Annual Report 2020-2021


REFLECTING ON ACADEMIC YEAR 2020-21 is not a typical exercise. The year will be remembered as one with entirely remote instruction and social events. We can breathe some sigh of relief from the vantage point of today, with Fall 2021 being 80% in-person instruction. We are looking forward to being back 100% in the Winter Quarter of AY 21-22.

Despite being apart from one another, our research, learning, and social interactions continued—and even flour- ished in some respects. By the quantitative measure of this year’s edition of Reflections, we even had to add four pages. I am beyond thrilled to have a feature article celebrating Andrea Ghez’s 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics. While many campus publications have covered Prof. Ghez’s and her col- laborators’ groundbreaking work, because this article is of and for the Physics & Astronomy Department, we are able to go into much more scientific and technical depth. It is with pride that I point out that this piece was written by a current Astronomy and Astrophysics graduate student, Briley Lewis.

I hope you enjoy this edition. In addition to the unprec- edented feature article, we ask you to meet the Vice Chairs who help to sustain our department and its key activities. A cornucopia of research accomplishments are given to enter- tain and educate our current (and future) alumni. I also invite you to read how the undergraduate and graduate students’ outreach activities rose to the challenge of remote life. To learn more, please visit our “Clubs” link on the top of the P&A homepage:

Once again I want to thank all our supporters during this difficult time. The pandemic brought extra expenses ranging from audio-visual equipment to student financial support. Your generosity to the Chair’s Discretionary Fund allowed us to be nimble and go beyond the limitations of our state and federal support. And I thank our dedicated departmental staff, whose behind-the-scenes work made this all possible.

I wish good health and a productive year to our entire P&A community and their loved ones.

Warm regards,
Chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Read the entire issue of "Reflections"