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CMNS e-News December 2011/January 2012

Vol. 2, No. 3
Please submit items to the editor, Mary Kearney.

Contents

Announcements

Dan Lathrop (Physics, Geology, IREAP and IPST) has been appointed the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS). Lathrop will work on identifying new opportunities for funded faculty research through large scale grants and on encouraging and supporting the development of successful proposals for these; strengthening old and building new partnerships with federal labs and agencies, increasing program development with support from private foundations, and enhancing opportunities with the private sector; and encouraging new areas of interdisciplinary collaboration by college faculty. His research focuses on understanding natural turbulent fluid flows. These apply to the Earth's magnetic field, atmosphere, and quantum turbulence in superfluids.

The Department of Mathematics has named the Math Dept colloquium room the “Herbert Hauptmann Hall” in honor of alumnus Herbert Hauptmann (1955 Ph.D. Mathematics, advisor Richard Good) who died on October 23, 2011. Hauptman was co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1985 for developing mathematical methods for deducing the molecular structure of chemical compounds. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and received many awards including the Health Care Heroes Award for Lifetime Achievement (Business First-2000), Citizen of Distinction (City of Buffalo-1995) and the Dirac Medal for the Advancement of Theoretical Physics (University of New South Wales, Australia-1991). Hauptman was inducted into the University of Maryland’s Hall of Fame in 1995, and received the President’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003.

On Monday January 30 in Annapolis, top Maryland elected officials, higher education leaders, scientists, policy makers and others officially launched a brand new kind of environmental research and policy center. SESYNC (the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center ) is designed to help the nation and world create (synthesize) balanced, workable ways to meet human economic and development needs while improving and maintaining the health of the natural systems upon which humans also depend. Speaking at the event were Senator Barbara Mikulski, Governor Martin O'Malley, UMD President Wallace Loh, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch; SESYNC Executive Director and UMD and UMCES Professor Margaret Palmer; Resources for the Future President Phillip Sharp, UMCES President Donald Boesch, USM Chancellor Brit Kirwan and National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh.

Honors and Awards

Eleven CMNS faculty are among the 539 new Fellows named by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a Fellow of AAAS, the world's largest general federation of scientists and the publisher of the journal Science, is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin on Saturday, 18 February during the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

  1. Antonio Busalacchi (AOSC and ESSIC) for distinguished contributions to Earth sciences, particularly in the understanding of tropical oceanic processes, and the development of interdisciplinary collaborations across Earth sciences.
  2. Catherine Carr (Biology) for distinguished contributions to the field of neurobiology, particularly for work on temporal coding, and for serving as co-director of the Neural Systems and Behavior course at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
  3. Rama Chellappa (UMIACS and ECE) for distinguished contributions to the field of image processing and computer vision, particularly for model-based approaches to image and video-based modeling and recognition.
  4. Thomas Kocher (Biology) for distinguished contributions to the field of molecular evolutionary genetics, particularly for studies of animal mitochondrial DNA and the evolution of African cichlid fishes.
  5. Daniel Lathrop (Physics, Geology, IREAP and IPST) for novel turbulence experiments and diagnostics uncovering the effects of rotation, magnetic fields, and long-range quantum order in superfluid helium.
  6. Karen Lips (Biology) for distinguished contributions in research contributing to the discovery and understanding of amphibian population declines, including outreach to the public and communication with the media.
  7. John Mather (Physics) for outstanding scientific leadership of NASA's astronomy missions including his Nobel Prize-winning Cosmic Background Explorer and the future James Webb Space Telescope.
  8. Steven Rolston (Physics and JQI) for research with ultracold atoms, in particular for the development of optical lattices and ultracold plasmas.
  9. Raman Sundrum (Physics) for fundamental contributions including anomaly-mediation in supergravity theories and the "Randall-Sundrum" mechanism within higher-dimensional warped compactifications, and associated phenomenological implications.
  10. Gerald Wilkinson (Biology) for distinguished contributions to basic research in the field of behavioral ecology, and service as a program officer at NSF, and university graduate director and department chair.
  11. John Weeks (Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST) for seminal contributions to the statistical physics of liquids, interfaces and other condensed-phase systems.

