UC Santa Barbara Public Affairs and Communications

Featured News Archive 2011-2012

The 2010-11 Featured News Archive contains summaries of press releases about prominent news developments at UCSB from July 2010 to June 2011. The heading of each item links to the full text of that story. All first appeared on the UCSB Featured News and Campus Topics page.

Chemistry Professor Wins Award for Highly Useful Reagents in Catalysis Chemistry professor Bruce Lipshutz has been awarded the 2012 Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis (EROS) Best Reagent Award. "It's a terrific acknowledgement of the students who did the work; this is really their award," said Lipshutz. With his lab team, Lipshutz developed copper hydride-based reagents that can be used in very small amounts, and are capable of several types of reactions potentially useful for the synthesis of various materials –– from drugs to polymers, to naturally occurring molecules.  6/28/12

Sustainable Solutions for Healthier Oceans How will Cuba's increasing prospects for trade, and tourism, impact its ocean areas and the fish that populate them? Will its sea life suffer overexploitation in the name of commerce and recreation? Will its fishermen lose income, or jobs, as fish stocks deplete? Sustainable Ocean Solutions, a still-young project born at UC Santa Barbara, is considering such questions, developing solutions to the problems facing fisheries and other ocean uses in countries around the world — and teaching affected communities how to use them.  6/28/12

Study Documents Potential for Tsunamis in Northwestern California Using studies that span the last three decades, scientists have compiled the first evidence-based comprehensive study of the potential for tsunamis in Northwestern California. The paper, "Paleoseismicity of the Southern End of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Northwestern California," was co-written by professors Edward Keller and Alexander Simms from UCSB's Department of Earth Science, and published in a recent issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. The paper is based on the Ph.D. dissertation of Keller's former student David Valentine, now a research programmer at the Spatial Information Systems Laboratory at UC San Diego.  6/27/12

Students in UCSB's MESA Program Take First in Engineering Competition The Pop Flies, a team of four sixth-graders from UC Santa Barbara's Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program took first-place honors in the National Engineering Design –– Wind Energy Challenge held June 22-24 at the Boeing Assembly Facility in Renton, Wash. The students, all from Isbell Middle School in Santa Paula, include Tobin Fincher, Nathan Rabago, Carlos Gomez, and Carson Gray. They beat their competition by designing the best wind energy device, which was judged number one based on its mechanical and wind-to-vehicle power.  6/27/12

New Study Demonstrates the Role of Urban Greenery in CO2 Exchange In what might be the first study to report continuous measurements of net CO2 exchange of urban vegetation and soils over a full year or more, scientists from UC Santa Barbara, including Joe McFadden, left, and the University of Minnesota conclude that not only is vegetation important in the uptake of the greenhouse gas, but also that different types of vegetation play different roles. Their findings will be published July 4 in the current issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.  6/26/12

New Book by Historian Explores Labor Politics and the Conservative Right The legislative attack on public sector unionism that led to the uproar in Wisconsin and other union strongholds in 2011 and 2012 was not just a reaction to the contemporary economic difficulties faced by the state and local governments. It was the result of a longstanding political and ideological hostility to the very idea of trade unionism put forward by a conservative movement whose roots go as far back as the Haymarket Riot of 1886. The controversy in Madison and other state capitals reveals that opposition to labor's status and power has always been at the core of American conservatism, today as well as a century ago. In his new book, "The Right and Labor in America –– Politics, Ideology, and Imagination" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), editor Nelson Lichtenstein, the MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at UCSB and director of the campus's Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy, explores the multifaceted history and range of conservative hostility toward unionism. The book is co-edited by Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, a UCSB alumna who now teaches history at Loyola University in Chicago.  6/25/12

Sociologist Thomas Scheff Receives Constantine Panunzio Award Thomas Scheff, an emeritus professor of sociology, has received the Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award for 2012. Presented annually, the prize honors retired faculty members of the 10-campus University of California system for their continued outstanding scholarly work or educational service in the social sciences or humanities. Scheff, who retired in 1992, is the 28th UC emeritus professor to receive the award, and the third from UCSB. Also receiving a 2012 award is R. Duncan Luce, a research professor of cognitive sciences and of economics at UC Irvine. Internationally recognized as one of the key proponents of labeling theory and the development of theory and method in the study of emotion, Scheff also has contributed to the fields of psychology, psychiatry, public health, and literary studies. He has published notable studies of Goethe, George Eliot, Proust, and, currently, Virginia Woolf. He is the author of several books and articles, including "What's Love Got to Do With It? Emotions and Relationships in Pop Songs" (Paradigm Publishers, 2011), in which he examines lyrics from 80 years of American song.  6/25/12

New Book by Global Studies Scholar Examines the Politics of Headscarves Few articles of clothing have as much significance –– or obvious meaning –– as do the headscarves worn by Muslim women around the world. A headscarf is an outward symbol of a woman's inward devotion to her religion or culture, and one she cannot hide or even minimize. Depending on where she lives, however, her headscarf can also serve as a shackle. In her new book, "The Headscarf Controversy: Secularism and Freedom of Religion," Hilal Elver, a research professor in the Department of Global & International Studies, takes an in-depth look at the growing controversy over the right of Muslim women to wear headscarves in public places.  6/21/12

MESA Students Advance to National Engineering Competition Four sixth-graders from Isbell Middle School in Santa Paula will participate in the National Engineering Design — Wind Energy Challenge at the Boeing Assembly Facility in Renton, Wash., from June 22-24. The students, also known as the Pop Flies, are part of UCSB's Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program.  6/20/12

Campus Receives Top Ratings for LGBT-Friendliness UCSB is one of 28 universities to be rated a "five-star school" in an ongoing assessment of LGBT-friendliness by the national nonprofit Campus Pride. More than 320 campuses were included in the ranking, which credited UCSB for its reputation as a welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students.  6/20/12

Sponges Provide Clues to Brain Evolution UC Santa Barbara scientists turned to the simple sponge to find clues about the evolution of the complex nervous system and found that, but for a mechanism that coordinates the expression of genes that lead to the formation of neural synapses, sponges and the rest of the animal world may not be so distant after all. Their findings, titled "Functionalization of a protosynaptic gene expression network," appear today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "If you're interested in finding the truly ancient origins of the nervous system itself, we know where to look," said Kenneth Kosik, Harriman Professor of Neuroscience Research in the Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, and co-director of UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute.  6/12/12

Chemistry Students Receive Lucas Ransom Memorial Scholarships Two chemistry undergraduates have received the first Lucas Ransom Memorial Scholarships. The scholarships were established by the Ransom family in honor of their son, a UCSB junior, who was killed in a shark attack in October 2010. The awards were presented to James G. Stanfill and John Adlin Scott, both of whom are entering their senior year at UCSB. Each will receive $4,000 in tuition assistance.  6/18/12

Archaeology Class Unearths the Original Santa Barbara Professor of anthropology Lynn Gamble and her students were recently presented with a rare opportunity: Excavate a Chumash Indian site that might be the location of the original Santa Barbara. Over the course of several weeks, under Gamble's supervision and the watchful eye of Chumash monitor Regina Unzueta, the students unearthed hundreds of shell beads, fishhooks, and animal bones that were evidence of daily life for the inhabitants of Syuxtun, a sprawling Barbareño Chumash village that existed in what is now the area of West Beach and downtown Santa Barbara. The dig, inside the Veteran's Administration building on Cabrillo Street, was part of the evaluation of the site for a proposed elevator.  6/14/12

Scientists Synthesize First Genetically Evolved Semiconductor Material In the not-too-distant future, scientists may be able to use DNA to grow their own specialized materials, thanks to the concept of directed evolution. UC Santa Barbara scientists have, for the first time, used genetic engineering and molecular evolution to develop the enzymatic synthesis of a semiconductor. Daniel Morse, UCSB professor emeritus of biochemistry of molecular genetics, directed the research. Lukmaan Bawazer, a former graduate student at UCSB, is the first author of the study.   6/13/12

UCSB Announces Webcast of Commencement Ceremonies With commencement activities for 2012 officially under way, UC Santa Barbara is announcing two major developments: one for those planning to attend upcoming ceremonies, and one for those who've wished they could. Guests planning to be on campus this week, and this weekend, should allow for extra travel time. Those traveling north on U.S. 101 may experience intermittent traffic delays due to ongoing roadwork on Highway 217, near the main entrance at Henley Gate. Meanwhile, even globally located friends, family, and fans of UCSB will be able to watch the new crop of grads receive their diplomas, thanks to a live webcast of the six ceremonies set for Saturday and Sunday. 6/12//12

Psychologists Reveal How Brain Performs 'Motor Chunking' Tasks You pick up your cell phone and dial the new number of a friend. Ten numbers. One. Number. At. A. Time. Because you haven't actually typed the number before, your brain handles each button press separately, as a sequence of distinct movements. After dialing the number a few more times, you find yourself typing it out as a series of three successive bursts of movement: area code, first three numbers, last four numbers. Those three separate chunks allow you to type the number faster, and with greater precision. Eventually, dialed often enough, the number is stored in your brain as one chunk. "You can think about a chunk as a rhythm," said Nicholas Wymbs, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and the lead author of a new study on motor chunking in the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press. One of the co-authors is Scott Grafton, professor of psychology and director of the UCSB Brain Imaging Center. 6/12/12

Study Finds New Evidence Supporting Theory of Extraterrestrial Impact An international team of researchers that includes James Kennett, professor of earth science, has discovered melt-glass material in a thin layer of sedimentary rock in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Syria. According to the researchers, the material — which dates back nearly 13,000 years — is the result of a cosmic body impacting Earth. These new data are the latest to strongly support the controversial Younger Dryas Boundary hypothesis, which proposes that a cosmic impact occurred 12,900 years ago at the onset of an unusual cold climatic period called the Younger Dryas. 6/11/12

History and Environmental Studies Scholar Receives Harold J. Plous Award Peter Alagona, assistant professor of history and of environmental studies, has received the 2012-13 Harold J. Plous Award. One of the university's most prestigious faculty honors, the award is given annually to an assistant professor from the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences who has shown exceptional achievement in research, teaching, and service to the university. Presented by the College of Letters and Science, the award was established in 1957 to honor the memory of Harold J. Plous, an assistant professor of economics. Alagona will showcase his research when he delivers the annual Plous Lecture next spring. 6/11/12

Higher Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Found in Breast Milk of Tsimane Women Anthropologists at UC Santa Barbara have found higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the breast milk of economically impoverished Amerindian woman as compared to women in the United States. Their research appears in the current issue of the journal Maternal and Child Nutrition. The study compared breast milk fatty acid composition in U.S. and Tsimane women. The Tsimane live in Amazonian Bolivia, and eat a diet consisting primarily of locally grown staple crops, wild game, and freshwater fish. Samples of Tsimane mothers’ milk contained significantly higher percentages of the docosahexaenoic acid, which is crucial for infant cognitive and visual development. The co-authors of the study included, from left, Michael Gurven, Steven Gaulin, and Melanie Martin. 6/8/12

Campus to Graduate 5,958 Students in Eight Ceremonies Nearly 6,000 degree candidates will cross the commencement stage at UC Santa Barbara between June 10 and June 17. The campus will host eight official ceremonies — organized by college, level of degree, and field of study — in its annual commencement exercises, which attract some 40,000 visitors to the Santa Barbara area each year. Chancellor Henry T. Yang will participate in each ceremony, shaking the hand of every graduate.

