Maryland Moments, September, 2006
(New Programs, Honors, Rankings)
UM and Prince George's Community College launch a joint program to give creative county students the entrepreneurial education and experience they need to turn ideas into successful ventures. The new program is made possible through a $1.7 million gift from the David H. and Suzanne D. Hillman Family Foundation. "David and Suzanne Hillman are making it possible for deserving Prince George's County students to get a great college education at the University of Maryland and Prince George's Community College, while learning what it takes to be successful entrepreneurs," said President C. D. Mote., "The Hillman Entrepreneurs Program is a model for partnership between a university and community colleges, offering transfer students enriched educational programs that are usually available only to freshmen entering a four-year college."
The UM Incentive Awards Program received a boost when the Prince George's County Council awarded the program $500,000. The program provides full scholarships, academic support and personal mentoring for public school graduates who have demonstrated a capacity to overcome difficult personal and community obstacles. The program originally targeted graduates of the Baltimore City Public Schools, but this year expanded to public school graduates in Prince George's County.
The Joint Quantum Institute is a collaboration of the university, the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Security Agency. The institute, which will be located on campus, will have an annual budget of about $6 million and a staff of about 20 scientists, half from the university and half from NIST.
UM to Host Space Science Center; Research Includes Study of Neutron Stars, Black Holes
Associated Press: The University of Maryland will host a new center for space research and exploration, university and NASA officials announced... The Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology is the latest in a series of partnerships between the university and federal agencies, including a quantum research center announced earlier this month..... Center director Lee Mundy, the chair of the astronomy department at the University of Maryland, College Park, said the wide-ranging programs of the center's partners will 'enable CRESST to achieve outstanding collaborative space science research and to extend the capabilities of the Goddard Space Flight Center.' " The story notes: "The University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and the Universities Space Research Association, a consortium of 100 universities, were selected by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to operate the center."
UM ascends to No. 15 on the list compiled by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, up three positions from last year. In a secondary ranking, "best value for public universities for students from out-of-state," UM rose from No. 20 to 13. Like UM's performance in academic rankings, the advancement is steady on this scale: It was No. 36 in 2003 for in-state value.
The School of Public Policy's poll on Iraqi opinions of the U.S. presence there received saturation coverage worldwide. No matter the media outlet--broadcast and cable news, wire services, major newspapers--the stunning message of its findings dovetailed into a tense off-year election period. CNN: "Seventy-one percent of Iraqis responding to a new survey favor a commitment by U.S.-led forces in Iraq to withdraw in a year. The majority of respondents to the University of Maryland poll said that 'they would like the Iraqi government to ask for U.S.-led forces to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year or less,' according to the survey's summary. 'Given four options, 37 percent take the position that they would like U.S.-led forces withdrawn "within six months," while another 34 percent opt for "gradually withdraw(ing) U.S.-led forces according to a one-year timeline." ' "
Another PIPA poll wins world-wide attention, too. The BBC: "World opinion opposes aggressive steps as a way of stopping a possible Iranian nuclear arms programme, according to a 25-nation poll for BBC World Service. But only 17% of those polled believed Iranian assurances that research it is carrying out is just for energy needs. The most popular course of action, with 39% support, was to use only diplomatic efforts; 11% favoured military strikes. The survey asked 27,407 people in countries ranging from the US and UK to Brazil, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Israel, Nigeria, Poland, Russia and Turkey.... Poll analyst Steven Kull, of the University of Maryland said: 'Clearly world opinion rejects Iran's claim that it is simply trying to develop nuclear energy. But at this point the world public favours addressing the problem through diplomacy rather than a confrontational approach.' "
UM's Merrill College of Journalism received a $4.4 million grant to help fund a new building and create an institute to study the future of journalism. About half the grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will be added to the $3 million the foundation has already given to Maryland to build a new journalism building on the flagship university's College Park campus.
