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College of Science and Mathematics

Enhancing lives through learning, discovery and innovation

Website Update

Winter 2014 Newsletter

Greetings from Dean Bailey

Phil Bailey in front of studying students

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.

Read more from Dean Bailey

College and University News

Physics Professor Honored by American Physical Society

Professor with TextbooksElection 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 Knight

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 coatings award winners



Faculty Notes

College of Science & Mathematics faculty are professionally active, doing research in a variety of areas. This new section highlights their publications and awards.

Read more about faculty accomplishments

Real-World Research

Self-Healing Coating Could Eliminate Paint Scratches

Professor and students look at 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 on Constanzo's research

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 time — in David Mitchell's case, 14 years — observing the star to prove its movement results from the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet.

Read more about Mitchell's discovery


Today's Students

Biology Student Busts Myths about Monarch Butterfly Habitat

Hand holding three tropical lizardsMuch 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 

Chemistry Student Helps Create New Solar Material

Professor and students in labGrant 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


Cal Poly Open House April 10-12

Open House PosterAccepted 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.

Read more about Open House



Cal Poly Pier Open to the Public May 10

Brian Hackney talks to a studentThe 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

David Horn
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.

Read more about Horn's role at Disney

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

David Haussler

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

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