Volume IV, Issue 4: January 2012


Humanities Gateway goes platinum

Exterior of Humanities Gateway
Beneath the Humanities Gateway's dramatic exterior are sustainable fundamentals such as low energy use and high-efficiency elevators.

Sustainable construction features and green amenities have earned UCI's Humanities Gateway building a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The platinum designation — UCI's first — is the council's highest honor. The campus has received eight LEED Gold awards. "This designation demonstrates UCI's commitment not only to mitigating the campus's impact on the environment, but to holding down costs," said Wendell Brase, vice chancellor for administrative and business services.

Gateway earns top LEED award »

Construction under way on Newkirk Alumni Center

Rendering of Newkirk center
UCI Alumni Association rendering of the Newkirk center

Martha Newkirk, Ph.D. '81 was a young working mother when she started classes at UCI in 1969. Forty years later, she and her husband, James Newkirk, provided the generous funding that allowed the campus to break ground in November on the Newkirk Alumni Center. The 12,500-square-foot facility at Mesa Road and University Drive will serve more than 140,000 former students. Newkirk hopes it will be a beacon for alumni. "I want to ignite alumni passion about reconnecting with the place they received their education, with the meaning their education has had for them, and to develop more of a voice for the campus in their communities," she said.

Newkirk Alumni Center »

Researchers develop world's lightest metal

Metal piece resting on top of dandelion
Dan Little / HRL Laboratories
The new metal, which features a unique "micro-lattice" cellular architecture, is so light that it can sit atop dandelion fluff without damaging it.

Researchers from UCI, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology have developed the world's lightest material — about 100 times lighter than plastic foam. They were able to make a metal that consists of 99.99 percent air by designing the 0.01 percent solid at the nanometer, micron and millimeter scales. "Materials actually get stronger as the dimensions are reduced to the nanoscale," explained mechanical and aerospace engineer Lorenzo Valdevit, UCI's principal investigator on the project. The novel metal could be used for battery electrodes and acoustic, vibration or shock energy absorption.

Lightweight metal »

Rignot awarded $2.2 million for mapping glaciers

Eric Rignot
Eric Rignot

UCI Earth system science professor Eric Rignot has been awarded $2.2 million by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation to expand his aerial glacier mapping to the Patagonian Ice Fields of Chile and the frozen fjords of West Greenland. "We're excited to have received this vital funding from the prestigious Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation," said Rignot, adding that the advanced helicopter survey work "will provide critical data to improve our understanding of how glacial ice contributes to sea level rise in a warming climate."

Rignot award »