Science & Technology

Science & Technology
6:17 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Earthquake warning system partially funded in new federal budget

A seismogram display from Black Mountain in San Luis Obispo County showing a micro earthquake that occurred at near Parkfield on December 14, 2014.
Credit USGS

An omnibus federal funding bill that is headed to President Obama's desk after passing in both the US Senate and House of Representatives includes $5 million to develop a West Coast earthquake early warning system.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) says the funding is just a down payment and she wants to see the program fast-tracked before the next major quake strikes.

Read more
Science & Technology
4:42 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Larger Atlas V scheduled for Vandenberg launch this Thursday

The launch of the Atlas V 541that carried the Mars rover Curiosity.
Credit NASA

An Atlas V rocket—unlike any other launched on the West Coast—is scheduled for lift-off this Thursday at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

It's called an Atlas V 541, and it's the same type of rocket used to launch the Mars rover Curiosity back in 2011.

The rocket is larger than the most recent Atlas V to launch at Vandenberg because it has booster rockets.

Thursday's mission, named NROL-35, is in cooperation with the National Reconnaissance Office and is highly secretive.

Read more
Science & Technology
5:51 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

UCSB brain scientists to study public's reaction to the Ebola threat

Credit Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Scientists at UCSB will soon begin studying how people around the world have responded to the Ebola threat, psychologically. The University's Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences is getting more $128,202 from the National Science Foundation for the project.

Professor David Sherman is working with lead researcher Dr. Heejung Kim on the project and says the goal is to help us understand how and why we respond the way we do.

Read more
Science & Technology
1:24 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Enchanted Objects

Broadcast date: 11/10/2014

Twelve years ago, David Rose designed a frosted glass sphere programmed to track any kind of data.  He called it the Ambient Orb.  Now he provides insight into the promise of tomorrow’s technology in his book, Enchanted Objects.

Read more
Science & Technology
4:23 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Cal Poly grads win 2014 TechPitch competition with pickup truck device

The LiftGator won the 2014 TechPitch competition Wednesday night at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Credit Superior Solutions Manufacturing, Facebook Page

A pair of Cal Poly Mechanical Engineering alums are the winners of this year's Tech Pitch competition held last night at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo.

It was 22-year-old Justin Russo who gave the presentation for his company's removable LiftGator device designed for pickup trucks. He runs Superior Solutions Manufacturing with fellow Cal Poly grad Marty Affentranger. Their device is a product out of the HotHouse incubator. The Lift Gator makes it easy to load heavy items into truck beds.

Read more
Science & Technology
1:29 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

WATCH: Reusable 'space plane' successfully lands at Vandenberg Air Force Base

The X-37B following a successful landing on the runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday, October 17, 2014.
Credit 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

UPDATE: Friday, October 17, 2014:

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 3 (OTV-3), the Air Force's unmanned, reusable space plane, landed Friday morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The military said it touched own at 9:24 a.m.

Read more
Science & Technology
5:42 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

UCSB Professor shares Nobel Prize in Physics for work on LED lights

The Bay Lights art project has strings of LEDs on each vertical cable, sequenced to a fanciful display. It is world’s largest LED sculpture.
Credit Flickr member Steve Jurvetson

The Nobel Prize for Physics was announced Tuesday in Stockholm, Sweden, and the among the winners is a professor at UCSB.

"This year's prize is about light," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said as they revealed the three winners, including Professor Shuji Nakamura of UC Santa Barbara.

Read more
Science & Technology
5:28 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Successful solar spacecraft test at Cal Poly moves project to next phase

The LightSail fully unfurled during testing Tuesday on the Cal Poly campus.
Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

Last month a group of Cal Poly students worked to test elements of a high-tech spacecraft they're working on with Stanford University. But, a communications glitch forced a trip back to the drawing board.

On Tuesday night however, the students enjoyed the thrill of success.

Doug Stetson, the LightSail program manager for the Planetary Society, said the test involved, "simulating all of the activities that the spacecraft will conduct when it's on orbit after launch."

Read more
Science & Technology
5:39 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Scientists uncover why we all make the same 'anger face'

The 'anger face' is universal because we evolved to use it, according to scientists at UCSB and Australia's Griffith University.
Credit The Current, UCSB

The next time you make an angry face, you may be comforted to know that the elements of that face are built into our genetic makeup.

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara in collaboration with Australia's Griffith University have identified the functional advantages behind the face. The findings are in the current edition of the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

The scientists say every aspect of the angry face—from your mouth up to your eyebrows—is aimed at intimidating your subject. The look has evolved to make you look stronger.

Read more
Science & Technology
5:23 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Bill Nye 'The Science Guy' visits Cal Poly for solar sail spacecraft testing

Bill Nye 'The Science Guy' attracted several admirers Wednesday when he visited testing of the LightSail mission on the Cal Poly campus.
Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

A team of scientists at Cal Poly worked to test elements of a kite-like, solar-powered spacecraft Wednesday on the San Luis Obispo campus.

It's called the LightSail mission and it's built using components known as CubeSats developed at Cal Poly and Stanford University.

Wednesday's test was to include a full simulation of what the spacecraft will do in space, however a communications problem between the antenna and receiver caused a glitch in the testing. Another test has been scheduled for next week. 

Read more
Science & Technology
3:47 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

UCSB Plastic research

Broadcast date: 8/13/14

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara are on the verge of creating a plastic that repairs itself when exposed to wet conditions.  Researchers have dreamed of this self-healing technology for decades -- but it could soon become reality. KCBX News Director Randol White speaks with one of the scientists behind the technology about how it might work, and the multitude of uses it could potentially have.

Read more
Science & Technology
6:57 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

UPDATE: Successful Atlas V rocket launch Wednesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base

The Atlas V rocket carrying DigitalGlobe's WorldView 3 satellite successfully launching at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday morning.
Credit United Launch Alliance video still

UPDATE: August 13, 2014 at 2:51 p.m.  

Another successful launch for the team at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. PDT.

The Atlas V rocket carried the WorldView 3 satellite into orbit without a hitch. It's designed to take ultra clear photos of the earth to be used by a wide array of commercial sources, Google and Microsoft maps among them.

Original Story:

Scientists at Vandenberg Air Force Base are preparing for Wednesday's launch of an Atlas V rocket.

Read more
Science & Technology
3:40 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Red Devil 4

In our quest to link the human brain with computers, neurosurgeon Eric Leuthhardt provides a cautionary tale.

Read more
Science & Technology
1:04 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

The Age of Radiance

In his latest book, bestselling author Craig Nelson provides the first full history of the Atomic Age.  He takes his readers through the discovery of the X-ray to the nuclear plant meltdown in Japan.

Read more
Science & Technology
7:02 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

UCSB professors working on chemical information database for consumers, industry

Credit Flickr member Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR)

A group of professors at UCSB are working on a way to help industry and consumers keep track of potentially dangerous new chemicals.

The EPA is funding the $4.8 million initiative called the Sustainable Chemical Network. Its goal, according to the University, is to provide scientific information on some of the thousands of synthetic chemicals registered to the American Chemical Society's chemicals list each day. It will look at the possible health and environmental impacts of these new substances and give scientists the ability to quickly assess the information. 

Read more