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Technique from biology helps explain the evolution of the American car

Borrowing a technique that biologists might use to study the evolution of plants or animals, the scientists plotted the “births” and “deaths” of every American-made car and truck model from 1896 to 2014.

$11 million gift establishes Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCLA

An $11 million gift to UCLA from physicist and philanthropist Mani Bhaumik will establish a center devoted to advancing knowledge of the basic laws of nature.

Using big data, scientists discover biomarkers that could help give cancer patients better survival estimates

People with cancer are often told by their doctors approximately how long they have to live, and how well they will respond to treatments, but what if there were a way to improve the accuracy of doctors’ predictions?

UC regents appoint Dr. Owen Witte University Professor

Dr. Owen Witte, renowned scientist and esteemed member of UCLA’s faculty, has been appointed a University Professor by the University of California Board of Regents. This appointment is reserved for scholars of the highest international distinction, who are respected as teachers of exceptional ability and whose contributions elevate the entire UC system.

Miguel García-Garibay named dean of UCLA Division of Physical Sciences

Now a renowned scholar and chair of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, García-Garibay has been selected as dean of the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences, effective July 1, Scott Waugh, UCLA executive vice chancellor and provost, announced today.

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.

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.

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.