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Conservation StudentsCampus Recognized for ‘Remarkable’ Student-Led Water Conservation Efforts Known for its commitment all things sustainability, the campus has earned another eco accolade: national recognition for its innovative and “remarkable” advances in water conservation. The plaudit from Earth Day Network gave especially high praise to the UCSB Water Action Plan — an initiative conceived, designed and driven by students.
TsimaneProfessor Wins 2014 Physics Frontiers Prize UCSB theoretical physicist Joseph Polchinski has been awarded the Milner Foundation’s 2014 Physics Frontiers Prize, a prize that recognizes transformative achievements in the field of fundamental physics. This is Polchinski’s second win in two years; this award puts him in the running for the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize.
TsimaneScientists Assess the Impact of Climate Change on People and Ecosystems The November issue of the Ecological Society of America’s journal “Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment” contains papers from a diverse group of more than 50 ecological scientists, including UC Santa Barbara’s Joshua Schimel, professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program. The paper he co-authored looks at how climate change affects terrestrial ecosystems.
Ben MazinPhysicist Develops Cutting-Edge Detector Technology for Astronomical Observations Ben Mazin has taken the next step in astrophysical mapping by building a superconducting detector array can measure the energy of individual photons. The Array Camera for Optical to Near-infrared Spectrophotometry (ARCONS) is the first ground-based instrument based on Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs), superconducting photon detectors he developed a decade ago while earning his Ph.D. from CalTech. MKIDs are used for astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum.
AlloSphere‘Hybrid’ Researchers Are Working at Intersection of Art and Science Equal parts scientist, engineer and artist, “hybrid” researchers in the Media Arts and Technology grad program use math as a bridge between the traditionally divergent disciplines, advancing all three by breaking new ground. Much of their work is being conducted in the AlloSphere, the campus’s one-of-a-kind immersive lab, thanks to a new gift from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
LED researchersIlluminating the Way to Brighter and More Efficiently Produced Lighting The future of solid-state lighting is brighter and more efficiently produced, thanks to a breakthrough at UC Santa Barbara’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Center. Researchers at SSLEC have found a way to optimize phosphors — a key component in white LED lighting — to take the guesswork out of producing these compounds. “These guidelines should permit the discovery of new and improved phosphors in a rational rather than trial-and-error manner,” said Ram Seshadri, a professor in the university’s Department of Materials as well as in its Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
IGERT LogoNew Grad Program Dives into Emerging Fields of Big Data and Network Science In the burgeoning world of Big Data, scientists are beginning to realize and study the importance of our interconnectedness, whether through engineered or biological networks. Through a $3 million Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) award, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers at UC Santa Barbara is establishing a new graduate program that will train 25 fellows in the new field of Network Science and prepare them for the Big Data challenges of the future.
LUXFirst Results from LUX, the World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector A UCSB physics team helped design, build and fill the water tank that houses the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment. With 122 detector tubes, LUX is much more sensitive than its closest rival in the competitive field of dark-matter searches. After a run of more than three months, LUX results completely rule out any hints of dark matter from earlier experiments.
Lady Leslie Ridley-Tre and scholarship recipientPhilanthropist Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree Supports UCSB Students with Scholarship Fund Driven by a belief in the transformative potential of education — and a passion for helping those in need, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree has gifted the campus with $500,000 for student scholarships. The Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree Endowment Fund is meant to benefit outstanding students facing a barrier to education –– whether it be financial need or learning disability. Ridley-Tree is an honorary alumna, co-chair of the Campaign for UC Santa Barbara and a UCSB Foundation trustee.
Farmer's Market‘Eat Fresh, Buy Loco’ at Gaucho Certified Farmers Market Urging shoppers to “eat fresh, buy loco,” the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market launched last week to a receptive and sizable crowd. A grand opening set for 11 a.m. Wednesday will officially usher in the weekly market featuring local farmers and artisans that was born of the staff enrichment program Gaucho U.
Oarfish ResearchersDissection of Oarfish Reveals Insights into its Ecology UC Santa Barbara parasitologists examined a small sampling of the 18-foot oarfish that was found two weeks ago by a Catalina Island snorkeler. Their findings reveal that the enormous deep sea fish, whose shape and size has given rise to its sea monster legend, hosted its own little monsters. The results of their dissection also reveal clues into the ecology of the elusive creature.
Mercury MapResearcher Documents Contaminant Legacy of the California Gold Rush Mercury-laden sediment from 19th-century gold mining is contaminating the food webs of the Central Valley. The toxic sediment, stored in sediment deep in the Yuba River valley more than 150 years ago, travels hundreds of miles downstream from the Sierra Nevada into this ecologically sensitive region when flooding occurs about every 10 years. To make matters worse, projections for climate change in the region indicate more massive storms in the future, which means mercury levels will increase.
Lichtenstein and book coversLabor Historian Publishes Books on Labor and Politics in America In two recently published books, labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein helps animate the public discourse on a set of vital contemporary issues that explained how and why Americans are once again debating how work can be made more meaningful and rewarding and why our political dysfunctions make this so difficult. “A Contest of Ideas — Capital, Politics, and Labor,” brings together in one volume new writings by Lichtenstein, the MacArthur Foundation Professor in History at UCSB and director of the campus’s Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy, as well as some essays previously published as articles or op-ed pieces in newspapers and journals. In the revised edition of his award-winning “State of the Union: A Century of American Labor (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America),” Lichtenstein continues his study of how trade unionism “has waxed and waned in the nation’s political and moral imagination, among both devoted partisans and intransigent foes.”
