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Welcome to Did You Know?

October 30, 2018

Welcome to Did You Know?, the UC Davis College of Letters and Science research blog. Our posts cover interesting people, projects and events within the college. This is a team blog published by the college's professional writers in marketing and communications, with occasional guest posts from faculty and students.  

Feel free to contact us with story ideas or comments at lettersandscience@ucdavis.edu.

Why we need #ClimateFriday

December 04, 2018
Concerned that recent climate reports might not receive the public attention they deserved, scientists began using the #ClimateFriday hashtag on Twitter to highlight findings of the reports.

Thermal Transistor Handles Heat at the Nanoscale

November 29, 2018

You’ve felt the heat before — the smartphone that warms while running a navigation app or the laptop that gets too hot for your lap.

The heat produced by electronic devices does more than annoy users. Heat-induced voids and cracking can cause chips and circuits to fail.

Schematic of the experimental thermal transistor. A slice of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) sits on a piece of silicon dioxide, bathed in a solution of lithium ions. (Sood et al, Nature Communications)

Physics Alum Hunting for Neutrinos

November 27, 2018
Julie He (B.S., physics, ’16) wanted to help people — maybe by being a doctor — but discovered instead how to make a difference through physics. She is now building a science career that will fulfill her goal of ensuring a healthy world.

Katia Vega: Creating the Interactive Body

November 26, 2018

Katia Vega, an assistant professor of design, is breaking ground in creating the “interactive body.” Her recent research has included bio-sensitive tattoos that give information about body chemistry, conductive makeup that allows one to turn lights on and off with the blink of an eye, and paying for purchases though microchips attached to fingernails.

“I’m interested in creating seamless technology; the goal is to make it indistinguishable from our body,” she says.

What Historians Could Teach Senators on the Judiciary Committee

November 16, 2018

by Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor and Lisa G. Materson

Hand-written notes on a teenager’s calendar. Remembered whispered confidences. Letters of support signed by wealthy acquaintances. Letters of non-support signed by wealthy lawyers. Therapist records. Rate My Professor scores. The recent Kavanaugh hearings, and the broader #MeToo movement in which it unfolded, were less a contest of he-said/she-said and more a battle over evidence.

What Makes Trauma Memories Different?

November 16, 2018
The sexual assault and child pornography conviction of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The child sex abuse scandal of Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky. Hundreds of priests accused of sexual misconduct that took place over many years. These and other shocking cases — in addition to shattering public confidence in once-trusted officials and the institutions that employed them — raised the question in people’s minds: How well can anyone remember events that happened years, and even decades, earlier?

How the Cyberworld Enhances and Undermines Elections

November 05, 2018

With the midterm elections just a few days away, several faculty members provided insights into how messy, self-reflective and fact-free political conversations can get online; ways art can help us understand the magnitude of social media on elections; and how easy it is to hack voter information.

Shocking Results

October 30, 2018
As a kid, planetary scientist Sarah Stewart spent her free time reading science fiction novels. Now, much like her favorite sci-fi authors, she is a world-builder — pursuing research that helps us better understand our own planet.