News In Brief
UCI Loses Top Climate Expert to Germany
Sue Trumbore, chair of the top 25 world-ranked Department of Earth System Science, will be taking a leave of absence to work at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena in October 2009. She plans to continue working with UC Irvine on projects and collaborations.
Trumbore is a well-known expert on global warming and was one of the people responsible for putting UCI on the map as a leader in the study of Earth’s changing climate.
She assisted UCI in building an international reputation for studies of how carbon moves between the ground, plants, atmosphere and oceans. She also helped UCI earn $2 million for an accelerator that helps in the study of carbon dioxide. Many at UCI feel that her leaving will be a loss to the campus, but the relations with her institute in Germany will surely provide positive benefits.
Drill Will Simulate a 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake
More than 3.5 million people throughout Southern California will participate in the largest earthquake drill in the United States on Nov. 13 at 10 a.m.
The Great Southern California Shake Out Drill includes a number of events from Nov. 13 to Nov. 19, including the Get Ready Rally, The International Earthquake Conference and the Emergency Response Exercise.
The Shake Out is based on a potential 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the Southern San Andreas Fault Line, which scientists have modeled based off of their research.
The earthquake is approximately 5,000 times larger than the 5.4 magnitude earthquake that hit July 29, and will project the possible damages that such a devastating earthquake could cause.
The model scenario estimates that the earthquake will cause 2,000 deaths, 50,000 injuries and $200 billion in damages and losses.
Since the last significantly large earthquake was the 6.7 magnitude 1994 earthquake, scientists say that it is not a question of if we will experience another large earthquake, but a question of when.
Engineering Professor Creates Anti-Roll Chips
Research funded by Systron Donner Authomotive and headed by Andrei Skhel, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and UC Irvine Microsystems laboratory director, has resulted in the creation of a 1.7 millimeter-wide computer chip that will help stabilize automobiles.
The micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) gyroscope maintains a constant center of gravity and alerts the vehicle to correct itself upon detecting spinning or rolling. This allows vehicles to safely pass through sharp turns and slippery roads that would usually result in rollovers.
The MEMS gyroscope, together with Electronic Stability Control technology, will create a system that prevents accidents by automatically activating brakes on an out-of-control vehicle.
As compared to current electronic stability control available in luxury vehicles, the sensors are inexpensive and are expected to be widely used after approximately four years of testing.
Studies Find Olive Oil May Reduce Appetite
Recent studies have found that a fatty acid found in olive oil may lead to decreased appetites.
Daniele Piomelli, professor of pharmacology at UC Irvine, and his colleagues isolated the fat, oleic acid and infused it in laboratory rats. They found that the oleic acid converts into a fat messenger called oleoylethanolamide (OEA), which travels to the brain and tells the body that it is satiated; the rats were eating less after the infusion.
The longer it takes for the OEA to break down in the body, the longer the feeling of fullness lasts. Controlling OEA levels can help develop drugs that will decrease or increase the appetite in individuals.
Although olive oil is a healthy fat known to be responsible for lowering levels of heart disease, experts point out that fat calories from olive oil also add up quickly.
The findings were published in the October issue of “Cell Metabolism.”
UCI Students Receive XIV Dalai Lama Endowment
UC Irvine undergraduate students Moran Cohen and Ali Malik were the 2008 recipients of the annual XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship for their peace efforts through the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI).
Malik and Cohen are both leaders of OTI, the program that organized a student-led visit to Israel and Palestine established in 2007. Each student will receive $7,500 and an additional $2,500 to jointly spend on promoting peace through dialogue. They plan on using the funds to initiate a year-long forum on the Israel-Palestine conflict to educate others on the specifics of all sides of the conflict in the region.
Students and professors that attended a UCI lecture by the Holy XIV Dalai Lama established the XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship in 2004. Among other achievements, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The fund has since been awarded annually in honor of his visit and ideals.
Bill Gates Funds Study of Poverty in Africa
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $1.7 million to UC Irvine to create an institute to study how poverty-stricken individuals store and manage their money.
The Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion will focus on individuals in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, as well as parts of India, China and Russia.
Researchers will try to determine whether advanced technology will alleviate some of the problems individuals in these circumstances have when it comes to transferring their wealth.
The up-and-coming mobile banking industry, in which banking services are performed via devices such as cell phones, will provide more security for the world’s poor for the first time.
Fieldwork will be performed by scientists living within the countries under observation.
Bill Maurer, UCI anthropologist and the director for the institute will oversee the fieldwork.