Composition Premieres in Brazil

“Brazilian Chamber Symphony” (“Sinfonia de Camara Brasileira”), a new symphonic composition by Paulo Chagas, professor of composition in the Department of Music, premiered at the Theatro Sao Pedro in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 18. The composition was commissioned by the Sao Paulo State Symphonic Band.

Chagas’ new chamber music composition for soprano, clarinet and piano, “Song of Sand” (“Cancao da Areia”), premiered at the SESC Paulista in Sao Paulo, performed by Brazilian soprano Katia Guedes, on Nov. 27.

Commissioned by Ensemble 88, Chagas also composed “Song of Eyes” (“Cancao dos Olhos”) for soprano, cello and piano, which premiered in the Netherlands in July. The Brazilian premiere took place at the Brazilian Festival of Contemporary Music in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 29.

Essay Gets Dramatic Delivery

“Steeped in Shakespeare,” an academic essay by English professor John Briggs, was performed with dramatic interludes by Write Out Loud and the San Diego Shakespeare Society in a Dec. 8 event celebrating the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

Actor Walter Ritter read the paper and company members performed relevant excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays. Briggs led a question-and-answer session with the audience afterward.

Briggs also presented a paper on Lincoln and literacy at the UCLA Lincoln Celebration in November and delivered another paper on “Romeo and Juliet” and the cure of souls at the “Politics and Shakespeare” conference at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., in October.

Molecule Carriers on Display

The Center for New Technologies at the Deutsche Museum in Munich, Germany, now includes an exhibit on permanent display that illustrates research led by Ludwig Bartels, an associate professor of chemistry. The exhibit shows a system of molecule carriers that Bartels and his research team developed in 2007.

The Bartels lab showed that the carriers, which run along a copper surface, can each pick up and release up to two carbon dioxide molecules and transport them along a straight path.

“The use of machines at the scale of single molecules can be an extremely efficient way to build objects or deliver material,” Bartels said. “Moreover, the molecule carrier mimics nature well. For example, in the human body, the molecule hemoglobin carries oxygen from and carbon dioxide to the lungs, thereby allowing us to breathe — and to live.”

Bartels predicts that the transport of molecules will, in time, be as important to the field of molecular machinery as trucks and conveyor belts have become for factories of today.

The molecule carrier is the organic compound anthraquinone. Consisting of three fused benzene rings with one oxygen atom on each side, it is widely used in the pulp industry for turning cellulose from wood into paper and is the parent substance of a large class of dyes and pigments.

Miller Publishes Book, Journal Articles

“Television Studies: The Basics,” written by Toby Miller, professor and chair of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, was published in November by Routledge. The book is an introduction to the study of television, and examines the role and future of the medium.

Miller also edited “The Contemporary Hollywood Reader” (Routledge, June 2009), a collection of scholarly analyses of Hollywood after World War II, and contributed chapters to numerous books published this year.

Among recent journal articles are “Hollywood: Domination or Retreat? Past, Present, Future, Labor,” with Richard Maxwell, Studies of Broadcasting and Media; “Reinvention Through Amnesia,” with Mia Consalvo, Critical Studies in Media Communication; and “Afterward: Albert and Michael’s Recombinant DNA,” Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies.

Miller also was invited to address the Cultural Technologies/Cultures of Technology Symposium in Stockholm in October; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in October; the Frontiers of New Media Symposium at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in September; and presented by teleconference the keynote address, “Why Do First World Academics Think Cultural Imperialism Doesn’t Matter When So Many Other People Disagree,” at the American Studies Symposium of the Salzburg Global Seminar in September.

Salzman Invited as Visiting Scholar

Michele Salzman, University of California Presidential Chair in history and director of the Tri-Campus Classics Program, has been invited to be part of a visiting scholar program at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Personal Versus Established Religion: Revision, Stagnation and Synthesis in Eastern Christian Thought and Praxis (5th-8th centuries). She will be in Israel in February.

