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News and Events

2014

Cal Poly Places in Top Seven Percent Nationwide at Prestigious Math Competition

Putnam Math Competition.

Results were released for the 2013 Putnam Math Competition, and Cal Poly placed an impressive 36th out of 557 schools participating. This is Cal Poly's second top 50 finish in three years on the notoriously difficult annual exam taken by undergraduates.

Read more about the Putnam Math Competition

 

Tour the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach May 10

Children look at sea creatures.

Bring the kids and the camera and tour the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 10.

Read more about touring the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach

 

 

Cal Poly-UCSB Fishing Study Garners National Attention

Weather.com and NPR have both reported on Biology Professor Crow White's paper in PLOS Biology that proposes closing international waters to fishing. White and his colleague Christopher Costello, a professor at UC Santa Barbara, found that closing the high seas could increase both the populations of migratory fish and the profits and yields of fisheries.

Read the report on weather.com
Read the NPR report

Cal Poly-UCSB Study Proposes Closing the High Seas to Fishing — with Surprising Results

Map of the world with the oceans near land colored green and the rest of the oceans colored blueIt's not every day you get to please economists and conservationists, but Cal Poly Biology Professor Crow White and his colleague Christopher Costello, a professor at UC Santa Barbara, might have done just that. According to their article in PLOS (Public Library of Science) Biology, closing international waters to fishing could more than double the populations of migratory fish species. The surprise came when they found that fisheries' profit levels could also double while their yields increased by more than 30 percent.

Read more on closing the high seas

Cal Poly Sweeps Coatings Awards

Graduate Students taking picture with posterStudents in the coatings and polymers program swept the poster awards at the Western Coating Symposium in Las Vegas in the fall, taking first, second and third place.

Read more about the coating award winners

 

Physics Professor Discovers Two New Planets

Red star in front of PlanetTo find a planet, you first have to find a star that wobbles. Then you spend a lot of timein David Mitchell's case, 14 yearsobserving the star to prove its movement results from the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet.

Read more about Mitchell's discovery

 

Chemistry Student Helps Create New Solar Material

Student holding small, square piece of plasticGrant Olson may be shaping the future of solar cells. The chemistry graduate student is part of a group working with Professor Shanju Zhang to create a brand new material, a semiconducting polymer that could be laid onto a surface the way ink is, but with a bonus — it converts sunlight into electricity.

Read more about the new solar material

 

Statistics Alumnus Creates New Disney Products

David HornIf you've ever wondered where ideas come from at Disney, look no farther than David Horn (B.S., Statistics, 2010). Horn is director of engineering and analytics for Disney Interactive Labs, a division that develops new products and apps for the Internet and mobile media.

Read more about Horn's role at Disney

 

Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce Names Mathematics Alumnus Man of the Year

Alumnus David Haussler (M.S., Mathematics, 1979) has earned the honor of Man of the Year from the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce. A professor of engineering at UC Santa Cruz, he led the team that assembled the first human genome sequence.

Physics Professor Honored by American Physical Society

Professor Randy KnightElection as a fellow of the American Physical Society is one of the highest honors a physicist's professional peers can confer. Only three Cal Poly faculty members have received this accolade, and Randy Knight, elected in 2013, is the third.

 

Read more about Professor Knight and his award

 

Biology Student Busts Myths about Monarch Butterfly Habitat

A student holds a monarch butterfly for researchMuch of what you thought you knew about monarch butterflies may be wrong. Jessica Griffiths, a biology graduate student, has been studying monarchs' overwintering habits for three years, and her discoveries could change the way monarch habitat is protected.

Read more about monarch butterflies

 

Student Innovation Quest Workshops to be Held March 5 and April 7

Multicolored BrainThree workshops will be held to help students prepare applications for the annual Innovation Quest (iQ) competition. The workshops will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, and Monday, April 7. The competition fosters innovation and entrepreneurship by offering students a chance to develop their ideas and gain access to valuable resources. All Cal Poly students are eligible to participate. Faculty and staff are asked to encourage students to attend the workshop to ask questions, meet past winners and network. The competition is held in cooperation with the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE). The iQ application is due Friday, April 11.

                                              Read more about the workshop

SLO Maker Faire Accepting Applications through Feb. 28

San Luis Obispo Mini Maker FaireCalling all makers! The second annual SLO Mini Maker Faire is scheduled for 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, May 10 at Mission Plaza. The faire is a festival that is open to all ages — babies to 100+ — to make, create, learn, invent, craft, recycle, build, think, play and be inspired by celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science, and technology. The Call for Makers, Artists, Performers, Scientists, Crafters, and Engineers is open now through Feb 28, 2014.

Visit the Maker Faire website to register

 

Self-Healing Coating Could Eliminate Paint Scratches

Professor and students look at a chemistry experiment setupScratches in car paint may someday be a thing of the past. Phil Costanzo, a chemistry professor, and his research students are developing soybean oil-based coatings that are self-healing. The atoms in the coating act like molecular Velcro — they can stick together, be pulled apart, and then stick back together.

Read more about the self-healing coating

 

Cal Poly to Help K-12 Teachers Integrate Technology in the Classroom

Central Coast Teacher Technology Challenge Day flyerCal Poly is presenting the Central Coast Teacher Technology Challenge Day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. The event is designed to help local K-12 teachers integrate technology into the classroom to meet Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. The event is funded by Google, the CSU Digital Ambassador Program, the Cal Poly School of Education Dean's Office, and TQP (Teacher Quality Programs) grant. Partners include the Cal Poly School of Education, Center for Excellence in STEM Education, and San Luis Obispo Computer-Using Educators group.

For more information, visit the School of Education website.

Los Angeles Radio Station Features STRIDE's Access for All Program

Boy in machine that helps him walkLos Angeles radio station KPFK featured Kevin Taylor, chair of the Kinesiology Professor, on its Jan. 29 Access Unlimited show. Taylor discussed STRIDE's Activity for All program, which provides community members of all levels of ability with opportunities for recreation and exercise. The program is staffed by Cal Poly kinesiology students who collaborate with engineering studnets and volunteers to create fun and inclusive adapted physical activities.

Listen to the podcast of Taylor's interview on KPFK

Kinesiology Studies Help Local Families

Healthy Beginnings logoThe New Times of San Luis Obispo reports that the Kinesiology Department's Healthy Beginnings studies are having a positive impact locally. Professors Suzanne Phelan and Todd Hagobian are investigating the effects of diet and exercise interventions on pregnant women and their partners.

Read the article on Healthy Beginnings in the New Times

Biology Alumna to Present on Biofuels at Jan. 30 Science Cafe

poster for Unlocking the Energy Secrets of the PlanetAs part of the Science Café presentation “Unlocking the Energy Secrets of the Planet,” attendees will have their knowledge of biofuels tested and hear about Kathleen Krueger's research on fungi as a potential biofuel. The presentation will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, in the second floor cafe lounge at Kennedy Library. Kathleen Krueger is a STEM Teacher and Researcher Program (STAR) fellow who studied fungi at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. For more information, go to Kennedy Library Out Loud.

NSF Video Features Cal Poly Citizen Scientist Astronomy Study

Diagram of the location of the Kuiper beltThe National Science Foundation website Science Nation has posted a video featuring the RECON project led by Cal Poly Physics Professor John Keller and astronomer Marc Buie from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. The Research and Education Cooperative Occultation Network (RECON) project provides telescope equipment and training to citizen scientists in 14 small, western U.S. communities north and south of Reno, Nev., where night skies are clear and dark. The network brings together students, teachers, and knowledgeable amateur astronomers from each community to determine the sizes of Kuiper belt objects — large, frozen bodies that orbit the sun beyond Neptune. The sizes of the Kuiper belt objects will help determine other characteristics, such as their density and composition.

Thus far, the project involves over 50 community members and 20 teachers and their students from 15 communities in California and Nevada. The astronomers hope to extend the network to include 40 communities stretching from southern Arizona to Washington state.

