College News: 2015-16

Writing Class Connects UC Davis to Navajo Nation


A recent virtual meeting of a University Writing Program class took place at UC Davis and Din College at the Navajo Nation in rural Arizona. Students in both classes are learning about writing, but they come from very different worlds, each with something to contribute to the other.

New Type of Meteorite Linked to Ancient Asteroid Collision


An ancient space rock discovered in a Swedish quarry is a type of meteorite never before found on Earth, scientists reported June 14 in the journal Nature Communications.

UC Davis Artists Will Make a Mark With Three Exhibitions


UC Davis master of fine art students was a major presence in Sacramento during May and June. “Ruminant Ground,” at Beatnik Studios starting May 6 and “having happened” at Verge Center for the Arts opening June 3 will feature work by 16 MFA candidates in the nationally-acclaimed program. Second year students also showed in San Francisco. 

Statistics Students Win Data Mining Cup 2016

UC Davis Data Mining Cup team

A student team from UC Davis won the 2016 Data Mining Cup, an international data analysis competition in Berlin.

Rare Feat: Three UC Davis Geochemists Honored at Goldschmidt Conference

UC Davis Goldschmidt winners

Three UC Davis geochemists who improved our understanding of Earth and the solar system will be honored at the Geochemical Society’s 2016 Goldschmidt Conference in Yokohama, Japan, on June 30 and July 1. 

Popular Solar Cell Materials Unsuited for Real-World Use

Alexandra Navrotsky

UC Davis scientists have found that some promising solar cell compounds — the hybrid lead halide perovskites — are chemically unstable and may be unsuited for solar cells.


Famous ‘Temporary Building’ Placed on National Register of Historic Places

During the 1960s UC Davis began building an art department that turned out like no other. Much of that early work took place in Temporary Building 9, a metal structure at Old Davis Road and Hutchison Drive. TB 9 — as it was dubbed — has been nationally recognized for its importance in art history with its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.

Sociologist Receives Award for Grad Student Mentoring

portrait photo of UC Davis sociologist Vicki Smith

Recognizing the vital role of faculty mentors, the UC Davis Academic Senate recently honored Vicki Smith, professor and chair the Department of Sociology, for “outstanding commitment” to the success of graduate students.

Researcher Gets Keck Futures Grant to Help Non-Musical People Enhance Their Groove

Photo of hand drummers in a samba class

Making music together can deepen social bonds, fostering compassion and empathy among the players. But not everyone is ready, or physically able, to join a drumming circle or even clap along. A UC Davis cognitive neuroscientist who studies the psychology of music is leading a team in developing an assistive device to help the musically challenged synch their sounds.

Senior Earns Chancellor’s Research Award for Linguistic Profiling Study

photo of student at research conference

Zion Mengesha, a graduating senior in linguistics and philosophy, has been selected to receive this year’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for her study on language bias in the classroom. 

Psychology Prof In Line to Lead Infant Studies Organization

portrait photo of Lisa Oakes

Lisa Oakes, a professor in the Department of Psychology and researcher at the Center for Mind and Brain, is the new president-elect of the International Congress on Infant Studies.

Historians Named to Honor Roll of Speakers

Four more faculty members of the Department of History have been named to the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship Program: Kathryn Olmsted, professor and chair; Andrés Reséndez and Louis Warren, professors; and Lisa Materson, associate professor.

Marine Life Quickly Recovered After Global Mass Extinction

Cartorhynchus fossil

Reptiles rapidly invaded the seas soon after a global extinction wiped out most life on Earth, according to a new study led by University of California, Davis, researchers.

Celebrating 50 Years of Eldridge Moores at UC Davis

Eldridge Moores

Marking 50 years of contributions to UC Davis, faculty and alumni of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences feted UC Davis geologist Eldridge Moores during a weekend of events on June 3-5, 2016.

UC Davis Selected As New Home For Imagining America


Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a civic-engagement consortium of more than 100 academic institutions and cultural organizations, will move its national headquarters from Syracuse University to the University of California, Davis, in the summer of 2017. The university will serve as IA’s hosting partner for a renewable, five-year term.

‘G.J.’ Mattey Receives Charles P. Nash Prize

Portrait photo of UC Davis philosophy faculty G.J. Mattey

George “G.J.” Mattey, a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, is the newest member of the campus community to be forever linked with the late Charlie Nash over their shared commitment to shared governance. Read about his selection for the Nash Prize.

