Wed 5 Dec | The Boston Globe

Brown students decode Roger Williams’s shorthand

A team at Brown University has cracked a previously undeciphered shorthand used by Roger Williams, the religious thinker and founder of Rhode Island — a mystery that had stumped researchers for years. Senior Lucas Mason-Brown, who was on the team, talks about what the process was like. 

Wed 5 Dec | Daily Mail (U.K.)

Smoking DOES make your hangover worse

A team of scientists from Brown University found that a hangover may be worse if you also smoke while drinking. Lead author Damaris Rohsenow, professor of behavioral and social sciences, said, "At the same number of drinks, people who smoke more that day are more likely to have a hangover and have more intense hangovers." Rohsenow said it's likely that there is a direct effect of tobacco smoking on hangovers, although the exact mechanisms are unclear.

Wed 5 Dec | Time

Want to Cure a Hangover? Don’t Pick Up a Cigarette

Lighting up and drinking go hand in hand on a night of revelry, but smoking can make hangovers worse.

That’s what researchers from Brown University found after studying a group of college students who had varying reactions to drinking episodes. When students really indulged—consuming around five to six cans of beer in an hour—and also smoked during the same day, they were more likely to report nursing a hangover the following morning. The symptoms also worsened if they smoked that morning as well.


Wed 5 Dec |

Seeing Is Believing, Indeed

Although the importance of the hippocampus in encoding and storing memory in the brain cannot be overstated, the surrounding area—chiefly the parahippocampal cortex or PHC—provides a crucial component in receiving and transferring that visual and spatial data, according to a new study by Rebecca Burwell, professor of psychology and neuroscience.

Tue 4 Dec | The Providence Journal

Ray Lorenzo Heffner, former Brown president, dies

Ray Lorenzo Heffner, the 13th president of Brown University (1966–1969), died Nov. 28, 2012, at Lantern Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Coralville, Iowa. He was 87, according to a news release from Brown.  “President Heffner led this University with quiet grace during a tumultuous time in American higher education,” Brown President Christina Paxson said in the news release. “His tenure saw the development of many elements that define Brown as we know it today, including the signature Brown Curriculum.”

Tue 4 Dec | Inside Higher Ed

'Becoming Right'

A new book, Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives, suggests that while conservative students face marginalization, their experiences differ greatly from campus to campus. Terrence George, president of the Republican Club of Brown University, says that conservative students at Brown feel comfortable expressing their beliefs. "Brown is certainly smaller than a big public university and conservative students here are given to more intellectual forms of expression than affirmative action bake sales,” he said, adding that his organization often hosts “right-leaning intellectuals and policy makers, not talking heads.”

Tue 4 Dec | The Providence Journal

Doubting Egypt’s revolution

Ian Straughn, visiting assistant professor of anthropology and Joukowsky Family Librarian for Middle East Studies, writes about what the recent protests in Egypt mean for the future of the country's revolution. 

Tue 4 Dec | Providence Business News

Andera named one of ‘10 Tech Companies to Watch’

Providence-based Andera Inc. has earned a spot on American Banker’s list of 10 Tech Companies to Watch thanks to its account and loan origination software. Andera, which started off as a Web development company out of a Brown University dorm room in 2001, has matured into an account and loan origination software company that aims to help banks serve their customers more efficiently and in more places.

Tue 4 Dec | The Providence Journal

Research pals

An editorial encourages research collaboration between Brown and local hospital giants Care New England and Lifespan. "Research is very expensive. Pooling resources makes it easier to afford. And the institutional clout suggested by having three institutions together seek private-and public-sector grants could help a lot."

Mon 3 Dec | The Providence Journal

Brown students encouraged to do holiday shopping at local stores

Brown University has joined the city's Buy Providence/Buy Art promotion for the holiday season and have organized free shuttle service for Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. to transport students, faculty and staff to four Providence neighborhood shopping districts.

Mon 3 Dec | The New York Times

Forced to Choose: Exploring Other Options

A post in "The New Old Age" blog on some of the choices facing elderly people at the end of life, cites research by Susan Miller, professor of health services policy and practice, which looked specifically at more than 4,300 patients with advanced dementia who died in nursing homes in 2006 and used Medicare's Skilled Nursing Facility benefit within 90 days of their deaths. Miller concluded that patients were often receiving treatments that they didn't need. 

Mon 3 Dec | National Geographic

Top 10 Discoveries of 2012

Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston's Mayan mask discovery is the publication's top discovery of 2012, based on the story's popularity among readers. Houston's team unearthed the masks, which are part of the Temple of the Night Sun, located in Guatemala, revealing new clues about Mayan beliefs. 

Fri 30 Nov | The Tennessean

Rep. Marsha Blackburn says new committee post will help TN economy

Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science, comments on the recent appoint of Tennessee congresswomen Marsha Blackburn to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "To me it is a purely symbolic move by the GOP to incorporate more women into the 'face' of committee leadership given how overwhelmingly male dominated the leadership of the GOP committee structure is in the House right now," Schiller said.