  • Top Campus Awards: The winners of Thomas More Storke Award and other top prizes for outstanding graduating seniors.
  • Chancellor's Research Awards: Two seniors, two graduate students, and a faculty member recognized for contributions to undergraduate research.
  • Top Academic Prizes: Four graduating seniors in the College of Letters and Science to receive awards for outstanding academic achievement.
  • City Club Prize: Six graduating seniors will receive cash prizes totaling $46,500 from the defunct Santa Barbara City Club. 6/4//12

Protein Knots Gain New Evolutionary Significance A new study suggests that protein knots, a structure whose formation remains a mystery, may have specific functional advantages that depend on the nature of the protein's architecture. "The presence of a knotted or slipknotted structure in a protein is relatively rare but really is very interesting," said Kenneth Millett, a professor of mathematics at UC Santa Barbara and a co-author of the paper, "Conservation of complex knotting and slipknotting patterns in proteins," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  6/4/12

Researchers Develop Synthetic Platelets Synthetic platelets have been developed by UC Santa Barbara researchers, in collaboration with researchers at Scripps Research Institute and Sanford-Burnham Institute in La Jolla, Calif. Platelets are the components of blood that allow it to prevent excessive bleeding and to heal wounds. The unique physical and biochemical properties of platelets play an important role in performing these complex biological tasks. Smaller than red blood cells, platelets are flexible, disk-shaped cells that are 2-4 micrometers in size. "Upon further optimization and exhaustive testing, the synthetic platelets could be used for various biomedical applications," said the paper's first author Nishit Doshi, a researcher from the Department of Chemical Engineering.  5/30/12

Book by Religious Studies Scholar Examines How People Decide What Matters As religious, secular, and spiritual distinctions have broken down over the past decade, scholars have had to rethink secularity and its relationship to society. A new book co-edited by Ann Taves, professor of religious studies at UC Santa Barbara, considers religious and secular categories and what they mean to those who seek valuable, ethical lives. In "What Matters? Ethnographies of Value in a Not So Secular Age," Taves, holder of UCSB's Virgil Cordano OFM Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies, shows how approaches to "things that matter" aren't necessarily grounded in religion.  5/21/12

Summer Science Course to Blend Biology and Physics Two UC Santa Barbara professors are joining forces to launch an intensive summer science program at the interface of physics and biology. The Santa Barbara Advanced School of Quantitative Biology, an initiative of UCSB's Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics (KITP), is the brainchild of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology chair Joel Rothman and KITP's Boris Shraiman. Two new grants to KITP are giving the scientists, and the institute, a big boost in their interdisciplinary endeavors: recent awards from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund total more than $2 million.  5/29/12

Actor Michael Douglas Gives UCSB $500,000 Academy Award-winning actor and producer and UC Santa Barbara alumnus Michael Douglas ('68) has contributed $500,000 to establish an endowed chair for the Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts in the College of Letters and Science. A matching amount from UC Presidential Funds completes a $1 million commitment to support the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts. David Marshall, Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts and Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science, has been named the new chair's first incumbent. The gift is the latest example of Douglas's longtime philanthropic support of his alma mater.  5/24/12

Plants Previously Thought to be ‘Stable‘ Are Responding to Climate Change Many wild plant species thought to be "stable" in the face of climate change are actually responding to global warming, say researchers at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. Their findings, in a study titled, "Divergent responses to spring and winter warming drive community level flowering trends," are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  5/23/12

History Scholar Translates and Interprets Ancient Chinese Legal Texts In an ancient tomb in China's Hubei Province, archeologists discovered a basket of medical, mathematical, and legal texts that date back to the late third and early second centuries B.C. A historian at UC Santa Barbara is working to translate and interpret the legal texts, of which there are two, and describes them as "a gold mine of social and legal history." "The finds are unprecedented," said Anthony Barbieri-Low, an associate professor of history at UCSB. "They are as important as the Dead Sea Scrolls."  5/23/12

Physicist Uses Art to Make Physics More Accessible to Students Based on research she conducted for her doctoral dissertation several years ago, Jatila van der Veen, a lecturer in the College of Creative Studies and a research associate in the physics department, created a new approach to teaching introductory physics. Using arts-based teaching strategies, van der Veen has fashioned her course into a portal through which students not otherwise inclined might take the leap into the sciences — particularly physics and mathematics. Her research appears in the current issue of the American Educational Research Journal, in a paper titled "Draw Your Physics Homework? Art as a Path to Understanding in Physics Teaching." 5/22/12

Clinical Trials for Alzheimer's Disease Preventative Drug to Begin Early 2013 After an announcement by federal officials approving clinical trials for the drug Crenezumab, researchers searching for a way to treat Alzheimer’s Disease are gearing up for a rare study that will allow them to test a therapy for a genetically predestined disease — before its onset. UC Santa Barbara neuroscientist Ken Kosik, who is the Harriman Professor of Neuroscience Research in the Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and co-director of UCSB’s Neuroscience Research Institute, is one of the lead researchers in the $100 million, five-year study. The scientists will be drawing their study participants from a large family in Medellín, Colombia.  5/21/12

Hunter-Gatherers Demonstrate Lower Risk of Heart Disease Age-related increases in blood pressure — and the associated risk of atherosclerosis — are commonplace in the United States. In other developed countries, however, and now in the developing world, that does not seem to be the case among hunter-gatherers and forager-horticulturists, according to researchers at UC Santa Barbara. Their findings appear in the current issue of Hypertension, the journal of the American Heart Association. Michael Gurven, left, professor of anthropology, is lead author of the study.  5/21/12

San Clemente Villages Awarded Double LEED Gold Certification The San Clemente Villages Apartments complex has been awarded its second Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making the 385,000-square-foot project the largest university housing facility in the nation to be double-certified at the gold level. At the time of its opening in 2009, San Clemente Villages was certified with LEED Gold for New Construction. With the new distinction — LEED Gold for Existing Building Operations & Maintenance — San Clemente becomes the first residential project anywhere to achieve LEED Gold in both categories, according to UCSB’s LEED program manager Jordan Sager.  5/17/12

A Clearer Picture of How Black Holes are Fueled By combining the light of three powerful infrared telescopes, an international research team, including Sebastian Hoenig, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics, has observed the active accretion phase of a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy tens of millions of light years away, a method that has yielded an unprecedented amount of data for such observations. The resolution at which they were able to observe this highly luminescent active galactic nucleus has given them direct confirmation of how mass accretes onto black holes in centers of galaxies.  5/16/12

Craig Hawker Wins Centenary Prize for Chemistry Craig Hawker, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of materials at UC Santa Barbara, director of the campus’s Materials Research Laboratory, and holder of the Alan and Ruth Heeger Chair in Interdisciplinary Science, has received the 2012 Centenary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The prize commemorates the centenary of the society’s founding in 1841, and recognizes outstanding international chemists who are also exceptional communicators. Hawker was cited for his outstanding creative development of new strategies for the design of novel polymers, which has revolutionized the field of polymer synthesis and influenced a generation of chemists.  5/16/12

Verizon Foundation Grant Expands Linguistics Project A project at UC Santa Barbara that has area high school students conducting original research on language in their communities will expand to include two partner schools and an Upward Bound program thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications. The students are part of School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society (SKILLS), a project sponsored by Verizon and UCSB’s Office of Education Partnerships.  5/15/12

UCSB Scientists Take the #SciFund Challenge Several UC Santa Barbara scientists are participating in the #SciFund Challenge, an online effort to connect the public with their science, and also to fund their projects through small-amount donations. The campaign, which started May 1 and will continue through the May 31, is the brainchild of Jarret Byrnes and Jai Ranganthan, researchers at UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analsysis and Synthesis.  5/14/12

Oracle Chairman Pledges $50 Million to UCSB Jeff Henley, chairman of the board of Oracle Corporation and a UC Santa Barbara alumnus, and his wife, Judy, an honorary alum since 2009, have committed $50 million to UCSB for the Institute of Energy Efficiency (IEE) and the campus's highly regarded College of Engineering. Their transformative philanthropic investment helps propel the campus toward the $1-billion goal of its Campaign for UC Santa Barbara, a multiyear fund-raising effort that has launched its new phase. "The philanthropic leadership of Jeff and Judy Henley is deeply inspiring; we are thrilled by their vision and generosity, and excited about the momentum their gift provides as we launch the next phase of our billion-dollar Campaign for UC Santa Barbara," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang, shown with his wife, Dilling, and the Henleys.  5/12/12

Species Loss Impacts Environment More Than We Think A recent study published by an international research team working at UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis has found that loss of biodiversity impacts the environment as significantly as climate change and pollution. The study, titled, "A global synthesis reveals biodiversity loss as a major driver of ecosystem change," was published May 2 in the journal Nature.  5/9/12

Feminist Studies Scholar Examines Social Policy and Home Health Care Why is it that, in the United States, middle-class individuals with the benefit of some financial resources often cannot get adequate long-term home care for themselves or their loved ones? In her new book, “Caring for America –– Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State” (Oxford University Press, 2012), Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and chair of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara, takes on that question in a narrative history that covers the period from the Great Depression of the 1930's to present day.  5/8/12

SeaSketch Will Aid Marine Spatial Planning Around the World Thanks to a $500,000 gift by Jack Dangermond, the president and founder of Esri, the world’s largest geographic information systems (GIS) software company, Will McClintock and his team of researchers at UCSB’s Marine Science Institute are finalizing SeaSketch — the next generation of MarineMap, a free Web-based marine mapping and spatial planning program. SeaSketch will allow people all over the world, even those who are not experts in GIS applications, to create plans designed to protect marine life based on scientific values and governmental policies.  5/7/12

Degree-Credit Extension Courses Revived at Ventura Center For the first time in almost three years, UC Santa Barbara Extension will offer degree-credit classes this summer at the UCSB Ventura Center. The new initiative will see nine courses — taught by UCSB faculty and UC-approved instructors — offered at the longtime satellite location designed to serve communities in the Ventura/Oxnard, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks/Simi Valley areas. Dubbed UCSB Special Sessions, the endeavor marks the first time degree-transferrable courses have been offered in the area since the 2009.  5/7/12

Researchers Find that Less is More, for Female Cowbirds More modest male displays attract the females when it comes to brown-headed cowbirds, contrary to sexual selection theory, according to UC Santa Barbara researchers Adrian O'Loghlen, left, and Stephen Rothstein. Their findings are published May 2 in the open access journal PLoS ONE. While sexual selection theory predicts that females should find more flamboyant displays the most sexually attractive, the opposite holds true for brown-headed cowbirds, a small songbird common in North America.  5/3/12

Underpredicting the Effects of Climate Change Plants may be reacting to climate change more than we think, and the uncertainty could leave us ill-prepared for the future effects of global warming, according to a new study produced by an international team of scientists at UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. Using data accumulated from studies spanning four continents and the responses of 1,634 plant species to temperature change, the researchers found that the advances in the timing of flowering and leafing were less sensitive to temperature changes in warming experiments compared to long-term observations.  5/2/12

Researchers Surprised by Ecological Effects of Chile Quake, Tsunami In a scientific first, researchers from Universidad Austral de Chile and UCSB’s Marine Science Institute (MSI) documented the before-and-after ecological impacts of the 2010 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Chile. “So often you think of earthquakes as causing total devastation, and adding a tsunami on top of that is a major catastrophe for coastal ecosystems. As expected, we saw high mortality of intertidal life on beaches and rocky shores, but the ecological recovery at some of our sandy beach sites was remarkable,” said Jenifer Dugan, an associate research biologist at MSI.  5/2/12