In Memoriam: Charles Higgins

Charles Higgins Jr.

Charles Graham Higgins Jr., professor emeritus of geology at UC Davis, died at Carmel Valley Manor in Carmel, California, on May 16, 2016. He was 90.

UC Davis Faculty and Grads at Bay Area Book Fest


Naomi Williams

Three UC Davis faculty members and several graduates took part in the Bay Area Book Festival, June 4 and 5, downtown Berkeley. Admission was free.

Angie Chou, a 2005 graduate of the creative writing program in the English department, “She Who Has No Master(s)” panel at 11:45 June 4.

Innosanto Nagara, who earned a biology degree from UC Davis in 1993, is a children’s book author and illustrator on the panel “Pictures for Words, Words for Pictures: Authors and Illustrators on Collaboration” at 11:45 a.m. June 4.

Poet and English professor Joshua Clover “Put Your Poems Upon the Gears: Poetry and Activism,” at 1:30 p.m. June 4.

Department of History chair Kathy Olmsted "Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism" panel at 10 a.m. June 5.

Poet Katie Peterson, assistant professor of English, “Break, Blow, Burn: Poets on Desire” panel 3:15 p.m. June 5.

Naomi Williams, a 2007 graduate of the creative writing program and author of the historical novel Landfalls “Truer than Truth? The Historical Novel” panel at 3:15 p.m. June 5.

Social Media Campaigning: It’s About the Conversation

Twitter’s use as a political campaigning tool has been spreading around the globe since President Barack Obama tapped social media on the way to the White House in 2008. Twitter’s role in India’s 2014 elections, in turn, offers a critical lesson for candidates in this year’s U.S. races, says Saifuddin “Saif” Ahmed, a doctoral student in communication.

Polarization of Voters Reflects Wide Differences in Moral Views

America’s political divide runs deep — with vastly different views among left, right and moderate voters on the nature of right and wrong, according to a recent study by UC Davis political scientist Christopher Hare.

Two Programs in HArCS Become Departments


The UC Davis Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies (HArCS) has two new departments: American Studies and African American and African Studies have been elevated from programs to full departments.

Conference and celebration honoring Eldridge Moores

Eldridge Moores

Eldridge Moores

In his 50 years at UC Davis, geologist Eldridge Moores led a celebrated career spanning the birth of plate tectonics to assembling California. The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences celebrated his golden anniversary at UC Davis during the weekend of June 3-5, 2016. There were seminars and discussions on Friday afternoon and Saturday, social hours and a field trip on Sunday. Event details and links to a RSVP form are available at:

Risk and Rescue: Tina Rulli

If a hiker were lost in the backcountry and you were able to rescue them, would you feel morally obligated to do so? Would the hiker be similarly obliged to take adequate precautions against getting lost? Assistant Professor of Philosophy Tina Rulli grapples with the ethics of risk and rescue, and their implications for public policy.

Conference Envisions New Methods in Political Scholarship

Illustration of donkeys and elephants, each red and blue with white stars, meeting in the middle

A politcal science conference, Visions in Methodology 2016, brought researchers from across the country to UC Davis earlier this month with the goal of supporting women who study political methodology.

Four of Five Fulbright Awards Go to New College Grads and Alumni

Natalie Boyd

Five UC Davis graduating seniors and alumni will pack language skills — and experiences as varied hip-hop music production and stand-up comedy — when they head overseas to be cultural ambassadors as Fulbright grantees.

Historian Beverly Bossler Interviewed on New Book Networks

portrait photo of UC Davis historian Beverly Bossler in front of Chinese books

Beverly Bossler, professor of history, talks about her book, Gender and Chinese History: Transformative Encounters (University of Washington Press, 2015), in a recent interview on New Books Network.

New Fossil Changes Ideas About Marine Reptile Evolution


A newly discovered fossil is changing ideas about the evolution of the dolphin-like ichthyosaurs, marine reptiles that lived at the same time as the dinosaurs on land, and shows how quickly life rebounded from a catastrophic mass extinction 250 million years ago.

A Big Launch for the Global Tea Initiative at UC Davis


The colloquium launching the UC Davis Global Tea Initiative for the Study of Tea Culture and Science featured scholars from around the world talking about the chemicals and compounds in tea, types of tea, the Japanese tea ceremony and a kind of ceramic that for 500 years has been considered the best for making tea.

