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Anacapa School to Host Presidential Award-Winning Physicist

UCSB's Ania Bleszynski Jayich will kick off the Open Breakfast Club speaker series

Anacapa School will kick off the second season of its yearlong Open Breakfast Club guest speaker series at 7:50 a.m. next Thursday, Oct. 4, with a talk by Ania Bleszynski Jayich, an assistant professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Physics Department.

Ania Bleszynski Jayich
Ania Bleszynski Jayich

Dr. Jayich’s work has been recognized nationally for its groundbreaking developments in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the nanoscale. Her presentation at Anacapa will focus on her work and its implications for the future of quantum computing.

MRI imaging at the nanoscale level would give scientists a glimpse into the structure of proteins. To date it has never been done, but Jayich said it is “one of the holy grails of structural biology.”

“It could make MRI more accurate, and able to see more,” she said. “It’s like having a camera with eight megapixels versus one with two megapixels and taking a picture of someone’s face. You can’t see features that are smaller than the size of a pixel. So do they have three freckles, or do they all look like one big freckle?”

Jayich’s work in nanotechnology is at the forefront of the field. Her team’s current project is to image the 3D structure of macromolecules. This could have huge impacts for medicine as macromolecules perform the majority of an organism’s cellular functions. Being able to identify their shapes would allow scientists to better understand which molecules are performing which functions.

Dr. Jayich has recently been awarded the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) by President Barack Obama. The award is the highest honor an American scientist or engineer can receive at the beginning of his or her career. PECASE recognizes scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge. In 2010, Jayich was awarded an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator grant.

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Jayich share this exciting work with our students,” said Gordon Sichi, Anacapa’s founding headmaster. “Her work at the quantum scale is the beginning of the next revolution in technology for the 21st century.”

Anacapa School hosts dozens of expert guest presenters each year. Every month, the school opens its doors to the wider community to honor a special guest lecturer as part of its First Thursday Open Breakfast Club series. Prospective parents who are interested in Anacapa School for their students are welcome to attend to see a Breakfast Club in action.

Anacapa School is an independent, co-educational, WASC-accredited, college preparatory day school for students in grades seven through 12. Founded in 1981 by Sichi, Anacapa enjoys the best student-teacher ratio of any school, public or private, in Santa Barbara at its historic campus located in the heart of the Santa Barbara civic center.

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