Maryland Moments, May 2006 University Initiatives (Graduation, New Programs
Retiring U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, who served in Congress for 40 years, is the featured graduation speaker. Receiviing degrees were 4,644 bachelor's candidates, 1,371 master's candidates and 419 Ph.D. candidates. The Baltimore Sun: "In a politically charged commencement speech, U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes challenged thousands of graduates last night at the University of Maryland, College Park to ensure that governmental checks and balances are maintained.... Sarbanes, who is retiring after five terms in the Senate, told the crowd of more than 10,000 at the campus' Comcast Center that many of the issues at the forefront of American politics today mirror those debated during the political lifetime of Benjamin Franklin. 'Our time, like Franklin's, is marked by contention and deep uncertainty,' said Sarbanes.... 'Public discourse is too often dominated by the loudest, harshest and most discordant voices.' "
The Washington Post: "Maryland's flagship university this year has built an unusual link to a cluster of five Prince George's schools inside the Capital Beltway that serve high-minority, moderate-income communities. The university's goal is to find five students to receive full scholarships -- kids who live nearby but sometimes are distanced from the campus by perceptions of a financial or academic divide. They're often the first in their families to attend a four-year college.... 'This program gives them a chance to have . . . great opportunities,' said university President C.D. Mote Jr. 'It's thrilling.'... At College Park, Mote aims to help more than the five students chosen this year from Prince George's to receive scholarships covering tuition, fees, housing, meals and other expenses (but not books) in four-year packages worth $100,000 each." The successful Baltimore City Incentive Awards program oreceded Prince George's program.
The Baltimore Sun allows the fulfilling of one goal of UM's Protecting Maryland's Competitive Edge Summit held in April: follow-up initiatives to insure a continuing dialogue on the recommendations raised at the summit. Seven academic and business leaders who oversaw individual panels held before the 250 participants comment in the newspaper. C.D. Mote Jr., who moderated the summit: "It was the first statewide meeting of its kind since a National Academies' committee issued a report last year. The report warned that other nations are heavily investing in science and technology while U.S. commitments stagnate, and talent, investment and momentum move abroad. It recommended federal action steps, and Washington responded with proposals to increase investments in basic research, K-12 science and math education, higher education and incentives for industry. We hope these efforts will bear fruit, but federal action is only part of the solution. Problems like K-12 education are ultimately state and local issues; states need to organize to get the right things done and better prepare to take advantage of new resources."
The Maryland Center for Integrated Nano Science and Engineering hosted its inaugural event, NanoDay 2006, a seminar attended by researchers and scientists from the federal government and private sectors. Inviting 3,000 participants from the nanotechnology sector to gather together was a big step in introducing segments of the burgeioning industry to one other. "This is a chance to highlight the kinds of nanotechnology research going on here at the university and [between university researchers] and our government and industrial partners," said Gary Rubloff, the center�s director and a professor of materials science and engineering at the university.
The Clark School of Engineering's Maryland Industrial Partnerships program receives a budget increase of $1 million and will be able support almost two dozen additional research projects annually, if that funding level continues. MIPS is located within the Clark School's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, and supports university-based research projects to help companies commercialize technology and biotechnology-based products.
The philanthropy and community support of David Fogle, professor emeritus and former dean at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, are featured in an Annapolis Capital appreciation. The philanthropy: He has funded an academic chair by donating his Rehoboth Beach property to UM. "Earlier this year, he donated the land and the home to the university. The agreement allows him to live in the home for the rest of his life. Upon his passing, the property will be sold to establish the David Fogle Chair in Historic Preservation for a distinguished professorship at the University of Maryland. The funds also will be used to enhance the existing Fogle Travel Scholarship for study abroad." His service to Annapolis: "Former Mayor Dean Johnson appointed Dr. Fogle to the Annapolis Historic PreservationCommission from 1998 to 2000. He was president of the Annapolis Preservation Trust from 2000 to 2001 and is still a member of its board. He also is a member in at least a dozen other local, regional and national preservation associations."
