Lai-Sheng Wang, professor of chemistry, has received the Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy and Dynamics from the American Physical Society. The prize of $10,000 is awarded to recognize and encourage notable contributions to the field of molecular spectroscopy and dynamics. Wang was recognized for “advancing the chemistry and physics of metal clusters using photoelectron spectroscopy, and for innovative development of cluster sources and photoelectron techniques.” Wang recently used his photoelectron spectroscopy technique to probe the properties of a planar cluster of boron atoms that could lay the groundwork for a boron-based equivalent of graphene. Wang received the award Monday, March 3, 2014, in Denver.
Stuart leGassick, the Broadbent Family Head Coaching Chair for Squash Racquets at Brown, was honored with the 2014 Chaffee Award for sportsmanship and character. The Chaffee Award, presented to leGassick by the Collegiate Squash Association during the women’s national team championships at Princeton, honors a coach whose team has demonstrated the qualities of sportsmanship, teamwork, character, and improvement. LeGassick is Brown’s original squash coach, establishing the men’s program in 1989 and taking on dual leadership of the men’s and women’s teams the following year. He coached the women’s team to an 11th-place national ranking this year.
The Ashoka U Exchange, a global conference for social entrepreneurship in higher education, took place at Brown Feb. 20-22, 2014. The keynote panel of the Ashoka U Exchange conference, “The University and Community: Creating and Nurturing a Collaborative Ecosystem,” featured Brown University President Christina Paxson, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Ashoka President Diana Wells ’88, and Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the Office of Social Innovation at the White House. Panelists discussed the relationship between the University and the local and global community to envision an integrated space for education and changemaking.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has announced that two Brown University faculty members are recipients of 2014 Sloan Research Fellowships. Wesley Bernskoetter, assistant professor of chemistry, and Paul Valiant, assistant professor of computer science, are among 126 researchers from the United States and Canada receiving fellowships this year. Bernskoetter’s lab works to develop catalysts that use inexpensive, renewable carbon sources to make commodity chemicals that would normally be made using petroleum. In particular, Bernskoetter’s group studies coupling of carbon dioxide with other small molecules to create acrylates, a class of compounds found in many plastics. Valiant studies algorithms that have general applicability across the sciences. He is investigating the challenge of “data efficiency,” how better computational tools can let us reach scientific conclusions with less data. He has applied his techniques to study how proteins fold themselves, how fluids become turbulent, and how organisms evolve. Bernskoetter and Valiant will both receive $50,000 from the Sloan Foundation to further their research. (More information at computer science and chemistry departmental sites.)
Brown University’s Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center and Nelson Fitness Center has achieved LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Included among many sustainable building features is an array of solar panels that supplies power and heats the aquatic center’s million-gallon pool. It’s the first combined solar-powered electrical and heating system in Rhode Island and the largest installation of its kind in the United States. "In the past six years, Brown has reduced its energy-related carbon footprint by 30.6 percent below 2007 levels as part of an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction plan," said Christopher Powell, Brown's director of sustainable energy & environmental Initiatives. "Innovative design approaches like those that went into the aquatics center and the fitness center, including the solar thermal/photovoltaic hybrid system, are key to continuing to reduce our carbon footprint."
Brown hosts panel on med adherence
On Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, at Brown University's Laboratories for Molecular Medicine, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse joined Prescriptions for a Healthy America and the Script Your Future campaign in hosting a medication adherence panel discussion and question and answer session, exploring the many cost-saving and health benefits of medication adherence. The event brought together thought leaders and state officials as well as patient advocates, providers, and pharmacy experts. Participants emphasized the importance of adherence in improving the lives of patients and advocated for increased education efforts to raise awareness among patients. In addition to Reed and Whitehouse, forum panelists included Jef Bratberg of the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy; Stephen Evangelista, CEO of the Arthritis Foundation of New England and chairman of the Rhode Island Health Advocacy Forum; Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League and coordinator of the Script Your Future campaign; Dr. Elaine Jones, president of the Rhode Island Medical Society; Peter Simmons, vice president for product development at CVS Caremark; and Joel White, executive director of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage.
Brown University has earned the 2014 Seal of Distinction from WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP). The designation marks employers who “clearly understand the business value of investing in the people who do the work,” according to WorldatWork’s statement. Brown was one of 13 colleges and universities honored among 66 winners for 2014. The Seal of Distinction assesses human resources policies and practices across seven categories of employee well-being, including health and wellness, paid and unpaid time off, accommodation for dependent care, community involvement, and others. The winners will be honored March 20 at the Work-Life Awards Luncheon at the AWLP Work-Life Forum in Baltimore.
The Ashoka U Exchange, a global conference for social entrepreneurship in higher education, will take place at Brown Feb. 20-22, 2014. A total of 650 faculty, staff, administrators, and students from 150 colleges and universities representing 30 countries, together with social entrepreneurs from around the world, will discuss “The New Scholar,” equipped to create innovative solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. “At Brown, the spirit that drives social innovation runs deep,” said Brown President Christina Paxson. “We are thrilled to host this year’s Ashoka U gathering and to welcome participants from around the globe to Providence and the Brown campus for intensive discussions about the best ways to promote and sustain social innovation.” During the conference, Brown’s Social Innovation Initiative will receive the 2014 Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award for its co-curricular approach to supporting social entrepreneurship through the Social Innovation Fellowship and Leading Social Ventures course. Conference speakers include Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, President Paxson, Alan Harlam, director of the Social Innovation Initiative at Brown, and Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Conference participants will visit three sites in Providence and learn about local approaches to social innovation: the Capital Good Fund, the TRI-Lab at Brown, and HOPE (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere), a community program of the Swearer Center for Public Service.
University Organist Mark Steinbach’s new CD of the music of Anton Heiller is being featured this week on American Public Media’s “Pipedreams.” Steinbach’s selections, part of a program featuring organ music of the 20th-century Heiller and the 18th-century Gottfried August Homilius, include Heiller’s Passacaglia and the Orgelsatz and Partita on “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen.” Steinbach will also perform works from the CD in a faculty recital at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 16, in Sayles Hall.
The National Preventive Services Task Force has added to its ranks Dr. Maureen Phipps, the Chace-Joukowsky Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health. Phipps also serves as assistant dean for teaching and research in women’s health at The Warren Alpert Medical School. The task force is an independent panel of nonfederal experts that conducts scientific evidence reviews of a broad range of clinical preventive health care services and develops recommendations for primary care clinicians. “It is an honor to be part of the USPSTF and contribute to improving health care for diverse populations through the evaluation of current practices and introducing new recommendations that will help guide health care delivery and disease prevention,” Phipps said.