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News in Brief

UCI Dream Eaters Take the Lead in Heroes of the Dorm Tournament

UC Irvine’s eSports team, the Dream Eaters, are competing in the Tespa-sponsored tournament Heroes of the Dorm for scholarships amounting to up to three years worth of tuition (approx. $75,000). Top-seeded amongst the 64 remaining teams, UCI will continue to compete in the single-elimination rounds. If the Dream Eaters make it to the finals, they will be compete on May 12 at Blizzard Arena in Burbank.

The Dream Eaters are being coached by Eugene Tseng, a professional gamer and member of the winning team of the 2017 Heroes of the Dorm tournament. In a statement to UCI News, Dream Eaters captain Parsa Baghai, a senior in computer science, said “All teams practice together, but what sets us apart from the others is the amount of time and resources we invest in researching our opponents.”

Baghai also said, “Having a coach amplifies the learning process significantly … He condenses a lot of important information from practices, and he’s able to give us a different perspective of the game at a higher level.”

Vice Chancellor Parham to Leave UCI

Thomas Parham, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, will be leaving UCI at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year to assume his new position as President of California State University, Dominguez Hills. His departure comes after a 33 year tenure at UCI, and after having held the position of Vice Chancellor since 2011, in which he constantly fought for student achievement.

Some of his major accomplishments for UCI students include providing students of color with faculty that supports and advocates for their success. According to Joshua Scruggs, a second year psychology and education major, Parham is a mentor, life line and father figure to many black students. He listened to student demands and provided centers and spaces for resources, outreach, retention and social-ecological growth. He wanted these centers to allow all its inhabitants to be free and express themselves as they please. While those spaces continue to grow and maximize their potential, Scruggs said they also serve as a template for what types of changes can spread positivity for people of color for colleges and universities across the nation.

Scruggs also appreciated that Parham focused on providing an insightful and unconventional approach to psychology. He took an approach that factors what it meant to be a person of color in the lense of traditional psychology. He called for change, encouraging future African American psychologists to push the psychological scope to account for our cultural differences and traumas.

Scruggs said Vice Chancellor Parham’s ability to spread growth and prosperity to many will be missed at UCI.


UCI Engineers Develop Invisibility Material

  UCI graduate engineers have created an invisibility material that could potentially improve camouflage for soldiers and be used for insulation systems.

  The material, which is made of aluminum, plastic and sticky tape, can quickly change how they reflect heat, smoothing or wrinkling their surfaces in reaction to being stretched or electrically triggered. This makes them invisible to infrared night vision tools or heat sensors.

  The invention was made to imitate the way squid and other cephalopods nearly instantaneously change their skin to blend into their surrounding environment. “Seeing dinosaurs disappear and reappear under an infrared camera in ‘Jurassic World’ and seeing squid filmed underwater do similar things,” said Gorodetsky. “So we decided to merge those concepts to design a really unique technology.” said corresponding author Alon Gorodetsky, an engineering professor.

There have been products that reflect heat, such as electric blankets for years, but inventors in Gorodetsky’s lab and others have been improving these inventions through bio-inspired engineering. Their hope is to develop larger scale models of the unique material, now that a smaller prototype has been successfully engineered.


UCI Graduate Programs Receive Top U.S. News Rankings

“U.S. News and World Report” published its annual graduate school ranking last month. Fifteen UC Irvine schools, departments and programs were ranked in the top 50 schools among public institutions and overall.

The criminology doctorate program was ranked third overall.

UCI School of Law was ranked seventh among public institutions and 21st overall. They are also sixth among publics and 13th overall for clinical training, eighth among publics and 21st overall for intellectual property law and top 13 in the law school diversity index.

The Department of Chemistry is eighth among publics and 20th overall. Its organic chemistry graduate program is third among publics and 10th overall. The inorganic chemistry graduate program is seventh among publics and 15th overall.

The Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing was named 43rd among publics and 66th overall.

The Francisco J. Ayala School of Biology is 12th among publics and 33rd overall.

The School of Education is 14th among publics and 24th overall.

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering is ranked 21st among publics and 35th overall.

The Paul Merage School of Business is 21st among publics and 42nd overall.

For research, the School of Medicine research is ranked 22nd among publics and 46th overall.

The computer science program is 15th among publics and 30th overall.

UCI physics is ranked 16th among public schools and 28th overall.

Mathematics is 21st among publics and 39th overall.

UCI’s part-time MBA program is ranked 19th among publics and 32nd overall.


UCI Nuclear Nonproliferation Research

Research done at UCI on nuclear emissions, specifically neutrinos and antineutrinos, will play a significant role in the Advanced Instrumentation Testbed initiative (AIT), which works towards creating and testing technology to increase nuclear security.

Neutrinos, whose discovery is co-credited to the founding dean of UCI’s School of Physical Science, Frederick Reines, is expected to be used to study emissions. AIT co-spokesman Mark Vagins,  UCI professor of physics & astronomy said to UCI News, “Nuclear reactors produce vast numbers of antineutrinos; they are the only type of reactor emission that cannot be shielded or attenuated. But they can be detected. Therein lies an opportunity.”

The research is a collaboration between laboratories in the U.S. and U.K. A 3,500-ton detector, called Watchman, is expected to be built at Boulby Underground Laboratories, a U.K. government-funded science facility.

The detector is expected to be operational by 2023 and will be used to detect antineutrinos with a technique pioneered by UCI’s Vagins. The research is expected to contribute to future international agreements concerning nuclear weapons.


UCI Professor Named National Academy of Sciences Fellow

The National Academy of Sciences named a UCI associate sociology professor as its 2018 Kavli Fellow.

Jennifer B. Kane was recognized for her research in social inequality, population health, fertility and family.

Kane participated as a fellow in the 29th Annual Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center this past February.

Presentations centered around topics including bio-interfaces, green chemistry, pathogens and 3D genomes.