College News: 2016-17

Conference Confronts U.S. Immigration Policy


As President Donald Trump signed his executive order Friday to halt immigration from several Muslim-majority countries, the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences hosted a conference entitled "Documenting the Immigrant: U.S. Immigration Policy Past, Present, and Future." 

Conference Puts Quantum Mathematics and Physics Center on the Map

xi yin

Researchers from around the world recently converged at UC Davis for a five-day conference exploring emerging science in quantum field theory, string theory and quantum gravity.  

Historian's Impact: A New National Monument

greg downs

A new national monument to Reconstruction will go a long way in reversing a public amnesia about the years following the Civil War, says a UC Davis historian who worked four years for the creation of the park.

Astronomers Measure Universe Expansion, Get Hints of ‘New Physics’


Astronomers have just made a new measurement of the Hubble constant, the rate at which the universe is expanding, and it doesn’t quite line up with a different estimate of the same number. That discrepancy could hint at “new physics” beyond the standard model of cosmology, according to the team, which includes physicists from the University of California, Davis, that made the observation. 

Ko Lecture Series Focuses on Sustainability


Chemist Daniel Nocera, a world leader in renewable energy research, came to UC Davis on Feb. 9 for the second installment of The Winston Ko Public Lecture Series: Frontiers in Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

Hans-Georg Mueller Recognized for Statistics Research


The American Statistical Association recently selected Distinguished Professor Hans-Georg Müller of the Department of Statistics for the 2017 Gottfried E. Noether Senior Scholar Award. 

KeckCAVES Virtual Reality Software Now for Gaming Headsets

keck caves

Virtual reality software used by scientists at the University of California, Davis, to study everything from earthquakes to molecular biology in a 3-D “cave” can now run on some off-the-shelf gaming VR headsets.

In Memoriam: Lenora Timm, Founding Chair of Linguisitcs

lenora timm

A memorial service was held Thursday (Jan. 26) at Putah Creek Lodge for Lenora “Nora” Timm, a professor emerita of linguistics and former associate dean of Graduate Studies.

Art History Colloquium Examines Lasting Impact of Rome


An art history colloquium at the University of California, Davis, reached back 2,000 years to examine the lasting impact of Rome on how cities are created, look and function. “The Life and Afterlife of Ancient Roman Architecture,” Feb. 10 was the fifth installment of the Templeton Colloquium in Art History.

ME/SA-Sponsored Photo Exhibition Looks At Women's Work in 1930s India


Refocusing the Lens, a photo exhibition organized by UC Davis history alumna Lisa Trivedi and sponsored by the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program, featured images by photographer Pranlal K. Patel of working women in India in the 1930s.

In Memoriam: Wendell Potter, Physics Education Pioneer


Wendell H. Potter, a physics professor whose passion for teaching led to major reforms in undergraduate science education, died Jan. 8. He was 73.

Visiting Artists Series Expanded, New Home

dona nelson

The long-running Art Studio Visiting Artist Lecture Series at UC Davis had a bigger lineup than usual along with a new, more public location for the new year. The series, featuring a wide range of artists and art scholars, was held in the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art that opened in November. All the talks were free and open to the public.

Human Rights Lecture Series Launched

human rights

Human Rights Studies at UC Davis presented a four-lecture series of high-profile speakers addressing ongoing issues connected to war, indigenous rights, migration and refugees.

Applied Mathematics Major Honored for Excellence in STEM

barnett and augustine

Joel Barnett, 22, a junior in applied mathematics, recently received an Excellence in STEM Award for transfer students during the STEM Transfer Day award ceremony. 

Concert Celebrates ‘Cycles’ for Composer

Portrait photo of UC Davis composer Pablo Ortiz

During any given year, the music of composer and professor Pablo Ortiz can be heard across the globe — from his native Argentina to Switzerland to San Francisco. Just a few weeks ago, a piece he wrote to be played on a giant metal sculpture was performed in Athens, Greece. The UC Davis Department of Music professor’s 60th birthday was celebrated with a concert of his music at the new Ann E. Pitzer Center recital hall on Oct. 21.