Time Magazine Cover Story Cites Research by Economists Jorda, Taylor

magazine cover illustration showing vines growing over a dollar bill and the word capitalism

The cover story of the May 23 issue of Time magazine “American Capitalism’s Great Crisis,” cites research by economics faculty Oscar Jorda and Alan M. Taylor.

Study: Children of Poor Immigrants Can Benefit When Professionals Recognize That Mother Knows Best

It can be a challenge for any mother in the United States to ensure her children get the best education and the best health care possible. It can be even more difficult when her English is limited and she feels inadequate for not understanding the system.

Three Art Professors Showing Sacramento


Department of Art and Art History professor Tom Bills and professors emeriti David Hollowell and Roland Petersen all have exhibitions opening in Sacramento on May 14.

Surviving evidence of Earth's formative years found

New work has found material in rock formations that dates back to shortly after Earth formed. The discovery will help scientists understand the processes that shaped our planet's formative period and its internal dynamics over the last 4.5 billion years.

Art Professor Wins Pollock-Krasner Award


Shiva Ahmadi, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Art and Art History, has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. An award like this provides the support that allows artists to take on new and ambitious projects.

Prize-winning Mathematician Honors Mentor With Gift to UC Davis

Ian Aol

Ian Agol, winner of this year’s prestigious Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, has made a $150,000 gift to UC Davis in memory of late mathematician William Thurston. 

Professors Release New Books On Protest


Two UC Davis faculty members have new books out on forms of protest. English professor Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings examines the whys, whens and wheres of riots and why they are on the rise. Larry Bogad, associate professor of theatre and dance, draws on his own experiences in the use of humor and theatrics in protests in Tactical Performance: The Theory and Practice of Serious Play.

Astronomers See Faintest, Furthest Galaxy

Farthest galaxy

A team of scientists led by two UC Davis physicists has detected and confirmed the faintest early-universe galaxy yet. This new object, seen as it was about 13 billion years ago, could help astronomers understand the “reionization epoch” when the first stars became visible.

Cahill Gift to UC Davis Supports Environmental Research in Physics

Tom and Ginny Cahill

A $300,000 gift from two UC Davis faculty members will enhance environmental research in the Department of Physics.

Vintage Venue: UC Davis Crocker Lab Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Crocker Nuclear Laboratory underground tunnels

The 50-year-old Crocker Nuclear Laboratory cyclotron is one of the few particle accelerators of its kind still working in the United States.

Black Holes, Strings and Other Things

Veronika Hubeny

Veronika Hubeny

The first lecture in new Winston Ko Frontiers in Mathematical and Physical Sciences Public Lecture series will took place May 9. Veronika Hubeny will discuss modern understanding of black holes, and the remaining mysteries. Her talk, “Illuminating Black Holes,” began at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 9, in the UC Davis Conference Center.

Veronika Hubeny, a professor of physics at UC Davis, is one of the experts probing the nature of black holes and gravity. Hubeny is a key member of the new Center for Quantum Mathematics and Physics, or QMAP, an initiative aimed at fostering a vibrant research environment exploring the forefront of modern theoretical physics and mathematics. QMAP researchers work in concert to tackle questions such as the origin of space and time, quantum gravity and string theory.

The Ko Lecture series was endowed by former dean Winston Ko upon his retirement from the UC Davis Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The gift is part of a challenge grant to establish a Professorship in Science Leadership to recognize an outstanding faculty member in the division. Fundraising for the Winston Ko Professorship in Science Leadership continues — we welcome contributions of any size toward this goal. Make a gift.

Free lecture. RSVPs encouraged at

Seven Ways UC Davis Students Will Change the World This Summer

Undergraduates will be putting their educations to work alleviating poverty around the world this summer, many of them before they even graduate. Seven students from a wide array of majors in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science — in the social sciences, humanities and mathematics — have been selected as Blum Center Summer Fellows for 2016. 

First Ko Lecture a Success

Veronika Hubeny

One new black hole appears every second, physics professor Veronika Hubeny told a rapt audience on Monday (May 9) during the first lecture in the new Winston Ko Frontiers in Mathematical and Physical Sciences Public Lecture series. In all, there are more black holes in the universe than grains of sand in the Sahara Desert, she said.

