Wednesday, March 30, 2011

QuEST is brand new organization for Queer Engineers, Scientists and Technical Professionals

All are welcome!

QuEST is brand new organization for Queer Engineers, Scientists and Technical Professionals from UCSD, the Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), Burnham, Salk and local biotech companies. Come meet members of your community over free food and drinks in a beach-side atmosphere (catered by Eden in Hillcrest).

WHEN: Thursday, March 31, 5:30-9:00pm
WHERE: Surfside at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD
           8622 Kennel Way, San Diego, CA 92037
COST: Free*

QuEST supports the careers of LGBTQ individuals in science, technology,
engineering, mathematics, and medical fields. Professionals of all career
levels are highly encouraged to attend. Find us at or email at

*Sponsored by the Society of Fellows (TSRI) and the Graduate Student
Association (UCSD)

Nuclear Power / Global Energy Demand / Opinion Piece in UT

A pair of Jacobs School of Engineering professors wrote an opinion piece in Sunday's San Diego Union Tribune entitled "Nuclear Power: Our planet is starving for energy".

The authors:
George Tynan, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Engineering Sciences

Farrokh Najmabadi, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Director, Center for Energy Research.

The title and first paragraph are below. Read the entire article here.

Nuclear power: Our planet is starving for energy
Sunday, March 27, 2011

Access to adequate quantities of low-cost energy is strongly linked with increased human life span, reduced child mortality rates, smaller population growth rates, higher literacy rates and other quality-of-life measu
Publish Post

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hack U is Coming to campus

The Hack is back! Yahoo is coming to UCSD for a week of tech talks and the famous 24 hour hack contest! All events in CSE 1202. (Read about Hack U 2010 on the Jacobs School news site.)

Tuesday, April 5
Hack U Kickoff / BBQ @ 6:00 pm

Wednesday, April 6
API Brain Jam + Lunch @ 12:00 pm
Douglas Crockford: Javascript - The Good Parts @ 6:00 pm

Thursday, April 7
Office Hours + Informal Talks @ 12:00 pm
24-hour Hack Kickoff @ 2:00 pm

Friday, April 8
Hack Demos @ 2 pm

UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge Spring Kickoff is Tomorrow, March 30

UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge
Wednesday March 30th, 6-8pm
UCSD Price Center - Ballroom A (map)
$17,500 in cash and prizes will be awarded
Jordan Greenhall, Founder of DivX, Inc. (bio)
Jason Pang, Founder and CEO of PRIMA Cinema (bio)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

San Diego Science Festival Expo Day / Saturday March 26

This Saturday, March 26, is the San Diego Science Festival EXPO DAY at PETCO Park.

A special feature of the EXPO is the “Ask me, I’m a Scientist or Engineer” Booth where Scientists and engineers are needed to sit and talk with the kids, answering their questions and engaging them in the possibilities of science.  For a complete listing of events, visit

The Jacobs School of Engineering will have a big presence at the San Diego Science Festival Expo Day. Jacobs School contributors include:

We plan to display a number of different body systems (i.e the lungs, heart, brain, etc) made by elementary school students. We intend to inform others of the complexity of the human body; it is the piecing of small individual parts that create a functioning whole which is analogous to and symbolically represents many aspects in life that require that type of cooperation.

We will be doing a cryptography demonstration in which students can solve a substitution cipher (every letter is replaced with some other letter). We will have one version that's done on a large whiteboard. We also have made a computerized version that attendees can visit afterwards if they enjoyed solving it. This is a really interactive activity.

A group of UCSD students will have multiple demos on how an analog circuit works and we'll take our theremin (an early electronic musical instrument controlled without contact from the player.). We'll also take some of the projects that UCSD IEEE students work on, such our robots and remote control cars.

UCSD Department of Bioengineering
Our exhibit, titled Defying Gravity: Blood Flow from Head to Toe, explores the human circulatory system from both a physiological and engineering perspective with activities for all ages. Kids can complete a paper craft to make their very own heart valve which only allows air to pass in one direction, demonstrating how valves in our heart and veins control unidirectional blood flow.

The UCSD Jacobs Graduate Student Council is a graduate student organization comprised of: electrical engineering, bioengineering, mechanical, structural and computer science. We will be presenting a series of exciting science experiments including: strawberry DNA extraction, snap circuits, hair gel polymer demonstrations, gummy structures and more!

