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Department of Physics and Astronomy News

Physics and astronomy are two of the most basic and fundamental sciences. Physics is the study of matter, energy, motion, and force. Its concepts help us understand how the universe behaves. Astronomy studies the universe beyond the earth’s atmosphere, including celestial objects and the formation and development of the universe.

Current Physics and Astronomy News

vice president kamala harris watches unlv student administer COVID vaccine to another local college student
Campus News | April 14, 2021

A collection of news stories highlighting health, recovery, and celebration at UNLV.

A man rests his palm on his face in front of a whiteboard with equations
Research | February 5, 2021

Physics professor Michael Pravica's work on useful hard X-ray photochemistry could reveal novel materials — and possibly an explanation for the origin of life on Earth.

Campus News | February 3, 2021

A collection of news stories from the new year highlighting the experts and events at UNLV.

Professor Ashkan Salamat in his lab at UNLV
Research | December 29, 2020

A yearlong collection of UNLV faculty making the news for their discoveries and contributions to the community.

Campus News | December 10, 2020

A collection of news stories highlighting the election, COVID-19, and scientific discovery at UNLV.

Campus News | November 5, 2020

A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV’s commitment to community, health care, and research.

Physics and Astronomy In The News

March 31, 2021

University of Rochester researchers who demonstrated superconducting materials at room temperatures last fall, now report a new technique in the quest to also create the materials at lower pressures.

March 31, 2021

Molecules containing noble gases shouldn’t exist. By definition, these chemical elements — helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon — are the party poopers of the periodic table, huddling in the rightmost column and refusing to make molecules. Indeed, no one has ever seen any naturally occurring noble gas molecules on Earth. Earlier this decade, though, astronomers accidentally discovered one of these aloof elements in molecules in space.

March 22, 2021

A team of researchers from the University of Rochester, the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Nevada Las Vegas has reduced the amount of pressure required to force a material to become superconductive at room temperature, improving on their own previous results. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group outlines their technique and plans for the future.

KVVU-TV: Fox 5
March 19, 2021

With Spring approaching this weekend, earth could make a close encounter with an asteroid the size of the Golden Gate bridge.

March 4, 2021

Why is it so difficult for airlines to devise a quick, simple boarding process? For the typical economy class passenger, getting onboard anything bigger than a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 involves a fair degree of chaos. The new rules around social distancing and mask wearing in the airline industry have imposed a new sense of order on air travel. Does this mean we can expect faster, smoother boarding?

February 10, 2021

Las Vegas has its share of celebrities, including one who works at the UNLV Physics Department.

Physics and Astronomy Experts

An expert in astronomy, dark matter, and general physics.
A physics professor, whose specialties include high pressure science, explosives, and high radiation flux.
An expert in physics and chemistry.

Recent Physics and Astronomy Accomplishments

March 30, 2021
David Rice,  Zachary Grande, Ashkan Salamat, Jason Steffen (all Physics and Astronomy), and Oliver Tschauner (Geoscience), along with former UNLV postdoc Chenliang Huang (Physics and Astronomy) published a study on the properties of the interiors of distant, extrasolar planets in the "Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society." This study...
December 18, 2020
Ashkan Salamt (Physics and Astronomy) was awarded a grant from the Air Force office of scientific research. The grant, "The synthesis of supernitride compounds via extreme (pressure, temperature) conditions: a new generation of high-energy density materials," is for $452,184. Modern calculations reveal a novel group of binary metals materials with...
November 19, 2020
Rebecca Martin (Physics and Astronomy) was awarded a NASA Exoplanets grant for $541,460 to study planet formation in binary star systems.
October 22, 2020
Daniel Proga (Physics and Astronomy) was awarded one of NASA's most prestigious research grants through the Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics Networks (TCAN) program. The grant totals $1,547,537 and will be shared with four other major research institutions: the Institute for Advanced Study, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the...
October 21, 2020
Chao-Chin Yang (Physics and Astronomy) was awarded a multi-institutional research grant by NASA through the Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics Networks (TCAN) program. Led by New Mexico State University, other collaborators include UNLV, University of Arizona, Iowa State University, and SETI Institute in the United States, and Max Planck...
October 15, 2020
Ashkan Salamat (Physics and Astronomy) and a team of researchers have made a breakthrough in the long-sought-after quest for a room-temperature superconductor, what they call the “holy grail” of energy efficiency. The research team, which includes Ranga Dias from the University of Rochester, established room temperature superconductivity in a...