Two Professors Elected to National Academy of Sciences Matthew Fisher, a professor of physics, and Napoleon Chagnon, an emeritus professor of anthropology, have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Fisher and Chagnon are among 84 new members from the U.S. elected to the Academy in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The election of Fisher brings to 36 the number of active UCSB faculty members elected to the NAS.  5/1/12

Geographers Closer to Predicting Droughts in Africa After over a decade of gathering and analyzing climate and vegetation data from East Africa, geographers Chris Funk, Greg Husak, and Joel Michaelsen, who are part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning System Network, say there is enough evidence to associate climate conditions in the region with projected rainfall deficits that could lead to food shortages.  5/1/12

Historian Nelson Lichtenstein to Receive Award for Labor History Nelson Lichtenstein, MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at UC Santa Barbara and director of the campus’s Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy, is the recipient of the 2012 Sol Stetin Award for Labor History. The Stetin Award is given each year to a scholar whose work has helped shape the understanding of working people and the labor movement. Lichtenstein is being recognized for his scholarship on — and advocacy for — the labor movement, as well his efforts in training a new generation of scholar-activists. As a leading expert on Wal-Mart and other retail-sector businesses, Lichtenstein has worked with labor groups in the U.S. and abroad to improve conditions for its workers.  4/26/12

Theoretical Framework May Guide Researchers Through the Complex World of Multiblock Polymers Thanks to advances in polymer chemistry and a wide variety of monomer constituents to choose from, scientists can now create an astonishing array of multiblock polymers with a variety of properties. However, the flood of options could be overwhelming, without a theoretical framework to guide research. UC Santa Barbara scientists Glenn Fredrickson and Kris Delaney address that issue in their paper, “Multiblock Polymers: Panacea or Pandora’s Box?” The paper appears in the latest edition of the journal Science.  4/26/12

X-Rays Reveal Molecular Arrangements for Better Printable Electronics By employing powerful X-rays that can see down to the molecular level of organic materials used in printable electronics, UC Santa Barbara professor of materials Michael Chabinyc and chemistry graduate student Justin Cochran are now able to determine why some materials perform better than others. Their findings, in a paper co-authored with researchers from North Carolina State University, Monash State University in Australia and Univeristät Erlangen-Nümberg in Germany, are published in the journal Nature Materials, and could lead to cheaper, more efficient printable electronic devices.  4/25/12

In Protein Folding, Internal Friction May Play a More Significant Role than Previously Thought Internal friction may play a more significant role in the process of protein folding than previously thought, according to researcher Everett Lipman. Protein folding is a little-known process that occurs in virtually every cell of our bodies, yet it is responsible for the synthesis of amino acid chains into hormones, enzymes, muscles and other components. “This protein folding process is still a big mystery,” said UC Santa Barbara physicist Everett Lipman, one of several authors of the new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  4/24/12

New iPhone App Bridges Science, Technology, Education, and a Day at the Beach A new, free iPhone application developed to engage and educate the curious about the wonders of California tidepools has been released. Now users can download the California Tidepools app and find out about the creatures that live and feed in the rocky shallows along the California Coast. The application was developed through collaboration between UC Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and volunteers from Citrix Systems, Inc.  4/23/12

NCEAS Researchers Offer New Ecological Model for Deep-Water Oil Spills On the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform blowout, a national panel of researchers from UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis is providing new insight into what happened in the disaster, as well as a guide for how to deal with such events in the future, and why existing tools were inadequate to predict what lay before them. Their new model is published in the May issue of the journal Bioscience.  4/20/12

UCSB Named One of 25 Healthiest U.S. Colleges Lauded for its health and wellness services, fitness programs, and healthful dining-hall fare, UC Santa Barbara has been named one of the 25 healthiest colleges in the U.S., according to Web-based health resource Greatist. The campus landed at No. 15 among a list of schools that also includes Stanford, Yale, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. UCSB earned special praise for its student health services, its array of wellness programming, the varied offerings of its Recreation Center, and the availability of nutritional information via its dining services’ new internet and smartphone app, NetNutrition.  4/19/12

Children’s Book by Greenhouse Manager Studies Monarch Butterflies Greenhouse manager Joan Calder’s children’s book, “Airplanes in the Garden” Monarch Butterflies Take Flight,” which tells the story of Sergio and Stanley as they make the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, has completed its second printing. The book includes a wealth of information about Monarchs, such as seasonal migration patterns; tips for planting a Monarch-friendly garden; and Monarch facts and photographs.  4/18/12

UCSB Offers Admission to 23,875 for Fall 2012 UC Santa Barbara has offered a place in its fall 2012 entering class to a total of 23,875 high school seniors. The prospective UCSB freshmen were selected from a total of 54,831 freshman applicants –– the largest applicant pool in UCSB history. The campus expects its fall 2012 entering freshman class to number about 4,400. All nine of the UC undergraduate campuses are releasing admissions statistics today. The UC Office of the President is posting systemwide statistics on its Web site at http://www.ucop.edu/news/studstaff.html.  4/17/12

Emeritus Economics Professor and Wife Establish Endowed Chair In Friend’s Honor Professor emeritus Walter J. Mead and his wife, Thelma, have made a $1 million deferred gift to the campus to establish an endowed chair in economics — the couple’s second such contribution to the department where Mead was a career faculty member. The Alec P. Alexander Chair honors Mead’s former economics colleague and longtime friend. Alexander passed away in 2008.  4/16/12

Materials Professor Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences Edward Kramer, professor of materials and chemical engineering at UC Santa Barbara, has been elected a fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His selection brings to 29 the number of UCSB faculty that belong to the academy. "I am delighted to congratulate Professor Edward Kramer on his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and I know that our campus and community join me in applauding our colleague's achievement," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.  4/17/12

UCSB Ties for Top Honors in State Sustainability Contest UC Santa Barbara has received three Best Practice Awards in the annual Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Awards competition sponsored by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, tying with UC Berkeley for most awards in the 2012 contest.  UCSB won awards for best Student Sustainability Program (Plastics Pollution Coalition); best Sustainable Foodservice (Root 217 Café at the University Center); and best Sustainability Innovations (South Coast Sustainability Summit).   4/16/12

UCSB Researchers Discover Particularly Dangerous Salmonella A recent discovery of “hypervirulent” Salmonella bacteria has given UC Santa Barbara researchers Michael Mahan and Douglas Heithoff a means to potentially prevent food poisoning outbreaks from these particularly powerful strains. Their findings, in a paper titled “Intraspecies Variation in the Emergence of Hyperinfectious Bacterial Strains in Nature,” have been published in the journal PLoS Pathogens.  4/18/12

Three Campus Projects Recognized by Goleta Valley Beautiful Three landscaping and infrastructure projects on the UC Santa Barbara campus have received recognition and awards from Goleta Valley Beautiful, a local nonprofit dedicated to environment, education, and community service. The three projects are the San Clemente Habitat Restoration and Stormwater Management System at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecologic Restoration, which was given the Restoration Award; the Chumash Gardens adjacent to the UCSB Student Resources Building, which received the Open Award; and the Library Plaza, which was honored with the Public Building/School Award.  4/12/12

Book by Professor of Neuroscience Receives Award for Excellence in Medical Communication “The Alzheimer’s Solution: How Today’s Care is Failing Millions — and How We Can Do Better,” written by professor of neuroscience Kenneth S. Kosik and healthcare journalist Ellen Clegg, won the Will Solimene Award for Excellence in Medical Communication, given by the New England Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association. The book, published in 2010, focuses on the aging Baby Boomer generation, a population that is both large and living longer — factors that, when taken together, will likely prove to be too much for the current health care system to handle.  4/9/12

NCEAS Study Shows Forest Insects and Diseases Arrive in U.S. Via Imported Plants The trade in plants from around the world has become a major industry in the United States, valued at more than $500 million. According to a study conducted by UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, that economic boon has also had devastating effects on the environment. Researchers found that almost 70 percent of the most damaging non-native forest insects and diseases currently afflicting U.S. forests arrived via imported live plants.  4/9/12

Quantum Control Protocols Could Lead to More Accurate, Larger Scale Quantum Computations A protocol for controlling quantum information pioneered by researchers at UC Santa Barbara, the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in Delft, the Netherlands, and the Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University could open the door to larger-scale, more accurate quantum computations. Their findings are published in the current issue of the journal Nature. UCSB physicist David Awschalom and his research group were responsible for developing the electron and nuclear spins used as the quantum bits in the research and for helping to analyze the results.  4/4/12

‘Seeing Nature' Exhibit Examines Human Views of the Natural World “Seeing Nature,” a collection of photographs, articles, poems, books, equipment, and a few specimens, is on display in the lobby of the Special Collections section of the Davidson Library. The exhibit, put together to celebrate the start of spring, examines the ways humans have, over time, viewed and related to the natural world through art, science, and socio-politics. “Seeing Nature” is free and open to the public, and runs until the end of spring.  3/29/12

Physicists Mix Two Lasers to Create Light at Many Frequencies By aiming high- and low-frequency laser beams at a semiconductor, physicists have caused electrons to be ripped from their cores, accelerated, and then smashed back into the cores they left behind. This recollision produced multiple frequencies of light simultaneously, and the phenomenon has the potential to significantly increase the speed of data transfer and communication processes. The researchers’ findings appear in the current issue of the science journal Nature.  3/28/12

Low Testosterone Level in Amazonian Tribe Responds to Competition Anthropologists at UC Santa Barbara and the University of Washington have found that Tsimane men have a baseline testosterone level that is 33 percent lower than that of men living in the United States. The Tsimane are an isolated indigenous group of foragers-farmers in central Bolivia. Also, in contrast to men in the U.S., Tsimane men do not show declines in testosterone as they age. Despite lower levels of circulating testosterone under normal conditions, the Tsimane do have something in common with U.S. men — short-term spikes of testosterone during competition. The researchers’ findings appear today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  3/27/12

Four Solar Power Projects Among ‘Green Initiative’ Grant Recipients UC Santa Barbara's The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) Grant Making Committee has announced its grant recipients for the 2011-12 funding cycle. The new TGIF projects range from four solar power array installations and upgrades, to a Web site that will allow anyone to track energy usage on campus. The TGIF committee, composed primarily of undergraduate and graduate students, received 18 applications for various campus sustainability projects from UCSB students, staff, and faculty. In the end, 13 projects were selected to receive awards totaling $172,932. The projects are expected to produce significant savings in energy and water use across the campus.  3/27/12

New Book Examines Early 20th-Century African American Film and Theater As an undergraduate at Princeton University, Stephanie Batiste saw a photograph of seven African American performers dressed in leaf costumes for a 1930’s production of “Macbeth.” She wondered how it could be that “these black men were dressed up like savages in a black show.” That image became the genesis of her doctoral dissertation, and now serves as the cover art for her new book, “Darkening Mirrors –– Imperial Representation in Depression-Era African American Performance.” In her book, Batiste, an associate professor of English and of Black Studies, examines ways in which African Americans imagined themselves as empowered, modern United States citizens and transnational actors in Depression-era plays, operas, ballets, and films.  3/26/12

New Social Sciences Initiative to study 'Direct Marketing' of Seafood Could a new business model benefit local fisheries? With research led by UC Santa Barbara researchers Barbara Walker and Kimberly Selkoe, we’re about to find out. In a two-year project funded as part of a $1 million West Coast Sea Grant social sciences research initiative, supported by NOAA Sea Grant and its partners, Walker and her team will find out whether new business models could help local fishermen, particularly through direct marketing and outreach to a local consumer base.  3/22/12