The UCSD Near Space Balloon team is active in the San Diego community to inspire high school kids to get interested in math science and engineering. UCSD undergrad and grad students work with local high school teachers and students to launch their science payloads on balloons to near space (85,000 feet) and then recover them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge / 2011 Spring Kickoff / March 30

UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge
Wednesday March 30th, 6-8pm
UCSD Price Center - Ballroom A (map)

$17,500 in cash and prizes will be awarded

Keynote Speaker: Jordan Greenhall, Founder and Chairman of DivX, Inc.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One of the world’s most accomplished mathematicians coming to campus

When László Lovász, Ph.D., -- considered one of the world’s most accomplished mathematicians -- speaks at UC San Diego on April 5, about 300 high school students, many from underrepresented areas of the county, will be part of the audience. 

It was as a high school student in Hungary that Lovász became interested in a career in mathematics. He attended a class given by celebrated mathematician Paul Erdős, and was captivated by the possibilities. “It was the meeting with Dr. Erdős that developed my mathematical talent even further,” he recalls.

The presentation, part of the 10th Annual Kyoto Prize Symposium, will be followed by a question and answer session, and an opportunity for the students and other attendees to meet the renowned mathematician. 

Read more on the Jacobs School news site.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Aquaponics / Bushmeat / Facebook

That's right. On the Jacobs School Facebook fan page, Jacobs School undergrad Peter Cottle gave us some insights on the ECOLIFE engineering project aimed at transitioning people to sustainable fish and vegetable production and away from bushmeat in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and elsewhere.

Below is what Peter explained on Facebook. The original story is on the Jacobs School news site.

Peter: "Working on this project was a great experience from start to finish. ECOLIFE gave us an awesome overview of the project and the overall goal for their aquaponics systems in Africa. From there, our group researched out to the vibrant aquaponics community and performed a lot of preliminary research. With that theoretical knowledge base, some tinkering, and a little creativity, we finally had a breakthrough and made a siphon that will hopefully change the world!"

For a mechanical engineering team project, the engineering students designed a tipper/siphon that will be used in an ECOLIFE aquaponics system in Uganda.

Peter: "The typical bell siphon is very dependent on the incoming flow-rate in order to function. Because reliable pumps and electricity are unavailable in Africa, ECOLIFE wanted us to come up with a siphon that was flow-rate independent. By adding the tipper, the siphon receives pulses of water rather than constant streams. This improves performance at a minimal cost! "

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jacobs School of Engineering Facebook Fan Page / Check it out

Check out the Jacobs School of Engineering Facebook Fan page. We are going to try to get the students who do so much of the research at the Jacobs School to explain their work on Facebook.

Instead of just pushing information out via Facebook, we will try to use the new fan page to provide another dimension to the online Jacobs School of Engineering experience.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Computer scientists in the news this week

Computer scientists from UC San Diego and the U of Washington (the U of W prof is a UCSD PhD alum) are in the news this week due to their work on computer security for cars.

Associated Press: Auto industry guards against hacking

New York Times: Researchers Show How a Car’s Electronics Can Be Taken Over Remotely

Computer World: With hacking, music can take control of your car

Friday, March 4, 2011

Turning Skin Cells to Stem Cells / DNA Mutations

An interesting quote from an interesting story on Discovery by Ed Young on an interesting stem cell mutations paper in Nature from an interesting group of UC San Diego researchers co-led by interesting folks in the Department of Bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Interested? Below, from the Discovery story.
(L-R) Bioengineering professor Kun Zhang, bioengineering Ph.D. student Athurva Gore, and bioengineering alumna and staff researcher Alice Li are authors on the Nature paper. Photo taken in the Kun lab in the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

As a result, Kun Zhang, who led Gore and Li’s study, is optimistic. He says that we may have found some abnormalities in iPSCs, but we also have the right tools to screen for them. “The first step of solving a problem is to have an accurate understanding of it, and I think we are there. I believe that, guided by these screening tools, the community will come up with many creative solutions in the near future.”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

EGames Composite Parachute

You never know when knowing how to make a composite material will come in handy. One of the Jacobs School teams at EGames 2011 made a tomato-protecting composite-material parachute from blue tape and newspaper.  But this is probably not all that surprising, since there is a structural engineering class focused on composite materials where students make skateboards. (Check out the YouTube video: composite material skateboards.)

Photos of composite material parachutes for tomatoes are below.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mutations found in ordinary human cells reprogrammed as induced pluripotent stem cells

Human induced pluripotent stem cells. Image credit: Courtesy of James Thomson.

(L-R) Bioengineering professor Kun Zhang, bioengineering Ph.D. student Athurva Gore, and bioengineering alumna and staff researcher Alice Li are authors on the Nature paper. Photo taken in the Kun lab in the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

A new study, published in the March 3 issue of journal Nature and led by scientists at the University of California, San Diego in collaboration with other leading stem cell research groups, finds that the genetic material of reprogrammed cells may in fact be compromised, and suggests that extensive genetic screening of hiPSCs become standard practice before these stem cells are used clinically.

Read more on the Jacobs School news site.