbiting a Tiny Nearby Star
In Memoriam: Walter Kohn 1923-2016
In Memoriam: Ami E. Berkowitz
Two UC San Diego Professors Named Fellows to Prestigious Math Society
Alice C. Tyler Perpetual Trust Gives $125,000 for Sally Ride Scholarship
Neuronal Structures Associated with Learning and Memory Sprout In Response to Novel Molecules
Breathing is a Rhythm for Life, and More
UC San Diego Biophysicists Discover How Hydra Opens Its Mouth
Clear View of Nanoparticles Helps Researchers Evaluate New Form of Cancer Treatment
Mathematician honored for major contributions to algebraic geometry
Space dust
Molecular Avalanche
Star role models
Campus Conference Welcomes Undergraduate Women in Physics


UC San Diego Professors Elected Fellows of National Academy of Inventors
Precise constraints on primordial magnetism
Researchers Unravel Age-Old Mystery of Why Cells Use Fermentation
Physicists Predict Mechanics of Touch
Brushing Up Peptides Boosts their Potential as Drugs
Simulation illuminates origin of the brightest galaxies
Chemists Devise a New, Versatile Way to Tag RNA
UC San Diego and TSRI Launch New Consortium to Create ‘Virtual Cell’
Astronomers find 'young Jupiter' exoplanet, analyze atmosphere
Trapped light orbits within an intriguing material
Nanospheres deliver safer chemotherapy
Physicists fine-tune control of agile exotic materials
Chemistry Department Recognized for Success in Building a Diverse Faculty
Discovery Paves Way for New Kinds of Superconducting Electronics

X-ray Imaging Reveals Secrets In Battery Materials
Nanomaterial assembly imaged in real time
Molecular motion tracked with advanced graphics (video)
Tiger Math
New Nano Materials Inspired by Bird Feathers Play with Light to Create Color
Against the Stream
Surfing into a Greener Future
Chemists create modular system for placing proteins on membranes
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Extends to New Realms
Data structures influence speed of quantum search in unexpected ways
Computational strategy helps to map human epigenome
Chemical senses (Triton feature on the Senses Bureau)
Cosmology Prize Recognizes ‘Inventive’ Proposed Test of Fundamental Physics


Study Sheds Light on What Causes Cells to Divide
Martian meteorite reveals past climate
Cells can use dynamic patterns to pluck signals from noise
Physicists Explain Puzzling Particle Collisions
Marvin Goldberger, physicist and former dean of natural sciences, dies at 92
Galactic Blowout
Cancer training program has supported 300 trainees in 30 years
Real-time readout of neurochemical activity
Viral switches share a shape
Cell membranes self-assemble
Physicists solve longstanding puzzle of how moths find distant mates
POLARBEAR Detects Curls in the Universe’s Oldest Light
Pharmaceutical Companies to Share Data for Drug Design via New UC San Diego-Led Resource
Nitrogen fingerprint in biomolecules could be from the early sun
Program predicts placement of chemical tags that control gene activity
Planet hunters (Triton feature)
$9M for biomedical computation
New Nano3 Microscope Will Allow High-Resolution Look Inside Cells
Quantitative Biology approach reveals the importance of physical constraints on critical DNA interaction
Sulfur signals in Antarctic snow reveal clues to climate, past and future
Vanishing viscosity: superfluid gas formed in layers of 2D crystals induces high-temperature superconductivity
Silicon sponge improves lithium-ion battery performance
New analysis eliminates potential speed bump in quantum computing
Relaxation helps pack DNA into a virus
Radiation from early universe found key to answer major questions in physics
Phone calls reveal population patterns that census miss
Unveiling the universe's earliest secrets
Discovery could lead to novel therapies for Fragile X syndrome
Cosmologists report evidence for cosmic inflation
Crystals ripple in response to light
The Surface of the Sea is a Sink for Nitrogen Oxides at Night
In memorium: Arthur M. Wolfe 1939-2014
Source of ‘moon curse’ revealed by eclipse


Biosynthesis captured in motion
Quantitative Approaches Provide New Perspective on Development of Antibiotic Resistance
Scientists Solve Mystery of Odd Patterns of Oxygen in Solar System’s Earliest Rocks
UC San Diego Researchers Advance Explanation for Star Formation
Quark asymmetries hint at new physics
Three Generations of UC San Diego Physicists Plumb the Microvasculature of the Mammalian Brain
New scheme for quantum computing
Physicists plumb vasculature of mammalian brain
Shape-shifting nanoparticles flip from sphere to net in response to tumor signal
Mathematicians analyze social divisions using cell-phone data
Extreme star formation reveals fleeting phase of galactic evolution
Biological activity alters the ability of sea spray to seed clouds
SDSC’s Gordon Supercomputer Assists in Crunching Large Hadron Collider Data
Dust in Asia and Africa, Snow in the Sierra Nevada
Clues to climate cycles dug from Antarctic snow pit


Even the smallest possible stroke can damage brain tissue and impair cognitive function
New survey of distant galaxies will trace changes over billions of years
Working Inside the Bubble
Chemists develop reversible method of tagging proteins
Halo of neutrinos alters physics of exploding stars
Intense bursts of star formation drive fierce galactic winds
Color-coded markers may help doctors diagnose neural diseases through the eyes
Researchers reveal behaviors of tiniest water droplets
Sally Ride, first woman in space and former California Space Institute Director dies at 61
Hunt for Higgs reveals new particle
Computing grid built for physics benefits a wide range of science
Electrons ripple across atom-thin layers of carbon
Varying drug levels could speed the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria
New member of protein family reveals an ancient role in iron metabolism
UC San Diego Physicists Find Patterns in New State of Matterr 
Discovery Provides Blueprint for New Drugs That Can Inhibit Hepatitis C Virus
Envelope for an artificial cell
Obituary: Jim Arnold, founding chair of chemistry
Obituary: Salah Baouendi, mathematics