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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

rendering of gamma-ray burst
Research | December 7, 2022

A long-duration gamma-ray burst observed in late 2021 revealed signatures typically associated with short-duration bursts, forcing puzzled scientists to create a new model for the origin of this unique burst.

young man in suit at poster presentation event
People | December 7, 2022

UNLV programs, faculty, and fellowships help propel student research and future careers in academia.

UNLV Engineering team's robot shaking hands with student
Campus News | December 5, 2022

A roundup of students and faculty whose innovation and expertise made news headlines.

UNLV cheerleaders during 2022 homecoming
Campus News | November 8, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV students and faculty who made headlines locally, regionally, and internationally.

Dancers with the UNLV Ewalu Club
Campus News | October 4, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting research wins, expert insights, and academic achievement.

a female student sits in the grass by a tree reading a book
Campus News | September 1, 2022

A roundup of prominent news stories highlighting university pride, research, and community collaboration.

Physics and Astronomy In The News

December 8, 2022

An unusual bright blast of light detected by multiple telescopes in December 2021 was the result of a rare cosmic explosion that created a wealth of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.

Innovation News Network
December 8, 2022

An international team of astrophysicists has reported the discovery of a unique cosmological gamma-ray burst (GRB) that defies current theories of how the violent cosmic explosions form. This exceptional burst has resulted in a new proposed model, or source, for certain types of gamma-ray bursts.

USA Today
December 7, 2022

Scientists have ample evidence to prove the Earth is a sphere. But some social media users claim to have devised an experiment showing the earth is flat.

Science News
December 7, 2022

Astronomers have spotted a bright gamma-ray burst that upends previous theories of how these energetic cosmic eruptions occur.

December 7, 2022

Last December, astronomers caught sight of an extremely bright, extremely close gamma ray burst that lasted for a little under a minute — close as far as gamma ray bursts, anyways: about a billion light-years away. Ordinarily, it would be interesting, but nothing groundbreaking, something to be filed away with the tens of thousands of other long gamma ray bursts that have been observed over the past half-century. But then, something didn’t happen: the supernova required to create such a lengthy explosion was nowhere to be found.

USA Today
December 5, 2022

Social media is flooded with posts that claim to prove the Earth is flat. A recent example is a post that claims a photo of Chicago taken from Indiana demonstrates the Earth's flatness.

Physics and Astronomy Experts

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

Recent Physics and Astronomy Accomplishments

October 31, 2022
UNLV researchers Pedro Santos-Florez, Byungkyun Kang, and Qiang Zhu (all Physics and Astronomy) recently published a paper, "Size-Dependent Nucleation in Crystal Phase Transition from Machine Learning Metadynamics," in the journal Physical Review Letter (PRL). This work has also been featured in the cover of the latest issue of PRL. In addition to…
October 12, 2022
UNLV researchers add an important computational capability to a widely-used, open source software. Specifically, a summer undergraduate researcher working with Jason Steffen (all Physics and Astronomy), along with a graduate student and an outside collaborator, added the Yarkovsky effect to the REBOUND software. This is a force that affects the…
October 10, 2022
Michael Pravica (Physics) was awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct research into the mechanisms of X-ray induced photochemistry.   Experimental Investigation of the Control Mechanism of X-ray Induced Structural and Chemical Synthesis at Extreme Conditions (DE-SC0023248)  
October 4, 2022
Craig Schwartz and colleagues (Nevada Extreme Conditions Lab) were recently awarded two grants from the Department of Energy: 1.) Next generation solar cells probed at the interface with exceptional precision (PIE): Towards new device design – Summary: Generating solar energy via photovoltaic (PV) devices is one of the most promising routes for…
May 13, 2022
Ashkan Salamat (Physics and Astronomy) is the joint recipient of The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Grant, along with colleagues Ranga Dias (University of Rochester) and Audrey Grockowiak (CNPEM, Brazilian synchrotron). The project, “Exploring the Limits of High-temperature Superconductivity,” is funded at $1,624,838 for 48 months (of which $…
May 9, 2022
Jason Steffen (Physics and Astronomy) was the lead organizer for a major international conference on Exoplanets (planets that orbit distant stars). The conference took place the M Resort in Henderson, and brought together more than 500 scientists from around the world for a week of scientific talks, discussions, and collaboration.