Q&A With Bernard Molyneux

The director of the cognitive science program talks about popular new major.

Art Professor Emeritus at Tate Gallery


Conrad Atkinson, professor emeritus in the Department of Art and Art History, has work in an exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London as well as a solo exhibition in New York. His Mayday: a shade of green an orange edge is part of Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-1979at Tate Britain.

Historian Arnold Bauer’s Life Celebrated In Chilean Valley He Loved

UC Davis historian Arnold Bauer standing in front of building with archways

Nearly nine months after history professor emeritus Arnold Bauer died in Davis at age 84, his ashes made a final journey “home” to Chile.

Black Holes, Strings and Other Things

Veronika Hubeny

The first lecture in new Winston Ko Frontiers in Mathematical and Physical Sciences Public Lecture series will take place May 9. Veronika Hubeny will discuss modern understanding of black holes, and the remaining mysteries. Her talk, “Illuminating Black Holes,” begins at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 9, in the UC Davis Conference Center.

International Colloquium Launches Global Tea Initiative

tea field

UC Davis will launch its Global Tea Initiative with a symposium bringing together the cultural and scientific aspects of the world’s most popular prepared beverage. The May 12 colloquium, “The Basics of Tea: Tea and People,” is a first step in creating a center for the study of tea culture and science on campus.  

'Red Poppies' Author Alai to Give Talk, Reading

Photo of author Alai

Author Alai (阿来) — whose historical novel of Tibet, Red Poppies, won China's Mao Dun Prize for Literature — gave a talk and read from his work on campus on Wednesday, May 25.

His talk, "Ethnic Minority Literatures in China and My Own Work," began at 4:30 p.m. in Memorial Union II. A reception will follow. 

When Alai, who is of Rgyalrong Tibetan descent, won the Mao Dun Prize in 2000, he was the youngest writer and one of the few ethnic minority writers in China to receive the country's top literary award. Red Poppies (尘埃落定) explores issues of Tibetan identity, language, and memory in the borderlands of the Himalayan plateau in the early 20th century.

His recent novel The Song of King Gesar (格 萨尔王) is based on a traditional oral epic from the Tibetan region of Kham. Both novels have been translated into English.

Alai's talk was sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Confucius Institute at UC Davis. 

Three Faculty Recognized For Teaching Excellence

Alessa Johns

Three faculty in the College of Letters and Science are among the 11 award recipients to be honored for excellence in research, teaching and public service at UC Davis.

UC Davis Artists Will Make a Mark With Three Exhibitions

Julian Tan

Art by Julian Tan

UC Davis master of fine art students will be a major presence in Sacramento during May and June. “Ruminant Ground,” at Beatnik Studios starting May 6 and “having happened” at Verge Center for the Arts opening June 3 will feature work by 16 MFA candidates in the nationally-acclaimed program. The students will also have a show in San Francisco. 

Design students in spotlight

Photo: detail of a student design with a miniature wall, chairs and 2-dimensional human figure

Designs by students at museum

Celebrating the bold concepts and creativity of UC Davis Department of Design students, the Design-by-Design exhibition is an annual juried undergraduate student competition, featuring graphic and textile designs, interior design, exhibition, model, form, fashion design and screen-based digital design projects such as websites and movies.  

Design-by-Design evolves out of the UC Davis Department of Design’s challenging curriculum which combines design history, theory, and studio courses. Faculty members mentor students through the complex practice of translating ideas into realities and the important process of shaping culture, form, and content. Students are trained in the areas of textiles and fashion, exhibition, visual communication, lighting and interior architecture. 

Sponsored by the Birgitta and Helge Olson Design Award, the work on exhibition will be evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of faculty and professional artists. Prizes will be awarded in six categories.

Museum Hours: Monday–Friday 12 p.m.–4 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m.–4 p.m. Picnic Day Schedule, Saturday, April 16: 12 p.m. –4:00 p.m. 

Closed on Saturdays, holidays and holiday weekends, and during installations. For complete information on visiting the Design Museum, click here.

Bringing a Special Sandbox Inside the Classroom

AR Sandbox

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Davis provided one of its Augmented Reality, or AR, Sandboxes to sixth graders at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science in Washington D.C.

