Jason Steffen

Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Expertise: Astronomy, Exoplanets, Cosmology, Dark matter and energy, Gravitation, General physics


Jason Steffen works in the field of exoplanets — planets that orbit distant stars. He has been a member of the science team for NASA's Kepler mission.  He continues to analyze data from that mission to understand the properties of planets and planetary systems. He also worked on projects related to dark matter, dark energy, and gravity.

Steffen is originally from Utah and attended graduate school in Seattle. Before coming to UNLV, he was the Lindheimer Fellow at Northwestern University and the Brinson Fellow at Fermilab outside of Chicago.

In addition to his work in astrophysics, he is known for the Steffen Method, a procedure to efficiently board passengers on an airplane.


  • Ph.D. in Physics, University of Washington, Seattle
  • B.S. in Physics and Mathematic, Weber State University

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Jason Steffen In The News

The Big Bang theory is currently the most popular model we have for the birth of our universe. Observations on the expanding universe, as well as observations of Cosmic background radiation, lingering electromagnetic radiation from the Big Bang, have helped back this theory. However, rumors have spread on the internet that the newly released images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) somehow suggest the big bang is wrong. We find this claim to be mostly false. Although the spectacular images from JWST may have surprised scientists in how they might change theories on galaxy formation, they by no means negate the Big Bang theory.
Las Vegas Sun
When someone asks UNLV astrophysicist Jason Steffen why regular people — or at least people who don’t study the sky in intricate detail — should be interested in the images coming back from the James Webb Space Telescope, he asks them what they value before he responds.
UNLV professor of physics and astronomy Jason Steffen is available to talk about the significance of the James Webb Space Telescope imagery, and how it broadens our understanding of the universe.
Despite all the incessant coverage about air travel, pre-pandemic polling showed that a majority of Americans don't fly every year. Now, even fewer people fly.

Articles Featuring Jason Steffen

Remember sculptor Claes Oldenburg who created UNLV's iconic Flashlight sculpture this month.
Campus News | August 3, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting university experts’ insights on and contributions to health, environment, and society.

UNLV's first conference tournament championship—and automatic bid to the NCAA Championship—since winning the Big West in 1994. It will be the Lady Rebels first NCAA tournament appearance since 2002. March 9, 2022 (Josh Hawkins/UNLV)
Campus News | April 1, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting the experts and student changemakers at UNLV.