News & Events

Latest News

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UC Davis Physics Alumni and Firefly’s First Rocket Launch

Thursday September 2nd will see the first attempt at delivery of a payload into orbit by Austin, Texas-based company Firefly. UC Davis alumnus Roderic Vanderscoff ’14 has led the design, development, and testing of the booster rocket engine for this flight. Keeping the area around Vandenberg Air Force Base safe is UC Davis alum Bethany Baldwin-Pulcini ’15 with her work on the flight termination system. More information about the launch, including a link to a live stream, can be found here: https://everydayastronaut.com/flta001-dream-alpha/ . For more on Firefly and our two alumni see this recent UC Davis Magazine article see https://magazine.ucdavis.edu/moonshot-thinking/ .

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Official Visit of Distinguished Lecturer Prof Sir Michael Berry - Week of January 17, 2022

Michael Berry will visit UC Davis as Distinguished Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, hosted by Warren Pickett on behalf of sixteen other faculty in four departments involved in research of joint interest. Michael will provide a colloquium and a public lecture, with topics ranging from the geometric phase (Berry phase) upon which his early career and reputation is based, to everyday phenomena such as the physics of light, touching on the dancing lines of light on the bottom of swimming pools.

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Congratulations to our Graduating Students

Congratulations to our 2020-21 graduates! Despite the unusual circumstances created by the global COVID-19 pandemic, our students persevered and completed their studies.

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Celebration on July 14th for Opportunity Fund Phase I Campaign Completion, Deadline Extended to July 13th

We (Rena Zieve and Lloyd Knox) are delighted to report that we appear to have met our goal! According to our unofficial tally, we have, together as a department, given or pledged to give, $215K. Our goal was to reach $200K by July 1. We seem to have comfortably exceeded it, thanks to gifts from 98 individuals. These gitfts come from undergraduates, graduate students, staff, researchers, faculty, grad group faculty, emeriti, and our advisory board members. Seventy-four percent of our active faculty have given! That is a strong showing of internal support for this Fellowship.

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New, Third Type of Supernova Observed

An international team including UC Davis astronomers has observed the first example of a new type of supernova. The discovery, confirming a prediction made four decades ago, could lead to new insights into the life and death of stars.

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Opportunity Fellowship Fund Enters Last Week of Phase I Fundraising

According to our unofficial total of gifts and pledges to the Opportunity Fellowship Fund we need just over $20K more to reach our goal of raising $200K from department members by the July 1 deadline. Will we make it? It’s an exciting cliff hanger. Stay tuned.

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Dr. Brian Lemaux to Join Gemini-N Staff, NASA Grant, and New Departmental Post-docs

Dr. Brian Lemaux, an Associate Project Scientist in the department, as well as a UCD Physics & Astronomy Ph.D. graduate, has accepted a permanent position on the scientific staff of the Gemini-N telescope in Hilo, Hawai’i. Gemini-N, along with its Chilean twin Gemini-S, are among the largest and most productive telescopes in the world.

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Opportunity Fellowship Update

Gifts and pledges in response to the Opportunity Fellowship fundraising campaign have come from 12 undergrads, 44 grad students, 1 staff member, 1 researcher, 24 faculty members, 2 emeritii faculty, 1 external advisory board member and 1 alumnus.