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Posted inSci/Tech

Achieving Quantum Supremacy

October 23, 2019 – Researchers in UC Santa Barbara/Google scientist John Martinis’ group have made good on their claim to quantum supremacy. Using 53 entangled quantum bits (“qubits”), their Sycamore computer has taken on — and solved — a problem considered intractable for classical computers. “A computation that would take 10,000 years on a classical supercomputer took 200 […]

Posted inCalifornia

Study takes the long view of Santa Barbara coastline vulnerability, provides adaptation options

SANTA BARBARA, CA, Sept. 30, 2019  – Santa Barbara County residents love their coastline, from the small-town beaches of Carpinteria to Santa Barbara’s waterfront to camping hotspots like Jalama Beach and dramatic Guadalupe Dunes. But drastic changes are in store in coming decades as temperatures and sea levels rise, bringing massive impacts to local ecology […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Ain’t No River Wide Enough

May 24, 2019 – Picture a languid river winding its way through a fertile plain, on its journey to the sea. For over half a century, scientists thought these rivers were relatively recent phenomena. That’s because with most modern rivers, vegetation provides the cohesion that holds the river bank in place. And prior to the […]

Posted inEnviro

Mapping Biodiversity Risk

May 20, 2019 – The news echoed across the world, through internet channels, in newspaper headlines and during TV broadcasts. Roughly 1 million plant and animal species face extinction, according to a multinational study by a United Nations-backed panel. But where are these species concentrated, and which regions are most vulnerable? A new paper out […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Plastic’s Carbon Footprint

April 15, 2019 – From campaigns against microplastics to news of the great Pacific garbage patch, public awareness is growing about the outsized effect plastic has on the world’s oceans. However, its effect on the air is far less obvious. Plastic production, use, and disposal all emit prodigious amounts of greenhouse gasses, but scientists haven’t […]

Posted inSci/Tech

The Standard Siren – Ten years before the detection of gravitational waves, two KITP postdocs at UC Santa Barbara had a novel idea

April 2, 2019 – The history of science is filled with stories of enthusiastic researchers slowly winning over skeptical colleagues to their point of view. Astrophysicist Scott Hughes can relate to these tales. “For the first 15 or 16 years of my career I was speaking to astronomers, and I always had the impression that […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Extreme weather and geopolitics are major drivers of increasing ‘food shock’

January 28, 2019 – Global food production is suffering from an increasing number of “food shocks,” or sudden losses in food production, with most caused by extreme weather and geopolitical crises. That is according to an international study led by researchers from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara, the Institute […]

Posted inCalifornia

Researchers reveal connection between climate change, El Niño and the possibility for more extreme wildfires

SANTA BARBARA, Aug. 23, 2018 – At roughly 415,000 acres, Northern California’s Mendocino Complex Fire is now the state’s largest recorded wildfire, surpassing the record held by Santa Barbara and Ventura counties’ Thomas Fire, which occurred less than a year before. Roughly 10 other large-scale conflagrations are threatening the state. And California is not yet […]

Posted inRegional

Learning from ‘Little Monsters’ in Sierra Nevada streams

July 20, 2018  – Caddisflies, crustaceans, mollusks and flatworms. Those are just a few of the curious creatures known as benthic (bottom-dwelling) invertebrates and commonly found in small streams. Fingernail clams and oligochaetes are part of the menagerie, too. Their individual names aside, UC Santa Barbara stream ecologist David Herbst affectionately calls them all “little […]

Posted inCalifornia

The Sundowner Experiment: UCSB geographers learn more about gusts that fuel wildfires in Santa Barbara area

SANTA BARBARA, CA, May 8, 2018 – The Santa Ynez Mountains rise abruptly from the coast above Santa Barbara and have an east-west orientation. This unusual positioning sometimes results in strong, gusty offshore downslope winds known as Sundowners. Although conditions for these winds can be predicted in some cases, mechanisms driving their spatial and temporal variability […]

Posted inCalifornia

Economic Forecast Project looks at fiscal damage of Thomas Fire and Montecito debris flow disasters

SANTA BARBARA, March 29, 2018 – Three months after the Thomas Fire and the subsequent debris flow that swept through Montecito, the tourism-dependent South Coast continues to feel the fiscal effects of the two disasters. The cost of cleanup, the potential for decreased property values and the effects of lost business due to the temporary […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Study: Half of hydraulically fractured wells exist within 2 to 3 km of domestic groundwater systems

Debra Perrone and Scott JasechkoPhoto Credit:Sonia Fernandez November 27, 2017 – How safe is the water you drink? For the 45 million Americans who get their drinking water from private groundwater wells rather than a public utility, the answer is decidedly murky. The Environmental Protection Agency regulations that protect public drinking water systems don’t apply […]

Posted inLife

Games People Play

Barbara Voorhies November 6, 2017 – From games of chance to tests of physical skill, ancient North America Indians took their sport and recreation seriously — in some cases, seriously to the point of betting themselves into slavery when they had nothing to wager but themselves. As UC Santa Barbara anthropologist Barbara Voorhies explains it, […]