Ben Bederson (Computer Science and UMIACS) has been elected to the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction (SIGCHI)’s CHI Academy, class of 2012. The CHI Academy is an “… honorary group of individuals who have made substantial contributions to the field of human-computer interaction. These are the principal leaders of the field, whose efforts have shaped the disciplines and/or industry, and led the research and/or innovation in human-computer interaction.” Bederson will be inducted into the Academy at the CHI conference, Austin, TX, May 6, 2012. For further information on the award, go to http://www.sigchi.org/about/awards/index_html#Academy

Alessandra Buonanno (Physics) has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society for “revolutionizing our understanding of quantum optical noise in interferometric gravitational-wave detectors (with Chen), creating the effective-one-body (EOB) approach to 2-body dynamics (with Damour), and leading the creation of template families for searches for gravitational waves from compact binaries." Professor Buonanno is a premier theorist in the field of gravitational waves. She joined the University of Maryland in 2005. She is a member of the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics and the Joint Space-Science Institute.

James Drake (Physics and IPST) has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). To be elected a Fellow is a special tribute for those who have made exceptional scientific contributions. Nominated Fellows must have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences.  Primary criteria for evaluation in scientific eminence are major breakthrough/discovery and paradigm shift. This designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1% of all AGU members in any given year.

James Farquhar (Geology) has been elected as a Fellow of the Geochemical Society. "In 1996, The Geochemical Society and The European Association of Geochemistry established the honorary title of Geochemistry Fellow, to be bestowed upon outstanding scientists who have, over some years, made a major contribution to the field of geochemistry."

Raymond St. Leger (Entomology) has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society (United Kingdom). The society exists to promote the dissemination of knowledge in all fields of insect science, and to facilitate communication between entomologists, both nationally and internationally.

Donald Reames (IPST) will be awarded the George Ellery Hale Prize of the Solar Physics Division, American Astronomical Society at their meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, June 10-14, 2012. The prize is awarded to a scientist for outstanding contributions over an extended period of time to the field of solar astronomy.

Patents

Mohammed Hafezi (JQI) with Peter Rabl, "Opto-mechanical Induced Non-reciprocity."

Contracts/Grants

David Fushman (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NIH-National institute of General Medical Sciences, $295,195, "Solution Structure and Dynamics of Polyubiquitin Chains."

Xin-Zhong Liang (AOSC and ESSIC), Environmental Protection Agency, $723,559, "Consequences of Global Climate and Emissions Changes on U.S. Water Quality: An Integrated Modeling Assessment."

Elizabeth Quinlan (Biology), NIH-National Eye Institute, $253,260, "Synaptic Plasticity in Young Versus Ages Visual Cortex."

Oded Rabin (IREAP), NSF, $100,000, "Career: Plasmonics with a Twist-Chiral Nanostructures for Advanced Spectroscopy."

V.S. Subrahmanian (Computer Science and UMIACS), Ministry of Defense (Israel), $153,520, "Fast Algorithms for Group Between-ness Centrality in Massive Social Networks."

Sylvain Veilleux (Astronomy), Space Telescope Science Institute, $110,437, "Ionized and Neutral Outflows in the Question QSOs."

What's New

The Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) is forging alliances and partnerships between academia, industry and government to deliver advanced educational programs that will prepare the cybersecurity workforce of today and tomorrow. Within the last two months (MC2) has announced new partnerships to establish collaborative activities in cybersecurity: Superlative Technologies Inc. (SuprTEK) and Lunarline Inc., to collaborate on cybersecurity education, research and technology development, Mar, Inc. to promote cybersecurity education and research initiatives and Future Skies Inc. to establish collaborative activities in cybersecurity.

Robert Adler (ESSIC) was the invited speaker at the NASA-Goddard Climate & Radiation Laboratory Seminar Series on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, speaking on "Global Variations of Precipitation—From Climate Scale to Floods."

