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Issue 6, Volume 2
June 2009


Happy Summer from the Physics Department at Cal! Despite the calm that follows the Spring semester’s end, we are busy with summer sessions, preparations for Fall, and, of course, our ongoing research. We hope you’ll enjoy reading—and watching—a bit about our most recent activities!

Physics 111 Lab Veterans

Did you take the Physics 111 Lab two-semester course? If so, we need your input. Please take a few minutes to fill out the following survey and help us implement changes and improvements to this important course. Thank you so much!

Take the Survey Here


Video of Professor Paul Richards Accepting the Dan David Prize in Tel Aviv

Paul Richards, Professor of the Graduate School, recently won the prestigious Dan David Prize for his work in Astrophysics, along with Paolo de Bernardis and Physics alumnus Andrew Lange (Ph.D. '87) who also happens to be a former student of Paul Richards. Read more about the prize at and watch footage of the prize ceremony, that includes prizewinner Tony Blair and Israeli President Shimon Peres, here:

The entire Dan David Astrophysics symposium, which took place at Tel Aviv University, can be watched here:

"Angels & Demons" Special Lecture Video

Professor Joel Fajans gave a fascinating lecture about the real science behind the blockbuster movie, “Angels & Demons.” His talk, “Why Physicists Would Love to Trap Antihydrogen, but the Vatican Need Not Fear…” is an accessible explanation of antimatter, the important research he is conducting at CERN and the possible discoveries to made at the Large Hadron Collider.

Watch video here.

Commencement 2009

Graduating senior, Claire Dorman, received the Physics Department Citation and gave a heart-warming speech at this year’s Commencement. Physics alums will relate to her story of camaraderie and hard work!

Following Claire’s speech was physicist and Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s speech:

Cal Day and Commencement Photos

Campus comes alive on Cal Day and during Commencement week. Here are some photos from both wonderful occasions!

Calday Slide Show here.

Commencement Slide Show here.

Photos courtesy of Tom Colton.


Red giant star Betelgeuse mysteriously shrinking

Charles Townes, Nobel Laureate and Professor of the Graduate School, makes news with his team's discovery that Betelgeuse, the giant star, is getting smaller.

Read article here.

Bilayer Graphene Gets a Bandgap

Assistant Professor Feng Wang reports on huge breakthroughs in understanding the electronic properties of graphene.

Read article here.

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