Astrophysics Experimentalist

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...

UC Berkeley to manage NASA mission to map the UV universe

March 25, 2024

Optical vs UV mapping, side by side

The Andromeda Galaxy, M31, looks much different in optical (left) versus ultraviolet wavelengths. UVEX will conduct an all-sky survey to find UV sources, searching in particular for hot binary stars in low-mass galaxies surrounding the Milky Way and for the signatures of exploding stars.
Optical: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF; UV: GALEX/JPL/NASA...

Mark Strovink

Professor Emeritus

Mark Strovink, Ph.D. 1970 (Princeton). Joined UC Berkeley faculty in 1973 (Professor since 1980). Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society; served as program advisor for Fermilab (chair), SLAC (chair), Brookhaven, and the U.S. Department of Energy; served as D0 Physics Coordinator (1997 and 1998).

Research Interests

After 40 years in elementary particle physics, in late 2004 I turned my attention to the unexplained force that accelerates the universe's expansion. As an experimentalist, I am interested in understanding how best to standardize Type Ia supernovae (SNe) as...

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...

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...