News and Events
Remote Control of a Giant Telescope? Yeah, That’s Cool
Students learn by viewing a black hole using a telescope at the Lick Observatory outside of San Jose. The twist? They're settled comfortably 200 miles away on the Cal Poly campus, controlling instruments on the telescope remotely.
Students Build Detector for CERN Upgrade
Cal Poly students are building a particle detector that they will then install in the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
Cal Poly Goes South, Way South
Professor Stephanie Wissel and her team of student researchers contributed to an Antarctic neutrino search in December.
NSF Grant Will Aid Search for Blazars, Dark Matter
Professor Jodi Christiansen and a team of students will work on improving gamma ray detection at the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) in southern Arizona thanks to almost $160,000 from the National Science Foundation. The improvements will help scientists observe blazars and dark matter.
Student-faculty research projects spanned the globe and the world of physics. From fractal black holes on strings to insulated solar electric cooking, Cal Poly contributed to what we know about the universe.
Fall Commencement 2016: College of Science and Mathematics
The fall 2016 university commencement ceremony for the College of Science and Mathematics took place on Saturday, Dec. 17 at Spanos Stadium.
Hancock College VP Named 2016 COSAM Honored Alumna
This year’s high honors from Cal Poly's Alumni Association will go to Nohemy Ornelas, associate superintendent and vice president of students services at Allan Hancock College.
Cal Poly Students Support the Coldest Cubic Meter — Biggest Chill — in the Universe
By the end of the year, one small corner of the universe will get really cold, and four Cal Poly physics majors helped finish construction of the instrument that will cool it down.
Biology Student Awarded $50,000 Fellowship
Biology senior Samantha Bock spent the summer as an intern with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) thanks to a Greater Research Opportunity Fellowship. The $50,000 fellowship—one of only 34 that the EPA awarded nationwide—will also support Bock’s final year of study at Cal Poly.
Cal Poly Professor On Team That Solved Mystery Around Distant Supermassive Black Hole
The mystery of a rare change in the behavior of a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy has been solved by an international team of astronomers that includes Cal Poly’s Vardha Bennert.
Cal Poly Named Best in the West for 24th Consecutive Year
Cal Poly is once again the best public, master’s-level university in the West.
2016 Fall Conference Schedule
The following information is for College of Science & Mathematics events.
Biologists Take to Twitter to Advocate for Snakes
A team of snake experts including Cal Poly’s Emily Taylor will hold the first #SnakeTownHall from 4-6 p.m. Sept. 7 on Twitter. Members of the public will have the chance to get answers to all of their snake questions.
LSAMP Volunteer Recognized for Commitment to Increasing Opportunities on Campus
As an undergraduate, Noya Kansky began to recognize the ways in which she could help advance Cal Poly’s goal of building a more diverse and inclusive campus. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she put those ideas to work helping historically underrepresented groups to pursue hands-on research opportunities.
Cal Poly Students Look to Sun to Reduce Carbon Footprint, Feed Communities
Cal Poly students are cooking up a project they hope will one day yield big results in developing countries.
Educators Attend Statewide Summit at Cal Poly
California teachers, administrators teacher candidates and other educators on Friday, July 29 attended the local gathering of the Better Together: California Teachers Summit.
Cal Poly Researcher Awarded NSF Grant to Investigate Effects of Sounds on Bird Species
Birds and bats might do what they do because of what they hear. Cal Poly biology professor Clinton Francis received $480,000 from the National Science Foundation to find out.
Spring Commencement 2016: College of Science and Mathematics
It was a big day for the more than 560 graduates and the thousands in attendance who where there to cheer on and celebrate the new College of Science and Mathematics graduates during the 2016 Spring Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, June 11 at Spanos Stadium.
5 Cal Poly Students Awarded Marine Research Grants
Five Cal Poly biological sciences students have been awarded grant funding from the Earl Myers and Ethel Myers Oceanographic and Marine Biology Trust. The awards total $7,200.
Dean Bailey to Retire at End of 2016-17 School Year
Dean Philip S. Bailey has announced that he will retire from Cal Poly at the end of the 2016-17 school year.
Cal Poly Receives $20 Million Pledge for Research, Technology Center
Cal Poly has received a pledge of $20 million from alumnus William L. Frost and his wife, Linda, toward construction of a planned multidisciplinary undergraduate research and technology center on campus.
Kinesiology Professor Receives $2.8 Million Grant for Gestational Diabetes Research
Kinesiology Professor Suzanne Phelan recently received $2.8 million from the National Institutes of Health for ongoing research into ways to prevent the recurrence of gestational diabetes.
Cal Poly Biology Student Conducts First-of-its-Kind Research on Cambria Elephant Seals
Using an innovative lab technique, Cal Poly researchers are hoping to understand how the cyclical sea-to-land transition influences the physiology of elephant seals.