Ashok Agrawala (Computer Science and UMIACS) and his team have released the M-Urgency App to the broader UMD community. The app, currently available for Android phones, allows students, faculty and staff to instantly share video, audio and location information about their emergency with university police dispatchers. The M-Urgency app has been developed by Agrawala and his team in collaboration with the university's Department of Public Safety.  The technology is based on Adobe software infrastructure, and the commercial applications are being developed by AlphaTrek, a Maryland company started by Agrawala. More information can be found on the University’s Newsdesk.

Wael Abd-Almageed (UMIACS) participated in Eureka Park: Technology at the Edge at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Association’s Tradeshow, Las Vegas, NV, January 10-13. Abd-Almageed’s company, Video Semantics, demonstrated the mediaAlert system that automatically segments video streams into contextual segments, making long videos of content such as news broadcasts easily searchable to specific topics. Eureka Park featured start-up companies and technologies that are only now emerging from research and development supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and various start-up companies. 

Michael Brown (Geology) will be honored at a special session entitled “Evolution and differentiation of the continental crust: A celebration of the contributions by Michael Brown,” at the 2012 Goldschmidt Conference, Montreal, QUE on June 24-29. The session is a tribute to Brown “…for his contributions to our understanding of crustal melting, melt extraction and transport through the crust, the effect of melt generation on crustal rheology and changes in style of metamorphism through Earth history.”

The CHOAS Group, IPST, hosted Dynamics Days 2012, Baltimore, January 4-7. Sessions included a range of topics including pattern forming systems, characterization and control of nonlinear systems, synchronization of nonlinear systems and complex biological systems as well as a celebration Edward Ott’s 70th birthday and his seminal contributions to the field of nonlinear dynamics.

Michael E. Fisher (Physics and IPST), with Jerome K. Percus and Benjamin Widom, was honored for his accomplishments at the 106th Statistical Mechanics Conference held at Rutgers, December 18-20, 2011. A special session was held on December 19 when the guests of honor described some of the exciting parts of their scientific careers thus far.

James Gates (Physics) appears in a 10-part video series exploring the science behind the game of ice hockey. A collaboration between NBC News, NBC Sports and the National Science Foundation, the series was made especially for teachers and students to use in the classroom. Gates was also interviewed for the BBC2 program “The Hunt for Higgs:  A Horizon Special,” where he talked about the Higgsino – a super-symmetric twin of the Higgs boson, which aired on January 9, 2012.  He was the speaker at January’s SciCafe (a monthly informal gathering) at the American Museum of Natural History where he talked about the discovery of computer codes, particularly the Adinkra symbols, which are graphical representations of string theory.  Gates also gave an invited seminar, Mathematical Surprises From Off-shell SUSY Representations Theory, at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study, December 21. He is one of the scientific commentators on a Koran Educational Broadcasting System science documentary entitled “The Milestone of Scientific Civilization.” Other December activities included a plenary lecture at the 2011 High Energy Conference, Simon Bolivar University, Caracas, Venezuela and invited speaker at Montana State University Physics Department’s colloquium, “Digging Where the Wood is Thick.”

Montgomery Blair High School student Frederic Koehler, mentored by Samir Khuller (Computer Science and UMIACS), is an Intel Science Talent Search Finalist this year. Koehler’s award-winning project, “Quick and Efficient: Fast Algorithms for Completion Time and Batch Minimization on Multiple Machines,” the only one from the state of Maryland, will go on display at the National Academy of Sciences in March.

Zhanqing Li (AOSC and ESSIC) gave two invited talks at the 2012 American Meteorological Society Meeting (AMS), New Orleans, January 23 and 25, “Asian Pollution, Climate change and Their Interactions Revealed from Space-born, Airborne and Ground Observations and Modeling” and “Use of A-train Satellite and ARM Ground Measurements to Study the Impact of Aerosols on Cloud and Precipitation” respectively. He also chaired the session on Asian Air Pollution and Regional and Climate Effects-I. Thirty first-author presentations were made by ESSIC faculty and research scientists at the annual meeting.