UCSB Teams With Greenpeace and NOAA to Study Undersea Canyons A research collaboration involving UC Santa Barbara, Greenpeace, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has documented abundant corals in the world’s largest underwater canyons in Alaska’s Bering Sea, and demonstrated their use as a habitat for fish. It also identified several long-lived coral species not previously thought to exist in the Bering Sea, and yielded the discovery of an entirely new sponge, which was given the name Aaptos kanuux — the Aleut word for heart — symbolizing a view of the canyons as the heart of the Bering Sea.  3/21/12

Data From Spacecraft Reveals New Insights on Planet Mercury Thanks to the MESSENGER spacecraft, and a mission that took more than 10 years to complete, scientists now have a good picture of the solar system’s innermost planet. Data from the spacecraft’s one-year primary mission reveals new information on the composition and structure of Mercury. “Mercury is the last unexplored planet,” said physics professor emeritus Stanton Peale, who devised the procedure used for detecting whether or not Mercury had a liquid core. The way Mercury was formed, he said, may show some constraints on the formation of the solar system.  3/21/12

Researchers to Examine the Effects of ‘Catch Shares' Program In January 2011 NOAA implemented a new fishery management system in response to overfishing and bycatch of weak and protected fish species at the West Coast groundfish fishery. The “catch shares” program, while controversial for the fishing industry, promised to help rehabilitate the collapsed fishery as well as protect fishermen against accidental bad hauls. A two-year grant from NOAA will allow UCSB resource economists Chris Costello, left, and Robert Deacon to assess the program’s performance after more than a year in effect.  3/20/12

Summer Sessions Launches Online Offerings In a first for UCSB Summer Sessions, students have the option of going online-only. The program in summer 2012 will feature four fully online offerings — two courses in biochemistry, one in probability and statistics, and a geography class about global warming. The new effort arose from a 2011 pilot project focused on online education that aimed, in part, to ease the location and scheduling conflicts that may have prevented some students’ participation in summer session.  3/20/12

Chicano Artist Leo Limón Celebrated in Book Released by CEMA The life and work of the prolific and socially conscious Chicano artist Leo Limón is the focus of a book recently published by UC Santa Barbara’s Chicano Studies Institute and the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA), a division of the Special Collections Department of the UCSB Library. Titled “The Art of Leo Limón: Giving Voice to the Chicano Experience,” the book is an oral history project by now-retired UCSB oral historian David Russell, who conducted a series of interviews with Limón, one of the most visible artists of the Chicano Movement. The book, edited by CEMA director Salvador Güereña, is also the result of the collaboration between UCSB faculty and students.  3/14/12

U.S. News Ranks UCSB Graduate Programs Among Best In its annual ranking of leading graduate and professional programs at American universities, U.S. News & World Report magazine has rated two of UC Santa Barbara’s programs among the top 10 in the nation. UCSB’s materials program was ranked number 2 in the 2013 U.S. News list, up from number 4 in last year’s rankings, and was number 1 among public universities. UCSB’s chemical engineering program was ranked number 8, moving up one spot from the 2012 rankings, and was number 5 among public universities. In addition, the College of Engineering was ranked number 21 overall, and number 11 among public universities.  3/13/12

Researcher Receives $600,000 NSF Award for Study of Soil and Carbon Sequestration Joshua Schimel, chair of the Department of Environmental Studies, and professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Marine Biology, received a $607,635 grant from the National Science Foundation for “Collaborative Research: Controls over C sequestration: Physiology vs. Physics.” The study aims to discover the physical aspects that govern the access of carbon-consuming bacteria and fungi to carbon placed in the soil by plants. The research will shed light on the potential for carbon sequestration in soil as a tool for limiting global warming.  3/9/12

Leda Cosmides and John Tooby Receive UCSB Faculty’s Top Honor The faculty of UC Santa Barbara has bestowed its highest honor on Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, professors of psychology and anthropology, respectively. Internationally recognized as the founders of the influential field of evolutionary psychology, Cosmides and Tooby have been named joint recipients of the Faculty Research Lecturer Award for 2012. In announcing the award, the UCSB Academic Senate noted that the scholars are credited with creating and shaping the modern framework for evolutionary psychology, which, according to one colleague, represented nothing less than a “scientific revolution” within the field of psychology.  3/8/12

Associate Professor Receives $750,000 NSF Research Award Songi Han, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has received a $750,000 award from the National Science Foundation for her research, “IDBR: Novel Electron-Nuclear Dual Resonance Instrument with Arbitrary Microwave Pulse Shaping to Advance the Structure and Dynamics Study of Biological Systems.”  3/8/12

Nanoelectronics Expert Wins Prestigious Bessel Research Award Kaustav Banerjee, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the campus’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab, has won a a coveted Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany. He is the first engineering faculty member from UCSB to do so, and one of just 18 people worldwide to be honored for the 2011 calendar year. The awards will be handed out later this month at a ceremony in Bamberg, Germany.  3/7/12

STEM Grant Supports Efforts to Increase Math and Science Education With a $6 million award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Science Technology Engineering Mathematics grant program for Hispanic Serving Institutions, UC Santa Barbara and Oxnard College are partnering to create additional education opportunities in mathematics, science, and technology for students in the Oxnard Elementary and Oxnard Union High School districts. The goal of the partnership is to prepare and motivate students to pursue bachelor’s degree programs in STEM fields. UCSB and Oxnard College will implement innovative STEM programs for Hispanic and other underrepresented students in Oxnard schools and at Oxnard College.  3/6/12

Study is First to Measure Value of Marine Spatial Planning A study by researchers at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows for the first time that incorporating multiple stakeholder interests in a comprehensive approach to marine spatial planning actually reduces conflict and enhances cultural, conservation, and economic benefits.  3/5/12

Freshwater Hydra 'See' Without Eyes The freshwater polyp known as hydra — a tiny relative of jellyfish and sea anemones in the animal family Cnidaria — don't have eyes, yet they use the same visual pathway that allows humans to see. Research reveals that hydras' stinging cells, which they use to move, to defend themselves, and to stun prey, are light sensitive. It's a new discovery that sheds more light on the biology of hydras and, potentially, of their fellow cnidarians. Todd Oakley, a professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, co-authored a new paper detailing findings of the study conducted in his campus lab.  3/5/12

Study Supports Theory of Extraterrestrial Impact A 16-member international team of researchers that includes James Kennett, professor of earth science, has identified a nearly 13,000-year-old layer of thin, dark sediment buried in the floor of Lake Cuitzeo in central Mexico. The sediment layer contains an exotic assemblage of materials, including nanodiamonds, impact spherules, and more, which, according to the researchers, are the result of a cosmic body impacting Earth. According to the researchers, these new data are the latest to strongly support of a controversial hypothesis proposing that a major cosmic impact with Earth occurred 12,900 years ago at the onset of an unusual cold climatic period called the Younger Dryas. 3/5/12

Study Suggests Bacteria Communicate by Touch Imagine an assassin having to get its target’s permission to actually carry out the job. A new study by researchers at UC Santa Barbara points to the likelihood of an unusual such relationship between certain bacteria. It also suggests that these bacteria may actually be communicating with one another by touch. Christopher Hayes, associate professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, lead the study of uropathogenic E. coli, which causes urinary tract infections in humans. They discovered a sibling-like link between cell systems that have largely been thought of as rivals. Their findings appear in a recent issue of the journal Genes & Development.  3/2/12

Study Reveals Gene Expression Networks Underlying Age-Related Macular Degeneration Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, especially in developed countries. There is currently no known cure or treatment for the vast majority of AMD patients. A new study led by scientists at UC Santa Barbara has identified genes whose expression levels can identify people with AMD, as well as genes that distinguish clinical AMD subtypes. The findings, which appear in BioMed Central's journal Genome Medicine, could offer new candidate targets for the development of AMD diagnostics and therapies.  2/24/12

New Sensing Technique Could Pave the Way for Nanoscale MRI Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the nanoscale would enable scientists to image the structure of a single protein, an as-yet unaccomplished feat described as "one of the holy grails of structural biology." Assistant physics professor Ania Bleszynski Jayich contributed to new research suggesting that the feasibility of such an advancement is growing stronger. A study co-authored by Jayich found that a quantum magnetic spin can be coupled with a mechanical resonator to potentially create a nanoscale sensing technique — a technique that could pave the way for a nano MRI.  2/23/12

Biologist Receives $453,000 NSF Grant for Research on Diatoms Jeffrey Krause, an assistant research biologist with the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara, has received a $453,487 award from the National Science Foundation for his research on diatoms — microscopic single-cell phytoplankton persisting in aquatic environments. "The award will allow us to refine methodology, which will be used in the field to enable the first quantitative measurements of the contribution of individual diatom species to assemblage silica production," said Krause. "It will open up analysis of diversity within a field of assemblage that current methods cannot examine, and also allow for growth rates of individual diatom species or groups to be estimated in the field."  2/22/12

Astronomers Watch Instant Replay of Powerful Stellar Eruption Astronomers are watching the astronomical equivalent of an instant replay of a spectacular outburst from the unstable, behemoth double-star system Eta Carinae, which was initially seen on Earth nearly 170 years ago. Astrophysicists affiliated with UC Santa Barbara and Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) contributed to the study. Federica Bianco, a postdoctoral researcher at UCSB and LCOGT, used LCOGT's Faulkes Telescope South in Australia to record the explosion and compare it to eyewitness reports of the brightness.  2/15/12

Faculty Member Awarded Sloan Research Fellowship M. Scott Shell, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at UC Santa Barbara, is among this year's winners of Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Shell is among 126 fellowship winners announced today by the Sloan Foundation. The two-year fellowships are awarded to researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their fields. UCSB faculty members have received 15 Sloan Fellowships in the past eight years.  2/15/12

Satellite Reveals Enormous Haze of Energetic Particles at the Center of Milky Way Images produced by the Planck satellite have revealed an enormous cloud of electrons traveling near the speed of light in the heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way. These electrons interact with the galaxy's magnetic field to produce a haze of microwave radiation seen by Planck. The discovery builds upon earlier research by Planck team member Gregory Dobler, a postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara. Dobler, along with collaborators, previously studied hints of this emission in images from the Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe.  2/14/12

Chemists Mimic Nature to Design Better Medical Tests Over their 3.8 billion years of evolution, living organisms have developed countless strategies for monitoring their surroundings. Chemists at UC Santa Barbara and University of Rome Tor Vergata have adapted some of these strategies to improve the performance of DNA detectors. Their findings may aid efforts to build better medical diagnostics, such as improved HIV or cancer tests. The research was led by the team of Kevin Plaxco, a professor of chemistry. Alexis Vallée-Bélisle, a postdoctoral fellow, is the first author of the study.  2/14/12

Professor Elected to the National Academy of Engineering Steven P. DenBaars, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of materials, is among the 66 new members elected by the National Academy of Engineering. DenBaars, who is also the Mitsubishi Chemical Professor in Solid State Lighting and Displays, and co-director of the campus's Solid-State Lighting and Energy Center, was recognized for his contributions to gallium nitride-based materials and devices for solid state lighting and displays.  2/9/12