Sustainability Summit AudienceShared Best Practices at UCSB’s Central Coast Sustainability Summit Point the Way to New Sustainable Projects Fitting with the tagline for conference host UCSB Sustainability, “Action Today for Tomorrow,” speakers repeatedly said even small projects have far-reaching results. Participants left the Third Annual Central Coast Sustainability Summit poised to take action, ready to initiate first steps toward building a community choice aggregation program in Santa Barbara, forge new collaborations between like entities and build new models based on established best practices.
Achieve StudentsAchieve UC Encourages Santa Ynez Valley Students to Pursue Their University Dreams Over a hundred college hopefuls at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School turned up on Thursday morning when University of California officials visited their campus for Achieve UC, the University of California’s systemwide effort to encourage high school students to achieve their dreams of university education. The morning-long event also featured talks by SYVUH principal Mark Swanitz and California Assemblyman Das Williams, geared toward inspiring the teens to get started on pursuing their higher education goals.
Anthropologist Examines the Motivating Factors Behind Hazing With a long history of seemingly universal acceptance in groups ranging from the military to college fraternities and sororities, the practice of hazing is an enduring anthropological puzzle. Why have so many cultures incorporated it into their group behavior? Aldo Cimino, a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara, seeks to answer that question. His work is highlighted in the online edition of the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. Cimino’s research suggests, among other things, that in some human ancestral environments, aspects of hazing might have served to protect veteran members from threats posed by newcomers.
Wellness GraphicNCEAS Takes First Steps in Documenting the Intangible Effects of Nature on Human Well-Being A new synthesis of multidisciplinary peer-reviewed research identifies the ways in which nature’s ecosystems deliver crucial benefits — and thus contribute culturally and psychologically to human well-being in non-material ways. Conducted by a working group of UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), the study brings together diverse research and highlights gaps in our understanding of these vital connections.
TsimaneAnthropologist Studies the Evolutionary Benefit of Human Personality Traits While many people can adjust their demeanors from bold and outgoing to shy and retiring as circumstances warrant, in general they lean toward one disposition or the other. And that inclination changes little over the course of their lives. Why this is the case and why it matters in a more traditional context are questions being addressed by anthropologists at UC Santa Barbara. Using fertility and child survivorship as their main measures of reproductive fitness, the researchers studied over 600 adult members of the Tsimane, an isolated indigenous population in central Bolivia, and discovered that more open, outgoing — and less anxious — personalities were associated with having more children — but only among men. Their findings appear online in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.
Ninotchka Bennahum and book coverDance Scholar Explores ‘Carmen’ as a Gypsy Geographer and Mythic Female Figure In her new book, “Carmen — A Gypsy Geography,” Ninotchka Bennahum, a professor of dance and theater at UC Santa Barbara, presents the literary Gypsy dancer as “an embodied historical archive, a figure through which we can consider nomadic, transnational identity and the immanence of performance as an expanded historical methodology.” Bennahum traces the genealogy of the female Gypsy presence in her iconic operatic role from her genesis in the ancient Mediterranean world, to her emergence as flamenco artist in the architectural spaces of Islamic Spain, her persistent manifestation in Picasso’s work and her contemporary relevance on stage.
Beyond ShockCenter for Black Studies Research Publishes Book on Post-Quake Haiti A national hub in Haitian studies, UCSB’s Center for Black Studies Research has published the first volume in a planned series examining transformative work in the area: "Beyond Shock: Charting the Landscape of Sexual Violence in Post-quake Haiti," by journalist Anne-christine d'Adesky. The author comes to campus Oct. 22 for a conversation and panel discussion.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging brain connectivity resultsResearcher Reveals the Brain Connections Underlying Accurate Introspection A new study by UC Santa Barbara graduate student Benjamin Baird combined cutting edge computation with classic tasks and functional magnetic resonance imaging to map neural networks connected to perception and memory. The findings demonstrate that the ability to accurately reflect on perceptual experience and the ability to accurately reflect on memories are uncorrelated, suggesting that they are distinct introspective skills.
Global Scores for Ocean Health IndexOcean Health Index Shows Food Provision an Area of Great Concern In the 2013 Ocean Health Index (OHI), scientists point to food provision as a factor that continues to require serious attention. The OHI defines a healthy ocean as one that sustainably delivers a range of benefits to people now and in the future based on 10 diverse public goals. Goal scores out of a possible 100 for categories that make up the OHI ranged from a low of 31 for natural products to a high of 95 for artisanal fishing opportunities. The annual assessment of ocean health is led by Ben Halpern, a research associate at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.
Kim Bluitt, Ingrid Banks, Angela Davis and Gaye Johnson.‘Free Angela and All Political Prisoners’ Screens at UC Santa Barbara As its inaugural event, Sol Sisters Rising, a collective co-founded by Ingrid Banks and Gaye Johnson, associate professors in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Black Studies, hosted a screening of the documentary “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” on Oct. 10 in the campus’s Pollock Theater. The collective is dedicated to elevating the profile of women of color in film. Present for the event was activist, scholar and author Angela Davis, who participated in a post-screening question-and-answer session with film co-producer Sidra Smith, moderated by Johnson. The film centers on Davis’s activism as well as her affiliation with the Communist Party and the Black Panthers, which led not only to her removal from the faculty at UCLA, but to her implication — and subsequent trial and acquittal — in the 1970 kidnapping attempt that resulted in the death of Superior Court Judge Harold Haley.
Paul and Kate Page in the meadow at Valentine Camp.High Tech in the High Sierra With a dozen-year history of gifting cash, goods and good old-fashioned elbow grease to the Valentine Reserves, Paul and Kate Page’s latest pledge will help give Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory something it has long been lacking: a proper multiuse classroom/lecture hall. Some 25 years after the need for such a space was first identified, SNARL is getting a high-tech, future-ready new building to serve as a lecture hall and gathering place for scientists, instructors and students. It will be named for the Pages, in recognition of their lifetime philanthropy to the reserves. The multipurpose space will boast top-shelf technology and net-zero energy, readying this storied site for the future.