Next Creative Writing Program Series Features UC Davis Faculty

portrait photo of Jacinda Townsend

UC Davis faculty members Maceo Montoya and Jacinda Townsend were featured in the Nov. 1 UC Davis Creative Writing Program Reading Series. The free event took place at 7 p.m. in Peter J. Shields Library.  Montoya is a writer, artist and assistant professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and Townsend is a new creative writing assistant professor in the English department. 

International Experts to Speak on 'Sensory Aspects of Tea'

Tea tasters talk about using all fives senses in experiencing a cup of tea. The UC Davis Global Tea Initiative for the Study of Tea Culture and Science will take that concept to new levels on Jan. 19, 2017—bringing experts from an array of disciplines to campus to talk about "The Sensory Aspects of Tea."

New Humanities Institute Director Brings Humanities, Arts and International Background to Role

portrait photo of Jaimey Fisher

After several years abroad Jaimey Fisher, professor in the UC Davis German Department and Cinema and Digital Media program, is back in Davis as the new director of the UC Davis Humanities Institute (DHI). 

Event turns to novelist, artist, diplomats and a defector to explain the mysteries of North Korea

In a nation shrouded in mystery, can literature and art lift the veil?

Ice Surface Melts One Step at a Time


Researchers in Germany, the U.S. and Japan have used a combination of experiments and computer modeling to show how this “quasi-liquid layer” forms as layers of the ice crystal melt.

"Genius" Grant Winner Was Student Activist, Chicano Studies Major


Chicano Studies Alumnus, José Quiñonez, Receives MacArthur Genius Grant

Faculty Win International Awards

Faculty members in Italian, Classics and Religious studies have all recently won international awards

UC Davis experts to speak at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting

Grand Canyon

UC Davis scientists from fields across earth and space science will present their work during the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Dec. 12-16. This tip sheet highlights a range of UC Davis research, from the origin of Earth and the moon, to climate change impacts on the California Coast, to estimating the potential for future earthquakes. 

Alumni active on the arts scene


Several UC Davis graduates have art shows currently on display throughout the region.

Statistics Professor Receives China’s Highest Academic Honor

Jiming Jiang

Professor Jiming Jiang, Department of Statistics, has been named a Yangtze River (Changjiang) Scholar by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China.

Mapping Out Standing Rock

Standing Rock Map

As a professor in the UC Davis Native American Studies Department, Liza Grandia  was looking for a way to help her students and the public better understand unfolding events about the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy. 

Graduate Creates an “Awesöme” Music Career


David Möschler (M.A., music, ’10) has created a successful if slightly unorthodox music career largely based on figuring out how he could have the musical life he wanted. “I’ve always been drawn to eclectic music—orchestral music that sounds like musical theatre and musical theatre that sounds orchestral,” said Möschler, who during the first few months of 2016 led performances of music by Jean Sibelius, Andrew Lloyd Weber, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and Green Day, among others. A few years ago, he also started an unusual musical ensemble called the Awesöme Orchestra.

Graduate Paints Very Big Art Career


Just before completing her undergraduate degree in studio art and Italian in 2008, Sofia Lacin was hired to paint a mural at the Davis Crepeville restaurant where she worked. It was a big wall so she recruited her high school friend Hennessy Christophel to help. “It was difficult, but we had fun,” said Lacin, who grew up in Sacramento. “I found out I liked painting out in the open and solving the problems involved.” 

Work Of Art Tailored to Help Art Majors Succeed


Nearly every student has concerns about what they’ll do when school is over. For those in the arts, that can be especially tricky. To make career paths clearer, last year the Arts Group Advising Center started Work of Art: Career Series for Student in the Arts. The center and series serve students in studio art, art history, design, theatre and dance, music, and cinema and digital media. 