English Grad Makes a Mark in Tech But Isn’t Giving Up Literature

Jennifer Pugh

Jennifer Pugh’s job as a product manager isn’t the kind of position people think an English major might end up with, but for Pugh (B.A., English, '10) it makes perfect sense. “When you have a liberal arts degree there is a questioning nature to it, there’s not just one answer,” she said.  “It prepares you to stand back and look at the entire picture.”

Four From UC Davis Elected To American Academy of Arts and Sciences

David Simpson

Four faculty members from the University of California, Davis have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. They are among 213 scientists, artists, writers and leaders in business, politics and philanthropy to be selected this year.

Sociologist Named a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar

Portrait photo of sociologist Jacob Hibel

Sociologist Jacob Hibel receives $350,000 grant to study how schools adapt to a sharp increase in the number of immigrant families.

Designer professor gives talk on Bonnard

James Housefield design professor UC Davis de Young Museum

James Housefield

James Housefield, an associate professor in the Department of Design, will give a talk April 23 in conjunction with a major Pierre Bonnard exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Four UC Davis students will also have work on display at the museum that weekend.

Study Says Logos Make a Group Seem ‘Real’

Alien cartoon characters rallying around a flag

New research shows that logos do far more than build brand identity — creating the impression that a group is unified, effective and coordinated.

Mariel Vazquez Receives National Award For Advancing Minorities in Math

Mariel Vazquez Blackwell-Tapia Prize Winner

The National Blackwell-Tapia Committee is pleased to announce that the 2016 Blackwell-Tapia Prize will be awarded to Mariel Vazquez, a professor in the departments of mathematics and of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of California, Davis.

Javanese shadow puppets bring another world to life

shadow puppets UC Davis Java performance

The centuries-old Javanese theatre art of wayang kulit casted its spellbinding shadows at UC Davis on April 24. Wayang kulit (“shadow play”) marries music, storytelling and visual art through puppetry. The story, based on The Mahabharata, an ancient Hindu epic poem, was narrated in English and Javanese. It is presented by the Department of Music at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. 


Laurie San Martin

Music Professor Receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Music professor Laurie San Martin has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. The fellowship will provide funding for San Martin, to do research and compose works for the San Francisco vocal ensemble Volti and New York’s Cygnus Ensemble. San Martin is one of only 175 Guggenheim Fellows this year selected from 3,000 applicants. The awards were announced April 6.

Borders Examined in All Day Symposium

Scholars from around the world will be at UC Davis for the Comparative Border Studies Initiative symposium “Borders: What’s Up With That? Displacements, Belongings, Rights” April 15.

Neuroscientists Get a New Look into How We Read

In a key advance, neuroscientists at UC Davis have come up with a way to observe brain activity during natural reading.

Future STEM Stars Gather At UC Davis

UC Leads Conference

Undergraduate researchers and future leaders in science, mathematics and engineering traveled to UC Davis in early March for the 15th annual UC LEADS conference.

Symposium Will Explore “Eyes in the Sky” Warfare


The symposium Eyes in The Skies: Drones and the Politics of Distance Warfare will trace the history of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from World War I to today with a prognosis for their future use in surveillance, reconnaissance and war. It takes place April 5. We will have artists, designers, gamers and scholars who work on diverse facets of remote aerial imaging to bring the politics of this form of warfare into clearer view, Caren Kaplan, a professor in the Department of American Studies and event organizer.


Katie Peterson

Creative Writing Professor Wins American Academy Prize

UC Davis assistant professor of English Katie Peterson is one of eight writers of “exceptional accomplishment in any genre” to receive an American Academy of Arts and Letters 2016 literature award. Author of three books of poetry, Peterson is on a list that includes two MacArthur “genius grant” Fellows and a Pulitzer Prize winner.


Magneto-ionics could be a new alternative to electronics

Right now, our microchips and memory devices are based on the movement of electrons across and near interfaces, usually of silicon, but with limitations of conventional electronics become apparent, researchers are looking at new ways to store or process information.

Medieval Scholars Coming Back To Place Group Started


Half a century ago, a handful of medieval scholars at UC Davis organized a conference. The outgrowth of that meeting was the Medieval Association of the Pacific, now back at UC Davis for its annual conference and 50th anniversary March 31 - April 2.

sea stars

Tide pools at the front line of ocean acidification

Marine life living in tide pools are vulnerable to rising acid levels in seawater, according to new research from UC Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and UC Santa Cruz.

