Maryland Moments, April 2007
(Honors, New Programs, Rankings)
Eugene Roberts's honor brings the number of Pulitzer winners on the full-time Merrill College of Journalism faculty to seven. Roberts is the first sitting professor to win a Pulitzer at the university in more than 20 years. The Associated Press: "During his long career as a top newspaper editor, Gene Roberts had a nearly unrivaled ability to help his reporters win Pulitzer Prizes, including 17 while at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Now, he finally won one of his own. Roberts and co-author Hank Klibanoff were awarded a Pulitzer in history...for their book The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation. 'It's never too late,' said Roberts, who at 74 still teaches journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park."
The National Endowment for the Humanities, with UM support, hosts a D.C. conference to create a Coalition of Digital Humanities Centers. Inside Higher Ed: "James Harris, dean of arts and humanities at the University of Maryland, College Park, noted at the beginning of the meeting that 'digital humanities centers across the country are at the center of this revolution.' Some of the goals of these institutions, he noted,include making digital archives available to the public — with free access — as well as engaging 'diverse audiences' on new platforms, such as cell phones." Chronicle of Higher Education: "The endowment sponsored the summit together with the [UM's} Institute for Technology in the Humanities... Invitations did not go out to all digital humanities centers. 'We tried to find a representative group here,' said Neil Fraistat, director of the Maryland institute. He and the other organizers sought out centers of different sizes and with active track records."
Maryland launches a research institute to study microorganisms that cause infectious diseases. The Maryland Pathogen Research Institute brings together experts in the biosciences, computational sciences, engineering and nanotechnology to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent the spread of pathogens. Researchers at the institute will use advances in computational biology, for example, to analyze and understand the complex genetic controls that contribute to microorganisms causing disease. The institute is housed in the new biosciences research building.
From the text of the President's message, towards our neighbors: "On behalf of every member of our campus community, I extend our support and deepest sympathies to the Virginia Tech Family, as well as to our University of Maryland faculty, staff and students who have friends and colleagues in Blacksburg. ... All of us in higher education are one at a moment like this. While Blacksburg is hundreds of miles away, our anguish is not bounded by distance. I know and have worked with President Steger and offer to him and the entire Virginia Tech community our support in the fullest measures."
President C. D. Mote Jr. is lauded for protecting campus students and diversity following the mass shootings at Virgnia Tech. Asian Week: "Although 224 miles separate the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia and the University of Maryland campus in College Park, Maryland, the shootings that took place in Blacksburg on Monday, April 16 had repercussions that were felt in College Park throughout the last week. ... To the minds of immature and ill-informed people on campus, the actions of the shooter in Blacksburg, a Korean American named Seung Cho... had made all APAs suspect. Fortunately, University of Maryland President Daniel Mote sent a strong, clear and compassionate email message to the entire University of Maryland community on April 20, reminding everyone that the actions of one profoundly disturbed man in Blacksburg were not an excuse to blame or target an entire group of people."
Grief at UM was palpable: Baltimore Examiner: "Some kneeled, some sat, some stood. Some came alone, to reflect by themselves. Others came in large groups. But one thing united all gathered Tuesday in the Memorial Chapel at the University of Maryland, College Park — concern for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. ... More than 100 people attended the noon service in the chapel, which was dedicated to the victims of the attack and their families. The blank looks on their faces — the look of helplessness and sadness — didn't go away, even in prayer. 'It's important to have people come together after such a terrible thing happens,' said Jessica Healey, who attended the service. 'It�s good to show that you care.' "
The U.S. News rankings continue UM's ascent that places it among the ranks of the best public research universities. With these graduate rankings, Maryland now totals 91 Top 25 U.S. News rankings, 55 Top 15s rankings and 30 Top 10s.
The graduate rankings: Robert H. Smith School of Business
College of Education
Clark School of Engineering
UM is named one of the best values in higher education by the Princeton Review. (In January, Maryland was ranked among the best 50 values in public education by Kiplinger's. Maryland is one of 11 schools from a peer group--the top 20 public universities as ranked by U.S. News & World Report--named to the Princeton Review list. Outside of University of California institutions, only Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Virginia, Wisconsin and Texas were so selected.
From Stanford University: "Five poets and five fiction writers have been selected as the 2007-08 Stegner Fellows from a pool of more than 1,400 applicants. The two-year fellowship program, named after acclaimed novelist and Creative Writing Program founder Wallace Stegner, covers tuition and provides each of the fellows with a $22,000-per-year stipend. Applications for the fellowships came from across the United States and internationally." A fiction fellow is a UM graduate: "Laura McKee is a native of Kingsport, Tenn., who currently lives in the Netherlands. She attended the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and earned an MFA from the University of Maryland. As a Stegner Fellow, McKee plans to complete a manuscript of poems that evolved from her master's thesis and from her experiences living abroad in France and the Netherlands."
Gazette Newspapers: "The Guarneri String Quartet plans on celebrating its 25-year association with the University of Maryland with a special benefit concert Saturday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Proceeds from the concert will go to the scholarship fund. Guarneri String Quartet formed in 1964 and has earned top honors and praise around the world. They have released CDs and books and been featured in the major motion picture High Fidelity. 'When we first started doing this you could count on one, maybe two, hands how many string quartets were making a living at doing this,' said violinist Arnold Steinhardt, one of the founding members of the quartet. The other members are violinists John Dalley and Michael Tree and cellist Peter Wiley."
The Washington Post good-naturedly takes a poke at Virginia's lack of Hollywood-appeal. "Sorry U-Va., National Treasure: Book of Secrets is on Team Terrapin now. The University of Maryland will play itself in the action-adventure sequel, which will shoot scenes there today. A source close to the school told us the University of Virginia was originally designated as the campus of choice for the movie, but was later replaced in the script (and on camera) by UM because of its closer proximity to Washington and bigger green space. (Maryland's McKeldin Mall is slightly larger than the Lawn at Virginia, according to a UM spokeswoman.) Two scenes will be shot on the College Park campus: One involves the father-son treasure-hunting team played by Jon Voight and Nicolas Cage, who consult Voight's onscreen ex-wife, a University of Maryland professor played by Helen Mirren, about an ancient language. Mirren shot her scenes in Los Angeles. And space in McKeldin Library will double as a White House press room in the other scene being filmed."
Singer Sheryl Crow's "Stop Global Warming College Tour" makes a Saturday night stop at Cole Field House. She was accompanied by Laurie David, who produced the film on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth. A conversation with students followed the concert. Baltimore Sun: "Grammy award-winning musician Sheryl Crow, film producer Laurie David and her husband, Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, spoke and performed yesterday at the University of Maryland... . At a news conference before the presentation, university President C. D. 'Dan' Mote Jr. highlighted the campus' green initiatives. The college's shuttle bus fleet runs on bio-diesel fuel manufactured from cooking oil used in the dining halls, and its rooms are lit with energy-efficient bulbs, he said. 'The whole idea of this tour is a remarkable one,' Mote said. 'We are honored that the University of Maryland is part of this.' "
The Washington Post: "University of Maryland athletic officials yesterday unveiled details of a plan to add 64 luxury suites to Byrd Stadium, the first and most critical part of a proposed pay-as-you-go expansion project that would add new amenities and eventually raise the building's capacity to nearly 60,000. The first phase of the project, which will cost the athletic department $50.8 million, will triple the size of the Tyser Tower complex on the stadium's south side and will include the new luxury suites, a larger press box, a new team store and more than 500 new mezzanine-level seats. ... Construction is expected to start after the Terrapins play their final home game this season and last until just before the start of the 2010 season."
China Daily: "Caps on, gowns pressed, the business executives graduating with MBA degrees from the University of Maryland's prestigious Robert H. Smith School of Business on April 15 are well armed for success in the fast-moving global digital economy. They are further distinguished as members of the first Shanghai Executive MBA (EMBA) class to graduate from the Smith School, ranked among the world's top business schools. 'I have no doubt that we will continue to hear great things about this group of graduates, particularly as China continues to rise as a major global economic power,' said Howard Frank, dean of the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business."
Maryland Daily Record: "The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, which offers Executive MBA programs in China, said it is expanding its annual China Business Plan Competition by providing winners with entrepreneurial 'Boot Camp' training and subscriptions to BusinessWeek China, in addition to $50,000 in prize money that will be awarded to budding entrepreneurs in China following the competition�s final round in September."
