Professor William Newman was featured recently on National Science Foundation.

The moon does not influence the timing of human births or hospital admissions, according to new research by Margot that confirms what scientists have known for decades. The study illustrates how intelligent and otherwise reasonable people develop strong beliefs that, to put it politely, are not aligned with reality.

The UCLA Meteorite Gallery, California’s largest collection of meteorites, has added two large iron meteorites — and both may be touched by the public. Admission to the gallery is free. One of the new meteorites is now the largest in Los Angeles. Weighing 811 pounds, it is more than twice the size of what had been the gallery’s largest meteorite. It was found in Namibia, and is being displayed thanks to a long-term loan by UCLA alumnus Peter Utas and his wife, Barbara Broide.

An international team of scientists, led by EPSS Professor Schopf, has discovered the greatest absence of evolution ever reported — a type of deep-sea microorganism that appears not to have evolved over more than 2 billion years. But the researchers say that the organisms’ lack of evolution actually supports Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The findings are published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sarah Stamps has just published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters which discusses present-day continental extension along the East African Rift System (EARS). It has often been attributed to diverging sublithospheric mantle flow associated with the African Superplume. This implies a degree of viscous coupling between mantle and lithosphere that remains poorly constrained. Recent advances in estimating present-day opening rates along the EARS from geodesy offer an opportunity to address this issue with geodynamic modeling of the mantle-lithosphere system. Here we use numerical models of the global mantle-plates coupled system to test the role of present-day mantle flow in Nubia-Somalia plate divergence across the EARS. The scenario yielding the best fit to geodetic observations is one where torques associated with gradients of gravitational potential energy stored in the African highlands are resisted by weak continental faults and mantle basal drag. These results suggest that shear tractions from diverging mantle flow play a minor role in present-day Nubia-Somalia divergence.

Aradhna Tripati was presented the annual E.O. Wilson Award for Outstanding Science in Biodiversity Conservation Dec. 17 by the Center for Biological Diversity for her “groundbreaking research on carbon dioxide’s role in climate change.” She was presented the award at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco.

According to UCLA professor Aradhna Tripati, the lead author on that paper, "The last time carbon dioxide levels were apparently as high as they are today temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than they are today, the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher than today, there was no permanent sea ice cap in the Arctic and very little ice on Antarctica and Greenland."