Santa Clara Mag Blog

Santa Clara Magazine's blog, updated whenever the writing goblin visits the editorial staff of the magazine.

  •  Solar Update: Chromasun gets a boost from the Land Down Under

    Friday, Dec. 17, 2010
    The rooftop solar collector for the Ripple HouseIn the Winter 2010 SCM we reported on the new rooftop solar collector that was installed on the Ripple House. As that story noted, the new Micro-Concentrator (MCT) is a first-of-its-kind unit that supplies heating, hot water, and air condition.
    What would make Chromasun’s MCT even better -- the cleantech equivalent of a five-tool, can’t-miss outfield prospect? Give it the ability to produce electricity.
    Indeed, within days of the winter issue of SCM going to press, Chromasun announced it and a few partners had been awarded a $3.2 million applied research grant from the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) to do just that.
    Chromasun, the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, and the Commonwealth Scientific Research Organisation will use the grant to develop a next-generation unit, the MCT Hybrid HT, capable of delivering high-temperature solar thermal heat and solar electricity.
    The high temperatures required to cost-effectively deliver solar cooling and industrial process heat (above 150 degrees Celsius) exceed the optimal operating temperature for typical electricity-generating photovoltaic cells. But Chromasun’s solution would use “spectral splitting to thermally decouple the photovoltaic cells from the 150 degrees Celsius circulating fluid,” according to a statement. 
    "This new research and resulting module will be disruptive because it will deliver high-grade heat yet allow the photovoltaic cells to operate at a cooler and more efficient temperature," says CEO Peter Le Lievre.
    The ASI grant will cover three years of research, with field trials expected in 2012-13. 
    In addition to the Ripple House installation, Chromasun is also building larger showcase projects, says Le Lievre.
    Test installations are in the works for the East Coast of the United States, Abu Dhabi, Germany, and India. In 2011, Chromasun will make the MCT publicly available through a network of HVAC specialists.
    Justin Gerdes
  •  A void unfilled: Alejandro Garcia-Rivera (1951-2010)

    Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010

    Alejandro García-Rivera, faculty member at the Jesuit School of Theology, passed away on Dec. 13 after a long illness.

    He inspired many to think freely, inquire uninhibitedly, and believe wholly. Originally from Cuba, his life path took many twists and turns – from a Boeing engineer trained in physics, to Lutheran minister and social activist, to esteemed scholar and author who embraced the Jesuit way of life.

    García-Rivera joined the faculty of the Jesuit School of Theology in 1993 as a professor of systematic theology. His scholarship as a theologian bridged the disciplines of science and religion.

    “I believe wholeheartedly that we must begin to see the interconnectedness of the world, to grasp its complexity, even if our intellectual traditions have conditioned us to seek a different type of grasping,” he said.

    Alejandro Garcia-Rivera, pictured with his wife Kathy, receives the President’s Special Recognition Award from Fr. Michael Engh

    He often used the term “interlacing,” which he described as the artful weaving of various perspectives across disciplines to gain an insight greater than any of its components. “Everything is interconnected, and I believe God gave me such a broad journey in life so I could see the connections,” he said.

    García-Rivera was one of the founders of a joint JST-SCU colloquium on science, art, and religion with colleagues from JST, the SCU School of Engineering, and the SCU College of Arts and Sciences.

    Earlier this year, García-Rivera received the GTU’s highest honor presented to a teacher, the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as a President’s Special Recognition Award at Santa Clara.

    He was also one of the most important voices in the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. Beloved as a teacher at the JST’s Instituto Hispano summer training institute for Hispanic ministry, he dedicated much of his life to supporting marginal communities.

    García-Rivera always started a course he taught in Theology and Human Suffering by saying, “It’s hard to teach a class where everybody’s an expert…because who hasn’t suffered?” For García-Rivera, however, suffering wasn’t all about gloom, unpleasantness, and pain.

    He saw beauty in suffering. Because if you can’t see that, he said, “there’s just one alternative left … and that’s despair.”

    Here is one of García-Rivera’s favorite poems, written by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

    Pied Beauty

    Glory be to God for dappled things—

    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

    Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

    And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spare, strange;

    Whatever is fickle, freckled, (who knows how?)

    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

    He fathers-forth whose Beauty is past change:

    Praise Him.

    Photo caption: Alejandro Garcia-Rivera, pictured with his wife Kathy, receives the President’s Special Recognition Award from Fr. Michael Engh, president of Santa Clara University.


    Mansi Bhatia, University Writer/Editor

  •  Wordless Wednesday: Make Way for the Groom!

    Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

    An 8,000 pound elephant. One couple. Two memorable weddings. And a city that came to a standstill.

    Read all about this showstopping celebration in the winter edition of Santa Clara Magazine.


    Mansi Bhatia, University Writer/Editor

  •  Flashback Friday: Victory is ours (1992 edition)

    Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

    In a special soccer moment 18 years ago, Cameron Rast '92 and Alberto Cruz '94 celebrate their quadruple overtime victory over Stanford -- which advanced the team to the second round of NCAA playoffs. (Photo by Randall C. Fox '93, courtesy The Redwood.)

    Cam Rast had another stellar season this year -- racking up his 100th win as coach of the SCU men's soccer team. The team went unbeaten in 13 out of 14 games, and they won the West Coast Conference (WCC) title with a record of 7-1-4 in conference play. Rast was honored with WCC Coach of the Year accolades -- his fourth time, for those keeping count.

    As a sophomore at SCU, Rast was part of the unbeatable team that went on the win the NCAA championship. Read that story here.

    Liz Carney '11, editorial intern, Santa Clara Magazine 

  •  How would you like your eggs?

    Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

    Saving Bounty







    On Nov. 30 the U.S. Senate passed the most sweeping food safety legislation since the Great Depression. It’ll be interesting to see whether House and Senate bills are reconciled and legislation actually makes it through.

    We know from tracking online readership that current headlines will send folks trolling through the SCM archives, so here’s a suggestion for the trollers: Last year we kicked off the redesigned Santa Clara Magazine in summer 2009 with an issue on food — including an exploration of food safety in “Saving bounty,” which looks at some of the successes and failures in the food safety system.

    One of the voices you’ll hear there is that of Drew Starbird ’84, an expert on food safety and now dean of the Leavey School of Business. (Starbird is also involved in tackling hunger in communities in the Bay Area; another feature in that summer ’09 issue offers ideas for solving hunger in our lifetime.)

    The legislation that is (or isn’t) working its way through Congress does not address, however, the alphabet soup of agencies that remain responsible for ensuring food safety. For our piece on food safety, writer John Deever offered a primer on the agencies and their acronyms and who’s in charge of what.