See the video and accompanying article on Science Nation

Application Deadline for CSU Student Research Competition is Jan. 8

(January) — Up to 10 Cal Poly students will be selected to compete in the CSU Student Research Competition at CSU East Bay, May 2-3. Dean Bailey will choose representatives from the College of Science and 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 to their department chair by Wednesday, January 8.

View guidelines and registration form
Read college-specific information and deadlines from Dean Bailey's (pdf)

2013

Congratulations December Grads!

Group of graduates(December) The newest batch of Cal Poly alumni began the rest of their lives last Saturday, Dec. 14. Congratulations and best of luck to our new grads!

View commencement pictures

Cal Poly Again Among Top 50 on Kiplinger’s 'Top 100 Best Value in Public College List'

Cal Poly bannersCal Poly has again been named among the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of "100 Best Values in Public Colleges" for 2014. Cal Poly ranked No. 43 for in-state and No. 34 for out-of-state for its "high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid, a low sticker price, and overall great value."

Read more about the rankings

 

Super STEM Saturday

Screw and wrench clip artA half-day of workshops intended to enrich science education in your classroom, sponsored by Central Coast Science Project.

Free to K-12 Teachers!
When: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Where: Cal Poly, Building 180 Room 330

Read more about the Central Coast Science Project workshops

Ocean Activities Day

Mother and children at the last Ocean Outreach DAyCal Poly students from the Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA) course will be presenting NEW hands-on ocean-themed projects to public audiences. The activities are family friendly and are designed for all ages. This event will take place rain or shine.

Read more about the activities

Cal Poly Partners with Local Teachers to Put Common Core into Practice

Teacher and students in a classroom.The Common Core standards are here, and Cal Poly's School of Education is working with local teachers to prepare. This summer, a team of professors held a free workshop attended by 103 local K-6 teachers and administrators representing all of San Luis Obispo County's school districts as well as two out-of-county districts.

Read more about the SOE workshop

Physics Alumnus Keeps World's Largest Telescope Running

Mike Pollard on his tractor.Aside from being a proud member of the League of Physicists Who Own Tractors, Mike Pollard (B.S., Physics, 1998) is the senior engineer in the Technical Services Department at W. M. Keck Observatory, home to the two largest and most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes in the world. Set atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano, Keck Observatory's 10-meter-diameter mirrors allow the world's top physicists to take advantage of the clear, dark atmosphere above the island. All areas of astronomy and astrophysics research have greatly benefited from the observatory.

Read more about the World's Largest Telescope

Are Black Holes the Chicken or the Egg?

Cal Poly Faculty and students at the Lick Observatory.Which came first, the galaxy or the black hole? Cal Poly physics professor Vardha Bennert and her students will investigate that question with a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Virtually all the galaxies for which astrophysicists have collected and analyzed data have black holes at their centers. As the scientific community has studied these black holes, it has found a consistent relationship between the mass of a black hole and the mass of its host galaxy, which suggests that, as one forms and grows, it causes the other to form and grow. But which one started the whole thing?

Read more to find out the answer

CSI Cal Poly

Two females taking a picture of a beaker.SAN LUIS OBISPO (November)  A terrible crime took place in Cal Poly's Learn by Doing Lab this summer: someone stole the candy jars. Luckily, students from Pacheco Elementary School solved the mystery using skills they'd learned during the four-day Learn by Doing Science Summer Camp.

Read more about the Learn by Doing Lab

Biology Professor Develops Tree Identification App

City Tree App IconSAN LUIS OBISPO (November)  If you've ever wondered, "What tree is that?" the answer is now, "There's an app for that." Matt Ritter, a biology professor, has developed an iPhone app called City Tree for identifying urban trees.

Trees that thrive in urban environments are somewhat uniform around the world. According to Ritter, the same 450 or so trees are used in cities across the globe. "If you're in Singapore or L.A. or San Francisco, you can identify the tress using this app," Ritter said.