Joe IncandelaU.S. Scientists Celebrate Nobel Prize for Higgs Discovery The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics went to two theorists — Peter Higgs from the U.K., and Francois Englert from Belgium — but behind the historic discovery of the Higgs boson was the effort of thousands of experimental physicists, a large segment of whom come from the U.S. When the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the award early Tuesday, physicists from both the ATLAS and CMS experiments rejoiced, including UC Santa Barbara professor of physics Joe Incandela, who was the first U.S. scientist elected to head the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment, and who along with ATLAS head Fabiola Gianotti made the announcement of the discovery of the highly sought particle in 2012. Several other members of the UCSB High Energy Physics Group no doubt joined in the jubilation of having participated in the effort that won the prestigious award.
John BowersUCSB Professor John Bowers Gives 58th Annual Faculty Research Lecture UC Santa Barbara professor John Bowers spoke to an overflow crowd at UCSB’s Engineering Sciences Building when he gave the 58th Annual Faculty Research Lecture. His talk, “The Promise of Silicon Photonics,” highlighted the evolution of silicon photonics and what the future holds for this technology. Awarded annually, the lectureship is considered the highest honor bestowed by the university faculty on one of its members.
UCSB Jumps Two Spots in Times Higher Education Rankings of the World’s Top 200 Universities UC Santa Barbara has been ranked number 33 on a list of the world’s top 200 universities released today by Times Higher Education, a British periodical. Among U.S. universities, UCSB is ranked number 23. The campus’s overall placement represents a jump of two places over last year’s ranking. In addition, of the top 50 universities offering degrees in engineering and technology and in the physical sciences, UCSB is ranked number 20, respectively.
Breaking Ground on New Library Library Breaks Ground on First Expansion Project in 35 Years UC Santa Barbara’s Davidson Library celebrated the beginning of the first major expansion and renovation it has seen in more than three decades. With shovels in hand, Chancellor Henry T. Yang, Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas, University Librarian Denise Stephens and others broke ground on the project that, when completed, will make the UCSB Library an even more vital academic and cultural resource for the university and the Santa Barbara community. The project, designed to LEED Gold specifications, includes a three-story building addition on the north side of the library; a complete renovation and seismic retrofit of the original two-story building; a newly built paseo that connects all areas of the library; and a seismic retrofit of the eight-story tower. Completion is anticipated in January 2016.
Membrane Protein Structure Researchers Develops a New Tool for Studying Membrane Protein Structure Determining the structure of membrane proteins, which are important drug targets, has become somewhat simpler thanks to a new tool developed by the Han Research Group in the Department of Chemistry. The tool uses a method called nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry but refines it by inserting an electron spin driven by microwaves to measure surface water dynamics.
Sandra Seale and ScientistEarth Research Institute Scientist Recognized for Bringing Hands-On Earthquake Education to Local Schools Sandra Seale, project scientist at the Earth Research Institute, was given an outstanding service award for her efforts to bring earthquake education to local Santa Barbara-area schools. Her efforts have largely concentrated on Make Your Own Earthquake, a learning tool that teaches K-12 students about the forces behind earthquakes by allowing them to jump, and then tracing the “shake” generated with an accelerometer. In Seale’s time, the module has gone from using cumbersome and expensive equipment to using a simple USB device that has made the technology available to schools across the nation.
Cheadle Center for BiodiversityUCSB’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration Receives Grant to Digitize Specimens CCBER houses the campus’s plant and vertebrate collections, which include some 120,000 individual specimens preserved and maintained for teaching and scientific research. A new grant will allow CCBER to digitize more than 70,000 specimens in the center’s vascular plant collection, making them available online to a wide variety of users. Jennifer Thorsch is the Katherine Esau Director of CCBER.
Fisherman throws netNCEAS Establishes New Collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society Science for Nature and People (SNAP) aims to address modern conservation and economic development in ways that will benefit humankind, especially the planet’s poorest and most marginalized citizens. SNAP’s mandate is to find practical, knowledge-based ways in which the conservation of nature can help provide food, water, energy and security to Earth’s fast-growing population. Its first working group focuses on issues in Western Amazonia.
Galen StuckyProfessor Named a 2013 Fellow of the American Chemical Society Galen Stucky, UC Santa Barbara’s E. Khashoggi Industries, LLC Professor in Letters and Science, has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. Stucky was inducted for his development of powerful synthesis paradigms for the assembly of organic/inorganic composite, multifunctional systems. He also served as a member of the ACS committee that led to the creation of the journal Chemistry of Materials.
Quantum Information Transfer Researchers Make Headway in Quantum Information Transfer Researchers in the Department of Physics have taken the first step in translating electrical quantum states to optical quantum states in a way that would enable ultrafast, quantum-encrypted communications. Their latest research outlines the concept and presents a prototype device that so far uses classical electrical and optical signals but whose essential parameters look very promising for quantum information transfer.
Squid MantlesTrue Colors: Female Squid Have Two Ways to Switch Color, According to a UCSB Study Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have discovered that the female market squid possesses a pair of rainbow iridescent stripes. These flank a single stripe, which can go from complete transparency to bright white, mimicking the male testis. This may allow the female to masquerade as a male to discourage multiple matings.
Yellowfin TunaExtinction and Overfishing Threats Can Be Predicted Decades Before Population Declines, UCSB Study Shows A new UC Santa Barbara study shows that threats created by overfishing can be identified decades before the fish species at risk experience overly high harvest rates and subsequent population declines. Researchers developed an Eventual Threat Index that quantifies the biological and socioeconomic conditions that eventually cause some fish species to be harvested at unsustainable rates.
