Our students thrive in a diverse environment of inclusive excellence.

UCI School of Physical Sciences is home to world-renowned faculty dedicated to training the next generation of scientists.

COVID-19: School Updates and Resources

As the COVID-19 virus has increased its spread within our communities, we must recommit to previously stated safety precautions and be especially vigilant.

Black Lives Matter

We empathize with the pain, sadness, and anger that many are feeling and stand in unity with the Black community at this campus and beyond. We also understand that actions speak louder than words, and we vow to do our part to combat anti-Black racism. As a public university, we have the responsibility to support all our communities, including our Black students, alumni, faculty and staff.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

This year, UCI granted degrees to 9,907 undergraduate students. And in a testament to the university's dedication to access and affordability, 47 percent of those bachelor’s degrees went to first-generation college students. In place of the large commencement event that normally takes place at the Bren Events Center, graduates were honored during virtual ceremonies.


Irvine, Calif. – The National Science Foundation has awarded $18 million to the University of California, Irvine in support of a new materials research science and engineering center. UCI is one of three MRSECs newly funded by the NSF in 2020, joining 16 other existing centers at leading research institutions in the United States.
The two W.M. Keck Observatory telescopes sit inside domes perched atop Hawaii’s dormant Mauna Kea volcano. Run by the University of California and Caltech, these telescopes help astronomers and other scientists discover things like planets orbiting other stars, or measure the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. Gary Chanan, Professor Emeritus in the UCI Department of Physics & Astronomy, has won the Yale 2020 Award for Advancement of Basic and Applied Science for the work he did…
The survival of bacteria is constantly threatened by a multitude of viruses and antimicrobial mechanisms. Professor Albert Siryaporn's talk will explain recent discoveries by his lab about how bacteria successfully defend against viral attacks and how these systems may be adapted to potentially combat SARS-CoV-2.

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Dean's message

The UCI School of Physical Sciences vaulted to international prominence in 1995 when two professors, Frederick Reines and F. Sherwood Rowland, accepted Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry, marking the first time a public university received the prestigious award in two fields within the same year. Reines was recognized for discovering the neutrino, a new elementary particle of nature that was thought to be undetectable. Rowland’s prize was for the discovery that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) deplete the ozone layer, work that sparked a worldwide and triumphant effort to close the ozone hole. Taken together, these efforts are emblematic of the broad mission of this school: to uncover fundamental truths and to provide transformative discoveries that tangibly improve the world. Reines, who was also our founding dean, said he was motivated by the fact that “everybody said you couldn’t do it.” This undeterred, unbending spirit continues to flourish to this day.

Flagship Projects

The UCI School of Physical Sciences advances humanity through a deeper understanding of the physical science that governs the world. Our flagship projects not only directly address some of today’s most fundamental and existential problems, but also strive for their impactful applied solutions.

The Future of Energy and the Environment

We are dedicated to developing scalable solutions for the problem of climate change. We are home to the the nation’s first Department of Earth System Science, established to quantify changes to our environment and discover ways we can adapt.

The Future of the Fundamental

The most exciting frontiers of scientific understanding lie at opposite extremes of size: the microscopic realm of quantum mechanics and macroscopic realm of the galaxy and the universe itself.

The Future of Health

Mathematics, physics, and chemistry provide invaluable 21st-century biomedical tools that allow us to comprehend biology at the most fundamental level and to treat disease with new technologies and a deeper physical understanding than ever before.


The UCI Department of Chemistry is ranked among the best in the nation. From synthesizing natural products and new nano-materials to discovering molecular mechanisms that regulate the decoding of genetic information, UCI chemists lead cutting-edge research to solve health and environmental problems facing our planet.

Earth System Science

The UCI Department of Earth System Science (ESS) was the first in the nation established to quantify changes to our environment and discover ways we can adapt. Research in ESS focuses on how the atmosphere, land and oceans interact as a system and how the Earth will change over a human lifetime.


The UCI Department of Mathematics is home to prominent scholars engaged in teaching, fundamental research, and service to the local community with outreach efforts to foster success in STEM disciplines. The department is a leader in cutting-edge research in pure and applied mathematics.

Physics & Astronomy

The UCI Department of Physics & Astronomy has a tradition of excellence and is home to world-renowned physicists. Research in the department aims to decipher the makeup of the universe as a whole, to understand the behavior of quantum materials, and to build novel approaches to medical imaging.


Best college in the U.S. — MONEY Magazine


University in the nation doing the most for the American dream – The New York Times


Departments under UCI Physical Sciences — Chemistry, Earth System Science, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy


Faculty members part of UCI Physical Sciences




Students in UCI Physical Sciences

UCI campus opened its doors.

UCI Physical Sciences was one of the founding schools and opened in the same year with 212 undergraduate students, 55 graduate students, and 22 faculty members across the Departments of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics & Astronomy.

The Department of Earth System Science (ESS) was established.

ESS became the first department in the world dedicated to studying climate change.

Ralph Cicerone
Dean of Physical Sciences, Chancellor of UCI, and President of the National Academy of Sciences

Ralph Cicerone was Dean of Physical Sciences, Chancellor of UCI, and President of the National Academy of Sciences. Through his visionary leadership he brought together top scientists from various disciplines to study and evaluate climate change and, with that, established the Department of Earth System Science.

Norman Rostoker
Private fusion emerges

The largest and most advanced private fusion company in the world, TAE Technologies, was founded on ideas developed by UCI physicist Norman Rostoker.

Fred Reines
Nobel Prize in Physics

Fred Reines received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the neutrino, a new elementary particle that was thought to be undetectable. He was the founding dean of UCI Physical Sciences.

F. Sherwood Rowland
Nobel Prize in Chemistry

F. Sherwood Rowland received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) deplete the ozone layer, work that sparked a worldwide and triumphant effort to close the ozone hole. He was the founding chair of the UCI Department of Chemistry.

Ed Thorp
Father of card counting

Ed Thorp, founding professor, Department of Mathematics, is a pioneer of modern probability theory, author of Beat the Dealer, and hedge fund manager.

Brilliant future

The Campaign for UCI

The School of Physical Sciences plays a vital role in Brilliant Future: the Campaign for UCI. We seek a historic philanthropic commitment – a school naming gift. Funding of this magnitude would will empower the school or elevate its strong academics and research to elite levels of excellence. A naming gift would ensure that we are able to grow our flagship projects, hire the most dynamic and modern faculty to support our students and research growth, provide premier research facilities, attract and support the best students, and deliver comprehensive innovation through intellectual property protection and commercialization. A naming gift would honor the intrepid spirit and interdisciplinary innovation at the heat of our school. Additionally, the impact of a naming gift for Physical Sciences at UCI will have the ability to completely transform our school. Our 50 years of precedence has established a prestigious level of scientific tradition while allowing great flexibility in shaping future outcomes for our school.

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    They chart the farthest corners of the cosmos, and they solve problems right here on Earth, making our faculty truly universal.


    Our students bring dynamic ideas, and form the bedrock of our bustling culture of research and discovery.


    Each of our four top-ranked departments has a tradition of excellence and a vibrancy all its own.