Washington Post"The University of Maryland will have a day-long celebration Sept. 22 titled Jim Henson: Creativity and Other Inspirational Stuff in honor of the University of Maryland alumnus. Henson, who died in 1990, would have celebrated his 70th birthday Sept. 24. Events at Maryland include the unveiling of a collection of 71 films and television programs by Henson that was put together by his wife, Jane.... An exhibit, Jim Henson: Performing Artist, will open to the public. It will feature six of the Muppets as well as photographs, essays and videos about his career."
Ken Catania, a neurobiologist at Vanderbilt University, who graduated from UM with a degree in zoology in 1991, wins a prestigious MacArthur Genius Award. From a feature that appeared in many Tennessee newspapers: "Catania, 40, an associate professor of biological science at Vanderbilt, has studied the brains of moles, shrews and other mammals. His research centers on how brains evolve among similar creatures. And one of his favorite subjects is the star-nosed mole, with its star-shaped appendages protruding from its nose area. He became interested in the star-nosed mole at the University of Maryland, where he received his undergraduate degree." Catania is the fifth UM graduate to become a MacArthur Fellow. In 2004, Naomi Ehrich Leonard (Ph.D. '94) won her award to support reseach using submarines which gather information about environmental conditions of the oceans. Liz Lerman ('70), the founder of the Dance Exchange in Takoma Park won an award in 2002. Alumna and aclaimed children's book author Karen Hesse ('75) won her award the same year. In 1989, Ellendea Profter Teasley ('66) received a fellowship in recognition of her work as an author, publisher, and translator of Russian literature into English.
Maryland Daily Record: "A Maryland program offering virtually free environmental consulting to the state's manufacturers — services that can cost companies between $15,000 and $25,000 � has been recognized with a national honor. The Environmental Management System Implementation Assistance Program is a partnership between the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Technology Extension Service, an outreach arm of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency with matching funds from MDE and in-kind matches from the companies involved, the five-year-old program has helped 30 firms develop environmental management systems, known as EMS.... The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, a membership group of pollution prevention, or P2, experts from across the country, has awarded the Maryland program a Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Project/Program award as part of this week�s National Pollution Prevention Week."
Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program start-up axonX LLC wins a coveted Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award for 2006. axonX and researchers from UM partner in research that tested a new, video-based smoke, flame, and motion detection system to provide early warning for fires and fewer false alarms. From the WSJ: "Security (Facilities): axonX LLC, of Sparks, Md., won for a security-camera system that uses artificial-intelligence software to detect and identify smoke and fire in large commercial buildings. While typical fire-detection systems either respond when smoke reaches a sensor or when a fire's heat triggers a sprinkler system, the axonX system analyzes video images picked up by security cameras to spot smoke or flames before fire advances."
College Park Gazette: "Hoping to encourage development in downtown College Park, two University of Maryland students have engaged in cyberspace activism that city and community leaders are optimistic will attract the attention of concerned residents. UM students Rob Godspeed and David Daddio began a web-based log, called Rethink College Park, of downtown development news in July. The blog shares information about new retail or housing, and is looking to better inform College Park communities about city and university plans in the campus area."
Society & Culture
Financial Times: "The University of Maryland's Smith School of Business and the Mediterranean School of Business in Tunisia have launched a 10-month, part-time masters programme in information systems and technology, to be taught in Tunis. The programme targets aspiring and practising managers from a variety of industries and functional areas including finance, marketing, human resources and information systems."
The China Daily reports: " 'A business school cannot go global without a presence in China,' said Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. Epstein was speaking in Beijing... at the Second Annual China Business Plan Competition, a contest sponsored by the Smith School to foster entrepreneurship in China. Smith School dean Howard Frank agreed, 'China clearly is emerging as a hotbed of entrepreneurship for the 21st century, a real motivation for the Smith School to continue to create initiatives that support the growth of world- class business ideas and leaders here.' "
A report was released based on on the findings of the "Reality Check" Regional Seminars hosted by UM's National Center for Smart Growth, 1000 Friends of Maryland and the Baltimore District Council of the Urban Land Institute. The report calls for a major adjustment in Maryland land use, "steering most of the state's expected population growth over the next 25 years into already-existing communities and preserving more rural land than local officials are planning to do." election season. "There is some disconnect between that desire [to concentrate development] and what happens on the ground, said John Frece, associate director of UM Smart Growth research and the report's primary author. "There are two things people don't like - one is sprawl, and the other is density.