Science & Technology
The first large-scale sequencing of the western genomes of the deadly avian influenza H5N1 is accomplished. United Press International: "The study, led by Steven Salzberg of the University of Maryland, confirmed not only has the virus spread west from Asia, but two of the new western strains have independently combined, or 'reassorted,' to create a new strain. The research involved 36 genomes of the virus collected from wild birds in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Vietnam. 'This is the first time anyone's looked at all of the H5N1 genomes in the West,' said Salzberg (Horvitz Professor of Computer Science), director of the university's Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. 'Until now, the studies have been primarily on samples from the Far East. Our study shows the virus is spreading west, and that there have been three separate introductions of H5N1 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.' "
Poultry Site (UK): "Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men in the U.S. According to Dr. Elankurmaran Subbiah, the use of poultry viruses as cancer therapy poses no threat to humans and several other oncolytic viruses are currently being explored to treat cancer. Subbiah is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, at Virginia Tech. His work is the first to alter Newcastle disease through a reverse genetic system to target prostate cancer specifically. Subbiah and his co-investigator, Dr. Siba K. Samal, associate dean (veterinary medicine, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources), received a U.S. $113,250 grant for their ongoing work... ."
NASA: "NASA scientists have discovered evidence that a mysterious red glow, seen throughout the Milky Way and other galaxies but never on Earth, radiates from extremely fine dust clusters that cause the glow by combining molecular forces that oppose each other. ... 'We have been studying polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules (PAHs) in the laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center for a long time, and although I had results that strongly supported the idea that PAHs had something to do with the ERE, the experimental results made it clear that if PAHs were involved, they were present in some as-yet unknown exotic form,' said Murthy Gudipati of the University of Maryland (assistant research scientist, Institute for Physical Sciences and Technology) and NASA Ames, who recently joined NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory... ."
European Space Agency: "Using a trio of space observatories, astronomers may have cracked a 45-year old mystery surrounding two ghostly spiral arms in the galaxy M106 (NGC 4258). The results, obtained by a team from the University of Maryland (USA), took advantage of the unique capabilities of the European Space Agency�s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. M106 (also known as NGC 4258) is a spiral galaxy 23.5 million light-years away, in the constellation Canes Venatici. In visible-light images, two prominent arms emanate from the bright nucleus and spiral outward. These arms are dominated by young, bright stars, which light up the gas within the arms. 'But in radio and X-ray images, two additional spiral arms dominate the picture, appearing as ghostly apparitions between the main arms,' says team member Andrew Wilson (astronomy) of the University of Maryland."
Raspberries to die for. Baltimore Sun: "There are some great new varieties this year, like 'Jaclyn,' a purple fall-bearing raspberry developed at the University of Maryland. 'Jaclyn' has really intense raspberry flavor,' says (Tim) Nourse (of Nourse Farms in South Deerfield, Mass). 'It's quite upright and the plant's got pretty good vigor, but it's the flavor and quality of fruit that's the thing. You really know you're eating raspberries.' "
National Geographic: "Spring is coming early to the western slope of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, providing continuing signs of a warming world, according to a conservation biologist. 'I'm anticipating there'll be some flowering again in April this year, which is something that never used to happen,' said David Inouye, a professor (biology) at the University of Maryland, College Park. ... This will be Inouye's 37th season at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, outside the resort town of Crested Butte. ... It is also another year of light snowpack on the western slope, despite heavy snowfall elsewhere in Colorado, Inouye said. ... The low snowpack is consistent with a trend that began in 1998, when a long-term climate pattern known as the North Pacific Oscillation spurred a dry phase in the region. Since then, six of the last nine years have yielded a lower than average snowpack at the study site, according to Inouye."
A UM faculty member contributes to the U.N. report on climate change released this month. The Denver Post: "Fiery summers will likely become common in Colorado as the planet warms, according to researchers preparing the latest chapter of an international climate change assessment. The chapter - detailing the observed and forecast effects of climate change worldwide - is scheduled to be released by the United Nations... . 'The U.S. Forest Service last year spent $1 billion on fire, on fire response,' said Anthony Janetos, director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland. 'Even for the federal government, chunks of a billion dollars don't grow on trees,' said Janetos, author of a forest report that is part of the U.N. assessment. 'The resources devoted to responding to this one kind of stress are extraordinary,' Janetos said."
United Press International: Haewon Chon, a graduate student in the School of Public Policy who is also affiliated with the Joint Global Change Research Institute (a partnership between UM and the Pacific Northwest Laboratories), contributes to this research. " A U.S. government-funded study of solar power potential calls for new technologies and more investment by manufacturers. ... The report explored the viability of sun-fueled technologies through a combination of evaluations by experts and economic modeling, projecting solar power's role in the electricity sector in 15-year periods through 2095. The report -- written in collaboration with Jeffrey Keisler of the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Haewon Chon of the University of Maryland -- is to be published by the journal Energy Economics."