The research group is connected with her work on reactions to the fall of Rome, which is the subject of an NEH Summer Seminar Salzman will direct at the American Academy in Rome. The seminar, “The ‘Falls’ of Rome: Transformations of Rome in Late Antiquity,” is scheduled from June 28 through July 30, 2010.

Salzman also presented recent work on Pope Leo and Christian responses to crisis at the Society of Biblical Literatures annual meeting, Piety Workshop, in New Orleans in November.

Fuel Cell Research Gets Funded

Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering Yushan Yan’s proposal “Quanternary Phosphonium-based Hydroxide Exchange Membranes” is one of 37 selected for negotiations for the U.S. Department of Energy’s newly formed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awards for transformative energy research projects.

Yan’s proposed project focuses on the development of a new generation of high-performance hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells (HEMFCs). In the letter informing him of the selection, the DOE cited Yan’s application as “... among those of the highest scientific and technical merit, and is part of an ARPA-E portfolio of high impact projects that have great potential to revolutionize the U.S. energy sector.”

If successful, and assuming a reasonable market share, the technology will reduce gasoline consumption by 163 million barrels and eliminate 60 million metric tons of CO2 emissions every year.

Yan is also co-author of the paper, “High Performance Zeolite NaA Membranes on Polymer-Zeolite Composite Hollow Fiber Supports,” published by the Journal of the American Chemical Society Nov. 6.

Ethanol from biomass has become increasingly important as a sustainable alternative fuel to gasoline. The ethanol from the fermentation process, however, is usually accompanied by a large amount of water (e.g., 90-95 percent) which has to be removed before it can be used as fuel. A typical separation process such as distillation is energy intensive. Zeolite membranes can perform the separation more efficiently if a membrane with high flux and selectivity is developed.

Yan and his co-authors report a new strategy of using of polymer−zeolite composite hollow fibers as supports, potentially reducing production costs, eliminating one of the complex “seeding” steps and easily creating a very uniform crystal distribution, so continuous zeolite membranes with high flux and selectivity can be prepared with high reproducibility.

Real Estate and the Economy

“After the Crash: Designing a Depression-free Economy,” by economics professor Mason Gaffney, was published in November by Wiley. The book analyzes how real estate boom-and-bust cycles contributed to the current economic crisis.

“There has long been a real estate cycle of about 18 years duration,” Gaffney said. “Most macro-economists have missed it because they compartmentalize economics and fail to integrate real estate with their overall analyses and models of what determines GDP (gross domestic product) and employment. Periodic overpricing of land causes investors to sink too much capital into land-substitutes, which typically pay out slowly. This results in shortages of working capital and trade and consumer credit, as now.”

Grant Funds Graphene “Quilts”

Alexander Balandin, professor of electrical engineering and chair of the Program in Materials Science and Engineering, has received a $420,000 grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to develop “quilts” for the high-power electronics. Unlike the traditional “grandma’s quilts,” which are used to keep the heat, graphene “quilts” proposed by Balandin will actually take the heat away from the heat-generating regions in the high-power electronic devices. Balandin will create an experimental proof-of-concept demonstration in his Nano-Device Laboratory.

Graphene is a new form of carbon materials that has a thickness of just one atom and reveals many unique properties, such as extremely high-electron mobility and unusual optical absorption. Graphene’s extraordinary high thermal conductivity was discovered in Balandin’s lab at UCR in 2008. It is this property of graphene which makes possible its applications in heat removal.

Thermal management of the high-power-density devices is becoming a crucial part of their design, testing and manufacturing. The growing complexity of the device structures and chip designs substantially increase the thermal resistance and complicate heat removal. The higher speed, higher power densities and increased thermal residence in the state-of-the-art devices result in development of hot spots, performance degradation and thermal breakdown.

Balandin proposed an innovative graphene-based approach for thermal management, which might lead to the creation of a new technology for local cooling and hot-spot spreading in the high-power-density and ultra-fast chips.