BRAIN SymposiumBRAIN Symposium Showcases Breadth of Research at UC Santa Barbara Crowds filled the room to hear 20 UCSB researchers summarize their work and discuss how it relates to President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The daylong UCSB symposium included a broad spectrum of research activity on campus.
UC Santa Barbara Foundation Welcomes New Trustees The UC Santa Barbara Foundation — a leadership body that promotes the university by increasing philanthropy, and managing and growing the endowment — has elected six new trustees to its board. Trustees help build interest and support for the campus and communicate to the public an informed understanding of UCSB’s mission.
Arctic Tidewater GlacierNSF Funds NCEAS/Bren School Project to Develop Holistic Approaches for Sustainability in the Arctic A three-year international collaboration of research organizations aims to establish an inclusive set of governance practices for sustainability in Arctic coastal-marine systems. The project will involve marine spatial planning on a pan-Arctic scale and building a database of written materials relating to Arctic sustainability. The ultimate aim is to make practical contributions to sustainable development in the Arctic through 21st century and beyond.
John Perlin and book coverNew Book by Physics Scholar Explores the History of Solar Energy In his new book, “Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy” (New World Library, 2013), UC Santa Barbara physicist John Perlin provides a comprehensive history of solar energy. Beginning with the Stone Age Chinese and the Ancient Greeks and Romans, he examines how these forward thinkers were finding ways to harness the sun’s energy long before the advent of modern photovoltaics and solar cells. Moving forward, he introduces a host of scientists and solar energy advocates, including Socrates, Galileo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Maria Telkes, and Albert Einstein, and concludes with a discussion about current technology the future of photovoltaics and solar power.
Danes and DormsMembers of Danish Parliament Visit UCSB to Learn About Campus Housing Eight members of Danish Parliament toured Santa Rosa and San Nicolas residence hall rooms this week, marveling at De La Guerra dining commons, and quizzing campus staff about all things student housing –– from their sustainability strategy to their means of mitigating long lines for shared bathrooms. The delegation from Folketinget, as Denmark's legislative assembly is commonly known, comprise the parliament's Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which is looking to launch a first-ever university housing program.
Elizabeth WitherellThoreau Edition at UCSB Publishes First Volume of Correspondence UC Santa Barbara’s Thoreau Edition has published the first of a three-volume collection of correspondence to and from the 19th-century American naturalist and social philosopher. The volume covers the period from 1834 to 1848. The volumes are part of “The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau,” a scholarly endeavor that when completed will include all 47 manuscript volumes of Thoreau’s Journal, his writings for publication, and other uncollected papers. The Thoreau Edition’s first volume, “Walden,” was published in 1971. Elizabeth Witherell is editor-in-chief of the project.
UCSB Ranked Among the Country’s Top Public Universities by U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report has once again included UC Santa Barbara in its annual listing of the “Top 30 Public National Universities” in the country, as well on its list of the “Best National Universities.” UCSB –– which this year experienced the most selective admissions process in campus history –– was ranked number 11 among the “Top 30 Public National Universities.” Among national universities, including both public and private institutions, UCSB maintained its ranking at number 41. In addition, the undergraduate program in UCSB’s College of Engineering jumped four spots, to number 35 on the U.S. News & World Report list of “Best Programs at Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Doctorate.” Among engineering schools at public universities, UCSB's College of Engineering placed at number 20, up a notch from last year's rankings.
Fruit Fly GraphicFruit Flies Demonstrate That Diet Experience Can Alter Taste Preferences New findings demonstrate how taste preferences can be modified by long-term exposure to a specific diet. In this study, conducted by UC Santa Barbara’s Craig Montell, Duggan Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, fruit flies exposed to a diet containing camphor learned to like it, and the process was reversible. The results suggest a general neural mechanism underlying food experience-induced changes in taste preferences.
Relationship Between Landscape Simplification and Insecticide Use Varies Greatly Year to Year The relationship between land simplification — the conversion of natural habitat to cropland — and insecticide use is important in determining land use policy. New findings show that the correlation between the two varies from year to year, making it difficult to inform policy questions in terms of insecticide use. The UC Santa Barbara study analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture data spanning two decades —1987-2007.
AntarcticaWest Antarctica Ice Sheet Has Long Played a Role in Regulating and Responding to Earth’s Climate New research from the Department of Earth Science reveals that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet existed earlier than previously thought. Using their new bedrock elevation map for the Antarctic continent, Doug Wilson, Bruce Luyendyk and colleagues showed that, contrary to the popularly held scientific view, Antarctica’s nascent ice sheet at the time of the global climate transition 34 million years ago included substantial ice on the subcontinent of West Antarctica.
Conjuring India‘Conjuring India’ Exhibit Presents Diverse British Views on India The explorations of India that were the business of the British East India Company in the late 18th and early 19th century resulted in fascinating accounts of the subcontinent through a diversity of British eyes. A few of these accounts, in an exhibit curated by UCSB doctoral candidate Mira Rai Waits, under the supervision of Swati Chattopadhyay, professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, are on display at the Davidson Library, Special Collections, Third Floor. The exhibit runs through December 15, 2013.
Pacific Sand DabLittle Difference in Heavy Metal Pollutant Levels Between Fish Living Around Southern California Oil Platforms and Natural Sites A government sponsored study of heavy metal pollutant levels in fish living around oil platforms and at natural sites revealed little difference between the two locations. In the debate surrounding what to do with decommissioned oil platforms, the government was looking for answers to whether the fish that live around these artificial reefs were more polluted than the natural cohort.
