SPRING 2008
FEATURES
 
  Walter Capps’ Vietnam War Class Still Making an Impact
By Vic Cox ‘64
  More Than 1,000 Gauchos Returned to Campus for the All Gaucho Reunion
  Retired Women’s Basketball Coach Mark French Shares His Greatest Moments
By John Zant ‘68
  Alumni Awards Spotlight Service and Work of Jim Barber, Mark French, Elizabeth Gabler, Petra Van Koppen, and Arthur Rupe
 
DEPARTMENTS
  Editor’s Column:
Gateway to Learning
  Research Roundup:
Microscopic Black Holes Pose Little Threat
  Sports Roundup:
Gaucho Key to MLB All-Star Gamee
  Around Storke Tower:
News & Notes From the Campus
  Alumni Authors:
Books for Body, Mind and Soul
  Milestones:
’40s to the Present
   
COVER
  Swimmer Jason Lezak ’99 will be making his third
Olympic appearance in Beijing this month.
Cover photo by Getty Images.
 
ADVERTISING RATES
COASTLINES HOME
ALUMNI HOME
RESEARCH ROUNDUP
Tiny Black Holes Won’t Have Much Pull in Physics Research
Earth Gate: Portal to Earth Science Research
Central Coast Survey Finds Housing is Resident’s No. 1 Concern
Scholar Examines Illegal Detention and Deportation of U.S. Citizens
Predicting Infectious Disease Crossovers Between Wild Animals and Humans

Tiny Black Holes Won’t Have Much Pull in Physics Research

Particle colliders create black holes that threaten to devour the Earth—sounds like a great Hollywood script.

But, according to UC Santa Barbara Physics Professor Steve Giddings, it’s pure fiction.

Giddings has co-authored a paper, “Astrophysical implications of hypothetical stable TeV-scale black holes,” that has been accepted for publication in an upcoming edition of the peer-reviewed journal Physical Review D. It documents his study of the safety of microscopic black holes that might possibly be produced by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is nearing completion in Europe. The paper, co-authored by Michelangelo Mangano of the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), which is building the world’s largest particle collider, investigates hypothesized behavior of tiny black holes that might be created by high-energy collisions in the CERN particle accelerator. Two men have filed a federal lawsuit in Hawaii in an attempt to halt the LHC due to their concerns about the safety of black holes. Giddings’ study has been cited by CERN as evidence of the safety of the LHC.

If they appear at all, these black holes would exist for “about a nano-nano-nanosecond,” Giddings said, adding that they would have no effect of consequence. However, the paper studies whether there could be any large-scale effects in an extremely hypothetical situation where the black holes don’t evaporate.

The Giddings/Mangano study concludes that such microscopic black holes would be harmless. In fact, he added, nature is continuously creating LHC-like collisions when much higher-energy cosmic rays collide with the Earth’s atmosphere, with the Sun, and with other objects such as white dwarfs and neutron stars. If such collisions posed a danger, the consequences for Earth or these astronomical objects would have become evident already, Giddings said.

The LHC, near Geneva, Switzerland, is expected to begin operations this summer. It will collide proton beams at levels of energy never before produced in a particle accelerator. Those results will then be studied for clues to new forces of nature, and possibly even extra dimensions of space. The first collision of beams is likely to be in September. The $8 billion project has taken 14 years.

— George Foulsham, Public Affairs

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Earth Gate: Portal to Earth Science Research

Want to know what’s going on in UCSB research on, say, oceans? Interested in keeping abreast of major environmental events occurring around the world?

If so, check out “Earth Gate,” a major feature on the Department of Geography’s Web site that provides an interdisciplinary portal to earth science research at UCSB. Funded by Martin Moskovits, Dean of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences, the site is designed to enable researchers in any given field in any particular department to see what other departments are doing in the same area of interest. Earth Gate also features an environmental news map that provides short descriptions of major earth science events occurring on planet Earth during the past seven days. The site was designed by Eric Ederer (ex-Geography receptionist, now a graduate student in Music) and recently was overhauled by Jon Hall, Web programmer and designer.
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Central Coast Survey Finds Housing is Resident’s No. 1 Concern

A third of California’s Central Coast residents put affordable housing at the top of their priority list, according to UC Santa Barbara researchers who released the findings of the 2008 Central Coast Survey, a large-scale public- opinion poll of residents in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties on a variety of issues affecting quality of life in the region.

Conducted by the Social Science Survey Center at UC Santa Barbara, and funded by the UCSB Division of Social Sciences, the annual Coast Survey features telephone interviews with members of more than 1,000 households in the two counties, both English- and Spanish-speaking.

Among its key conclusions, the survey found that:

* Despite the recent downturn in the real estate market, lack of affordable housing is the No. 1 concern for fully one-third of Central Coast residents.

* Compared with 2006 findings, the percentage of respondents reporting that they feel economically better off than the previous year has dropped by half, while the percentage of those who feel worse off has tripled.

* Thirty-nine percent of Latino respondents have no health insurance, compared with only 6 percent of white respondents.

* Fifty-eight percent of all respondents indicated that high gas prices have placed a strain on their household budgets, and 29 percent described that strain as substantial.

The full text of the report is available as a PDF file on the Social Science Survey Center’s Web site.http://www.survey.ucsb.edu/central-coast-survey/.

— Public Affairs

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Scholar Examines Illegal Detention and Deportation of U.S. Citizens

Although no circumstances exist under which a United States citizen can be deported legally by any government agency, research conducted by legal scholar Jacqueline Stevens at UC Santa Barbara indicates that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been doing just that. Her findings are published in the June 23 issue of The Nation.

Collecting data from a variety of sources, including the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, private immigration attorneys in Los Angeles, and three nonprofit legal clinics that focus on immigration issues, Stevens, a professor of law and society at UCSB, identified 31 cases from across the country of U.S. citizens who were held as aliens for as long as five years. Of the 31, five remain in detention and 14 were deported.

Stevens discusses the case of Peter, who in 2007 served 41 days in Los Angeles County Jail for trespassing. Upon his release, Guzman, a U.S. citizen by birth, was deported to Mexico. ICE officials would not allow him to call family members who could have provided a copy of his birth certificate as proof. A few months later he was allowed to enter the U.S. at Calexico and was taken into custody by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department on a warrant for failure to appear at a probation hearing.

Testifying before Congress in February 2007, Gary Mead, ICE assistant director for detention and removal, claimed that such actions by the agency are rare.

— Public Affairs

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Predicting Infectious Disease Crossovers Between Wild Animals and Humans

A research team found that closely related species, such as humans and great apes, and species living in geographical proximity have a greater chance of experiencing infectious disease crossovers.

Many of the most deadly infectious diseases affecting humans are caused by pathogens that originate among wild animals and then cross species. Examples include AIDS (from chimpanzees) and avian influenza (or bird flu). A study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B examines how these “host shifts” occur, and provides a critical first step in predicting when and where future host shifts may take place.

Authors Jonathan Davies, a scientist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UCSB, and Amy Pederson, a research fellow at the University of Sheffield, explored patterns of pathogen-sharing among primates. They found that closely related species of primates, those sharing similar biology and immune responses, are vulnerable to the same pathogens. Humans also follow this pattern, sharing many diseases with great apes, our closest living relatives.

 The team’s research also demonstrates that living in close proximity to infected species can increase the risk of a disease jumping from one species to another. Their analysis is the first to demonstrate the role of both evolutionary relatedness and geographical proximity.

— Public Affairs

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