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CMNS e-News March 2012

Vol. 2, No. 5
Please submit items to the editor, Mary Kearney.


Honors and Awards

Graduate students John Bender (Chemistry), Maria Perez Cardenas (Chemistry), Joseph Paulson (Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation), Alyssa Stewart (Biological Science), Armando Rosario-Lebron (Entomology) and John Bare (Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science) have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Kelly Haisfield (Graduate student, Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology and Environmental Policy) has been awarded a 2012-13 Fulbright to study in Indonesia. Haisfield will focus her research on the Gili Islands, where she will investigate the effectiveness of BioRock, an artificial structure used to restore damaged coral reefs. She secured an affiliation with Mataram University, and will work with Professor Arifin Bakti, an expert in coral reef ecology. Upon her return, Haisfield will work for an environmental organization and will continue to focus her conservation work throughout the East Asian and Pacific regions.

Harley Katz (Undergraduate student, Astronomy and Physics) has been selected as a Goldwater Scholar, one of the most prestigious awards an undergraduate can receive. Katz currently works with Massimo Ricotti (Astronomy) on Globular Cluster Research and with Stacy McGaugh and Peter Teuben (both Astronomy) on Modified Newtonian Dynamics Research. He earned a citation from the College Park Scholars "Science, Discovery, and the Universe" program and volunteers at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Benjamyn Ward (Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics) and Krzystztof Franaszeks (Biological Science and Economics) were awarded Honorable Mentions.

Katherine Manfred (Undergraduate student, Chemistry and Physics) has been awarded a Clarendon Scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. at Oxford University, Fall 2012. The Clarendon Fund, launched in 2001, is a major graduate scholarship program at the University of Oxford, offering over 100 new scholarships every year. Less than 7% of all applicants, across all disciplines, are selected for this highly competitive scholarship. Awards are made based on academic excellence and potential across all subject areas, enabling the most distinguished scholars to study at Oxford University.

Ed Ott (Physics and IREAP) has been named a 2012 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Fellow in recognition "...for the breadth, depth, and vitality of his investigations of nonlinear dynamical systems, which highlight both theory and application."


Frederick Khachik (Chemistry and Biochemistry), "Process for Synthesis of (3R, 3'R)-zeaxanthin and (3R, 3'S;meso)-zeaxanthin from (3R,3'R,6R)-lutein via (3R)-3',4'-anhydrolutein."

Frederick Khachik (Chemistry and Biochemistry), "Process for the Preparation of b- and a- Cryptoxanthin."

Martin Moody (Physics), "Gravity Gradiometer with Torsion Flexure Pivots."


Larry Davis (Computer Science and UMIACS), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), $200,384, "E-VERIFY: Open Architecture Image-Based W4 Extraction on GPU and Cloud Systems."

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

Cerruti Hooks (Entomology), USDA-Agricultural Research Service, $697,467, "Biology, Ecology and Management of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Orchard Crops, Small Fruit, Grapes, Vegetables and Ornamentals."

Xin-Zhong Liang (AOSC and ESSIC), Howard University, $125,000, "CWRF Model Development for Climate Services."

Doug Oard (UMIACS and Information Studies), IBM, $3,405,280, "Evaluation and Translation Techniques in Support of DARPA BOLT Activity A."

Donald Perlis (Computer Science and UMIACS), Office of Naval Research, $250,000, "Self-Tasking and Learning under Crisis."

Leslie Ries (Biology and SeSync), NSF, $1,134,741, "ABI Development: Access, Visualization and Statistical Tools for the Analysis of Butterfly Monitoring Data."

What's New

You are invited to a celebration honoring our Alumni of the Year on Friday, April 13, 3:30pm, G. Forrest Woods Atrium-Chemistry Building.

Maryland Day:  Saturday April 28, 10 am - 4 pm.  CMNS has 40 events scheduled including: Exploring NASA, Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream, the Insect Petting Zoo, Chemistry Magic, Physics is Phun, Solar Observing, and Probability & Chaos.  For more information:

In celebration of Astronomy Professor Richard Mushotzky's 65th birthday, the Joint Space Science Institute (JSI), the UMD Department of Astronomy, and NASA-Goddard are hosting a three-day scientific meeting titled "Energetic Astronomy: Richard Mushotzky at 65".  The meeting will take place June 4-6, 2012, in Annapolis, MD.  Topics will include various aspects of high-energy astrophysics, including black holes, active galactic nuclei, the high-energy astrophysics of galaxies, galaxy clusters, cosmology, and space missions. The deadline for early registration is May 1, while the deadline for regular registration is May 28.

