ASU Magazine May 2009 : Page 4

NEWS Strenghting the Tribe Strenghting the Tribe University news briefs High-flying research Losing our bite War of the words National presence Strenghting the Tribe Strenghting the Tribe Strenghting the Tribe Before the beginning Before the beginning Science’s greatest minds gather at ASU’s ‘origins’ symposium Some of the greatest minds in contemporary science, including six Nobel Laureates, met at a public symposium at ASU Gammage on April 6 to discuss the origins of everything from the universe to humanity. The Origins Symposium featured discussions by some of the world’s most noted scientists, authors and public intellectuals, including Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Donald Johanson, Brian Greene and CraigVenter. Six Nobel Laureates – Baruch Blumberg, Walter Gilbert, Sheldon Glashow, David Gross, John Mather and Frank Wilczek – were part of a panel discussion on the key mysteries in science moderated by National Public Radio’s Ira Flatow. Science writers also were part of the mix, as they participated in an April 2 pre-symposium event aimed at journalism students on how to write about science. The event garnered a great deal of top-level media attention. Beyond the live radio broadcast of Flatow’s“Science Friday”program, the Chronicle of Higher Education covered the event and noted that participants were calling it“the scientists’Woodstock.”MSNBC’s Cosmic Log said that ASU theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University,“brought in the brightest luminaries of the scientific set to add sparkle to the discussion.” Topics discussed at the gathering included the origins of human language and consciousness, how discoveries in science impact human self-under- standing, the intersection between science, culture and religion, and theories of the beginning and possible end of the universe. One of the highlights of the event was to have been a special evening with physi- cist Stephen Hawking. Hawking, who fell ill shortly before the symposium,was represented by his daughter Lucy and a digitally recorded presentation Hawking prepared especially for the event. Another highlight was a magic demonstration by Jason Latimer, a world champion of magic. Krauss said the symposium“provided an unprecedented opportunity for students, staff, faculty and the public to have direct exposure and interact with some of the world’s leading scientists and scholars.” To view a webcast of the symposium and other videos from the event, visit origins.asu.edu/symposium/video. 4

University News

Before the beginning National presence University news briefs High-flying research Losing our bite War of the words<br /> <br /> Before the beginning<br /> <br /> Science’s greatest minds gather at ASU’s ‘origins’ symposium<br /> <br /> Some of the greatest minds in contemporary science, including six Nobel Laureates, met at a public symposium at ASU Gammage on April 6 to discuss the origins of everything from the universe to humanity.<br /> <br /> The Origins Symposium featured discussions by some of the world’s most noted scientists, authors and public intellectuals, including Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Donald Johanson, Brian Greene and CraigVenter.<br /> <br /> Six Nobel Laureates – Baruch Blumberg, Walter Gilbert, Sheldon Glashow, David Gross, John Mather and Frank Wilczek – were part of a panel discussion on the key mysteries in science moderated by National Public Radio’s Ira Flatow.<br /> <br /> Science writers also were part of the mix, as they participated in an April 2 pre-symposium event aimed at journalism students on how to write about science.<br /> <br /> The event garnered a great deal of top-level media attention. Beyond the live radio broadcast of Flatow’s “Science Friday”program, the Chronicle of Higher Education covered the event and noted that participants were calling it “the scientists’Woodstock.”MSNBC’s Cosmic Log said that ASU theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University,“brought in the Brightest luminaries of the scientific set to add sparkle to the discussion.” Topics discussed at the gathering included the origins of human language and consciousness, how discoveries in science impact human self-understanding, the intersection between science, culture and religion, and theories of the beginning and possible end of the universe.<br /> <br /> One of the highlights of the event was to have been a special evening with physicist Stephen Hawking. Hawking, who fell ill shortly before the symposium, was represented by his daughter Lucy and a digitally recorded presentation Hawking prepared especially for the event. Another highlight was a magic demonstration by Jason Latimer, a world champion of magic.<br /> <br /> Krauss said the symposium“provided an unprecedented opportunity for students, staff, faculty and the public to have direct exposure and interact with some of the world’s leading scientists and scholars.”<br /> <br /> To view a webcast of the symposium and other videos from the event, visit origins.asu.edu/symposium/video.<br /> <br /> (top left) A number of scientific luminaries contributed to the groundbreaking Origins Symposium at ASU, held April 3-6.<br /> <br /> (above) National Public Radio's Ira Flatow broadcast Science Friday live from ASU's Origins Symposium on April 3. The show included a pair of science panels: “Physicists and the Origin of the Universe” and “Origins and Evolution of Life.” (left) Nobel Laureates attending the symposium included (from left to right): Baruch Blumberg, John Mather, David Gross, Sheldon Glashow, Frank Wilczek, and Walter Gilbert.<br /> <br /> University News Briefs<br /> <br /> Navy approves ROTC unit at ASU for 2010<br /> <br /> The establishment of a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at ASU by fall 2010 was announced April 7 by Rear Adm. Cliff Sharpe during a visit to the university’s Tempe campus, after ASU’s application for a NROTC unit was approved by the Secretary of the Navy.<br /> <br /> Plans are to have teaching and administrative staff in place by the summer of 2010 to support the arrival of students in August 2010. ASU already is home to Air Force and Army ROTC programs, both of which are housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.<br /> <br /> “We are looking forward to a long and productive relationship with Arizona State University,”said Sharpe, commander of the Naval Service Training Command. Sharpe oversees the Navy and Marine Corps ROTC programs.