Watch a selection of videos in each section below to learn more about the people and work that make up UCLA’s Division of Physical Sciences.

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Our latest events

Astro @UCLA: The Next Generation

UCLA astronomers, among them recent Nobel prize winner Andrea Ghez, are leading the way with ground-breaking discoveries on a vast scale – from planets to stars to galaxies to the entirety of the universe. This webinar – presented on Nov. 18, 2020 – gave viewers a glimpse into the future of astronomical discovery featuring UCLA Astronomy’s newest faculty with remarks by 2020 Nobel Prize Winner Andrea Ghez.

The Science of Our Lives: The Impact of Quantum Computing

Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize nearly every aspect of our lives, from medicine to finance. Learn more from trial blazing UCLA faculty and gain a better understanding of why the term ‘quantum’ is so exciting. (This webinar was presented as a live free public event on August 14, 2020.)

The Science of Our Lives: Research That Matters During a Pandemic

On May 29, 2020, UCLA Physical Sciences presented a free webinar featuring faculty sharing details on a variety of research pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who We Are

UCLA Physical Sciences

An introduction to the Department of Physical Sciences from seven faculty, students, and staff.

Intro to UCLA Physics & Astronomy

Faculty and students discuss the highlights and advantages of studying physics and astronomy at UCLA.

AOS Climate Science at UCLA

An introduction to Climate Science at UCLA in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

The Center for Diverse Leadership in Science

Members of UCLA’s Center for Diverse Leadership in Science (CDLS) share their experiences and achievements in science, thanks to CDLS.

California NanoSystems Institute Education

CNSI creates multidisciplinary education and training opportunities that supplement and enhance traditional degree programs and classroom curricula to prepare a new generation of science leaders who will apply science to emerging global challenges. For nearly a decade, CNSI has collaborated with a dedicated group of UCLA researchers to create academic courses, workshops, professional development and training opportunities that engage the educators of today and students who will become the scientists of tomorrow.

The Data Theory major at UCLA – the first of its kind in the world

The Data Theory major at UCLA joins the strength of UCLA’s Mathematics department with the innovation of its Statistics department to offer undergraduate students a world-class education in the foundations of Data Science.

Hosea Nelson and Jose Rodriguez, professors of chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA

Hosea Nelson and Jose Rodriguez, professors of chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA, speak about their work and what drives them to push the boundaries of scientific research, education, and mentorship.

Michael Hill, professor of Mathematics at UCLA

Margaret Kivelson, UCLA professor of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences

Margaret Kivelson, distinguished professor emerita in UCLA’s department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, talks about the journey that led her to become a leader in the field of space physics.

Changing Environment

Kelp us kelp you: How kelp can help in a changing climate

UCLA Institute of Environmental Studies work with the Bay Foundation to determine how kelp restoration can protect the natural marine resources within the Santa Monica Bay.

Turning the tides UCLA

UCLA environmental science students work with The Bay Foundation on the Santa Monica Bay Ocean Acidification project.

Student Research: Sediment deoxygenation

UCLA student researchers sample sediment from the Oxygen Minimum Zone in the Santa Monica Basin using a multicorer instrument and find the effects of gradual oxygen depletion.

Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award Lecture by David Neelin

David Neelin, professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, was selected as the 2017 Bert Bolin awardee and lecturer of the American Geophysical Union’s Global Environmental Change focus group. The award recognizes an Earth scientist for “groundbreaking research or/and leadership in global environmental change through cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary research in the past 10 years.” Neelin’s lecture was recorded at the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting in New Orleans.

Pritzker family’s $20M gift to UCLA targets environment and other societal challenges

The charitable foundation of Los Angeles philanthropists Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker has donated $20 million to UCLA to create several endowments, largely to support environmental and sustainability research aimed at helping Los Angeles and cities around the globe confront 21st-century challenges.

Physical Sciences Lectures

The Science of Our Lives: The Impact of Quantum Computing

Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize nearly every aspect of our lives – from medicine to finance. Learn more from trial blazing UCLA faculty and gain a better understanding of why the term ‘quantum’ is so exciting.

UCLA Department of Mathematics Distinguished Lecture Series - Akshay Venkatesh

UCLA Math Distinguished Lecture Series: Manjul Bhargava, May 21, 2015

It is well known that the density of integers that are squarefree is 6/π2, giving one of the more intriguing occurrences of π where one might not a priori expect it! A natural next problem that has played an important role in number theory is that of understanding the density of squarefree values taken by an integer polynomial. We survey a number of recent results on this problem for various types of polynomials – some of which use the ABC Conjecture and some of which do not.

Terry Tao: Small and Large Gaps Between the Primes

UCLA Department Of Mathematics Terry Tao, Ph.D. presents lecture titled “Small and Large Gaps Between the Primes”

Terence Tao: The Cosmic Distance Ladder, UCLA

AMS Einstein Public Lecture in Mathematics: Terence Tao is UCLA’s Collins Professor of Mathematics, and the first UCLA professor to win the prestigious Fields Medal. Less than a month after winning the Fields Medal, Tao was named a MacArthur Fellow. The following month, Tao was named one of “The Brilliant 10” scientists by Popular Science magazine, which called him “Math’s Great Uniter” and said that “to Tao, the traditional boundaries between different mathematical fields don’t seem to exist.” Tao’s AMS Einstein Public Lecture in Mathematics is titled “The Cosmic Distance Ladder.”

Mayank Mehta: How to Improve Memory and Create Memorable Content

The Importance of Science

Center for Diverse Leadership in Science

Jesse Bloom Bateman, Hayley Bricker, and Lenny explain the research, outreach, and community that the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science has given them.

Increasing access to science

Prof. Aradhna Tripati of the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences talks about why it is important to her to bring students in from local community colleges to give them access to UCLA’s world-class research facilities and scientists.

