Winter 2014 Newsletter
Greetings from Dean Bailey
Winter quarter has been busy in the College of Science & Mathematics. The Baker Center continues to be a great resource not only for our students but also for the local community. Many school children have visited and been inspired by the periodic table and different activities led by our faculty. Groups from the CSU campuses at Chico and Fresno also came to tour the center, and I think it will live up to its promise of transforming the whole CSU.
College and University News
Physics Professor Honored by American Physical Society
Election 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.
Cal Poly Sweeps Coatings Awards
Students 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.
College of Science & Mathematics faculty are professionally active, doing research in a variety of areas. This new section highlights their publications and awards.
Self-Healing Coating Could Eliminate Paint Scratches
Scratches 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.
Physics Professor Discovers Two New Planets
To find a planet, you first have to find a star that wobbles. Then you spend a lot of time — in David Mitchell's case, 14 years — observing the star to prove its movement results from the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet.
Biology Student Busts Myths about Monarch Butterfly Habitat
Much 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.
Chemistry Student Helps Create New Solar Material
Grant 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.
Cal Poly Open House April 10-12
Accepted students and alumni are invited to return to campus for Open House April 10-12. The annual event showcases all Cal Poly has to offer. Students and their supporters will hear from President Jeffrey D. Armstrong; visit with college deans, faculty, and current students; discover the many available resources; and take tours of the campus.
Cal Poly Pier Open to the Public May 10
The Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach will be open to the public onSaturday, May 10, from 9 a.m. to noon. The event is free and the community is invited to come learn more about marine research going on there. Bring the kids and enjoy special touch tanks full of marine creatures. Learn more about ongoing research into Morro Bay's ecosystem, sustaining local fisheries, and mapping ocean currents on the Central Coast. Check the college website for more information in April.
Statistics Alumnus Creates New Disney Products
If 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.
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 fromthe Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce. A professor of engineering at UC Santa Cruz, he led the team that assembled the first human genome sequence.
Watch a video on Haussler's contributions