uc santa barbara

Photo by UCSB College of Engineering

Robots have been around for a long time. But, now, scientists are finding some amazing ways that they can help us. Imagine a robot that can do things humans can’t. South Coast researchers are developing robots with x-ray vision.

A robot that’s only about two feet tall can do some big things.

“If you use unmanned vehicles and existing wireless signals like WiFi to enable having x-ray vision and be able to see through walls. That’s something we’ve shown is possible,” said Yasamin Mostofi, an electrical and computer engineering professor at UC Santa Barbara, who does groundbreaking work in mobile sensor networks.

A tremendous amount of food goes to waste. So, a university on the South Coast is leading the way in diverting food waste from landfills. Students are composting on campus.

I step into an electric car here at UC Santa Barbara.

"This is our composting mobile. We use all electric vehicles here because our goal is zero waste," said Kaitlyn Haberlin, an environmental studies and archeology double major.

Photo by Peter Allen/Brian Long

UC Santa Barbara scientists have corrected a flaw in antibiotic testing that could now help patients recover from infections.

The standard antibiotic test has been used worldwide since 1961. But UC Santa Barbara biologist Michael Mahan says it may not be working as well as it should be.

“People are not petri plates. And because the test is on a petri plate, it does not accurately reflect what may happen in the body,” he said.

The fields of science and engineering are dominated by men. So, there’s an effort across the nation to encourage young women to become scientists and engineers. Some girls on the South Coast are learning about those fields in an unusual way. 

Eating healthy foods can do more than improve your health.  Researchers say it can also benefit the health care system and even the planet. A new study by scientists on the South Coast finds that healthy eating will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Taking a bite out of an apple or chomping on some carrots can actually make inroads in addressing climate change, according to a study led by UC Santa Barbara researchers.

Photo by Emily Read

The number of native oysters off the California Coast has been diminishing to the point that only a sparse population is left. But, a group of students on the South Coast are gathering information to help future oyster recovery efforts.

Graduate students from UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management are trekking across the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve on land and in water in search of native California oysters called Olympia oysters.

Photo by UC Santa Barbara

Scientists at a South Coast university are using crowd-sourcing to find a solution to the problem of ships colliding and killing whales in the ocean.

These ship strikes are particularly concerning for the West Coast, which is home to the blue whale – the largest animal that has ever lived and an endangered species. Researchers say there were multiple documented incidents of fatal strikes in the Santa Barbara Channel in the late 2000s, with at least five whales killed in 2007.

Birgit Luef, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Some of the planet’s smallest microbes are so small they were unknown until just a few years ago.

Now, a UC Santa Barbara researcher working with other scientists has shown these common yet mysterious organisms have an amazing ability to self-mutate as part of their survival.

Photo by Darcy Bradley

A UC Santa Barbara researcher has been studying how scuba diving with sharks – which has become a multi-million-dollar global tourism industry -- impacts the shark population. The findings were surprising.

With a quarter of shark species at risk of extinction, Darcy Bradley, a postdoctoral researcher with the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB, wanted to know if scuba diving influences the behavior and the abundance of shark populations.

“So, our question very simply was:  Do sharks avoid areas that are frequented by scuba divers?” she said.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that the fruits and vegetables you eat don’t start out at the supermarket. Instead, they begin with a seed. You could take an entire college course on how a seed turns into what ends up on your dinner plate. But, this course is being taught to an unusually young audience on the South Coast.

Preschoolers – ages three to five – are learning about gardening, sustainability, eating healthy and the environment.

Photo by David Hubbard

Last season’s El Nino didn’t bring a lot of rain to Southern California. But, a UC Santa Barbara researcher says it may a have actually been one of the most powerful climate events in the last 150 years.

Ecologist David Hubbard with UCSB’s Marine Science Institute is among a team of researchers who examined the 2015/2016 El Nino and its impact on beach erosion of the Pacific Coast. The results were astonishing.

“The erosion was 76% higher than normal. Most of the beaches in California eroded beyond their historic extremes.”

Scientists collected data from 29 beaches along more than 1,200 miles of coastline.

Nearly all of the players on the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team are not standing during the national anthem, and are instead going down on one knee.

It's a statement similar to professional athletes who are concerned about racial injustice.

Students at University of California campuses rallied Monday against possible tuition increases next year.

UC Santa Barbara students also took part, where students say currently their in state tuition is $12,240 a year.

ScienceLine

Kids in the Tri-Counties who are curious about anything science-related can get their answers from real-life scientists.

It’s called ScienceLine. It’s a website in which students and teachers from local elementary, middle and high schools submit science questions, and UC Santa Barbara scientists answer them.

“It’s a good way to encourage kids not only to learn science but to develop curiosity and think about how to do science,” UCSB Emeritus bio-physics professor Helen Hansma said. 

Oxfam International

Researchers on the South Coast are helping African scientists stave off starvation.

Geographers with the UC Santa Barbara and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Hazards Group will be using remote sensing and climate data to predict poor harvests so that they can mitigate them and prevent severe hunger.

(Carlos Diniz Archives)

The World Trade Center in New York, the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, The Century City Shopping Plaza, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall were among his projects.

Closer to home in the 1960’s, Carlos Diniz worked on the master plan for Westlake Village.

A local computer scientist is bringing technology from her lab into the fields to create smarter and more sustainable farming. 

Chandra Krintz grew up on a small farm in rural Indiana. Now, as a UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s co-leading a team of scientists and students to develop a tech-based system called SmartFarm. 

Over a thousand new rooms are going in around the intersection of Storke Road and El Colegio in Isla Vista where more student housing is going up in the form of high rise buildings.

It's right across the street from adult student housing and the Isla Vista Elementary school, and because many people walk in that area, residents are concerned about pedestrian safety around the busy intersection.

There may be new money available for coastal projects ranging from a nature center to land preservation over looking the ocean. 

A funding source from oil development off Santa Barbara County will be divided soon.

It's called the Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund, or CREF.