New Book by Art Historian is the First to Catalog Indigenous African Art Owned by an African Collector In his new book, "Making History: African Collectors and the Canon of African Art," Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, a professor of history of art and architecture, formalizes and interprets the private collection of indigenous African art owned by Femi Akinsanya. The book, published in English and French editions, is the first of its kind to catalog a collection of African art owned by an African.  2/8/12

Researchers Examine Consequences of Non-Intervention for Infectious Disease in Endangered African Great Apes Infectious disease has joined poaching and habitat loss as a major threat to the survival of African great apes as they have become restricted to ever-smaller populations. Despite the work of dedicated conservationists, efforts to save our closest living relatives from ecological extinction are largely failing, and new scientific approaches are necessary to analyze major threats and find innovative solutions. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis have conducted a pioneering study that illustrates how severely disease threatens the long-term survival of wild gorillas and chimpanzees.  2/6/12

Global Experts Question Claims About Jellyfish Populations Blooms, or proliferation, of jellyfish have shown a substantial, visible impact on coastal populations — clogged nets for fishermen, stinging waters for tourists, even choked intake lines for power plants — and recent media reports have created a perception that the world's oceans are experiencing increases in jellyfish due to human activities such as global warming and overharvesting of fish. Now, a new study conducted at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis questions claims that jellyfish are increasing worldwide and suggests claims are not supported with any hard evidence or scientific analyses to date. The results of the study appear in the latest issue of the journal BioScience.  2/1/12

Graduate Student Wins UNESCO Fellowship Graduate student Alejandra Jaramillo has been awarded a prestigious fellowship with the UNESCO-L'Oreal Fellowships for Young Women in Life Sciences for 2011. She is one of only 15 recipients worldwide. Her research is in the areas of parasitology and epidemiology. "It was a great honor to receive this award," said Jaramillo, who is a graduate student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology. "I was very excited and proud to be the first Panamanian scientist to receive it. I was also very excited because it allowed me to fund some of my Ph.D. research."  1/31/12

Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics Awarded $2.5 Million by the Simons Foundation The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at UC Santa Barbara has been awarded $2.5 million by the Simons Foundation to support the work of leading scientists on extended visits at the world-renowned research center. Nobel Prize-winner David Gross, director of the Kavli Institute, expressed his sincere appreciation for the grant from the Simons Foundation. "We are enormously grateful to the Simons Foundation for their generous award that will enable us to support extended leaves of distinguished scientists at the KITP. " Every year, the KITP hosts hundreds of leading theoretical physicists who come to Santa Barbara to explore some of the most challenging scientific questions of our time.  1/30/12

Film by Sociology Professor to Premiere at Santa Barbara International Film Festival What would Valentine's Day be without chocolate? According to some estimates, over one billion boxes of chocolates will be sold throughout the United States in the week prior to the big day. At the heart of all that chocolate are cocoa beans grown in, among other places, Ivory Coast and Ghana. Depending on the chocolate manufacturer's procurement practices, the beans used to produce all those boxes of chocolates may well have been harvested by children abducted by slave traders and sold to cocoa bean farmers for the sole purpose of providing free labor. In her film "Nothing Like Chocolate," Kum-Kum Bhavnani, a filmmaker and professor of sociology, tackles the issue of slave labor in the chocolate manufacturing business head-on. The film will screen at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 3, at the Lobero Theatre. 1/30/12

UCSB Among Top 20 Campuses Producing Peace Corps Volunteers UC Santa Barbara has moved up in the 2012 rankings of colleges and universities that send the largest number of volunteers to serve in the Peace Corps. UCSB is ranked number 16 among all large universities in the nation, according to the rankings released this week. With 70 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers, UCSB has moved up from number 22 in 2011 and number 28 in 2010. In addition, UCSB is ranked number 12 in the nation among universities that have sent volunteers to the Peace Corps since its inception in 1961, with 1,564 alumni having served. "We take great pride in our UC Santa Barbara alumni who volunteer to serve in the Peace Corps," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.  1/26/12

Researchers Discover the Processes Leading to Acute Myeloid Leukemia Researchers at UCSB have discovered a molecular pathway that may explain how a particularly deadly form of cancer develops. The discovery may lead to new cancer therapies that reprogram cells instead of killing them. The research team described how a certain mutation in DNA disrupts cellular function in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. According to the team, there is developing interest in the broader field of epigenetics as a direction for the treatment of cancer. "There's definitely the idea that this may be a new way of developing therapeutics, because you don't have to kill the cancer cell," said Norbert Reich, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "Almost every cancer therapy that's out there works on the principle that a cancer cell needs to be killed."  1/26/12

Sociologist Receives $300,000 Grant to Study Gang-Associated Youth Victor Rios, associate professor of sociology, has received a $300,000 grant from the William T. Grant Foundation for a study examining how the interactions between gang-associated youth and their parents, school professionals, police, and probation officers affect their identity and criminal behavior. Rios's grant is one of six awards totaling more than $2.5 million to support researchers and organizations working to understand and improve the environments in which at-risk youth spend time. The funding will allow him to expand his current research into a longitudinal study that examines the quality of interactions between at-risk adolescents and the authority figures in their lives.  1/24/12

Study of Ocean Acidification Helps Scientists Evaluate Effects of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Marine Life  A UCSB marine scientist and a team of 18 other researchers have reported results of the broadest worldwide study of ocean acidification to date. Acidification is known to be a direct result of the increasing amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The scientists used sensors to measure the acidity of 15 ocean locations, including seawater in the Antarctic, and in temperate and tropical waters. "We were able to illustrate how parts of the world's oceans currently have different pH, and thus how they might respond to climate changes in the future," said Gretchen Hofmann, professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology.  1/23/12

New Study Evaluates Impact of Land-Use Activity in the Amazon Basin A new paper published today in the journal Nature reveals that human land-use activity has begun to change the regional water and energy cycles the interplay of air coming in from the Atlantic Ocean, water transpiration by the forest, and solar radiation of parts of the Amazon basin. In addition, it shows that ongoing interactions of deforestation, fire, and climate change have the potential to alter carbon storage, rainfall patterns, and river discharge on an even larger basinwide scale. The research was led by the Woods Hole Research Center, with contributions from UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.  1/19/12

UCSB Receives 68,331 Applications for Fall 2012 From Prospective Freshmen and Transfer Students UC Santa Barbara has received 68,331 applications for undergraduate admission for fall 2012. The total is 5,028 more than last year, an increase of 7.9 percent. Of the total, 54,807 applications were from prospective first-year students, and 13,524 were from applicants seeking to transfer to UCSB. The UC system received a record 160,939 applications, with all nine undergraduate campuses experiencing increases in freshman applicants.  1/12/12

Campus Installs New Bicycle Repair Stations UC Santa Barbara has made two-wheeling around campus even easier for its burgeoning population of bicycle-riding students, faculty, and staff. Thanks to funding provided by the UCSB Department of Housing & Residential Services and support from Associated Students, four bicycle repair stations were recently installed on campus, and two more will be added soon.  1/11/12

English Professor Receives NEH Grant for Humanities Social Network If the poet William Wordsworth belonged to LinkedIn, his network might include colleagues Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey. It might also include Alan Liu, professor of English at UC Santa Barbara, who is listed on Wordsworth's profile page in the Research-oriented Social Environment (RoSE) that brings together social and bibliographical paradigms and allows for novel interactive research practices and sense of social engagement with the past. With a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, RoSE is moving from prototype to working model.  1/11/12

Hubble Pinpoints Farthest Protocluster of Galaxies Ever Seen An astrophysicist at UCSB contributed to the discovery of a cluster of galaxies in the initial stages of construction — the most distant such grouping ever observed in the early universe. The finding was made using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. "Just a couple of years ago, a discovery like this one would have seemed impossible," said Tommaso Treu, professor of physics. "Now, we are not only finding galaxies as close as ever before to the Bang Bang, but we are actually finding entire structures of them!"  1/10/12

Chemical Measurements Confirm Estimate of Gulf Oil Spill Rate By combining detailed chemical measurements in the deep ocean, in the oil slick, and in the air, a team of scientists including UC Santa Barbara's David Valentine has independently estimated how fast gases and oil were leaking during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The new chemistry-based estimate — an average of 11,130 tons of gas and oil compounds per day — is close to the official average leak rate estimate of about 11,350 tons of gas and oil per day. 1/9/12

Scientists Explain How Gulf Topography Played a Key Role in Consumption of Oil and Gas After Deepwater Horizon Disaster In a new study, Professors David Valentine, left, and Igor Mezic, and their co-authors explain how they used an innovative computer model to demonstrate the roles of underwater topography, currents, and bacteria of the Gulf of Mexico in the disappearance of methane and other chemicals that spewed from the well for nearly three months after it erupted about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast on April 20, 2010.  1/9/12

UCSB TV Debuts University of California Television (UCTV) will make its Santa Barbara debut on January 10 on Cox Cable channel 72. UCSB TV, the campus's UCTV channel, will bring round-the-clock educational programming to audiences in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria. Roughly 30 percent of the programming on UCTV originates at UCSB.  1/5/12

In NCEAS Study, Ecologists Call for Screening Imported Plants to Prevent New Wave of Invasive Species A recent study conducted by a working group at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) suggests that climate change predicted for the United States will boost demand for imported drought- and heat-tolerant landscaping plants from Africa and the Middle East. This greatly increases the risk that a new wave of invasive species will overrun native ecosystems.  1/4/12

Earth Science Department Awarded $553,000 to Advance Geoscience Research UC Santa Barbara's Department of Earth Science has received a $553,000 award from Seismic Micro-Technology Inc. in the form of educational and research software that will enable 3D visualization, mapping, and modeling of seismic data from subsurface sedimentary deposits. "Working with the KINGDOM software, students and researchers can accurately and quickly interpret three-dimensional geological structures and their various field relations, and can further quantify their properties and subsurface geometry," said Craig Nicholson, a research scientist at the campus's Marine Science Institute. "Through this grant, Seismic Micro-Technology helps ensure that UCSB and its students in earth science gain this valuable research capability and experience."  1/4/12

UCSB Ranks No. 17 Among Nation's Top 100 Best-Value Public Universities Kiplinger's Personal Finance has named UC Santa Barbara to its 2012 list of 100 best values in public colleges and universities. The annual ranking cites four-year schools that combine outstanding education with economic value. UCSB was ranked number 17, a jump from number 34 in last year's rankings. Other UC campuses in the top 25 include UC Berkeley at number 7; UCLA and UC San Diego at numbers 9 and 10, respectively; UC Davis at number 20; and UC Irvine at number 22.  1/3/12

Economist Studies Gender and Earnings Growth Among College Graduates A new study by Catherine Weinberger, an economist at UC Santa Barbara, concludes that while a significant salary gap persists between men and women, as salaries among the two groups increase over time, they do so at the same rate. Weinberger's findings appeared in a recent issue of the journal Industrial & Labor Relations Review.  12/20/11

Quantum Physics Research Chosen as a Top Ten Breakthroughs of 2011 Quantum hardware developed by physicists at UC Santa Barbara is among the Top 10 Physics Breakthroughs of 2011, as named by Physics World, the news organization of the Institute of Physics. The experiment was pursued primarily by Matteo Mariantoni, postdoctoral fellow working with Professors Andrew Cleland and John Martinis. "We are very proud of this distinction for the breakthrough work in quantum computing by Dr. Mariantoni and Professors Cleland and Martinis," said Pierre Wiltzius, the Susan & Bruce Worster Dean of Science. "Demonstrating the feasibility of a quantum chip with processors and memory is a great scientific achievement and a monumental step towards building quantum computers."  12/16/11

