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The Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS) is an interdisciplinary research unit for research and graduate study in astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences. Areas of specialization include high-energy astrophysics, optical and ultraviolet astronomy, infrared astronomy, radio astronomy, theoretical astrophysics, cosmology, solar physics, space plasma physics, interferometry, and astronomical instrumentation. CASS includes faculty, research staff and students affiliated with UCSD's departments of Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and others.



Karin Sandstrom's video
26 January 2016 : Karin Sandstrom's work on space dust featured in UCSD video series

Assistant Professor of Physics Karin Sandstrom’s work on space dust is featured in the first of a video series produced by the Division of Physical Sciences, using computer animation to show science on scales too big and too small to see. Professor Sandstrom studies the interstellar medium - the dust and gas in galaxies and between stars, and especially how ultraviolet light interacts with soot-like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. That, she says, is key to everything - how stars (and planets) form, how galaxies evolve, and perhaps how life emerged. Read More

Dr. Stebor
1 January 2016 : Nathan Stebor appointed as an Assistant Project Scientist in CASS

Nathan Stebor has been appointed as an Assistant Project Scientist in CASS, effective January 1st. He was formerly a CASS Postdoctoral Scholar. Congratulations, Dr. Stebor!


11 December 2015 : David Leon named a 2015 Inamori Foundation Fellow

The intent of the Inamori Fellowship Program is to support our best and brightest current graduate students who will ensure the future of humanity through the balance of the scientific process and the human spirit. This investment in our students is parallel to the Inamori Foundation's commitment to the Kyoto Prize that is given annually to those who have made significant contributions to the progress of science, the development of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit. Congratulations to David! Read More

Dr. Simmons
7 December 2015 : Brooke Simmons appointed Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow

Brooke Simmons has been appointed as an Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow in CASS effective December 1, 2015. Dr. Simmons studies accreting supermassive black holes in galaxies without a detectable stellar bulge. This work has implications for black hole scaling relationships and galaxy-black hole co-evolution. She earned her PhD in Astronomy from Yale University and completed a postdoctoral researcher position at the University of Oxford prior to coming to UCSD. Welcome to CASS, Dr. Simmons!

Polarized emission from Milky Way dust, which complicates the search for B-modes from the era of inflation, as seen by the Planck telescope. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration
28 October 2015 : The B-Mode Story You Haven't Heard

It's a tough time to be a B-mode.

B-modes rocketed to fame in March 2014, when a team of scientists working on an experiment called BICEP2 announced the first direct evidence for primordial gravitational waves rippling out from the earliest moments of the universe: a distinctive imprint in the cosmic microwave background (the light left over from the Big Bang) called "B-mode polarization," or B-modes for short. Polarization describes the way that light-waves are oriented, and B-mode waves are twisted into a swirling pattern. The detection of these swirls was a stunning confirmation of the theory of cosmic inflation. Suddenly, B-modes were electromagnetic celebrities. PBS story: Read More

Dr. Reasenberg
1 October 2015 : Robert Reasenberg appointed CASS Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Robert Reasenberg has accepted an appointment in CASS as a Research Scientist, effective October 1, 2015. Dr. Reasenberg is from Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Welcome to CASS, Dr. Reasenberg!

Multiple spots in a simulated galaxy glow brightly at submillimeter wavelengths of light
23 September 2015 : Dusan Keres and team illuminate origin
of brightest galaxies

In the new issue of journal Nature, a team of scientists including Dusan Keres, Assistant Professor of Physics, presents a new supercomputer simulation that can help explain the origin of some of the most extreme objects in the universe, bright submillimeter galaxies. These objects can form stars with rates up to 1000 times faster than our own Galaxy. Read more in the UCSD press release, an article in LA Times or the paper and related News & Views in Nature. Read More

Dr. Johnson
18 September 2015 : Cliff Johnson appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Cliff Johnson has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective September 21, 2015. Dr. Johnson works in Assistant Professor of Physics Karin Sandstrom's group on multiwavelength observational studies of the interstellar medium and stellar populations in nearby galaxies. He earned his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Washington. Welcome to CASS, Dr. Johnson!

51 Eri b
13 August 2015 : Quinn Konopacky and team analyze the atmosphere
of a 'Young Jupiter' exoplanet

Assistant Professor of Physics Quinn Konopacky with a team of other astronomers used the Gemini Planet Imager to detect an exoplanet, called 51 Eri b, which is like a young Jupiter, a gas giant about twice Jupiter's mass but hotter and even younger than its star. The newly discovered planet orbits 51 Eridani, a nearby star a lot like our own, though brighter and much younger, just 20 million years old. UCSD News story, and U-T story: Read More

1 August 2015 : Grant Teply appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Grant Teply has been appointed to CASS as a Postdoctoral Scholar effective August 1, 2015. Dr. Teply works in Professor of Physics Brian Keating's observational cosmology group on the POLARBEAR telescope project. He earned his PhD in Physics from Caltech. Welcome to CASS, Dr. Teply!

