News in Brief

UCI Peace Activist and Former Prisoner Back From Iran, but May Have to Return

A community advisory board member of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at UC Irvine, who was detained for four months in Iran, has been reunited with his family. Ali Shakeri, 59, was given his passport this past Sunday and by Tuesday night was dining with family and friends.
‘He’s healthy now,’ Shakeri’s son Kaveh Shakeri told the OC Register. ‘We’re happy he’s with us, and he’s in good physical and mental [state].’
Shakeri was incarcerated on May 8 at the Tehran airport, after visiting his ill mother who passed away shortly after he arrived. He and four other dual U.S. and Iranian citizens were released by Iran after being accused of endangering the country’s national security. Shakeri, who was never given a clear reason for his imprisonment, was allowed to leave after posting bail.
However, according to a statement Shakeri gave to The Washington Post, he may be required to return to Iran to face charges. ‘They released me on bond to come to the U.S., and by the court order, when they want me, I’ll be there,’ he said. ‘This is not something which I will disobey.’
Shakeri also assured the Post that he was not mistreated in Evin Prison, where he was held in solitary confinement during his 114-day incarceration. ‘I was not treated bad in Ward 209, and I appreciate the discipline in prison.’
UCI colleagues and family members are nevertheless happy to have him with them once again. ‘We’re definitely excited,’ Kaveh said.

New Technology: UC Irvine Working on World’s Smallest Radio Receiver

Researchers at UC Irvine have been working on creating what may be the world’s smallest wireless radio receiver. Slimmer than a human hair, this device is about 100 times smaller than similar technology used in commercial wireless radio receivers.
Chris Rutherglen, a UCI graduate student in electrical and chemical engineering, created a carbon nanotube ‘demodulator’ that can translate AM radio waves into electrical signals that can be fed into a speaker to produce sounds.
Carbon nanotubes are man-made miniscule mesh rods comprised entirely of carbon atoms. They have been under extensive investigation by scientists due to their colossal strength and other one-of-a-kind properties.
So far, though, the entire radio has not been constructed, and will probably not be as small as the demodulator, which is about 1.5 nanometers wide. A true nano radio would also include several other tiny parts, including filters, amplifiers and an antenna. Designs for some of these parts have already been devised.
According to the American Chemical Society’s publicationNano Letters, this is the first time anyone has taken any of these nano-components, plugged them into the other sections of the radio and received and emitted clear sounds. The researchers demonstrated this recently when they used the demodulator to transmit classical music wirelessly from an iPod to a speaker several feet away.
Remarkable as this device may seem, it is questionable whether it will prove to be of much benefit to many people.
‘It’s not clear whether there would be any advantage to the average consumer,’ acknowledged Peter J. Burke, the associate professor in UCI’s electrical engineering department who co