Brittle stars and people have something in common, according to research by graduate student Henry Astley: They move in fundamentally similar ways. Though not bilaterally symmetrical like humans and many other animals, brittle stars have come up with a mechanism to choose any of its five limbs to direct its movement on the seabed. It’s as if each arm can be the creature’s front, capable of locomotion and charting direction.
Brown recently held a conference on “Cybersecurity and International Relations,” which was a byproduct of collaboration between Brown, the University of Rhode Island and the U.S. Naval War College in Newport. John Savage, professor of computer science who organized the conference, says that the need for degree programs in cybersecurity has grown as the field has gained more attention.
William Oh, professor of medical science and a recent inductee into the Legends of Neonatology Hall of Fame, discusses the advances in neonatology he has seen during his career. He says that the neonate survival rate has increased more than 50 percent since the 1970s, which can be attributed to the development of new drugs that assist in babies’ organ maturation and the creation of a tiny catheter used to feed babies intravenously.
Patrick Vivier, associate professor of health services, policy and practice, will lead one of two forthcoming research studies examining the educational impacts of lead poisoning in Rhode Island. “I think that lead poisoning is a particular burden for low-income urban communities in Rhode Island,” Vivier says. “This has individual and community-level negative consequences that we must address.”
Brian Evenson, professor of literary arts who just published a new collection of stories titledWindeye, talks about his writing process. Explaining how he knows when a story is done, he says, “I think a lot of the artistry and aesthetic of a story lies in intuitive choices made both along the way and in the process of rounding out the story. My best stories, I still can’t precisely put my finger on how they manage to do what they do, and I can’t quite replicate it either.”
Brown senior David Poritz has launched Equitable Origin, a business that aims to make oil and gas producers more socially and environmentally responsible by getting them to comply with standards covering everything from their effects on climate change to their cooperation with local communities. Founded in 2009, the company employs a team of 15 working in six countries. Poritz has presented his company’s work to the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Rachel Herz, adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior, talks about the science behind disgust. A simple safety mechanism that originated to prevent us from eating poisonous food, Herz says disgust has evolved into a uniquely human emotion that dictates how we treat others, shapes our cultural norms, and even has implications for our mental and physical health.
Brown President Ruth J. Simmons delivered the commencement address and received and honorary doctorate from the University of Oklahoma on May 12. Speaking to the graduates, Simmons called them “a picture of what makes this country so remarkable and promising,” due to their diversity and collegiate experience of a “community of difference,” and urged them to maintain a broad and inclusive life after graduation. Simmons also delivered commencement addresses and received honorary doctorates from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine on May 10 and the University of Houston on May 12. She will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Rochester on May 20.
Middle and high school students recently got the opportunity to present ideas for improving Providence to officials at the State House. The presentations were a result of a partnership between city schools and the Generation Citizen program founded in 2008 by Scott Warren, then a senior at Brown University. The middle and high school students worked with Brown students to them to analyze a problem in their community and figure out what they wanted to do about it.
A consortium of universities, including Brown, have been given a $15 million grant by the Army Research Laboratory to use computer simulations to help design materials for lighter-weight, energy-efficient devices and batteries for use by U.S. soldiers. The goal of the project is to lighten the load for soldiers of the future who will be carrying large amounts of electronic equipment, including electronic weaponry, detection devices, advanced communications systems and protection systems.
Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science, appears as a guest on this week’s Political Roundtable to discuss Wall Street’s lingering concerns about Rhode Island’s capital following Brown’s recent agreement to give the city $31.5 million more over 11 years. The group also talks about the future of the state’s pension overhaul, the charter review commission in Central Falls, and the November presidential election.
Many colleges are integrating hybrid teaching and learning – which combines in-person instructor engagement and online discussions – into their curricula. The Education Alliance at Brown uses this method in professional-development activities for teacher teams from around the country. “Having them participate online really makes it a lot easier to bring groups together,” says Stephanie Feger, program specialist. “[It] would be really impossible to get that depth of feedback and inquiry in a face-to-face meeting.”
A Providence Journal editorial praises Brown’s decision to contribute an additional $31.5 million to the City of Providence over the next 11 years and describes the teamwork involved on the part of President Ruth J. Simmons and Mayor Angel Taveras to make it happen: “That is not only because the city can use such a generous contribution, but because of what it says about the community: Leading institutions, such as Brown, are dedicated to the well-being of Providence.”
Jeffrey Borkan, chair of the Department of Family Medicine, and Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences at the Alpert Medical School, pen a joint op-ed about the resurgence of primary care in Rhode Island. They write about Alpert Medical School’s continued focus on primary care as well as the future creation of innovative programs that “should result in even better models for caring for Rhode Islanders.”
Dan Barry gives a detailed account of the recent discovery of a rare Paul Revere print in the John Hay Library for his “This Land” column. Told from the perspective of Marie Malchodi, the library book conservation technician who found the print, the article takes readers through every detail of the discovery, including Malchodi’s initial reaction: “I have to show this to somebody.” The print was eventually found to be only the fifth copy known to exist.
