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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

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.

An image of the Earth depicted as a flat surface.
Research | March 11, 2019

As the Flat Earth Theory gains resurgence with a new Netflix documentary, a UNLV astronomer explains how it fizzles.

A portrait of George Rhee, a professor of physics and astronomy at UNLV.
Research | January 4, 2019

UNLV physicist developed a calculator to compute the significance of using renewables in a warming world.

Physics and Astronomy In The News

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.

Daily Mail
June 13, 2019

The star around which astronomers got their first-ever sighting of a fledgling planet has been shown to have another world and possibly even a giant moon-forming disc.

Quanta Magazine
June 11, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades, if not centuries, hoping to see embryonic planets. As of a year ago, the closest they had come was the discovery of gaps, thought to be caused by budding planets, in the spinning disks of gas and dust that surround young stars. But they weren’t sure how to interpret these indirect clues.

KVVU-TV: Fox 5
May 14, 2019

A global helium shortage is impacting businesses large and small. Local businesses that rely on the non-renewable gas are making due without any idea of when or if helium will be readily available again.

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.

Recent Physics and Astronomy Accomplishments

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...
August 12, 2019
Jason Steffen (Physics and Astronomy), Shichun Huang (Geoscience), and Zhaohuan Zhu (Physics and Astronomy) were awarded a $550,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation for "Modeling Dust Condensation in Protoplanetary Disks".  This program will combine UNLV's expertise in geochemistry and in planet formation to calculate the...
April 19, 2019
Howard Yanxon (Physics and Astronomy) was one of 70 graduate students from across the nation selected for the Department of Energy's  Solicitation 2 cycle for Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program.  Yanxon's advisor is professor Qiang Zhu. He will conduct his research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the area of Basic...
April 12, 2019
Linda Lister (Music), Brian Hedlund (Life Sciences), and Zhaohuan Zhu (Physics and Astronomy) have been selected by the NSHE Board of Regents to receive this year's Regents’ Awards, which honor accomplishments that increase NSHE’s stature in five areas: teaching, academic advising, creative activities, research, and early-career (or “rising”)...
November 29, 2018
Daniel Proga (Physics and Astronomy) has been awarded a three-year grant for $464,618 from NASA to study radiation-magnetohydrodynamics of clouds in active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Proga and his collaborators will continue their quest to develop a comprehensive and quantitative theory for cloud formation, destruction, and acceleration based on high...