Astrophysics Experimentalist

Bernard Sadoulet

Professor Emeritus

Bernard Sadoulet, a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique (1963) and a “Docteur ès sciences” of Paris-Orsay University (1971), is by training an elementary particle physicist. As such, he had the chance of participating in two prestigious experiments which led to Nobel Prizes: the Mark I experiment at SLAC which discovered the J/ψ, the τ lepton and the charm, and UA1 at CERN which discovered the intermediate vector bosons W and Z. In 1984 he decided to shift his efforts towards particle astrophysics and cosmology. In 1985 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of California,...

Matt C. Pyle

Assistant Professor, Michael M. Garland Chair

Matt Pyle received B.S. in Physics (2001) and B.E. in Aerospace Engineering (2002) from the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford University (2012). Subsequently, he crossed the bay and was a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley. He joined the Berkeley Physics faculty as the Garland Assistant Professor in 2015.

Research Interests

Many of the questions that we would like to ask about the nature of the universe today, for example "could dark matter be composed of particles with mass less than that of a proton?", are simply impossible to answer with present...

Reinhard Genzel

Professor Emeritus, Co-Director, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics

Reinhard Genzel received his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn (FRG) in 1978. He came to Berkeley as a Miller Fellow in 1980 and joined the Physics Department faculty as Associate Professor in 1981. He left Berkeley in 1986 to become Director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Munich (FRG) where he is also Honorary Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilian University. In 1999 he came back to UCB as part-time Professor. Awards and Honors include the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society (1979), Presidential Investigator Award (1983), Newton Lacy Pierce Prize of the...

When is an aurora not an aurora?

December 8, 2023

"Steve" and "picket fence" in the night sky over Canada

The purple and white emissions at the top are referred to as "Steve," while the green emissions are called "picket fence." The rare phenomena, which are distinct from the typical aurora, often occur together and may be caused by similar conditions at the edge of space. The photo was taken looking south over Berg Lake toward Mt. Robson in the Canadian...

Frances Hellman

Professor Emeritus of the Graduate School

Frances Hellman received her BA in Physics from Dartmouth College in 1978, graduating summa cum laude and phi beta kappa with high honors in physics. She received her PhD in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1985, studying what were then considered the high Tc superconductors (the A15's). After a 2 year postdoc in thin film magnetism at AT&T Bell Labs, she went to UCSD as an assistant professor in 1987, where she received tenure in 1994 and became a full professor in 2000. She joined the Physics Dept at UC Berkeley in Jan 2005, and became Chair of the Department in 2007. She...

LuSEE-Night will attempt first-of-its-kind measurements of the Dark Ages of the Universe.

March 20, 2023

Image of a lunar lander with different components, on the moon

NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) are working together to develop a science instrument that will survive the harsh and unforgiving environment of the lunar surface at night on the far side of the Moon to attempt first-of-its-kind measurements of the Dark Ages of the Universe. The instrument, named the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment – Night (...

Closest supernova in a decade reveals how exploding stars evolve

August 29, 2023

Galaxies in space

The Pinwheel Galaxy, or Messier 101, on May 21, 2023, four days after the light from the supernova 2023ixf reached Earth.

Alex Filippenko is the kind of guy who brings a telescope to a party. True to form, at a soiree on May 18 this year, he wowed his hosts with images of star clusters and colorful galaxies — including the dramatic spiral Pinwheel Galaxy — and snapped...

Saul Perlmutter

Franklin W. and Karen Weber Dabby Professor

Saul Perlmutter is a 2011 Nobel Laureate, sharing the prize in Physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. He is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he holds the Franklin W. and Karen Weber Dabby Chair, and a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is the leader of the international Supernova Cosmology Project, and director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science and executive director of the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics. His undergraduate degree was from Harvard and his PhD from UC...

After 15 years, pulsar timing yields evidence of cosmic gravitational wave background

July 3, 2023

Very Large Array telescopes in a row

The universe is humming with gravitational radiation — a very low-frequency rumble that rhythmically stretches and compresses spacetime and the matter embedded in it.

That is the conclusion of several groups of researchers from around the world who are simultaneously publishing a slew of journal articles today (Wednesday, June 28) describing more than 15 years of observations of...

Parker Solar Probe flies into the fast solar wind and finds its source

June 7, 2023

Illustration of Parker Solar Probe approaching the sun

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has flown close enough to the sun to detect the fine structure of the solar wind close to where it is generated at the sun’s surface, revealing details that are lost as the wind exits the corona as a uniform blast of charged particles.

It’s like seeing jets of water emanating from a showerhead through the blast of water hitting...