Mark Blyth, professor of international political economy, writes a blog post about the five right questions that need to be asked before the right answers to the Euro crisis can be found. Among them, he asks whether saving the Euro is worth it. “The European union is based upon trust, building confidence, sharing the wealth, and mutual support. The new institutions designed to save the Euro are based upon seeing every possible interaction with another state as a moral hazard problem where trust should be eliminated. Designing institutions in this way undermines the capacity to generate trust. Trust is not an optional extra,” Blyth writes.
Esther Entin, associate professor of family medicine, writes about the benefits of recess in elementary school. “Not only can recess help improve children’s physical fitness and reduce childhood obesity, giving children time to be physically active, it helps them concentrate in school. Play also gives kids a chance to be creative and learn to solve disputes and make rules among themselves. ... It’s starting to look like recess is more than child’s play,” Entin writes.
Reviewer Cate McQuaid reviews “Megan and Murray McMillan: When We Didn’t Touch the Ground,” currently on display at the Cohen Gallery in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. The installation, which is about child’s play, includes a video that shows a group setting the dinner table as a boy (played by a man) lingers outside, climbing on a wall constructed of furniture, wandering along a brook. “But then a transporting moment in the video opens a trap door, and you drop into magic,” McQuaid writes.
China’s nursing home industry is seeing a boom in business due to a large aging population, with little oversight from the government to regulate living conditions. Zhanlian Feng, assistant professor of community health, led a 2011 study examining China’s surging nursing home industry and made suggestions for necessary government mandates that would improve patient care.
A new study from Case Western Reserve University finds mothers tend to be more critical of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder than they are of other children in the family. And, that parental criticism is linked to poorer outcomes for the child after treatment.
Despite their relatively cumbersome wings, bats are champions of nocturnal aviation, a feat accomplished through an ingenious bit of aeronautical engineering.
Bats fold their wings inward while lifting them in flight, saving 65 percent of the energy that would be required to lift wings still outstretched, say Brown University researchers who used high-speed video to analyze the aerial kinematics of fruit bats.
A rare engraved print created by Paul Revere has been found in a 19th century book at Brown University.
A university preservationist discovered the print while studying the 1811 book once owned by a 1773 graduate of Brown. The graduate’s descendants donated the book to the Rhode Island school.
In a new study by Fiery Cushman, assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences, baseball fans exhibit a high moral tolerance for a form of revenge not otherwise practiced in most of contemporary society: avenging one’s own hit batsman by aiming a pitch at an opposing batter who was not previously involved. The research suggests that such systems of vicarious retribution, found throughout history, may not depend on an underlying assignment of moral responsibility.
The death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin has inspired many people to express their feelings about the situation through art. Tricia Rose, professor of Africana studies, says that the case has struck a nerve that has caused people to channel their emotion into creative energy, for now. “Initial outrage has been stoked by George Zimmerman’s post-crime treatment as a victim. The longer he goes free, without even further questioning, the more suffering and distrust will be created. Hopefully, it will also continue to generate creative responses, survival and social change strategies,” Rose says.
Jack Hayes, currently director of athletics at Hofstra University, has been named director of athletics at Brown University. Hayes will begin his work at Brown July 1, 2012, succeeding Michael Goldberger. As director of athletics at Brown, Hayes will have responsibility for 37 varsity teams and their coaches, as well as 17 intercollegiate teams that compete at the club level. This story was also reported by Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, IvyLeagueSports.com and other national outlets.
Bill Ven Siclen reviews “Dragon Bridge: Taoist Paintings of the Mien,” an exhibition currently on display at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Manning Hall. The paintings, which were purchased by the University in 2001, were originally thought to be 19th-century copies of earlier Mien works, but are now believed to date from the late 17th century.
Five professors from Brown University have made the Princeton Review’s list of top professors in the country. They are Barrett Hazeltine, professor emeritus of emgineering; Joseph Pucci, associate professor of classics; Stephanie Ravillon, lecturer in French studies; Robert Serrano, professor of economics; and Daniel Stupar, studio technician in visual arts.
Jason Neustadter, chief resident in dermatology, and Martin Weinstock, professor of dermatology and epidemiology, are among the authors on an op-ed in support of legislation that would ban the use of indoor tanning devices by children and adolescents under the age of 18. “Prohibiting the use of indoor tanning beds for all children and teens under the age of 18 is critical to preventing future skin cancers as survey data indicate that use of these devices increases with each year of adolescence,” they write.
The Japanese Cultural Association at Brown University held an event on Sunday, March 11, to commemorate the anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan exactly one year ago. “Cranes on the Green” was an interactive installation in which passersby placed blue and white paper cranes, handed out by the JCA, on the College Green.
A group of undergraduates taught by environmental studies professor Timmons Roberts is helping the financially distressed city of Central Falls update its master plan to respond to natural disasters, including flooding from the Blackstone River. An updated master plan could trigger federal and state funds that planners want to make much-needed improvements.