Divisions & Units - Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Berkeley astronomers explore the shape of galaxies

January 9, 2017

The astonishing beauty of galaxies visible from Earth has enchanted humanity ever since our ancestors first gazed into the twinkling night and wondrously beheld them. Some galaxies look like elegant whirling spirals or cosmic frisbees, while others look like elliptical blobs or lumpy irregular clumps smeared across the sky. The variety of galactic shapes prompts questions as old as astronomy: why do galaxies form these characteristic shapes? Can elliptical galaxies become spirals, or vice versa?

Berkeley astronomer's software detects fast radio burst tied to distant dwarf galaxy and, perhaps, magnetar

January 4, 2017

One of the rare and brief bursts of cosmic radio waves that have puzzled astronomers since they were first detected nearly 10 years ago has finally been tied to a source: an older dwarf galaxy more than 3 billion light years from Earth.

Berkeley scientists find compact CRISPR systems in some of world’s smallest microbes

December 23, 2016

UC Berkeley scientists have discovered simple CRISPR systems similar to CRISPR-Cas9 — a gene-editing tool that has revolutionized biology — in previously unexplored bacteria that have eluded efforts to grow them in the laboratory.

Berkeley Quake-detection app captured nearly 400 temblors worldwide

December 14, 2016

 Berkeley’s worldwide network of smartphone earthquake detectors has recorded nearly 400 earthquakes since the MyShake app was made available for download in February, with one of the most active areas of the world the fracking fields of Oklahoma.

Dean Frances Hellman featured in For the Good of Science: Why we need more women in physics and astronomy

December 15, 2016

Frances Hellman, and other prominent scientists, discuss academic and career pathways for women in science and what can be done to increase diversity in physics and astronomy.

Geophysicists uncover more about the last period of global warming

December 5, 2016

Following Earth’s last ice age, which peaked 20,000 years ago, the Antarctic warmed between two and three times the average temperature increase worldwide, according to a new study by a team of American geophysicists.

Physicist Surjeet Rajendran shares $100,000 New Horizons Prize

December 5, 2016

A young assistant professor of physics, Surjeet Rajendran, was named one of six winners of the 2017 New Horizons In Physics Prize during a Sunday night gala announcing the annual winners of the Breakthrough Prize.

EPS Professor Roland Bürgmann featured in New York Times article

November 30, 2016

EPS Professor Roland Bürgmann featured in New York Times article about views of San Francisco from space.

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.