Dueling Infections: One Keeps the Other at Bay, Anthropologists Find A study of the Tsimane, an indigenous population in central Bolivia, has identified an antagonistic relationship between intestinal worms and giardia, and demonstrated that infection by one inhibits infection by the other. The research, conducted by UC Santa Barbara anthropologists Aaron Blackwell and Michael Gurven, further indicates that treatment of one parasite led to a greater likelihood of infection by the other. It also suggests that treating one infection might allow the other to run rampant, which raises questions about currently accepted protocols for dealing with parasites.
New Dorm WindowsUndergrads Get a Greener Home Away From Home Students living in the Anacapa residence hall will be coming home to a new, greener building this fall, as contractors place the finishing touches on a renovation that involves LEED Gold certification. Carpets and wall paint have been replaced with less toxin emitting versions; the new windows on the 60-year-old building are double-paned and better insulated; and new fixtures ensure water and energy efficiency.
Thomas WeimbsProfessor Joins Grant-Reviewing Body of the National Institutes of Health UCSB professor Thomas Weimbs, one of the world's leading experts on polycystic kidney disease, has been appointed as a member of the Center for Scientific Review’s Kidney Molecular Biology and Genitourinary Organ Development (KMBD) study section. The Center for Scientific Review is the portal for National Institutes of Health grant applications and their review for scientific merit.
Research Mentorship ProgramResearch Mentorship Program Gives High School Students a Summer to Remember They had the time of their lives. Some tromped through the Carpinteria Salt Marsh; others waded through the grasses at Sedgwick Reserve or forded the surf at Campus Point — all in the name of research. More than 70 high school students from near and far came to the Research Mentorship Program to learn how to conduct graduate-level research and left knowing a lot more, not just about writing and presenting, but also about time management, self-discipline, and being proactive.
Coffee bean Pac ManThe Bitter and the Sweet: Fruit Flies Reveal New Interaction Between the Two A UC Santa Barbara study explains how fruit flies respond to sugar when bitter compounds are added. The researchers found that an unexpected molecule — an odorant-binding protein (OBP) usually found in the olfactory system — impairs avoidance behavior in mutant flies missing the OBP protein. This is the first molecule shown to promote the suppression of sweet by bitter compounds in these model animals.
Konstadinos Goulias UC Santa Barbara geographers analyze transportation habits of Southern Californians. By mapping, modeling, and recreating in data the daily travel of Southern California’s 18 million residents, geographer Konstadinos Goulias and colleagues are helping to pave the way toward more sustainable transportation. Their successful pilot project is now being replicated in Baltimore. Collaborating with municipalities to inform emissions policy through data collection, synthesis, and analysis, their ultimate aim is to transform the transportation habits of the very people whose movements are being mined for insight.
Joseph IncandelaLongtime UCSB Supporters Endow $1 Million Chair in Experimental Science With a passion for science and faith in its potential for life-changing advancements, longtime benefactors Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga have gifted the campus with a $1 million endowed chair. The recently appointed first incumbent to the Pat and Joe Yzurdiaga Chair in Experimental Science is already a star in science circles, and is becoming increasingly familiar to a broader audience: Joseph Incandela. The professor of physics played a key role in the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle.
Adrian Jaeggi and Michael GurvenAnthropologists Study the Genesis of Reciprocity in Food Sharing In two separate studies that examine food-sharing behavior, UC Santa Barbara anthropologists Adrian Jaeggi, left, and Michael Gurven have found that monkeys, apes, and humans, take a similar approach to reciprocity, even when considering other factors that might otherwise predict helping behavior. However, they also found that only humans showed evidence of reciprocity in food sharing. Chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates tend to barter food for services such as grooming or coalition support. Their research is published in the current issues of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology.
David LeaEarth Science Professor Named Fellow of American Geophysical Union For “novel contributions to proxy development and reconstructing Pleistocene-Holocene climate,” David Lea, professor in UCSB’s Department of Earth Science, has been named a 2013 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This honor is given to select members who have attained acknowledged eminence in the fields of Earth and space science. This year’s Fellows will be recognized at the AGU fall meeting, to be held on December 11 in San Francisco.
Bren Hall Solar PanelsUCSB Ranks Among Sierra Magazine’s Top 10 ‘Coolest Schools’ for Sustainability Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, has ranked UC Santa Barbara number 10 on its seventh annual list of “Coolest Schools.” The list recognizes 162 universities and colleges that are helping to solve climate problems, and are making significant efforts to operate sustainably. UCSB was recognized for what the magazine described as “formidable numbers,” which include 44 LEED certified buildings, 321 academic courses that highlight sustainability, and 217 faculty members involved in eco-research. About the top 10 universities, Sierra editor-in-chief Bob Sipchen noted, “By showing such strong leadership on so many fronts, the best of these schools are pointing the way for other institutions.”
Man chopping treeAnthropologists Study Testosterone Spikes in Non-Competitive Activities Studying short-term spikes in the testosterone levels of Tsimane men, UC Santa Barbara anthropologists Ben Trumble and Michael Gurven have found that the act of chopping down trees — a physically demanding task that is critical to successful farming and food production — results in greater increases in testosterone than does a directly competitive activity such as soccer. Their research, which appears in the early online edition of the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, suggests that acute increases in testosterone are important not only for competition over mates, but also for critical daily tasks such as food production.
Undergraduates Gain Practical Science Research and Analysis Skills Studying Invasive Plants Through UCSB’s NCEAS Distributed Seminar UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) used of a network of undergraduate ecology and conservation biology classes at eight universities across the country to fill a hole in collective ecology knowledge. The distributed seminar participants compiled data on invasive plants in U.S. National Wildlife Refuges and performed an analysis to determine which factors promote or inhibit invasive species.
James ThomsonNew Gene Repair Technique Promises Advances in Regenerative Medicine A team of researchers, including James A. Thomson, the co-director of UCSB’s Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, have created an efficient way to target and repair defective genes using human pluripotent stem cells and DNA-cutting protein from meningitis bacteria. Their findings were published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The novel technique is much simpler than previous methods and has the potential to repair any genetic defect.