Zhihong Nie (Chemistry and Biochemistry) was an invited speaker at the Department of Chemistry, Kansas University on December 2, with a topic of “Supracolloidal Physics and Chemistry: Assembly of 3D Nanostructures.”

Roberta Rudnick (Geology) gave the Bownocker Lecture, “How did the Continents form?” at the School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University on November 9.

Jan Sengers gave an invited seminar "Fluctuations in Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics,” Physics Department, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore on December 1 2011. Sengers, who was recently recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as a Life Member, also gave an invited lecture "Mode-coupling phenomena in fluids induced by phase transitions and gradients" at an International Conference on Dynamics of Phase Transformations held in Bangalore, India, November 28-30, 2011.

Wendy Wang (ESSIC) was a convener of "The Carbon Cycle on the Arid Land: Impacts of Climate Change and Human Activity" at the American Geophysical Union's 2011 Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011, San Francisco, CA. She also gave a talk entitled "Isotope evidence for pedogenic carbonate enhancement on arid land of northwest China."

Faculty Experts List: University Communications is asking faculty to add or update their profile in the experts database as media increasingly need faculty experts on a wide range of issues. You can also use this resource to find colleagues across campus for research or collaborative projects. Please go to http://newsdesk.umd.edu/experts/  Log in on the left side with your UMID and Password, and fill in the blanks.

In The News

A team of physicists from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Harvard University has developed a theory describing how to both detect weak electrical signals and cool electrical circuits using light and something very like a nanosized loudspeaker. If demonstrated through experiment, the work could have a tremendous impact on detection of low-power radio signals, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the developing field of quantum information science. The research was published in Physical Review Letters, December 27, and appeared in PhysOrg and Photonics Online.

Michael A’Hearn (Astronomy) was quoted in an article in Astronomy Now, December 18, on the Deep Impact probe, launched in 2005, and the possibility of an extended mission. While awaiting the recommendations of a panel of independent scientists, the probe, now running low on fuel with an estimated 4.4 pounds of hydrazine fuel left, will be aimed at asteroid 2002 GT in October 2012 as an option.  Deep Impact would reach the asteroid for a high-speed flyby in January 2020. 

Drew Baden (Physics) was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR), December 13, on the CERN announcement of possible signs of the Higgs boson - the most sought-after particle in physics. Media coverage on Baden’s interview included, but was not limited to, the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, New York Times, MSNBC, Inside Science, The Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Washington Times and CBS News.

Tamara Bodanovic (Astronomy) was quoted in Discovery News, December 28, in an article on space-based gravitational wave detectors and the detection of black hole collisions.

Kan Cao (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics) was interviewed on WebTalk Radio, January 23, for the show “Medicine On The Cutting Edge – An Intervention for Aging? Closer Than You May Think” where she discussed research conducted in her lab on the rare premature aging disease, Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS).  Cao discussed Rapamycin, discovered in the soil of the Easter Islands in the 1970s, which reverses cellular phenotype and enhances mutant protein clearance in the syndrome. In July 2011, Cao won an Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging Award, the most important career award in the field of aging.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was featured in the December 19 edition of Chemical & Engineering News reporting on the Department’s coordinated effort to increase the quality and diversity of its graduate student population. In April 2011 the Department was awarded the 2011 National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) Presidential Award for Outstanding Partner in Academia, in recognition of exceptional efforts in providing members of the NOBCChE student chapter and wider minority communities with increased academic and professional development opportunities.

Sinead Farrell (ESSIC) co-authored a paper on a new mean dynamic topography of the Arctic Ocean published in Geophysical Research Letters, January 6. The manuscript was one of the five most popular GRL downloads for the week of January 17, 2012. The study, led by Farrell and co-authored by investigators from NOAA, NASA, and University College London, derives the highest resolution mapping of the Arctic Ocean mean sea surface possible constructed using 5.5 years of ICESat laser altimetry and contemporaneous Envisat radar altimetry. A new mapping of Arctic Ocean mean dynamic topography for the period 2003-2009 was derived using the satellite-only data and reveals the major features of Arctic Ocean dynamical height are consistent with in situ observations.