Start at UC Davis Radio Leads Grad to KQED

Combining a love for radio and art, Benjamin Castle (B.A., art history and psychology, ’14) now leads sales for San Francisco public radio station KQED. Castle’s first foray into radio came early in his time at UC Davis, where he not only hosted a show on KDVS, but also was the station’s business and underwriting director for three years.

American Studies Major at NFL

For some, nothing is more American than football. So it seems appropriate that Jacob Frank, who earned a degree in American Studies in 2011, works for the National Football League. After an internship and a seasonal job with NFL communications, he landed a job with the league’s new health and safety policy department in 2013 and now manages it.

Parallel Projects Bring Chemistry to the Arboretum

UC Davis chemistry in the arboretum

Nhu Nguyen (B.S., chemistry, ’12), an artist and doctoral student in chemistry, is the mastermind behind a recent exhibit in the UC Davis Arboretum called Walking in the Woods with Chemistry.

FT Lab: Where Fashion and Function Meet and Match


In the two years since the Fashion Design and Technology Lab started, assistant professor of design and lab director Helen Koo, lab interns and other students have: 

• Won a top prize in the International A’ Design Award.

• Won a UC Davis Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and a Provost’s Undergraduate Fellowship Award.

• Presented at the International Textile and Apparel Association’s annual conference. 

“I can see how passionate, creative and innovative our students are,” Koo said. 

Bringing Scientific Thinking to Public Policy

Gabby Nepomuceno

With the State Capitol right across the Yolo Causeway, UC Davis students and researchers have the unique opportunity to directly engage politicians and policymakers with their research. One such talented individual is Gabby Nepomuceno (Ph.D., chemistry, ’15).

Geology Field Camp Delivers Fundamental Skills and Modern Methods

UC Davis geology field camp

Field camp is one of geology’s enduring rites of passage. In this capstone course, juniors and seniors spend six weeks in the wilderness learning how to document complex geological phenomena.

Launching Crocker Nuclear Laboratory Into The Future

Students in Crocker Nuclear Lab at UC Davis

Stepping inside the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory control room can spark nostalgia for space-age design. Bakelite knobs and flashing analog switches parade across sofa-sized control banks that look like they belong on the set of a 1960s sci-fi flick. But the Crocker is far from antiquated.

Digging for Clues to Past Cultures—and Future Jobs

UC Davis archaeology field school student shovels dirt

Students who endured swarms of mosquitos, tramped through thistle and sifted through shallow layers of dirt during six weeks of UC Davis' Archaeological Field School say they loved it. 

ASPIRE Program Gets Students Into Labs Early

Psychology major Brynna Thigpen got an early introduction to scientific research. As a sophomore, she became a research assistant at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, designing and conducting experiments on memory development in children.

'The California Aggie:' Back in Print

Editor of UC Davis' student newspaper

The Aggie returned to print this year, after 2 ½ years of online-only editions, thanks to a student-approved fee and the efforts of the paper's editorial staff—many of whom are College of Letters and Science majors.

Book on U.S. Food Safety Program Origins Wins Award

book cover with pattern of cow silhouettes, some splattered with spots

Arresting Contagion, co-authored by economics faculty member Alan Olmstead has won a book award for outstanding social science history.

Three MPS Faculty Members Elected as AAAS Fellows

Seven UC Davis faculty members are included in the newest class of fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The AAAS Council recently voted in 391 fellows in all for 2016, in recognition of their efforts to advance science or its applications.

SNO+ Neutrino Detector Gets Ready For Run


Professor Robert Svoboda and other UC Davis physicists, including graduate students Morgan Askins and Teal Pershing and postdocs Vincent Fischer and Leon Pickard, helped build SNO+ and will be working on analyzing data from the experiment.

Meet Our New CAMPOS Faculty Scholars


UC Davis this week welcomed six new faculty members recruited through the CAMPOS Initiative, part of the ADVANCE institutional transformation initiative at UC Davis. Established through a grant from the National Science Foundation, the UC Davis ADVANCE program aims to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in academic careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, including social sciences.