<br /> <br /> A four-year NROTC scholarship features full tuition at a select college or university, all college or university educational fees, a stipend for text books, all uniforms, up to three summer training events and a subsistence allowance for each academic month.<br /> <br /> There are two other NROTC host units in the Southwest: at the University of Arizona and the University of New Mexico.<br /> <br /> For more information about NROTC, visit https://www.nrotc.navy.mil.<br /> <br /> ASU will welcome midshipmen on campus beginning in the fall 2010 under a new Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit. “Everything we’ve seen in the short time on board makes this exciting,” Rear Adm. Cliff Sharpe (left) told ASU President Michael Crow during a campus visit April 7.<br /> <br /> National presence<br /> <br /> President Obama speaks at ASU commencement<br /> <br /> U. S. President Barack Obama addressed a graduating class of more than 8,000, along with their families and friends, at Arizona State University’s spring commencement ceremonies on May 13. Obama was announced as the featured speaker less than eight weeks before commencement, initiating a whirlwind of logistical restructuring to accommodate the president’s visit, which marked the first time ever that an American president (past or present) addressed a Sun Devil graduation.<br /> <br /> At the time Obama’s visit was announced, ASU President Michael Crow said that the president’s views on education reflected priorities embraced by the New American University concept.<br /> <br /> “President Obama’s stand and priority on education has been applauded by thousands of educators throughout the United States,”Crow said.“The progressive leadership he has already displayed and the values he espouses are a great example for our students and for the extended community that surrounds us.<br /> <br /> “The president’s emphasis on building the next generation of leaders in science, technology and sustainability, as well as the arts, mirrors ASU’s mission as a New American University,” continued Crow.“His advocacy for representation of women and people of color, engaging a broader spectrum of leadership, models significantly for others at the highest level.” More than 71,000 persons attended the event, held at Sun Devil Stadium, including students, staff, faculty, alumni and community supporters.<br /> <br /> Coyote Crisis tests ASU during spring break<br /> <br /> Arizona State University’s Tempe campus was the site of a major disaster drill during the week of spring break.<br /> <br /> The main event during the week of March 9-13 occurred on Tuesday, March 10, when a mock“improvised explosive device” created a scenario that required the response and resources of numerous police and fire units from throughout Arizona that participated in the drill.<br /> <br /> Approximately 1,200 volunteers took part in the exercise, many of whom played people injured in the incident.<br /> <br /> Some participants wore makeup to simulate injuries.<br /> <br /> Students from theWalter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications contributed to the Exercise by playing the part of print and broadcast reporters during the faux crisis.The journalism students came back during their spring break to learn the craft of reporting under pressure during an incident where things unfold quickly and regular communications can break down or become inoperable.<br /> <br /> MichaelWong, Cronkite School director of Career Services, who advised the participating students, said“We’re happy the Cronkite School students have this opportunity to assist in this exercise and to practice the skills they are learning in the classroom.”<br /> <br /> Kosovo president receives leadership award at ASU<br /> <br /> Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu became the first recipient of the Arizona State University Distinguished Global Leadership Award on Feb. 23, when he was recognized in a ceremony attended by more than 250 members of the Albanian-American community in Arizona.<br /> <br /> Sejdiu visited ASU’s Tempe campus just days after the first anniversary of Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence (Feb. 17) and just days before he was scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.<br /> <br /> Sejdiu was a professor of law at the University of Prishtina when he spent a semester in residence at ASU in 2003.<br /> <br /> He was among 17 participants from Kosovo who were part of an educational partnership administered by ASU’s Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies through a grant from the U.S. Department of State.<br /> <br /> “President Sejdiu has the distinction of leading this new nation on its exciting path,”said Anthony“Bud”Rock, ASU vice president for global engagement.“ He brings the experience of government, the wisdom, the objectivity, and the compassion associated with a career in the justice arena and a strong association with the generation that will most assuredly implement the visions he sets forth – the students with whom he continues to be engaged.”<br /> <br /> Anticipated nuclear energy surge spurs engineering certificate offering<br /> <br /> A rapidly growing demand for more electricity – from cleaner energy sources – has nuclear power poised for a revival in the United States.To respond to the demand for more expertise in the field, the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University is launching a graduate-level program in nuclear power generation.<br /> <br /> “The nuclear power industry workforce is not only graying, but there are far too few experts in this area to meet the needs of the near future,” said Keith Holbert, an ASU associate professor of electrical engineering and a nuclear engineering specialist who will direct the new program.<br /> <br /> “The industry will want experienced Engineers to fill those jobs, not just entry-level engineers,” Holbert said.<br /> <br /> ASU’s certificate program is intended to train experienced professionals to take on more advanced roles in the nuclear industry. It’s designed to help chemical, electrical and mechanical engineers, as well as physicists, chemists and mathematicians, build on their expertise and become qualified for an array of jobs necessary to manage and operate nuclear power generation facilities. It will offer a graduate certificate requiring 18 hours of course credit, and all of the courses will be available online.<br /> <br /> For more information on the program, visit asuengineeringonline.<br /> <br /> Com/online/.