Candace Waid and book coverSummer Course at UCSB Explores New Approaches to Quantifying How Animals Acquire Shape and Form Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and science faculty members from around the world have come together at the Santa Barbara Advanced School of Quantitative Biology to collaborate with leading experts in an effort to shed new light on the quantitative aspects of morphogenesis, how animals develop from genetic code into complex physical structures. The interdisciplinary course challenges biologists, engineers, mathematicians, and physicists to create a synergy that guides collaborative research in new directions.
Candace Waid and book coverBook by Prize-Winning Professor Illuminates Visions of Author William Faulkner In her new book, “The Signifying Eye,” professor of English Candace Waid shows author William Faulkner’s art take shape in sweeping arcs of social, labor, and aesthetic history. Reading his work next to writers including Edith Wharton and Willa Cather, and painters Willem de Kooning and Aubrey Beardsley, Waid reveals the author’s visual obsessions with artistic creation. Some of Faulkner’s own early drawings and illustrations also figure prominently, revealing the writer’s gifts as a visual artist himself.
Chancellor Yang shakes handsUC Santa Barbara, Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary Celebrate Opening of Ocean Science Education Building Government officials joined leaders of UC Santa Barbara and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Tuesday morning for a kelp ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Ocean Science Education Building on the UCSB campus. The 15,000-square-foot facility is the result of a partnership between the university and NOAA. “Our new building will serve as the center for collaborative research and for education by our outstanding faculty and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) and affiliated researchers,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.
Ocean WarmingOverthinking Can Hurt Performance When a pro golfer has the lead on the 18th hole, but chokes on the last easy shot, it’s likely overthinking is interfering with performance. A new UC Santa Barbara study shows how the brain is affected when the attentional control processes associated with explicit memory (talking yourself through golf swing) interfere with implicit memory (letting your body do what you’ve practiced without conscious thought).
Ocean WarmingGlobal Study Reveals True Scale of Ocean Warming The most comprehensive global meta-analysis of the way the world’s marine systems are reacting to climate change reveals a pattern of response of even greater magnitude than previously thought by science. Undertaken by eminent scientists at 17 institutions worldwide, the study forms part of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change.
Danica and ChanelChanel, UCSB’s Corpse Flower, Blooms and Causes a Big Stink Chanel, UC Santa Barbara’s corpse flower, has finally spread her odiferous wings, broadcasting a stench that smells like a cross between rotting flesh and Limburger cheese. “It's disgusting,” said UCSB junior Connor Way, who visited Wednesday morning. “It's pretty nasty.” The entire community has been holding its collective breath waiting for UCSB’s Amorophallus titanum, its proper botanic name, to bloom. “This is a rare occurrence under cultivation and even rarer in its native Sumatra, where the deforestation of equatorial rainforests has wreaked havoc on its habitat,” said UCSB biology greenhouse manager Danica Taber, left. “There are 300,000 different species of flowering plants and the corpse flower is one of the most extreme examples of how evolution can result in extreme flowers and pollination systems," said Scott Hodges, professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology. “This is a tremendous opportunity to show students and the general public about plant diversity and biology in general.”
Chen LabSimons Collaboration on Origins of Life Awards $1 Million to Chemistry Professor Irene Chen, who came to UC Santa Barbara at the beginning of the year, recently received a five-year grant to support her study of the emergence and evolution of biomolecules. The funding comes from a new Simons Foundation program whose goal is to advance understanding of the processes that led to the emergence of life. Chen is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Southern California Crustacean Study Reveals Mechanism Behind Squids’ Ability to Change Color Cuttlefish can go from bright red, which means stay away, to zebra-striped, an invitation for mating. A team of UCSB researchers has discovered the mechanism that allows cuttlefish and their fellow cephalopods to activate built-in cellular nanostructures responsible for color change. A neurotransmitter activates a cascade of events to initiate color-changing process. The animals control the extent of their color change and can reverse it at will. The findings may one day have applications in telecommunications and synthetic camouflage.
Southern California Crustacean Face Identification Accuracy is in the Eye (and Brain) of the Beholder Though humans generally have a tendency to look at a region just below the eyes and above the nose toward the midline when first identifying another person, a small subset of people tend to look further down –– at the tip of the nose, for instance, or at the mouth. However, as UC Santa Barbara researchers Miguel Eckstein and Matthew Peterson recently discovered, “nose lookers” and “mouth lookers” can do just as well as everyone else when it comes to the split-second decision-making that goes into identifying someone. Their findings are in a recent issue of the journal Psychological Science.
Finn KydlandNobel Laureates Dispense Advice for Future Generations of Researchers In a free, public event of the ongoing GRITtalk series, three of UCSB’s five Nobel laureates discussed how they came to the work that won them the Nobel prize, and when they realized it was groundbreaking in nature. Alan Heeger (Chemistry, 2000), Finn Kydland (Economics, 2004), and Walter Kohn (Chemistry, 1998) talked to a packed house at Hatlen Theater about their lives pre- and post-Nobel. They talked about risk, rejection and self-doubt. Yes, even Nobel laureates are human. “After the Nobel Prize, there was a period of time when I was hesitant to take a risk,” recalled Heeger. “It's okay to fall on your face when no one is looking. But I got over it. One should never lose one’s nerve.”
Corpse FlowerRare Corpse Flower to Bloom at Biology Greenhouse Chanel the Titan Arum gets ready to bloom in the UCSB greenouse. This rare occurrence is only the second time a corpse flower, officially known as Amorphophallus titanium, has bloomed on campus. The last bloom in 2002 was Tiny, who is Chanel’s mother. These giant perennial herbs hail from Sumatra and smell like rotting flesh in order to attract such pollinators as flesh flies. When the female flowers are receptive to pollination, the tall center part of the bloom heats up to send the foul odor wafting farther afield. Public viewing times will be posted on Chanel’s Facebook page ( as blooming becomes imminent.
