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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

People preparing to cut ribbon on new Fertitta Complex
Campus News | November 1, 2019

A collection of local, national, and international news stories highlighting the people and programs of UNLV.

a close-up of a group of circles
Arts and Culture | September 30, 2019

Researchers from the College of Sciences showcase the artistic side of science by featuring their most captivating research images.

Physicist standing over table with green laser beams
Research | September 17, 2019

Physicist Ashkan Salamat one of just 46 university professors nationwide – and the first from UNLV – selected for competitive award, which is now in its 10th year.

A man rests his palm on his face in front of a whiteboard with equations
Research | August 15, 2019

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.

artist conception of cosmic event
Research | April 16, 2019

Two dense, city-sized stars collided in a galaxy far, far away; the resulting X-rays give UNLV’s Bing Zhang and international team of astronomers a new way to spot when it happens and a rare glimpse into how neutron stars form.

U.N.L.V. signage with Fall leaves in the background
People | April 8, 2019

From UNLV Magazine spring 2019 issue.

Physics and Astronomy In The News

KVVU-TV: Fox 5
November 1, 2019

A professor at UNLV is presenting data obtained from a NASA space mission in the form of music.

Las Vegas Review Journal
October 28, 2019

Outer space might be silent, but if planets could sing their tunes could tell us a lot about how they formed. At least that’s the theory of UNLV researcher and astrophysicist Jason Steffen, who turned data on thousands of distant worlds into chord progressions that may indicate how they have changed since their births.

EOS
October 16, 2019

In 1619, German astronomer Johannes Kepler published his Harmonices Mundi (Harmony of the World), a text that investigated how mathematics could help the planets of the solar system create celestial music based on their orbital resonances.

NewScientist
July 5, 2019

We might need to rethink our understanding of water, both on Earth and other planets. New experiments with water ice at high pressures has revealed unexpected behaviour, which could upend our assumptions about the makeup of icy exoplanets.

New Scientist
July 4, 2019

We might need to rethink our understanding of water, both on Earth and other planets. New experiments with water ice at high pressures has revealed unexpected behaviour, which could upend our assumptions about the makeup of icy exoplanets.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 24, 2019

Jason Steffen, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, has more than 7,000 Twitch followers and uses the platform to practice future lectures.

Physics and Astronomy Experts

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

Recent Physics and Astronomy Accomplishments

November 18, 2019
Chao-Chin Yang, Zhaohuan Zhu, Stephen Lepp, and Xiao Hu (all Physics and Astronomy) just were awarded a $474,315 research grant by NASA through the Astrophysics Theory Program. They will conduct state-of-the-art computer simulations to model a circumstellar disk around a young star and study the dust-gas dynamics in the disk. The investigation...
November 8, 2019
Chao-Chin Yang, Zhaohuan Zhu and Stephen Lepp (all Physics and Astronomy) just were awarded a $456,315 research grant by NASA through the Emerging Worlds Program. They will investigate one of the most difficult stages in the course of planet formation, for example, how kilometer-scale planetesimals can be built from pebble-sized materials around a...
October 30, 2019
Jason Steffen (Physics and Astronomy) converted data from NASA's Kepler mission, which detected thousands of planets orbiting distant stars, into music.  The sounds that are generated for each system can give insight into the formation of that system.  His YouTube video, and the accompanying story, was picked up by Earth and Space Science News and...
September 23, 2019
Qiang Zhu (Physics and Astronomy) is the principal investigator for a two-year grant of $160,895 recently awarded to UNLV by the National Science Foundation. He will collaborate with researchers at other institutions, including Arizona State University, New York University, University of Arkansas, Cornell University, and University of Puerto Rico...
September 5, 2019
Ashkan Salamat (Physics and Astronomy) was one of just 46 university professors nationwide – and the first from UNLV – to earn an Early Career Award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) office of science. Each year, the DOE selects rising researchers from the nation’s national labs and universities for the competitive award. The program, now...
August 14, 2019
Ashkan Salamat (Physics and Astronomy), Paul Forster, Frederic Poineau, and Keith Lawler (all Chemistry and Biochemistry) were awarded a $449,901 research grant from the National Science Foundation for "Expanding Known Binary Technetium Nitrides and Sulfides: A Computationally-Led Synthesis Program." Technetium is a radioactive element and its...