UC Davis magazine: Entrepreneurs, guns, domes

The Spring issue of UC Davis Magazine is on its way out to alumni and parents, and available online at the magazine’s website and in a new online “zmag” format.

The cover story of this issue, by Clifton Parker, is on campus entrepreneurship and efforts to promote innovation — how scholars and researchers are bridging the gap between campus and the marketplace with collaborations, patents and startup companies.

Clifton also reports on a new lease of life for Baggins End, the student cooperative housing also known as “The Domes.” The funky housing had been set to close until a new agreement was signed with the Solar Community Housing Association to manage the neighborhood.

Oaxaca earthquake, one day later

A major earthquake struck Mexico just after 11 a.m. Pacific Time yesterday. Initial reports put the magnitude at 7.9 and relatively close to the surface, which would be a very serious earthquake. However, news reports from Mexico City and then other cities including Oaxaca and Acapulco showed relatively minor damage and few casualties, and the US Geological Survey later downgraded the magnitude to 7.4.

“It’s a good example of the fog of information after an event like this,” said UC Davis geologist Michael Oskin. “It went from 7.9, shallow (10km) and thus a high destructive potential to a 7.4, deep (20 km or deeper, I suspect) and unsurprising event on the subduction interface.”

Weekend workshop prepares “Counselors for Computing”

School counselors will gather at the UC Davis Conference Center Saturday for a workshop on how to guide and advise school students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The counselors will hear from both teachers and students from schools that partner with the UC Davis K-14 Outreach Center for Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) about their experiences, especially in encouraging female students and other underrepresented groups into science and engineering.

The workshop is jointly organized by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), the California Association of School Counselors and UC Davis C-STEM.

Business school, College of Engineering fare well in US News rankings

The UC Davis Graduate School of Management and the graduate programs of the College of Engineering are both included in this year’s US News and World Report rankings.

The Graduate School of Management’s part-time MBA program placed No. 19 among U.S. business schools, up 13 positions from No. 32 last year. US News made some changes to their methodology for assessing part-time MBA programs this year, reducing the weighting from peer assessment and adding other factors.

UC Davis’s full-time MBA program ranked at number 36, among the top eight percent of the 441 Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International-accredited full-time master of business administration programs.

New Frog species found in exotic habitat…New York

It’s not every day that science adds a new vertebrate species, and you might think the likely place to find undiscovered animals would be a remote rainforest or island. But researchers from UC, Rutgers and the University of Alabama have now identified a new frog species living in and around New York City.

The so-far unnamed frog is a type of leopard frog, the spotted frogs found in ponds and meadows across North America. It looks a lot like other leopard frogs but has a distinct croak, and is only found in a fairly small range between Trenton, N.J. and Putnam County, N.Y..

Erbacher appointed to national physics panel

Professor Robin Erbacher of the Department of Physics has been appointed to the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, a group of experts that advises the federal government on research in theoretical and experimental physics. The panel reports jointly to the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

Erbacher and the other new panel members will be sworn in on Monday, March 12 in Washington D.C.. The panel will serve through 2014.

Erbacher earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University and joined the faculty at UC Davis in 2004. She was part of the team at Fermilab that detected the “top quark.” She is also a member of the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland.

Semiconductor pioneer Jerry Woodall to join UC Davis

If you can’t imagine life without a TV remote — and if you are under a certain age, you probably can’t — thank Jerry Woodall, soon to join the faculty of the UC Davis College of Engineering.

Woodall invented the high-efficiency red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) used in remote control and data-link applications such as TV sets and the super-bright LEDs used in CD players and short link optical fiber communications.

On July 1, he takes up an appointment as Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, moving from Purdue University.

FIRST Robotics back at UC Davis, March 15-17

The Sacramento Regional FIRST Robotics competition returns to the UC Davis Pavilion March 15-17 for three days of intense mechanical competition between high school teams from around the region and across the country.

This year’s challenge is “Rebound Rumble,” a kind of robot basketball. As usual in FIRST Robotics, games are played between alliances of three teams on each side.

Here’s the full list of teams. Competing again this year is Team 1678, the Citrus Circuits from Davis. Last year the Citrus Circuits qualified out of the regional competition for the first time and attended the national competition in Atlanta.

Different galaxy cluster, different results

It’s a result baffling to astronomers but one that should delight true science fans everywhere. Observations of the behavior of dark matter in a merging galaxy cluster billions of light years away don’t square with theory. Heck, they don’t even square with observations of other clusters.

The observations of the Abell 520 merging galaxy cluster are to be published in The Astrophysical Journal and are already available online. The team was led by UC Davis astronomer James Jee and used the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments to image galaxies, hot gas and dark matter in the object, where two clusters of galaxies are crashing into each other.

Did stinging evolve before seeing?

The human eye has sometimes been held up as a problem for evolutionary theory — how did such a complex structure evolve from simple parts? Evolutionary scientists, beginning with Charles Darwin, have pointed out that the eye could have evolved incrementally, with even basic functions presenting a selective advantage.

A study from UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara published today shows how the light-sensitive pigments which now let our eyes translate light into nerve signals could have played a role in much simpler, eyeless organisms.