U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu came from Taiwan to the United States with his family when he was 3 years old. And since then, he has tried to champion the ideals that propelled him and his family to success.
The one-hour discussion about athletes and activism was part of a series of events recognizing the 100th birthday of Jackie Robinson, the UCLA alumnus who broke the Major League Baseball color barrier in 1947.
Researchers using the array will be able to study the gamma rays in the sky with the sensitivity 10 times better than currently achieved. This will help to address some of the most important and perplexing questions in very-high-energy astrophysics.
Thanks to a gift in 2018 from the Trust of Morvarid Guiv, the Morvarid Guiv Graduate Fellowship in Zoroastrian Studies has been established in UCLA’s Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World. Named after the late Iranian philanthropist Morvarid Guiv, the fellowship will support graduate students studying the Zoroastrian religion, its ancient history, languages, and scriptures. The gift secured additional matching support from the UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match program.
The Zoroastrian religion is one of the oldest monotheistic religions in the world and was the dominant faith of the Iranian World (including Asia Minor and Central Asia) prior to the rise of Islam. The fellowship enables UCLA’s long-established doctoral Program of Iranian Studies to attract and train new generations of experts exploring the many facets of this influential, ancient Iranian religion that continues to thrive today—further reinforcing UCLA as the premier destination for scholars working on ancient Iran.
“It is a great privilege to host this timely fellowship that so wholly complements the mission and aspirations of the Pourdavoud Center and its eminent eponym,” said M. Rahim Shayegan, Director of the Pourdavoud Center. “The Morvarid Guiv Graduate Fellowship will not only strengthen the study of ancient Iran at UCLA, but also ensure that future generations of scholars pursue research in the languages and history of this remarkable religion.”
Born in Iran, Morvarid Guiv and her husband Rustam Guiv were successful businesspeople who helped Zoroastrian communities by building schools, low-income residential projects, and Zoroastrian community centers. When they immigrated to the U.S., they founded Zoroastrian community centers in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Graduate students awarded the fellowship will benefit from the presence of a strong faculty specializing in ancient Iran and the ancient world at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and from the unparalleled resources of the Pourdavoud Center, the first research institution in the Western hemisphere that aims to advance the knowledge of ancient Iranian languages, history and religions. Named for the late Professor Ebrahim Pourdavoud, a pioneering scholar of ancient Persia, the Pourdavoud Center aims to engage in transformative research on all aspects of Iranian antiquity, including its reception in the medieval and modern periods, by expanding on the traditional domains of Old Iranian studies and promoting cross-cultural and interdisciplinary scholarship. Professor Pourdavoud was the first scholar to translate the Avesta, the Zoroastrian sacred scriptures, into Persian.
Throughout its 50-year history, the Chicano Studies Research Center has advanced diversity in the arts through scholarship, museum exhibitions, archival collections, public programs, community partnerships, professional development and policy-related research and advocacy.
Margaret Kivelson, who discovered an ocean inside Jupiter’s moon Europa and a magnetic field generated by neighboring Ganymede, has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s 2019 Gold Medal.
UCLA has launched a national and international search for a top post-doctoral scholar who will be the inaugural recipient of the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Contemporary Iranian Studies.
The Amuzegar Fellow, who may be appointed for up to two years, will be housed in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC). The Amuzegar Fellow will conduct original research, develop and teach undergraduate and graduate courses, and participate in academic programs hosted by the NELC department, the Program of Iranian Studies, the Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World in the Division of Humanities, as well as other affiliated departments and centers at UCLA.
The Amuzegar Fellowship was established in 2015 following a gift of $1 million by UCLA alumnus Dr. Jahangir Amuzegar, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 98.
“The fellowship established in memory of Dr. Jahangir Amuzegar, a remarkable scholar, stateman, and UCLA alumnus, greatly honors us. It substantially enriches Iranian Studies at UCLA, while providing emerging scholars the leisure to pursue innovative and consequential research on Modern Iran,” said M. Rahim Shayegan, Director of the Pouradvoud Center.
Dr. Amuzegar was an economist and former Iranian government official who served as Iran’s ambassador-at-large to the United States from 1963 to 1979. He was also a member of the board of the International Monetary Fund and a special advisor to the IMF director from 1979 to 1984. Previously, he had served as Iran’s minister of commerce and minister of finance in the early 1960s, and as chairman of the National Iranian Oil Company.
Dr. Amuzegar wrote widely on Iran’s economy and politics and was the author of several books, including “The Islamic Republic of Iran: Reflections on an Emerging Economy” (2014), “Managing Oil Wealth” (1999), “Iran’s Economy Under the Islamic Republic” (1993) and “The Dynamics of the Iranian Revolution” (1991).
Dr. Amuzegar held a bachelor’s degree in Economy from Tehran University and a Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA. In addition to the postdoctoral fellowship, in the year 2000, he and his late wife established the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies at UCLA, held by M. Rahim Shayegan. The chair promotes innovative research on, and teaching in, all aspects of the Iranian civilization, including Iranian antiquity and the classical period.
