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Department of Physics

UC Davis
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UC Davis Physics News


Distinguished Research Professor David Pines awarded the 2016 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize


Understanding the Big Bang? It happens on a dusty blackboard at UC Davis

Neutrinos leave mark on early universe


Professor Calderon de la Barca Sanchez is lead science advisor for crowd funded film "Secrets of the Universe"


Manuel Calderon de la Barca Sanchez receives Soaring to New Heights Award


Congratulations 2015 Graduates!


Professor Fadley elected as an International Fellow of the Surface Science Society of Japan


James Crutchfield’s research on the structure of complex systems was recently selected by Physical Review as an 'Editor’s Suggestion'


First images of collisions at 13 TeV at LHC

Incoming Assistant Research Physicist Stefano Valenti's research on super novae featured on the front page of Nature


First stone laid for Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)


UC Davis Physics Assistant Professor Michael Mulhearn's Crayfis experiment app in the running for a Webby award!


2015 Picnic Day Schedule of Events for Physics

Physics Department wins the Department Derby during Student Engagement and Philanthropy Month


Prof. Nemanja Kaloper’s new research on the end of the universe generates strong media coverage.


Associate Prof. Marusa Bradac and the GLASS collaboration spot for the first time a supernova arranged in an “Einstein’s Cross.”


Prof. Kai Liu elected by APS, NAS and IUPAP as the US representative to IUPAP's Commission on Magnetism


Physics Department CAO Tracy Lade wins Chancellor’s STAR Award


Associate Professor David Wittman wins Fullbright Scholar Program Award

David Nisson, The Physics of Success

Assistant Professor Emilija Pantic wins prestigious NSF CAREER award


Associate Prof. Marusa Bradac named Chancellor's Fellow


Andreas Albrecht named fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science


Team Physics fights hunger in Yolo County as part of Thanksgiving benefit run


A physicist’s quantum leap-Professor Emerita Ling-Lie Chau


Crutchfield Lab paper on Chaotic Crystallography is highlighted in Nature Materials


Professor Mulhearn invents cosmic ray detecting cell phone app

Manuel Calderón de la Barca Sánchez is teaching a four part class "The Physics of the Large Hadron Collider" to seniors with OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at UC Davis.


Prof. Fadley wins the David A. Shirley Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement at the Advanced Light Source


Philanthropy from Professor Emerita of Physics Supports Students, Faculty and Research

Tony Tyson, Distinguished Professor of Physics and LSST Chief Scientist, is featured on the cover of the College of Letters and Science Fall 2014 magazine


Supernovae go better with BACON


Experimental Condensed Matter Physics Faculty Search Opens 8/18/14


Funds awarded to begin construction of Large Synoptic Survey Telescope


Physics/Geology Professor John Rundle’s article on “Super Fracking” featured on the August cover of Physics Today


UC Davis Physics takes part in system wide UC-Mexico Initiative

Physics Faculty teach Astronomy course for COSMOS students


Complexity Sciences Center co-sponsors NetSci 2014 at UC Berkeley's Clark Kerr campus

The John Templeton Foundation awards James Crutchfield support to develop a foundational study of structure in quantum dynamics.


Nature highlights Crutchfield group discovery of the ordered component in chaotic information generation.


Matthew Szydagis wins the Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research


Graduate student Austin Hoag receives NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship


Prof. Marusa Bradac to speak at TEDxUCDavis: 'Pause or Press Play?', Sunday, May 4, at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Back by popular demand! The UC Davis Pysics department hosts a second screening of "Particle Fever" at the Varsity Theater on Friday, May 2.


Varsity Theater in Downtown Davis will host a special screening of the film “Particle Fever” on Friday, April 25.


UC Davis Led Team Achieves First Light with Spectrograph Built for Airborne Telescope. [Read More


*Updated* In Memoriam: John A. Jungerman, professor emeritus of physics and founding director of the university’s Crocker Nuclear Laboratory, died March 28. He was 92. [Read More]


Prof. Warren Pickett helps foster Physics connections between US and Iran. [Read More]

UC Davis Researchers and NASA Ames install EXES Science Instrument on SOFIA, the revolutionary new stratospheric observatory [Read More].