Michael Fisher (Physics and IPST) was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 for a profile on Professor Peter Higgs, University of Edinburgh, which aired on Saturday, December 17. Higgs’ work led to the so-called Standard Model of elementary particle interactions which has been confirmed by decades of work at particle physics laboratories around the world, but it also predicted the existence of a mysterious new particle that became known as the Higgs boson.

Nick Hadley (Physics) was interviewed by the Baltimore Sun, December 13, on the CERN announcement on possible signs of the Higgs boson. Hadley is Chair of the US CMS (Compact Muon-Solenoid detector at the Large Hadron Collider) Collaboration Board.

Patrick Kanold (Biology) with Graduate Student Aminah Sheikh and colleagues published an article in The Journal of Neuroscience, January 11 on Subplate Neurons Promote Spindle Bursts and Thalamocortical Patterning in the Neonatal Rat Somatosensory Cortex.

Research being conducted by Dan Lathrop (Physics, Geology, IREAP and IPST) and his team was featured in aNature News article, December 7. The three meter geodynamo experiment’s goals include creating a homogeneous, Earth-like dynamo in the lab and demonstrating a self-generating magnetic field in an unconstrained flow.

Karen Lips (Biology) was interviewed by WAMU (88.5 fm) on January 6 on the spread of a fungus, amphibian batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (bd) or chytrid, which is killing amphibian populations and scientists’ attempts to find an answer, including a bacteria found on the skin of salamanders that protects the animal from fungal attack. On January 20, both Lips and Dick Highton (Biology) were interviewed for WAMU talking about the possibility that the fungus had swept through the region several decades ago.

Tyson Littenberg (Physics) was quoted in Scientific American, January 20 in a story about the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) – a space borne observatory – that was to have been a joint mission between NASA and the European Space Agency. The partnership was dissolved in March 2011.

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was quoted in the January 17 edition of The Times of India in an article on an increasing level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over Asia and on January 20 he was interviewed on Headline Today about the impact of La Nina on the record breaking cold in India.

Mihai Pop (Computer Science and UMIACS) was quoted in Science Alert (Australia and New Zealand), December 7, in an article discussing Opera (Optimal Paired-End Read Assembler), the first algorithmic solution for genome assembly that provides a quality guarantee and scales to large dataset.  The program is freely available.

Joe Redish (Physics) was interviewed for NPR’s All Things Considered, January 1 on effective teaching techniques in physics.

Roald Sagdeev (Physics and IPST) was quoted in Nature News, January 16 in an article on the crash of the Russian Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, which was launched on November 8 last year and was meant to travel to a moon of Mars and back. Sagdeev suggested that there were two possibilities for the crash:  the on-board computer didn’t give the command correctly or the engine didn’t work properly.

Research conducted by Ben Shneiderman (Computer Science and UMIACS), Bonnie Dorr (Computer Science and UMIACS) Judith Klavans (UMIACS), Jimmy Lin (CLIS, Computer Science and UMIACS), Dragomir Radev (Michigan) and Computer Science Graduate Students Cody Dunne and Robert Gove was featured on the front page of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Discoveries page. Their research, Action Science Explorer (ASE), allows users to simultaneously search through thousands of academic papers, using a visualization method that determines how papers are connected, e.g. by topic, date, authors, etc. The ASE helps reveal emerging trends and controversies and encourages collaborations within the research community. The work was partially funded by the NSF grant “iOPENER: A Flexible Framework to Support Rapid Learning in Unfamiliar Research Domains.”

Ben Shneiderman (Computer Science and UMIACS) was quoted in New Scientist, January 9, in an article on flat panel TVs that incorporate motion and voice-recognition controls.

Andrea Soto (Undergraduate student, Biology) was quoted in USA Today, January 16, in an article on the cost of textbooks and the use of e-textbooks.

Derek Richardson (Astronomy) was quoted in Earth Magazine, December 2011 issue, in an article on research published in the September 2011 edition of The Astrophysics Journal by the NASA Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) team challenging the claim that the Baptistina family of asteroids was responsible for the dinosaur extinction.

Research conducted by Ross Salawitch (AOSC, Chemistry and Biochemistry and ESSIC) and Tim Canty (AOSC) with colleagues, and published in Geophysical Research Letters, November 3, 2010 was referred to in an article on sea ice and atmospheric chemistry in the December 5 edition of Chemical & Engineering News.

Wilfrid Schroeder (ESSIC) co-authored a review article published in Nature, January 19 "The Amazon Basin in transition," providing a framework for understanding the linkages between natural variability, drivers of change, responses and feedbacks in the Amazon basin.

Images processed in-house by Wilfrid Schroeder (ESSIC) were featured in a NASA Earth Observatory article, January 19. The first fire images were acquired by the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (NPP/VIIRS) and are the tip of the iceberg for the VIIRS fire algorithm development and validation activities.  The positive feedback was received from the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) program managers as a result of our effort to start evaluating and analyzing the new data almost immediately after the infrared channels began operating.

V.S. Subrahmanian (Computer Science and UMIACS) was quoted in the New York Times, December 5, in an article on African universities creating or expanding their computer science departments, adding graduate programs and conducting research.

Research on new computer simulations for the folding and unfolding kinetics of human telomerase conducted by David Thirumalai (Chemistry & Biochemistry and IPST) and colleagues was featured in the Spotlight section, The Journal of the American Chemical Society, December 27 issue.

Dennis vanEngelsdorp (Entomology) was quoted in Science Now, January 3, in an article on the recent discovery of a tiny fly laying its eggs in the abdomen of a honey bee. The parasite, Apocephalus borealis, is native to North America and was known to parasitize bumble bees, but not honey bees.   vanEngelsdorp and Galen Dively (Entomology) were quoted in the Star Telegram (TX) on January 21 in an article on beekeeping and the concern over Colony Collapse Disorder and the disappearance of honeybees. VanEngelsdorp was also quoted on the same subject in The Tennessean, December 7.

Raymond St. Leger and Tammatha O'Brien (both Entomology) with Sibao Wang (Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute) and Monica Pava-Ripoll (Ph.D. 2009, Entomology), published a paper in the December 13, 2011 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper entitled "Local Adaptation of an Introduced Transgenic Insect Fungal Pathogen Due to New Beneficial Mutations" describes studies on the evolutionary potential and invasion ecology of a fungal pathogen of insects, and in particular provides a mechanistic basis for understanding the consequences of different types of human intervention (habitat fragmentation, climate change, invasive species and genetically modified introductions).

Ellen Williams (Physics and IPST) was the subject of an article in the January 2012 edition of Physics Today. Williams, who is on leave from UMD, is Chief Scientist at British Petroleum (BP), talked about her transition from academia to industry and the research being conducted by BP.

Ross Williams, Lindsay LeBlanc, Matthew Beeler, Abigail Perry, William Phillips and Ian Spielman (all JQI) and Karina Jiménez-García (JQI and Departamento de Fisica, Centro de Investigacion y Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Mexico) have, for the first time, engineered and detected the presence of high angular momentum collisions between atoms at temperatures close to absolute zero with the results reported in Science, December 8. Previous experiments with ultracold atoms featured essentially head-on collisions. The JQI experiment, by contrast, is able to create more complicated collisions between atoms using only lasers. For more info: http://www.jqi.umd.edu/news.html

Alumni News

Ricky Arnold (1992 M.S. Marine Estuarine Environmental Science) was the University’s 2011 Commencement Speaker on December 21. Arnold, an astronaut, completed two space walks to help install solar panels and a truss element at the International Space Station during a 14 day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 2009. Prior to joining NASA, Arnold traveled extensively, teaching math, biology, science and/or marine environmental science in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, West Papua and Bucharest.

