UCI will rename its Science Library the Francisco J. Ayala Science Library in recognition of the world-renowned evolutionary biologist's considerable scientific achievements and contributions to the campus. Ayala, the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, was recently named winner of the 2010 Templeton Prize — the latest of many honors, including the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest science prize, in 2002. He will donate the $1.5-million prize to fund Francisco J. Ayala Graduate Fellowships in the School of Biological Sciences. A $100,000 portion will support research in ecology & evolutionary biology, including the evolutionary genetics program, which Ayala directs.
UCI professors Michael Cahalan, Greg Duncan and Susan Trumbore have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors accorded U.S. scientists. They are among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 14 countries chosen in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
It may not be the most scientific of rankings, but it made many students smile: UCI came in at No. 16 in The Daily Beast's "100 Happiest Colleges." The placements were determined using subjective student reports collected by College Prowleron campus housing, dining and nightlife, as well as objective data from U.S. News & World Report on graduate indebtedness, freshman retention rates, and number of student clubs and organizations. Also among the criteria: number of hours of sunshine per day, courtesy of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. But don't get too blissed out: The Daily Beast also ranked UCI 49th of the "50 Most Stressful Colleges."
Nineteen UCI graduate students recently were awarded 2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, a 375 percent increase over last year. The fellowships will bring in more than $2.3 million to support the students' research over three years. The increase — the largest percentage gain at any UC campus — is attributed to effective collaboration between UCI's Graduate Division and academic school faculty and staff.