Excerpt from the Chair's Message of the 2015-2016 UCLA Physics & Astronomy Annual Report:
The 2015-16 academic year was a period of great change for the Department of Physics and Astronomy, led by events featured in this annual report. The path forward is a promising one, thanks to the efforts of our faculty, staff, and students and the generosity of our many friends and donors.
The leading event of the past year was the establishment of the Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics. We are enormously grateful to Dr. Bhaumik for his generous gift, and to the many people on campus who helped to realize the new center on campus. The Bhaumik gift, largest to date in the Division of Physical Sciences, will enable sponsorship of visiting scholars, seminars, and postdoctoral fellows. It will fund outreach efforts, such as the highly successful Exploring Your Universe. Professor Zvi Bern is the first Director of the Bhaumik Institute and Emeritus Professor Joe Rudnick chairs the first Board of Advisors.
The Department is grateful to Lauren Leichtman and Arthur Levine for their continuing support of the research of Professor Andrea Ghez in her Galactic Center research. We also thank the Arman family for sponsoring the Moossa J. Arman colloquium series, which brought University of California Observatories Director Claire Max to lecture on campus in May.
The Eight-Year Review of the department took place this past March. The external review panel noted the tremendous growth in the number of undergraduate degrees, a factor of three over the past 15 years. It has been a challenge to handle this growth, although our current seniors seem very satisfied with the program. The panel also noted our success in generating research funding, reflecting a vibrant research program. The success continues, as it was announced in September that the department is involved in two of the four NSF Science and Technology Centers, the STROBE imaging center, of which John Miao serves as co-PI and Deputy Director, and the Center for Bright Beams.