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How a supermassive black hole originates

Supermassive black holes, or SMBHs, are black holes with masses that are several million to billion times the mass of our sun. The Milky Way hosts an SMBH with mass a few million times the solar mass. Surprisingly, astrophysical observations show that SMBHs already existed when the universe was very young. For example, a billion...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |

A new dimension in the quest to understand dark matter

As its name suggests, dark matter — material which makes up about 85% of the mass in the universe — emits no light, eluding easy detection. Its properties, too, remain fairly obscure. Now, a theoretical particle physicist at the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues have published a research paper in the Journal of High...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |

Veteran and community college transfer student heads to UCLA for graduate studies

When he joined the U.S. Navy in 2010, Mychal Valle didn’t think he would ever return to school. After all, he got to work on new radar technologies in the navy and got recognized for writing technical manuals. But by the time he left the navy in 2016, Valle’s service helped him discover his passion...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |

Algorithm helps speed up simulation of vast, complex universes

Simeon Bird, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside, is a member of a team of astrophysicists that has used machine learning to simulate the universe with high resolution in a thousandth of the time conventional methods would take. The researchers uploaded models of a small region of space at both low...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | Inside UCR |

New Application of Artificial Intelligence Just Removed One of the Biggest Roadblocks in Astrophysics

Using a bit of machine learning magic, astrophysicists can now simulate vast, complex universes in a thousandth of the time it takes with conventional methods. The new approach will help usher in a new era in high-resolution cosmological simulations, its creators report in a study published online May 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy...
By Thomas Sumner | Simons Foundation |

‘Twisting’ atomic materials may convert light into electricity

A pair of physicists at the University of California, Riverside, are aiming to convert light falling on atomically thin semiconductor materials into electricity, having received more than $582,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of the Army. Nathaniel Gabor and Vivek Aji, both associate professors of physics and astronomy, will focus on how the fundamental...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |

Researchers use a nanoscale synthetic antiferromagnet to toggle nonlinear spin dynamics

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have used a nanoscale synthetic antiferromagnet to control the interaction between magnons — research that could lead to faster and more energy-efficient computers. In ferromagnets, electron spins point in the same direction. To make future computer technologies faster and more energy-efficient, spintronics research employs spin dynamics — fluctuations...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |

Physicist helps prepare report on new kind of particle accelerator

Kenneth N. Barish, a professor of physics and astronomy, is a key member of an international team of more than 400 scientists that prepared a report on the Electron-Ion Collider, or EIC, a particle accelerator that will be built at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, along with a detector for capturing electron-ion collisions. Barish...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | Inside UCR |

Searching for elusive supersymmetric particles

The Standard Model of particle physics is the best explanation to date for how the universe works at the subnuclear level and has helped explain, correctly, the elementary particles and forces between them. But the model is incomplete, requiring “extensions” to address its shortfalls. Owen Long, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |

Moiré patterns facilitate discovery of novel insulating phases

Materials that have excess electrons are typically conductors. However, moiré patterns — interference patterns that typically arise when one object with a repetitive pattern is placed over another with a similar pattern — can suppress electrical conductivity, a study led by physicists at the University of California, Riverside, has found. In the lab, the researchers...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |

Astronomers offer possible explanation for elusive dark-matter-free galaxies

A team led by astronomers at the University of California, Riverside, has found that some dwarf galaxies may today appear to be dark-matter free even though they formed as galaxies dominated by dark matter in the past. Galaxies that appear to have little to no dark matter — nonluminous material thought to constitute 85% of...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |

Evolving the Early Universe in 24 Hours on Frontera

The Texascale Days event in December 2020 provided an opportunity for nine research groups to use large sections of the National Science Foundation-funded Frontera supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to solve problems that in many cases have never been attempted. Simeon Bird, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California...
By Simeon Bird |

Graduate student’s BADASS code has astronomical benefits

An astro-statistics course University of California, Riverside, graduate student Remington O. Sexton took three years ago taught him techniques that led him to develop free, open-source code benefiting astronomers everywhere. Called BADASS, which stands for Bayesian AGN Decomposition Analysis for SDSS Spectra, the code in its current form fits astronomical spectra of active galactic nuclei...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | Inside UCR |

New multicampus consortium to study assembly of coronaviruses

The University of California, Riverside, is the recipient of a 2021 UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives, or MRPI, award allowing the campus to put together a UC Coronavirus Assembly Research Consortium. “This consortium will aim to understand the physical principles underlying the formation of coronaviruses,” said Roya Zandi, a professor of physics and astronomy...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | Inside UCR |

New method identifies adaptive mutations in complex evolving populations

A team co-led by a scientist at the University of California, Riverside, has developed a method to study how HIV mutates to escape the immune system in multiple individuals, which could inform HIV vaccine design. HIV, which can lead to AIDS, evolves rapidly and attacks the body’s immune system. Genetic mutations in the virus can...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | Inside UCR |

Physicist joins NSF-funded team focused on accelerating quantum computing research

Peng Wei, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside, is a co-principal investigator and theme lead on a grant from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, supported by the NSF Convergence Accelerator — a new model of innovation for the government, industry, and academia. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Wei worked...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | Inside UCR |

Riverside Unified School District honors astronomer for his contributions to K-12 STEM education

For his numerous contributions to education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, Bahram Mobasher, a professor of physics and observational astronomy at UC Riverside, has been named a recipient of the Riverside Unified School District Board of Education Presidential Award for the year 2020. The Riverside Unified School District, or RUSD, educates nearly...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | Inside UCR |

Physics and Astronomy joins elite group promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion

The UCR Department of Physics and Astronomy has been accepted to the American Physical Society Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance, or APS-IDEA, joining a consortium of physics departments, laboratories, and research collaborations committed to improving equity, diversity, and inclusion. APS-IDEA, a network of nearly 100 institutions worldwide, addresses long-standing, systemic barriers that have led to...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | Inside UCR |

Scientists precisely measure total amount of matter in the universe

A top goal in cosmology is to precisely measure the total amount of matter in the universe, a daunting exercise for even the most mathematically proficient. A team led by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has now done just that. Reporting in the Astrophysical Journal, the team determined that matter makes up 31%...
By Iqbal Pittalwala | UCR News |
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