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CMNS e-News February 2012

Vol. 2, No. 4
Please submit items to the editor, Mary Kearney.


Honors and Awards

Elizabeth Beise (Physics and Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Programs) has been named a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher. An internationally-recognized expert in experimental nuclear physics, Beise researches the fundamental, underlying properties of neutrons and protons, the constituents of the nuclei in atoms. She has led experiments in electron scattering at the MIT-Bates accelerator and at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) in Newport News, Virginia.

Thomas Cohen (Physics) and Paul Lett (Physics, JQI and NIST) have been selected as two of the 149 new American Physical Society's Outstanding Referees for 2012, out of more than 60,000 currently active referees. Initiated in 2008, the highly selective Outstanding Referee program recognizes scientists who have been exceptionally helpful in assessing manuscripts for publication in the APS journals.

At a ceremony at the Associação Mico-Leão Dourado headquarters in the Poço das Antas Biological Reserve (Brazil), Lou Ann Dietz and James Dietz (Biology), Founding Directors of Save the Golden Lion Tamarin (SGLT), were awarded a medal of honor from the Municipal Council of Silva Jardim for their contributions over the last 30 years to educating the youth of Silva Jardim about their natural environment.

John Fourkas (Chemistry & Biochemistry and IPST) has been awarded the University System of Maryland Regents' Faculty Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.

Carl Kingsford (Computer Science and UMIACS) has been awarded a 2012 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. The fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders. Kingsford's two main research areas are the computational analysis of protein interactions and networks and bacterial and viral genomics.

Stacy Woycheck (CMNS Dean's Office Director of New Student Programs) has been elected Chair of the Peer Advising and Mentoring Commission, National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Woycheck's two year term of office will begin at the conclusion of NACADA's annual conference being held in Nashville, TN on October 4-7.


Larry Davis (Computer Science and UMIACS), Air Force Research Laboratory, $239,109, "E-VERIFY: Dual Hierarchical Graph Method for Object Indexing and Recognition."

Russell Dickerson (AOSC and ESSIC), STMD-Maryland Department of the Environment, $265,000, "Air Pollution in Maryland-RAMMPP FY2012."

Patrick Kanold (Biology), Johns Hopkins Hospital, $150,867, "Cross-modal Changes in Auditory Cortex by Visual Deprivation."

Thomas Kocher (Biology), NSF, $313,020, "Genomic Architecture of an Adaptive Radiation."

Paul Paukstelis (Chemistry & Biochemistry), NSF, $100,000, "CAREER: Non-Canonical Base Pairs for the Construction and Application of DNA Crystals."

Leslie Pick (Entomology), NSF, $186,898, "IPA for Dr. Leslie Pick."

Gerald Share (Astronomy), NSF, $235,641, "Remote Observations of Accelerated Particles Interacting at the Sun."

Lawrence Sita (Chemistry & Biochemistry), NSF, $517,000, "Two-state Living Coordinative Olefin Polymerization."

Daniel Stein (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics), NIH-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $187,500, "Role of Bacteriophage in Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Biology."

Eitan Tadmor (Mathematics, CSCAMM and IPST), NSF, $1,215,897, "Collaborative Research: RNMS: Kinetic Description of Emerging Challenges in Multiscale Problems of Natural Sciences."

Wade Winkler (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics), NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences, $226,442, "Regulation of Magnesium Homeostasis in Bacillus Subtilis."

What's New

The Human-Computer Interaction Lab has been selected by the Oracle Health Sciences Institute to expand development of a tool to facilitate the visualization of patient clinical data patterns over time, as they apply to drug safety signals in large repositories of longitudinal healthcare and claims data. Visual data has been proven to significantly improve the thought processes of researchers. As such, the newly-designed tool is expected to help accelerate and broaden adverse events analysis, leading to new insights, as well as expanded research opportunities. 

Millard Alexander (Chemistry & Biochemistry and IPST) has been named President of the Telluride Science Research Center (TSRC), with a term of office from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014. TSRC’s mission is to inspire substantive scientific inquiry, breakthroughs, and discoveries by hosting scientific meetings in an open environment conducive to productive collaboration and positive contributions to research, policy, and education. Nearly 1000 scientists annually attend TSRC workshops, which historically have had a molecular emphasis (be it chemistry, physics or biology). In addition, TSRC sponsors a biannual advanced school in theoretical chemistry and has been the site of the American Conference on Theoretical Chemistry. For more 

An International Symposium on Mesoscale and Fluctuation Thermodynamics will be held on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Mikhail Anisimov (IPST and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering). The symposium will deal with contemporary issues in thermodynamics and statistical physics emerging at mesoscales in a variety of soft condensed matter systems. The symposium will take place on Friday, April 27, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Jeong H. Kim Building, University of Maryland.