Photo of Martin Hilbert speaking

Our Cyborg Future: Could Digital Data Out-Evolve Us?

With digital information increasing at an astonishing rate, a Department of Communication expert on big data and its effects on society says the concept of artificial intelligence evolving is no longer far-fetched.

New Yorker Art Critic Gives Students Insights

ps visit

Peter Schjeldahl and second-year MFA student Julian Tan talk at open studio event

Students recently got to spend time talking art and ideas with Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for The New Yorker magazine. Schjeldahl was at UC Davis to deliver the Betty Jean and Wayne Thiebaud Endowed Lecture supported by the College of Letters and Science.

Journal cover with collage of research images

Two Papers Make 'Best of Neuron' List

The journal Neuron recently chose its 12 best articles of 2014–15. Two were by memory researchers in the Department of Psychology and Center for Neuroscience.

Portrait photo

Jessica Perea

Faculty win major awards

Jessica Bissett Perea in Native American Studies, Wiebke Bleidorn in psychology, and Lucy Corin in English and creative writing, have all won top awards in their fields. 

Two speakers at a table

Conference Explores Aftermath of The Shining Path

If you missed the international conference, “The Aftermath of the Shining Path: Memory, Violence, and Politics in Peru,” you can watch videos of the panel discussions here. 

logo with dots in a spiral and words reading Public Scholars UC Davis Humanities Institute

Public Scholars Program Launched

A new UC Davis Public Scholars Program launched March 7 supports community-engaged scholarship by graduate students in the humanities and social sciences. Projects include music education for incarcerated juveniles, the oral history of a gentrifying neighborhood, and immigrant contributions to sustainable agriculture. 

Kevin Luli Wins NSF Career Award

kevin luli

Kevin Luli, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics, is the recipient of a prestigious Early-Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation.

Frances Dolan Teaching Prize Winner

Every Class A Collaboration For Teaching Award Winner

Frances Dolan is a Shakespeare scholar, but her intellectual curiosity and desire for connection with her students and community have also made her well-versed in Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket and Northern California farming. The Distinguished Professor of English is this year’s winner of the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement.

A Rich Lineup of Cultural Offerings

A rich lineup of cultural offerings historic photographs and fashions — check.

Cutting edge dance — right here. Art critic from one of the best magazines in the world — yep. Brand new play about the 2015 Baltimore riots — we have that. Finalist for 2015 Man Booker Prize — she was there. First performances of famous composer’s works in 400 years — that too.

Those are some of the cultural offerings at UC Davis in early 2016. If you like orchestral works by Beethoven you can find that along with genre-busting theatre, dance and visual arts, and a solid lineup of acclaimed writers.

Peter Schjeldahl

The New Yorker art critic gives Thiebaud lecture

Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for The New Yorker, will give the Betty Jean and Wayne Thiebaud Endowed Lecture at UC Davis March 10. The lecture, “The Critic as Artist: Updating Oscar Wilde,” is at 4:30 p.m and is free and open to the public. The series is named for filmmaker and teacher Betty Jean Thiebaud, wife of Wayne Thiebaud, an internationally recognized artist who taught at UC Davis for 30 years. 

Philanthropist Bita Daryabair and other audience members applauding speaker

Lecture Honors Donor, Growth of Persian Studies

What better way to celebrate UC Davis’ expanding program in Persian studies and its generous benefactor than with a lecture on modern Iranian women writers?

Tessa Hill

U.S. President Honors Tessa Hill as Extraordinary Early Career Scientist

President Obama named UC Davis professor Tessa Hill a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.

Borrego Fault

Breaking the Strongest Link Triggered Big Baja Earthquake

A spate of major earthquakes on small faults could overturn traditional views about how earthquakes start.

Brain Prioritizes High-Reward Memories

Why do we remember some events, places and things, but not others?  Our brains prioritize rewarding memories over others, and reinforce them by replaying them when we are at rest, according to new research.

Flood Risk Can Be Higher With Levees Than Without Them


People living behind levees on floodplains may not be as immune to flood damage as they think, according to results of a study led by the University of California, Davis.

Writers reading

Stellar writers reading

The UC Davis Creative Writing Program reading series includes a writer with 40 books to her credit and a writer whose just-released book was called “the first great novel of 2016" by Publishers Weekly.