<br /> <br /> High-flying research<br /> <br /> ASU helps keep nation’s military aircraft healthy<br /> <br /> An ASU research project to help the nation protect the health of its military aircraft and aerospace systems has been awarded additional funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.The project is led by Aditi Chattopadhyay, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and director of ASU’s Adaptive Intelligent, Materials & Systems Center. She is overseeing work to develop systems and techniques to better monitor the structural health and predict potential wear and tear in aerospace systems.<br /> <br /> The Air Force Office of Scientific Research is administering the project, which is funded by the Defense department’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program.The decision to grant an optional two years of support brings total Department of Defense funding for the project to $6 million over five years.<br /> <br /> Chattopadhyay said the project’s goal is to make major progress in the ability to provide reliable estimates of the life cycles of current and future aircraft systems. Her team is using advanced sensor data, information management, computer modeling and algorithms to develop damage diagnosis and prognosis techniques that reach down to the microscopic level.<br /> <br /> Chattopadhyay said the ASU team is working closely with the Air Force to ensure the project addresses critical issues for the military, and to help develop a plan for how the military can readily put to use the knowledge gained from ASU’s research.<br /> <br /> Losing our bite<br /> <br /> Computer simulation shows early humans had ‘jaws of steel’<br /> <br /> Your mother always told you not to use your teeth as tools to open something hard, and she was right. Human skulls have small faces and teeth and are not well-equipped to bite down forcefully on hard objects.Yet this was not true of our earliest ancestors, say scientists.<br /> <br /> New research published by a scientific team that includes ASU researchers in the February 2009 issue of (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) reveals nut-cracking abilities in our<br /> <br /> 2. 5-million-year-old relatives that enabled them to alter their diet to adapt to changes in food sources in their environment.<br /> <br /> Mark Spencer, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change and a researcher with the Institute of Human Origins, and doctoral student Caitlin Schrein are part of the international team of researchers who devised the study. Using state-of-the-art computer modeling and simulation technology, evolutionary scientists built a virtual model of the A. africanus skull and were able to see just how the jaw operated and what forces it could produce.<br /> <br /> Spencer said the results reinforce “the body of research indicating that facial specializations in species of early humans are adaptations due to a specialized diet.”In other words, early humans had to figure out how to eat what was available.<br /> <br /> “These ‘fall back’ foods – hard nuts and seeds – were important survival strategies during a period of changing climates and food scarcity,”he added.“Our research shows that early, pre-stone tool human ancestors solved problems with their jaws that modern humans would have solved with tools.”<br /> <br /> War of the words<br /> <br /> Researchers studying counter-radical movements earn inaugural Minerva Award<br /> <br /> Arizona State University is one of seven U.S. universities to receive a Minerva award for a Department of Defense research project titled“Finding Allies for theWar ofWords: Mapping the Diffusion and Influence of Counter-Radical Muslim Discourse.”Awards are for an initial five-year period with a five year-option for renewal.<br /> <br /> Spearheaded by MarkWoodward, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, the project is funded by the Minerva Research Initiative, a program that focuses on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. Other universities to receive a Minerva award include Princeton University, San Francisco State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.<br /> <br /> The project is a collaborative effort that involves ASU faculty members from religious studies, communication, political science, mathematics, sociology and computer science disciplines.The aim of the ASU project is to describe and track diverse strategies that Muslims inWest Africa,Western Europe and Southeast Asia use to counter and thwart the advance of whatWoodward terms“Wahhabi colonialism.” <br /> <br /> “Many in the part of the world I study are becoming increasingly concerned by what they see as an attempt by Middle Eastern groups to use wealth and prestige to establish an exclusivist, puritanical understanding of Islam as the voice of Islam.While this understanding of Islam is not inherently violent, it does, in some cases, provide theological cover for violent extremists,”Woodward says.<br /> <br /> ASU’s Allenby speaks out on sustainability<br /> <br /> Arizona State University engineering professor Brad Allenby will help lead a major international effort to broaden public awareness and understanding of sustainability and the technological and social evolution it is sparking.<br /> <br /> Allenby has been named chair of the newly founded Presidential Sustainability Initiative of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a leading professional association for the advancement of technology.The IEEE has more than 375,000 members from 160 countries.<br /> <br /> The organization’s initiative committee is being established with 10 members chosen from around the world for their expertise.The group is to lay groundwork for increasing contributions from the IEEE membership as a whole. Much the organization’s work – from research On the creation of a“smart electrical grid,”renewable energy resources, computers and virtual travel systems – already provides a substantial. Information resource on sustainability. Allenby came to ASU in 2004. He is a professor in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering. He also is a professor of law and the Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics in ASU’s Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. He’s considered a pioneer in the field of industrial ecology.<br /> <br /> He recently was named winner of one of the 2008 U.S. Professors of theYear Awards from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement ofTeaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Higher Education.

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