English Scholar Studies Global Icons as Symbols of Collective Consciousness In her new book, "Global Icons — Apertures to the Popular," Bishnupriya Ghosh, a professor of English at UC Santa Barbara, examines the galvanizing — and sometimes catalyzing — effect iconic figures have on social change and transformation. She studies three figures in particular — Mother Teresa; Phoolan Devi, also known as India's bandit queen, who was elected to India's parliament in 1996; and Arundhati Roy, the prize-winning author turned environmental activist.  12/15/11

Economist Studies Impact of Climate Change on Health and Related Expenditures In an article published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Olivier Deschênes, an associate professor of economics, estimates the economic impacts of climate change on human health, and on expenditures for self-protection, such as air conditioning. Deschênes considers how households might adapt to extreme weather by using more energy to control their indoor climate, and makes predictions about future impacts based on state-of the-art climate models.  12/14/11

Scientists Publish New Findings about the ‘Supernova of a Generation' Astrophysicists from UC Santa Barbara are part of an international team which has discovered that a supernova that exploded in August — dubbed the supernova of a generation — was a "white dwarf" star, and that its companion star could not have been a "red giant," as previously suspected. White dwarf stars are small but very dense stars, and red giants are stars that swell to massive proportions when they approach middle age. The UCSB team included scientists from the UCSB-affiliated Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network and UCSB's Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.  12/14/11

UCSB Ranked No. 7 in Leiden Ranking of World's Top 500 Universities The Centre for Science and Technologies Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands has ranked UC Santa Barbara number 7 on its annual list of the top 500 major universities in the world. The Leiden Ranking is based on publications in Thomson Reuters' Web of Science database from 2005-2009. Only six universities ranked higher than UCSB, including MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Rice, Stanford, and Caltech. UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco were ranked eight and 10, respectively. Other UC campuses in the top 40 were UC San Diego at number 19, UCLA at number 20, UC Santa Cruz at number 21, UC Riverside at number 29, and UC Irvine at number 37.  12/13/11

Scholarship Established in Honor of Communication Professor The Council for International Education and Exchange (CIEE) has established a $25,000 scholarship in the name of Michael Stohl, a professor of communication at UC Santa Barbara. The scholarship recognizes Stohl's extraordinary contributions to the field of international education, as well as his contributions to the organization's Academic Consortium Board, and commemorates his retirement from the CIEE board of directors.  12/13/11

Computer Scientists Recognized for Pioneering Technological Advances In recognition of pioneering research "that will sustain competitiveness in the digital age," UC Santa Barbara faculty members Divyakant Agrawal and Linda Petzold have been named fellows of the prestigious Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The distinguished professors are among 46 computer scientists from universities, corporations, and research laboratories to be honored by the world's largest education and computing society. ACM President Alain Chesnais described the 2011 fellows as "international luminaries" responsible for technological advances and solutions that are transforming society for the better in industry, commerce, healthcare, entertainment, and education.  12/12/11

Student to Accept White House Award A College of Creative Studies student studying ocean ecology will accept the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Obama next week, on behalf of Ocean Discovery Institute. This is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for efforts that advance those fields of education. Anai Novoa, a senior at UCSB in the College of Creative Studies, will accept the award at a White House ceremony on Monday, Dec. 12. Ocean Discovery Institute is a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that promotes mentoring in science and engineering.  12/8/11

Eight Distinguished UCSB Faculty Members Named AAAS Fellows Eight UC Santa Barbara faculty members, including Nobel laureate Alan J. Heeger, have been awarded the distinction of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This is the second consecutive year that eight UCSB faculty members have been named AAAS Fellows.  12/8/11

'UCSB Reads' Picks 'Moby-Duck' UCSB Reads, the annual winter quarter event that engages the campus and the Santa Barbara community in conversations about a key topic while reading the same book, has selected Donovan Hohn's "Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them" for this year's program. The theme for 2012 is "Making an Impact. What's Yours?" Beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 12, the UCSB Library will distribute 2,500 free copies of the book to registered UCSB students. The book will also be available at the UCSB Bookstore.  12/7/11

UC Santa Barbara's NCEAS: A Model for Enhancing Scientific Understanding In a new study published in the journal Bioscience, Stephanie Hampton, deputy director of UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and her colleague, ecologist John N. Parker, examine the history of scientific synthesis and provide some insight into the importance of the research undertaken at NCEAS. They also explain the factors that have led to the many successful working groups at NCEAS, including face-to-face, collaborative interaction between scientists from multiple institutions. Frank Davis, pictured at left, is director of NCEAS.  12/6/11

Advances in Neuroscience and Vision Research Thanks to a new study of the retina, scientists at UCSB have developed a greater understanding of how the nervous system becomes wired during early development. The research team examined the connectivity of nerve cells, called neurons, in mice. The published findings reflect the expansion of developmental neurobiology and vision research at UCSB, according to senior author Ben Reese, professor in UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute and the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.  12/5/11

Scientist Contributes to Discovery of Fastest-Rotating Massive Star Ever Recorded  An international team of scientists has found the fastest-rotating massive star ever recorded. The star spins around its axis at the speed of 600 kilometers per second at the equator, a rotational velocity so high that the star is nearly tearing apart due to centrifugal forces. This confirms a prediction put forward by astrophysicist Matteo Cantiello, a postdoctoral fellow with UC Santa Barbara's Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, who contributed to the discovery.  12/5/11

New Reading of Hieroglyphic Verb Alters Understanding of Maya Ritual Texts In his new book, "Tying Headbands or Venus Appearing: New Translations of k'al, the Dresden Codex Venus Pages and Classic Period Royal ‘Binding' Rituals" (Archaeopress, 2011), Gerardo Aldana presents a new interpretation of a Maya hieroglyphic verb, and revises the understanding of the Dresden Codex, one of the longest-studied texts in Maya archaeology. Aldana, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies, shows that "k'al," the main verb referring to Venus events in the Dresden Codex, has been misread. He argues that the verb refers to an "enclosing" of time and space, such as that found throughout the postclassic Mesoamerican ritual activity.  11/21/11

Study of Flower Petals Shows Evolution at the Cellular Level A new study of flower petals shows evolution in action, and contradicts more that 60 years of scientific thought. The findings are reported by Scott A. Hodges, professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at UCSB, and a research team from Harvard University. Columbine flowers, known as Aquilegia, evolved several lengths of petal spurs that match the tongue lengths of their pollinators. The research team discovered that longer spurs result from the lengthening of cells in one direction, called anisotropy, and not from an increased number of cells.  11/17/11

'Fishy Lawnmowers' Help Save Pacific Corals Fish may help to save corals, according to a team of researchers led by UCSB scientists. They discovered that the health of coral reefs in the South Pacific island of Moorea, in French Polynesia, may be due to protection by parrotfish and surgeonfish that eat algae, along with the protection of reefs that shelter juvenile fish. The reefs surrounding Moorea experienced large losses of live coral in the past — most recently in the early 1980's — and have returned each time to a system dominated by healthy, live corals. The scientists found that the biomass of herbivores on the reef — fish and other animals that eat plants like algae — increased dramatically following the loss of live coral.  11/10/11

UCSB Psychology Professors Study Gene-Culture Interaction Heejung Kim and David Sherman, associate professors in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, have provided a new twist on the old adage that people are products of both nature and nurture. The researchers are studying how genotypes (nature) can express themselves differently as a function of culture (nurture). Using the oxytocin receptor polymorphism, Kim and Sherman have demonstrated that individuals can have the same gene, but manifest it differently, depending on their respective cultural experiences. The study involved Korean and American participants.  11/8/11

Scientist to Blog From Antarctica As He Studies TransAntarctic Mountains Thanks to John Cottle, people who enjoy reading about science online are about to get a feel for what research is like in Antarctica, as it's happening. Cottle, an assistant professor of earth science, spends several months each year in the mountains of Asia and Antarctica. On November 17, he and his research team of UCSB graduate students will leave for a two-month expedition in the TransAntarctic Mountains. Only this time, Cottle and the other researchers will be providing information about their scientific explorations via a blog he's created just for this trip. 11/7/11

NCEAS Study Examines Impact of Climate Change A new study carried out at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and published this week in the journal Science examines how fast animal and plant populations would need to move to keep up with recent climate change in the ocean and on land. The answer: at similar rates. 11/3/11

Physicists Identify Room Temperature Quantum Bits in Widely Used Semiconductor A discovery by physicists at UCSB may earn silicon carbide — a semiconductor commonly used by the electronics industry — a role at the center of a new generation of information technologies designed to exploit quantum physics for tasks such as ultrafast computing and nanoscale sensing. The research team discovered that silicon carbide contains crystal imperfections that can be controlled at a quantum mechanical level. The research group of David Awschalom made the finding. Awschalom is director of UCSB's Center for Spintronics & Quantum Computation, professor of physics, electrical and computer engineering, and the Peter J. Clarke Director of the California NanoSystems Institute. 11/2/11

Ocean Walk Faculty Housing Project Receives LEED Certification The first 22 homes of UC Santa Barbara's Ocean Walk faculty housing project have been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Ocean Walk is the first housing project in the University of California system to receive LEED for Homes certification. Ocean Walk at North Campus is UCS's newest planned faculty housing community. It was created under the authority of the Board of Regents to provide affordable housing for faculty. 11/2/11

Winner of $1 Million X CHALLENGE Has Roots at UCSB's Bren School An innovative piece of oil-spill recovery equipment — evolved from a design created at UC Santa Barbara's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management in 2006 by Victoria Broje, who was a graduate student working in the research group of Bren professor Arturo Keller — has won the $1 million top prize in the 2011 Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. The winning prototype in the X CHALLENGE was entered by Elastec/American Marine and incorporates technology developed at the Bren School. 11/1/11

UCSB Scholar Translates a Dozen Medieval — and Bawdy — French Farces In her new book, " 'The Farce of the Fart' and Other Ribaldries — Twelve Medieval French Plays in Modern English," Jody Enders a professor of French at UC Santa Barbara, translates a dozen theatrical gems that were the sitcoms of their time. More than a study in literary criticism, for entertainment value and a peek into 15th- and 16th-century life and wit, the book is unequaled. Enders captures the colorful characters, coarse humor, and outrageous plot lines of medieval dramas that have, for the most part, been inaccessible to contemporary readers and theater audiences. 10/31/11

Scientists Make Strides Toward Drug Therapy for Inherited Kidney Disease Scientists have discovered that patients with an inherited kidney disease may be helped by a drug that is currently available for other uses. The inherited kidney disease known as autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease is characterized by the proliferation of thousands of cysts that eventually debilitate the kidneys. The team of scientists led by Thomas Weimbs, associate professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and in the Neuroscience Research Institute, found that the drug Leflunomide is highly effective in reducing kidney cyst growth in a mouse model of the disease. 10/27/11

UCSB's New Center for BioEngineering Producing Important Scientific Advances A new center at UCSB has the development of an artificial pancreas in its sights, as well as new biomaterials, new tools for the detection and diagnosis of disease, and new mechanisms for drug delivery — among other cutting-edge scientific developments. The Center for BioEngineering (CBE) is a locus of research and teaching — at the interface of biology, engineering, and physical sciences — that is already producing results that benefit industry and medicine. Research at the CBE is yielding important advances in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of common and devastating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and macular degeneration. The CEB was proposed by Frank Doyle (left) and its founding director is Samir Mitragotri. 10/26/11

