Blaire Van Valkenburgh appointed Inaugural Donald R. Dickey Chair in Vertebrate Biology

Professor Blaire Van Valkenburgh

Professor Blaire Van Valkenburgh, an internationally renown vertebrate biologist and paleontologist, has been appointed the inaugural Donald R. Dickey chair in Vertebrate Biology within the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This endowed chair was created through a generous endowment from Donald R. Dickey, Jr. and Hisae Dickey. The endowment supports the professor who stewards the Donald R. Dickey Bird and Mammal Collection; it also supports the curation and maintenance of the collection.

The Dickey Bird and Mammal Collection is one of the world’s best collections of bird and mammal specimens from the American southwest and Central America. It houses nearly 64,000 specimens from North and Central America, and from islands in the Pacific. Also included in the collection are Donald R. Dickey’s rare photographs, books, and field notes. The invaluable collection of specimens are actively used, both for research and for undergraduate teaching. Professor Van Valkenburgh has curated the collection since 1986, and led the effort to bring the collection to its current optimal conditions in UCLA’s Hershey Hall.

Archaeologists and geographers team to predict locations of ancient Buddhist sites

In a study published this week in Current Science, archaeologist Monica Smith and geographer Thomas Gillespie identified 121 possible locations of what are known as Ashoka’s “edicts.”

Astronomers confirm faintest early-universe galaxy ever seen

An international team of scientists, including two professors and three graduate students from UCLA, has detected and confirmed the faintest early-universe galaxy ever.

Law professor Laura Gómez named interim dean, UCLA College Division of Social Sciences

Professor Laura Gómez has been appointed interim dean of the UCLA College Division of Social Sciences. She will assume the new post on July 1, when Dean Alessandro Duranti is scheduled to step down and return to the faculty.

UCLA faculty voice: A smarter way to pay for parks

In California, we often pass multibillion-dollar environmental bonds and don’t look back at who benefited from the spending. But what if we could look back and learn?

A media-savvy celeb, Trump knows how to get coverage, journalists say

Donald Trump is a political phenomenon, a man extremely adept at maximizing his celebrity, which has kept him in the media spotlight throughout the presidential primary season and left his opponents fumbling in the wake of his wildly non-traditional, off-the-cuff publicity tactics, said political journalists Dylan Byers and Sasha Issenberg at a public discussion Tuesday night at UCLA.

In memoriam: UCLA physics professor Maha Ashour-Abdalla

Maha Ashour-Abdalla, a professor of physics with expertise in space plasma physics and a passion for teaching, died May 1. She was 72. Until very recently she was actively working on research and teaching.

Times Higher Education global reputation survey places UCLA No. 2 among U.S. public universities

London’s Times Higher Education’s World Reputation Rankings, which assess the international prestige of institutions of higher learning, place the campus No. 2 among all U.S. public universities.

Jared Diamond: A dispassionate look at religion over the course of history

Jared Diamond, UCLA’s Pulitzer Prize-winning professor of geography and an astute intellectual observer of human life in multiple practices, faced a standing-room-only audience who came to hear his compelling lecture titled “The Evolution and Function of Human Religion” at a celebration of the 20th anniversary of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Religion.

Presidential ads put to the test: SpotCheck evaluates 2016 campaign commercials

Politics and media experts from UCLA and Vanderbilt University will provide a data-backed understanding of commercials’ persuasiveness and effectiveness with SpotCheck, a new approach to rating political ads.