UC Solar extends UC Merced’s reach across the Pacific

September 18, 2013 

Professor Roland Winston’s work has helped take UC Merced and UC Solar global - to Singapore.

The small city-stateis experiencing a building boom, and developers have plans to use Winston’s designs for a solar collector to make concrete walls the source of building light.

Collectors embedded in the concrete at the ends of open channels in the walls would make the concrete light-permeable, cutting down on the need for electric lights and taking advantage of one natural resource the equatorial country has in abundance - sun.

“It cuts down on electrical use and makes a more pleasant environment. This would actually be a cooler light source, too,” said Winston, director of UC Solar. “The collectors filter out ultraviolet light, which is bad for your skin, and infrared light, which is hot. And studies show people perform better in rooms that are naturally lit.”

Winston recently returned from serving as keynote speaker at a conference in Singapore and said he was surprised at how prosperous the republic, made up of more than 60 islands and more than 5 million people, is.

Singapore is known as one of the four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, because of their highly developed economies. Singapore is a leading international financial center, has one of the world’s five busiest ports and is home to a lot of manufacturing, as well as a diverse population.

Singapore isn’t just interested in the light-permeable technology - which is being tested at UC Berkeley before being sent across the Pacific.

Nanyang Technical University also plans to use one of Winston’s designs to implement a solar-powered thermal cooling system similar to the one used at the Castle Research Facility, where UC Solar is headquartered.

Winston, a professor with the schools of Natural Sciences and Engineering, said UC Solar will send students to help Nanyang build its cooling system. They will set up the solar collector and gather data about its use in Singapore’s tropical environment. The plan is to have it up and running this year, and if Nanyang officials like the results, they will likely expand the cooling system across their campus.

“Now they know about UC Merced in Singapore,” Winston said. “I think it’s kind of neat to have outreach so far away.”

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to perform at local theater

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will bring its swinging sound to downtown Merced on Oct. 4, an event organized by Arts UC Merced Presents.

The high-energy, nine-piece ensemble, which helped jump-start the swing revival in the mid-’90s, is celebrating its 20th anniversary and promoting its latest album, “Rattle Them Bones.”

The band will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Art Kamangar Center at the Merced Theatre. Tickets range from $15 to $35 and can be purchased online (http://arts.ucmerced.edu).

In its formative years, having secured a legendary residency at the Derby nightclub in Los Angeles, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy reminded the world - in the middle of the grunge era - that it was still cool to swing, big-band style.

The band’s big break came when three songs - “You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby),” “I Wanna Be Like You” and “Go Daddy-O” - were featured in the soundtrack of the 1996 hit movie “Swingers.”

The band’s numerous television appearances include “Dancing With The Stars,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Last Call with Carson Daly.”

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