Calit2 celebrates 10-year milestone

Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach.
Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach.

By Lynne Friedmann

Contributor

The time-honored tradition of unveiling a commemorative plaque recently took an appropriate futuristic twist at the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

The occasion was the 10

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anniversary of Calit2, during which former California Governor Gray Davis was lauded for his vision and leadership in the creation of this research institution run in partnership by UC San Diego and UC Irvine. Calit2 is one of four Institutes for Science and Innovation initiated by Gov. Davis for the State of California in the year 2000.

On Dec. 7, VIP audiences on both the UCSD and UCI campuses watched the simultaneous bestowing of identical plaques to mark the renaming of the combined research enterprise as the Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation. Real-time, high-definition videoconferencing of the dual-campus ceremony made the experience feel remarkably transparent.

In his keynote remarks on the La Jolla campus, Davis emphasized the importance of investing in California’s economy and the quality of life for all Californians by supporting research.

“Research universities are not only the place where your children and grandchildren are educated — these universities create whole new economies,” he said. “If you want to fund your economy, you help fund research universities. You cannot outsource an idea until it’s invented.”

An initial investment of $400 million by the state launched the four institutes but imposed upon them the requirement of securing two-to-one matching dollars in non-state funding. Calit2 met the challenge and then some.

“Over the last 10 years, $100 million from the State of California has led to more than $700 million in federal, international, foundation, and other support,” said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.  “That’s a seven-to-one match.”

With that funding has come phenomenal growth and advances in cutting-edge basic research and education of the next generation of scientists and technological leaders. Nearly 1,000 faculty, students, and staff from 24 departments on the UCSD and UCI campuses plus 200 companies are involved in Calit2 research in fields ranging from energy management, broadband and wireless communications, cyber-archaeology, digital sound processing, genomics, wireless health, biofuels, nanotechnology, geopolitics, disaster response and more.

“It is my belief that no governor in the history of the state of California has provided more support for the University of California than Gray Davis,” said Richard Atkinson, former UC president and former UCSD chancellor. “Both in terms of facilities — some still being built today by bonds he initiated — and in terms of our budget in general.”

The public was welcome to the Calit2 10

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anniversary starting with an afternoon Research Open House that allows hundreds of guests to explore Atkinson Hall’s six floors of laboratory space and engage in conversations with research team members.  In the evening, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds introduced the premiere showing of an HD performance video titled “Sanctuary” — a three-movement work created during his three-year Calit2 residency.  This was followed by the inaugural Calit2 Digital Cinema Showcase featuring short videos in 4K, the advanced digital-movie format that offers four times the resolution of HD-TV.

   
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