Kwaku Dayie (Chemistry & Biochemistry) accepted an invitation from NIH-Department of Health and Human Services to serve as a member of the Macromolecular Structure and Function B Study Section, Center for Scientific Review. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. The term of service begins July 1, 2012, and ends June 30, 2018.

Thomas Holtz (Geology) will give a public talk, “Jaws and Claws through Time and Space: Shifting Patterns of Predation among Carnivorous Dinosaurs through the Mesozoic,” at the annual PaleoFest of the Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford, IL, March 3. 

Wendell Hill (Physics, IPST and JQI) and Raj Roy (Physics, IPST and IREAP) were invited speakers at the International Workshop on Advanced Computational and Experimental Techniques in Nonlinear Dynamics, February 20-24, Puebla, Mexico. The workshop was organized by the Instituto de Física de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla.

Xin-Zhong Liang (AOSC and ESSIC) released a regional climate model on February 17 called the Climate-Weather Research Forecasting Model (CWRF), a significant extension of the original Weather Research Forecasting Model (WRF). The model has been ten years in the making by Liang’s team, in collaboration with NOAA and NCAR, and facilitates the use of an optimized physics ensemble approach to improve weather forecast or climate prediction and their impacts on terrestrial hydrology, coastal oceans, crop growth, air quality, water quality and ecosystems.

Steve Rolston (Physics and JQI) was the speaker at the February 21 meeting of the DC Science Cafe with a topic of “Quantum Mechanics: Embrace the Weirdness.” The DC Science Cafe “… provides a new channel for the public to become directly engaged in open, facilitated, curiosity-driven discussions about scientific discoveries and technologies that fascinate, enlighten, amuse, befuddle, terrify and otherwise move us.”

In The News

Phil Arkin (AOSC and ESSIC) was quoted in Environment and Energy Daily, February 10, in an article on NOAA's decision to abandon the 20th Century Reanalysis project – an effort to reconstruct a detailed picture of hour-by-hour changes in the atmosphere going back to the 91th century.

Research conducted by Daniel Butts (Biology) with colleagues from The Montreal Neurological Institute and published in PNAS, January 31, was the subject of an article in PhysOrg and Health Canal, February 7. Their research figured out the mathematical calculations that specific neurons employ in order to inform us of our distance from an object and the 3-D velocities of moving objects and surfaces relative to ourselves.

Rita Colwell (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics and UMIACS) was featured in News Pakistan, February 7, in an article on her third trip as U.S. Science Envoy. Colwell traveled to Vietnam, February 4-11 where she met with senior government officials and representatives from the scientific, education, nonprofit and business communities to discuss cooperation on global health, climate change as well as women and youth in science. Colwell was selected as one of three science envoys to the Muslim world by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the U.S. State Department in September 2010.
James Gates (Physics) was quoted in ScienceInsider, February 8, in an article on a recently released report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) on improving undergraduate science, engineering and mathematics education. Gates is a member of the Council and co-chair of the report.

William Jeffery (Biology) was interviewed by BioScience, February edition, about his research on cavefish and their evolutionary developmental biology.

Bruce Kane (Physics and JQI) was quoted in New Scientist, February 19, on research conducted at the University of New South Wales, Australia on single atom phosphorus transistors.

Patrick Kanold (Biology), with Graduate Student Sarada Viswanathan, Sharba Bandyopadhyay (ISR) and Joseph Kao (University of Maryland School of Medicine) published an article in the Journal of Neuroscience, February 1, on Changing Microcircuits in the Subplate of the Developing Cortex. Their studies find that Subplate Neurons receive prominent excitatory and inhibitory inputs from the developing cortex.

A team from the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and led by Johnpierre Paglione (Physics), has found an iron-based superconductor that operates at the highest known temperature for a material in its class. The discovery inches iron-based superconductors closer to being useful in many practical applications. The research was published in Physical Review Letters, January 13. Media coverage included PhysOrg, Softpedia, Chemistry Times and ScienceNews.

Stephen Powell (Physics and JQI) was mentioned in New Scientist, February 29, in an article on talks delivered at the American Physical Society’s meeting in Boston, February 27. Powell’s talk was on “Higgs transitions of spin ice.”

Michael Raupp (Entomology) was quoted in the Baltimore Sun, February 5, in an article on the substantial decline in the number of stink bug last fall. Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee may have contributed to their decline. Media coverage included The Washington Post and CBS.

