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.

There’s shock in the U-C Santa Barbara community, following the death of a former student in an accident.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office detectives say Kenneth Yun was trying to sit on the second story railing of an apartment on the 800 block of Embarcadero Del Norte in Isla Vista when he lost his balance. He landed in an asphalt parking lot, severely injuring his head. He was taken to a Santa Barbara hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery, but he died several hours after their early morning Sunday accident.

A Nobel Prize winner who lives on the South Coast has a lot more honors to add to his resume.

UC Santa Barbara Theoretical Physicist David Gross shared the prize in physics in 2004 for his work in quantum chromodynamics.

Now, the Chinese Academy of Science has awarded Gross an honorary doctorate degree, and the Russian Academy of Sciences has saluted the UCSB researcher with its Medal of Honor.

A million dollar grant from an anonymous donor is going to help researchers at a South Coast university try to tackle one of the biggest mysteries in the field of physics.

The issue is trying to develop a quantum theory of gravity. The new UC Santa Barbara effort is intended to try to solve the conflict between Einstein’s theory of general relativity and quantum theory.

An anonymous Japanese donor gave a million dollars to UCSB’s Department of Physics to create a new postdoctoral program called Fundamental Physics Fellows.


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. 

A UC Santa Barbara professor emeritus is advocating for young children to be educated in “emotions.” 

Sociologist Thomas Scheff says there’s a problem with how people deal with their feelings.

“Modern societies tend to ignore emotions, and that’s a big mistake,” he said.

In his paper titled “An Emotion Problem in Cooperative Education” that was recently published in the journal “Medical Sciences,” he makes the case for instruction in emotions beginning as early as kindergarten.

The Los Angeles Lakers are at UC Santa Barbara for the week, to get ready for the season ahead.

This year they start without Kobe Bryant, who retired last season.

There's quite a transition taking place in Isla Vista this week.

After the end of summer break, students have started returning in big numbers for the start of the new school year.

A South Coast university has received a $10 million dollar grant for a new program to look at problems facing our oceans, and to develop practical ways to address them.

UC Santa Barbara is launching what’s known as the Benioff Ocean Initiative. It will bring researchers studying the ocean together with students to come up with science based solutions to issues like garbage in the ocean, and overfishing.