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News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: phys.org

One of the last surviving members of the team that created the pioneering ENIAC computer in the 1940s has died. Harry Huskey was 101. The University of California-Santa Cruz says Huskey died April 9 at his home in the city. Huskey was a professor emeritus at the university. Huskey was teaching mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940s when he joined the ENIAC team. ENIAC made its public debut in Philadelphia in 1946 as one of the world's first electronic computers. It weighed 30 tons and was 150 feet long. Huskey later designed the Bendix G15 in the 1950s, which was billed as the first personal computer. He taught at the University of California from 1954 to his retirement in 1986 at the age of 70. Explore further: ENIAC panels go on display at Oklahoma museum


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Mars has electrically charged metal atoms (ions) high in its atmosphere, according to new results from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft. The metal ions can reveal previously invisible activity in the mysterious electrically charged upper atmosphere (ionosphere) of Mars. "MAVEN has made the first direct detection of the permanent presence of metal ions in the ionosphere of a planet other than Earth," said Joseph Grebowsky of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Because metallic ions have long lifetimes and are transported far from their region of origin by neutral winds and electric fields, they can be used to infer motion in the ionosphere, similar to the way we use a lofted leaf to reveal which way the wind is blowing." Grebowsky is lead author of a paper on this research appearing April 10 in Geophysical Research Letters. MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission) is exploring the Martian upper atmosphere to understand how the planet lost most of its air, transforming from a world that could have supported life billions of years ago into a cold desert planet today. Understanding ionospheric activity is shedding light on how the Martian atmosphere is being lost to space, according to the team. The metal comes from a constant rain of tiny meteoroids onto the Red Planet. When a high-speed meteoroid hits the Martian atmosphere, it vaporizes. Metal atoms in the vapor trail get some of their electrons torn away by other charged atoms and molecules in the ionosphere, transforming the metal atoms into electrically charged ions. MAVEN has detected iron, magnesium, and sodium ions in the upper atmosphere of Mars over the last two years using its Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer instrument, giving the team confidence that the metal ions are a permanent feature. "We detected metal ions associated with the close passage of Comet Siding Spring in 2014, but that was a unique event and it didn't tell us about the long-term presence of the ions," said Grebowsky. The interplanetary dust that causes the meteor showers is common throughout our solar system, so it's likely that all solar system planets and moons with substantial atmospheres have metal ions, according to the team. Sounding rockets, radar and satellite measurements have detected metal ion layers high in the atmosphere above Earth. There's also been indirect evidence for metal ions above other planets in our solar system. When spacecraft are exploring these worlds from orbit, sometimes their radio signals pass through the planet's atmosphere on the way to Earth, and sometimes portions of the signal have been blocked. This has been interpreted as interference from electrons in the ionosphere, some of which are thought to be associated with metal ions. However, long-term direct detection of the metal ions by MAVEN is the first conclusive evidence that these ions exist on another planet and that they are a permanent feature there. The team found that the metal ions behaved differently on Mars than on Earth. Earth is surrounded by a global magnetic field generated in its interior, and this magnetic field together with ionospheric winds forces the metal ions into layers. However, Mars has only local magnetic fields fossilized in certain regions of its crust, and the team only saw the layers near these areas. "Elsewhere, the metal ion distributions are totally unlike those observed at Earth," said Grebowsky. The research has other applications as well. For example it is unclear if the metal ions can affect the formation or behavior of high-altitude clouds. Also, detailed understanding of the meteoritic ions in the totally different Earth and Mars environments will be useful for better predicting consequences of interplanetary dust impacts in other yet-unexplored solar system atmospheres. "Observing metal ions on another planet gives us something to compare and contrast with Earth to understand the ionosphere and atmospheric chemistry better," said Grebowsky. The research was funded by the MAVEN mission. MAVEN's principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder. The university provided two science instruments and leads science operations, as well as education and public outreach, for the mission. NASA Goddard manages the MAVEN project and provided two science instruments for the mission. The University of California at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory also provided four science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, provides navigation and Deep Space Network support, as well as the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — One of the last surviving members of the team that created the pioneering ENIAC computer in the 1940s has died. Harry Huskey was 101. The University of California-Santa Cruz says Huskey died April 9 at his home in the city. Huskey was a professor emeritus at the university. Huskey was teaching mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940s when he joined the ENIAC team. ENIAC made its public debut in Philadelphia in 1946 as one of the world's first electronic computers. It weighed 30 tons and was 150 feet long. Huskey later designed the Bendix G15 in the 1950s, which was billed as the first personal computer. He taught at the University of California from 1954 to his retirement in 1986 at the age of 70.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Right-wing political commentator/author Ann Coulter had criticised a decision by Berkeley to cancel a talk she was scheduled to give at the university as an attack on free speech (AFP Photo/Alberto E. Rodriguez) Los Angeles (AFP) - The University of California at Berkeley on Thursday reversed its decision to cancel a talk by right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, offering a new date and venue for the event. University officials on Wednesday had defended their decision to scrap the firebrand pundit's April 27 appearance at the famously progressive campus, citing security concerns and several recent political protests that had turned violent. Coulter had lashed out at the decision, saying it was an attack on free speech, and had vowed to defy the university and speak at the campus anyway on the scheduled date. University Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said Thursday that given Coulter's insistence on giving her talk despite security threats, a new venue was sought. "Fortunately, that expanded search identified an appropriate, protectable venue that is available on the afternoon of May 2," Dirks said in a statement. "While it is not one we have used for these sorts of events in the past, it can both accommodate a substantial audience and meet the security criteria established by our police department." But Coulter appeared to balk at the new date and venue, saying in a tweet that the school was imposing new restrictions on the event. "Berkeley just imposed an all-new arbitrary & harassing condition on my exercise of a constitutional right," the post said. It was unclear if she would agree to the new date. The decision to shelve Coulter's appearance at the campus that gave birth to the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s came days after opponents and supporters of President Donald Trump clashed in the city. It also echoed a similar cancellation in February of a planned speech at the university by right-wing provocateur and former Brietbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, following violent protests. University officials said they had learned that some of the groups that took part in recent clashes planned to target Coulter's appearance. They said security concerns mounted last week after posters appeared on the walls of campus buildings threatening disruptions.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

A talk by right-wing commentator Ann Coulter at the University of California at Berkeley has been scrapped as her safety could not be assured by the university (AFP Photo/Alberto E. Rodriguez) Los Angeles (AFP) - The University of California at Berkeley appears headed for a showdown with right-wing commentator Ann Coulter after her planned appearance at the school was canceled over security concerns. The decision to shelve her April 27 talk at the famously progressive campus came days after opponents and supporters of President Donald Trump clashed in the city. It also echoed a similar cancellation in February of a planned speech at the university by a right-wing provocateur and former Brietbart editor, Milo Yiannopoulos, following violent protests. For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android. Coulter reacted angrily to the cancellation on Wednesday, saying in a series of tweets that it amounted to censorship and vowing nonetheless to show up at Berkeley as scheduled. "I am! At Berkeley next Thursday," she said in one tweet. She added in another post that she had instructed the Republican student group that invited her "to spare no expense in renting my speaking venue - part of my legal damages." A spokesman for the university told AFP the school's College Republicans were informed late Tuesday that the event with Coulter had to be scrapped as the safety of the firebrand conservative commentator and the public could not be assured. "Unfortunately, (campus police) determined that, given currently active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully," according to a letter sent to the student group. University spokesman Dan Mogulof said concern about security during the event mounted last week after posters appeared on the walls of campus buildings threatening disruptions. He added that "targeted threats" on two websites had also been discovered. Last weekend, Berkeley was the scene of fights between pro- and anti-Trump demonstrators that led to at least 21 people being arrested. Mogulof said campus police had learned that some of the groups that took part in those clashes "planned to target the appearance of Ann Coulter on campus." The recent unrest has put the spotlight on the university, known as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. The Washington Post quoted Coulter as saying that the university had tried to pressure her to cancel her speech by "imposing ridiculous demands" and that she had agreed to all their "silly" requirements. She told the paper that her speech was to focus on immigration, the subject of one of her books. "They just up and announced that I was prohibited from speaking anyway," she was quoted as saying. "I feel like the Constitution is important, and that taxpayer-supported universities should not be using public funds to violate American citizens’ constitutional rights." Mogulof said the university hoped to be able to reschedule Coulter's appearance some time in September, after identifying an appropriate venue and working out security arrangements. University officials said although the student organization that invited Coulter was independent and was free to welcome whoever they wished at Berkeley, the campus was responsible "for ensuring safety and security during such events." "In the wake of events surrounding the planned appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos in February, as well as several riots which have occurred in recent weeks in the city of Berkeley, we have increased our scrutiny regarding the time and location of high-profile speakers so that these events can go forward unimpeded," the letter sent to the group said. Members of the student organization could not be reached for comment.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The University of California at Davis and MKF, a public non-profit that works to empower women, are hosting an upcoming panel on Thursday, April 20th, examining the role Artificial Intelligence could play in reshaping the current employment landscape. The AI discussion panel will be moderated by Meera Kaul, founder of MKF (http://www.mkfimpact.org) and will include senior technology and innovation leaders. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an exciting, burgeoning field with a myriad of opportunities for women, and in particular women coders,” says Meera Kaul. “AI will code. Routine jobs will be taken over by AI in the next couple of years. Skills required to work in corporations will change and we need to change our skills to do the jobs that AI cannot perform yet. This panel will examine the career possibilities and outcomes presented in the new age of AI.” Panelists include Kerem Tomak, SVP, Chief Digital Marketing & Analytics Officer, Sears; Bhavna Kumar, Investor and Advisor, Samsung Next; Joseph Wei, Managing Director Flat360 Labs and Vice Chair IEEE; Sanjay Saigal, Executive Director, MBA at UC Davis; Julia Minkowski, Risk Analytics Manager, Fiserv; and Satya Misra, Sr Director, Strategic Accounts Infosys. In addition to examining the potential employment impact of AI, Kaul hopes the panel will inspire women looking to grow their careers with the new opportunities presented in the age of AI. A longtime advocate of women’s rights and their inclusion in technology and STEM, Kaul founded MKF, a public non-profit that works to nurture the social, economic and intellectual potential of women. In addition to the upcoming AI panel, MKF will continue to host and put on engaging events throughout the year, leading up to its Women in STEM (WiSTEM) conference in San Francisco in September 2017 (http://www.womeninstemconference.com). More information on MKF can be found at: http://www.mkfimpact.org. More information on the event: WHEN: Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PDT WHERE: University of California Hastings College of Law 200 McAllister Street San Francisco, CA 94102 TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/47-of-american-jobs-will-not-be-required-soon-what-will-you-do-then-tickets-33419798517


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne infectious disease linked to certain birth defects in infants in South and Central America and the United States. A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researcher, Banumathi Sankaran, worked as part of a multi-institutional team to map a key viral protein called NS5. Necessary to virus reproduction, NS5 contains two enzyme activities: one reduces the body's ability to mount an immune response against infection and the other helps start the genetic replication process. The work was led by Indiana University's Cheng Kao and Pingwei Li at Texas A&M University (TAMU). In a study published March 27 in Nature Communications, the team described the structure and function of these two enzyme active sites. They also showed comparisons between this protein and those from other related viruses that cause dengue fever, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, and hepatitis C. These comparisons will help researchers as they search for possible compounds to halt the ability of the virus to reproduce. Working with researchers from