Accomplishments: Department of Physics and Astronomy

September 14, 2020
Zhaohuan Zhu (Physics and Astronomy) coauthored the article "A Triple-Star System with a Misaligned and Warped Circumstellar Disk Shaped by Disk Tearing," which has been published in Science. 
July 6, 2020
Zhaohuan Zhu (Physic & Astronomy) has been selected as the editor for the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (PASJ). The first term is two years and began July 1.  Established in 1949,  PASJ is an international journal that publishes the results of original research in all aspects of astronomy, astrophysics, and fields closely related to them.
April 27, 2020
Min Li (Physics and Astronomy) will have a new study appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society — a major international astronomy journal. She and her collaborators, UNLV's Jason Steffen, Zhaohuan Zhu (both Physics and Astronomy), and Shichun Huang (Geoscience), as well as Misha Petaev at Harvard, combined simulations of a planet-forming disk with software that calculates the chemical compounds that form from an initial array of chemical elements. With this, Li , a...
April 22, 2020
PhD student Randall Dannen (Physics & Astronomy) has recently demonstrated a novel method to create clouds around black holes. To appear in May as a letter in the prestigious Astrophysical Journal, the work led by Dannen was co-authored with astronomy professor Daniel Proga (his PhD adviser), UNLV postdoctoral researcher Tim Waters, and Sergei Dyda of the University of Cambridge).  It combines methodology from both observational and theoretical disciplines to address an outstanding problem...
February 24, 2020
Bing Zhang (Physics and Astronomy) is the author of the book Physics of Gamma-Ray Bursts, which is one of four books selected for the 2020 Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) Awards in the Cosmology and Astronomy category. The PROSE awards honor scholarly works published in 2019. There were a total of 157 finalists across 49 subject categories.  Since 1976, the Association of American Publishers’ annual PROSE Awards have recognized publishers who produce books, journals, and digital...
December 10, 2019
Jason Steffen (Physics and Astronomy) was recognized as a 2019 "Highly Cited Researcher" by the Web of Science.  This places him, by citations, in the top one percent of his field over the decade 2008 through 2018.  Most of these citations come from his work in exoplanets, especially in conjunction with NASA's Kepler mission.  Steffen is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  He was one of only two NSHE faculty to achieve this designation—the second being Jennifer...
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 will help us understand the variety of morphological features such as rings and gaps in nearby circumstellar disks detected recently by high-resolution,...
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 young star before a planet can be fully assembled. By conducting state-of-the-art computer simulations and comparing the results with the properties...
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 later by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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, to investigate the structural dynamics of catalysts at atomic scale by combining recent advances in computational science with new experimental tools...
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 in its 10th year, comes with significant funding to bolster financial support for exceptional talent during crucial early career years, when many...
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 chemistry is not well established in comparison to neighboring elements. This proposal will fill in critical gaps in fundamental knowledge of the solid...