Society & Culture
UM's Program on International Policy Attitudes makes news with multiple polls in April.
From PIPA's WorldPublicOpinion.org: "A multinational poll finds that publics around the world reject the idea that the United States should continue to play the role of preeminent world leader. Most publics say the United States plays the role of world policeman too often and cannot be trusted to act responsibly. But the survey also finds that majorities in most countries want the United States to do its share in multilateral efforts to address world problems and do not want it to withdraw from world affairs. ... Steven Kull, editor of WorldPublicOpinion.org notes that this poll reinforces the conclusions of other recent global surveys, which have found that the United States' image abroad is bad and growing worse. But he added that this survey also explores what kind of role the international community would like the US to play in the world."
Agence France-Presse: "Most Muslims want US military forces out of the Middle East and Islamic countries and many agree with Al-Qaida's goals, if not its tactics, suggested a public opinion poll conducted in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia. 'Most respondents have mixed feelings about Al-Qaida,' said a statement of the study's findings, conducted by the Washington-based nonprofit group WorldPublicOpinion.org and the University of Maryland. 'Large majorities agree with many of its goals, but believe that terrorist attacks on civilians are contrary to Islam.' "
Agence France-Presse: "Globalization has been a force for good but environmental and labor standards need stronger protection from unfettered trade, according to a US survey of 18 countries released Thursday. 'It is clear that publics around the world support the growth of trade,' said Steven Kull, editor of WorldPublicOpinion.org, part of the University of Maryland, which organized the poll with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 'But it is also clear that many are looking for ways to soften its disruptive impact on the environment and jobs by including environmental and labor standards in trade agreements,' he said. ... The survey interviewed nearly 23,000 respondents in total, drawn from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, China, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia , South Korea, Thailand, Ukraine and the United States, plus the Palestinian territories."
With a vote approaching on whether to substantially increase funding for work on a new nuclear warhead, program opponents are urging the U.S. Congress to be leery of administration arguments that the warhead is needed. Defense.com: 'Clearly, the Reliable Replacement Warhead is a solution in search of a problem,' said Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association. Kimball's assessment came a day after U.S. Energy Department officials assured a Senate subcommittee that the new warhead is 'the key enabler' for reducing the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which today contains more than 5,000 nuclear weapons. ... 'Mainly, this is a program by the weapons labs for the weapons labs,' Steve Fetter, an Arms Control Association board member and dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, said during a briefing aimed at convincing Congress to be wary of the RRW program. 'It's a self-licking ice cream cone.' "
Baltimore Sun: "Now, nearly 2,000 years after one of history's most storied natural disasters, Pompeii has re-emerged as a cultural zeitgeist. Filmmaker Roman Polanski will begin shooting the movie Pompeii, based on Robert Harris's best-selling thriller of the same name, in Italy this summer. A year ago, Smithsonian magazine weighed in with a cover story on the ancient city, paying homage to the remarkable traveling exhibition... . Pompeii, just eight miles from Vesuvius, is the most familiar casualty of the violent eruption. But Herculaneum and Stabiae, two seaside resorts, were also buried. The University of Maryland (School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation) is a co-sponsor of Restoring Ancient Stabiae, an effort by Italian and U.S. preservationists to transform the Roman seaside villas of Stabiae, still being excavated, into Europe's most innovative archaeological park."
Research by faculty member Peter Reuter causes a stir in England. United Press International: "As many as a third of all arrests in Britain involve someone addicted to hard drugs, a new study has found. Marking the official launch of the U.K. Drug Policy Commission, the study from University of Kent researcher Alex Stevens and University of Maryland professor Peter Reuter shows the impact of drugs on current crime levels, the (London) Telegraph said... .The study was based on an earlier survey of 7,500 arrests by Britain's Home Office. The study found that the government's anti-drug efforts have had little effect on drug use in Britain, which has Europe's highest level of drug addiction. Dame Ruth Runciman, who heads the Drug Policy Commission, said the panel would look into the report and determine the effectiveness of current drug laws."
Artists-in-Residence Laurie Anderson, Russell Banks, Walter Dallas, Joe Goode, and Liz Lerman return to UM's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for a conversation with each other and the audience about the nature of creativity. (Innovation and creativity are increasingly being recognized as essential for global prosperity in the 21st century. What does creativity look like? How do we nurture it?) Moderated by poet and UM professor Michael Collier.
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