Read more about the app

Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics Dedicated Nov. 1

Dedication audience in front of the Baker Center
Photo by Brittany App

SAN LUIS OBISPO (November)  The campus community, donors, alumni and friends of Cal Poly gathered to dedicate the new Warren J. Baker Center for Science & Mathematics Nov. 1.

Dedication audience in front of the Baker Center Photo by Brittany App President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and Phil Bailey, dean of the College of Science & Mathematics, recognized the contributions of donors, architects, builders and artists as well as Cal Poly faculty, staff and students.

Read more about the dedication

Tour the Cal Poly Pier November 16

Toddler playing with starfish.SAN LUIS OBISPO (November)  The Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach will be open to the public on Saturday, November 16, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Interactive displays on the pier for the spring “open house” event will include special touch-tanks full of live marine creatures, microscopes for viewing ultra-small sea creatures, a “discover SCUBA” experience and more.

Read more about November's Cal Poly Pier Open House

Bridging the Gap between Academia and Sacramento

Workshop audience and panelists.The CSU blog reports that "On October 4, CSU’s Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST) hosted a one-day workshop at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where faculty and students in science disciplines learned successful strategies on how to bridge the gap between academia and Sacramento."

Read the CSU blog entry on the COAST workshop

Ocean Activities Day

Family at the ocean activities day.Cal Poly Students from Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA) course will be presenting hands-on ocean themed projects to public audiences. The activities are very family friendly – and are designed for all ages. This event will be happening rain or shine!

Read more about the activities

Kinesiology Professor Awarded $3.3 Million NIH Grant to Study Fathers' Health During Pregnancy

Todd HagobianSAN LUIS OBISPO (August) — Not many pregnancy studies focus on dads, but Cal Poly kinesiology professor Todd Hagobian is changing that. Hagobian recently received a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study whether mothers who change their eating and exercise habits during pregnancy will rub off on fathers.

Read more on Hagobian's study

Second Annual Math Academy Inspires High School Students

student doing math at white board(July) — Mathematics professors Elsa Medina and Amelie Schinck-Mickel know the challenges faced by first-generation college students — they were both the first in their family to attend college. They founded the Math Academy, now in its second year, to give under-represented high school students from Santa Maria and Pioneer High Schools the opportunity to do some hands-on math and get a taste of college life.

 

Watch KCOY's coverage of the Math Academy
Read more in the Santa Maria Times
Watch coverage in Spanish on Univsion
 

Chemistry Alumnus Appointed Vice President of Product Development at HealthTell

(June) — Ted Tasarow (B.S., Chemistry, 1989) has joined HealthTell, Inc. as Vice President Product Development. HealthTell is developing accurate, sensitive tests to detect and monitor cancer and other chronic diseases. Tasarow brings with him experience in developing medical diagnostic services.

Read the article on Tasarow on PR Web

Teaching Candidate Overcomes the Odds

Kathy Krueger in the lab.SAN LUIS OBISPO — For a perfect example of a lifelong learner, look no further than Kathleen Krueger (B.S., Biological Sciences, 2004; Single Subject Credential in Biological Sciences, 2010). Krueger earned both her bachelor's degree and single subject credential while working full time for Cal Poly's custodial services.

Read more about Kathleen Krueger

 

Desert Plants May Yield Evolutionary Clues

Three people observing a cactus.SAN LUIS OBISPO — "Studying the plants of the future today" is how Charley Knight, a Cal Poly biology professor, describes the research he and his students conduct in the Mojave Desert.

"We're studying heat and salt tolerant plants that might become more prevalent in the future" because of the effects of climate change, Knight said. 

Read more about Knight's research

Future Teachers Research Student Learning

student taking notesSAN LUIS OBISPO — Three future teachers from Cal Poly's School of Education are investigating what's happening inside the minds of mathematics students. They recently presented their findings alongside professors, doctoral students and other professionals at the Conference on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education.