A CIRUN workshop, jointly sponsored by the NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative (OHHI) and the NOAA Climate Program Office, was held at ESSIC on February 21-22.  The workshop brought together 40 participants from three communities: (1) State and local departments of public health and the environment from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Washington, (2) FDA, NIH, NOAA and university health and microbiology scientists, and (3) NOAA and university modeling and forecast scientists. The objective of the workshop was to identify actions that would improve the information provided to the public health sector about the current and future status of harmful alga blooms and those vibrio that are dangerous to humans, with a particular focus on the Chesapeake Bay.  A parallel workshop was held in Seattle, March 21-22, with a particular focus on the Puget Sound.

The Department of Physics and the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics (MCFP) hosted the Susy, Exotics, and Reaction to Confronting the Higgs (SEARCH) Workshop, March 17-19, 2012, bringing together a select group of particle experimentalists and theorists from around the world.  The workshop focused on the physics of Electro-Weak Unification being conducted at the CERN Laboratory's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), involving searches for Higgs bosons, super-symmetry, and new exotic particles.  The workshop was featured in “Life and Physics” by Jon Butterworth, The Guardian.

The 28th Annual Chemathon, hosted by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will take place on April 28, 2012.  The chemistry competition for high school students in Maryland and the District of Columbia provides students with an opportunity to use knowledge and skills gained in the classroom. Students of varying ability are presented with challenging activities and research opportunities requiring creativity and imagination.  Professors Philip DeShong and Michael Montague-Smith (Chemistry and Biochemistry) are members of this year’s coordinating committee.  For information:; information on community outreach -

The Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department’s 2012 Rasmusson Lecture was held on March 29, with Professor George Philander discussing “Why is Global Warming Polarizing?”  Philander is the Knox Taylor Professor of Geosciences, Princeton University.

The Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) announced a new partnership with CyberPoint International, March 7.  The partnership will promote cybersecurity education and research, leveraging each other’s resources, expertise and unique perspectives to develop innovative cybersecurity expertise, educational opportunities and research-driven solutions to cybersecurity challenges.

Matt Bobrowsky (Physics) participated in Nifty Fifty (times 2), one of the USA Science and Engineering Festival’s pre-expo events, speaking to roughly 300 students and faculty at Frederick High School on March 23rd.  James Gates (Physics), who participated in the inaugural event, is participating this year once again.  The Nifty Fiftyscientists and engineers fan out across the Washington, DC area speaking about their work and careers at various schools for the Festival.

Gerald Borgia (Biology) was a panelist at the March 22 Joint Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences, D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER) held at the Keck Center in Washington, DC.  The DASER is a monthly discussion forum on art and science projects in the national capital region, providing a snapshot of the culture environment of the region and fostering interdisciplinary networking.

Tony Busalacchi (ESSIC and AOSC) participated in a “Meet Global Change Scientists” booth at the Planet Under Pressure Conference, London, England, March 26-29.  Scientists from different disciplines visited the booth to discuss their work, answer questions, and share information on their major projects. Each day up to five scientists shared their expertise.  Busalacchi, who is Chair of the UM Council on the Environment, addressed the Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM, as part of their Climate Change and National Security Speakers Series.  He spoke at length regarding the U.S. Navy's first-hand knowledge and experience with climate alterations, as well as the strategic and National Security implications of global climate change.

Lyle Isaacs (Chemistry and Biochemistry) presented invited lectures entitled “Cucurbit[n]uril Molecular Containers” at the Department of Chemistry, University of Houston, March 2012 and the Department of Chemistry, Dartmouth College, February 9.

Sinead Farrell (ESSIC) was recently selected to serve as a science PI on the NASA ICESat-2 Science Definition Team.  The Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) is the 2nd-generation of Earth-orbiting laser altimeter, which is scheduled for launch in early 2016 and will quantify changes in the Earth's polar regions.

