These questions have been great traditional questions in human literature, religion and philosophy for millennia...What we hope to do is make progress toward understanding these issues better even if we can't completely answer them.

John M. Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy, on his $5 million grant to study something that, in the end, is probably unknowable: immortality. The Immortality Project will research mysteries such as whether humans should even aspire to eternal life in this world or another and whether everlasting might just prove to be ever-boring


What I can tell you is it’s very, very, very unlikely that this would pose a threat.

David Crohn, associate professor of environmental science, on how the Menifee Valley's past use of sludge—a treated mixture of human, household and industrial waste commonly used to fertilize crops— poses no danger to the residents' health


We found that a very common sleep drug can be used to increase verbal memory…This is the first study to show you can manipulate sleep to improve memory. It suggests sleep drugs could be a powerful tool to tailor sleep to particular memory disorders.

Sara C. Mednick, assistant professor of psychology, on her research showing that pharmaceuticals like Ambien could enhance the memory-consolidation process


The Vatican understood that it needed to do something different, that it needed to show a different face of the church at this point.

Jennifer Hughes, associate professor of history, on the selection of Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as the pope, the first from Latin America and the first from outside of Europe in more than a millennium


Ronan taught me that children do not exist to honor their parents; their parents exist to honor them. ... He never had any options. He was totally helpless. That makes me want to live a big life because he never got to make any decisions on his own. ... He was just a beautiful boy. He was my kid.

Emily S. Rapp, visiting assistant professor at UCR Palm Desert Center, on Ronan, her son that had Tay-Sachs disease, a fatal degenerative condition that took away his life before the age of 3, and on how being his mom taught her inspiring life lessons as seen through her memoir, 'The Still Point of the Turning World'


If 522 were about the ingredients in our food, that would settle the question. But it isn’t about that…This bill is about the process.

Alan McHughen, cooperative extension plant biotechnologist, on Initiative 522, a bill that would require certain foods to be labeled, and on how the process of genetically modified foods doesn’t show any physical characteristics that can be tested


These things—marriage, family, wealth—do make people happy, but the effect is often not as long-lasting as people expect. And when the ‘thrill’ wears off and life gets back to everyday experiences, we think there’s something wrong.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology, on how the levels of underlying joy depend more on how we react to situations than on the situations themselves


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