Anthropologist Receives Prestigious Packard Fellowship

Portrait photo of UC Davis anthropologist Margaret Crofoot

Margaret Crofoot, a UC Davis anthropologist studying group decision-making in primates, has been awarded a 2016 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

UC Davis Symphony Orchestra Kicked Off Challenging Season Nov. 19

symphony conductor twirling baton

The UC Davis Symphony Orchestra kicked off its season Nov. 19 with music by Johannes Brahms and two less familiar composers, Henri Dutilleux and Witold Lutosławski. The five additional concerts of the season likewise blend the older with the newer, the better known with the lesser known. “We like to invite people to come on a journey with us and find something new,” said Christian Baldini, orchestra music director and conductor and associate professor in the Department of Music.  “My passion is opening new doors as much for the orchestra as the audience.”

Art Professor Annabeth Rosen Wins Major Award


Art professor‚ Annabeth Rosen has received a USA Fellowship Award from United States Artists. The award carries an unrestricted $50,000 cash prize. A sculptor who works in ceramics, Rosen has held the Robert Arneson Endowed Chair‚ in the Department of Art and Art History since 1997.

LASER: Conversations in Art and Science Rebooted

laser logo

A series at UC Davis that brings together art and science restarts with a new format, location, time and leadership. The Leonardo Art, Science, Evening Rendezvous (LASER) re-launched on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. The first event included Manuelita Antonio Rangel-Sosa, a Venezuelan-American architect, designer and artist; Megan Dennis, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Biochemistry; and Matthias Hess, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Animal Science.

Tea Expert Talks about Environment-Taste Connection

Terroir, that “sense of place” so important to making great wines, matters in tea too

Political Scientists Give Bigger Picture of What Election Holds

Portrait photos

Christopher Hare and Cheryl Boudreau

Six days before the Nov. 8 general election, two UC Davis political scientists gave a talk about the hearts and minds of voters — both in California, where they face a dizzying array of ballot measures, and nationwide, where divisions run deep. 

Saxophone Quartet Premieres UC Davis Faculty and Student Compositions


The Mana Quartet, a San Francisco saxophone ensemble, will performed several new UC Davis works in concerts Nov. 10 and 11. The Nov. 11 concert included the premiere of “Seagram Murals” by Mika Pelo, associate professor in the Department of Music. This and other works that performed were part of the “Sight and Sound” project through which the Mana Quartet and Chamber Music America commissioned music inspired by visual art works.

Art Alum Creates 1,500-Foot "Ribbon" for New Museum

rings ribbon

Working in her Oakland studio, Lisa Rybovich Crallé was surrounded by teetering stacks of white rings looking like oversize life preservers. These rings, 500 of them, will be linked to form a 1,500-foot-long sculpture that will hang from the canopy of the UC Davis Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art for its grand opening. Adorned with 200 gold-painted “charms,” the soft chain sculpture will replace the traditional ribbon associated with new building dedications. “I'm thinking of the project as a gigantic charm bracelet for the building to wear,” said Crallé, who earned a master of fine arts degree from the UC Davis Department of Art and Art History in 2011.

New Theory Explains How the Moon Got There


Earth’s moon is an unusual object in our solar system, and now there’s a new theory to explain how it got where it is, which puts some twists on the current “giant impact” theory.

What the Ancient CO2 Record May Mean for Future Climate Change


The repeated restructuring of tropical forests at the time played a major role in driving climate cycles between cooler and warmer periods, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis, and published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Atom-by-Atom Growth Chart For Shells Helps Decode Past Climate


For the first time scientists can see how the shells of tiny marine organisms grow atom-by-atom, a new study reports. The advance provides new insights into the mechanisms of biomineralization and will improve our understanding of environmental change in Earth’s past.