Catherine Fenselau (Chemistry and Biochemistry) was an invited speaker at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, March 9, with a topic of “Progress in Proteomic Studies of the Plasma Membrane.”

David Inouye (Biology) represented the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign at the annual meeting of the STEP (Status and Trends in European Pollinators) project in Pisa, Italy, March 5-8.

Atif Memon (Computer Science and UMIACS) will give an invited keynote address at Regression 2012, a workshop co-located with the International Conference on Software Testing (ICST 2012), April 17, 2012, Montréal, Quebec, Canada.

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was an invited speaker at the Weston Roundtable Series on Sustainability, Nelson Institute for the Environment, University of Wisconsin-Madison, March 15.   He was interviewed by Maryland Public TV for a program on Sea Level Rise and Smith Island.  On March 27, Murtugudde was a convener at the session “Global science for global governance of oceanic ecosystems and fisheries” at the Planet Under Pressure Conference held in London, England, March 26-29.

Arthur Popper (Biology and Associate Dean in the Graduate School), with Professor Anthony Hawkins of Loughine Limited and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, organized an international conference on “Effects of Noise on Fish, Fisheries, and Invertebrates” in San Diego, California March 21-23, 2013.  The conference was sponsored by the U. S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) as part of their efforts to better understand the effects of energy exploration off the shores of the U.S. Atlantic and Arctic coasts.  Dr. Brandon Casper, a postdoc in Popper’s laboratory, was one of the plenary speakers at the meeting, which included scientists, regulators, and representatives from industry.  A major report on data gaps and future research recommendations will come from the meeting.

Jonathan Rosenberg (Mathematics) was the principal speaker, giving a 10-lecture series, at a workshop sponsored by the Institute for Geometry and its Applications, University of Adelaide and the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, March 19-23, 2012.  Rosenberg’s lecture topics can be viewed at:

Raj Roy (Physics, IPST and IREAP) will give an invited talk at Michigan State University, Physics and Astronomy Department, April 19 on Synchronization in Real Networks:  Chaos, Communication and Chimeras.

Ben Shneiderman (Computer Science and UMIACS) is giving a Plenary Talk at the Collective Intelligence 2012 conference being held April 18-20, MIT campus, Cambridge, MA.

VisiSonics, a UMD spinout that enables realistic 3D audio for music, movies and gaming in standard headphones, was a finalist in the 7th Annual Cupid’s Cup Business Competition, March 30.  The company’s management team comprises Ramani Duraiswami, President and CEO (Computer Science and UMIACS), Adam O’Donovan, CTO and VP (Graduate student in Computer Science with a 2005 B.S. Computer Science, 2006 B.S. Physics), Bill Strum, VP of Business Development (1972 M.S. Computer Science), and Conor Mulvey, Manager for Finances and Business Administration (2010 MBA).

In The News

The American Physical Society spotlighted a Physical Review Letter article published on March 8, supported by the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) project led by Dennis Papadopoulos (Physics and Astronomy). The MURI project, "Fundamental Physics Issues on Radiation Belt Dynamics and Remediation," is a $7.5M program that involves theory and modeling, laboratory and space experiments. The spotlighted article described research which may help to mitigate the damage done to orbiting satellites and space missions by electrons in Earth's radiation belts.

Jerome Dancis (Mathematics) published three (3) articles in the Non-partisan Education Review, Vol. 8, 2012 on K-12 mathematics education, particularly teachers learning mathematics and students getting ready for college.

Catherine Carr (Biology) with Katie Willis (Graduate student, Biology) and colleagues from Denmark, Woods Hole and Loyola University Chicago, published an article in Proceedings of The Royal Society B, March 21 on their discovery that a turtle ear is specialized for underwater hearing. Instead of an eardrum, turtle ears have a cartilaginous disk in a membranous frame. Behind the disk is a large, air-filled middle ear. Carr and colleagues compared the sensitivity of turtles to sound in air and water by measuring auditory evoked potentials and showed that the ear is specialized for underwater hearing. Their laser measurements of disk vibrations in response to underwater sound show up to 100-fold larger vibrations of the disk than the surrounding water, most likely because the air volume resonates in an underwater sound field and drives the tympanic disk.