TAMU, Sankaran, a research scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division at Berkeley Lab, used X-ray crystallography to solve the atomic structure of NS5 in the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology at the Advanced Light Source (ALS). "The ALS was critical to the success of this project," said Li. "The powerful beam and the sensitive detector on beamline 5.0.2 made it possible for us to obtain data on our poor quality crystals." Sankaran is in charge of the Collaborative Crystallography (CC) program at the ALS. Funded by the NIH, this program is a fast, reliable and transparent mail-in crystallographic service for the structural biology community. Since the mosquitos carrying the vector have been spreading into the Southern U.S., interest in studying the virus has increased and TAMU's Li indicated that several groups currently are working on similar structural determination efforts. "Having access to state-of-the-art facilities provided by our Collaborative Crystallography program resulted in a rapid turnaround of this project," according to Sankaran. While the researchers have gathered a lot of information about how to target this protein, there are still puzzles remaining. "One of the most important unresolved questions about Zika NS5 is how it catalyzes the synthesis of RNA," said Li. "We look forward to further studies and future collaborations, which will be invaluable for therapeutics discovery." Funding for this work was provided by the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The ALS is a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. For more, visit http://www. . DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A team of researchers, led by a plant cell biologist at the University of California, Riverside, has for the first time identified a small RNA species and its target gene that together regulate female germline formation in plants. "Understanding the mechanisms governing germline formation is crucial to our ability to manipulate plant reproduction for the improvement of agriculture," said Xuemei Chen, a distinguished professor of plant cell and molecular biology, who led the research project. In both plants and animals, the germline is the lineage of cells that eventually makes the gametes (eggs and sperms). In animals, the germline is set aside (or "specified") early on, during embryogenesis, and does not go on to give rise to "somatic cells" - cells in the body that are not reproductive cells. In plants, on the other hand, the germline is not specified early on. It is produced from somatic cells late in plant development - specifically, in flowers - and is the first step towards sexual reproduction. The new work not only identifies a regulatory module for an important developmental process, it also implies that there is likely cell-to-cell communications via RNA or protein in this process. Chen explained that small RNAs have been implicated in the process of germline formation in plants, but until now the small RNA species involved, called "tasiR-ARFs," was unknown. Chen and her team found that the tasiR-ARFs regulate germline formation by repressing its target gene Auxin Response Factor 3 (ARF3). Chen explained that in mutants that fail to produce certain types of small RNAs, more somatic cells become germ cells, suggesting that small RNAs prevent the overproduction of germ cells. By isolating more mutants with germline specification defects, the team found that the mutants provided more clues that, eventually, helped the team identify tasiR-ARFs. The research was done on Arabidopsis, a model plant used widely in plant biology labs. The findings, however, are most likely to be applicable to other plants because tasiR-ARF is highly conserved. Chen and her team did not see a defect in male germline in the mutants they studied, but, based on the literature in the field, acknowledge that small RNAs do act in the male germline. "Quite possibly, in the case of the male germline, a different small RNA species is involved," Chen said. Chen, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute - Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, was joined in the research by Zhenxia Su (first author of the research paper), Yuanyuan Zhao, Shaofang Li, and So Youn Won at UC Riverside; as well as scientists at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, China. Chen was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Guangdong Innovation Research Team Fund for this project. The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment is now nearly 23,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Combining speed with incredible precision, a team of researchers has developed a way to print a nanoscale imaging probe onto the tip of a glass fiber as thin as a human hair, accelerating the production of the promising new device from several per month to several per day. The high-throughput fabrication technique opens the door for the widespread adoption of this and other nano-optical structures, which squeeze and manipulate light in ways that are unachievable by conventional optics. Nano-optics have the potential to be used for imaging, sensing, and spectroscopy, and could help scientists improve solar cells, design better drugs, and make faster semiconductors. A big obstacle