Illustration of radio waves going from one galaxy to the next
Group of students jumping in the air with the ocean in the background.
Person viewing movie in at the Institute for Arts and Sciences.
Student in the Digital Scholars Innovation studio, observing an exhibit.

2023 year in review

Creating real change

Close up of a Comb jelly fish.
Researchers in a pond taking samples and making notes.
Professor and a student working on a project at a table.
Greenhouse at the Chadwick Garden with students tending to new plants.
Female sea lion with pup on the beach.

From making groundbreaking research discoveries to expanding access to education, UC Santa Cruz continues to lead at the intersection of innovation and social justice.

From galaxies far, far away

Scientists have discovered an eight-billion-year-old fast radio burst—the most ancient and distant located to date. The source of the burst was a group of two or three galaxies that are merging, supporting current theories on the cause of fast radio bursts. 

This artist’s impression (not to scale) illustrates the path of the fast radio burst FRB 20220610A, from the distant galaxy where it originated all the way to Earth, in one of the Milky Way’s spiral arms. The source galaxy of FRB 20220610A, pinned down thanks to ESO’s Very Large Telescope, appears to be located within a small group of interacting galaxies. It’s so far away its light took eight billion years to reach us, making FRB 20220610A the most distant fast radio burst found to date.

New strategic plan to guide campus for coming decade

UC Santa Cruz released a new strategic plan and formed an executive committee to implement it. With goals and metrics to measure success in five thematic areas, the plan will guide the campus’s work for the coming decade. 

State of the art

UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of the Arts and Sciences opened new, off-campus galleries showcasing the institute’s groundbreaking exhibitions and programs, and highlighting the work of major national and international artists working to address the most pressing issues of our day at the intersection of the arts and social justice.

Person viewing movie in at the Institute for Arts and Sciences.

A more efficient language model

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Jason Eshraghian and two students released the open-sourced code for the largest language-generating spiking neural network ever, named SpikeGPT—which could have implications for accessibility, data security, and green computing and energy efficiency within the field. 

Illustration of a brain that is glowing with abstract elements going into it representing information to inform artificial intelligence

Ranked high for high-paying jobs

Rankings from the Wall Street Journal placed UC Santa Cruz as the No. 2 public school for high-paying jobs in engineering, just behind UC Berkeley, and the No. 9 public school for high-paying jobs in data science and software. 

A deep glimpse into the origins of animal life

All animals are related to each other, but comb jellies—a marine invertebrate found in oceans around the world—are the most distantly related to all other animals, shows a study in Nature. This means that comb jellies were the earliest lineage to branch off the animal tree of life, and all other animals evolved separately, after comb jellies diverged. 

Image of a Comb jellie, now proven to be the 'sibling group' to all other animals, can be found in the nearby Monterey Bay.

Ranked No. 2 for making an impact

For the second year in a row, the Princeton Review ranked UC Santa Cruz as the No. 2 Best Public University for Making an Impact. From promoting social justice and environmental sustainability to advancing groundbreaking research, UC Santa Cruz is a force for good, and its students, staff, faculty, and alumni are working tirelessly to create a better, more equitable world.

Students working in the field taking samples from a pond.

Genomics for everyone

UC Santa Cruz scientists, along with a consortium of researchers, released a draft of the first human pangenome—a new, usable reference for genomics that combines the genetic information of 47 individuals from different ancestral backgrounds to allow for a deeper, more accurate understanding of worldwide genomic diversity. 

When humanists met technologists

UC Santa Cruz’s new Humanizing Technology Certificate Program is helping students confront the moral and social implications of technology, harnessing the power of the humanities to envision a more just and responsible future.

Professor and a student working on a project at a table.

Pioneering new online major debuts

Online education gives more students access to a UC Santa Cruz education, which is part of why the Arts Division developed its new Creative Technologies online major—the first of its kind on any UC campus.

Student in the Digital Scholars Innovation studio, observing an exhibit.

Cultivating diverse food and agriculture professionals

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded UC Santa Cruz a $10 million grant to lead a transformative five-year project on cultivating the next generation of diverse food and agriculture professionals—a huge stride toward fostering a sustainable and equitable future in food and agriculture.

Students at the farm tending to starts.

As the California sea lion population grew, so did male sea lions

Animals tend to get smaller as their populations grow because of increased competition for food resources—but that’s not what has happened with California sea lions, according to a study led by UC Santa Cruz scientists. They found that male California sea lions have gotten bigger as the population grew over the past 50 years, while female body size has remained stable.

A male California sea lion at Año Nuevo Reserve.

Read more amazing stories of discovery and impact in our News Center