Experience Excellence

Research That Matters

With support from Nobel Laureate William Phillips, physics professors Hyewon Pechkis and Joseph Pechkis opened “the coolest place on campus.” Students in the ultra-cold atom laboratory are using this magneto-optical trap, lasers, and vacuum technology to cool atoms to temperatures billions of times lower than anything else in the cosmos. Since matter behaves more like waves than particles at a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, these experiments may one day lead to new technologies such as quantum computing.

Student Inspecting seed

Engineering and agriculture students are shaking things up with a cross-disciplinary project to test how mechanical vibration can increase the germination rate of seeds. Partnering with Lundberg Family Farms, they are learning how early growth rates could have implications for weed management.

Catherine Wilcox on computer

Analyzing the rhetorical strategies and practices of social media activists, graduate student Catherine Wilcox is studying how a group of women uses Facebook to gain agency and advocate for change in the ways their conservative churches handle cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

With the help of university partners in Japan and a team of undergrads, Sergei Fomin is working to mathematically model tsunami wave dynamics to better protect vulnerable coastlines.

Agricultural business professor Jacob Brimlow recently led a study of the local region’s capacity to produce its own food supply as well as barriers to local food sales. Brimlow’s team discovered nearly three quarters of the food consumed in the tri-county area could be supplied by local producers.

Lauren Housley and her graduate and undergraduate students are working to discover dietary strategies to prevent and treat aggressive forms of breast cancer. They are currently investigating the anti-cancer properties of sulforaphane, a phytochemical derived from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and how it can disrupt cancer-cell signaling.

Mady Banet scuba diving in sacramento river

California’s salmon populations are in dire straits, and Mandy Banet may be just the person to save them. The aquatic ecologist in our Department of Biological Sciences is leading undergraduate and graduate students in a multiyear project with state and federal partners to drive restoration efforts for juvenile salmon in the Sacramento River.

Holly Nevarez, Peter Hansen, Jennifer Wilking, Susan Roll, David Philhour

Using 5 ½ years of arrest data, faculty teamed up to investigate impacts of the city of Chico’s public safety approach to homelessness. In examining enforcement of its sit-lie law and other ordinances, Holly Nevarez, Peter Hansen, Jennifer Wilking, Susan Roll, and David Philhour explore how arrests have changed to draw conclusions about punitive approaches to poverty and public policy.