Border studies event

Border Studies initiative examines ‘Racialized Belonging’

Defining borders, looking at who is crossing them and who we allow and don’t allow to cross them, are some of the issues the UC Davis Comparative Border Studies Initiative investigates in  “Human Rights, Citizenship and Racialized Belonging.”

Francsico X. Alarcon

Francisco X. Alarcon lived his poetry every day

Francisco X. Alarcón broke ground as a poet, writing in English, Spanish and the native language Nahuatl, creating poetry for children ...

Young alum wins new scholarship for study in China

James Rizzo

If you've already earned a pilot's license, a black belt in kung fu, an undergraduate degree and a great spot in the tech industry, what's next? James Rizzo has answered by winning a scholarship ...

Tracking down real-life private detectives

Portrait of professor John Walton in shadows of bars of a balcony

The trail had gone stone cold by the time John Walton set out to unravel a dark mystery. To make matters worse, the shadowy figures he was tailing had been pros at covering their tracks — and were long dead.

Hoopa elder Verdena Parker

Saving an endangered language

About an hour inland from Eureka there remains a small group of people who speak Hupa, a critically endangered Native American language. Members of the Hoopa Valley Tribe have for many years now been actively engaged in revitalizing their language ...

Ross Thompson elected president of Zero to Three

Ross Thompson

Ross Thompson, a distinguished professor of psychology, is the new president of the board of directors for Zero to Three, a national nonprofit that promotes the health and development of young children.

Delmar Larsen

Free Textbook Effort Expands With $600,000 Grant

College students in the STEM fields could see sizable savings thanks to a $600,000 grant awarded to an open source textbook project developed at the University of California, Davis.

New UC Davis connected books span the globe

Right Out of California

Want to know how California became the birthplace of the modern conservative movement? Take a ride with words and images down the California coast? Find out where our image of the classic gumshoe came from? Ride along on a uniquely told story about a round-the-globe voyage?  Those are a few of the things you can do and learn about in new books from UC Davis faculty and graduates.

Feds choose UC Davis to monitor nation's fine particles

grand canyon

The UC Davis Crocker Nuclear Laboratory is now the prime contractor for both major federal fine particle air quality monitoring networks — the National Park Service’s IMPROVE network and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chemical Speciation Network, or CSN, which monitors urban air quality.

Heghnar Watenpaugh

Professor’s work on Armenian site honored

Heghnar Watenpaugh, an associate professor of art history, received the Omer Lutfi  ...

Oxytocin shows differences in male and female mice

Mouse and oxytocin

Clinical trials are testing whether oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone” for its role in intimacy and social bonding has potential as a treatment for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. New research at UC Davis suggests oxytocin may have different effects in men and women—and in certain circumstances the hormone may actually trigger anxiety.

Political science senior vies for Rhodes Scholarship

david belcher

Senior David Belcher will take a break from his final quarter of political science and German studies this weekend to participate in the biggest honor yet of his accomplished academic career.

Sam Nichols

Long friendship leads to lots of music

Music faculty members and husband and wife Sam Nichols and Laurie San Martin have known cellist David Russell for 20 years and they’ve been writing music for him nearly that long.

Maurice Stierl, refugee crisis expert

Scholar gives insight into refugee crisis

For months, the world has watched refugees move toward and into Europe from Syria, Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, many fleeing wars and poverty. 

Community college degrees

Ann Stevens

Community college programs in career and technical education — especially in health professions — lead to significant financial returns, especially for women...

Flipping classrooms to change college STEM teaching


UC Davis is one of a handful of U.S. universities pioneering efforts to “flip” large classrooms from traditional chalk-and-talk lectures to interactive, discussion- and problem-based learning.

Early intervention in dyslexia can narrow achievement gap, study finds

Emillio Ferrer

Identifying children with dyslexia as early as first grade could narrow or even close the achievement gap  ...

Sheffrin Lecture: Political theorist Philip Pettit explores corporate rights

portrait photo of Philip Pettit

Should corporations, churches and voluntary associations be assigned rights under our laws in the same way as individual human beings? That's the question that philosopher and political theorist Philip Pettit explored in the 2015 Sheffrin Lecture in Public Policy.

