Latest news

Drought restrictions lead to the decline of mosquito-borne disease

A study lead by UCLA scientists has shown that reducing the amount of shallow water pools also reduces the amount of mosquitoes available to spread the West Nile virus. The outdoor water use restrictions during California’s statewide drought from 2012 to 2016 suppressed the amount of mosquitoes that carry viruses. The scientists centered their research in Los Angeles and Orange County to find that mosquito populations would have been 44% higher in Los Angeles County and 39% higher in Orange County without water restrictions.

Mosquitoes have adapted to finding hard-to-find pools of water in order to lay their eggs. Water restrictions help cut back on outdoor water use, which in turn leads to less infectious mosquitos. The study’s findings help with decisions over water management and to remind others that water conservation can lead to many benefits including less infectious mosquitoes.

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California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA makes hands-on STEM learning accessible

California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA has changed its outreach programs during the pandemic in order to continue educational events. CNSI has held exciting nanoscience programs for students and teachers to allow them to learn more through experiments. Due to the pandemic, CNSI has transitioned some of their programs such as, “Applications of Nanoscience,” online.

Sarah Tolbert, faculty education director at CNSI and a UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry and Rita Blaik, director of education at CNSI worked together to create experiments that could be safely recreated by students at home. They created video tutorials and provided teachers with supplies to carry out experiments. The online transition has showed CNSI that learning about nanoscience can be made more accessible to a wider audience.

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UCLA graduate and astronaut selected for the NASA Artemis program to return explorers to the Moon

Astronaut, Jessica Watkins, who earned her Ph.D. in geology from UCLA in 2015, has been selected for the NASA Artemis program to return explorers to the Moon by 2024. The Artemis program’s purpose is to learn to live and work on another world for the benefit of humanity. The Artemis program includes the first woman and next man to walk on the moon.
Watkins and the other astronauts are working to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon that will prepare NASA to send astronauts to Mars.

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

Learn more about the work that the UCLA Physical Sciences department has been sharing with the community. Listen to how our faculty is continuing the fight against COVID-19, the impacts of quantum physics on our world, and so much more! Click here for more information.


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.

Click here to watch.

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.