2019 Top 10

Momentous faculty awards, exciting new research, remarkable student accomplishments, life-changing new projects... 2019 was a phenomenal year!

Check out our Top 10 list of department news stories below. And don't forget to stay tuned, because 2020 is going to be even better!


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Mapping the motion of molecules: NIH awards ASU biophysics professor more than $2.5M

These grants will support two independent projects developing methods to extract information on processes occurring deep within living cells. The ability to directly monitor the movement of biomolecules, their assembly into larger clusters, as well as their disassembly within cells, would shed immediate insight into the rules of life.

ASU professor's 'The Demon in the Machine' named physics book of the year in UK

Arizona State University physics Professor Paul Davies’ newest book, "The Demon in the Machine," takes aim at one of the great outstanding scientific enigmas — what is life, how and why does it emerge, and what distinguishes the living from the nonliving?

Photosynthesis seen in a new light by rapid X-ray pulses

In a new study led by Petra Fromme and Nadia Zatsepin at the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, the School of Molecular Sciences and the Department of Physics at Arizona State University, researchers investigated the structure of Photosystem I (PSI) with ultrashort X-ray pulses at the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (EuXFEL) in Hamburg, Germany.

Combining forces: Biophysicists study molecular effects of asthma drugs

A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor in a paper published in Science Advances (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax2518).

Revolutionary laser instrument CXFEL receives $4.7 million boost from the National Science Foundation

Designed to unlock some of nature’s tiniest and most fleeting mysteries, the Compact X-ray Free Electron Laser (CXFEL) is the only instrument of its kind in the world.

Measuring the stars: ASU student awarded fellowship for summer workshop in Los Alamos

Arizona State University physics sophomore Chase Hanson has been awarded an $8,000 fellowship to participate in the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s annual Computations Physics Student Summer Workshop.

ASU physics alumna named Brooke Owens Fellow

Angelica Berner is one of 2019's new class of Brooke Owens Fellows. The “Brookies,” as they are affectionately called, are exceptional undergraduate women in aerospace and are selected for the award based on their talent, experience, leadership, professionalism and commitment to serving their communities.

Resolving the weak force: ASU postdoc is co-author in research breakthrough

For the first time, a team of scientists has isolated and measured the weak force between protons and neutrons within the nucleus of an atom. Using a highly precise neutron experiment conducted at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), experimental physicists analyzed gamma rays to find a particular change in the interaction between a proton and a neutron.

Pushing beyond the standard: ASU physics student awarded national fellowship

Arizona State University graduate student Glenn Randall was recently awarded a research fellowship to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program selected Randall as one of 47 graduate students to be awarded the opportunity to pursue part of their graduate thesis research at a Department of Energy laboratory.

First woman to earn PhD in physics at ASU marks 25 years working in modeling instruction program

The modeling program, a part of the Arizona STEM network, led by Science Foundation Arizona, provides professional development for high school and middle school teachers.