Blue Prosperity aims to mitigate the threats of climate change and overfishing to marine ecosystems through strategic economic growth and management, working hand-in-hand with local governments, businesses and communities.
By Stuart Wolpert
UCLA physicists have pioneered a method for creating a unique new molecule that could lead to many useful applications in medicine, food science and other fields. Their research, published in the journal Science, also shows how chemical reactions can be studied on a microscopic scale using tools of physics.
For the past 200 years, scientists have developed rules to describe chemical reactions that they have observed, including reactions in food, vitamins, medications and living organisms. One of the most ubiquitous is the “octet rule,” which states that each atom in a molecule that is produced by a chemical reaction will have eight outer orbiting electrons. (Scientists have found rare exceptions to the rule).
The molecule created by professor Eric Hudson and colleagues violates that rule. Barium-oxygen-calcium, or BaOCa+, is the first molecule ever observed by scientists that is composed of an oxygen atom bonded to two different metal atoms.
Normally, one metal atom (either barium or calcium) can react with an oxygen atom to produce a stable molecule. However, when the UCLA scientists added a second metal atom to the mix, a new molecule, BaOCa+, which no longer satisfied the octet rule, had been formed.
Ultra-cold physics tools
Other molecules that violate the octet rule have been observed before, but the UCLA study is among the first to observe such a molecule using tools from physics – namely lasers, ion traps and ultra-cold atom traps.
Hudson’s laboratory used laser light to cool tiny amounts of the reactant atoms and molecules to an extremely low temperature – one one-thousandth of a degree above absolute zero – and then levitate them in a space smaller than the width of a human hair, inside of a vacuum chamber. Under these highly controlled conditions, the scientists could observe properties of the atoms and molecules that are otherwise hidden, and the “physics tools” they used enabled them to hold a sample of atoms and observe chemical reactions one molecule at a time.
The ultra-cold temperatures used in the experiment can also be used to simulate the reaction as it would occur in outer space. That could help scientists understand how certain complex molecules, including some that could be precursors to life, came to exist in space, Hudson said.
The researchers found that when they brought together calcium and barium methoxide inside of their system under normal conditions, they would not react because the atoms could not find a way to rearrange themselves to form a stable molecule. However, when the scientists used a laser to change the distribution of the electrons in the calcium atom, the reaction quickly proceeded, producing a new molecule, CaOBa+.
The Hudson group’s approach is part of a new physics-inspired subfield of chemistry that uses the tools of ultra-cold physics, such as lasers and electromagnetism, to observe and control how and when single-particle reactions occur.
Graduate student Prateek Puri, the project’s lead researcher, said the experiment demonstrates not only how these techniques can be used to create exotic molecules, but also how they can be used to engineer important reactions. The discovery could ultimately be used to create new methods for preserving food and developing safer medications.
“Experiments like these pave the way for developing new methods for controlling chemistry,” Puri said. “We’re essentially creating ‘on buttons’ for reactions.”
Food decays, he said, when undesired chemical reactions occur between food and the environment. Similarly, many medicines induce chemical reactions that can cause harm to the body. Perhaps in the future, scientists could prevent these types of reactions from occurring, or reduce their frequency, Hudson said.
Hudson said one key to the success of the new study was the involvement of experts from various fields: experimental physicists, theoretical physicists and a physical chemist.
Co-authors of the study are Christian Schneider, a UCLA research scientist; Michael Mills, a UCLA graduate student; Ionel Simbotin, a University of Connecticut physics postdoctoral scholar; John Montgomery Jr., a University of Connecticut research professor of physics; Robin Côté, a University of Connecticut professor of physics; and Arthur Suits, a University of Missouri professor of chemistry. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and Army Research Office.
Findings lead to new areas of study
“We realized we could create molecules in ways we had not appreciated before,” Hudson said. “That led us to start thinking about designing molecules differently.”
As an outgrowth of this insight, a research team involving Hudson and led by Wesley Campbell, associate professor of physics, has been awarded a three-year, $2.7 million U.S. Department of Energy Quantum Information Science Research Award. The emerging, multidisciplinary field of quantum information science is expected to lay the foundation for the next generation of computing and information processing, as well as many other innovative technologies.
Quantum computers, once fully developed, will be capable of solving large, extremely complex problems that are beyond the
capacity of today’s most powerful supercomputers. Among other applications, quantum systems hold the promise of potentially
exquisitely sensitive sensors, with a variety of possible medical, national security and scientific applications.
With this funding, faculty in chemistry and physics will develop and study “molecules functionalized with optical cycling centers,” accelerating research into next-generation chemical systems for quantum information storage and processing.
The primary investigators of this grant are Campbell; Hudson; Justin Caram, a UCLA assistant professor of chemistry; Anastassia Alexandrova, UCLA associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Anna Krylov, USC professor of chemistry; John Doyle, Harvard University professor of physics; and Nick Hutzler, Caltech assistant professor of physics.
They are to be honored by the association for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin, representing science and engineering, on Feb. 16, at the association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Fellows will be formally announced in the “AAAS News and Notes” section of the journal Science on Nov. 29.
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