Research on evolution, relationships and credit busts earn faculty a trio of honors

Lynne Isbell, a professor of anthropology, Phillip Shaver, distinguished professor emeritus of psychology, and Alan Taylor, professor of economics, receive honors.

Celebrating Green Chemistry

UC Davis Chemistry Goes Green

The University of California, Davis, Department of Chemistry celebrated joining the Green Chemistry Commitment on Thursday, Oct. 8.

Reimagining Oceans Scholar

Scholar adds to Indian Ocean Imagining

A new research initiative, Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds, examines the diverse places – from Tanzania to Indonesia - the ocean touches and how they are all connected by it.

History Ph.D. candidate helps host Chile California Conference

Portrait photo of William San Martin

William San Martín, a Fulbright scholar from Chile and a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American history, has been thinking a lot the last six months about his country’s future. San Martín is the content and program coordinator for the Chile California Conference, “Envisioning the Future, Creating it Together."

Often decried, polygyny may have some advantages

polygamy Masai

Much of the world frowns on the practice of polygamy. Most countries around the globe ban or restrict marriages to more than one spouse at a time. But a new study finds that the practice of sharing a husband may, in some circumstances, lead to greater health and wealth for women and their children.

Robert Svoboda

UC Davis physicist praises 2015 Nobel prize for neutrinos

Billions of mysterious particles called neutrinos bombard your body every day. But catching even one neutrino is a huge effort. Nearly all neutrinos pass through people — and even our planet Earth — without a trace.

Proposed framework for K-12 history instruction drafted at UC Davis

Staff of the UC Davis-based California History-Social Science Project, seated on steps

Four alumni will be watching closely Oct. 8-9 when a proposed new framework for history and social sciences instruction in California K-12 schools gets its first public hearing.

Does hunting explain why zebras are not domesticated?

wary zebras look up from grazing

Why do people ride horses but not their striped African cousins?

Lucy Puls

Professor and former student team up for exhibition

Ask Lucy Puls about her exhibition at the Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento and she’ll instead start talking about the center’s director, Liv Moe, who studied with Puls.

UC Davis offers WIC expertise as Congress considers funding

portrait photo of Marianne Page

As Congress prepares to consider reauthorization of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, UC Davis Professor Marianne Page offers expertise on the act, which funds a number of nutrition programs, including school meals for low-income students and the supplemental nutrition assistance program for women, infants and children, or WIC.

PBS documentary on Latinos and the Vietnam War features historian Lorena Oropeza

Screen capture of Lorena Oropeza speaking in documentary.

Lorena Oropeza, an associate professor of history, appears in a PBS documentary, On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam, to be presented Sept. 22 on PBS stations nationwide.

Randal Schaal

In Memoriam: Rand B. Schaal, 1951 — 2015

Former UC Davis geology instructor Rand Schaal, whose lively teaching style inspired and entertained thousands of undergraduates, died suddenly on Sept. 11, 2015, in Needles, California.

Persian studies program receives $1.5 million from Iranian-American philanthropist

Portrait photo of Bita Daryabari

Silicon Valley philanthropist and humanitarian Bita Daryabari has made a $1.5 million gift to UC Davis to broaden its Persian studies program.

Mexican Graduate student

MEXUS-CONACYT Doctoral Fellowships Attract Talented Graduate Students

UC Davis leads its fellow campuses in enrollment through the UC MEXUS-CONACYT Doctoral Fellowship Program.

Researchers study music-memory connections

A record on a turnable

An interdisciplinary research project at UC Davis is using music to access memories that on most days seem buried under years of living — and forgetting.

Supplemental content

world map

Seven Ways Students Will Change the World

Undergraduates will be putting their educations to work alleviating poverty around the world this summer, many of them before they even graduate. Seven students from a wide array of majors in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science — in the social sciences, humanities and mathematics — have been selected as Blum Center Summer Fellows for 2016. 

Video on seeing the upside crosses 1 million views

screen capture of Alison Ledgerwood lecturing

Feb. 2, 2016 — Why do bad things seem to stick in our minds so much longer than the good things?

And is there anything we can do about it?

Social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood tackles these questions in her Tedx talk on working to see the upside — “Getting stuck in the negatives (and how to get unstuck)” — which recently surpassed a million views.

Associate Professor Ledgerwood, who joined the faculty in 2008, investigates how people think and behave in social situations.

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