College of Letters and Science

Taking the Temperature of Dark Matter

January 15, 2020

Warm, cold, just right? Physicists at the University of California, Davis, are taking the temperature of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up about a quarter of our universe.

Pursuing Undergraduate Research Outside the Lab

January 13, 2020

Getting research experience as an undergraduate student doesn’t have to mean working in a laboratory. Instead of days spent transferring fluids from one tube to another, math major Tracy Camacho explored matroids, complex mathematical objects with many different uses. 

Can You Change Your Personality? Scientists Say ‘Maybe’

December 12, 2019
It has long been believed that people can’t change their personalities, which are largely stable and inherited. But a review of recent research in personality science points to the possibility that personality traits can change through persistent intervention and major life events.

Explaining the Tiger Stripes of Enceladus

December 09, 2019
Saturn’s tiny, frozen moon Enceladus is a strange place. Just 300 miles across, the moon is thought to have an outer shell of ice covering a global ocean 20 miles deep, encasing a rocky core. Slashed across Enceladus’ south pole are four straight, parallel fissures or “tiger stripes” from which water erupts. These fissures aren’t quite like anything else in the solar system. 

Recreating Nature’s Machinery for Making Hydrogen Gas

December 04, 2019
Research from the University of Illinois and UC Davis has chemists one step closer to recreating nature’s most efficient machinery for generating hydrogen gas. This new development may help clear the path for the hydrogen fuel industry to move into a larger role in the global push toward more environmentally friendly energy sources. 

$2.5M to Explore Synthetic Diamond Semiconductors at Crocker Lab

November 26, 2019

Although diamonds are mostly thought of as jewelry, synthetic diamonds are being explored for semiconductors because of their unique properties. Structurally identical to diamonds, synthetic diamonds are produced by a controlled process, as compared to natural diamonds, which are created by geologic processes. 

Celebrating 150 Years of the Periodic Table

November 25, 2019
Did you know the periodic table of chemical elements turned 150 years old in 2019? To celebrate the chart's 150th anniversary, the College of Letters and Science asked our experts to share their favorite element. 

Student Ambassadors: Personalizing the Aggie Experience

Every fall, thousands of college-bound students put UC Davis on their wish list. Some know exactly what they want to study, but most are searching for just the “right fit” — a quest that includes exploring possible majors and all aspects of student life. Who better to serve as sherpa on that journey than a current Aggie?

Our Ambassadors of Letters and Science (ALAS) work directly with prospective students and families, as well as peers, College leadership, and the community at large, to represent all the College has to offer.

Alumnus Shares Thoughts on Winning Fiction Prize

November 14, 2019
2019 Maurice Prize for Fiction: Peter Shahrokh (English, M.A. ’75; Ph.D. ’83; MBA ’99)

I started my winning novel, A Wind Will Come, 30 years ago. The premise was that a professional engineer had chosen to become a chef, and he was then lured by the promise of owning his own restaurant by an ex-girlfriend if he found her lost lover. The lover was a psychopath, and that made things a little interesting. After I’d done the first two chapters, I couldn’t figure out where I was going with it. Ten years later I picked it up again and finished the last three chapters.

Author Assist

November 14, 2019
Best-selling author John Lescroart says it took winning a prestigious award early in his career to “believe I could be a writer.” The Maurice Prize for Fiction at UC Davis, now in its 14th year, is Lescroart’s way of paying it forward. A UC Berkeley graduate and resident of Davis, Lescroart established the Maurice Prize, named for his father, to encourage UC Davis alumni writers. Peter Shahrokh (English, M.A. ’75, Ph.D. ’83; MBA ’99) won the 2019 prize for his manuscript, "A Wind Will Come."