Latest news

InSight lander illustration

NASA’s Mars InSight Landing brings first piece of UCLA to the surface of Mars

Three UCLA faculty members, Peter Chi, Chris Russell, and Caroline Beghein, are on the InSight team and celebrated on Monday, November 26th, as the Lander touched down on Mars.

Chris Russell, professor of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, along with his team built the first magnetometer to touch down on Mars. The three are also part of the data analysis team, studying Marsquakes.

Click here for more on this work and what it meant to Beghein and Chi to be involved.

Researchers: Nelson, Gonen, Martynowycz, Jones, and Rodriguez
UCLA Scientists develop new technique that could accelerate drug discovery

A group of UCLA scientists developed a new technique that will allows researchers to use small molecule samples in order to determine the structures of organic molecules.

This team is led by Christopher Jones, a chemistry and biochemistry graduate student, and a team of 4 other UCLA chemistry and biochemistry researchers: Hosea Nelson, Tamir Gonen, Michael Martynowycz, and Jose Rodriguez.

This new development could speed up the processes for drug development and manufacturing. Read more here.

2018 AAAS Fellows

Four Physical Sciences faculty named 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

Six UCLA faculty members- four from the division of Physical Sciences were named AAAS 2018 Fellows for their scientifically or socially distinguished work to advance science.

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

Read more here. 

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


Barry Barish
January 28 & 30, 2019: Nobel Laureate Barish IPAM Lectures

Join the Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics for the Green Family Lecture series with Barry Barish, a leading expert on gravitational waves.

The public lecture, “From Einstein to Gravitational Waves” will be on Monday, January, 28th at 4:30-5:30 PM in Korn Convocation Hall, and the lecture, “Gravitational Waves and a Future New Science” will be on Wednesday, January 30th at 4:30-5:30 PM, also Korn Convocation Hall.

Click here for more information.

Professor David PaigeFebruary 7, 2019: Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Faculty Lecture

Join Professor David Paige, EPSS, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing.

The public lecture, “Exploring the Moon: Then and Now” will be on Thursday, February 7th at 6:00 PM in the California NanoSystems Institute.

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. Mark your calendars for Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, and keep checking for more details.

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: Translating Research Into Public Policy

This spring, UCLA students in the Physical Sciences traveled to the U.S. and state capitols to describe their research and how it may inform public policy for the benefit of many.

Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences Ph.D. student David Gonzalez presented to members of Congress as part of his Switzer Foundation Fellowship in Washington, D.C. In Sacramento, David and his peers advocated for funding of 500 graduate students to help support increased undergraduate enrollment as part of UC Grad Research Advocacy Day.

Click here to read David’s account of these experiences.

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 2018 Sloan Fellows

Four young professors from the division of Physical Sciences were among 126 scientists and scholars from 53 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada selected to receive 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships.

UCLA is tied for third — behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UC Berkeley — in the number of faculty honored this year by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which selects early-career scientists and scholars who are rising stars of science.

Click here to read more about Daniele Bianchi, Jingyi Li, Hosea Nelson, and Ellen Sletten’s work and plans for their Sloan Fellowships.