News in Brief

Four Faculty Nominated to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Four UC Irvine faculty members were elected to become members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) last week.

Founded in 1780, the AAAS is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and  independent policy research centers. It aims to convene diverse leaders to tackle critical global issues.

At UC Irvine, the AAAS recognized:

Professor and Chair in Moral Philosophy Margaret P. Gilbert,  for her contributions to the field of philosophy of social phenomena.

Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of UCI’s School of Law, for his contributions to education and policy in constitutional law, notably in free speech, civil rights and civil liberties and appellate litigation.

Steven R. White, professor of physics, who published a pioneering algorithm which solved problems with  quantum mechanics and led to a new field in computational physics. He also modeled a quantum spin liquid, a new state of matter which may be key to building superconductors and quantum computers.

R. Benny Gerber, chemistry professor emeritus, for contributions to atmospheric and environmental chemistry, physical chemistry and chemical physics and theoretical and computational chemistry. He is recognized particularly for his team’s work on vibrational spectroscopy.

The four will be inducted at a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass. on Oct. 8.

 

UCI Receives $1 Million in Physics Scholarship

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded UC Irvine with $1 million to be used for scholarships and research into how to better serve low-income students who study physics.

Though a recent campus project doubled the number of incoming physics majors, many UCI physics majors end up switching majors. The NSF aims to double the amount of graduating physics majors, with heavy focus on low-income physics majors, and improve overall academic success.

The five-year project is expected to fund at least 60 scholarships to those who are both financially and

academically eligible.

 

UCI Scientist Makes Battery Technology Breakthrough

UC Irvine researchers have made a breakthrough in nanowire- based battery technology that may lead to batteries which never require replacement.

Nanowires are highly conductive and thousands of times thinner than a human hair, which means they are extremely fragile and typically do not hold up to many cycles of discharging and recharging.

Led by doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai, the UCI research team coated a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell which was then encased in an electrolyte made of a plexiglas-like gel. Though Le Thai was merely “playing around” with this formula, the electrode she tested lasted for 200,000 cycles over three months without fractures or capacity and power loss, whereas a normal electrodes die in between 5,000 and 7,000 cycles.

 

Food Pantry Referendum

UCI’s Food Pantry Referendum passed with 85.8 percent voter approval. The referendum will take effect in fall 2016, and will levy a new $3 quarterly fee on undergraduate and graduate students for the support of the operations, food expenses, transportation, marketing, maintenance and expansion of the food pantry in the Student Outreach and Retention Center (SOAR).

SOAR intends to create additional programs and services for the food pantry with the new funding, including a new mobile food pantry with fresh food, as well as an emergency food fund.

 

Legislative Councilmember Recalled

Students of the Paul Merage School of Business voted last week to recall their Legislative Council representative, Gevorg Novshadyan, with 88.83 percent of the votes in approval. Students petitioned for his impeachment following a series of controversial comments he made on Facebook during week 10 of winter quarter.