Cal Poly Students Succeed at Statewide Research Competition
Cal Poly undergraduate students garnered two first-place awards and one second-place award at the 30th annual California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition April 29-30 at CSU Bakersfield.
Math, Chem Major Codes Way Into Google Summer Program
Chemistry and mathematics major John Detlefs will spend the summer coding for MDAnalysis as part of the Google Summer of Code program.
Cal Poly Teams Take First and Second at Data Hackathon
Cal Poly teams took home first- and second-place prizes at the undergraduate statistics hackathon called DataFest.
Cal Poly Student to Travel to Africa to Conduct Research
Michelle Meyers, a senior majoring in biological sciences, will travel to Kenya later this year to conduct research on marine protected areas
Tour the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach
Bring the kids and the camera to tour the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach from 9 a.m. to noon.
Biochemistry Student Pursues Passion, Earns Scholarship
Ifeh Akano remembers the moment she decided to pursue her love of math and science. It was in her freshman year during a general chemistry for physical science and engineering course.
Professor Writes on Monitoring El Niño Effects in Morro Bay
This year’s El Niño event packed quite a punch. In fact, data has shown that this year’s El Niño event is among the strongest ever recorded, according to Physics Professor Ryan Walter.
Biologist Receives Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation
Cal Poly biologist Jennifer O’Leary has been awarded a prestigious Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. O’Leary will use her award to expand a program that combines science with policy in the management of marine protected areas in the Indian Ocean.
Study Sheds Light on Campus Food Environment
Is it possible to find healthy food on Cal Poly’s campus? The answer is yes — you just have to know where to look,according to the results of a Kinesiology Department-led assessment.
Cal Poly Receives Grant to Develop Improved Desalination Technology
Cal Poly Chemistry Professor Shanju Zhang received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to use nanotechnology to improve desalination techniques by using far less energy than traditional methods.
Cal Poly Physics Professor Weighs in on Confirmation of Gravitational Waves
For the first time, researchers detected ripples in space-time, which had been predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity more than a century ago but never observed.Cal Poly Physics Professor Steven Drasco, who also specializes in gravitational waves, weighs in on the historic discovery.
Cal Poly Research Pier Plays Role in Deployment of Microsoft Datacenter
Microsoft recently completed a 105-day trial of a self-contained, undersea datacenter, codenamed Project Natick -- and Cal Poly played a key role in early testing.
Cal Poly Physics Dept. No. 2 in Nation for Graduates
Cal Poly's Physics Department in 2014 was ranked No. 2 in the nation for granting physics degrees in solely undergraduate programs.
Kinesiology Professor Named 2015 Simms/Mann Faculty Fellow
Alison Ventura, a professor in the Kinesiology Department, has been selected as a 2015 Simms/Mann Faculty Fellow.
Technology Developed by Cal Poly Students Could Change How We Clean Oil Spills
A Cal Poly startup company whose leadership team includes a student from the College of Science & Mathematics is developing technology to tackle one of the toughest issues facing the oil industry — cleaning up its spills.
Pharmaceutical Expert Recognized as 2015 Honored Alumnus
Jeffrey Jasper (B.S., Chemistry, 1984) is the 2015 Honored Alumnus in the College of Science & Mathematics.
Professor, Associate Dean Named National Kinesiology Fellow
Camille O’Bryant has been selected to join the ranks of this year’s National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education Fellows.
Physics Department Receives $225K Grant to Fund Student Research
A Cal Poly physics professor has received a three-year, $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that will send student researchers to the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
Cal Poly Researchers Working to Supplement Anti-Malarial Drug
Cal Poly chemistry Professor Scott Eagon is working on a drug to supplement the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, developed by one of this year’s Nobel Prize winners in medicine, TuYouyou.
Cal Poly Program Could Help Reduce Math Anxiety, Close Gender Gap with NSF Funding
Thanks to a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Cal Poly’s Academy of Inquiry Based Learning will lead an effort to increase active learning in college math classes across the nation, with research support from the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Evaluation and Ethnography Research unit.
Cal Poly Alumna Nails Audition for 'The Voice'
Lyndsey Elm (B.S., Kinesiology, 2014) impressed the celebrity judges Monday night with her blind audition for Season 9 of NBC’s reality singing competition, “The Voice.”
Cal Poly Pier Tour Scheduled for Nov.21
The next open house tour of the Cal Poly Pier has been set for Nov. 21. The tour, scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, features interactive displays, microscopes for viewing ultra-small sea creatures, a “discover SCUBA” experience and more.
New Students Participate in Week of Welcome
Thousands of new students were introduced to Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo during the college’s annual fall Week of Welcome, held Sept. 13-20.
Cal Poly Grad Auditions for 'The Voice'
Cal Poly graduate Lyndsey Elm (B.S., Kinesiology, 2014) is set to appear on the season 9 premier of NBC's popular reality singing competition "The Voice."
