José Flores Velázquez Endowment in Astrophysics

José Flores Velázquez Endowment in Astrophysics

To honor José's memory and ensure that his legacy of learning, striving, and excellence lives on, make a donation here. Every donation will support graduate students who embody José’s values and aspirational spirit.


About José

José Flores-Velázquez was an astrophysics Ph.D. student in the UCI Department of Physics & Astronomy. He was born on Dec. 4, 1994 in South Central Los Angeles. Flores-Velázquez received his bachelor's degree from California Polytechnic University Pomona, where he was a first-generation student. He came to UCI in 2018 to pursue his graduate degree and was studying star formation in distant galaxies alongside his advisor James Bullock, UCI Professor and Dean of UCI School of Physical Sciences. José died the following year in an unprovoked drive-by shooting in L.A. while delivering gifts for a friend’s baby shower.

During his undergraduate studies and while at UCI, José looked into a question that still stumps astrophysicists: how fast do stars in galaxies form?

The answer that Flores-Velázquez illuminated lies in the light coming from a galaxy’s stars. Galaxies where new stars are forming give off light at a specific wavelength. Before, when astronomers would spot such light, they would make the same blanket statement that a galaxy had been making new stars at a constant rate for the past 100 million years. With Flores-Velázquez’ work, astrophysicists now know that when they spot star-forming light, the rate of star formation time scales can be as short as 15 million years – a much finer-resolution time scale.

The work was featured in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in December 2020.



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José was a shining light in my research group. He always had a smile on his face. He was quick to laugh, and he was a brilliant researcher. My hope is that, through this new fund, José's light can continue to shine for others. - James Bullock, Professor and Dean, UCI School of Physical Sciences 

José Flores Velázquez Endowment

In the wake of José's death, UCI Professor Virginia Trimble, UCI Physical Sciences Dean James Bullock and his wife Blake Bullock, and longtime school supporters John and Ruth Ann Evans established an endowed fund in Flores-Velázquez’ name. The endowment will support a graduate student award for incoming or current astrophysics graduate students. With support from donors, the new endowment will establish an enduring legacy for the late student.

To donate and help José's memory and legacy live on through up-and-coming UCI graduate students, visit this website.


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Donor Wall

The UCI School of Physical Sciences is grateful for the generous support of its donors. Their contributions will ensure that José's legacy will shine on. 


Asad Aboobaker Matthew and Kenya Backmann
James and Blake Bullock Sally and Brian Chess
Shivali Bidaiah and Dominic Chi Catherine Wharton and Kristin Collins
Sandra Dalager Franklin Dollar
John and Ruth Ann Evans Robert Fisher
Eric Gawiser Paul Imthurn
Bonnie Quinn Michael Sweebe
Virginia Trimble Stanley and Edda White
Scott and Sarah Willoughby  


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Support the José Flores Velázquez Endowment in Astrophysics.