A new study by two UM researchers shows that elementary students attending ethnically diverse schools are less likely to be racially biased than students at a homogeneous school. The study was co-authored by Professor of Human Development Melanie Killen and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Heidi McGlothlin. It was featured n the journal Child Development.
Science & Technology
The Brazilian Amazon is increasingly being cleared to grow crops rather than for grazing cattle, making the process of deforestation even more harmful, says Ruth Defries, professor of geography, who is also affiliated with the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center. Over the course of a three-year study led by DeFries, clearing for cropland accounted for nearly one fifth of deforestation in one state of the Brazilian Amazon. The team found that an area over one third the size of Jordan — about 36,000 square kilometres — was cleared between 2001 and 2004 for large-scale mechanized agriculture. They say this contradicts previous claims that Brazil's expanding crop production is met by converting land previously cleared for cattle ranching.
New Scientist: "Heisenberg's uncertainty principle limits what we can know about the quantum world. Now the uncertainty principle is being harnessed to see if it is possible to identify a point at which matter begins to exhibit weird quantum behaviour. According to the uncertainty principle, measuring the position of an object always disturbs its momentum in an unpredictable way. Physicists ordinarily see this so-called 'back action' as a nuisance, but a team led by Keith Schwab of the University of Maryland, College Park, decided to put it to good use. Schwab's team fabricated a nanoscale resonator - the equivalent of a tiny pendulum - on a silicon chip, which oscillates at 20 megahertz. On the same chip, they created a single-electron transistor and electrically coupled it to the resonator in such a way that any change in the resonator's position caused a change in the transistor's current."
UM is part of the International Technology Alliance (ITA), an IBM Research-led consortium launched on both sides of the Atlantic, that will target sensor and wireless network technologies along with security issues. The coalition includes the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.K. Ministry of Defence. Over the next decade, the alliance aims to develop technologies worth up to $135.8 million to support future coalition operations. Academic partners include Carnegie Mellon University, City University of New York, Columbia University, University of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Californiaat Los Angeles.
David Inouye, professor of biology, has found that climate change is damaging the Aspen sunflower of the Rocky Mountains. The sunflower could be a "canary in the mine," warning of future ecological consequences of a warming climate. Inyoue spoke at the MTNCLIM conference (Consortium for Integrated Climate Research in Western Mountains) at Mt. Hood Oregon.
As a soldier scans the crowded streets of Baghdad, so do another set of eyes. The second set, located on the soldier's rifle, belongs to a camera system that instantly recognizes the faces of potential threats. The camera's brain, a two-pound computer system worn on a belt or in a pack, is the first portable video system capable of matching faces with known threats in real time. It's being developed by Frederick-based ACAGI Inc., along with researchers at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, through Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program funding.
Scientific American: "A darker than usual, mildly fruity muffin made from wine waste could prove effective in protecting your health. Scientists at the University of Maryland have shown that the leftovers of chardonnay wine production can stop the growth of colon cancer cells in vitro as well as inhibit the growth of E. coli and other bacteria when used as a preservative. And when grape and other fruit seeds are turned into flour, they 'naturally carry some fruit flavor,' says Liangli 'Lucy' Yu. 'All contain significant levels of natural antioxidants.' The fruit seed findings are just one of several food-related health findings presented yesterday at the American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco."
UM Launches Website to Promote Maryland Family Nutrition, Fitness
The department of public and community health and Maryland Cooperative Extension launched "Eat Smart, Be Fit, Maryland," an interactive Website that gives Maryland families research-based information about healthy eating and staying active. The open access Website is part of a demonstration program aimed at decreasing the risk of chronic disease, by helping adults and youth make healthy food and activity choices and improving community health through increasing available resources to Maryland residents. Says assistant professor Nancy Atkinson, director of the Public Health Informatics Research Laboratory which developed the site, "One of the goals of this interactive Website is to connect community members with each other to improve overall community health. This Website was developed specifically for Maryland residents, after months of talking with community members throughout the state to learn about their needs and wants."
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