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SJSU, Cal Poly Take Charge in Energy Innovation

February 14, 2013

Category: A Closer Look

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In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama called on America to advance clean energy research and technology. Obama said that investment in clean energy innovation holds the most promise for both our environment and economy.

San José State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo recently made announcements regarding their roles in such innovation: SJSU has launched a program to train students for the fast-emerging energy storage industry, and Cal Poly received a $1.3 million grant to help turn San Luis Obispo’s wastewater into energy.

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Obama back by popular demand: A CSU Fullerton professor does the math

November 6, 2012

Category: A Closer Look

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With polls showing the presidential race neck and neck, Americans are coming up with some creative ways to predict our next president—from a psychic pet squirrel, to the number of Obama and Romney masks sold for Halloween, even to the outcome of an Ohio State Buckeye or Florida Gators football game.

However, math remains the most reliable way to predict the president. Although polling is not an exact science, CSU Fullerton civil engineering professor Chandra Putcha is using math and science to take it to another level of accuracy.

Putcha created a comprehensive way to make predicting a more scientific process. He forecasted the outcome of the Nov. 6 presidential election using his own integrated approach that includes both state polls and probability calculations based on historical information.
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CSU Chancellor’s Office Greets Endeavour

September 21, 2012

Category: A Closer Look

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The CSU gets an amazing close up view of both shuttle and 747 as they cross above the university’s headquarters.

Late last year, we brought you the story of work that CSU aeronautical engineering programs are doing to ensure the U.S. continues to send humans to space after the Endeavour retires.  Today, the CSU Chancellor’s Office greets the shuttle itself as it flies piggyback to its new home at the California Science Center. Read more »

Big Problems, Small Solutions

July 19, 2012

Category: A Closer Look

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Some of the biggest problems in applied science – such as personalized genome mapping and affordable renewable energy – require the aid of some of the world’s smallest devices.  In the meticulously maintained clean room at CSU Northridge, students create and test these nanotech devices under the direction of Assistant Professor Henk Postma.

Going from Theory to Reality

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CSU Monterey Bay’s Underwater Disco

February 17, 2012

Category: A Closer Look

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Submarines and submersibles (small subs) provide their operators with some capacity to interact with the outside world.  However, you run into problems when scientists want to add a new outside tool that they can operate while safely inside.  Just drilling control wire holes in the hull does not work – given humans’ pesky need to breath and the crushing pressure of deep water.

The students of CSU Monterey Bay Professor Steve Moore’s robotics class came up with a solution, and in so doing created “Squid Disco.”

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Living for Science

January 12, 2012

Category: A Closer Look

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The Twenty-Fourth Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium continued a proud tradition of bringing the CSU’s greatest minds in life science research, engineering and technological innovation.  With more than 600 researchers, mentors, students and faculty from across the system, the yearly program provided an opportunity to build bridges on collaborative research, share educational practices and celebrate the achievements of CSU students and faculty.

No time went to waste during the symposium.  Lunch featured faculty hosted topic tables, where a salad might be served with a side of bioengineering. Read more »

Dedicated to Fuel Cell Energy

December 23, 2011

Category: A Closer Look

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CSU campuses lead the way in exploring fuel cells as a clean, ultra-efficient way to generate energy.  This technology has developed from units designed for spacecraft and vehicles to large-scale units that now power buildings and homes.

San Francisco State University and Pacific Gas and Electric demonstrate the potential of fuel cells through a project that combines two separate systems for a total of 1.6 megawatts of electrical power – enough energy to supply about 1,200 homes.

Below are a few milestones of the project.

Photo credit: Gino DeGrandis

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A New Space Race Launches CSU Endeavors

October 19, 2011

Category: A Closer Look

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Last week, a Los Angeles ceremony celebrated NASA space shuttle Endeavour’s new home. Beginning in 2012, the aircraft will be housed at the California Science Center. Although Endeavour is California-bound, it will no longer live up to its name or original purpose.

After its 135th flight, NASA’s shuttle program ended this year. Endeavour and sister ships Atlantis and Discovery—American icons for human innovation and space domination—will be museum pieces, resting next to models of Sputnik and Explorer 1, among other artifacts. Reminders that everything, even NASA’s shuttle program, must come to an end.

NASA Chief Charles Bolden says the shuttles will now inspire a new generation of explorers. Hopefully inspire them to go into aeronautical engineering—because right now, America doesn’t have a way to send our astronauts into space.

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When the Power Grid Fails

September 9, 2011

Category: A Closer Look

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power lines

At approximately 4 pm on Thursday, Sept. 8, two CSU campuses went dark.  A blackout that began through human error in Arizona had spread across county, state and national borders.  For the students, faculty and staff of San Diego State and CSU San Marcos the blackout is a major upheaval of their daily routine – interrupting work and instruction, darkening traffic lights and limiting communications.  Of particular concern in the American southwest, the blackout also took out air conditioning during one of the hottest weeks of the year. 

How does such a widespread failure occur?  To understand grid system failure requires a grasp of how electric power is different from other resources.  The primary challenge is that electrons are extremely difficult to store. Read more »

Carmageddon: Apocalypse … later?

July 20, 2011

Category: A Closer Look

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This past weekend’s closure of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles dubbed “Carmageddon” turned out to be a prophecy that thankfully didn’t live up to its apocalyptic expectations. The fears of citywide gridlock in response to a two-day closure of nearly 10 miles of the 405 never materialized. Commuters and travelers with the courage to brave the predicted chaos were pleasantly surprised with nearly nonexistent traffic. So, what happened?

Dr. Xudong Jia, a civil engineering professor at Cal Poly Pomona, shed some light on the anomaly. As an expert in a field that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and natural environment, including highways, his research focuses on a fact of life and a source of enduring frustration for LA commuters—traffic.
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