James Farquhar (Geology) co-authored an article in Nature Geoscience, March 18 indicating that Earth's early atmosphere periodically flipped back and forth between hazy and sunny in a way that would have had a profound effect on the climate of our young planet. Their research indicates that some 2.5 billion years ago - just prior to the oxygenation of Earth that led to its development of complex life - the atmosphere seesawed between an orange haze laden with hydrocarbon particles and sunny, mostly hydrocarbon-free skies. Media coverage included PhysOrg, National Geographic, Red Orbit, and The Register.

Michael Fuhrer (Physics and IREAP) was quoted in The Baltimore Sun, March 10, in an article on a Maryland company, Vorbeck Materials, which hopes to make powerful, next-generation lithium batteries by using graphene.

James Gates (Physics) was interviewed on the Public Radio show "On Being" March 1 where he talked about why string theory stretches our imaginations about the nature of reality, how failure makes us more complete and imagination makes us more knowledgeable.

David Inouye (Biology) was interviewed on the Diane Rehm Show (WAMU 88.5), March 15, where he discussed the effects of the warm winter and early spring. On the same day, he participated in a Science Live (Science magazine) chat "Spring Forward Spring Forward--The Ecological Impact of Climate Change on the Seasons." Inouye was quoted in Scientific American, March 16, in an article on the effects of the warm winter on tree-bark eating beetles, which could produce two insect generations a year instead of just one. Media coverage included The Chicago Tribune, Dallas News and the New York Daily News. He also contributed to an NSF article, March 15, about snowmelt triggering chains of events in the Mormon Fritillary butterfly, Speyeria mormonia.

Jian Yang Li (Astronomy) was quoted extensively in the media about NASA's Dawn spacecraft revealing unexpected details on the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. Dawn found some areas on Vesta can be nearly twice as bright as others, revealing clues about the asteroid's history. The results were presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX, March 19-23. Coverage included, but was not limited to,, Daily Mail, Times Live, MSNBC, Silicon Republic, Washington Post, Red Orbit and French Tribune.

Research conducted by former postdoc Heather Lynch was the subject of an article on MSNBC, March 24. Lynch worked with Bill Fagan (Biology) on the compilation of a biodiversity monitoring database for the Antarctic Peninsula that will be used to evaluate alternative hypotheses for long-term changes in penguin and seabird population sizes.

William McDonough (Geology) with colleagues John Learned and Stephen Dye, published an article in Physics Today, March edition, giving an overview of neutrino detectors, particularly the KamLAND (Kamioka Liquid Anti-Neutrino Detector), focusing primarily on the usefulness of neutrinos for geology and nuclear security.

Rabindra Mohapatra (Physics) published an article in the April 2010 edition of Physics Today entitled "Neutrino Mass and Origin of Matter" which has now been translated into Japanese and published in a Japanese magazine called "Parity".

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was quoted in the March edition of EDU Tech in the cover article entitled `Brain Gain.’  The article discussed the Government of Indian wooing professors of Indian origin to return “home.”

Margaret Palmer (Entomology and SeSync) was featured in a Science article, March 23 on her recent trip to Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) where she attended a conference, sponsored by AAAS, to take stock DPRK’s ecological situation, share ideas on how to restore its ecosystems and improve the country’s food security.   Palmer, along with fourteen other international scholars, met with 85 North Koreans to discuss ecological restoration options for that country.  A New York times interview was posted March 30 on  their “green blog” website, March 30.

Art Popper (Biology) was quoted in State Impact (TX), March 22 in an article on recent research about the impact of noise pollution on sea life.

Haitao Quan (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and Christopher Jarzynski (Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST) published an article in Physical Review, March 1 utilizing exact solutions of the time-dependent Schrodinger equation, they found that the evolution of the wave function can be decomposed into static and dynamic components, which have simple semi-classical interpretations in terms of particle-piston collisions. They showed that nonequilibrium work relations remain valid at any finite piston speed, provided both components are included.

Michael Raupp (Entomology) was quoted in the Washington Post, March 10, in an article on the effects of a warm winter on bugs, pests and agriculture. The story was reported on NBC4, March 11. Raupp was also quoted on WTOP, March 15, in a segment on stink bugs emerging early due to the early spring and warm winter.

