Department News

Sarah StewartSarah Stewart | Understanding Matter at Atom-Crushing Densities

From UC Davis: University of California, Davis will be part of a new National Science Foundation (NSF) Physics Frontier Center focusing on understanding the physics and astrophysical implications of matter under pressures so high that the structure of individual atoms is disrupted. The Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures (CMAP) will be funded with $12.96 million from the NSF. It will be hosted at the University of Rochester in collaboration with researchers at UC Davis, MIT, Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Buffalo and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The Physics Frontiers Centers (PFC) are university-based centers funded by the NSF to enable transformational advances in the most promising research areas.  “This collaboration is focused on developing a new area of physics focused on the properties of matter under extreme pressures” said Sarah T. Stewart, professor of earth and planetary sciences at UC Davis and co-principal investigator on the project. “Most of the work is motivated by the diversity of the interiors of planets, to understand their formation and evolution.”

Bruton and mapUC Davis Geology Graduate Program | Permanently Drops GRE Scores

The Geology Graduate program has permanently dropped GRE scores from the required application materials. Starting August 2020, students applying to the Masters and PhD Programs in Geology will no longer be asked to submit GRE scores. This change is in response to strong evidence that GRE scores do not predict the success of students in graduate school and the recognition that this requirement is one barrier to increasing diversity of graduate students in the program.

Analysis of Landslide Kinematics Using Multi-Temporal Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery, La Honda, California | 2020 E&EG Best Publication Award

Former EPS graduate student Jordan Carey paper, "Analysis of Landslide Kinematics Using Multi-Temporal Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery, La Honda, California,” EEG Volume XXV, Number 4, pp. 301-317, has been selected to receive the AEG Publication Award for 2020 - the best paper from the last four issues of E&EG. Jordan completed his M.S. thesis on this topic, under Nicholas Pinter's mentorship, while at UC Davis. Nicholas Pinter is also one of the co-author's on this paper.

Berryessa Geology | Field Guide for Car Tour

From UC Davis: Only two hours by car from Davis, Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is one of the world’s best living laboratories for studying plate tectonics. "Exploring the Berryessa Region: A Geology, Nature and History Tour" provides a lively guide for touring the monument’s natural wonders by car. The book was inspired by field trips led by the late Eldridge Moores, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of geology, and his wife, Judy, among the contributors. The trips drew hundreds of people to Berryessa in support of the yearslong lobbying effort that led to the national monument designation.

Mike OskinMike Oskin | UC Davis Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award

Mike Oskin is a 2020 recipient of a UC Davis Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award. The award recognizes faculty providing outstanding service in advising and mentoring at the program level. Graduate advising and mentoring are vital for guiding students through their degrees and professional development, while also helping to ensure their overall success and well-being.

NASA's FINESST 2020, Planetary Science division | Supratim Dey

Geology graduate student Supratim Dey is a recipient of a NASA's FINESST scholarship (Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology). Entitled: Establishing Planetary Genealogy of Iron Meteorites and Pallasites using Nucleosynthetic Isotope Anomalies of Chromium and Titanium, the primary objective of the proposed research is to establish the genealogy of important groups of planetary materials and to determine the provenance of their parent bodies in the early Solar System using nucleosynthetic isotopic anomalies in meteorites. 

Sarah StewartSarah Stewart | Remaking a Planet One Atom at a Time

From Eos: "When is a planet not a planet? Where does helium rain? How can water be solid and liquid at the same time? For answers, scientists put common planetary materials under extreme pressure and watched what happened next." Sarah Stewart is one of the featured scientists in the article.

Primitive Helium Is Sourced From Seismically Slow Regions in the Lowermost Mantle

Curtis Williams, Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, Max Rudolph, and Barbara Romanowicz's research, "Primitive Helium Is Sourced From Seismically Slow Regions in the Lowermost Mantle", published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, is among the top 10% most downloaded papers. Among work published between January 2018 and December 2019, their paper received some of the most downloads in the 12 months following online publication.

Isabel Montañez and Dawn Sumner | California Academy of Sciences Academy Fellows

Isabel MontanezDawn SumnerIsabel Montañez and Dawn Sumner have been elected Academy Fellows. From the California Academy of Sciences: A governing group of approximately 450 distinguished scientists, Academy Fellows have made notable contributions to one or more of the natural sciences and help further the reach of our research and education initiatives through individual and collaborative efforts with Academy researchers. Nominated by their colleagues and selected by the Board of Trustees, Academy Fellows remain members of the Fellowship for life.

Richard CowenRichard Cowen | In memoriam: 1940-2020

Our colleague and dear friend, Senior Lecturer Emeritus Richard Cowen, passed away on January 8, 2020. A gentleman and a scholar, Richard's teaching excellence inspired thousands of students, as well as UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences faculty and staff. Messages of sympathy and memories of Richard may be sent to If you wish to have your message included on our Memories of Richard page, please let us know.

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