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Greetings from Jeff Elman, Dean

In this issue, we profile Professor James Fowler. James' expertise is in social networks and the impact they have on our lives. His recent book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks, has received tremendous attention from both the academic and public press and excited great interest. Some of you may also have seen him on "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central) in January, where he talked about his discovery of the "Colbert bump": a phenomenon where a political candidate's polling numbers increase following an appearance on Colbert, regardless of the reason. His appearance can be seen here. We are delighted to have his outstanding talents to share with you.

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Social Sciences News

Loneliness spreads in social networks according to research by UC San Diego political scientist James Fowler, Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University and John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago.

$9 million in stimulus funds helps Cognitive Science professor Terry Jernigan and colleagues search for links between genetic variation and differences in developing brains.

Alan Houston, a political science professor and internationally recognized scholar of early-modern British and American political thought, named provost of Eleanor Roosevelt College.

Archaeologists use Google application to model the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá.

Lies your parents told you: a new study by psychologist Gail Heyman and colleagues shows parents use deception to influence their children.

"Apples-to-apples" analysis of Arab development by economist James Rauch yields fresh view.

Upcoming Events

Economics Roundtable, February 18, 2010  — Join Hal Varian, chief economist at Google for "Predicting the Present with Google Trends." 7:30-9 a.m.; UC San Diego Faculty Club; $50 fee includes parking and Continental breakfast. For more information or to register, call (858) 822-0510 or email

Social Sciences Supper Club, February 24, 2010 — Keith Pezzoli, urban studies and planning, speaks about the environment, sustainability and his efforts on the US-Mexico border. UC San Diego Faculty Club; 5:30 p.m.; $65/person or $500/table of eight guests. Registration includes wine reception, dinner, lecture and parking. To register or for more information, please contact Marcie Marsh at (858) 246-0372 or Mark your calendars for future Supper Clubs: May 19 and October 20, 2010.

Recent Gifts

Thank you to our generous donors including these donors from the fourth quarter of 2009:
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Azar
Dr. Robert J. Glushko, Ph.D. '79
Dr. Joseph R. Gusfieldi
Mr. and Mrs. Gary Jacobs, '79
The Kershaw Family

Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Fellowship in General Semantics
Sanford and Sandra Berman provided funding to offer a two year post-doctoral fellowship to study the relationship of general semantics to the field of communication. The department of communication has a long-standing interest in analyzing how people reconfigure their experiences in terms of cultural-historically constituted material/symbolic activities. This fellowship will include developing coursework for the department under the leadership of Professor Michael Cole.

To learn more about how you can support the Social Sciences, please contact Doug Kurtz at (858) 822-0805 or

Alumni Updates

Steven Bossert '70 (Sociology), a noted scholar on technology in education, and organizational effectiveness, was named dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside in spring of 2009.

Twin sisters Izzy Tihanyi '89 (Communication) and Coco Tihanyi '89 (Communication) have owned and operated Surf Diva Surf School since 1996 and opened a Surf Diva boutique in La Jolla in 2004. Coco joined the UCSD Communication Alumni Advisory Board in 2009.

Tim Monk '92 (Cognitive Science) is a Lead Programmer at Sony Computer Entertainment America in San Diego, California. He has been active in the industry since 1994 and has been involved in the development of such notable product lines as SONY's baseball series, the latest release of which is MLB '09 The Show.

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