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UCLA Campus Report: UCLA Psychologist's New Book Helps Couples Get Healthy, More

A look at some of the non-sports stories making headlines around campus

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Bunche Hall
Bunche Hall

An occasional report from around campus that recognizes that UCLA is a school with a world-class reputation for research and innovation and whose people make real impact on the real world:

This week’s news includes a new book by UCLA psychologists that show how couples team up to lose weight, UCLA researchers who are improving the manufacturing of solar cells and news of how a Nobel Laureate’s gift is a game-changer for physics study at UCLA.

New book by UCLA psychologists shows couples how to team up to lose weight, get healthier

After analyzing thousands of hours of video recordings of married couples talking with each other about their health, two UCLA psychology professors were shocked by what they saw.

The recordings showed hundreds of couples, many of whom wanted to lose weight and get more exercise. Almost all of them were still early in their marriages, so the psychologists assumed their conversations would be warm and affectionate, said Thomas Bradbury, a psychology professor in UCLA's College of Letters and Science who co-directs the Relationship Institute at UCLA.

"That's not what we observed at all," said Benjamin Karney, also a UCLA psychology professor and the co-director of the institute. "Yes, couples were turning to each other for support, but their conversations went awry in more cases than not. The couples struggled to have these conversations, and they were as surprised as we were at how difficult it was."

This revelation led the professors to write "Love Me Slender: How Smart Couples Team Up to Lose Weight, Exercise More, and Stay Healthy Together" (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster), which will be published Feb. 4. In the book, Bradbury and Karney, who have studied close relationships for more than two decades, offer new solutions for couples trying to communicate about the emotionally charged issue of weight loss.

UCLA researchers improve process for manufacturing highly efficient solar cells

Working on the cutting edge of a newly emerging area of solar-cell research, UCLA engineers have invented a new process for manufacturing highly efficient photovoltaic materials that shows promise for low-cost industrial production.

The new process uses so-called perovskite materials, which in the past few years have significantly advanced scientists' efforts to create the next generation of solar cells.

Nobel laureate's gift a game-changer for physics at UCLA

A first-of-its-kind graduate fellowship in the UCLA College of Letters and Science will transform the department of physics and astronomy by enabling it to attract some of the world's best students in physics, thanks to a $1.2 million gift from the Julian Schwinger Foundation for Physics Research.

"The Julian Schwinger Fellowship is a game-changer for the department," said Joseph Rudnick, dean of the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences and senior dean of the College of Letters and Science. "This fellowship will allow the department to compete with the best programs in the world, recruit the finest minds in physics and lead in discoveries that could change the world."

The Schwinger Foundation expects that the comprehensive fellowship will enable students to focus on their research without undue financial pressure by providing, for a maximum of four years, full tuition and fees, along with an inflation-protected stipend of $42,000 a year. An additional $3,000 a year will be provided for professional and travel expenses.

UCLA in the News

Some Notes on Note-Taking

Florida's WDBO-560 AM reported Thursday on a study by Daniel Oppenheimer, associate professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and colleagues that found that college students who took lecture notes longhand, with pen and paper, showed deeper cognitive processing and a better grasp of the lecture material than did students who used laptops to transcribe their notes in class.

Boosting Productivity Growth

Monday's Wall Street Journal featured an op-ed co-written by Lee Ohanian, professor of economics and vice chair of undergraduate studies for the UCLA Department of Economics, offering advice on how to reverse the recent decline in U.S. productivity growth.

Enlarging Your Home With Robotics

Computer World reported Friday on a project run by the UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Design's Suprastudio program in which graduate students are focusing on designing intelligent robotic buildings that would be able to change their configuration to adapt to their owners' needs. Julia Köerner, a UCLA architecture and urban design lecturer, and Greg Lynn, professor of architecture and urban design and Suprastudio program director, were quoted.

Advocating for Universal Preschool

A column in Wednesday's New York Times about the importance of high-quality preschool education for all children in the U.S. referenced a UCLA study that found that children who participated in the Head Start program were more likely to graduate from high school and attend college than their peers.