Periodic Tables

International Year of the Periodic Table

leading expert on the periodic table,

and UCLA professor.

Click here to watch

Video Interview with Eric Scerri,

Latest news

Big Bang Theory cast and UCLA students join in an 8-clap

‘The Big Bang Theory’ to support twice as many UCLA students

As the popular television show ‘The Big Bang Theory’ nears its final season on air, the Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment, that funds scholarships for low-income UCLA students who are pursuing degrees in the STEM fields, has announced that they will be doubling the amount of students they award each year, from five to ten.

The first group of Big Bang scholars, who will graduate this spring, were given the opportunity to visit the set of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and meet the cast. The cast recognized the students’ hardwork and achievements. Mayim Balik, who plays Amy on the show, is a UCLA alumna and was especially proud of this class and the connection she has to them.

Click here to read more.

Sensor on glove

UCLA scientists develop fire-retardant sensors for safety gear in harsh environments

Richard Kaner, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry was the lead researcher on this study. Kaner worked with other UCLA researchers and faculty at two other universities to design this self-extinguishing motion sensor and power generator. The device is no bigger than a quarter, may be embedded in shoes or clothing worn by workers in harsh environments.

The device, called the fire-retardant triboelectric nanogenerator, can detect when wearers are in danger or disabled because it can sense the difference between various movements, like walking, running, jumping, and stillness. Current triboelectric nanogenerators cannot withstand harsh environments, thus this one is made of a carbon aerogel that is light weight and stable in high temperatures.

Click here to read more.

Putnam Logo

UCLA math students rank 3rd nationwide in Putnam Math Competition

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is an annual math competition for undergraduates that challenges the problem solving skills of the prestigious mathematics students. The questions cut across various disciplines and make students think outside the box. UCLA offers courses such as Math 100 that prepares its’ students for such a challenge.

The UCLA 2018 Putnam team ranked 3rd out of 568 institutions, one of the best results in UCLA history, matching that of 1968 and 2012. Twelve of the top 500 students nationwide were UCLA student competitors. This includes Xiaoyu Huang and Kaiqi Zhu, who each received a prize for ranking in the top 27 nationwide. Huang will also receive the Basil Gordon Prize, as the top scorer among UCLA students.

Click here to read more.

Click here to read more news stories from UCLA’s Division of Physical Sciences


Research Week Graphic
May 20-24: Undergraduate Research Week

UCLA Undergraduate Research Week consists of over 1,000 students presenting their research and creative work in Pauley Pavilion, Powell Library, the Luskin Conference Center, and many other venues throughout the week, all open to anyone to attend. For more information, click here.

Small child at Exploring Your Universe free science event in November 2018.November 3, 2019: Exploring Your Universe: UCLA Centennial Celebration

Our free day of hands-on science fun and learning for the whole family will help celebrate UCLA’s centennial in 2019. We are excited to welcome more visitors than ever to the beautiful UCLA campus for this major celebration. Details about the event’s activities, speakers, and schedule will be posted throughout the year at

Click here to read about more events from UCLA Physical Sciences


UCLA ranked #1 public university

UCLA was named #1 among U.S. public universities in two significant lists: the 2019 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings, and the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education survey.

Qualities highlighted by the publications include UCLA’s commitment to top-quality education, fostering a sense of community, and prioritizing inclusion. Click here to read the news announcements.

Student Spotlight: Research on seafloor has great implications for sea levels

Pine Island Glacier

Ken Zhao, a PhD candidate in the department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences published phenomenal research in the Journal of Physical Oceanography. This research focuses on the effects of seafloor sills on melting glaciers.

Ultimately, the research may help scientists create a better approach to mitigate rising sea levels.

Click here to read Zhao’s account of this research and its implications.

The DIYnamics school outreach program

Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences (EPSS) professor Jon Aurnou leads the Simulated Planetary Interiors Laboratory or SPINLab, which studies how the rotation of planets shapes the flow of fluids in their atmospheres and cores.

Fun, hands-on experiments developed by SPINLab students and postdocs are visiting local middle and high schools to teach younger students how Earth’s rotation impacts our day-to-day weather.

Click here to read more about the program and how to bring it to a school near you.

Alumni Spotlight: Christopher Snead, EPSS

Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences alumnus Christopher Snead (Ph.D. 2016) is continuing his passion for research with the Astromaterials Curation Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

“The research I conducted [at UCLA] on cosmic dust particles prepared me to participate in high-level decisions about how future samples will be collected, curated, and analyzed in a way that maximizes scientific yield,” he says.

Click here to read more about how his time at UCLA and why he encourages students to consider a major within EPSS.

Physical Sciences faculty named fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

2018 AAAS Fellows

Four Physical Sciences faculty were named AAAS 2018 Fellows for their scientifically or socially distinguished work to advance science.

We asked Heather Maynard, Neil Garg, Xiangfeng Duan, and Carla Koehler – all professors of Chemistry & Biochemistry – how they got to where they are and what this fellowship means to them for their future endeavors. Click here to read more about what this recognition means for their career, their students, and their research.