Alumni Greg Carlock and Jeremy Peichel (both 2011 Public Policy and CONS) have been selected as 2012Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) out of a total of 9,078 applicants, with only 628 finalists chosen. The program is a flagship leadership development program for advanced degree candidates, designed to develop a cadre of potential government leaders. 

P. (Gopal) Gopalakrishnan (1986 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor R. Kanal) was an invited speaker at the SEARCC Asia Pacific Conference, December 12-13, Mumbai, India. Gopalakrishnan, who has over twenty patents, is currently the Vice President, IBM India Software Lab (ISL) where he oversees product development and technology innovation efforts of a large team of engineers spread across five cities in India.

Mike Mayo (1985 B.S. Computer Science), a bank-stock analyst for Credit Agricole Securities USA, was the subject of an article, “Fix Shareholder Rights,” in CNN Money, January 17. He was also quoted on Bloomberg News, January 19, in a story on CEOs from JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group predicting Wall Street’s rebound. Other media coverage included Business Week, Business Insider, CNN Money, The Street and Fortune. Mayo recently published his memoir, Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst's Fight to Save the Big Banks from Themselves.

D.J. Patil (1999 M.A., 2001 Ph.D. Applied Mathematics, advisor James Yorke) was named 2nd, with Jeff Hammerbacher (Cloudera), in the World’s 7 Most Powerful Data Scientists chosen by Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media. "…These two built the first formal data science teams at Facebook and Linkedin… As Data Scientist in Residence at Greylock, Patil is seeking out the next generation of hot data-driven startups.” On January 9, Fast Company published an article “This is Generation Flux:  Meet the Pioneers of the New (And Chaotic) Frontier of Business” in which Patil was one of seven individuals profiled.  Generation Flux is defined as a mind-set that embraces instability, and tolerates recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. On January 16, Fortune magazine published an article featuring Patil and the predicted demand by companies for data scientists by the year 2020.

Jacques Ravel (1999 Ph.D. MEES) is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Genome Sciences and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore. Ravel uses genomic tools to gain insights into the evolution of microbial pathogens with his research program focused on applying modern genomics technologies and ecological principles to characterize the role and dynamics of the microbial communities inhabiting the human body in health and disease and better define the interactions between the host, the microbes and the environment that drive these ecological systems.

Pooja Sankar (2004 M.S. Computer Science) was named 16th of the Top 20 Women Founders and Entrepreneurs of Technology Companies by CEO World, November edition. Sankar is the Founder and CEO of Piazza, a free, online collaboration platform for students and teachers to communicate.  Prior to founding the company, Sankar worked at Facebook on their News Feed Team, and had been a developer at Kosmix and Oracle. Sankar was also the subject of a Mercury News article, January 6.

Vadim Sapiro (1992 B.S. Mathematics) has been appointed Chief Information Officer, OpGen, responsible for leading the development of the company’s bioinformatics applications, software, databases and information technology operations. Prior to joining OpGen, Sapiro was Senior Vice President, SAIC-Frederick.

Seva Search, founded by Gurpeet Singh (2003 B.S. Computer Science), Manpreet Singh (2003 B.S. Finance) and Amandeep Bakshi (2007 B.S. Electrical Engineering), has raised $1.3 million in Series A funding for its first product, Seva Call, a search engine that allows consumers to connect with local businesses in near real-time via the phone.  Seva Call will roll out in the D.C. Metro area within a month, and nationwide in the beginning of 2012.

Bassam Shakhashiri (1965 M.S. and 1968 Ph.D Chemistry) was interviewed for Nature, Q&A: The Science Showman, January 5.  Shakhashiri, newly appointed President of the American Chemical Society (ACS), discussed his approach to science education, engaging the public with science and his goals as president of the ACS. Among his many awards, Shakhashiri received the 2002 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, "for his tireless efforts to communicate science to the general public, and especially children."