UC Davis and New Zealand University Team Up for Exhibition, Seminar


Patterns of Endurance: Kahutoi Te Kanawa, Donna Campbell, LisaNa Red Bear and Tawhanga Nopera, an art exhibition at the C.N. Gorman Museum at UC Davis, showcases the work of doctoral candidates from the School of Maori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. In conjunction with the exhibition of weavings, garments, digital prints and video, a series of lectures and other events will take place at the museum Nov. 2

Initiative Examines Border Militarization


The UC Davis Mellon Initiative in Comparative Border Studies starts its second year with a series of events during “Border Studies Week,” Oct. 28 – Nov. 3, on the topic of “Mobility, Militarization, Containment.”  Events will explore the tensions between mobility and confinement as borders become more militarized. 

A Big Year for Creative Writing


Rae Armantrout

This was a special year for creative writing at UC Davis. The popular Opening Night reading of new work by creative writing program faculty (Oct. 5) celebrated its 10th anniversary and the visiting writers reading series now have a new home in the Peter J. Shields Library. The visiting writers series kicked off Oct. 12 with Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout and continued with a wide range of writers throughout the academic year.

Pioneering Psychologist Receives Honorary Degree in Glittery Stockholm Ceremony

UC Davis psychology professor emeritus Philip Shaver receiving honorary doctorate from Stockholm University

Phillip Shaver, distinguished professor emeritus of psychology, has received a series of career awards for his research on romantic and other close adult relationships. But none of his award presentations can top what happened Sept. 30 in Stockholm.

Pioneering Punjabis Digital Archive Launched


In the late 19th century, men from the Punjab region in north India began settling in the Sacramento Valley and other parts of rural California, farming the land that reminded them of home. UC Davis has launched the Pioneering Punjabis Digital Archive Project  that brings together resouces on the history and ongoing vibrancy of Yuba City’s Punjabi American community – one of the largest rural South Asian communities outside India.

Book on Native American Slavery Shortlisted for National Book Award

book cover

A sweeping history by Professor Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, was a finalist for a 2016 National Book Award.

Tongue-In-Cheek Museum Will Meld Science and Art


If Salvador Dali designed a science museum, it might look something like the plans for the Institute of Unknown Purpose, a surreal and playful pop-up institute that will blend science and art.

'India in the Artist's Eye' Series Offers Full Year of Events


Bickram Ghosh’s Drums of India

The UC Davis Department of Religious Studies and the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts have teamed up for a year-long celebration of the arts of India. “India in the Artist’s Eye” includes music, theatre and dance along with exhibitions, lectures and workshops. The series, which started Sept. 30 with a concert by Bickram Ghosh’s Drums of India, is a part of the department’s Religions of Indian Initiative.

Design Professor Helen Koo Wins First Innovation and Creative Vision Award


Helen Koo, an assistant professor in the University of California, Davis, Department of Design, is the inaugural recipient of the UC Davis Award for Innovation and Creative Vision for her work in wearable technology. The award was established to honor and support the advances of outstanding non-tenured faculty members early in their careers.

The “9/11 Generation” Lives Life Under Surveillance


Young people of South Asian, Afghan and Arab descent growing up in a post-9/11 world feel constantly under suspicion and surveillance. Their lives are the focus of the book The 9/11 Generation: Youth, Rights, and Solidarity in the War on Terror (New York University Press) by Sunaina Marr Maira, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Asian American Studies. The book has just been released to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

From Classroom to Canyon

grand canyon

Experience UC Davis students’ journey of science, discovery and education in the Grand Canyon through an interactive multimedia project.

UC Davis’ McClellan Nuclear Research Center on Forward Path

triga blue red

The McClellan Nuclear Research Center, owned and operated by UC Davis, has received approval from campus leadership to proceed with the implementation of a recently developed strategic plan that sets the direction for the facility over the next 5-plus years.

Marine Scientists Featured in Climate Change Film

Bay Nature preview

Follow marine scientists from the Bodega Marine Lab and Point Blue Conservation Science as they track the dramatic changes happening in our ocean in this short film from Bay Nature.

