The Future of the Fundamental
Understanding Our Universe
Revealing the Unseen: Neutrinos and the atoms of the periodic table make up only 15% of the matter in the universe. The rest is composed of some yet-unknown particles, provisionally called “dark matter.” Our students and faculty are working to unmask its identity with a wide variety of tools ranging from telescopes and atom-smashers probing the smallest structures of matter, to mathematical equations that prove properties of dimensions that cannot be seen.
Scanning Skies and Smashing Atoms: In our quest to decipher the mysteries of the universe, our scientists make use of the world's most powerful laboratories and observatories. UCI's physicists and astronomers play leading roles in charting the scientific direction of facilities including the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, the Super-Kamiokande Neutrino Observatory in Japan, the Hubble Space Telescope orbiting the Earth, and many more. Our membership in the University of California Observatories puts UCI astronomers in the driver's seat at the twin ten-meter telescopes of the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. We are actively involved in developing the next-generation Thirty Meter Telescope and shaping the science mission of NASA's next flagship observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope.
Harnessing the Quantum World: Condensed matter physics gave us transistors, solid-state lasers, fiber optic communications, digital imaging, and massive data storage that enabled the information technology revolution. Our scientists are working on the next revolution that will bring about quantum computers and molecular scale electronics. We are discovering new materials that may be the backbone of future quantum computers, millions of times faster than the fastest modern supercomputer that will not both solve outstanding problems and enrich human perception of reality by expanding it into the quantum realm.