Meet the UCI Physics and Astronomy Blogging Team:


Sophia Nasr

I'm a cosmology and astroparticle theory graduate student working on dark matter. I am the School of Physical Sciences SciComm Fellow for the Department of Physics and Astronomy. When I'm not working on figuring out what the Universe is made of, I enjoy communicating science on social media to demystify the idea that physics is hard, and show the world how awe-inspiring the Universe is, from the very big down to the very small. I also have hamsters I name after subatomic particles!







Jessica Howard

I am a PhD student in the Physics and Astronomy department at UC Irvine. My research is in particle physics which aims to build a mathematical understanding of the forces of the universe. We do this by studying interactions of the universe's smallest constituents: subatomic particles. My research has two main components, 1) developing possible mathematical models for how our universe works, 2) using methods from machine learning and big data to develop tools to help test such models. When not doing research, I like to share my passion for physics with the general public by applying my artistic skills through various outreach projects.







Astrid Anker

I am a physics PhD student at UC Irvine. As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, my research focused on the development of a future 100 TeV particle accelerator, where I studied the sensitivity of the collider to supersymmetric models. Currently, I am working on the ARIANNA project at UCI. ARIANNA consists of an array of radio detectors located in Antarctica that are searching for high energy neutrinos coming from outer space. I enjoy the challenge of making science accessible to everyone and getting people curious about physics.








Kyle Kabasares

I am a physics graduate student specializing in astrophysics at UC Irvine. I work under the supervision of Prof. Aaron Barth on measuring the masses of supermassive black holes from both radio observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and optical observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. There are several correlations between the black hole mass and the properties of its host galaxy, and I ultimately am trying to discover how both the black hole and galaxy evolve with each other. Previously, I conducted soft condensed matter research at my alma mater, UC Merced, mainly on dispersing quantum dot nanoparticles into liquid crystal mediums. I also spent a summer as a part of NASA’s Student Airborne Research Program (SARP), trying to understand the effects the California drought had on pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. Additionally, I’m passionate about teaching, and I want to see the world become a more scientifically literate place. When I’m not too busy with school, I enjoy playing the piano, playing chess and video games, shooting some hoops on the basketball court, and spending time with my friends and family.



Corey Beard

My name is Corey Beard, and I’m a physics grad student here who studies exoplanets! My goals are to find planets, and then hopefully destroy them using some kind of Death Star-like object. I work on the blog because it helps me to advance my evil agenda, and to rule the galaxy through fear! Thank you very much for reading my bio, you’re the true hero(es)!








Abby Bault

I am a PhD student in the Physics and Astronomy department at UC Irvine studying astrophysics. I am involved in two science collaborations: LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) and the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). Currently, I am focusing on simulating satellite and plane trails in images for LSST. My undergraduate research experience was also in astrophysics, but I primarily focused on Milky Way science. Outside of physics, I like to rock climb (indoors), relax at the beach, watch TV, build puzzles, or hangout with friends. I also enjoy going to hockey games especially when my favorite team, the Detroit Red Wings, are in town.









Mackenzie Turvey

Mackenzie is a fifth year working in condensed matter on single-molecule sensors. His research interests lie in improving sensors and detectors for all types of experiments, through material development.










Nicholas Duong

I am a Physics Ph.D. student at UC Irvine concentrating in Astrophysics. My primary interests lie in exoplanetary science - specifically examining the potential habitability of other worlds and exploring what conditions are necessary for life to exist. Previously, at my undergraduate institution University of Louisville in Kentucky, I have done research in atmospheric dynamics and galaxy evolution and I also spent a summer at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center modeling and characterizing asteroid 1992 UY4. Furthermore, I'm passionate about doing outreach and making science more accessible to aspiring young STEM students who are underprivileged. Outside of science, I love to play video games, participate in casual volleyball, swimming, and boxing, learn to play the ukulele, and nerd out over Marvel, Star Wars, anime, and THE FLASH



Jack Lubin

Specializing in exoplanet detection and characterization, Jack was first drawn to the field by watching Science Channel documentaries. In addition to a fascination with the subject material itself, those documentaries equally instilled a passion for science communication which led him to join the blog team. As part of his research he is a member of the TESS-Keck Survey, a collaboration of exoplanet researchers across the UCs, CalTech, and University of Hawaii, which has a primary science goal of measuring the masses of TESS planet candidates. But when not hunched over his computer, he won’t stop talking about baseball and his beloved Yankees, and when out of the office altogether he often rides his bike from UCI down to the sunny SoCal beaches to read science fiction.


Alexander Broughton


I’m a graduate student at the Department of Physics at UCI blending high-energy particle physics with astrophysics. It’s one of my favorite things in life when people ask me about what I do. All of my work revolves around dark matter and understanding its interactions and how it might fit into the Standard Model of everything we know. In the past, I’ve worked on direct detection of dark matter on the LZ project, simulating nuclear recoils of energetic particles off of Xenon atoms. Now, I work on the camera system for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (now called the Vera C. Rubin Observatory), which might be able to shed a different light on the nature of dark matter. My goal is to get you to think about the world in a way you never thought was possible. If you find yourself accidentally liking it, then I’ve done my job.