Explore the Secrets of the Universe

Space sunrise

Research in the College of Letters and Science reflects the excellence of its faculty and students. The stories featured here illustrate how they push the cutting edge of knowledge, from unraveling the mysteries of the universe to tackling this century’s biggest challenges.

Want to know more? Start by exploring a new IMAX movie, "Secrets Of The Universe," starring physics professor Manuel Calderón de la Barca Sánchez as the viewers’ guide inside the biggest machine ever built — the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. 


Explore more stories

Crocker cyclotron comes full circle

Crocker Lab

The magnets at the heart of Crocker Lab cyclotron were used to discover astatine almost 80 years ago. Now, the cyclotron will manufacture a rare isotope, astatine-211, for medical use as a tumor-killing treatment.

Earworms, memories and music

Petr Janata

While earworms are often frustrating, repeated exposure to catchy tunes can also trigger old memories, even in people whose memory skills are impaired by Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders.

Ancient tools mark human migrations


Stone tools uncovered in Mongolia indicate that modern humans traveled across the Eurasian steppe about 45,000 years ago, around 10,000 years earlier than previously believed.

Our Big Ideas: Forward-thinking, interdisciplinary projects

Big Idea: World Water Initiative

Flooded river

From drought to floods, safe drinking water to ecosystem restoration, the College of Letters and Science is a leader in water-related education, research and outreach.

Big Idea: Healthy Brain Aging Initiative


Interventions and treatments to improve brain health across the lifespan.

Big Idea: Global Human Rights

Watenpaugh in Lebanon
Keith David Watenpaugh, right, a professor and director of the UC Davis Human Rights program, and Eslam Abo Alhawa, center, help Ali Almarzouki register for the Article 26 Backpack in the Bekaa Valley. (Joe Proudman / UC Davis)

Since 2013, an international team of university and human rights professionals, led by Professor and Director of Human Rights Studies Keith David Watenpaugh, have been seeking ways to address the impact of the war in Syria on higher education and in particular how to help young refugees return to university. UC Davis aspires to be the first in the nation to bring the full force of a leading public research university to bear on critical human rights issues — from injustices facing California's vulnerable undocumented population to the needs of global refugees displaced b violence, natural disasters and genocide.

Big Idea: Aggie Launch

Graduation cap

Providing UC Davis students with tangible career preparation as part of their undergraduate work.

Big Idea: Food Valley


Justin Siegel, associate professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular medicine, and faculty director for the Innovation Institute for Food and Health, has a vision to transform the greater Sacramento region into the incubator pipeline for food science innovations