Society & Culture
Drawings by Japan's legendary artist Osamu Tezuka are discovered in the Prange Collection situated in University Libraries. Agence France-Presse: "The early works were discovered at the University of Maryland's Prange Collection, which stores Japanese print media from 1945-49, when US occupation authorities reviewed all publications for censorship. Tezuka's works found in the collection included three to twelve-frame comic strips he sketched while a medical student in Osaka in western Japan. Tokyo's Asajo Shimbun: " Five missing works by manga legend Osamu Tezuka, creator of 'Astro Boy,' were discovered in a collection of Japanese publications gathered by a U.S. censorship unit after World War II.... The very existence of those pieces had long been forgotten because both the manuscript copies and the records could not be found."
The Wall Street Journal: "Now, addiction-treatment statistics are showing dramatic growth in marijuana-related problems. A study issued last month by the University of Maryland's Center for Substance Abuse Research examined the drug of choice for Americans seeking treatment for addiction during the decade that ended in 2003. It found that the percentage of addicts who cited marijuana as their primary problem more than doubled to 16% from 7%, while alcohol fell to 41% from 57%. Among illegal drugs, only opiates ranked higher than marijuana as a problem for treatment seekers."
The Baltimore Sun headline describes the 'Critical Front', "Four African American academics and cultural producers (Columbia University law professor and Nation columnist Patricia J. Williams, Penn State University history professor and NHC Fellow Ben Vinson III, University of Maryland American Studies professor and radio show host Sheri L. Parks,and Johns Hopkins University cultural anthropologist and cartoonist Stanford W. Carpenter) become comic-book superheroes as they explore how intellectual and creative acts are intimately tied to spaces and places." Now action figures are being sold of the Critical Front, making Parks indisputably the only UM faculty member with such an arrangement.
The International Association of Business Communicators releases a study: "According to a global survey of over 1,800 communication professionals... communicators are divided over their advisory role to senior management on addressing ethical issues. According to The Business of Truth: A Guide to Ethical Communication, the majority of respondents agreed that ethical considerations are a vital part of executive decision-making and that public relations and communication professionals should advise management on ethical matters.... Shannon Bowen, Ph.D., principal investigator of the research team and assistant professor at the University of Maryland, observed, 'An encouraging finding of this study is that 65 percent of the sample reported having some influence in their dominant coalitions, with 30 percent of those practitioners telling us that they report directly to the CEO. Clearly public relations holds influence at the policy level of many organizations�a significant improvement over past research findings.' "
Charles Butterworth, professor of government and politics, participates in Turkey's Forum Istanbul. The forum joined academicians, experts, writers and economists from Europe and the US. Butterworth: "The person who will remove our prejudices concerning Islam is you, not us; not the West."
The Pulitzer Prize winning author,for her classic novel Ship of Fools. The Postal Service: "Although skilled in the creation of short fiction, Porter did not achieve significant financial success until the publication of her only full-length novel, Ship of Fools (1962). A best seller that was eventually made into a movie, Ship of Fools drew on a log Porter kept of the sea voyage she made from Veracruz, Mexico, to Bremerhaven, Germany, in 1931 after she won a Guggenheim fellowship. Despite never having attended college, or even completing a secondary education, Porter occasionally taught literature and writing at a number of universities beginning in the 1940s. She received honorary degrees from several institutions including the University of Maryland, which today counts Porter's papers and personal library among its Special Collections."
A study at one of Prince George's County's low-performing high schools found that many teachers pigeonhole students based on their socioeconomic backgrounds and are unwilling to accept responsibility for poor student performance. Washington Post: The study, conducted at an unnamed high school by a University of Maryland professor, said teachers must rid themselves of assumptions that certain students cannot be taught to perform at high levels. 'Even in bad circumstances, if you have good teachers, they can still make a difference,' said Marvin Lynn, assistant professor at the university�s College of Education."
'Real Facts, Real Families' brings 150 people, mostly academics, to the University of Pennsylvania. Two UM graduate students in family studies, Sarah Kaye and Katherine Kuvalanka, analyze how states that have laws supporting LGBT adoption compare to states that actively discourage it. According to their research, states with anti-gay adoption laws or policies have a larger proportion of children waiting in foster care than states with neutral or gay-friendly adoption laws. Anti-gay adoption policies also decrease the likelihood of adoption for children in foster care.