UC Davis Physics and HEFTI host a public lecture “The Large Hadron Collider: The Big Bang Machine” on 3/27/14 by Prof. Albert DeRoeck in the Welcome Center Presentation Room.


The theory of cosmic inflation, pioneered in the early eighties by Professor and Chair Andreas Albrecht, gets big boost from the BICEP2 telescope.


UC Davis faculty comment on recent detection of gravity waves from earliest fractions of a second after the big bang


Paper on solar nanoparticles featured on PRL cover, from Profs. Galli's and Zimanyi's groups.


Prof. Kaloper's work on the cosmological constant is highlighted in a PRL Synopsis.


Brian Greene, physicist and Pulitzer Prize finalist, will be at the Mondavi Center as part of the Distinguished Speaker series on March 20 at 8pm. The event is done in partnership with the UC Davis Physics Department.


A public lecture, "The Large Hadron Collider: The Big Bang Machine" by Prof. Dr. Albert DeRoeck, a senior research scientist for CERN and adjunct professor of physics at UC Davis, will be held in the Welcome Center Presentation Room at 8pm on March 27.  Tickets are available for $7 at the UC Davis Box Office.  Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door prior to the lecture.  These lectures sell out quick, get your ticket now!


Prof. Fadley recognized with an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University in Sweden


Grad Student Dustin Gilbert and Prof. Kai Liu's work on FeCuPt was one of the 15 most accessed papers in all of Applied Physics Letters in 2013.

Professor Knox is on a four-city public lecture tour speaking about the process of science more generally and the big bang in particular.


New initiatives in physics of complex systems: UCD Physics hosted 40 top researchers from a dozen US universities to kickoff two 5-year projects on controlling complex networks and information processing at the nanoscale ( UC Davis is the lead institution for the multi-university consortia. The projects are led by Profs. Raissa D'Souza (Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering) and Jim Crutchfield (Physics).

A Deeper Look at Interfaces: UC Davis Professor Charles Fadley and Researchers at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source Develop New Technique for Probing Subsurface Electronic Structure


The Physics department is thrilled to welcome our newest faculty member, Emilija Pantic, who brings research efforts focused on the field of particle astrophysics with particular emphasis on the understanding of dark matter.


The UC Davis Physics department among awardees for the American Physical Society Award for Improving Undergraduate Phyics Education.


One World One UC Davis tells the story of Physics undergraduate student Sarah El-Jurf and her mentor, Prof. Mani Tripathi


Peter Klavins, the Physics department safety officer, wins the UC Davis Safety Star award. The UC Davis Safety Star Program was created by campus Office of Safety Services to recognize campus employees making a contribution to improve the culture of safety at UC Davis.


Dustin Gilbert wins the American Physical Society Far West Division Margaret Burbridge Award for Best Experimental Research by a graduate student.


First results from LUX dark matter detector rule out some candidates.


2013 Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded to Higgs and Englert - UC Davis group aided in decades-long hunt for Higgs boson.  A short video of the American contribution to this discovery can be seen here.


Prof. David Wittman awarded time and $127k grant to study four merging galaxy clusters on the Hubble Space Telescope.


LSST, big data and Professor Tony Tyson are featured in Quanta.


“Can we discover dark matter in the laboratory” public lecture will be held on October 5th


Complexity Sciences Center projects covered in UC Davis News


HEFTI and the Department are among the sponsors of a public lecture in Sacramento by Nobel Laureate Gerardus 't Hooft


Raissa D'Souza's recent Physical Review Letters article on the dangers of attempting to control complex systems was recently "spotlighted."


Markus Luty and Robin Erbacher recorded 1-minute videos for Symmetry Magazine on "Why particle physics matters" at the Snowmass meeting in Minneapolis last week. Please watch, "like", and share if you think that this should be one of the 5 videos that makes it into the final contest.


