Chad Jenkins, associate professor of computer science, has been named a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer. The Emerging Explorers Program recognizes and supports “uniquely gifted and inspiring adventurers, scientists, and innovators who are at the forefront of discovery, adventure, and global problem-solving while still early in their careers.” Jenkins was recognized for his efforts to make robotic technology more accessible, easy to use, and helpful to the public at large by teaching robots to learn from human demonstration. He and16 other awardees will be featured in the June 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine. “As National Geographic celebrates its 125th anniversary year and looks forward to embracing a new age of exploration, we look to our Emerging Explorers to be leaders in pushing the boundaries of discovery and innovation,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president for mission programs. “They represent tomorrow’s Robert Ballards, Jacques Cousteaus, and Jane Goodalls.”
Defending the Filibuster: The Soul of the Senate written by Richard Arenberg, adjunct lecturer in public policy, and U.S. Parliamentarian Emeritus Robert Dole has been named a finalist for Foreword Reviews Magazine Book of the Year in Political Science award. A panel of sixty judges, librarians and booksellers will determine the winner, which will be announced June 28th at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago. Reviewing the book in October 2012, Foreword Reviews notes "The authors do an excellent job of breaking down the sometimes-convoluted rules of Senate procedure, not only detailing how the filibuster works in practice, but mapping out how other obstructionist tactics such as holds and 'filling the amendment tree' have been similarly overused in recent years and might be better areas for reform."
Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta After World War II (UNC Press, 2012) by Francoise N. Hamlin, the Hans Rothfels Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies, is a finalist for the 2012 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize. The Berkshire Conference for Women Historians awards two prizes annually for both the best first book published in any field of history by a woman, and the best first book published in the fields of the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality by a woman. This year’s prizes, for which there are seven finalists, will be announced in early June.
Brown neuroscience and engineering professor John Donoghue spoke to an audience of about 100 people May 4 at a veterans breakfast convened annually by U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The senator invited Donoghue, who is also a researcher at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center to talk about the PVAMC's new Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology, which he directs, and the latest research on BrainGate, an investigational brain-computer interface currently in clinical trials. Donoghue, who also directs the Brown Institute for Brain Science, took questions from the audience at the Rhode Island National Guard Schofield Armory in Cranston.
Representatives from ICERM were among the presenters at an exhibition sponsored by the Coalition for National Science Funding held on May 7 in Washington, D.C. The exhibition, titled “Investments in STEM Research and Education: Fueling American Innovation,” aimed to illustrate the value of the federal investment in basic science research to Members of Congress and their staffs. Sastry Pantula, director of the Division of Mathematical Science of the National Science Foundation (photo, left) and Cora Marrett, director of the National Science Foundation (photo right) stopped by the ICERM exhibit and met with ICERM's Deputy Director Jan Hesthaven and Assistant Director Ruth Crane. ICERM, through its workshops, semester-long programs, conferences and special events, brings in scholars and others from around the world who spend on average more than $3.4 million annually locally. Hesthaven and Crane also represented ICERM the following day at The Science Coalition’s “Breakfast of Champions,” which honors Members of Congress who have shown support for basic scientific research.
James W. Head, the Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences, was part of a research team that has shown that the Moon had a surprisingly strong magnetic field 3.56 billion years ago. Samples of that age recovered during the Apollo 11 mission showed signs of having been magnetized by a stable field, the new research found. That suggests that the field persisted for at least 160 million years longer than researchers had previously thought. The new finding enables scientists to rule out one possible source for the field. It was thought that giant impacts might have caused molten material in the Moon’s interior to oscillate, creating a dynamo that in turn would generate a magnetic field. However, this work shows that the Moon’s field persisted for millions of years after a rash of giant impacts 3.7 million years ago, making those impacts an unlikely source. “The Moon was closer to the Earth in its earlier history” says Jim Head, “and the influence of the Earth’s gravitational pull on the lunar interior may have been a factor in the field lasting for so long.“ The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
George Karniadakis, professor of applied mathematics, has been selected by the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics as the recipient of the 2013 J. Tinsley Oden Medal (formerly known as the USACM Computational and Applied Sciences Award). The award is given to scholars whose work significantly advances the understanding of theories and methods of computational science, engineering, and mathematics that have broad applicability to computational mechanics. Karniadakis was recognized for “outstanding contributions to stochastic differential equations, in particular modeling uncertainty with polynomial chaos and development of spectral and hp element methods on unstructured meshes.” Karniadakis, at Brown since 1994, is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
The recipients of this year’s Research Seed Grants and Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Awards were announced at the University Awards Ceremony on May 6. In total, the Office of Vice President for Research will award more than $760,000 in research funding to 40 Brown researchers and scholars. The 2013 Seed Funds go to 24 Brown researchers involved in eight research projects. Seed awards are designed to help faculty compete more successfully for large-scale, interdisciplinary, multi-investigator grants. Investigators may propose projects with budgets up to $100,000. The Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Awards go to 17 faculty members, including five in the humanities, five in the social sciences, three in biological sciences, and four in public health. The Salomon awards were established to support excellence in scholarly work by providing funding for selected faculty research projects deemed to be of exceptional merit. Investigators may propose projects with budgets up to $15,000. A full list of recipients is available online.
A swarm of butterflies will reside on the Van Wickle Gates until May 10th, weather permitting. Created by marine biology concentrator Mayrolin Garcia, the installation is a metaphor for the personal change all Brown students go through during their years at Brown. According to the artist, “I created each caterpillar by hand to represent how, as first-years, we come to Brown as individuals, rarely sharing any specific experiences. The single cocoon represents the University. Mentally and physically demanding, our rigorous studies shape us into new beings. The University acts as the crucible in which we metamorphose. Finally, during Commencement, we emerge in a burst of color and vitality. The butterflies are cut out and painted from a stencil (one could almost say mass-produced) to represent that we leave Brown as a collective swarm ready to disperse and follow our separate paths. Wherever we are going, we will always be Brunonians.”
Elliston Perot Bissel, a third-year doctoral student, has been awarded a grant by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which provides funding for individually designed study/research projects for one academic year at a university outside the United States. Bissel will use his grant for study at the University of Vienna. Bissel graduated from the University of Michigan in 2010 with a major in classical languages and literature. His senior thesis, Cato in Lucan’s Poetic Conception of History, explored Lucan’s use of the stoic hero in his presentation of a history of the world marked by endless civil war. As an undergraduate, Bissel also studied Sanskrit and spent summers at the South Asia Institute in Heidelberg and the American School of Indian Studies in Pune, India. He is currently enrolled in the Sanskrit and classics Ph.D. program and hopes to work on comparative projects relating the traditions of epic poetry both of South Asia and the Mediterranean.