to the technology's commercial use, however, is its time-consuming production process. The new fabrication method, called fiber nanoimprinting, could unplug this bottleneck. It was developed by scientists at the Molecular Foundry, located at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in partnership with scientists from Hayward, California-based aBeam Technologies. Their research is reported online May 10 in the journal Scientific Reports. Their work builds on the Campanile probe, which was developed by Molecular Foundry scientists four years ago. Its tapered, four-sided shape resembles the top of the Campanile clock tower on UC Berkeley's campus. The probe is mounted at the end of an optical fiber, and focuses an intense beam of light onto a much smaller spot than is possible with current optics. This enables spectroscopic imaging at a resolution 100 times greater than conventional spectroscopy, which only maps the average chemical composition of a material. In contrast, the Campanile probe can image the molecule-by-molecule makeup of nanoparticles and other materials. Scientists can use it to examine a nanowire for minute defects, for example, leading to new ways to improve nanowires for use in more efficient solar cells. But fabricating Campanile probes has been part science and part art. The same applies to other nano-optical devices, such as microscopic lenses and beam splitters, which split one light beam into several. These devices require milling a 3-D shape with sub-100-nanometer scale features on the tip of a wispy fiber, which is much trickier than fabricating a nanostructure on a flat surface such as a wafer. "When we first made the Campanile probe, we sculpted it with an ion beam like Michelangelo. It took about a month," says Stefano Cabrini, director of the Nanofabrication Facility at the Molecular Foundry. "That pace is OK for research applications, but the lack of a mass-fabrication method has inhibited the wider use of nano-optical devices." That's where fiber nanoimprinting come in. Its first step is the most time consuming: Scientists create a mold with the precise dimensions of the nano-optical device they want to print. For the Campanile probe, this means a mold of the probe's nanoscale features, including the four sides and the light-emitting 70-nanometer-wide gap at the pyramid's top. "This mold can take a few weeks to make, but we only need one, and then we can start printing," explains Keiko Munechika of aBeam Technologies, which partnered with the Molecular Foundry to develop the fabrication process as part of the Department of Energy's Small Business Technology Transfer program. Several other aBeam Technologies scientists contributed to this work, including Alexander Koshelev. The company is now commercializing various fiber-based nano-optical devices (see additional information). After the mold is created, it's off to the races. The mold is filled with a special resin and then positioned atop an optical fiber. Infrared light is sent through the fiber, which enables the scientists to measure the exact alignment of the mold in relation to the fiber. If everything checks out, UV light is sent through the fiber, which hardens the resin. A final metallization step coats the sides of the probe with gold layers. The result is a quickly printed -- not meticulously sculpted--Campanile probe. "We can do this over and over and make a probe every few minutes," says Munechika. There are several advantages to the faster production pace. Campanile probes are fragile, and now it's possible to give researchers a batch in case one breaks. Plus it's easier to optimize nano-optical devices if scientists are able to provide feedback on a device's performance, and an improved batch is quickly developed for further testing. The fabrication technique can also be applied to any nano-optical device, and has so far been used to create Fresnel lenses and beam splitters in addition to the Campanile probe. "Instead of sculpting a one-of-a-kind device like Michelangelo, we now take the original masterpiece, make an imprint of it, and create many replicas in quick succession," says Cabrini. "It's a new capability the Molecular Foundry can provide to the science community." The Molecular Foundry is a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The research was primarily supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. For more, visit http://www. . DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.


Patent
The University Of California and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Date: 2013-01-02

A system of heating a sample on a microchip includes the steps of providing a microchannel flow channel in the microchip; positioning the sample within the microchannel flow channel, providing a laser that directs a laser beam onto the sample for heating the sample; providing the microchannel flow channel with a wall section that receives the laser beam and enables the laser beam to pass through wall section of the microchannel flow channel without being appreciably heated by the laser beam; and providing a carrier fluid in the microchannel flow channel that moves the sample in the microchannel flow channel wherein the carrier fluid is not appreciably heated by the laser beam.

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