Private Giving Reached Nearly $35 Million in 2010-11, Bringing Campus's Campaign Total to $623 Million The Campaign for UC Santa Barbara continues to attract strong philanthropic support for the campus, thus far generating more than $623 million for priority projects and initiatives to ensure UCSB's excellence for future generations. Of that total, UCSB received $34.8 million in gifts and pledges from alumni, parents, and friends during 2010-11 for scholarships, research, and pioneering academic programs. UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang expressed his deep appreciation for the ongoing generosity and devotion of alumni and friends. "Your visionary gifts have helped us build a brilliant faculty, recruit and support highly motivated students, and enhance our innovative research and education programs," he said. "Such generous support is especially heartwarming during this economically challenging time."   10/19/11

Author Demetria Martinez to Receive Luis Leal Literature Award Poet, novelist, and journalist Demetria Martinez is the recipient of UC Santa Barbara's 2011 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. Martinez is best known for her novel, "Mother Tongue," which received a Western States Book Award for Fiction. The book focuses on Central American refugees entering the United States during the 1980's, and the role of the sanctuary movement in providing assistance to people the U.S. government refused to recognize as legitimate political refugees. "Demetria Martinez is a voice of liberation against oppression, whether personal or social," said Mario T. Garcia, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies and of history at UCSB, and the organizer of the annual Leal Award. 10/18/11

Nobel Laureate Honored as Centenary Solvay Chair The International Solvay Institutes have created a special "Solvay Centenary Chair," which has been granted to David J. Gross, Nobel laureate in physics, for his seminal contributions to particle physics and string theory. Gross holds the Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics at UCSB and is director of UCSB's Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. Gross will chair the 25th Solvay Conference, "The Theory of The Quantum World," which is being held this week on the 100th anniversary of the first Solvay Conference on Physics. This first international physics conference, which has gained legendary status, marked a profound rupture between classical physics and quantum physics.  10/14/11

International Team Crafts Plan for Feeding the World While Protecting the Planet Christian Balzer, a graduate student in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, contributed to an international effort to create a plan for environmentally sustainable agriculture in the decades ahead — in the face of high population growth. "Global food security and environmental sustainability are not at odds — they can and must go hand-in-hand," said Balzer. The report, published in the journal Nature, presents a recipe for doubling the world's food production while reducing environmental impacts of agriculture. 10/12/11

UCSB Awarded $15 Million by Dow to Establish Institute for Materials Research and Education The Dow Chemical Company has awarded UC Santa Barbara up to $15 million to establish a collaborative research initiative that will help shape the future of technology in areas that will benefit society. The Dow Materials Institute at UCSB will educate future scientists and engineers and advance the discovery of revolutionary new materials with applications that range from novel polymers to next-generation microelectronics. The pioneering institute will be housed in the Materials Research Laboratory, a National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center that is widely recognized as one of the top materials research facilities in the world.  10/10/11

UCSB Ranked No. 35 in World University Rankings UC Santa Barbara has been ranked number 35 in 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 24. The 2011-12 World University Rankings use a methodology developed with data supplied by Thomson Reuters, and give more weight to hard measures of excellence in all three core elements of a university's mission — research, teaching, and knowledge transfer. They include 13 separate performance indicators, across five categories: teaching, research, citation impact, industry income, and international mix.  10/6/11

Scientists Reveal How Natural Gas, Temperature Controlled Bacterial Response to Deepwater Horizon Spill In a new study, UC Santa Barbara scientists explain how they used DNA to identify microbes present in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and how they identified the microbes responsible for consuming the large amount of natural gas present immediately after the spill. They also explain how water temperature played a key role in the way bacteria reacted to the spill. The results of their research are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study was led by David Valentine, a geochemist and professor of earth science at UCSB, and Molly Redmond, a postdoctoral scholar in Valentine's laboratory. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. 10/3/11

UCSB to Host First-Ever South Coast Sustainability Summit Sustainability decision makers, officials, and representatives from organizations throughout the Santa Barbara area will gather for the inaugural South Coast Sustainability Summit at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Oct. 13. The summit, to be held at UCSB's Loma Paloma Conference Center, will bring together officials and staff members from area municipalities and community organizations to discuss common issues in energy, transportation, waste, and water management. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  9/28/11

Prominent Stem Cell Scientist to Relocate to UCSB from Britain Pete Coffey, an internationally prominent researcher working on stem cell biology and the prevention of blindness, will begin work as a full-time researcher at UC Santa Barbara in November. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine provided a grant to recruit Coffey, who is currently the director of the London Project to Cure Blindness at the University College of London. "Pete Coffey is not only a boon to UCSB, but to the entire state of California," said Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director of UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute. Coffey will direct UCSB's Center for the Study of Macular Degeneration, and will also work with the university's Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering.  9/28/11

Two Faculty Members Will Receive U.S. Presidential Science Awards President Obama named two faculty members as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor the nation can bestow on a scientist or engineer at the beginning of his or her career. Benjamin Mazin, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, and Sumita Pennathur, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, are among 94 individuals across the country to receive the early career awards which recognize recipients' exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge, and their commitment to community service, as demonstrated through scientific leadership, education, or community outreach.

Professors Receive NSF Grant to Bring Wireless Technology to Rural Africa The city of Macha, located in the southern province of Zambia in sub-Saharan Africa, has a population of roughly 130,000. It also has Internet connectivity, but for only a small group of users — perhaps 300 in all. With a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, UC Santa Barbara scholars Elizabeth Belding and Lisa Parks are embarking on a project that will bring the information superhighway to the homes and businesses of everyone in the local community. 9/27/11

Two Faculty Members Will Receive U.S. Presidential Science Awards President Obama named two faculty members as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor the nation can bestow on a scientist or engineer at the beginning of his or her career. Benjamin Mazin, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, and Sumita Pennathur, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, are among 94 individuals across the country to receive the early career awards which recognize recipients' exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge, and their commitment to community service, as demonstrated through scientific leadership, education, or community outreach. 9/26/11

Researcher Receives Grant to Study Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Uta Passow, a researcher in UC Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute, spent most of the past year in the Gulf of Mexico analyzing the environmental impact of oil spilled as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010. Thanks to new funding by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI), her scientific studies will continue for the next three years. The GRI, created in part with funds from British Petroleum, recently announced a $112.5 million award to fund eight research consortia in the Gulf for the next three years. Passow is part of a consortium led by Raymond Highsmith of the University of Mississippi. The team's assignment will be "Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs in the Gulf of Mexico," with funding of $22.5 million for three years. 9/21/11

Assistant Professor to Receive Prestigious NIH New Innovator Award Songi Han, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Barbara, has been selected to receive a coveted 2011 New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health. The award, which carries a $1.5 million grant, will enable Han to take the basic instrumental and methodological development of a novel spectroscopic tool to the next level of complexity and relevance in understanding molecular mechanisms of protein aggregation underlying neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's. Studying their interactions with cell membranes may provide clues to their mechanism and disease effects. 9/20/11

Threat of Stereotyping Contributes to Mind-Wandering, Researcher Finds Mind-wandering and the effects of negative stereotyping have long been areas of study for social and cognitive psychologists. Now, a team of researchers at UC Santa Barbara and the University of British Columbia has established a relationship between the two. The researchers have demonstrated that the threat of a negative stereotype increases mind-wandering, which in turn leads to a drop in performance. Their findings appear in the current issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Michael Mrazek, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology, is one of the paper's lead authors. 9/20/11

Breakthrough in Identification of Prostate Cancer Cells A team of UC Santa Barbara researchers has developed a breakthrough technology that can be used to discriminate cancerous prostate cells in bodily fluids from those that are healthy. While the new technology is years away from use in a clinical setting, the researchers are nonetheless confident that it will be useful in developing a microdevice that will help in understanding when prostate cancer will metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body. First author is Alessia Pallaoro, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, while Gary Braun, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, is the second author of the study. 9/19/11

Hitchhiking Snails Fly From Ocean to Ocean A UC Santa Barbara scientist and his colleagues report that snails successfully crossed Central America, long considered an impenetrable barrier to marine organisms, twice in the past million years — both times probably by flying across Mexico, stuck to the legs or riding on the bellies of shorebirds, and introducing new genes that contributed to the marine biodiversity on each coast. The discovery of the hitchhiking snails, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society: B, has broad implications. "There is a chance that the hitchhiking snails benefited native populations by bringing in new genes that helped them resist common parasites that castrate the snails and keep them from reproducing," said co-author Ryan Hechinger, a research biologist with the Marine Science Institute at UCSB. "Now we are looking at the parasite genes to see if they jumped Central America, too." 9/15/11

Scientist Contributes to First Discovery of a Planet With Two'Suns' UC Santa Barbara astrophysicist Avi Shporer is part of the NASA team that has found the first known planet with two "suns." The discovery that this planet, Kepler-16, orbits a binary star system is published this week in the journal Science. "It is the combination of the unprecedented precision and the continuous observations from space that allowed the detection of Kepler-16," said Shporer, who is also a researcher with the UCSB-affiliated Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network based in Goleta. Kepler-16 is located approximately 220 light years from our sun, near the constellation Cygnus, in the Milky Way galaxy. 9/15/11

Professor Shuji Nakamura to Receive Emmy Award The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has named Shuji Nakamura, professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara, among the winners of the 63rd Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards. The award will be presented during the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The awards honor outstanding achievement in technical or engineering development, and recognize individuals, companies, and scientific or technical organizations for developments in engineering technology that have significantly impacted broadcast television. Nakamura, who is also co-director of the campus's Solid State Lighting and Display Center, is being recognized for his pioneering development of large-venue, large-screen direct view color displays. 9/14/11

UCSB Ranked Among Best Universities by U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report has ranked UC Santa Barbara number 10 in its annual listing of the "Top 50 Public National Universities" in the country, and number 42 on its list of the"Best National Universities." In addition, the undergraduate program in UCSB's College of Engineering is ranked number 38 on the U.S. News & World Report list of "Best Programs at Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Doctorate." UCSB is tied at number 38 with Yale University, Iowa State University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Among engineering schools at public universities, only 21 are ranked higher than UCSB's College of Engineering. 9/13/11

New Book Explores Santa Barbara's Natural History For the past 25 years, geologist Edward A. Keller has researched and studied the natural landscape and environment of California from Camarillo to Gaviota. In a new book, "Santa Barbara, Land of Dynamic Beauty — A Natural History," Keller, a professor of earth science, environmental studies, and geology narrows his focus to highlight the Santa Barbara area, from Goleta to La Conchita, and into the Santa Barbara Channel. The book begins with the geologic history of the Santa Barbara area, including natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides, and wildfires. Keller then separates the area by geography — Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria-La Conchita, Goleta, Ellwood, and the Santa Barbara Channel. 9/12/11

Invasive Forest Insects Cost Homeowners, Taxpayers Billions Homeowners and taxpayers are picking up most of the tab for damages caused by invasive tree-feeding insects that are inadvertently imported along with packing materials, live plants, and other goods. The findings are reported by a team of biologists and economists in the journal PLoS One this week. "Once they become established, invasive species are very difficult to eradicate, and they result in billions of dollars in damages each year," said Juliann E. Aukema, first author and a scientist with UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. 9/9/11

Grant Will Help CCBER Complete Its Vertebrate Collection Catalog Thanks to an $80,655 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, UC Santa Barbara's Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) will complete the curation, documentation, cataloging, and database processing of its 24,875 herpetological, ornithological, and mammalian specimens. The two-year Vertebrate Collections Management Project will allow CCBER to hire a curatorial assistant, create a new museum internship program, and curate its collections of reptiles, birds, and mammals according to national standards. 9/8/11

