Latest news

Margaret Kivelson and her pioneering research profiled in The New York Times

The breakthrough work and discoveries by Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences professor Margaret Kivelson were put in the spotlight by a recent profile in The New York Times entitled, “How Do You Find an Alien Ocean? Margaret Kivelson Figured It Out”.

Kivelson’s many accolades include election to the National Academy of Sciences and receiving the Kuiper Prize from the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, which recognizes and honors outstanding contributors to planetary science.

Click here to read the article, and click here to watch a video of Kivelson delivering a distinguished lecture for EPSS this spring.

First satellites built entirely at UCLA are now in orbit

Click below to read two stories about the ELFIN cubesats, which successfully launched aboard the Delta II rocket on Sept. 15. The satellites were built by more than 250 undergraduates over five years and will be contributing important data to the study of space weather.

We have liftoff of student-built satellites (includes a video of the successful rocket launch on Sept. 15)

UCLA students launch project that’s out of this world (includes video of the making of the satellites and some of the students behind the project)

New climate science degree extends UCLA’s commitment to environmental research and teaching

The new bachelor’s degree is among the world’s very first major programs in climate science and will prepare UCLA students to lead in this critical field. It is housed in UCLA’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences – co-ranked No. 1 department of its kind by the National Research Council.

“It’s critical to educate the next generation of scientists to understand how and why our climate is changing, and what measures must be taken to adapt,” said Professor Alex Hall. Click here to read more.

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


November 4, 2018: Exploring Your Universe

UCLA’s free all-day science festival for the whole family returns for its 10th year. Mark your calendar and stay tuned to as more details are announced.

November 10, 2018: 2018 Glenn T. Seaborg symposium and medal award dinner

The UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry hosts its annual Seaborg Symposium & Medal Award Dinner, featuring talks on the revolution in electron cryo-microscopy by 2108 Seaborg Medalists Professor Robert Glaeser (UC Berkeley) and Nobel Laureate Professor Richard Henderson (MRC Laboratory of Microbiology, Cambridge). Click here for details about how to attend.

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to read about more events from UCLA Physical Sciences


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

Latest giving news:

Physical sciences receives gifts to support climate change research and education

Professor endows UCLA faculty chair in mathematics

Division of Physical Sciences receives $2 million from physicist–philanthropist Mani Bhaumik