Measuring beauty in the female face

Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder but also in the relationship of the eyes and mouth of the beholden. The distance between a woman’s eyes, and the distance between her eyes and her mouth, are key factors in determining how attractive she is to others, according to new psychology research from UCSD and the University of Toronto.

In four separate experiments, researchers asked university students to make paired comparisons of attractiveness between female faces with identical facial features but different eye-mouth distances and different distances between the eyes.

They discovered two ratios; one for length and one for width. Female faces were judged more attractive when the vertical distance between their eyes and the mouth was approximately 36 percent of the face’s length, and the horizontal distance between their eyes was approximately 46 percent of the face’s width.

The findings appear in the journal Vision Research.

UCSD news release:

More water-wise crops?

Plants take in the carbon dioxide they need for photosynthesis through microscopic breathing pores (stoma) in the surface of leaves. But for each molecule of the gas gained, a plant loses hundreds of water molecules (up to 95 percent of the water a plant takes up) in evaporation through these openings.

Researchers at UC San Diego have identified enzymes that react with CO2 causing cells surrounding the stoma to close down. Further, they discovered that adding extra copies of the genes to “guard cells” improved water efficiency of plants cutting moisture loss by 44 percent. This raises hope that modified crops could help farmers meet the future demand for food as competition for water increases.

The study appears in the journal Nature Cell Biology (

New California Sea Grant publication

“San Diego Bay: A Call for Conservation” is the fourth book in a series that details the beauty and history of San Diego Bay. The book was written by talented students from Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High School and was produced in collaboration with California Sea Grant Program, based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

With a foreword by E.O. Wilson and a preface by Jane Goodall, the 368-page book explores the delicate balance between humans and nature in an urbanized ecosystem, the importance of environmental awareness and action, and the role individuals can play to benefit their city and planet. Available from the California Sea Grant online bookstore (


Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach.