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CMNS e-News August 2012

Vol. 2, No. 9
Please submit items to the editor, Mary Kearney.


In Memoriam

Frank McDonald (IPST) died unexpectedly on Friday, August 31 while giving a presentation at the 75th Birthday Symposium for George Gloeckler, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Dr. McDonald had a long and distinguished career with the University of Maryland and as Chief Scientist with NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Physical Society as well as the recipient of numerous honors and awards, among them the Lindsay Award, the James A. Van Allen Lectureship for Space and Earth Science in recognition of his contributions to the field of space science and the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Excellence Award.


Thomas Murphy (IREAP and ECE) has been appointed the Director of the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP) effective August 1, 2012. Murphy studied physics and electrical engineering at Rice University, graduating with joint B.A./B.S.E.E. degrees in 1994. He earned his M.S. degree in 1997 and his Ph.D. in 2000 from MIT. Murphy's research interests include nonlinear optics, optical communications, nonlinear dynamics, microwave photonics and terahertz technology. His research broadly aims to explore new devices and techniques that improve the speed, sensitivity, resolution and efficiency of optical communication and sensor systems. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, a senior member of the IEEE, and a recipient of the NSF CAREER and DARPA Young Faculty awards. He has been recognized for excellence in both teaching and research at UMD, having been awarded the Clark School Junior Faculty Outstanding Research Award and E. Robert Kent Outstanding Teaching Award for Junior Faculty.

Honors and Awards

Dorothy Beckett (Chemistry and Biochemistry) has been elected to President-elect of the Biophysical Society. This is a 3 year appointment, leading to her appointment as President. She will assume her position in February 2013.

Computer Science and CBCB Ph.D. students Rob Patro, Geet Duggal, Emre Sefer, Hao Wang, and Darya Filippova won the award for best 30-second "KDD-Madness" video for their video promoting their paper "The Missing Models: A Data-Driven Approach for Learning How Networks Grow" at the recent KDD 2012 conference. The conference was held in Beijing, August 12-16.

Jon Froehlich (Computer Science and UMIACS) is the recipient of the 2012 University of Washington (Seattle) Distinguished Dissertation Award. Froehlich's dissertation, Sensing and Feedback of Everyday Activities to Promote Environmental Behaviors, focuses on creating new types of sensors to monitor and infer everyday human activity, such as driving to work or taking a shower, and subsequently taking this sensed information and providing it back to the user in novel, engaging, and informative ways to increase awareness and promote environmentally responsible behavior.

Sujay Kaushal (Geology and ESSIC) has been selected as the recipient of the College's Board of Visitors Outstanding Junior Faculty award. Kaushal's work is multidisciplinary, encompassing the fields of ecology, hydrology, biology, environmental science, limnology, environmental engineering and biogeochemistry. The Award recognizes particularly fine accomplishments in research and education by an assistant professor.

Michael Raupp (Entomology) is this year's recipient of the International Society of Arboriculture's (ISA) prestigious R.W. Harris Author's Citation. The award is given to authors for sustained excellence in the publication of timely information related to arboriculture. "... His work on managing insects and mites is a significant contribution to the arboriculture industry" said ISA President Colin Bashford. Raupp received the award at the ISA's annual conference and trade show, August 11-15, Portland, OR. Raupp was featured by the Entomological Society of American, Members in the News, on his award.

Joe Redish (Physics) has been awarded the 2013 Oersted Medal by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Established in 1936, The Oersted Medal recognizes those who have had an outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics. Previous winners have included Nobel laureates. Redish will deliver a lecture at the AAPT Winter Meeting in New Orleans, January 5-9, 2013.

A paper by Amitabh Varshney (Computer Science and UMIACS) and his student Sujal Bista, in collaboration with Satyandra Gupta (Mechanical Engineering and ISR) and his student Sagar Chowdhury, won the Best Paper Award at the ASME Computer and Information in Engineering Conference held in Chicago, IL, August 12-15. Their paper "Using GPUs for Realtime Prediction of Optical Forces on Microsphere Ensembles" presented a many-cored algorithm to simulate movement of micron-sized particles using lasers which has applications ranging from automated nano-assembly to biological cell manipulation.

Min Wu (UMIACS and ECE) was named one of the Baltimore Daily Record's 2012 Innovators of the Year. The award recognizes Maryland individuals and companies that have created a product, service or process that has had a positive effect on their business, industry or community. The winners will be honored at a reception on October 24.


Maria Cameron (Mathematics), Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, $149,183, "Methods for the Study of Rare Events."

James Carton (AOSC and ESSIC) and Gennady Chepurin (AOSC), NSF, $648,602, "Collaborative Research: Using Ocean Data Assimilation to Explore Arctic/Subarctic Climate Variability."

Sankar Das Sarma (Physics and JQI), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), $140,000, "Topological Quantum Entanglement."

Larry Davis (Computer Science and UMIACS), Raytheon Corporation, $175,000, "E-VERIFY: Aladdin."

Bryan Eichhorn (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Defense Threat Reduction Agency, $1,039,447, "Next Generation Energetic Materials: New Clusters, Cluster Hydrides and Metastable Alloys of Aluminum in Very Low Oxidation States."

John Fourkas (Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST), Edo Waks (IREAP and ECE), Glenn Solomon (Physics and JQI), Ben Shapiro and Srinivasa Raghavan (both Engineering), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), $130,000 increase in funding bringing the total to $490,000, "Zeno Based Opto-electronics Using Semiconductor Quantum Dots Coupled to Nanocavities."

David Fushman (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences, $345,972 increase in funding bringing the total award to $704,071, "Recognition of Non-ubiquitin Signals by the Proteasome."

Jonathan Katz (Computer Science and UMIACS), NSF, $400,945, "TWC; Small: Exploring Cryptographic Models and Setup Assumptions."

Carl Kingsford (Computer Science and UMIACS), Alexey Zimin (IPST) and Stephen Mount (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics), NIH-National Human Genome Research Institute, $221,578, "Fast k-mer Counting to Quantify Gene Expression and Improve Genome Assembly."

Atif Memon (Computer Science and UMIACS), NSF, $367,896, "II-NEW: Collaborative Research: COMET: A Web Infrastructure for Research and Experiment in User Interactive Event Driven Testing."

David Mosser (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics), NIH-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $380,000, "Monocyte Subsets and Host Defense."

Tristram O'Brien West (ESSIC), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $134,287, "Estimating Global Inventory-based Net Carbon Exchange from Agriculture Lands."

Mohammad Hajiaghayi (Computer Science and UMIACS), NSF, $200,000, "AF:Medium: Collaborative Research: General Frameworks for Approximation and Fixed-Parameter Algorithms."

What's New

The NSF-supported Summer Social Webshop (, which brought 50+ doctoral students and 20+ prominent speakers to campus, was held on August 21-24. During the 4-day workshop, students attended presentations from an interdisciplinary group of leaders in the field and engaged in research and community-building activities such as working on short-term projects, sharing research plans, developing new research collaborations, learning relevant software, analysis methods and data collection tools, and meeting Federal policy makers. The event is a joint effort of Computer Science and UMIACS (Ben Shneiderman), iSchool (Jennifer Preece), and Sociology (Alan Neustadtl), plus the Social Media Research Foundation (Marc Smith).

The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation has awarded $1 million to the University of Maryland's Future of Information Alliance (FIA), co-directed by Allison Druin (UMIACS and iSchool). The Deutsch Foundation funds will be used over the next three years to expand the Alliance's "Visiting Future-ist" program and to create a new seed-grant competition for students and their faculty mentors. For more information on the FIA, please go to:

As part of the Scientific Program of the 34th International Geological Congress held in Brisbane, Australia in August 2012, Michael Brown (Geology) gave a keynote talk on "Secular Change and the Crust–mantle Lithosphere System: The View from the Top Down" in a symposium on "The crust-mantle lithosphere system" as part of Theme 16 "The Deep Earth" and convened a session on "Anatexis" as part of Theme 22 "Metamorphic Rocks and Processes."

Michael Fisher (Physics and IPST) will give the Opening Remarks, "Computing for the Simplest Model Electrolyte: Correlations, Sum Rules, and Criticality in the RPM," at the Statistical Mechanics: Interplay of Theory and Computer Simulations workshop in honor of Professor Kurt Binder, September 9, Johannes Gutenberg Universitat, Mainz, Germany.

David Inouye (Biology) gave a symposium talk, Asynchronous Changes in Phenology of Migrating Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds and Their Early-season Nectar Resources, at the North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC), Vancouver, British Columbia, August 14-18.

Christopher Jarzynski (Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST) gave an invited talk, "The Second Law of Thermodynamics at the Nanoscale, on Thermodynamics," at a Nobel Symposium on Nanoscale Energy Converters, Orenas Castle, Sweden, August 12-15. On September 9-13, he will give an invited talk at the 25th Smoluchowski Symposium on Statistical Physics, Kracow, Poland. Alumnus and Jarzynski's former student, Jordan Horowitz (2010 Ph.D. Physics), will also give an invited talk at the Symposium.

A third Ph.D. student of Howard Milchberg (Physics, IREAP and IPST) has been awarded a Marshall N. Rosenbluth Doctoral Thesis Award: Yu-Hsin Chen (2011 Ph.D. Electrical Engineering). His two other students, Ki-Yong Kim (2003 Ph.D. Physics) and Thomas R. Clark (1998 Ph.D. Physics), received the award in 2004 and 1999 award respectively. The award recognizes exceptional young scientists who have performed original doctoral thesis research of outstanding scientific quality and achievement in the area of plasma physics.

Rabindra Mohapatra (Physics) organized two workshops: one in the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy on "Behind the Neutrino Mass," taking place in September 2012 and one in Lead, South Dakota (site of the famous Homestake mine) on "Neutrinos and Unifications" July 18-19.

Ragu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) gave an invited lecture, "From Big Bang to the Cooperative Species," at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, August 9. On August 13-17, he gave the Distinguished Lecture on Regional Earth System Prediction for South Asia and an invited talk on Climate and Human Health at the AOGS-AGU Joint Assembly held in Singapore. On August 27, Murtugudde gave an invited lecture, "Decision-Making Tool for Water Resources," at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad.

Ross Salawitch (AOSC, Chemistry and Biochemistry and ESSIC) and Eugenia Kalnay (AOSC, IPST and ESSIC) met with two different groups of about 20 middle school students from the Higher Achievement program, August 1, engaging in a question and answer session and conversation. The Summer Academy program includes coursework in literature, science, mathematics, social studies, and electives, as well as a three-day trip to a college. The scholars spend 650 hours a year, in addition to attending school for the standard 900 hours a year, learning an advanced curriculum that is aligned to state standards.

Jan V. Sengers (IPST) gave an invited lecture, "Thermally Induced Non-equilibrium Fluctuations: Gravity and Finite-size Affects," at the 6th International Workshop on Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics and 3rd Lars Onsager Symposium, Roros, Norway, August 19-24.

Ben Shneiderman (Computer Science and UMIACS) will give a keynote address, "Interactive Network Exploration to Derive Insights: Filtering, Clustering, Grouping, and Simplification" at the Graph Drawing Symposium, September 20, Seattle, WA. Shneiderman was a featured speaker, "Information Visualization for Knowledge Discovery: Exploration Tools for Socio-Environmental Systems," at the SESYNC Visualization Technologies to Support Research on Human-Environment Interactions Workshop, Annapolis, MD, July 23.

Wendy Wang (ESSIC) was a convener of the "Carbon Stocks and Fluxes in the Asia-Oceania Region: Impacts of Climate Change and Human Activity" session at the AOGS-AGU (WPGM) Joint Assembly, August 13-17, 2012, Singapore. She also gave a talk entitled "Surprising Accumulation of Carbonate on Cropland in China's Arid Regions".

The University of Maryland recently graduated its first team from NSF's new Innovation-Corps (I-Corps) start-up accelerator program. UMD's I-Corps Team consisted of Shuvra Bhattacharyya (Computer Science and UMIACS), Chung-Ching Shen (ECE) and Dean Chang (Director, MTECH Venture Programs). Their team, Streamlined Embedded Technologies (SET), developed a commercialization strategy for the technology that was recently developed in the Maryland DSPCAD Research Group, which is jointly affiliated with UMIACS and ECE.

Faculty Profiles: University Communications (UC) is asking faculty, particularly new faculty, to add or update their profile in their 'Experts' database. Go to, login on the left side with your UMID and Password, and fill in the blanks. The media uses the expert lists and UC creates Hot Topics from them based on breaking or ongoing news stories, therefore it is important that the information is up-to-date and the keywords current.

In The News

Michael A'Hearn (Astronomy) was mentioned in a Nature News article, August 22, on the dispute between the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and NASA's Dawn spacecraft mission team regarding which coordinate system to use and where to place the prime meridian from which longitude will be measured. A'Hearn is a member of the IAU working group responsible for coordinate systems as well as being in charge of the part of the NASA database that will host Dawn data for the public.

Ben Bederson (Computer Science and UMIACS) was mentioned in an August 13 Cnet article on the court case between Apple and Samsung. Bederson testified as a Samsung "fact witness" and demonstrated his LaunchTile – a mobile one-handed user interface which was released in 2004. Media coverage included Ars Technica, Forbes and The Verge.

Tony Busalacchi (AOSC and ESSIC) was profiled in the American Association for the Advance of Science (AAAS) Member Center, August 6. The article highlights how Busalacchi deals with the challenges of making the "the complexities of earth science more accessible" to the public and those in his field. Busalacchi was also quoted in an article on Climate Central, August 17, on the severe drought many states are experiencing.

Rita Colwell (UMIACS and Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology) was quoted in The Baltimore Sun, August 24 in an article on the Haiti cholera outbreak.

Sankar Das Sarma (Physics) was mentioned extensively in Neue Zurcher Zeitung (New Zurich Times), August 8, in an article on Majorana fermions, referring to his plenary speech at the ICPS 2012-31st International Conference on the Physics of Semiconductors, July 29-August 3, Zurich, Switzerland.

The Physics Summer Girls Program was featured in the August 15 edition of the Diamondback. The program, which held 3 sessions over the past few months for high school-aged girls and several boys, has encouraged high schoolers to explore science for the past 22 years.

The PNAS Paper written by Christopher Jarzynski (Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST) and graduate student Dibyendu Mandal, reported in the July edition, was highlighted by Nature Physics, Research Highlights, August edition.

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was quoted in The Hindu, August 12, in an article entitled "Are Manmade Factors Behind the Erratic Monsoon?"

Michael Raupp (Entomology) was interviewed on WAMU, August 14, on pest populations booming in the record heat. On August 16 he was interviewed by CBS This Morning on the spread of the West Nile virus. "...the combination of birds carrying the virus, the high population of mosquitoes, high temperatures and wet conditions, as well as a susceptible population, have made the situation possible." Media coverage included WTOP, TravelersToday, TakePart, CollegeNews. On August 21, he was quoted in the Daily Herald in an article on the emerald ash borer beetle, and diversifying a town's tree stock.

Philip Resnik (UMIACS and Linguistics) was interviewed by Maryland Public Radio (MPR), August 6, on political polling in the age of social media. He was also mentioned in an article by Virtual-Strategy Magazine, August 21, on Converseon's new ConveyAPI social listening intelligence solution being named the Top Innovator in the Social Media Data Mining category by DataWeek. Resnik was lead scientist on ConveyAPI's three year research and development project.

Jan V. Sengers (IPST) published an article online, with colleagues, in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, August 23 describing the development and evaluation of the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam Formulation 2011 for the Thermal Conductivity of Ordinary Water Substance.

Elaine Shi (Computer Science and UMIACS) was quoted in Technology Review, August 7, in an article on a new mathematical technique, developed at Cornell University, which could offer a way for large data sets of personal data (e.g. Facebook) to be shared and analyzed while guaranteeing an individual's privacy.

Jeff Stehr (AOSC) was quoted in The Washington Post, August 4 in an article on NOAA moving its Center for Weather and Climate Prediction to M-Square, next to ESSIC (5825 University of Maryland Research Park). "...What it means practically for us is that we're going to have 700 or so research scientists over there who are top of the nation. We can collaborate with them and they'll be right there." Stehr is the Associate Director Professional Masters & Undergraduate Programs in AOSC.

Hongbin Yu (ESSIC and NASA Goddard), with colleagues at NASA and the University of Maryland at Baltimore, published an article in Science, August 3, showing that roughly half the aerosols that affect air quality and climate change in North America may be coming from other continents, including Asia, Africa and Europe. Media coverage included the Christian Science Monitor, NBC News, Red Orbit, Discovery News, Live Science, ScienceBlog, Ars Technica and the Sacramento Bee.

Alumni News

Date and Time: September 22, 4:00-7:00pm
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and The Southern Maryland Alumni Club invite you to A TASTE OF SOUTHERN MARYLAND. Join us at one of southern Maryland’s favorites, The Calvert Marine Museum to learn about how the University of Maryland supports and sustains the bounty of the Chesapeake. The proceeds from this event support scholarships at Maryland, both undergraduate science majors in College Park and graduate students conducting research at Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Lab at Solomons Island. RSVP by September 15

Aziza Baccouche (2002 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Tom Cohen) was spotlighted in Science, Spotlight on Diversity, August 31. Baccouche founded a production company called AZIZA Productions a few years before graduating and began making films and short documentaries for science nonprofit organizations. Her first large-scale public documentary series focused on underrepresented minorities in science, including both ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Baccouche's series debuted August 30 on a Washington D.C. Public Broadcasting Service local affiliate station, WHUT Howard University, with a pilot episode titled Over the Hurricane showcasing the work of African-American atmospheric physicist Gregory S. Jenkins.

Beagle, founded by alumni Philippe Aimzadeh and Asif Jamil (2012 and 2011 B.S. Biological Sciences respectively) with colleagues Julian Capps and Adeel Khan, was profiled in BostInno (an online community publishing platform focusing on innovation in Boston), August 28. Beagle, limited to college campuses, is an iPhone app that allows students to post errands they don't have time or want to run for whatever price they desire. The app is on four campuses currently, UMD, Harvard, MIT and Boston University, with plans to launch at four schools in NY.

Edward Clerke (1978 M.S. and 1982 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Jan Sengers) has been named Principal Professional, Reservoir Characterization Department/Exploration, Saudi Aramco. Previously he held the positions of Head of Petrophysics, Petrophysical Engineering Advisor for Pennzoil and Senior Principal Petrophysicist with ARCO, Plano, TX. His innovative "Rosetta Stone" work applied decoding techniques to unlock important subsurface reservoir property links for major carbonate fields for Saudi Armco, published in GeoArabia and the SPE Journal.

Greg Cooper (2000 Ph.D. Physics, advisor John Orloff) was quoted in The Baltimore Sun, August 6, in an article featuring Pixelligent. Cooper is Pixelligent's founder and chief technology officer. The company manufactures high quality nanocrystal additives and polymer nanocomposites for the electronics, industrial and military markets.

Heather Lewis (1988 B.S. Zoology, 1991 M.A. Kinesiological Sciences) has been named the new Athletic Director, Seneca Valley School District, Pennsylvania. Lewis was a former associate athletic director at Bucknell University, and has worked as a field hockey and women's lacrosse coach.

Paresh Mistry (1993 B.S. Computer Science) was named the Head of Systems Engineering, NuSpective Solutions, Pleasanton, CA on August 7. Prior to joining the company, Mistry was a Product Specialist and Systems Engineer at Dell and NetApp respectively, responsible for providing engineering expertise for clients needing high performance and efficient datacenter solutions.

Amitava Raychaudhuri (1977 Ph.D. Physics) was quoted in the Daily Pioneer, August 11, in an article on his lecture on the Higgs Boson at the Siksha O Anusandhan University, Orissa, India. Raychaudhuri, a faculty member in the Department of Physics, University of Calcutta, is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences, and the Indian National Science Academy. He is a recipient of the J.C. Bose fellowship, and a senior associate of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy.