Divisions & Units - Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Exiled planet linked to stellar flyby 3 million years ago

February 28, 2019

Some of the peculiar aspects of our solar system have been linked to the close approach of another star in our system’s infancy that flung things helter-skelter. UC Berkeley and Stanford University astronomers think they have now found a smoking gun that points to how this happened.

Asteroid or volcanos? Apportioning blame for the dinosaur extinction

February 21, 2019

A new study authored by Paul Renne, a professor-in-residence of earth and planetary science, indicates that an asteroid or comet impact 66 million years ago reignited massive volcanic eruptions half a world away from the impact site in the Caribbean Sea. But it leaves unclear to what degree the two catastrophes contributed to the near-simultaneous mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and many other forms of life.

Seven early-career faculty win Sloan Research Fellowships

February 20, 2019

Seven assistant professors from the fields of astronomy, biology, computer science, economics and statistics have been named 2019 Sloan Research Fellows. They include Courtney Dressing, astronomy; Shirshendu Ganguly, statistics; Priya Moorjani, molecular and cell biology; and Philipp Strack and Gabriel Zucman, economics.

Is Neptune’s newest moon a chip off the old block?

February 20, 2019

UC Berkeley astronomers studying Neptune’s tiniest moon, Hippocamp, now believe it was chipped off a larger moon, Proteus, by a cosmic collision billions of years ago. “This discovery is yet another example of the violent collisional history and continuous evolution of our solar system,” said researcher and astronomy professor Imke de Pater.

Uranus and Neptune are more interesting than we thought, new images show

February 7, 2019

UC Berkeley researchers, both faculty and students, are jumping in to interpret new images of the planet Uranus and Neptune recently released by NASA. The images reveal clues to the planets' weather, including massive year-long storms.

Meet our new faculty: Song Sun, math

January 22, 2019

Song Sun, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has joined the faculty as an associate professor of mathematics.

Young astronomer honored for research on smallest galaxies in the universe

January 8, 2019

Daniel Weisz, an assistant professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley, was honored at this week’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society for his early-career research on relatively nearby “dwarf” galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Investing in the Mathematical & Physical Sciences

While our research is always advancing and our teaching is always improving, our core needs remain constant. It is our people – faculty and students – who bring excellence to Berkeley, so funding for faculty positions and graduate student fellowships are our very top priorities.

 

Faculty

Portrait honoring David Blackwell unveiled in namesake residence hall

December 7, 2018

A portrait honoring David Blackwell, the first black man to get tenure at UC Berkeley, was unveiled this week in the residence hall bearing his name.  The portrait was commissioned by Richard Davis, a friend and former student of the late math professor Blackwell.

What magnetic fields can tell us about life on other planets

November 21, 2018

Earth's magnetic field is one of the key elements that allows it to sustain life. A new analysis of Earth-like exoplanets up to five times the size of our world suggests that they probably have a magnetic field like our own, but one generated in a totally novel way: by the planets’ magma oceans.