Melissa Conway invited to NASA Workshop

Melissa Conway, head of Special Collections & University Archives for the University Libraries, was one of 20 people invited to participate in a January workshop held in Tempe, Ariz., hosted by the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The workshop, “Understanding Literature and Art Cultures for Transformative Research,” explored how literature, art and especially science fiction has informed, inspired and at times anticipated scientific discovery and technological innovation.

The group will continue to work together on a white paper for NASA.

Using holograms to improve electronic devices

Alexander Khitun

Alexander Khitun

A team of researchers from UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering and Russian Academy of Science have demonstrated a new type of holographic memory device that could improve storage capacity and processing capabilities in electronics.

The new type of memory device uses spin waves instead of the optical beams. Spin waves are advantageous because they are compatible with conventional electronic devices and may operate at a much shorter wavelength, allowing for smaller electronic devices that have greater storage capacity.

“The results open a new field of research, which may have tremendous impact on the development of new logic and memory devices,” said Alexander Khitun, the lead researcher and UCR research professor.

A paper, “Magnonic Holographic Memory,” that describes the finding has been submitted for publication in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

The co-authors of the paper are: Frederick Gertz, UCR graduate student; A. Kozhevnikov and Y. Filimonov, both of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The research was supported in part by: The Center for Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering (FAME).

Synthetic molecular oscillators and artificial cells

Elisa Franco

Elisa Franco

Elisa Franco, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is among a group of researchers that have made important discoveries regarding the behavior of a synthetic molecular oscillator.

The team screened thousands of copies of this oscillators using small droplets and found that the oscillators behave in a very diverse way in terms of period, amplitude, amplitude and phase. The findings will be taken advantaged of as it could be used to help adjust timekeeping in cells, to regulate artificial cells, and to be used as components in molecular computers.

The paper, “Diversity in the dynamical behavior of a compartmentalized programmable biochemical oscillator,” was published online in the journal Nature Chemistry. Co-authors were: Maximilian Weitz, Korbinian Kapsner and Friedrich C. Simmel, all of the Technische Universität München in Germany and Jongmin Kim and Erik Winfree, both of the California Institute of Technology.

Funding for Franco’s research comes from the National Science Foundation, Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside and the UC Regents Faculty Development Fellowship.

Steven Clark presents NAS lecture

Steven Clark, professor of psychology and director of the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies, was invited by the National Academy of Sciences to present a lecture on eyewitness identification at a meeting of the Committee on Scientific Approaches to Understanding and Maximizing the Validity and Reliability of Eyewitness Identification in Law Enforcement and the Courts on Feb. 6 in Washington, D.C.
Clark’s presentation, “Costs and Benefits of Eyewitness Identification Reforms,” addressed a number of reforms that have been proposed by the eyewitness identification research community for how to increase the accuracy of eyewitness identification evidence by changing the procedures that police use to obtain ID evidence.

“It has been a long-held and widely held view that these reforms increase accuracy, either by reducing the risk of false identifications of suspects who are innocent with little or no loss of correct identifications of suspects who are guilty, or by increasing the correct ID rate with little or no increase in the false ID rate,” Clark said. “I refer to this as the ‘no cost view.’ It asserts that the implementation of the reforms produces large benefits but no costs.

“This view is unambiguously contradicted by data. To the contrary, there is a trade-off between false identifications that are avoided and correct identifications that are lost. In other words the reforms not only increase the protection of the innocent from false identification, they also increase the protection of the guilty. This trade-off does not mean that the new procedures should not be adopted, but policy-makers should weigh the costs and benefits of implementing the reforms.”

Policy-makers should evaluate the recommendations carefully, Clark said. “ Recent research findings have shown that some of the recommended procedures are actually less accurate, not more accurate, than the standard procedures.  Other recommendations seem sensible in principle, but the research foundation is very, very thin.”

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