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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new study led by Joan Teno, professor of health services, policy and practice, reports that percutaneous endoscopic gastric (PEG) feeding tubes, long assumed to help bedridden dementia patients stave off or overcome pressure ulcers, may instead make the horrible sores more likely to develop or less likely to improve. The analysis of thousands of nursing home patients with advanced dementia appears in the May 14 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
For 12 years, Brown University has partnered with William D’Abate Elementary School in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood to bring after-school programming, in-class tutoring, and summer camps to students there. While the programs are a learning experience for everyone involved, the hope is that some lessons will have effects that last long after graduation.
José Itzigsohn, professor of sociology, pens a “Room for Debate” column about whether the United States should allow dual citizenship. The country currently does not recognize dual citizenship, but it also doesn’t take action against it, a policy Itzigsohn supports. “Dual citizenship contributes to the decision to naturalize because it allows migrants to embrace their new country without being asked to renounce their past,” Itizgsohn writes.
Glenn Loury, professor of political science, writes about the legacy of esteemed political scientist and criminologist James Q. Wilson, who died in March. “I slowly came to the view – which I continue to hold – that some of Wilson’s labors have done enormous damage to the quality of American democracy ... It frustrates me that even as mounting evidence over the past decade showed that crime control had become too punitive, Wilson stubbornly reiterated the views that he had developed four decades ago,” Loury writes.
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.