Dr. Jorgenson
30 July 2015 : Former Physics Graduate Student named new Director of
Astronomy at the Maria Mitchell Association

Dr. Regina Jorgenson will join the staff of the Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) as the new Director of Astronomy on January 4, 2016. Dr. Jorgenson earned her Ph.D. in physics at UCSD, specializing in studies of galaxy formation and evolution. She worked in CASS under the tutelage of the late Professor Arthur Wolfe. Read More

FreeWill poster 01small1.jpg
29 July 2015 : "The Physics of Free Will" panel discussion with Professor Brian Keating on August 6th

Professor of Physics Brian Keating will be part of a panel discussion on "The Physics of Free Will", on Thursday, August 6th at 6:00 pm at Atkinson Auditorium, first floor of Qualcomm Institute/Calit2. The event is sponsored by the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and is free and open to the public. RSVP required. Read More

The POLARBEAR Telescope in Chile
14 July 2015 : Inner Workings: Probing cosmic mysteries in a remote desert

Professor of Physics Brian Keating's group is part of an international team of cosmologists manning the POLARBEAR Telescope in Chile's Atacama Desert, in hopes it will illuminate the conditions of the universe just after its dawn 13.8 billion years ago. Read More

Professor Sandstrom
1 July 2015 : Karin Sandstrom appointed Assistant Professor of Physics

Karin Sandstrom has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Physics at UCSD effective July 1, 2015. Professor Sandstrom's main interest of research is in the interstellar medium: the gas and dust between the stars in a galaxy. In particular, she is interested in the properties of interstellar dust - how dust properties evolve over time, vary within and among galaxies, and how they influence the physics of the interstellar medium. Please welcome Professor Sandstrom to CASS!

NSF logo.jpg
1 June 2015 : Professor Brian Keating and CASS Associate Research Scientist Kam Arnold to share $5,000,000 NSF Award for the Simons Array Experiment

Professor of Physics Brian Keating and CASS Associate Research Scientist Kam Arnold received a $5,000,000 NSF Award for the Simons Array Experiment. Both are Co-I's on the project. The title of their project is "POLARBEAR/Simons Array: High-fidelity maps of CMB polarization to study large-scale structure, measure neutrino masses, and search for the signature of inflation." Congratulations! Read More

Canadian PM supports TMT
6 April 2015 : Canada announces significant support for TMT

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the Government of Canada's intention to provide significant support for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), an international project that will build one of the world's largest and most advanced astronomical observatories in Hawaii. One news story. Read More

Neutrino flavor transformation
20 March 2015 : Alexey Vlasenko appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Alexey Vlasenko has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective March 20, 2015. Dr. Vlasenko works in George Fuller's group on neutrino astrophysics. He earned his PhD in Physics from UCSD. Congratulations, Dr. Vlasenko!

Wright and NIROSETI Team @ Lick
19 March 2015 : Shelley Wright plays key role in developing NIROSETI

Astronomers have expanded the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light. Shelley Wright, Assistant Professor of Physics, led the development of a new instrument called NIROSETI for near-infrared optical SETI, which has been installed at UC's Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton. The new instrument has just begun to scour the sky for messages from other worlds. Read More

1 of 3 South Pole Telescopes
12 February 2015 : Cosmology: The oldest cosmic light

Associate Professor of Physics Brian Keating discusses CMB photons, "massless messengers", in this Nature article. Read More

Professors Norman & Keating with Chancellor Khosla
4 February 2015 : Professors Brian Keating and Mike Norman receive 2014
UCSD Diversity Award

Congratulations to Brian Keating, Associate Professor of Physics, and Mike Norman, Professor of Physics and Director of SDSC, for being nominated by Suresh Subramani, Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, to receive a 2014 UCSD Diversity Award!

The annual Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards Program honors staff, faculty, students, departments, and organizational units or groups that make outstanding contributions in the areas of equal opportunity, affirmative action, diversity, and the UCSD Principles of Community during the year. Read More

The proposed satellite, CalSat
6 January 2015 : Jon Kaufman and Brian Keating awarded a 2014 Buchalter
Cosmology Prize

Associate Professor of Physics Brian Keating and CASS Postdoctoral Scholar Jon Kaufman, along with Brad Johnson, Professor of Physics at Columbia, have been awarded a 2014 Buchalter Cosmology Prize for a paper proposing a way to significantly enhance cosmological measurements in a manner that should enable sensitive test of ideas fundamental to our understanding of physical laws. Their paper was posted to the online repository arXiv in September 2014, (link to paper). Congratulations! Read More

Professor Konopacky
1 January 2015 : Quinn Konopacky appointed Assistant Professor of Physics

Quinn Konopacky has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Physics at UCSD effective January 1, 2015. Professor Konopacky's research focuses on planet formation and evolution, high contrast imaging, star formation, stellar and substellar evolution, orbital dynamics, high angular resolution imaging and spectroscopy, adaptive optics, astrometry, speckle interferometry, optical and infrared astronomy. Please welcome Professor Konopacky to CASS!

Professor Wright
1 January 2015 : Shelley Wright appointed Assistant Professor of Physics

Shelley Wright has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Physics at UCSD effective January 1, 2015. Her research encompasses experimental and observational astrophysics, optical and infrared instrumentation, adaptive optics, galaxy formation and evolution, and SETI. Please welcome Professor Wright to CASS!

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