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$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.

UCLA receives $1.65 million from Mellon Foundation to continue urban humanities program

By Margaret MacDonald

 

A $1.65 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will strengthen UCLA’s Urban Humanities Initiative. The program, initially launched by a $2 million award from the Mellon Foundation in 2013, is dedicated to studying contemporary issues in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai and Mexico City.

The new funding will help UCLA provide graduate and undergraduate students with vital scholarly skills, support curricula and new faculty research on historical as well as contemporary urban issues, and pay for scholars to travel to cities around the Pacific Rim.

Together, the two Mellon grants are the largest received by UCLA for curricula that span the School of Arts and Architecture, the Division of Humanities, and the Luskin School of Public Affairs. The grant continues UCLA’s participation in the Mellon Foundation’s Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities initiative, which since 2012 has provided funding to a total of 16 institutions in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

At UCLA, urban humanities scholars use innovative means to study cities, merging approaches from architecture and urbanism with historical-critical approaches from the humanities and, in particular, cutting-edge film and mapping techniques from digital humanities.

“The study of urban life in the Pacific Rim embraces global issues that are particularly situated and made visible through the overlapping lenses of design, history, ethnography, visual and literary studies, and spatial analysis,” said Dana Cuff, a UCLA professor of architecture and urban design.

Cuff is the project’s lead principal investigator, along with Todd Presner, a professor of digital humanities; Maite Zubiaurre, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese; and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, a professor of urban planning.

In its first three years, the Urban Humanities Initiative engaged 75 graduate students from across campus in a certificate program, supported more than 30 faculty members, held symposia and produced numerous publications. The program will be extended to undergraduate students in the next three years. After the Mellon funding concludes, it will be administered jointly by the deans of the schools of arts and architecture and public affairs, and the humanities division in the UCLA College.

“We are immensely gratified that the Mellon Foundation is continuing to support our efforts, ensuring that this excellent program will continue to serve our students for many years to come,” said David Schaberg, dean of the humanities division.

Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.

 

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?

Professor collaborates with Getty Museum to bring 15th-century manuscript to the public

UCLA professor and recently named Guggenheim Fellow Zrinka Stahuljak spent the last three years helping the J. Paul Getty Museum bring an important 15th-century Flemish manuscript to life for the general public.

UCLA graduates are told ‘the world needs you’

With whoops, hoots, foot-stomping and a reckless disregard for where their hats landed, graduates in UCLA’s class of 2016 shook Pauley Pavilion with applause as they celebrated their commencement on Friday afternoon.

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.

After kicking addiction, graduating UCLA student reboots life

This week, Hale, 53, will graduate with a degree in sociology and celebrate his transition to a new life at the campus’s Native-American graduation celebration on Friday at 4:30 p.m. with 18 other graduates.

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.”