Cal Poly, UCSB Awarded Grant to Study Interstellar Travel
Today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s scientific feat. That’s the idea behind NASA’s $100,000 Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) grants, one of which was awarded to Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara to make preliminary models of an interstellar spacecraft and propulsion system.
Cal Poly Bachelor's Degree Grads' Median Salaries Rank High, Survey Says
Cal Poly bachelor’s degree graduates rank 14th in the nation among public universities for median salaries, according to PayScale.com’s 2015-16 College Salary Report. Cal Poly grads tied for fifth in computer science and ranked eighth in physical/life sciences.
Alumna Named New Elementary School Principal
Shannon Garcia (B.S. Math, 1997) was unanimously selected by the Culver City Unified School District Board of Education on Aug. 3 to serve as the new principal of El Rincon Elementary School in Culver City, Calif.
Cal Poly Students Dive into Research with STAR Program
Nearly 70 current and future teachers in the summer-long STEM Teacher and Researcher Program presented their research findings at the NASA Ames Research Center.
Noyce Scholarship Program Prepares Future Math Teachers
Now in its eighth year, the Math Noyce Scholars Workshop, part of the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, has expanded to include two workshops during the summer.
Coral Restoration Efforts Focus of Biology Professor's Blog Post
Marine ecologist and Cal Poly Biology Professor Jennifer O’Leary recently had a new blog post published in National Geographic. This was O’Leary’s second appearance in National Geographic this year.
Kinesiology Alumnus Volunteering across the U.S.
After graduating from Cal Poly and before plunging into a medical school program, Cooper Ehlers (B.S., Kinesiology, 2015) decided he wanted to give back to the community — in all 48 contiguous states. Ehlers plans to volunteer with local nonprofits in every state except Hawaii and Alaska.
Pluto Flyby Part of ‘Golden Age Of Solar Exploration,’ Physics Professor Says
History was made Tuesday when NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft ventured to the farthest reaches of our solar system for a close encounter with Pluto.
Cal Poly and UC Berkeley Receive $6 Million Grant to Enhance Collaboration in Data Science
Cal Poly and UC Berkeley received a $6 million grant from a three-foundation partnership to further develop an open-source software that already influences the way work is done in industries ranging from genetics to finance.
Cal Poly Faculty Honored with Learn by Doing Scholar Award
Two Cal Poly faculty members were named the inaugural Learn by Doing Scholar Award recipients at the More than a Motto Conference on May 15 at a reception at the University Art Gallery.
Cal Poly Students Take Top Honors at CSU Research Competition
Five Cal Poly students took top honors at the recent 2015 California State University (CSU) Research Competition held May 1-2 at CSU San Bernardino.
Cal Poly Biological Sciences Student Wins NSF Research Fellowship
Cal Poly biological sciences graduate student Paul Carvalho was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate research fellowship. The grant will fund three years of his master's and doctoral programs, allowing him to continue researching fisheries, work that he started as an undergraduate at Cal Poly.
Cal Poly Leads Preparation for Next Generation Science Standards
In May, Cal Poly hosted 130 teachers from local school districts for Super STEM Saturday, a conference designed to give teachers tools for applying new science standards in their classrooms. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are coming to K-12 schools in 2016, and Cal Poly is helping the Central Coast get ahead of the curve in putting them into practice.
15th Annual College of Science and Mathematics Research Conference May 14 and 15
Cal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics is hosting its 15th Annual Student Research Conference May 14 and 15. More than 100 students are presenting posters or talks. By discussing their faculty-supervised research with inquisitive audiences, students gain the experience they need to become professional scientists.
Submit to the 2015 Student Research Conference
All College of Science & Mathematics students are invited to submit an abstract for a talk or poster for the 15th annual Student Research Conference. By discussing their faculty-supervised research with inquisitive audiences, students gain the experience they need to become professional scientists.
The conference will take place May 14 and 15 in Fisher Hall. Applications are due May 3 at midnight.
Cal Poly Study Finds Preschool Obesity Rates in SLO County Reflect National Trends
The percentage of preschool-aged children who are overweight or obese appears to be leveling off in San Luis Obispo County, according to a Cal Poly study, though the rate is still significant at more than 33%, or one in three children. These results reflect a nationwide trend that suggests childhood obesity rates have stopped rising.
Tour the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach on May 16
The spring open house will feature interactive displays, including special touch tanks full of live marine creatures, microscopes for viewing ultra-small sea creatures, a “Discover Scuba” experience and more. Cal Poly professors and students will be on hand to explain their ongoing research into local marine life, including protecting Morro Bay's ecosystem, sustaining local fisheries, and mapping ocean currents on the Central Coast. Tour the displays at your own pace and ask questions of the Cal Poly faculty and students. Bring a camera to take photos of sea creatures and the incredible coastal views from the pier.