Leslie Ries (Biology) was quoted in the Star Tribune, March 16 in an article on a recent study by University of Minnesota and Iowa State University researchers suggesting that the rapid spread of herbicide-resistant crops has coincided with, and may explain, the dramatic decline in monarch butterfly numbers.

Brock Russell (Graduate Student, Physics) was quoted in The State Column and Outcome Magazine, March 21, on studies using X-ray and ultraviolet observations from NASA's Swift satellite providing new insights into the elusive origins of an important class of exploding star called Type Ia supernovae. Russell and Stefan Immler, an astrophysicist at NASA-GSFC, will publish their study in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Alumni News

Alumni Gregory Donaldson (2010 B.S. Biological Sciences), Junjie Hao (2011 B.S. Mathematics and Chemistry), David J. Jones (2008 B.S. Biological Sciences), Natalya Savranskaya-Gallo (2011 B.S. Biological Science), John Silberholz (2010 B.S. Computer Science and Mathematics) have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

Dave Baggett (1992 B.S. Computer Science and Linguistics) gave the first lecture of the College's Board of Visitors (BOV) Entrepreneurship Lecture Series on campus on March 15. Baggett talked about what he learned at each of his three start-ups – Crash Bandicoot, ITA Software and – and discussed how you can bring your ideas to the marketplace successfully.

James Bremer (2001 B.S. Computer Science and Mathematics) 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. Bremer, who was awarded his Ph.D. at Yale University in 2007 and is an Assistant Professor at UC-Davis, has research interests in computational mathematics, numerical science and computational harmonic analysis, studying wave reflections from complex objects.

John Canning (1991 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Azriel Rosenfeld) is Director, Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Division, Novetta Solutions. Prior to joining Novetta (now Novetta Solutions) in 2002, Canning worked on air traffic control interfaces and military flight path visualization, focusing on solutions for law enforcement and homeland security.

Philip Friess (1976 B.S. Physics) was recognized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) with a 2012 National Environmental Achievement Award. The program recognizes individuals, and NACWA member agencies, that have made outstanding contributions to environmental protection and the clean water community.

Joe Haldeman (1967 B.S. Astronomy) was a guest speaker at the University of South Florida, March 20-21, where he presented his newest book "Earthbound" and participated in a panel discussion on the cultural obsession with the apocalypse.

Tanja Horn (2001 B.S. and 2006 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Elizabeth Beise) is an Assistant Professor, Physics Department, Catholic University of America (CUA). Horn, who was recognized by CUA with a "Young Faculty Scholar" award in 2011, works in close collaboration with scientists at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility: her current research is aimed at unveiling the mysteries of hadron structure in the transition region of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) confinement to QCD asymptotic freedom.

Ibrahim Matta (1995 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor A.U. Shankar) was promoted to Full Professor, Computer Science Department, Boston University. Matta researches both internet and wireless communication and is known for his scholarship on online traffic routing, congestion control and tools for evaluating computer networks.

Tom McMillen (1974 B.S. Chemistry) was featured in the Wall Street Journal, March 16 in a story on the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Olympic Games held in Germany when nine Israeli athletes and two coaches died. McMillen, a former college and NBA basketball star, Rhodes Scholar and three-term Democratic member of Congress, was a member of the US basketball team and recounted the game between the Soviet Union and the United States only four days after the Israeli athletes were taken hostage.

Jason Munshi-South (2006 Ph.D. BEES, advisor Gerald Wilkinson), is featured in a new TED-Ed video lecturing on the evolution of wildlife species in New York City. Munshi-South is a faculty member in the Department of Natural Sciences, Baruch College-CUNY, NY. TED-Ed is a newly-launched YouTube channel, designed for use in high school and college classrooms, that offers 5-minute videos on "big ideas." 

Daniel Sugarman and Matthew Thomas (both 2010 B.S. Mathematics and Computer Science) are Founder and Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Technology respectively at HD Trade Services, New York. The company, founded in 2011, develops and markets innovative eCommerce solutions to the international trade community.

White Oak Technologies, founded by Alan Broder (1980 B.S. Computer Science) in 1996, has merged with FGM, creating Novetta Solutions. Broder, appointed a Novetta Fellow and Chairman, is responsible for developing and driving technical strategies for the company, and providing technology policy advice to the firm's clients.