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.
Our aim is to deliver scientific breakthroughs that reshape our understanding of the physical world and provide solutions to the most profound problems our age. We achieve this by asking hard questions; setting inspiring, visionary goals; and cultivating an inclusive, interdisciplinary culture that is open to broad ideas.
Our students thrive in a diverse environment of inclusive excellence and emerge from our programs ready to transform the world. Equipped with a premier education, technical acumen, and an ethos of creative thinking, our graduates go on to unearth new knowledge and help build a future for the broader good.
Our alumni are heading top companies around the world, developing new drugs and therapies, and finding solutions for a clean-energy economy. They work in national and global agencies to influence policy and you’ll find them in classrooms around the globe teaching the next generation of leaders.
From predicting cancer tumor growth with mathematics to exploring the possibility of life on other planets and finding solutions to the effects of climate change, our researchers in the top-ranked departments of Chemistry, Earth System Science, Mathematics, and Physics & Astronomy are blazing new pathways every day. Our world-renowned faculty bridge fields through interdisciplinary collaborations with engineers, computer scientists, biologists, social scientists and many others. This out-of-the-box thinking and our standing commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion propels our research and enables cutting-edge science to advance our mission.
Just over 50 years old, the UCI School of Physical Sciences has a bright past with incredibly rich accomplishments. The future is brilliant and I invite you to join us on our journey of scientific discovery to ask and tackle the most profound questions of our time. Learn more within this website about our research, student programs, and opportunities to be involved. We hope to see you very soon!
Dean, School of Physical Sciences
Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy