UCSC engineers' work will aid development of implantable prosthetics
Implantable microelectronic devices for overcoming blindness, paralysis, and stroke damage are the focus of a new center in which UCSC engineers are collaborating with scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) and California Institute of Technology.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is providing $17 million over five years to fund the USC-based Center for Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems (BMES).
Biomimetics refers to the use of technology to mimic biological systems. BMES researchers are developing prosthetic devices to restore abilities that have been lost due to injury or disease.
The center will focus on three "testbed" projects: a cortical prosthesis for implanting in the brain to restore cognitive functions lost due to stroke or other causes; a neuromuscular prosthesis to restore movement to a paralyzed limb; and a retinal prosthesis to provide artificial vision to people who have lost their sight due to diseases affecting the retina, such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.
All three of these projects share common technological challenges, said Wentai Liu, a professor of electrical engineering and director of the center's activities at UCSC. "The basic problems involve power and data management, miniaturization of the microelectronic systems, and the interface technology that allows the microelectronics to interact with living tissue."
Heinlein's literary estate given to UCSC
The UCSC archive of renowned science fiction writer Robert Heinlein has received a $300,000 gift of materials and money from the estate of Heinlein's late widow, Virginia Heinlein.
The donation was accompanied by a grant to establish at UCSC the position of a Heinlein Scholar, who will work to organize, document, and promote the scholarly use of the archive, housed in the University Library's Special Collections since 1968.
Often referred to as one of the grandmasters of science fiction along with such colleagues as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, Heinlein produced more than 50 novels and collections of short stories over his long career.
The Robert Heinlein Archive at UCSC contains a priceless collection of the author's original manuscripts, correspondence, and personal effects. The latest acquisition includes all of his honors and tributes including his four Hugo awards, plus artwork and other memorabilia, as well as his extensive working and personal libraries.
William H. Patterson Jr., founder of a nonprofit educational organization that is dedicated to promoting Heinlein's social legacy, has been selected as the campus's Heinlein Scholar for 2003-04.
UCSC will manage a national research program valued at more than $330 million under an agreement between UC and NASA that was announced in September.
The 10-year contract, a first-of-its-kind for NASA, will establish a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field.
"This is a singular opportunity to advance important and potentially world-changing research," said Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood. "The UARC moves NASA and university collaborations in a whole new direction," added G. Scott Hubbard, director of the Ames Research Center.
The initial focus of UARC activities is likely to be in the areas of information technology and computer science, nanotechnology, and aerospace operations. Additional areas of interest include astrobiology, biotechnology, and fundamental space biology.
Music librarian Paul Machlis surrounds himself with just a few of the 2,700 classical CDs donated to UCSC from the personal collection of the late Jesse C. Rabinowitz, a professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley. When fully cataloged, the Rabinowitz collection will increase the UCSC library's classical CD collection by almost 50 percent, raising it to a very high standard for a campus of UCSC's size. Rabinowitz, an enthusiastic cellist and avid patron of the arts. was a knowledgeable collector, buying deeply in genres ranging from early to contemporary music.
Alaska field course gets rave reviews
From gazing in awe at a mother grizzly bear frolicking with her cubs to meeting with Native tribal advocates and business leaders, students in last summer's Alaska field course shared three weeks of unforgettable experiences.
"I've tried to explain the experience to family members. It was amazing," said Arwen Edsall, an environmental studies major at UC Santa Cruz who participated in the course after graduating in June. "Spending time with other students who are interested in Alaska's environmental issues, and really getting to know them in the place we're talking about, was incredible."
For the second consecutive year, the class offered students from around the country an immersion course in the natural history and public policy challenges facing the Last Frontier. The course combines travel, lectures, field research, and reflection. Five UCSC students were among the 16 students from nine universities who participated in 2003.
"Alaska is a great case study because it's a microcosm of development in the West," said Dennis Kelso, an assistant professor of environmental studies at UCSC and one of the course's instructors.
New evidence of global warming supports greenhouse gas models
Scientists have filled in a key piece of the global climate picture for a period 55 million years ago that is considered one of the most abrupt and extreme episodes of global warming in Earth's history.
The new results, from an analysis of sediment cores from the ocean floor, are consistent with theoretical predictions of how Earth's climate would respond to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Led by James Zachos, professor of Earth sciences at UCSC, the study was published in Science magazine's online site in October.
The temperature estimates were derived from chemical analyses of the shells of microscopic plankton preserved in the seafloor sediments. The sediments were deposited on the seafloor during a period known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, when a massive release of heat-trapping greenhouse gases is thought to have triggered a runaway process of global warming.
Climate theory predicts that the increase in greenhouse gases would have caused temperatures to rise all over the planet.
Zachos and a team of researchers at UCSC and several other institutions have now obtained the first reliable estimates of the change in tropical sea surface temperatures during this period. The findings fit well with the predictions of computer simulations based on current climate theory.
Chemers named to UCSC's No. 2 post
Martin M. Chemers, dean of social sciences at UCSC since 1995, has been named interim campus provost and executive vice chancellor of UCSC. The appointment, made by Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood, took effect in December.
A professor of psychology, Chemers brings to the campus's No. 2 post an exceptional scholarly record and extensive administrative experience. He is widely regarded among social psychologists as the foremost scholar on cross- cultural and social psychological aspects of leadership.
Chemers replaced John B. Simpson, who was named president of the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Michael M. Hutchison, an economist at UCSC, has been named interim dean of social sciences.
New program sends humanities students into local schools
Literature graduate student Veronica Kirk-Clausen was a little nervous when she stepped into Martha Dyer's eighth-grade class at Mission Hill Junior High in Santa Cruz last spring.
"I'm used to teaching undergraduate sections and writing classes with students ages 18 to 21," Kirk-Clausen recalled. "I didn't know what to expect or how to anticipate their reactions, but they surprised me by being very interested, excited, and asking sophisticated questions."
Kirk-Clausen's junior high visit was part of the Graduate Student Speaker's Bureau, a new program launched by UCSC's Humanities Division. It offers free classroom presentations on humanities subjects to high school, junior high, and middle school classrooms in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Graduate students are selected to participate on the basis of their particular areas of expertise, as well as their ability to communicate with younger students.
The program was proposed and designed by Christopher Connery, associate professor of literature at UCSC.
"We have great reserves of talent here in the division and wanted to do more to share that with our community," Connery said.
Connery added that one of the goals of the program is to introduce middle and high school students to the idea of graduate school and research in the humanities. It is also intended to give graduate students experience in sharing their knowledge with diverse, nonacademic audiences, as well as to strengthen ties between UCSC graduate programs and area teachers.
The presentations cover a wide range of topics: English, language arts, history, literature, linguistics, philosophy, and cultural studies.
Film professor wins 'Academy' award
Shelley Stamp, associate professor of film and digital media at UCSC, has been named one of two 2003 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the same folks who bring us the Academy Awards.
Stamp is receiving $25,000 from the academy to complete a book about silent film director, screenwriter, and actress Lois Weber.
The Film Scholars Program was created in 1999 "to stimulate and support the creation of new, innovative and significant works of film scholarship about cultural, educational, historical, theoretical, or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures."
"I was stunned when I heard the news; I never imagined I would win," said Stamp. "But I'm so grateful that the academy is recognizing research on early women filmmakers."
A director of the silent-film era, Weber became the first and only woman granted membership in the Motion Picture Directors Association, a precursor to the Directors Guild of America. Despite achieving widespread fame during the early 1900s, Weber has been mostly neglected by film historians.
"Her reputation has not survived as well as those of other prominent silent film directors such as D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille," Stamp noted. "But in the 1910s, Weber would have been included along with them in any mention of the industry's top directors. Until very recently, her filmmaking legacy was largely lost."
Moore Foundation awards $17.5 million for Thirty-Meter Telescope
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded $17.5 million to the University of California for collaboration with the California Institute of Technology on a project intended to build the world's most powerful telescope.
Coupled with an award by the foundation to Caltech for the same amount, a total of $35 million is now available for the two institutions to collaborate on the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) project. The project's first step is the formulation of detailed telescope design plans.
A 30-meter-diameter optical and infrared telescope, complete with adaptive optics, would result in images more than 12 times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope. The TMT will have nine times the light-gathering ability of one of the 10-meter Keck Telescopes, which are currently the largest in the world. With such a telescope, astrophysicists will be able to study the earliest galaxies and the details of their formation as well as pinpoint the processes that lead to young planetary systems around nearby stars.
"We are very pleased that the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has recognized the strengths of the University of California and Caltech to carry out such an important project," said UC President Robert C. Dynes. "The giant telescope will help our astronomy faculty stay at the very forefront of that dynamic field of science."
"The University of California and Caltech will work in close and constant collaboration to achieve the goals of the design effort," said Joseph Miller, director of UC Observatories/ Lick Observatory, which is headquartered at UCSC.
Alumni Association names award winners
A California assemblyman, an anthropologist, and a housing staff member have been named winners of the UCSC Alumni Association's highest honors for 2003-04.
In ceremonies that took place on campus in February, John Laird received the Alumni Achievement Award; Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, the Distinguished Teaching Award; and Carol Douglas-Hammer, the Outstanding Staff Award.
Laird was elected in 2002 to represent the state's 27th assembly district. Prior to representing a district that includes parts of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara Counties, Laird served two terms on the Santa Cruz City Council, where he was elected to two one-year terms as mayor. He also served as a Cabrillo College trustee for eight years. He graduated from UCSC's Stevenson College in 1972 with a degree in politics.
Distinguished Teaching Award winner Diane Gifford-Gonzalez is an anthropological archaeologist who reaches out to students at every level, teaching large introductory courses as well as upper-division topical and theory courses. She also sponsors several independent studies each quarter and collaborates with students on paper and poster presentations at national meetings. Her research centers on the interrelationship of people and animals. Her work has tracked the movement of different animals as they were introduced into environments along with the people who herded or tended them.
In her more than 20 years at UCSC, Outstanding Staff Award winner Carol Douglas-Hammer has gained a reputation across campus as an effective, results-oriented professional. As assistant director for Student Housing Services, she has been particularly effective in directing the creation of informational materials for prospective and current students and their families.
The Alumni Council, the association's governing body, selected the winners based on nominations from students, faculty, alumni, and staff.
UCSC gains from two generations of giving
Eugene Walsh knows the value of higher education. Forced to cut short his studies at UCLA to support his parents during the Great Depression, Walsh returned to the classroom decades later, graduating from UCLA's executive program in 1964, and receiving an M.B.A. from Pepperdine in 1972.
Now, Walsh's son and daughter-in-law are doing their part to ensure that future students won't have to abandon college. UCSC economics professor Carl Walsh and his wife, Judy, have established the Walsh Family Scholarship Endowment for social sciences majors in honor of Eugene and Bessie Walsh.
In recognition of the gift, the conference room in Social Sciences 1 has been renamed the Eugene and Bessie Walsh Conference Room. A plaque inside the room will describe the careers and philanthropy of the Walshes.
"This is a lasting way of honoring my parents," said Carl Walsh. "They set a good example of doing things they thought would make the world a better place."
Judy Walsh is a member of the pioneer class of Crown College, earning a bachelor's degree in history in 1971. In 1990 she received a master's degree in applied economics. Judy is now the development officer for UCSC's New Teacher Center, and has worked for UCSC in other capacities.
"We feel especially happy and grateful that this wonderful gift is from one of our most renowned faculty members and one of our staff members who is also a UCSC alumna," said then-social sciences dean Martin M. Chemers.
"Both Carl and Judy Walsh have been contributing to the success of UC Santa Cruz in their respective capacities for many years," he said. "Their establishment of this scholarship endowment, and their naming of this conference room in honor of Carl Walsh's parents, is a heartening and very generous expression of support for the campus's educational endeavors."
Wireless access points going up on campus
Forget tripping over cords or fumbling with wires when you use your laptop around campus: UCSC is going wireless. Following trial runs at two UCSC buildings last summer, 130 wireless access points are now in place throughout campus, mainly in common areas such as dining halls, lounges, and libraries. Some residence halls also have wireless service.
Areas with wireless access points are being marked with signs. The new service, called CruzNet, is expected to be established throughout campus by June.
Enrollment, fees, aid would be affected by budget proposal
California governor Schwarzenegger's 2004-05 state budget, proposed in January, would reduce fall '04 freshman enrollment throughout the UC system, increase the student-faculty ratio and student fees, and reduce financial aid. The budget also proposes deeper cuts for outreach, research, and administration.
In all, the UC system would sustain $372 million in cuts if the governor's budget were to be adopted.
"The governor is making difficult choices, and asking many parts of state government to sacrifice," said UC President Robert C. Dynes. "That is understandable. But these cuts, coming on top of previous budget cuts, would have a very serious impact on the university and its tradition of providing a top-quality, accessible, affordable education for Californians.
Three faculty awarded Presidential Chairs
Three faculty members at UCSChistory professor Edmund Burke III, literature professor Helene Moglen, and psychology professor Barbara Rogoffhave been appointed to UC Presidential Chairs.
Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood made the appointments, which extend through June 2006. Annual support for each chair is $45,000 and will fund proposals made by the appointees prior to their selection. "These three scholars help distinguish our campus, and it is an honor to recognize them," she said.
Presidential Chairs exist on each UC campus through an endowment established in 1981 by the UC Regents.
Professor Burke's proposal to establish a World History Center at UCSC will not only benefit the History Department, but will strengthen the campus's reputation for excellence in research and world history.
Professor Moglen, a well-known literary critic and feminist theorist, proposed using the resources awarded to the chair to support programming for UCSC's new Institute for Advanced Feminist Research.
Professor Rogoff proposed assembling an interdisciplinary, intergenerational set of scholars to study how social interaction is organized in support of learning in communities where schooling has not been prevalent. Particular emphasis is on indigenous communities in North and Central America.
Humanities teaching award presented at Merrill's 35th
History professor Gail Hershatter was presented with the 2003 John Dizikes Teaching Award in Humanities at a reception in November celebrating the 35th anniversary of Merrill College.
Presented by the Humanities Division to honor outstanding teaching, the award was named in honor of one of UCSC's founding faculty members.
"I am grateful to be named in the teaching tradition of John Dizikes, whom I admire and respect," Hershatter noted.
Dizikes, a professor emeritus of American studies, began his tenure at UCSC in 1965. The humanities teaching award comes with an unusual provision. In addition to being honored with a check for $3,000, the winner is entitled to select an undergraduate student to receive a $3,000 scholarship.
Hershatter chose Joshua Townsend, a student in her Chinese history courses. He particularly impressed her after she assigned him the role of Emperor of China in a historical simulation that recreated the Quing dynasty.
President's 'inaugural tour' comes to UCSC
UC President Robert C. Dynes got off to a fast start during his first visit to UCSC on January 27, as members of the campus community joined him on a morning jog before a full day of meetings with faculty, staff, and students. The visit was part of the "inaugural tour" of UC campuses the new president is conducting in lieu of a formal swearing-in ceremony.
Dynes began his meeting with Chancellor Greenwood and other UCSC officials a day earlier at NASA Ames Research Center. There, he was briefed on the University Affiliated Research Center program and learned of UCSC activities in genome research, teacher preparation, and other areas.
"I'm very impressed with the strengths in research and the quality of academic programs," he said during his visit.
Ocean scientist fills Ida Benson Lynn Chair
Professor of ocean sciences Kenneth Bruland has spent more than 25 years studying the chemistry of the ocean and the ways in which trace amounts of certain elements influence marine ecosystems.
Bruland was a pioneer in the development of the demanding techniques needed to measure trace elements in seawater. His appointment in November to the Ida Benson Lynn Endowed Chair in Ocean Health recognizes Bruland's contributions in this area and provides support for his ongoing research.
The Ida Benson Lynn Endowed Chair in Ocean Health was established in 1998. Bruland's five-year appointment to the chair includes $15,000 per year to support his teaching, public service, and research, and $40,000 to support graduate student fellowships.
Bruland said he has several ideas for using the funds that come with the endowed chair. "I am especially excited about the idea of being able to use this endowment to help recruit and support outstanding graduate students," he said.
Bruland also said he would use some of the funds from the endowment to make his research accessible to a wider audience.
For more news about UC Santa Cruz's people and programs, see UCSC's weekly online newspaper: currents.ucsc.edu
Mark Christensen, second chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, and a distinguished professor at UC Berkeley for almost four decades, died in October at his home in Carmel. He was 73. Christensen served as chancellor at UCSC from July 1974 through January 1976. Prior to his appointment as chancellor, Christensen had served as vice chancellor at Berkeley, the principal aide to then-Chancellor Albert Bowker.
After serving as chancellor at UCSC, Christensen returned to UC Berkeley as a professor of geology and geophysics. He retired in 1994 as a professor emeritus of energy and resources.
Ronald Ruby, professor emeritus of physics at UCSC, died in Santa Cruz in November. He was 70 years old. Ruby came to UCSC in 1965, one of the first faculty members hired by the newly established Cowell College. He conducted research in biophysics, focusing on the physics of photosynthesis. He was also known for his innovative and zestful approach to teaching.
Ruby's involvement in campus activities ranged from participation in long-range planning efforts to coaching the rugby team. He served as chair of the Physics Department, chair of the Academic Senate, and associate dean of natural sciences. Ruby retired from UCSC in 1991.
An annual award will be established in Ruby's name for excellence in teaching the natural sciences at UCSC. Donations can be sent to: UC Santa Cruz Foundation-Ruby Award, University Relations, Attn: Gift Administration, Carriage House, UCSC, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.
John Kitsuse, a second-generation Japanese American who was imprisoned in an internment camp during World War II and became a leading scholar in sociology, died in November at his Santa Cruz home after suffering a stroke the day before. He was 80.
Kitsuse, a professor emeritus of sociology at UCSC, was one of the premier theorists in the field of social problems and deviant behavior. He had a wide range of academic interests, including education, sexuality, and crime, but was primarily known for developing the theory of social construction, which explored how social problems come to be understood as such.
Kitsuse, who joined the UCSC faculty in 1974 and retired in 1991, served as president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems from 1978 to 1979. He was chair of UCSC's Sociology Department from 1985 to 1988 and for two quarters in 1980.
The family requests that donations in Kitsuse's memory be directed to the UCSC Sociology Department.
Donations can be sent to: UC Santa Cruz Foundation- Kitsuse Memorial, Attn: John Leopold, Social Sciences 1, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.
Thomas Rees, a UCSC Foundation trustee since 1998 and former member of the Friends of Long Marine Laboratory board, died in December. He was 78.
Rees, an attorney who retired to Santa Cruz County in the 1980s, served in the California Assembly and Senate as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.
Memorial donations may be made to the Friends of Long Marine Lab or Hospice of Santa Cruz County.
William Chavez, a UCSC alumnus and trustee of the UCSC Foundation, died in January at the age of 49.
A politics graduate of Merrill College, Chavez was a distinguished leader in Sacramentoas chief of staff to a state senator, director of the senate's Democratic Caucus, and an education lobbyist.
A scholarship fund benefiting UCSC students has been established in Chavez's name. Donations may be sent to: William A. Chavez Memorial Scholarship Fund, at Merchants National Bank, 1015 7th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Return to Spring 2004 Issue Contents