Science Blog Posts

Foamy spacetime at a very small scale

October 14, 2019

What does space look like at a really, really small scale? Answering that question could resolve one of the most difficult problems in modern physics, the huge mismatch between Einstein’s General Relativity, quantum theory and the measured acceleration of the expansion of the universe.

Four Limbs Good, Three Legs Bad?

October 01, 2019
If “Why?” is the first question in science, “Why not?” must be a close second. Sometimes it’s worth thinking about why something does not exist. Such as a truly three-legged animal.

‘Earworms’ Research Will Help Reveal Link Between Memories and Music

September 25, 2019

“Earworms” are those fragments of songs that get stuck on repeat in your head. While earworms are often frustrating, repeated exposure to catchy tunes can also trigger old memories, even in people whose memory skills are impaired by Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders.

Next-Generation Particle Physics

September 19, 2019

The Large Hadron Collider — the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator — smashes particles together at energies up to 14 trillion electron volts. Maxwell Chertok, professor of physics, and other UC Davis researchers, help design instruments that can withstand the LHC’s extreme conditions. 

Brain May Not Need Body Movements to Learn Virtual Spaces

September 18, 2019

Virtual reality is becoming increasingly present in our everyday lives, from online tours of homes for sale to high-tech headsets that immerse gamers in hyper-realistic digital worlds. While its entertainment value is well-established, virtual reality also has vast potential for practical uses that are just beginning to be explored.

Pockets of Primordial Earth Still Remain

September 18, 2019
New research suggests specific giant rock regions in the mantle have existed for 4.5 billion years, since Earth’s beginning.

Campus Invests in Data Science, Immigration Research

September 12, 2019
The University of California, Davis, is investing $4 million over three years to launch four new research centers that align campus strengths with unique opportunities for global impact. Two of the four centers are led by faculty in the College of Letters and Science.

Xiaodong Li Wins NSF Career Award

September 05, 2019

Xiaodong Li, assistant professor of statistics in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science, has received a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. The NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program supports junior faculty who perform outstanding research, are excellent educators, and integrate outreach in their work.

Understanding How Pressures in Planets Evolve

September 04, 2019

A new study from Caltech and the UC Davis College of Letters and Science shows that giant impacts can dramatically lower the internal pressure of planets, a finding that could significantly change the current model of planetary formation.

Asked and Answered: Why Haven’t All Primates Evolved Into Humans?

August 30, 2019
Many people mistakenly think of evolution as progress. But humans, despite their ability to manipulate objects and change their environment, are not “on top” of the world’s species. Research by Lynn Isbell, chair of the UC Davis Department of Anthropology, suggests that ancestral humans and other primates developed different strategies to find food and avoid predators.

New Unified Theory of Heat Transport Enables Materials Design

August 28, 2019

A new theory of heat transport will make it easier to simulate properties of materials, with implications for technology, energy systems and planetary sciences.

Heat flows from warm areas to cool just as time flows from past to future and is a defining feature of physics. Yet scientists have found it surprisingly hard to build a theory of heat transport that works for both glasses and crystalline solids. That makes it difficult to model heat flow through materials, such as electronic components or the Earth’s mantle.

Students’ Biodegradable Diaper Project Continues to Grow

August 21, 2019
Excitement for a biodegradable diaper designed by UC Davis students just keeps growing, like the bacterial cellulose the diaper is made from. The student group, dubbed Team Sorbit, was motivated to create the diaper by data showing about 4 million tons of disposable diapers end up in landfills, and the plastic and tree-pulp derived cellulose used in most diapers isn’t environmentally friendly.

Brain Molecule Identified as Key in Anxiety Model

August 15, 2019
Boosting a single molecule in the brain can change “dispositional anxiety,” the tendency to perceive many situations as threatening, in nonhuman primates, researchers from UC Davis, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found. The molecule, neurotrophin-3, stimulates neurons to grow and make new connections. The finding provides hope for new strategies focused on intervening early in life to treat people at risk for anxiety disorders, depression and related substance abuse. Current treatments work for only a subset of people and often only partially relieve symptoms. 

New Mineral Named for Alexandra Navrotsky

July 24, 2019
Navrotskyite, a uranium-bearing mineral found underground in Utah’s Blue Lizard mine, was named for Distinguished Professor Alexandra Navrotsky.