Thu 29 Nov | Time

Can a Baby’s Cry Be a Clue to Autism?

Scientists at Brown University think it’s possible that infants’ early cries might provide a clue to whether they’re at risk of developing autism, based on a small study they conducted on about 40 babies.

Thu 29 Nov | The New York Times

Steven Spielberg, Historian

An op-ed about the new Steven Spielberg movie "Lincoln" cites research by Michael Vorenberg, associate professor of history, who has written at length about the former president's passage of the 13th amendment to abolish slavery. 

Thu 29 Nov | The Providence Journal

Syrian author, Brown fellow wins English PEN award

Nihad Sirees, a Syrian novelist and Brown University's 2012-13 International Writers Project fellow, has been given an English PEN Award for outstanding writing in translation for his novel "The Silence and the Roar."

Wed 28 Nov | Providence Journal

Icon or eyesore?

Omar Harmansah, assistant professor of archaeology, comments on the historical significance of the drawbridge that links East Providence to Providence, which some view as an eyesore.
Tue 20 Nov | Providence Journal

Brown reports economic impact in R.I

Brown University spent $178.9 million on research in fiscal year 2012, an increase of 29 percent since 2009, according to a report released Monday by Brown that was prepared by Appleseed Inc. of New York. The report also said Brown is the state's fifth-largest employer, with Rhode Island residents making up 81 percent of its 4,459 employees.

Tue 20 Nov | Slate

Puritans' first book at JCB

In a hidden corner of the John Carter Brown Library, inside a box with a false title (to ward off thieves), lies a book of legendary rarity. A recent appraiser from Sotheby’s pegged its value at $10 million. The so-called Bay Psalm Book is the first book published in what would become the United States.

Tue 20 Nov | Earth Island Journal

Activism on fossil fuel divestment

There are active campaigns underway on 47 campuses across the Unioted States, with new schools joining the fossil fuel divestment campaign every week. At Brown University, students are asking President Christina Paxson to divest the school's $2.5 billion endowment from the 15 U.S. coal companies with the worst environmental and social records.

Mon 19 Nov | Chicago Tribune

Feeding tubes may just prolong death, research suggests

Medical researchers say that although feeding tubes are nutritional tools, they can be a dreadful mistake. Emerging research shows that artificial feeding prolongs, complicates, and isolates dying. "We are putting in feeding tubes much too quickly," concluded Dr. Joan Teno of the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University Medical School.

Wed 14 Nov | Huffington Post

President Andrews honored for academic freedom

Elisha Benjamin Andrews, Brown’s eighth president, was honored November 3 by the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON) at its 25th annual membership meeting. Andrews, who headed both Brown University and the University of Nebraska, could not be present, having died in 1917. The award was accepted by Peterson Brink, assistant archivist at the University of Nebraska−Lincoln, for inclusion in a new historical exhibit.

Fri 14 Sep | Associated Press

Hall of Fame will not remove Paterno

During a recent meeting, the Board of Directors of the Brown University Athletic Hall of Fame considered the status of Joe Paterno. The Board chose not to remove him from the rolls of honored Brown athletes. "In choosing not to remove Paterno from the list of Brown’s Hall of Fame athletes, the Board of Directors did not intend to diminish the tragic events that occurred at Penn State toward the end of Coach Paterno’s career. It sought, rather, to acknowledge the recognition of the achievements for which it elected Paterno to the Hall of Fame nearly 35 years ago," the Board writes. 

Thu 9 Aug | The Huffington Post

For teachers, there’s always chance for improvement

A new study co-authored by John Tyler, professor of education, finds that, contrary to prior evidence, experienced teachers can continue to improve upon their teaching methods after a few years in the classroom. The researchers looked at a group of 105 mid-career elementary and middle-school teachers in Cincinnati and found that actually evaluating the teachers in a very specific way made their students perform somewhat better a few years later. 

Tue 12 Jun | The New York Times

Recreational fishing brings salt marsh die-off

As recreational fishing activity has reduced predators in many of Cape Cod’s salt marsh ecosystems, Sesarma crabs have feasted on grasses, causing dramatic die-offs of the marshes, according to a new study by Brown ecologists. The researchers assessed the “trophic cascade” in several experiments that also ruled out alternative explanations for the problem.

Thu 17 May | The Wall Street Journal

Robot Puts Mind Over Matter

A new study in Nature reports that two people with tetraplegia were able to reach for and grasp objects in three-dimensional space using robotic arms that they controlled directly with brain activity. They used the BrainGate neural interface system, an investigational device currently being studied under an Investigational Device Exemption. One participant used the system to serve herself coffee for the first time since becoming paralyzed nearly 15 years ago.