UCSB touted two achievements of its faculty Thursday, though in
two disparate departments.
The university announced Thursday that its college of
engineering will be opening the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center
(SSLEC), a research establishment that will further examine a
new, energy-efficient source of illumination. Called “solid state”
because light-emitting diodes are solid objects and therefore
unlike the vacuums or gas tubes that glow in incandescent or
fluorescent lights, this illumination technology loses less energy
to heat and is more durable than traditional sources.
The department is the immediate descendant of Solid State
Lighting Center, now with a new focus on light that will not
contribute to global warming. A press release from the center
claims that such innovation is critical, as 22 percent of energy
produced for use in America goes to lighting. Professors Shuji
Nakamura and Steven DenBaars will head the center, which has
already been pledged financial support by the Tokyo-based
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation in the form of $2.5 million over
the next six years.
Similar in manner to how solid state lighting puts a new
spin on a familiar technology, a different research department has
also found a way to combine the antiquated with the groundbreaking.
UCSB also proclaimed Thursday that its Early
Modern Center — a research unit of the English department — has
posted its first project, a collection of 1,800 ballads that
researchers there catalogued, transcribed and posted. Though the
actual texts are housed in the Pepys Library at Magdalene College
in Cambridge, England, anyone with internet access can now view the
reproductions of the poems and gain an understanding of day-to-day
life of the people that would have been familiar with them. Most
composed anonymously as far back as the 16th century, the ballads
were performed in their day to the tune of folk songs and commented
on news, “much in the same way that tabloid magazines and
newspapers do today,” the press release states. Those working at
the Early Modern Center purportedly aim to one day have posted all
extant ballads composed between 1500 and 1800.
By archiving the texts online, researchers hope to both make
them available to others who could use them in academic pursuits
and to help translate them. Though technically written in English,
more primitive printing techniques and unconventional spelling can
make the ballads hard to read. As such, the website also includes a
key indicating any substitutions that those posting the documents
have made to clarify the original meaning. For example, whereas
original texts may include the word “ye,” transcriptions substitute
the equivalent “thee,” with which more readers would be familiar.
Researchers have even attempted to post the transcriptions so as to
match the layout of the text in the original documents.