Top researchers, public officials and policymakers converge at UCI to discuss extreme water shortages and how to handle them
Each year, California growers bet a good part of the farm that there’ll be enough water to produce a profitable harvest. Costly crop failure insurance can help hedge their bets, but must be purchased by strict deadlines – before it’s clear whether the state will face another year of withering drought.
UCI engineers and others hope to reduce that age-old risk by helping farmers gauge the prospect of drought as much as a month earlier, thanks to sophisticated new modeling techniques.
As the undersea masters of disguise, squid have an amazing ability to blend into their environment to hide from predators. A UC Irvine engineering professor studying the squid’s dynamic color- and shape-changing properties is applying what he’s discovered to develop a new type of fabric that lets wearers regulate their own temperature.
The proposed material is called Thermocomfort cloth, and it would leverage the established heat-managing capabilities of materials similar to those used in space blankets, as well as the adaptive principles underlying the function of squid skin. The idea is that a jacket made from this fabric would capture and release body heat, adjusting to the user’s own preference for comfort.
Nine engineering undergraduates shared a meal with their dean last month in the kitchen of Mesa Court Housing Director Lou Gill. The family-style dinner provided students the opportunity to get to know Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington on a more casual basis as Washington chatted with them about their experiences at UCI.
“Anytime I can spend time with students and see what we’re doing well as a school and learn how we can improve is a great occasion,” Washington said. “It’s fun for me to engage with students. I get a lot out of it.”
Professor Emeritus Jann Yang, who was selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers as the 2015 (and first) recipient of the Masanobu Shinozuka Medal. This award is presented to an individual in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of stochastic mechanics, reliability, risk and simulation. Yang was acknowledged for sustained research and teaching in stochastic dynamics, control, fatigue and identification of structural components and systems, as well as his inspirational leadership among researchers. The Shinozuka Medal was instituted in 2013 to honor Masanobu Shinozuka, a UCI professor emeritus and a world-renowned expert in earthquake and structural engineering.
With a nod to the necessity of cross-disciplinary collaboration, the director of the NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering delivered a Samueli School Dean’s Distinguished Lecture April 7 in the Calit2 auditorium.
Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, who before assuming his post at the NIBIB was a professor of radiology, medicine and cardiology at Emory University and professor of bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, spoke about the importance of merging life sciences, physical sciences and engineering with medicine in order to ensure positive healthcare outcomes in a changing world.