Divisions & Units - Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Simulation demonstrates the link between turbulence in a collapsing star, hypernovae and gamma-ray bursts

November 30, 2015
The UC Berkeley Astronomy department is using a supercomputer simulation (of a mere 10 milliseconds in the collapse of a massive star into a neutron star) to prove that these catastrophic events, often called hypernovae, can generate the enormous magnetic fields needed to explode the star and fire off bursts of gamma rays visible halfway across the universe.

Three faculty members, including Berkeley physicist, elected fellows of AAAS

November 22, 2016

A physicist, a biologist and an environmental lawyer are UC Berkeley’s newest fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, joining more than 220 others on campus who have been honored for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Berkeley SETI turns Australian telescope on nearest exoplanet to Earth

November 15, 2016

Breakthrough Listen, the UC Berkeley-led 10-year, $100 million search for intelligent life beyond Earth, inaugurated its observations with the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia by homing in on our nearest extrasolar planet, Proxima b, the main destination for a sister project called Breakthrough Starshot.

Berkeley physicists pioneer major advance in solar cells made from cheap, easy-to-use perovskite

November 8, 2016

Solar cells made from an inexpensive and increasingly popular material called perovskite can more efficiently turn sunlight into electricity using a new technique to sandwich two types of perovskite into a single photovoltaic cell.

Berkeley Astronomers use long-term, hi-res tracking of eruptions on Jupiter’s moon Io

October 26, 2016

Jupiter’s moon Io continues to be the most volcanically active body in the solar system, as documented by the longest series of frequent, high-resolution observations of the moon’s thermal emission ever obtained.

Using near-infrared adaptive optics on two of the world’s largest telescopes — the 10-meter Keck II and the 8-meter Gemini North, both located near the summit of the dormant volcano Maunakea in Hawaii — UC Berkeley astronomers tracked 48 volcanic hot spots on the surface over a period of 29 months from August 2013 through the end of 2015.

Berkeley Astronomers to search for intelligent life around weird star

October 26, 2016

Tabby’s star has provoked so much excitement over the past year, with speculation that it hosts a highly advanced civilization capable of building orbiting megastructures to capture the star’s energy, that UC Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen project is devoting hours of time on the Green Bank radio telescope to see if it can detect any signals from intelligent extraterrestrials.

Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley research also provides new clues about the roles of subsurface microbes in globally important cycles

October 26, 2016

One of the most detailed genomic studies of any ecosystem to date has revealed an underground world of stunning microbial diversity, and added dozens of new branches to the tree of life.

Physicist Marvin Cohen to receive 2017 Franklin Medal

October 19, 2016

Physicist Marvin Cohen, a University Professor and a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is the newly announced recipient of the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics.

Poking the Sleeping Giant: Quake Swarm Could Unleash San Andreas

October 2, 2016
The swarm of small temblors just off Bombay Beach in the Salton Sea on September 26 isn’t a sign that Palm Springs is about to become beachfront property, but it does point to the inevitability of the “Big One” hitting the South State, say seismologists. “The southern portion of the San Andreas Fault hasn’t ruptured in more than 300 years, and it’s significantly overdue for a major event,” says Roland Bürgmann, a professor in the earth and planetary science department at UC Berkeley and a participating faculty member at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.

Berkeley Study links Texas earthquakes to wastewater injection

October 3, 2016

A new study co-authored by UC Berkeley professor Michael Manga confirms that earthquakes in America’s oil country — including a 4.8 magnitude quake that rocked Texas in 2012 — are being triggered by significant injections of wastewater below the surface of the Earth.