South Pole Telescope makes a first detection of the curl in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background due to gravitational lensing.


Prof. Kai Liu's research on Iron-Platinum alloys, selected as an Applied Physics Letters "Top Story," offers transformative new possibilities for data storage technology.


Professor Albrecht wins a Herbert A. Young Society Dean's Fellowship Award.

Michael Mulhearn wins a Hellman Fellowship awarded “to provide support and encouragement for the research of promising Assistant Professors who exhibit potential for great distinction in their research”.


Professor Albrecht and others discuss the multiverse at the World Festival of Science.


Professor Crutchfield awarded two DoD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives to study nonequilibrium information processing in nanoscale systems and the control of complex interdependent networks.


Professor Tripathi wins Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research.


Physics Professor Crutchfield's physics graduate course on complex systems wins 2013 SIAM teaching award.


Physics student Amandeep Kaur selected Graduate Student Assistant to the Dean and Chancellor and wins Outstanding Graduate & Professional Student Leaders in Our Community Award


Professor Crutchfield and crew take nonlinear physics to Maker Faire.


Physics department sponsors May 22 public lecture on "The Origin of the Universe and the Arrow of Time."


Applied Physics Letters highlights the recent work of Dustin Gilbert and Prof. Kai Liu on high magnetic anisotropy thin films.


The Lander Lab was dedicated as part of our annual Picnic Day Alumni Reception.  View photos here.


Professor Calderon is awarded the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching


Scientists at the CERN research center said on Wednesday that they may be close to tracking down the mysterious "dark matter" that makes up more than a quarter of the universe but has never been seen. John Conway, UC Davis physics professor working at CERN, said a confirmed discovery would push scientists into uncharted realms of research.


Alumnus Chris Varney (PhD 2009) takes tenure-track faculty position at the University of West Florida.


Professor Knox will deliver a keynote talk about Planck results at the opening of the April APS meeting.


Planck’s new map brings universe into focus


Complexity Sciences Center's Raissa D'Souza is featured in a WIRED article on the statistical physics of network failure.


Professor Bob Svoboda receives a patent for a new type of neutron detector

Invented while on a joint appointment with LLNL, this detector is a possible replacement for ones using the scarce nuclear isotope 3-He. It holds the promise of a inexpensive, efficient way to monitor cargo entering the United States for smuggling of illicit nuclear materials.


Join us on April 6, 2013, for an exciting day of public lectures by four physicists including Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek


At the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society Will Dawson presented evidence that dark matter has non-gravitational interactions.  


UC Davis undergrad researcher Meredith Powell studies the physics at work behind the performance of instrumental music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain. 


Professors Kaloper, Knox, Liu, Savrasov, Svoboda, and Zimanyi have been elected fellows of the American Physical Society.


Dark matter detection effort  reaches a critical milestone.

Professor Kai Liu named Fellow of the Institute of Nanotechnology (UK)


Professor Kaloper wins a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship


Team Physics will run in The Running of the Turkeys on Thanksgiving morning to support the work of the Food Bank of Yolo County.


Professor Kai Liu, and alumna Michelle Johannes (PhD 2003) have been selected as fellows of the American Physical Society

Professor Nick Curro has won the honor of "Chancellor's Fellow."


UC Davis and the South Pole Telescope

UC Davis postdoc Hou, graduate students Follin and Millea and Professor Knox, together with their South Pole Telescope collaborators, recently sharpened up constraints on models of early Universe inflation.



UC Davis Prof. Rundle wins prestegious NASA Award

UC Davis Physics Prof. John Rundle and his team have received the NASA "Software of the Year" award.



Professor David Pines was named by AAPT as the 2013 John David Jackson Excellence in Graduate Physics Education Awardee. 



