Maryland Moments, February, 2003
(Rankings, Honors, New Programs)
Whether appearing before committees of the General Assembly or writing opinion/editorial pieces for the Baltimore Sun, President C.D. Mote Jr. led an unparalleled effort by the university to maintain its funding in a time of tight state budgets. Maryland's "Maintain the Momentum" program rallied support from all sectors of the university community to inform state legislators on the importance of higher education in Maryland.
In a listing of the top 20 public universities admitting freshman National Merit Scholars, Maryland is ranked No. 16, ahead of peers like the University of Michigan.
President Bush's budget for fiscal year 2004 will include $10.4 million for initial construction costs for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's new Operations and Science Center near campus.
Maryland is No. 4 among universities receiving NASA funding for research. The other schools in the top 5 are Johns Hopkins University, the University of Colorado, Stanford University and California Institue of Technology.
Joseph Canter, government and politics major, is among the students honored in USA Today's annual student recognition program. Canter was honored for leading efforts �to implement and administer honor pledge; and for being on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.�
Science & Technology
Columbia astronaut Kalpana Chawla, a native of India and graduate of Punjab Engineering College, met Inderjit Chopra, Minta-Martin Research Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Rotorcraft Education and Research, at a NASA facility in Ames, Iowa. The two natives of India--Chopra also graduated from Punjab Engineering College-- linked in their pursuit of aerospace research, and Chopra helped Chawla in her successful trip to astronaut status.
In the first ever study of the effects of loud man-made, or anthropogenic, sound on fish in the wild, UM biologist Arthur Popper and his colleagues, Robert D. McCauley and Jane Fewtrell, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, found that the injury to fish ears, and thus hearing, was even greater than they had anticipated. Their study appeared in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.
A University of Maryland-NASA Goddard study found that knowing the salt content of the ocean's surface could lead to improvements in tracking El Nino events. Antonio Busalacchi, professor and director of the Earth System Science and Interdisciplinary Center' Ragu Murtugudde, associate research scientist at the center, and Joaquim Ballabrera, assistant research scientist, conducted one of the first looks at ocean salinity in El Nino.
Jim Quintiere, professor of fire protection engineering, said the thickness of the surviving fire insulation in the World Trade Center towers, rather than the destruction of insulation during impact, explained why the towers collapsed when they did. The U.S. National Institute of Technology will soon be testing the theory.
The sale of ethanol fuel for automobiles is going slowly in Maryland. Since Maryland has no surplus corn, farmers must use other crops to make an economically feasible form of ethanol, a clean-burning fuel for automobiles. Jose Costa, an associate professor of and natural resource sciences and landscape architecture, is testing a kind of barley that grows without a thick hull that possibly will be used for profitable ethanol production.
Virgil Gligor, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, is appointed to the Microsoft advisory board to offer advice and comments on Trustworthy Computing issues. The board comprises 14 professors from universities all over the world and includes some of the best-known names in computer security research.
Society & Culture
William Galston, professor in the School of Public Affairs and director of the Center for Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), was to speak at a White House forum on civics renewal, but record-breaking snow fall interceded. A report was released the week befoe the forum by CIRCLE, "The Civic Mission of Schools." Getting young people to vote is considered a high priority by all parts of the political spectrum.
Like the university report on the death penalty in January, a study on campaign financing served as a focal point of discussion by legislators. The study by the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at Maryland and the University of Baltimore found 75 percent of Marylanders believe money is a source of political corruption.
Employees with Internet access at home spend more time there doing work for their companies than they spend online for personal reasons at their office, said a survey by the University of Maryland's E-Service program and Rockbridge Associates of Great Falls." International media coverage followed the release of the study, which proclaims the opposite of what many thought.
The State Department on its Web site released the results of a poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes. "Despite the fact that America's conflicts with Iraq, North Korea and Al Qaeda have dominated the headlines, the American public believes that the U.S. should increase its engagement with Africa in a variety of ways, according to a newly released poll."
Maryland's Carmen Reinhart authored a World Bank study that questioned the methodology of bond ratings for nations by international agencies, saying there was evidence that such ratings had a low predictive rate. For less developed countries, the study had great impact.
Sonalde Desai, associate professor of sociology, is one of six prominent members of the Indian American Policy Institute that is headquartered in Washington.
More Maryland Moments in February
South Burlington, Vermont's Dr. Thomas Kleh used the good offices of the university's registrar's office to lay claim to a place in the Class of '49. Kleh left school one course short of graduation, opting to go on to medical school at George Washington. That casual decision of the twenty-something Kleh came back to bother him. After much digging through half-century old records by the registrar's office, Kleh had his degree. Now, he says, he will donate money to his �new� alma mater."
Erica Watson, junior communication major, wins the title of Miss College Park, and she will compete in the Miss Maryland Pageant in June. Last year's Miss College Park, music major Camille Lewis, was a finalist for Miss America and won $52,000 in scholarships.
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