Science Cafe Presents Appropriate Technology Near and Far
Microbiology student Nasim Delavari will host Open Science Cafe from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. next Friday, April 10, in the Cafe Lounge on the second floor of Kennedy Library. Delavari won a contest to bring the "researcher, thought leader or creative mover and shaker" of her choice to campus. She chose Lonny Grafman, an expert in appropriate technology and professor at Humboldt State University. Appropriate technology is technology designed to be appropriate to its context. Grafman will engage participants in a local needs assessment followed by a quick co-design, to model the collaborative process of designing appropriate technology.
Chemistry Alumnus Wins Paso Robles High School Teacher of the Year
Anthony Overton (B.S. and Single Subject Credential, Chemistry, 2010) was named Paso Robles High School Teacher of the Year. Overton has been at Paso Robles High for five years. He teaches chemistry, AP chemistry and forensic science and is on the coaching staff for cross country and track and field. “Working in a teaching environment while at Cal Poly helped me to decide to become a teacher,” Overton said in an interview with the Paso Robles Daily News.
Cal Poly Again Ranked High on Return on Investment by PayScale.com
SAN LUIS OBISPO — A Cal Poly education continues to be one of the best values among the nation’s top schools, PayScale.com announced. The Learn by Doing university ranks ninth among the nation’s public universities and No. 29 among all institutions for return on tuition investment, according to a new listing from the online salary, benefits and compensation information company.
Cal Poly Students and Dean Bailey to be Honored at State Capitol on March 9
Twenty Cal Poly students who have received state and national awards and other honors will be recognized for their accomplishments by state lawmakers at the Capitol in Sacramento on March 9.
Biology Professor Blogs for National Geographic
Jennifer O'Leary, Sea Grant extension agent and biology professor, published a blog post for National Geographic about science-based management of marine protected areas (MPA) in East Africa. O'Leary worked with local fishers and MPA managers to implement a monitoring system in a Kenyan MPA that has resulted in invasive species removal and coral restoration.
Statistics Student Wins Second Place in National Undergraduate Statistics Project Competition
Jimmy Wong has been busy. Over the last year, the senior statistics major has programmed apps for statistics education, presented at national conferences, and worked on research projects with two professors. Not to mention winning second place in the National Undergraduate Statistics Project Competition.
Cal Poly Receives National Award for Efforts to Increase Number of Physics Teachers in U.S. High Schools
Cal Poly is among 11 universities in the nation honored for helping to reduce the critical shortage of physics teachers in U.S. high schools. The Physics Teacher Education Coalition's 5+ Club awards recognized the university and other institutions that had at least five physics teacher graduates in the 2013/14 academic year.
In San Luis Obispo County, teenagers identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are more likely to report experiencing bullying and depression than other teenagers, according to data compiled by School of Education Professor Liz Meyer. The San Luis Obispo Tribune ran a full report on Meyer's findings, which are based on the statewide Healthy Kids survey.
Biology Professor Clinton Francis's research on how birds are affected by human noise pollution was featured in an NBC News article. Francis found that noise affects bird species differently, depending on their diet and the pitch of their songs.
Cal Poly and Santa Maria-Bonita School District Receive $1.8 Million Math Education Grant
Cal Poly and the Santa Maria-Bonita School District received a $1.8 million California Mathematics and Science Partnership grant from the state Department of Education to fund a program aimed at improving elementary and middle school student achievement in mathematics.
Cal Poly Liberal Studies Alumna Begins Fulbright Program in Malaysia
Cal Poly alumna Trisha Huynh was awarded a Fulbright student grant to serve in the English Teaching Assistant Program in Malaysia, which she started at the beginning of January. She will assist a local middle or high school English teacher in a rural area with high needs schools. Huynh is only the second Cal Poly student Fulbright recipient in 20 years.
Documentary 'Underwater Dreams' to be Shown Feb. 9
A screening of the documentary film "Underwater Dreams" will be offered at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 9, in Chumash Auditorium. The screening is free and open to the public.
Cal Poly Study Sheds Light on Mothers' Bottle-Feeding Behavior
Parents who are bottle-feeding may be able to decrease their infants' risk for overfeeding simply by using a weighted, opaque bottle. In a Cal Poly study recently published in the journal Appetite, researchers found that the amount of infant formula some mothers fed their babies depended on whether the mothers could see and feel how full the bottle was.
Up to 10 Cal Poly students will be selected to compete in the CSU Student Research Competition May 1-2 at CSU San Bernardino. Dean Bailey will choose representatives from the College of Science & Mathematics to present before the Academic Senate, which will choose Cal Poly's statewide competitors. Interested students should submit the registration form and a research summary in both print and electronic formats to their department chair by Friday, January 16