Southern California Crustacean Southern California Crustacean Sand-Dwellers Suffering Localized Extinctions Two types of small beach critters –– both cousins of the beloved, backyard roly-poly –– are suffering localized extinctions in Southern California at an alarming rate, says a new study by UC Santa Barbara scientists. As indicator species for beach biodiversity at large, their disappearance suggests a looming threat to similar sand-dwelling animals across the state and around the world. Led by David Hubbard and Jenifer Dugan of UCSB’s Marine Science Institute, the new work reveals a trend toward extirpation that has been growing slowly since 1905, steadily since the 1970’s, and today reflects the “dramatic” impact of development, climate change, and sea level rise on the diminutive critters that are essential prey for shorebirds.
New Ph.D. Emphasis at UCSB Offers Robust Bioengineering Training Doctoral students at UCSB looking to get more robust training in the growing field of bioengineering will be able to take advantage of UCSB’s newest academic offering: an optional emphasis in bioengineering offered through the campus’s Center for BioEngineering (CBE). The emphasis, offered to Ph.D. candidates starting in their second year, gives them the tools to integrate their studies and research in the fields of engineering and the life sciences through lectures and seminars on how to approach research topics in biomedical engineering, biomimetics, systems biology, and other bioengineering applications. The program starts this fall.
Michael BegleyProfessor of Mechanical Engineering and of Materials Receives Fraunhofer-Bessel Research Award Matthew Begley, professor of mechanical engineering and of materials at UC Santa Barbara, has been chosen as one of three recipients for the 2013 Fraunhofer-Bessel Research Award. The award is given for “an outstanding performance in applied research.” Begley, who received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from UCSB in 1995, joined the faculty in 2010. The author of more than 100 archival publications with emphases in computational mechanics and device physics, Begley’s research has expanded into bio-inspired composite materials. “I was absolutely delighted to hear that he has been elected the recipient of the Humboldt Foundation’s Fraunhofer Bessel Research Award,” UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang said.
Oil sheeen graphStudy Determines Source of Oil Sheens Near the Site of Deepwater Horizon A chemical analysis of oil sheens recently found floating at the ocean’s surface near the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster indicates that the source is pockets of oil trapped within the wreckage of the sunken rig. Researchers, including UCSB geochemist David Valentine, used a recently patented method to fingerprint the chemical makeup of the oil sheens and then compared it with debris from the rig, which was coated with oil and was contaminated by drilling mud olefins.
Craig HawkerMaterials Professor Craig Hawker Appointed Director of California NanoSystems Institute Craig Hawker, professor of materials and of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Barbara, has accepted the position of scientific director of the campus-based California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). “I am delighted that Professor Hawker has agreed to this new position and we look forward to working with him to continue to advance the California NanoSystems Institute," said Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas in his announcement to the campus community. Hawker assumes the leadership role previously filled by David Awschalom, a renowned UCSB physicist known for his work in spintronics and quantum computation.
George Lipsitz and book coverBlack Studies Scholar Examines Improvisation as a Tool for Social Change In his new book “The Fierce Urgency of Now — Improvisation, Rights, and the Ethics of Cocreation,” George Lipsitz, a professor of Black Studies and of sociology at UC Santa Barbara, links musical improvisation to struggles for social change. Co-authored with Daniel Fischlin and Ajay Heble, both of the University of Guelph, the book examines the ways in which struggles for human rights have been informed by the ethics of co-creation that are nurtured and sustained within forms of Afro-diasporic expressive culture. What critics and curators often describe as community-based art making, the authors argue, is better described as art-based community making — a form of democratic interaction that enacts the just social relations that social movements often only envision.
Professor JuergensmeyerUCSB Global Studies Thrives with Support of Orfalea Foundation UCSB’s still-young Master of Arts in Global & International Studies (MAGIS) is flourishing with the support of Kinko’s founder (and distinguished visiting professor) Paul Orfalea, Natalie Orfalea, and their Orfalea Foundation. The philanthropic nonprofit gifted the campus $12 million to launch and grow MAGIS and the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies. The pledge got each entity off the ground –– and has seen both evolve into world-class hubs for training and research alike. Next up: a doctoral program in the discipline, which is expected to be available at UCSB within about two years.
Tropical Forest BlossomsNCEAS Research Finds Tropical Forest Blossoms Are Sensitive to Changing Climate The North Pole isn’t the only place on Earth affected by slight increases in temperature. Until recently, scientific thinking used to posit that tropical forests, which already exist in warm climates, may not be impacted much by climate change. But a new study conducted by UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) shows that to be erroneous. In fact, the results indicate that tropical forests are producing more flowers in response to only slight increases in temperature. The findings were published online in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Artist's impression of a galaxy accreting material from its surroundings.Feeding Galaxy Caught in Distant Searchlight An international group of astronomers that includes UC Santa Barbara astrophysicist Crystal Martin and former UCSB postdoctoral researcher Nicolas Bouché has spotted a distant galaxy hungrily snacking on nearby gas. The gas is seen to fall inward toward the galaxy, creating a flow that both fuels star formation and drives the galaxy's rotation. This is the best direct observational evidence so far supporting the theory that galaxies pull in and devour nearby material in order to grow and form stars. The results appear in the July 5 issue of the journal Science.
