Latest news

UCLA-led study explains how much damage is caused by treated sewage

UCLA researchers found that nitrogen in treated sewage is causing a large growth of oceanic algae, which could have permanent effects on the ocean’s ecosystem. Although human sewage is treated and injected deep below the ocean’s surface, the study showed that phytoplankton growth was 79% higher than it would have been without the nitrogen from the sewage. Phytoplankton use nitrogen to grow and they consume oxygen when decomposing. This leaves the ocean with low oxygen levels which can lead to trouble for marine life. The UCLA study led by Fayçal Kessouri, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher, can help improve nitrogen treatment in wastewater.

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UCLA scientist cracks mysteries about Venus

Some of Venus’ most basic properties have remained unknown for many years, making it difficult to understand the planet most close to Earth. UCLA professor of Earth, planetary and space sciences– Jean-Luc Margot — led a research study that examines the fundamental characteristics that make up the planet.

Margot and his team found that an average day on Venus is about 243 days on Earth. His trailblazing work provides insight on the structure of Venus to help scientists understand the planet’s formation, changes in the surface, and movement patterns. This study will serve to help future landing attempts.

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First-ever 3D atomic imaging of an amorphous solid

A groundbreaking UCLA study led by Jianwei “John” Miao, professor of physics and astronomy, announces the first depiction of the 3D atomic structure of an amorphous solid. Miao’s research will provide higher levels of precision when working with amorphous solids. Understanding their atomic structure will help engineers create better versions of appliances and begin to apply them at a larger scale.

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Catch up on ground-breaking research by our Physical Sciences faculty

Learn more about the work that the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences has been sharing with the community even during the pandemic.

Watch webinars featuring faculty whose work is fighting COVID-19, contributing to the exciting future of quantum computing, discovering the secrets of the universe through space research, and more.

Click here to view these videos.


Updates on COVID-19 from UCLA

The Division of Physical Sciences is working to provide faculty, students, and families with the most helpful resources and information during this time.

Click here for updates from the Division, the UCLA Newsroom, and the Daily Bruin.

Remote Teaching, Learning, and Wellness Resources

UCLA Physical Sciences Remote Learning Resource Page

Science and technology have never been more critical. UCLA and the Division of Physical Sciences are working hard to offer as many tools and helpful connections for our students and faculty to ensure the level of educational excellence for which UCLA is known.

Click here for our online resource page, which will be continually updated as new services and initiatives are announced.

Alumni Spotlight: Jiaxing Huang to develop self-sanitizing medical face mask

Alumnus Jiaxing Huang received funding to develop a new-self sanitizing medical face mask that deactivates viruses on contact. Huang’s team will investigate antiviral chemicals that can be safely built into masks to self-sanitize the passing respiratory droplets.

Huang a professor at Northwestern University. His research team was provided funding by a rapid response research grant from the National Science Foundation, which has called for immediate proposals that have potential to address the spread of COVID-19.

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Spotlight: Video Page

UCLA Division of Physical Sciences

The Physical Sciences Video Page features learning tools, research updates, science talks, and more.

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Alumni Spotlight: Kennen MacKay

Kennen MacKay, a UCLA Chemistry and Biochemistry alumnus and RBC biotech analyst, has been tracking the COVID-19 virus and the impact of social distancing. He spoke with CNBC about the patterns he has seen, including some worst- and best-case scenarios.

Read about MacKay’s projections by clicking here. Click here to watch his interview with CNBC.

Successful Remote Learning Efforts: Physics Labs

After UCLA announced that the entirety of spring quarter would be taught remotely because of COVID-19, professors in the physics and astronomy department including Katsushi Arisaka, made great efforts to create meaningful physics labs virtual.

Students in the Physics 4AL, 4BL, or 5CL classes were able to order affordable equipment to allow them to get started with designing their own programming and robotics experiments from their bedrooms and over Zoom. Professor Arisaka has always tried to find new ways to prepare students for future success, and the restructuring of this class was just one of them.


Our world-changing research is helped by your gifts. Read about the ways your donation to the Division of Physical Sciences will further discoveries and student opportunities by clicking here.

Olga Radko, founder of the UCLA Math CircleLos Angeles Math Circle renamed the UCLA Olga Radko Endowed Math Circle

Radko was the founder of this successful, free math enrichment program for K-12 students. She died of ovarian cancer in June 2020 at the age of 45. In her honor, every gift made to the Math Circle up to $250,000 will be matched one-to-one through June 30, 2021.

Latest giving news:

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department to receive $4.1 million

The gift from adjunct professor Lawrence W. Harding, Jr. is the  largest in the department’s history. It establishes the Lawrence Harding Endowed Chair to support a faculty member with expertise in oceanography, an area of study critical to life on Earth.