Science & Technology
A cover story in the journal Nature features the research of Douglas Hamilton, associate professor of astronomy, and Craig Agnor of the University of California-Santa Cruz. "Planetary physicists in the US may have solved one of the biggest mysteries of our solar system -- how Neptune's largest moon, Triton, was captured by the giant planet. Craig Agnor of the University of California at Santa Cruz and Douglas Hamilton at the University of Maryland believe that Triton may once have been part of a binary system that strayed too close to Neptune. When this happened, one of the bodies was cast away into space while the other, Triton, became gravitationally bound to the giant planet to occupy the position it has today"
In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, chemistry professor John Fourkas and research team his group report the development of a new technique that promises to make the mass production of complex plastic microstructures a routine, one-step process. "Molds for producing large objects are usually composed of two or more pieces that fit together," says Fourkas, who has developed a number of groundbreaking techniques in micromachine technology. "That makes it possible to create components with extremely complicated shapes that include features such as holes -- the dust guard on a computer keyboard, for example. But when you try to use this same procedure to create microscopic objects, you encounter a number of problems, such as aligning the different parts of the molds."
The world's media reacted to this story, from the mainstream media to Howard Stern. Internet Week: "Internet chat room users with female names are 25 times more likely to receive threatening and sexually-explicit private messages than those armed withmale or ambiguous monikers, a university study reported Tuesday. According to research conducted by a University of Maryland professor (Michel Cukier of the Clark School of Engineering's Center for Risk and Reliabilty) and one of his computer engineering students (Robert Meyer), female usernames in Internet Relay Chat rooms received an average of 163 malicious private messages each day, while male and ambiguous usernames were targeted by an average of just 4 and 25 daily messages, respectively."
The Department of Education awards Maryland's business school a $1.42m grant over four years for a Center for International Business Education and Research (Ciber). The center's aim is to provide education, research, and assistance on issues central to building U.S. international trade and global competitiveness.
Astronomers from the four U.S. universities went to Cedar Flat, in eastern California's Inyo Mountain, to dedicate the world's most powerful, millimeter-wave-length radio telescope. Formed from a linked array of 15 radio telescope dishes, the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy, or CARMA, will give scientists an unprecedented look back in time to learn more about the birth of galaxies, stars, planets and even the universe itself. "Most of what we know about the universe has come from optical or light-observing telescopes," said UM astronomer Stuart Vogel, chairman of CARMA's science steering committee. "However, each part of the electromagnetic spectrum opens new windows to the universe, and the millimeter-wave portion of the spectrum is the ticket for observing the universe's coldest matter -- gas that is only tens of degrees above absolute zero."
D.J. Patil, a mathematician and scientist with the university's Institute for Physical Science and Technology, is co-founder of the Iraqi Virtual Science Library that makes 17,422 journal titles available to Iraqi scientists. "If Iraqi scientists and engineers are going to be able to help rebuild and stabilize their country as a peaceful democracy, they have to be able to access current knowledge in their fields," said Patil. "Physically building such a library in Iraq would be prohibitively expensive, take a long time, and even if you could build it, scientists would not be able to access it easily or safely."
After many months, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a report by its Interagency Evaluation Task Force, headed by Lewis 'Ed' Link, senior fellow in civil and environmental engineering. New Orleans Times-Picayune:"The forces that caused two breaches in the London Avenue Canal floodwall, submerging much of Gentilly during Hurricane Katrina, were similar to those that brought down the 17th Street Canal floodwall, the team investigating the failures for the Army Corps of Engineers said in a report released Tuesday.... 'There are some minor differences because of the types of soils involved, but the failure mechanism was basically the same,' said Ed Link, the University of Maryland professor who is leading the government, academic and industry experts in the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force. And as with the 17th Street failure, Link said the team thinks the disaster could not be tied to any obvious engineering shortcomings. He said the engineers involved used the latest techniques to test the strength of the silt layer between the canal and the sand."
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