Kelly Luo was recently elected to the APS Forum on Early Career Scientists (FECS) as a Member-at-Large.

Congratulations, Kelly, on this new role and for receiving the highest  vote count among the other nominees! Kelly’s 2-year term begins in January 2024.


Congratulations to Peter Chung for being awarded the Robert D. Beyer (’81) Early Career Chair in Natural Sciences. The announcement was made on November 6, 2023.

Peter is the second faculty from Physics and Astronomy to be bestowed with this prestigious honor. The inagural first holder of the endowment was Moh El-Naggar in 2015.

It’s with heavy hearts and great difficulty that we announce the passing of Dennis Nemeschansky who peacefully passed away while sleeping on June 1st, 2023. For 15 months Dennis fought valiantly against glioblastoma remaining hopeful and optimistic even in the face of insurmountable odds. As we grieve the loss of an extraordinary man we celebrate the life of our family’s rock, an exceptional man who touched the minds and hearts of everyone who knew him.

Born on December 21st, 1955, in Helsinki Finland, Dennis displayed early on, his brilliance and aptitude for mathematics and physics. His insatiable curiosity and determination to excel led him to pursue a career in physics studying first at the University of Helsinki and then at Princeton and Stanford Universities. By the time he completed his post-doc studies, Dennis grew to love California and decided to make it his new home– accepting a position at the University of Southern California where he taught thousands of students over 35 years. His innate brilliance and deep understanding of the complexities of the universe dazzled his peers and students alike, leaving an indelible mark on the academic community.

Beyond the classroom and the conference halls, Dennis was a pillar of strength and love within his family. He married the love of his life, Lauren, and together they raised two sons, Marc and David. His commitment to his family knew no bounds, and he embraced the joys and challenges of fatherhood with unwavering devotion. Dennis was not only a loving family man but also a constant presence in his sons’ lives. He enthusiastically supported their passions, serving as a dedicated hockey coach and soccer coach, cheering them on from the coaches’ bench and teaching them valuable life lessons through sportsmanship and teamwork.

Dennis was a man of immense fortitude and determination which was evident by his unwavering dedication to every endeavor he pursued, personally and professionally. When Dennis set his mind to it, it happened. Whether it was his academic pursuits, his coaching responsibilities or helping his wife build a small business, he approached each with fierce determination and gave it his absolute best.

Dennis’ departure leaves an irreplaceable void in the lives of our loving family and the countless others who had the privilege of knowing him. We will never forget his gentle demeanor, playful smile, and genuine warmth.

The Nemeschansky Family

We were pleasantly pleased with a surprise visit by Werner Däppen, Professor Emeritus, in late April 2023. Dr. Däppen’s visit was a breath of fresh air to all faculty and staff who have had the great pleasure and honor to work with him during his 25 years in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at USC. After he shocked the department admins with his unexpected  arrival, Dr. Däppen was thrilled to tour the new Cosmology suites on ACB’s 5th floor, chat with previous colleagues in SSC, and attend the monthly Happy Hour where he engaged with and met newer faculty and current graduate students. He has lived in his birth country of Switzerland since his retirement 6 years ago with his lovely and amazing wife, Veronika.

Werner Däppen (right) is pictured here with Krzysztof Pilch in SSC.