UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume III, 2000

A Letter from the Advisors

Though there was general applause on campus when U.S News and World Report named the University of California, Irvine the tenth top national public university, it wasn’t the fleeting recognition of the high rank that pleased us. Rather, it was the hard work, careful insight, and years of devotion—the basis for that very recognition—that made us proud. The kind of excellence that UCI’s founders envisioned a mere 36 years ago is no longer a dream on a campus that once was traversed as frequently by grazing cows as academically-inclined humans. The awards bestowed on UCI faculty and students, from a Nobel Prize to Marshall Scholarships to the U.S. News ranking, are just icing on the cake: a verification that the high standards we’ve set for ourselves have, indeed, borne fruit.

It is not a matter of success in and of itself. Alternatively, we consider how UCI’s pursuit of excellence benefits its students and faculty. Research, the piece of a UCI education to which the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is devoted, is not just about the success or failure of a hypothesis. Doing research takes UCI students from the classroom into the world beyond, allows them to test their ideas and minds, and, at its most mature stages, produces results which will some day affect each of our lives. This is the kind of research we present in Volume III of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal.

We have selected, from a submission pool of many insightful and articulate papers, a sampling of what we consider to be UCI student research at its very best. We hope you will not only be impressed with the intensity and rigor in evidence, as we were, but will learn as much as we did in our review of these papers. Though we have chosen to present only 9 papers, more than 34 percent of students are enrolled in an independent research course while at UCI, not to mention the thousands involved in research projects or other classes with research-related components.

A volume of this size and scope could not have been produced without the assistance of many people. We commend the undergraduate authors and their faculty mentors for the excellence of their research. We thank the UROP Student Editorial Board whose comments and assistance were vital to the review, editorial and design processes. We express sincere gratitude to the UROP Faculty Advisory Board, whose distinguished members provided final evaluations of the papers selected for publication. Finally, we acknowledge the hundreds of students and faculty who participate in research each year, whether associated with UROP or not, and thank them for the wide array of collaboration and intellectual integrity they presented to us during our review process.

UROP is committed to supporting and facilitating faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects and creative activities. Launched in 1995, UROP’s programs now include: advising and assisting students in pursuing on- and off-campus research opportunities, funding their research projects through two annual calls for proposals in the fall and spring quarters of each academic year, and sponsoring the UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium, in addition to the Journal. As a demonstration of UCI’s commitment to undergraduate research, we are proud to announce that we are launching the Summer Undergraduate Research Program, effective summer 2001. From all over the world, as the reach of undergraduate research continues to grow, a corps of young scholars is emerging: inquisitive, boldly imaginative and idealistic. We present just a few of them here. We welcome your comments on Volume III of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal.

Meredith Lee
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education 
Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP
A Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board

Journal Advisors

Meredith Lee
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education

Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP

UROP Faculty Advisory Board

Professor Donald Hoffman
Professor John LaRue
Professor Hartmut Luecke
Professor George Lueker
Professor Robert Moeller
Professor James Nowick
Professor James Penrod
Professor Richard Robertson
Professor Roxane Cohen Silver

UROP Student Editorial Board

Jeff Ehmsen
Matt Hauske
Trina Mendiola
Kirk Pak
Josh Swamidass
Pany Tehrani
Maggie Walser


Said M. Shokair, Director
Jason Ackermann, Event & Publication Assistant
Jody Agius, Student Program Assistant
Naglaa El-Abbadi, Student Research Advisor
Chris Lee, Web Development
Marie-Claire Siddall, Student Research Advisor
Henry Yan, Web & Database Development



~Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board~

The University of California, Irvine is both a community and a legacy. Reflecting each of those aspects of the University on paper–the vibrant, transient movement of its individual members and the history and knowledge each of them produces–was central to our selection process. We are a diverse group of students, drawn from a variety of disciplines and experiences, and we brought that knowledge and appreciation to the selection and editing process. It is our hope that this journal will reflect not only the hard work of so many–student authors, faculty mentors, the Faculty Advisory Board, UROP Team, and ourselves–but that this volume will serve as a testament to the dynamic and innovative work occurring on and around the UCI campus.


Meredith Lee
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education
Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP