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Dear Friends,

On October 4, 1965, the UCI campus opened; buildings were under construction and a total of 1,589 students were enrolled. Fifty years later, our university is home to more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and 1,100 faculty members.
 
We continue to climb in the rankings and earlier this fall The New York Times ranked UCI the #1 University in the College Access Index, which measures economic diversity at top colleges in the nation. This list reveals the schools that do the most in enrolling and supporting low-income students.  I couldn’t be happier to know UCI is judged to be first in this area.
 
 At the School of Physical Sciences, curiosity ignites the research discoveries and innovation that solve the world’s problems.  As you'll see in this newsletter, our professors, students and alumni are all over the news reporting findings on hurricanes, sea level rise, cancer research, fusion energy----and so much more.
 
In particular, I want to acknowledge the work of Eric Rignot who continues to capture the world's attention with his findings on melting glaciers and sea level rise. Last week, his work was highlighted in The New York Times Magazine's in-depth feature "The Secrets in Greenland's Ice Sheets." I would be remiss if I didn't also acknowledge physics alumnus Michael Binderbauer whose company Tri Alpha Energy recently reported a major breakthrough in moving a step closer to mastering nuclear fusion—a process that could provide abundant, cheap, and clean energy. Read the full story in Time Magazine. The science behind the company's novel fusion reactor came from research at UCI, led by the late professor Norman Rostoker.
 
Basic research in the physical sciences lays the foundation for discoveries and inventions, but as scientists we need the support of the business industry to help us develop and launch such products or technologies. With the support of the Beall Family Foundation, our School established the Innovation Awards.  Now in its third year, this fund provides professors with financial support to delve deeper into research inventions that can potentially be commercialized. Already we are seeing results, and we hope to share many more success stories about research commercialization and industry partnerships!

If you are interested in opportunities to support the Innovation Awards, please contact me and I would be delighted to meet with you personally.

We appreciate your continued interest in our School.


Sincerely,
Kenneth C. Janda
Professor and Dean, UCI School of Physical Sciences
Orbits & Announcements
UCI Physical Sciences Founders Video
UCI Physical Sciences Founders Video 
On this 50th anniversary we thank and celebrate the visionaries who shaped UCI. Watch video.
Math CEO
Lauds and Laurels Gala
This year the department will expand Math CEO, a program to help socioeconomically disadvantaged middle school students from Southern California excel in math and science. During the school year, professors host middle school students for math workshops and “college-life” experiences. First-generation bilingual UCI students also host panels for parents and provide information on financial aid and the importance of higher education . Learn more.
CaSTL Participates in 2015 Chemistry Expo
Lick Observatory
To complement this year’s theme “Chemistry Colors Our World: Exploring the Chemistry of Dyes, Pigments, and Light,” the CaSTL team conducted hands-on activities that looked at the properties of light and lasers using spectroboxes and microscopes for over 200 middle and high school students. Read more.
2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics 
UCI Oceans
The Fundamental Physics prize is being awarded to the team of neutrino physicists who have labored underground in tunnels and caverns over the last two decades to investigate the ghostly denizens of the cosmos. Congratulations to Hank Sobel, Bill Kropp, Michael Smy, Shunichi Mine, Jeff Griskevich, Mark Vagins and the entire UCI team! Read more.
Massive Northeast Greenland Glacier is Rapidly Melting
Zapping space debris
Eric Rignot’s latest study shows a glacier in northeast Greenland that holds enough water to raise global sea levels by more than 18 inches has come unmoored from a stabilizing sill and is crumbling into the North Atlantic Ocean. Read more. 
 
Products Made in China Associated With Higher Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Zapping space debris
“The amazing increase in Chinese manufacturing over the past 15 years has driven the world economy to new heights and supplied consumers in developed countries with tremendous quantities of lower-cost goods. But all of this has come at substantial cost to the environment.” - ESS Professor Steven J. Davis
 
UCI Astronomers Uncover Signs of Earliest Galaxies
Zapping space debris
Professor Asantha Cooray along with his team generated the most accurate statistical description yet of faint, early galaxies as they existed in the universe 500 million years after the Big Bang. Read more.
 
Check out the Frederick Reines Exhibit!
NASA Awards ESS
The dedication of the Fred Reines Exhibit took place this fall at a festive event during UCI’s 50th anniversary Founders Day celebration. Come explore the life and work of Frederick Reines, UCI’s founding dean of Physical Sciences and co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize for discovering the neutrino. The exhibit is located in Reines Hall lobby. For directions click here




The Secrets in Greenland's Ice Sheets 
Zapping space debris
This in-depth feature in The New York Times Magazine highlights the research of UCI Professor Eric Rignot and explores the future of Greenland's melting ice sheets and its implications on global sea level rise. Read more
 
2015 Nobel Prize in Physics
WEBBY Award for CRAYFIS
UCI physicists were honored with the announcement that the Super-K experiment in Japan and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment in Canada both received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. The prize highlights the role that both experiments played in the discovery that the neutrino has mass. UCI Professor Hank Sobel is co-spokesperson for the Super-K and his research group handles part of the detector’s operation and analysis. The SNO experiment was designed and initiated by the late UCI professor Herb Chen. This 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics couldn't be possible without the work of UCI neutrino pioneers: Frederick Reines, Hank Sobel, Bill Kropp, Herb Chen and others. Congratulations to the team! Read more.
What do hurricanes and Amazon fires have in common? 
WEBBY Award for CRAYFIS
Professor James Randerson, in collaboration with NASA, uncovered a remarkably strong link between high wildfire risk in the Amazon basin and the devastating hurricanes that ravage North Atlantic shorelines. Warm ocean waters help hurricanes develop strength and speed on their way to North American shores. They also tend to pull a large belt of tropical rainfall to the north, drawing moisture away from the southern Amazon and leading to heightened fire risk over time. Read more.
UCI's Egg-y Breakthrough Receives 2015 Ig Nobel Prize
CA drought
Professor Greg Weiss and his team received the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry during the annual ceremony at Harvard University. A parody of the Nobels, these humorous awards honor scientific research that “makes you laugh, then think.” Dr. Weiss’s Ig Nobel awarded the breakthrough to unboil an egg with a vortex fluid device. This innovation could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry. Read more.
Phil Collins Develops Tiny Wire "Bugs" to Study Molecular Behavior 
NASA Awards ESS
Long before the nanotech frenzy kicked in, Professor Phil Collins was thinking about studying "tiny wires." Now, 30 years after he started toying with the idea, the rise of nanotechnology is creating novel research partnerships, as biologists, engineers— and physicists — seize on its vast possibilities for molecular research. Collins is helping researchers collect better observations of how molecules work by attaching wires to them that are 1 nanometer in diameter. Read more.
 
Upcoming Events
December 1 - Breakfast Lecture Series
Building a Planet-Size Telescope With Smartphones
Daniel Whiteson

January 31 - UCI Homecoming
Adventures in Physics - Giant Telescopes 
Bill Heidbrink and Gary Chanan

February 9 - Breakfast Lecture Series
Cryptography: Using Mathematics to Keep a Secret
Alice Silverberg

February 17 - Chemistry Eminent Lecture Series
Doug Tobias

March 9 - Reines Lecture Series
Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate & Stanford University Professor

April 19 - Breakfast Lecture Series
The Future of Phytoplankton in a Changing Climate
Kate Mackey

For more event info go to ps.uci.edu/public_events.
Radiant Awards
Hank Sobel
2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics Goes to Neutrino Hunters  

“What a wonderful surprise and culmination of many years of effort trying to unravel the mysteries of neutrinos. The recipients of the prize are most deserving and have been truly great colleagues,” said Henry Sobel, UCI professor and U.S. Co-Spokesperson of Super-Kamiokande. Read more
Don Blake Earns Haagen-Smit Air Quality Award 

Kate Mackey Receives Inaugural AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Award

Kate Mackey Elected Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences

Sid Parameswaran Awarded NSF CAREER Award 

Jenny Yang Named Hellman Fellow 
 
Shout-Out to PS Alumni
Michael Binderbauer
Physics alumnus Michael Binderbauer may have caught your eye recently when his company's latest breakthrough on nuclear fusion appeared in major scientific news outlets including Science Magazine, Time Magazine, and The New York Times. Binderbauer co-founded Tri Alpha Energy, a small company dedicated to mastering nuclear fusion. The science behind the company's novel fusion reactor came from research at UCI, led by the late Norman Rostoker. Tri Alpha Energy's latest advancement to superheat a ball of hydrogen to 10 million degrees Celsius and hold it for five milliseconds is a major milestone in fusion technology. Read more.
Chemistry alumnus Matt MacDonald was featured in C&EN's Talented 12 feature, part of the weekly magazine published by the American Chemical Society. He works for Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. where he is developing volatile precursors that will allow microelectronics companies to create smaller silicon components for their ever-shrinking products. While working with Professor Bill Evans during his graduate studies at UCI, MacDonald discovered new oxidation states for eight elements, shaking up long-held chemical beliefs. Read more.
UCI Chemistry alumnus and now UCSB assistant professor Javier Read de Alaniz received the prestigious Harold J. Plous Award. While at UCI Read de Alaniz worked with Professor Larry Overman as a UC President’s Postdoctoral Scholar. His current research focuses on... Read more.
Make a Difference!
We invite you to support the School of Physical Sciences through contributions that directly support students, research, and outreach programs. For more information contact:
Audrey Kelaher
(949) 824-8111 akelaher@uci.edu
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This e-Newsletter is published by UC Irvine's School of Physical Sciences and distributed to alumni and friends of the School. 
UCI School of Physical Sciences
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