New faculty

Several new faculty members have joined the Physics & Astronomy Department.

Tommaso Treu received his PhD in Physics at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa in 2001. He then spent time as a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology until 2003, and held a prestigious Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship here at UCLA from 2003 to 2005. In 2005, he joined the Department of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara as an assistant professor, and then rose through the ranks and was promoted to full professor at UCSB. In Summer 2014 Professor Treu joined our faculty.

Professor Treu's research involves several distinct areas of extragalactic astronomy. These include: a robust description of elliptical galaxy evolution; the use of strong gravitational lensing to obtain constraints on the dark matter distribution and stellar initial mass function (IMF) in elliptical galaxies; the use of strong gravitational lensing to obtain tight constraints on cosmological parameters; the measurement of the co-evolution of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies; and the identification of the highest redshift galaxies observed during the “Epoch of Reionization."

Professor Treu is particularly focused on questions of fundamental importance in the field of galaxy formation and cosmology: What is the nature of dark matter? What is the formation history of elliptical galaxies? What is the initial mass function of star formation? When do supermassive black holes grow relative to their host galaxies? What is the nature of the reionization of the universe? His use of high-angular-resolution adaptive optics (AO) techniques, and his active role in the maintenance and enhancement of these capabilities at the Keck Observatory, make him an especially important addition to the astronomy division at UCLA.

Smadar Naoz began her studies in Physics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she received her B.S. in 2002 and her M.S., Magna Cum Laude, in 2004, and where she was awarded the 2003 Arnold Rosenblum Prize, for outstanding achievement as a graduate student in Astrophysics and the 2004 Rector’s Prize, for top 5% of master’s students in the science faculty. 

Professor Naoz went on to do a Ph.D. in Physics at Tel Aviv University, where she was awarded the 2006 School of Physics & Astronomy Award for outstanding achievements, a 2007 Don & Sera Marejn Scholarship, the 2007 Ilan Ramon Award, the 2008 John Bahcall Graduate Student Prize, and the 2009 Dan David Prize Scholarship. 

Since completion of her Ph.D., she has been a postdoc, first at Northwestern as a Gruber Fellow, which is an international fellowship awarded annually by the International Astronomical Union, and then at Harvard where she held a prestigious Einstein Fellowship.

Professor Naoz’s research expertise is in two distinct areas in theoretical astrophysics -- cosmology and planetary dynamics.  Her highest impact work thus far is in the arena of extra-solar planets, where there has been tremendous growth in knowledge due to rapid advances from several different observational approaches. Professor Naoz is also exploring stellar dynamics near supermassive black holes, and is interested in applying this work to studies of the Galactic Center, which is an area of great interest to our department.

Frank Jenko received his PhD from the Technical University of Munich in 1998. As a postdoc at Garching, Maryland, and Princeton, he co-pioneered the development and application of grid-based numerical techniques for the investigation of kinetic turbulence in magnetized plasmas.

Since then, his code GENE has been playing a key role for analyzing both laboratory and natural plasmas, standing at the forefront of High Performance Computing. Since 2005, he has been the leader of an independent research group at IPP, gradually broadening his scientific interests and organizing many interdisciplinary workshops and conferences. From 2005 to 2011 he was the head of a Helmholtz Young Investigators Group, and since 2011 his work has been supported via a prestigious €1.45M Starting Grant from the European Research Council.

Professor Jenko has authored or co-authored about 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals, including one of the most cited articles in "Physics of Plasmas" and 20 papers in "Physical Review Letters." Among other accpmplishments he has been serving on the Editorial Board of “Computer Physics Communications,“ as co-director of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Plasma Physics, and on the Steering Committee of the Max-Planck/Princeton Center for Plasma Physics.