David TilmanEcosystem Productivity Declines Fueled by Nitrogen-Induced Species Loss Humans have been affecting their environment since the ancestors of Homo sapiens first walked upright. In fact, human-driven environmental disturbances, such as increasing levels of reactive nitrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2), have multiple effects, including changes in biodiversity, species composition, and ecosystem functioning. A new study examining these effects on a grassland ecosystem finds that adding nitrogen to grasslands causes an initial increase in ecosystem productivity followed by a nitrogen-driven loss of plant diversity. In contrast, elevated CO2 didn’t decrease or change grassland plant diversity and consistently promoted productivity over time. The results of this study show that changes in biodiversity can be important intermediary drivers of the long-term effects of human-caused environmental changes on ecosystem functioning.
Veta Taylor and book coverSociologist Examines Same-Sex Marriage Debate Within LBGT Movement Few issues have provoked such polarized — and heated — responses in American society as same-sex marriage. What may come as a surprise, however, is how polarizing the right to marry has been within the gay and lesbian community. In her new book, “The Marrying Kind? Debating Same-Sex Marriage within the Lesbian and Gay Movement,” Verta Taylor, a professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara, examines arguments within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement in support of — and in opposition to — same-sex marriage. Drawing on empirical research, she also studies how those arguments have affected marriage equality campaigns.
ExoplanetSimple Math may Solve Longstanding Problem of Parasite Energetics Feeling faint from the flu? Is your cold causing you to collapse? Your infection is the most likely cause, and, according to a new study by UC Santa Barbara research scientist Ryan Hechinger, it may be possible to know just how much energy your bugs are taking from you, through modifications of equations from the metabolic theory of ecology — a theory that describes the relationships between metabolic rates, body temperatures, and sizes of organisms. His findings are published in a recent issue of The American Naturalist.
ExoplanetPhysics Professor to Receive Eugene Feenberg Medal Douglas Scalapino, UC Santa Barbara research professor of physics, will receive the 2013 Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal. A researcher who attended Feenberg’s lectures at Washington University, Scalapino was cited “for his imaginative use and development of the Monte Carlo approach and for his ground-breaking contributions to superconductivity.” The award will be presented in September at the annual Recent Progress in Many-Body Theory Conference in Germany.
ExoplanetAstronomer Uncovers Hidden Identity of an Exoplanet Thanks to Diana Dragomir we now know the true mass and size of HD 97658b, an exoplanet orbiting a bright star. An astronomer with UC Santa Barbara’s Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Dragomir used an ultraprecise space telescope to track HD 97658b’s orbit and found that its density is about four grams per cubic centimeter, a third of the density of lead but denser than most rocks. This super-Earth — so-called because its mass and radius are between those of the Earth and Neptune — has a thick atmosphere but can’t support life as it orbits too close to its sun.
Interpretive SignsEight Interpretive Signs Installed at UCSB Campus Natural Areas What do stormwater management, whale migration, and inner peace have in common? They’re the subjects of a few of the newest interpretive signs around the UC Santa Barbara campus. Eight new interpretive signs now exist to inform visitors and answer common questions as they travel through different parts of the campus designated as natural areas. “We hope that our readers will be inspired to value our natural resources, learn how to care for and manage those precious resources through the signs,” said Lisa Stratton, director of ecosystem management at the UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration.
Archive of Featured News
Current Campus Construction Impacts UC Santa Barbara is in an unprecedented era of construction and campus renewal. Facilities Management now maintains a web site with the latest information on current campus construction and the impact such projects might have on traffic, parking, etc. WEB SITE
Scholarship Fund Memorializes Shark Victim Lucas Ransom A scholarship fund has been established in memory of Lucas Ransom, the UCSB student who tragically lost his life in a shark attack off Surf Beach in northern Santa Barbara County. The fund will seek to assist economically disadvantaged students in engineering and in the sciences. Information on the fund and how to donate to it can be found here. Go here for a press release about the Ransom Scholarship Fund.
Clery Act Campus Security
The University of California, Santa Barbara campus safety report is published annually to provide safety policies, information and statistics to its community and to prospective students and employees. FULL REPORT
The Campaign for UC Santa Barbara In 2012, this comprehensive campaign to raise private funds to further UCSB’s promise of excellence, opportunity, and innovation, kicked off a new phase, with a new goal, of raising a cumulative $1 billion. Since the Campaign’s original launch in 2004 — with an initial goal of $350 million that was later expanded to $500 million — more than $700 million has already been raised, thanks to UCSB’s dedicated volunteer leaders and generous supporters. CAMPAIGN WEB SITE
Campus Emergency Preparedness Site UC Santa Barbara takes safety seriously, and takes a proactive approach to emergency planning.  UCSB urges students, parents, faculty and staff to become familiar with the campus response procedures and plans already in place. WEB SITE
UCSB's Long Range Development Plan In 1990, the University updated its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) to plan for our next 20 years. It is now time to review the existing LRDP and revise it to address the University's plans to the year 2025. The LRDP is a planning tool that will shape how the campus will change over the next two decades, including changes in our academic programs and the development of additional campus housing for students, faculty, and staff. WEB SITE
Register Now for the UCSB Alert Emergency Notification System UCSB Alert is a new campus tool that will be used in the event of a campus emergency. It enables university officials to contact you during an emergency by sending text messages to your e-mail account, cell phone, or smartphone or other handheld device. UCSB Alert is your connection to real-time updates, instructions on where to go, what to do or what not to do, who to contact and other important information. Register on the UCSB Alert WEB SITE.
The UCSB Portrait A pdf document with a wide range of background information about the campus for prospective students and parents. The information is presented in a format similar to that used by many colleges and universities, making it easy to compare important characteristics of our educational program. The portrait also provides many live links to campus Web sites and serves as a gateway to deeper understanding of UC Santa Barbara.
Communications from the President A new edition of the Our University newsletter from the UC Office of the President has just been released and is available online. OUR UNIVERSITY