Divisions & Units - Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Students make neutrons dance beneath Berkeley campus

September 11, 2019

A team including UC Berkeley students has built a tabletop neutron source that would be relatively inexpensive to reproduce and eventually portable and also able to produce a narrower range of neutron energies, minimizing the production of unwanted radioactive byproducts.

Yearly snapshot of Saturn helps astronomers monitor the ringed world

September 12, 2019

The Hubble Space Telescope’s annual snapshot of Saturn reveals a turbulent, dynamic atmosphere with small storms popping into view as others disappear, all framed by the planet’s bright, icy rings. Analyzed by Mike Wong of UC Berkeley and Amy Simon of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the Hubble portrait is part of a yearly campaign to record the giant planets in the solar system — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to track shifting weather patterns and discover new phenomena.

Seven new Bakar Fellows already are making an impact

September 5, 2019

Alessandra Lanzara, the Charles Kittel Professor of Physics, was one of seven UC Berkeley, faculty scientists with novel ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit have been named to the 2019-20 cohort of Bakar Fellows, an honor that gives the fellows the money and time to translate their laboratory breakthroughs into technologies ready for the marketplace.

L&S Units A-Z

The College of Letters & Science supports an impressive array of learning opportunities, evident in the departments, programs, centers, majors, minors, and instructional support units below.

Milky Way’s central black hole puts Einstein’s theories to the test

July 25, 2019

University of California astronomers have tested Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity in the crucible of the monstrous black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy and found it rock solid. The team, led by UCLA astronomer Andrea Ghez, and with key analyses by UC Berkeley’s Jessica Lu, an assistant professor of astronomy, followed a star orbiting so close to the black hole that the light it gives off is affected by the black hole’s intense gravity. The effect, a gravitational redshift, matched exactly what Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity predict.

Berkeley stands out in newest university world reputation rankings

July 17, 2019

For the fifth year in a row, UC Berkeley ranks sixth in the world when it comes to its reputation among academic researchers, according to new rankings from Times Higher Education.  The U.K.

Astronomers see “warm” glow of Uranus’s rings

June 20, 2019

The rings of Uranus are invisible to all but the largest telescopes — they weren’t even discovered until 1977 — but they’re surprisingly bright in new heat images of the planet taken by two large telescopes in the high deserts of Chile. UC Berkeley astronomer Imke de Pater says the new images will allow scientists to determine how the planet's rings differ from other examples in the solar system.

Jupiter-like exoplanets found in sweet spot in most planetary systems

June 12, 2019

An unprecedented analysis of 300 stars captured by the Gemini Planet Imager, or GPI, has discovered a "sweet spot" where Jupiter-like planets tend form in new galaxies. The analysis “is a milestone,” said Eugene Chiang, a UC Berkeley professor of astronomy and member of the collaboration’s theory group. “We now have excellent statistics for how frequently planets occur, their mass distribution and how far they are from their stars. It is the most comprehensive analysis I have seen in this field.”

Berkeley mathematics pries Gotti away from dancing and skydiving … and Cuba

May 31, 2019

Two decades ago, UC Berkeley mathematician Paulo Ney De Souza co-authored a book, Berkeley Problems in Mathematics. That sparked a lifelong fascination with math for the Cuban-born Felix Gotti, who this month finished his dissertation and earned his Ph.D. in mathematics.