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Sunday, April 21, 2024

UC Scoop

UCSF chancellor to step down


UCSF’s Chancellor J. Michael Bishop announced earlier this week his decision to step down at the end of this academic year. Bishop, 72, has been the campusleader for 10 years.

Bishop oversaw one of the most expansive periods of UCSF’s history, including construction of the Mission Bay research center and this year’s groundbreaking of a new stem cell research institute. The nobel laureate also exceeded his fundraising goal by $200 million for a total of $1.6 billion between 1998 and 2005.

Like most chancellors, his time in office was not without controversy. During his first year on the job former Beatle Paul McCartney sent a letter protesting experiments on monkeys. He also had to deal with the budget fallout of a failed hospital merger with Stanford University in 1997 that eventually led to a $50 million operating loss in 2000.

After stepping down in June, he will return to full-time teaching and his groundbreaking research in cancer-causing genes.


New micro-chip could prevent cars from rolling


Researchers at UC Irvine have developed a 1.7 millimeter-wide microchip that helps stabilize automobiles on sharp turns and slippery roads.

The device maintains a constant center of gravity and alerts the car’s safety system to correct when it starts to roll or spin. The device is a significant advancement in part because it can operate under harsh weather conditions and is relatively inexpensive.

The chip activates the car’s brakes when it senses the car is about to slide or roll. This type of safety system is already present in some luxury vehicles, but previous sensors were too expensive for widespread use.


Greenhouse gas more prevalent than previously thought


The Sripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego used new analytical techniques to take the first atmospheric measurements of nitrogen trifluoride to discover the gas is much more common than previously thought.

The amount of the gas in the atmosphere had previously been estimated at 1,200 metric tons in 2006, but the new research from Scripps found that there is actually 4,200 metric tons of it in the atmosphere.

Emissions of the gas were once thought to be so low that it wasn’t considered to be a significant contributor to global warming and wasn’t covered by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

The increased amount is cause for concern as nitrogen trifluoride is thousands of times more effective at warming the atmosphere than an equal amount of carbon dioxide.


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