Teacher Workshop on Transcontinental Railroad to Make Another Run

Historic photo of last spike ceremony for Transcontinental Railroad

A UC Davis-run workshop that brings the history of the Transcontinental Railroad to life for schoolteachers is back on track for next summer, thanks to a National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

MPS Awards & Accolades — Summer 2016

portrait photo of UC Davis Professor Isabel Montanez

The Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences recognizes faculty and students who received awards and accolades during summer 2016.

Historian's Study Helps National Park Service Commemorate Reconstruction Era

Portrait photo of UC Davis historian Gregory Downs with handbook on Reconstruction era that he co-edited

As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary this summer, UC Davis Professor Gregory Downs has focused on an oft-forgotten part of U.S. history that our national parks are now helping the public to understand — the Reconstruction era. 

10 Ways UC Davis Is Great in STEM


We present in sound and video some of the people and projects that make UC Davis a great place for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Economist to CTV: Perfect Storm Brewing in Canada's Housing Market

UC Davis economics professor Alan Taylor in an interview with Canadian television

In an interview with Toronto-based Business News Network, Professor Alan M. Taylor says Canada's hot housing market looks like the U.S. before the financial crisis.

Anthropologist Sums Up Latest Research on Human Spread Around the Planet

Sandy Harcourt gives a keynote address on early human migration

Our species, Homo sapiens, left Africa earlier than previously thought and our diverse cultures have been heavily influenced by geography, according to a recent review by Alexander (Sandy) Harcourt, professor emeritus of anthropology.

Evolution of Biggest Whales Linked With Ocean Productivity


Starting out the size of a hippo some 50 million years ago, whales have since evolved into the largest animals on Earth. But their growth wasn’t steady over the millennia; instead, filter-feeding whales like the blue whale only ballooned in size starting about 2.5 million years ago. Whales’ grass-gobbling relatives, such as sea cows, also expanded in size during this time.

UC Davis Big Part of Small Books on Everyday Objects

book cover with illustration of bread loaf

When UC Davis alumnus Christopher Schaberg (Ph.D., English, ’09) thought about who would be great contributors to the book and essay series he was creating, he went back to colleagues at UC Davis. So far his UC English doctoral classmates, John Garrison (Ph.D., English, ’11)  and Kara Thompson (Ph.D., English, ’09), along with English professor Scott Shershow, have written essays and books for the “Object Lessons” series.

New Center Will Enhance Music at UC Davis

Opening in September

The full range of music-making at the University of California, Davis, got a big boost in September with the opening of the Ann E. Pitzer Center. The state-of-the-art building houses classrooms, practice rooms and an acoustically pristine 399-seat recital hall that will host dozens of concerts each year. The center’s grand opening Sept. 23-25 included composer Philip Glass, the  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo; and concerts showcasing UC Davis faculty and students.

Anthropology Student Curates Controversial Art Exhibit In South Africa


Matthew Nesvet, who is pursuing a doctorate in anthropology at UC Davis, studies organized crime and has been researching a syndicate that plunders gold mines in South Africa. But recently his attention has been on a controversial art show he organized in Johannesburg. The exhibition “Post Its #1”aims to challenge the meanings of “post” in post-apartheid and post­colonial South Africa.

Network Science Meets Al Capone

historic photo of Al Capone and associates

Sociologist Chris Smith and a colleague have brought modern network theory to the Roaring Twenties, compiling a database of the relationships in Prohibition-era Chicago and mapping out the links that held together Al Capone’s criminal empire.

LUX Dark Matter Detector Comes Up Empty


The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment, which operates beneath a mile of rock at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has completed its silent search without detecting the missing matter of the universe.

Emeriti Faculty Continue Scholarly Work

historic photo of Al Capone with associates

Like many retirees, UC Davis professors don’t quit working when they retire. Some say they’ve done their most significant work since retiring. Emeriti contributions to the scholarly world are examined in the recent study "A Virtual Eleventh Campus" by John Vohs, a UC Davis senior lecturer emeritus of communication. 

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