UC Davis and the Higgs boson: Past, present and future

Researchers working at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland, announced earlier this month that they had found a new particle with the characteristics predicted for the long-sought Higgs boson. UC Davis physicists have contributed to the Higgs search for more than 20 years and, with the new knowledge, are now exploring the next frontier in physics.(reprinted from



Professor Andreas Albrecht interviewed on Capital Public Radio re: Higgs Boson


View Prof. Andreas Albrecht’s talk at TEDxUCDavis from May 2012


Astronomers Discover Galaxy They Thought Couldn't Exist


May 2012

Professor Crutchfield was awarded a three-year $450K grant from the Army Research Office to study the role of intelligence in extracting work from thermodynamic systems. The goals are to develop a fundamental understanding of the physical limits on computing and the interdependence between energy flows and information processing. Applications include greatly reducing energy dissipation in digital  computers and evaluating novel physical substrates for a new generation of unconventional computers. Link to journal page.


Korana Burke (Mathematics, Boston University) will become a post-doctoral researcher in Physics this Fall. Dr. Burke received her Physics Ph.D. at UC Merced under Prof. Kevin Mitchell on the nonlinear dynamics of ionization thresholds in excited single-atoms ("Demonstration of Turnstiles as a Chaotic Ionization Mechanism in Rydberg Atoms", Physical Review Letters 107 (2011) 113002). She will join Prof. Crutchfield's research group to study atomic-scale information processing.


Professor Charles Fadley was awarded the Senior Visiting Professorship award of 185k Eu (ca. $235k) from the French national program to promote world-class laboratories in physics (Laboratoires d'Excellence: Physique: Atomes, Lumiere, Matiere--PALM) that will provide support over two years as a senior visiting professor (chaire seniore) in the Paris-Saclay Triangle de Physique. Link 


Professor Fadley was also selected as one of the first three recipients of the status of Fellow of Elettra, the Italian national synchrotron radiation and free electron laser facility with laudatio as:  “Professor Charles S. Fadley is a distinguished solid state physicist and materials scientist who has given fundamental contributions to the development of photoelectron spectroscopy, diffraction and holography worldwide..." Link


Dr. Norman Mannella, who completed his PhD with the UC Davis Physics Fadley Group in 2003, then was a postdoctoral associate with Professor Z.X. Shen at Stanford, and is now an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, has been awarded a prestigious five-year NSF Early Career Award totalling $600,000, with the title "Sub-Picosecond Electron Dynamics in Complex Electron Systems".   


Professor Bob Svoboda and his collaborators on Double-Chooz, have new news from the neutrino sector, with the first strong evidence for "cross-generational mixing." _____

 Professor John Conway blogs about the Higgs boson search in advance of a December 13th update from CERN.Link


Professors Markus Luty and John Terning deliver "Dirac Lectures" at Florida State University. Link


Professors Kai Liu and Rajiv Singh have been elected Fellows of the Institute of Physics (UK) in recognition of “high level of achievement in physics and an outstanding contribution to the profession”.  (2011)


Dr. Randy Dumas, who completed his Ph.D. in Professor Kai Liu’s Group in 2009, has been awarded a prestigious Young Researcher Grant of $720,000 from the Swedish Research Council for his work on magnetic materials. (2011)


Physics faculty response to events of Nov 18


HEFTI to host a workshop on 'Hidden SUSY' Link


Physics Professor Rajiv Singh publishes 'Spinning on Ice' in Viewpoint  Link


B. Busemeyer (UC Davis) wins Award at the 2011 Section Meeting at SLAC

Steven Chu Award for Best Research by an Undergraduate  First place (Theory): B. Busemeyer (UC Davis) "Exploring Half Metals in Li-based Half Heusler Alloys" Link.


Ilke Arslan, UCD Physics Alum, UCD Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (2011).


The nation's highest honor for professionals in the early stages of their scientific research careers



The UC Davis chapter of the Society of Physics Students has been selected as an Outstanding SPS Chapter for the 2009-2010 school year. SPS Director Gary White congratulated UC Davis Dept of Physics Lecturer Randy Harris, (current SPS Advisor), his students and student organization for this notable achievement. Zone 18, UC Davis Chapter.


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