Daily Business Report-June 6, 2014
Dianna Cowern was awarded the top video prize in a national science communications competition by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at SUNY Stonybrook. (Photo by Erika Johnson)
UC San Diego’s ‘Physics Girl’ Wins National Competition
Videos featuring Rihanna, One Direction and Bruno Mars are, not surprisingly, among YouTube’s most viewed channels. Videos on physics? While some videos on physics have gained a cult-like following and hundreds of thousands of views, the subject that makes most people’s eyes glaze over still can’t compete with entertainers like Katy Perry in the YouTube world.
That could change, however, thanks to an energetic young physicist who works as an outreach coordinator at UC San Diego’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences and who uses her upbeat and sometimes wacky personality to communicate physics to the public on YouTube with videos that are not only informative, but also fun and cool.
Earlier this week, Dianna Cowern was awarded the top video prize in a national science communications competition by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at SUNY Stonybrook for her entertaining YouTube production explaining the physics of color. The award, given annually for the past three years as part of a contest called the “Flame Challenge,” was presented to her at the World Science Festival in New York City by the actor himself.
“Alan Alda started this competition a couple of years ago because he wondered what a flame was when he was a kid, and he got the standard answer from his teachers that didn’t go into any real depth or explain it,” said Cowern, adding that the “Flame Challenge” is different from other science communications contests because it’s specifically designed to reach an audience of fifth graders. “Every year, he’s posed a new question that kids have submitted to him for the contest. Last year, the question was ‘What is Time?’ And this year, it was ‘What is Color?’”
Cowern’s prize-winning video, which was voted for by 27,000 students from around the world, is the most recent post to her YouTube channel called “Physics Girl,” which she started on her own two years ago because of her passion to get more girls interested in science.
As part of her day job, Cowern works with Adam Burgasser, an associate professor of physics, on developing “Beach Physics,” an innovative new program designed to get middle school and high school students interested in physics by teaching them about physics that happens at the beach (it’s a perfect fit for her, since she grew up near the beach on the island of Kauai).
Cowern also sets up exhibits and demonstrations at science fairs and festivals, volunteers for UC San Diego’s Young Physicists Program and works at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Center in Balboa Park doing science education outreach.
— Kim McDonald/UC San Diego News Center
Jobs Pay More in San Diego, Study Says
If you have a job in San Diego County, on average you make 12 percent more per hour than those who hold the same position across the nation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week that the average hourly rate in San Diego County in May 2013 was $24.95, an annual salary of $51,896. That beats the U.S. average of $22.33, or $46,446 a year.
Of course, it costs more to live in San Diego, and that’s part of the reason people here get paid more, said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University. However, she noted that San Diego County also has its fair share of high paying tech jobs, which are in demand and require more education. That also helps raise the average wage.
— U-T San Diego
Mountain Biking Association Gets $10,000 Grant
The San Diego Mountain Biking Association has received a $10,000 grant from Recreational Equipment Inc. to fund three local land stewardship projects. Project areas include Noble Canyon in the Cleveland National Forest, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Crestridge Ecological Reserve in El Cajon.
The REI grant helps the association fulfill its charitable mission establishing new sustainable trails and rerouting and rehabbing existing trails to benefit equestrians, hikers, runners and mountain bikers. Trail work, heavily reliant on access to water, is to take place in the fall and winter during San Diego’s rainy season and volunteers are welcome to help.
New Rapid Bus Service Opens
Sunday on the I-5 Corridor
The San Diego region’s first bus rapid transit, which planners view as almost as quick and comfortable as riding the trolley, begins Sunday on Interstate 15 between Escondido and Downtown San Diego.
Rapid buses will leave every 15 minutes during rush hours and every 30 minutes at other times, travel in the express lanes of I-15, and make only nine stops. Travel time to downtown will be about an hour.
“In just a few days, San Diego will have a totally different way of traveling,” said Poway Mayor Don Higginson at a press conference introducing the new buses. Higginson said the new buses have better seats, larger windows, lower doors and a smoother ride compared to other Metropolitan Transit System vehicles. That, coupled with the frequent service, makes the Rapid service a “true choice for transportation.”
To kick off the service, MTS is offering free rides Sunday and celebrations open to the public at transit centers in Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs and City Heights.
MTS Chairman Harry Mathis said he believes the new service will appeal to San Diegans because of its comfort and speed.
“They want to have a good experience when they ride. They have to get there there in a hurry,” Mathis said. “Let’s get folks out of their cars into these buses.”
— Times of San Diego
Union Bank Names V.P. and Promotions Manager
Rana Sampson has been named a vice president and promotions manager for the greater San Diego, Coachella Valley, Riverside Division of Union Bank. Sampson will oversee promotional and outreach activities, and will work with the bank’s community and public affairs team. She is based in San Diego.
Sampson most recently served as a San Diego Business Journal special projects adviser. Prior to that, she was the vice president of development and marketing for the San Diego Center for Children, one of the region’s providers of mental health and academic services for children whose trauma, abuse or mental health challenges stand in their way of success.
Sampson was also an international crime consultant, known for her work in helping police agencies adopt a more data-driven, outcome-oriented model. She spent more than 25 years working with police, city administrators, national, federal and international agencies.
Sampson graduated with honors from Barnard College, Columbia University and holds a J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School.
Seltzer Caplan Law Firm Adds to Family Law Practice
The San Diego-based law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek has added Marianne Barth to the firm’s family law practice. Barth has more than 20 years of legal experience. Her significant expertise in family law stems from experience as a civil and business litigator where she learned to understand and resolve complex financial and emotional issues typically present in domestic cases. Barth works collaboratively with clients and adversaries to reach realistic, reasonable and cost effective solutions.
Though Barth’s current practice focuses on family law, she also has experience handling other complex litigation matters including business, health care and product liability. Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan, she was a partner at Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP and also founded her own practice.
Barth has served as a settlement judge pro tem in Superior Court, Family Law Division. She received her J.D. from the California Western School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Villa Maria College.