Philip Resnik (Linguistics and UMIACS) was quoted in The Wall Street Journal, February 11 in an article on using social media for tracking or analyzing quantifiable public sentiment. On January 31, Resnik was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show,, discussing the same subject. Resnik, with colleagues at React Labs, have created a mobile app for responding to live TV events – a convergence of mobile, UI, real-time participatory data and collection/analysis and linguistic analysis.

Roberta Rudnick (Geology) was interviewed by India’s TV-9, February 4, when on a pre-conference field trip to see kimberlites (the main source of diamonds) in southern India. Rudnick was attending the 10th International Kimberlite Conference, Bangalore, India where she presented a talk on the formation of cratons (stable, ancient portions of continents, from which nearly all of the diamonds derive).

Ross Salawitch (AOSC, Chemistry & Biochemistry and ESSIC), with colleagues, published a commentary in the February 14 edition of the American Geophysical Union’s Eos newspaper on recent cuts to the Canadian agency responsible for meteorological services and environmental science, Environment Canada. The authors wrote that the reductions threaten research on the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere and on pollution in the lower atmosphere and also threatens existing international agreement. Media coverage included EP Magazine,, Vancouver Sun, Smart Planet and the Windsor Star.

Jacob Taylor (JQI and NIST) was quoted in articles published in Health Imaging and MedGadget, February 7 on cool nano loudspeakers that could make for better MRIs and quantum computers as reported in the December 2011-January 2012 edition of CMNS News. The research was published in Physical Review Letters on December 27.

Francesco Tombesi (Astronomy), with colleagues, published an article in February’s Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society-Letters, demonstrating that ultrafast outflows (UFOs) could explain the link between black holes and bulge size. The research was covered in Scientific American, February 29.

Mathieu Touboul, Igor Puchtel and Richard Walker (Geology) published an article in Science, February 16, showing that some portions of the Earth’s mantle formed when the planet was much smaller than it is now, and that some of this early-formed mantle survived Earth’s turbulent formation, including a collision with another planet-sized body that many scientists believe led to the creation of the moon. Coverage included Forbes, NSF News, Science Daily, Red Orbit, SpaceRef,, Astrobiology Magazine and Zee News.

Elizabeth Warner (Astronomy) was interviewed by WUSA-9, February 29, to explain why we have a leap year every 4 years.

Gerald Wilkinson (Biology) was interviewed for an article in the Boston Globe, February 14, on politics and the social behavior of vampire bats.

Alumni News

Mulugeta Bekele (1993 M.S. Physics) has been awarded the 2012 Andrei Sakharov Prize by the American Physical Society for "..... tireless efforts in defense of human rights and freedom of expression and education anywhere in the world, and for inspiring students, colleagues and others to do the same." Bekele, an Associate Professor of Physics at Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia, was put in prison for 7 years by the military government in Ethiopia (1974). On release Bekele continued teaching for six years before going to India to pursue his Ph.D. at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He returned to Ethiopia and the AAU in 1997, where he works with a research group involved in polymer and biological physics. He is a founding member of the Ethiopian Physical Society and currently serves the Society as its President. Bekele was presented with the award at the APS Meeting in Boston (February 27-March 2).

Charles Bieneman (1999 B.S. Computer Science), a partner at Rader, Fishman & Grauer, has launched an e-publication, "The Software Intellectual Property Report," which will focus on the intersection of software and intellectual property law.

Gregory Cooper (2000 Ph.D. Physics, advisor John Orloff) is Founder and CTO of Pixelligent Technologies which manufactures high quality nanocrystal additives and polymer nanocomposites for the electronics, industrial and military markets. Cooper, who founded the company in 2000, is responsible for recruiting and managing the research and development teams, developing the intellectual property strategy and contributing to overall business initiatives. On February 3 the Baltimore Business Journal reported that Pixelligent, with Brewer Science, had announced the development of a new spin-on hardmask technology with Brewer Science Inc.

Tobin Marks (1966 B.S. Chemistry), has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) "...for innovation in electronic, photonic, and photovoltaic materials and catalytic polymerization. Marks is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

David Scheper (1993 B.S., 1998 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Adil Hassam) was a member of the Career Panel hosted by Women in Physics, February 15. The panel featured guests whose graduate studies in physics led them to careers outside academia. Scheper is Founder and President of Jovian Concepts, which provides on-site consulting services to agencies within the United States government.

Adel Youssef (2000 M.S., 2006 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Ashok Agrawala) was featured in the Next Web, February 15. Youssef is the creator of Google’s MyLocation service and is a member of the small group who won the Google Founders’ award, given to employees who have created phenomenal projects.