Read more about their findings

Number of Scientist-Educators on the Rise but Training and Funding Not Yet Aligned

Professor Seth BushSAN LUIS OBISPO — Science education may benefit from a new trend in faculty positions. Cal Poly Chemistry Professor Seth Bush is a member of the research team that recently published the first large-scale study of U.S. science faculty with education specialties (SFES). The researchers conclude that the number of these faculty members is increasing nationwide.

Read more about the national study

Physics Students Present at Prestigious Research Conference

Two female students in front of a white board.SAN LUIS OBISPO — Not everyone gets invited to a Gordon Research Conference, especially not undergraduates. But that's what happened to Kara Zappitelli, a physics major, and Dana Hipolite, a math major, both working on liquid crystal research with Physics Professor Karl Saunders.

Read more about the conference

Students Challenge Laws of Physics in Italy

Two students in lab bunny suits.SAN LUIS OBISPO — A Cal Poly professor and his students are trying to disprove the laws of physics. Tom Gutierrez is part of the international collaboration called the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events (CUORE), and for five years he's taken undergraduates to the Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) in Assergi, Italy, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Read more about the international collaboration CUORE

13th Annual College of Science and Mathematics Research Conference

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics is hosting its 13th Annual Student Research Conference May 16 and 17. Almost 100 students are presenting posters or talks on topics ranging from organic polymer solar cells to genotype and breast cancer risk to the effects of relocating rattlesnakes. The conference celebrates science and our students. By discussing their faculty-supervised research with inquisitive audiences, our students gain the experience they need to become professional scientists.

Read more about the 13th Annual College of Science and Mathematics Research Conference

Cal Poly's Pink and Dude Chefs Demonstrate Healthy Cooking

Person handling kitchenwareSAN LUIS OBISPO (May) — STRIDE's Pink and Dude Chefs treated Cal Poly alumni and friends to some healthy cooking this winter. Following a campus brunch based on student recipes, Cal Poly's Health Ambassadors and one of their middle school chef trainees demonstrated how to make granola.

Read more about STRIDE's Pink and Dude Chefs

Learning, Doing and Making Come to San Luis Obispo

Cow made out of different metalsSAN LUIS OBISPO (April) — Do-it-yourself science and technology, sustainability, unique hand-made crafts, and educational exhibits will be on display at the Mini Maker Faire Saturday, May 11, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo. The Faire is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. Participants will share what they're making and what they learned from the process. Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers of all ages and backgrounds. Cal Poly collaborators include the Materials Engineering Department, Architecture Department, Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program, Expressive Technology Studios, and the Science Cafe at Cal Poly’s Kennedy Library. The Faire aims to entertain, inform and create community.
Learn more about the Maker Faire
Follow the Faire on Facebook

Cal Poly Physics Demonstrations Wow Middle School Students

Student holds bicycle wheel on a string.SAN LUIS OBISPO (April) — How better to celebrate Pi Day — March 14 — than with three Cal Poly physics students and two cars full of science experiments? That's what Santa Lucia Middle School in Cambria did with the help of Physics Professor Karl Saunders and three of his students. Photo by family and event photographer Debbie Markham of Cambria.

Read more about the demonstrations

College Student Research Conference Registration Opens

Student reading a posterboardSAN LUIS OBISPO (April) — All College of Science and Mathematics students are invited to submit an abstract for a talk or poster for the 13th annual Student Research Conference. The event celebrates science and our students. By discussing their faculty-supervised research with inquisitive audiences, our students gain the experience they need to become professional scientists.

The conference will take place May 16 and 17 in Fisher Hall. Applications are due May 6 at 5 p.m.
Apply for the research conference

Cal Poly Student Organizes Earth Day Beach Cleanup April 21

Two girls examining a rock near water.SAN LUIS OBISPO (April) — The community is invited to the second annual “Beneath the Surface” Earth Day celebration and beach cleanup to be held Sunday, April 21, in Avila Beach. Organized by Cal Poly biology student Elizabeth Sikkema and sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation and EcoSLO, the cleanup is a chance to give back, learn a little and have some fun.

Read more about the Earth Day beach cleanup

Tour the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach May 4

Woman and boy observing a starfish.SAN LUIS OBISPO (March) — The Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 4.  Interactive displays on the pier for the spring open house event will include special touch-tanks full of live marine creatures, microscopes for viewing ultra-small sea creatures, a “discover SCUBA” experience and more.

Read more about May's Cal Poly Pier Open House

 

Learn by Doing Inspires Alum's Teaching Style

SAN LUIS OBISPO (March) — Malcolm McClain (B.S., Ecology and Systematic Biology, 1997; Single Subject Credential, Biological Sciences, 2000), a science teacher at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School in St. Helan, Calif., credits Cal Poly's Learn by Doing approach with forming the foundation of his teaching style, according to an article in the St. Helena Star. “Cal Poly’s motto, is ‘learn by doing.’ And, so, that’s what happens in my class," McClain is quoted as saying.
Read more about McClain in the St. Helena Star

Chemistry Grad to Practice Medicine in Native Cambodia

Daniel Chan in his medical officeSAN LUIS OBISPO (March) — Daniel Chan (B.S., Chemistry, 1994) recalled his rough childhood in Cambodia and decided to return to provide medical care to the poor and hungry. He and more than 100 medical professionals - including surgeons, optometrists, nurses and pharmacists – estimate they will treat about 1,000 patients a day. Currently Chan serves as the lead clinician and senior partner at Healthcare Partners in Los Alamitos. He departed mid-February.

 

Learn About the Ocean with Hands-On Activities

Purple sea urchin.

SAN LUIS OBISPO (March) — Cal Poly students present Ocean Activities Day Saturday, March 9, 11-1 p.m. at the Avila Beach Sea Life Center at 50 San Juan St. in Avila Beach. Solve the mystery of the traveling barnacle, try on blubber gloves to learn how marine mammals stay warm, discover who lives in our kelp beds, or use puppets to eat like a sea creature. Activities are designed for all ages, and admission is free.

Visit the Sea Life Center website for more information

 

Biology Students Lead NSF Workshop, Teach New Technique to Professors

Faculty member holding a pipette.

SAN LUIS OBISPO (February) — Cal Poly biology students are among the few experts in the country on a new method of protein analysis. Last December they shared their expertise by teaching the process to professors and PhD students from other universities. The students planned and led a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded workshop in environmental proteomics, a method of analyzing how organisms respond to different environmental stresses.

Read more about the NSF Workshop

 

 

Biology professor receiving awardBiology Professor Receives Conservation Award

SAN LUIS OBISPO (February) — On Feb. 22, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service honored Cal Poly alumnus and Biological Sciences Professor Francis Villablanca with the service's Conservation Award. The award is given on a case-by-case basis. Villablanca was recognized for "outstanding efforts to conserve the natural resources of San Luis Obispo County, and in particular his leadership on recovery efforts for the endangered Morro Bay kangaroo rat," said Chris Kofron of Fish and Wildlife. 
Read more about the conservation award

Million Dollar Grant Funds Collaborative Computing

SAN LUIS OBISPO (February) — Cal Poly and UC Berkeley recently received a million dollar grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for the development of the IPython Notebook, a project designed to make scientific and technical computing collaborative and interactive. The Sloan Foundation funds high impact work that is unlikely to be funded by the government or private foundations.

Read more on IPython grant

 

Proposed System Could Vaporize Asteroids That Threaten Earth

SAN LUIS OBISPO (February) — With asteroid 2012 DA14 making its historic close pass by Earth today (Friday, Feb. 15), UC Santa Barbara reports that physicist and professor Philip M. Lubin has been working with Cal Poly statistics professor Gary Hughes to develop a proposal for a system that could eliminate an asteroid this size in an hour. The proposed system is designed to harness some of the power of the sun and convert it into a massive phased array of laser beams that can destroy, or evaporate, asteroids posing a potential threat to Earth.
Read more about the asteroid defense system on Space.com
Read more about the asteroid defense system on UCSB's website
Watch asteroid 2012 DA14 live as it passes Earth

Math Students Analyze Ancient Climate Change

Students standing in front of chalkboard with research poster

SAN LUIS OBISPO (February) — Cal Poly mathematics students are cracking the mysteries of climate changes that happened 1.2 million years ago. Cal Poly is one of only a few undergraduate members of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network (MCRN). Funded by the National Science Foundation, MCRN brings together top scientists and mathematicians to explore how mathematics can contribute to climate research.

Read more on climate change research

Statistics Student Wins National Awards for Biomedical Research Presentation

Debbie Huang with her presentation.SAN LUIS OBISPO (February) — Cal Poly student Debbie Huang recently won two awards at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, a national gathering held in San Jose in November 2012. Huang, a statistics major, received a presentation award and one of only five interdisciplinary awards for her poster. Her research focused on the statistical analysis of cardiovascular disease in women.
Read more about Huang's research

Cal Poly to Host Feb. 20 Conversation with 2012 National Teacher of the Year

Photo of Mieliwocki and President ObamaSAN LUIS OBISPO (January) — Cal Poly and the Clark Center for the Performing Arts will host a presentation by Cal Poly alumna Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20. Mieliwocki will present “Supercharging the Education Profession by Igniting the Power of One” at the Clark Center at Arroyo Grande High School, 487 Fair Oaks Ave. in Arroyo Grande. Mieliwocki has taught for 14 years, including nine years in her current position as a seventh-grade English teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, Calif. “Students learn best when they have the most enthusiastic, engaged teachers possible,” she said.
Read more on Mieliwocki's talk

Biology Study May Help Prevent Roadkills

Two students in bright construction gear in the forestSAN LUIS OBISPO (January) — Wildlife in San Luis Obispo county is getting a boost from research performed by biology students working with Professor John Perrine. Caltrans has commissioned the students to examine the effectiveness of a fence it recently erected to keep wildlife off Cuesta Grade north of San Luis Obispo. As it moves people north and south, Highway 101 cuts through a major east-west migration corridor for large animals such as bears, mountain lions, deer and wild pigs. The top of Cuesta Grade is one of the most popular places for animals to cross the highway, which can lead to high numbers of roadkill. Caltrans hopes the fence will direct animals to safe crossing places, thereby reducing roadkills while allowing necessary migration patterns to continue.
Read more about the wildlife study

School of Ed Alumna Honored as Cambria Citizen of the Year

SAN LUIS OBISPO (January) — The Cambrian reported that the Cambria, Calif., Chamber of Commerce chose Marcelle Bakula (Teaching Credential, Social Science, 1981; Special Education, 2004) as the 2012 Citizen of the Year. Bukala was honored for her tireless volunteer efforts supporting multiple local projects from land preservation to children's programs.
Read the article in The Cambrian

Apply for CSU Student Research Competition

SAN LUIS OBISPO (January) — Up to 10 Cal Poly students will be selected to compete in the statewide CSU Student Research Competition at Cal Poly Pomona, May 10-11. Dean Bailey will choose representatives from the College of Science and Mathematics to present before the Academic Senate. The senate will decide who continues on to the statewide competition. Students interested in competing should submit the registration form and a research summary to their department chair by Friday, February 8.
View guidelines and registration form on the Research and Graduate Programs' website
Read Dean Bailey's letter encouraging students to compete (pdf)

Learn about Fingerprinting Bacteria at Science Cafe

PyroPrints FlyerSAN LUIS OBISPO (January) — Hear stories from Professor Chris Kitts and third year biology student Maria Zuleta Alvarado about their adventures collecting local E. coli data for the Cal Poly Library of Pyroprints (CPLOP). The database is intended to be a searchable, online library and lower-cost resource for tracking E. coli to help researchers understand who or what is polluting the water. Then, brainstorm with the researchers about ways to collect wildlife “samples” that include origin confirmation. It’s one of their greatest challenges!

Date: Thursday, February 7
Time: 11:00am – 12:30pm
Location: Kennedy Library, second floor café lounge

Read more about Science Cafe
Read more about the Cal Poly Pyroprints project
Join the Science Cafe event on Facebook


 

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