The infinite possibilities of positive energy and human potential

Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences professor Aradhna Tripati – who also directs UCLA’s Center for Diverse Leadership in science – was asked to participate in the #infiniteLA video series as part of the Broad Museum’s Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition. In the video, Tripati focuses on the positive energy of human potential, which she believes is infinite in nature.

Neil Garg TEDxUCLA: Perceptions

Niel Garg, chemistry professor, shares how chemistry can challenge you and your perceptions in various ways.

Eric Scerri and the Periodic Table

Dr. Eric Scerri from the Chemistry Department at UCLA giving a distinguished invited lecture at the Oscar Peterson auditorium of Concordia University, in Montreal. The topic is the history and iconic nature of the Periodic Table.

Hosea Nelson: Starting a chemistry lab

We caught up with Talented 12 alumnus Hosea Nelson of UCLA to hear his advice for chemists just starting their labs and to learn more about his path to chemistry. C&EN Online.

International Year of the Periodic Table with Eric Scerri

UCLA Physical Sciences interview with lead expert on the periodic table and UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Eric Scerri.

“How to Improve Memory and Create Memorable Content" with Mayank Mehta

UCLA Physics and Astronomy present “How to Improve Memory and Create Memorable Content” with Mayank Mehta.

UCLA Applied Math Research: Tears of Wine

Andrea Bertozzi, professor of mathematics at UCLA, and her research team have discovered the math behind the curious phenomenon that are the tears of wine.

Planetary and Space Science

Margaret Kivelson: Space Physicist

Margaret Kivelson, professor of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, discusses her journey as a space physicist.

Planet Formation and the Radius Valley

What do planets outside our solar system look like? How did they form? What can we learn from them? Work by UCLA’s Planet Formation Group endeavors to answer all of these questions.

Formación de los Planetas y el "Valle de Radios"

Al analizar los datos de la misión Kepler, científicos han descubierto un a gran cantidad de exoplanetas similares a los que existen en nuestro sistema solar. Este tipo de exoplaneta es el mas común en nuestra galaxia, y probablemente en todo el universo. Estos exoplanetas nos parecen

Margaret Kivelson: Pioneering planetary science

In February 2018, the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences honored the career of pioneering planetary scientist and EPSS professor Margaret Kivelson. She delivered a public lecture about a topic she is well known for: magnetic structures in the solar system.

Living on Mars

Planetary Radio Live host Mat Kaplan conducted a fascinating conversation with Mars experts including UCLA planetary expert David Paige.

How fast do black holes spin?

How big are black holes? Do they have a size, or could they be infinitely dense? Their characteristics are still so new to us, but there are a few things we do know – like how massive they are and how fast they’re spinning. Professor of astronomy Mark Morris has devoted much of his time to researching these mysteries.

The formation of Earth within space and time

Professor Abby Kavner runs the mineral physics program in the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, where the goal is to understand how the properties of minerals help determine the behavior of the Earth and planets. The goal of the research group is to measure physical and chemical properties of materials in the laboratory, to further our understanding of the Earth and planets.

From past to present, how rare is Earth?

Professor Edward Young’s projects range from the origins of the solar system to identifying isotopic biosignatures here on Earth. His lab’s tools are mass spectrometers, ultraviolet and infrared lasers, ion exchange resins, telescopic observations of young stars, and presses for squeezing and heating rocks to immense pressures and temperatures.

Student Research: Extraterrestrial Intelligence

UCLA students describe their experience collecting and analyzing data from a large radio telescope to search for extraterrestrial intelligence.  Authored by Kevin Lu, filmed by Emmanuel Masongsong, and featuring the UCLA Spring 2017 SETI class.


NSF Passport to Discovery: What’s up with Plasma

The National Science Foundation recorded an episode of their Youtube series “Passport to Discovery” about UCLA’s Basic Plasma Facility. They used this episode to explain “What’s up With Plasma?” and how UCLA’s facility uses a vacuumed sealed tube to create super-heated gas.

The music and motion of molecular machines: A featured lecture at SACNAS 2017

As a featured speaker at the 2017 SACNAS Diversity in STEM Conference, Dean Miguel García-Garibay spoke to thousands of students, faculty, and researchers about his work with molecular machinery. With careful orchestration and collaboration, these molecules – like music – can turn noise into something beautiful.

Richard B. Kaner: 115th UCLA Faculty Research Lecture, New Materials

Richard B. Kaner, distinguished professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, presents a talk entitled “A Quest for New Materials: Superhard Metals, Conducting Polymers and Graphene.”

Hosea Nelson: Copy nature to create a brighter future

Speaking of Chemistry caught up with UCLA’s Hosea Nelson to learn about how chemists are trying to copy nature for a brighter future.

UCLA Professor uses lab rats in Virtual Reality

Maynak Mehta, UCLA Professor uses lab rats in virtual reality to allow the brain to make a map using only vision. Segment starts at 6:56

TEDxUCLA Space, Time, & Imagination: How Virtual Reality Changes the Brain

UCLA’s Physics and Astronomy Professor, Mayank Mehta with TEDxUCLA

UCLA Science in Media

The calculus of comedy

For the writers of The Simpsons, Futurama, and The Big Bang Theory, mathematical formulas (along with classic equations and cutting-edge theorems) can sometimes be an integral part of those shows. In a lively and nerdy discussion, six of these writers (who have advanced degrees in math, physics, and computer science) will share their love of numbers and talent for producing laughter.

Math on The Colbert Report

Terence Tao – UCLA professor of mathematics, MacArthur Fellow, and Fields Medalist – discusses his lifelong fascination with mathematics and the mysteries of prime numbers.

Using Math and Simulations to create Snow Simulations

How simulations are used to create snow in Disney films.