Nanosensors May Light Path to New Cancer Tests and Drugs Sensors made from custom DNA molecules could be used to personalize cancer treatments and monitor the quality of stem cells, according to an international team of researchers led by scientists at UCSB and the University of Rome Tor Vergata. "The fate of our cells is controlled by thousands of different proteins, called transcription factors," said Alexis Vallée-Bélisle, a postdoctoral researcher in UCSB's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who led the study. The research team re-engineered three naturally occurring DNA sequences, each recognizing a different transcription factor, into molecular switches that become fluorescent when they bind to their intended targets. 9/7/11

Physicists Demonstrate the Quantum von Neumann Architecture, a Quantum Processor, and a Quantum Memory on a Chip A new paradigm in quantum information processing has been demonstrated by physicists at UCSB. The team has demonstrated a quantum integrated circuit that implements the quantum von Neumann architecture. In this architecture, a long-lived quantum random access memory can be programmed using a quantum central processing unit, all constructed on a single chip, providing the key components for a quantum version of a classical computer. Matteo Mariantoni, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics, led the research experiment. 9/1/11

UCSB Ranked Among Top U.S. Universities by Washington Monthly UC Santa Barbara has been ranked number 13 in a list of the Top 30 National Universities, released by Washington Monthly magazine in its September/October issue. While U.S. News & World Report usually awards its highest ratings to private universities, the editors of Washington Monthly prefer to give public universities more credit, and higher rankings. The University of California dominated Washington Monthly's 2011 list, with UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, and UCLA ranking 1-2-3. UC Riverside is ranked number 5, and UC Davis is number 8. 8/31/11

Thoreau Edition at UCSB Receives NEH Grant The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $245,000 grant to The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, a projected 28-volume series of the work of the 19th-century American naturalist and social philosopher. The Thoreau Edition is headquartered at UC Santa Barbara. The grant, which includes $45,000 in matching funds, will support the production of Thoreau's "Correspondence," a three-volume collection that will include all the letters written and received by Thoreau from 1834 until just before his death in May 1862. When completed, the Thoreau Edition will also include the contents of all 47 volumes of Thoreau's handwritten Journal, his writings for publication, and other uncollected papers. The Thoreau Edition's first volume, "Walden," was published in 1971. 8/30/11

UCSB Scientists, Telescopes Help Discover 'Once in a Generation' Supernova A supernova discovered Wednesday is closer to Earth — approximately 21 million light years away — than any other of its kind in a generation. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova within hours of its explosion — a rare feat for events of this type. The discovery of a supernova so early in its life, and so close to Earth has energized the astronomical community. Scientists around the world are scrambling to observe it with as many telescopes as possible, including the Hubble Space Telescope, and telescopes from the UC Santa Barbara-affiliated Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT). Andy Howell, adjunct professor of physics at UCSB and staff scientist at LCOGT, is one of the leaders of the team that discovered the supernova. 8/25/11

Research Biologist Combines Art, Science in New Book on Fishes of the Pacific Coast The Longnose Skate, Shortspine Thornyhead, and Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker are but a few of the more than 1,500 species of fish that make their home in the waters along the Pacific Coast, from Alaska to the tip of Baja California. They are also among the 490 included in "Certainly More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast — A Postmodern Experience," a new compendium of fish facts and fancy by Milton Love. Love is a research biologist with UC Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute. 8/22/11

How Fatty Diets Cause Diabetes Newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetics tend to have one thing in common: obesity. Exactly how diet and obesity trigger diabetes has long been the subject of intense scientific research. A new study led by Jamey D. Marth, director of the Center for Nanomedicine, a collaboration between UC Santa Barbara and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, has revealed a pathway that links high-fat diets to a sequence of molecular events responsible for the onset and severity of Type 2 diabetes. These findings were published online August 14 in the journal Nature Medicine. 8/14/11

Decade-Long Study Reveals Recurring Patterns of Viruses in the Open Ocean Viruses fill the ocean and have a significant effect on ocean biology, specifically marine microbiology, according to a professor of biology at UCSB and his collaborators. "Microbial interactions, between oceanic viruses and bacteria, take place on the nanometer scale but are extremely important in governing the flow of energy and the cycling of nutrients like carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus on the ecosystem scale of the world's oceans," said Craig Carlson, professor with UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, and senior author of the study. The scientists noted that while there are approximately 10 million viruses in every drop of surface seawater, very few are infectious agents to larger animals like fish, whales, or humans. 8/11/11

New Book by Sociologist Examines Effects of Juvenile Crime Policies on Lives of Urban Youth For Victor M. Rios, juvenile delinquency and gang violence — and ways of dealing with them — are not abstract concepts. A former gang member himself, he has a unique perspective on the forces that drive adolescent boys into that particular lifestyle, as well as on those that can nudge them in the opposite direction. In his new book, "Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys" (New York University Press, 2011), Rios, an associate professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara, returns to his hometown of Oakland, Calif., to study how inner city young Latino and African American boys and young men develop their sense of self in the face of punitive policies in their schools and communities. 8/9/11

Laura Romo Appointed Director of the UCSB Chicano Studies Institute Laura Romo, associate professor of education at UC Santa Barbara, is the new director of the campus's Chicano Studies Institute. Romo received her Ph.D. in psychology from UCLA, and joined the UCSB faculty in 2003. A leading researcher in the areas of adolescent development, parent-adolescent communication, and informal health education, she has been working with community agencies in Santa Barbara, including Girls, Inc. and La Casa de la Raza, to develop and implement family-based sex education programs for low-income, mostly immigrant, Mexican-origin mothers and daughters. 8/8/11

UCSB Is a Leader in Graduates Selected by Teach for America Forty-two UC Santa Barbara graduates have been selected by Teach for America to work as beginning teachers in public schools in low-income communities across the country, an increase of 11 students over the previous year. The campus is among the top 20 large universities with the greatest number of students admitted to the highly competitive, nonprofit public service program. 8/3/11

Study Shows Arctic Tundra Fires Could Accelerate Climate Warming After a 10,000-year absence, wildfires have returned to the Arctic tundra, and a new study published in the journal Nature shows that their impact could extend far beyond the areas blackened by flames. The research team quantified the amount of soil-bound carbon released into the atmosphere in Alaska's 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire. First author Michelle Mack, associate professor with the University of Florida, conducted data analysis while in residence at UCSB's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). "This elegant mix of research approaches helps to frame the 2007 fire in the context of longer-term ecosystem dynamics," said Stephanie Hampton, deputy director of NCEAS. 7/27/11

Scientists Receive National Science Foundation CAREER Awards Four assistant professors at UC Santa Barbara have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awards. The Faculty Early Career Development Program offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of the early career development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. The UCSB recipients are Peter Alagona, history and environmental studies; Rouslan Krechetnikov, mechanical engineering; Javier Read de Alaniz, chemistry; and Luke Theogarajan, electrical and computer engineering. 7/26/11

New 3-D Photonic Crystals Have Electronic, Optical Properties In an advance that could open new avenues for solar cells, lasers, metamaterials, and more, UCSB's dean of science collaborated with a team from the University of Illinois to demonstrate the first optoelectronically active 3-D photonic crystal. The research is published in the journal Nature Materials. "The importance of this research lies in the bridging between photonics and electronics," said co-author Pierre Wiltzius, the Susan and Bruce Worster Dean of Science and professor of physics at UCSB. "Photonic crystals have interesting optical properties on their own, but having the capability to control them electronically opens up entirely new classes of applications."  7/25/11

Scholars Study Evolution of Human Generosity Commonplace acts of generosity have long posed a scientific puzzle to evolutionary biologists and economists. In acting generously, the donor incurs a cost to benefit someone else. But choosing to incur a cost with no prospect of a compensating benefit is seen as maladaptive by biologists, and irrational by economists. If traditional theories in these fields are true, such behaviors should have been weeded out long ago by evolution or by self-interest. Recently, however, a team of scientists at UC Santa Barbara's Center for Evolutionary Psychology conducted a series of computer simulations designed to test whether it was really true that evolution would select against generosity in situations where there is no future payoff. Their work surprisingly shows that generosity — acting to help others in the absence of foreseeable gains — emerges naturally from the evolution of cooperation. 7/25/11

Parasites Help Reveal New Ecological Rules Scientists at UCSB and other institutions say their new research is expected to profoundly affect the field of ecology and can assist the management of ecosystems, including forests, lakes, and oceans. The study breaks new ground by including parasites in a comprehensive study of ecosystems that reveals a new set of ecological rules. The research is published this week in the journal Science. "The major finding of our research is that all types of animals — parasites or otherwise — appear to follow exactly the same rule for how common they are," said Ryan Hechinger, lead author and associate research biologist with the Marine Science Institute. Other co-authors from UCSB are Armand Kuris, professor of zoology, and Kevin Lafferty, ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. 7/21/11

MSI Research Projects Part of $4 Million Grant from Ocean Protection Council The California Ocean Protection Council has awarded $4 million to support the initial monitoring of newly designated marine protected areas along the southern California coast. The projects, three of which are headquartered at UC Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute, will collect baseline information for up to three years. They will target marine life and habitats — as well as commercial and recreational activities — inside and outside the protected areas from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the California/Mexico border. 7/20/11

Materials Research Receives High Ranking Materials research at UC Santa Barbara ranks second in the world in terms of citation impact — a method for comparing the quality of research — according to a new report by Thomson Reuters. The citing of a scholar's research (as represented by a published scientific paper) in another researcher's published work is viewed as a strong indication of the importance of the original work and the influence it might have. "This very high ranking by Thomson Reuters is an exciting affirmation of the tremendous impact of materials science and engineering research taking place at UC Santa Barbara," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. 7/11/11

Clyde Woods, Renowned Black Studies Scholar, Dies in Santa Barbara Clyde Woods, 54, an associate professor at UC Santa Barbara and a distinguished scholar whose research examined social and public policy issues by studying the cultural practices of those oppressed by them, died July 6 at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, according to an announcement by the Department of Black Studies. Woods, who was also acting director of the Center for Black Studies Research, began teaching at UCSB in 2005. "Clyde Woods was an admired colleague, professor, and student mentor, and he will be deeply missed by all the members of our UCSB family," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. 7/8/11

Librarian Combines Interests in Vexillology and NASA Space Program to Become Expert on Flags on the Moon When Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the first United States flag on the moon on July 20, 1969, it represented a major feat in engineering. Annie Platoff, web services, geology, and Slavic languages librarian at UCSB's Davidson Library, has melded her interests in vexillology — the study of flags — and in the NASA space program to become a leading expert on the Apollo program's placement of flags on the moon. "For me, the flag on the moon is an excellent example of something that seems very, very simple, but once you really start thinking about it, you realize is very complex," she says. 7/7/11

Kohn Hall Receives LEED Silver Certification From U.S. Green Building Council Kohn Hall, home of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Kohn Hall, named for UCSB's Nobel Prize-winning physicist Walter Kohn, received the LEED Silver certification in the Existing Building category. Kohn Hall becomes the sixth campus building to be certified through the LEED Existing Building Portfolio Program, a collaborative initiative between UCSB and the USGBC that aims to assess and certify 25 campus buildings over a five-year period. Overall, Kohn Hall is one of 11 buildings on the UCSB campus to receive LEED certification. 7/6/11