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CMNS News - April 2014

Vol. 4, No. 4 April 2014
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
Jayanth Banavar, Dean Mary Kearney, Editor

In Memoriam:
Honors and Awards:
What's New:
Journal Articles:
In the News:
Alumni News:


Deborah Morrin-Nordlund (1992 M.S. MEES), Assistant Director of the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences Graduate Program and champion of MEES students and faculty for the last 18 years, passed away on Monday, April 28, 2014. A Mass of Christian Burial celebrating her life will be held on May 3rd in St. Dunstan Church, Glastonbury, CT. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in her memory be given to the University of Maryland's Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences Graduate Program where she worked tirelessly, helping thousands of students achieve their educational goals. More information:

E-an Zen (Geology), who spent 30 years as a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey before serving as a geology professor from 1989 to 2004, died March 29 at a hospital in Reston, Va. As a geologist, Zen focused on northern Appalachian geology, the composition of granites and the origins of the Potomac River gorge. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and past president of the Mineralogical Society of America, the Geological Society of America and the Geological Society of Washington.


CMNS Graduation Ceremony
Friday, May 23, 2014, Comcast Center
Students must arrive by 11:00am
Procession: 11:45am
Ceremony: 12 noon
Speaker: Marcia McNutt, editor-in-chief, Science magazine
McNutt's honors and awards include membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was awarded the Macelwane Medal by the American Geophysical Union in 1988 for research accomplishments by a young scientist and the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her significant contributions to deep-sea exploration. During her tenure as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (2009-2013), the USGS responded to a number of major disasters, including earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and the Deep Horizon oil spill.


Fifteen current students and recent alumni of CMNS have received prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, which recognize outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. More information can be found at:

CMNS students Jennifer Austin, Jacob Hosen, Ian Rowe and Anya Rushing are Presidential Management Fellows Class of 2014 Finalists. Out of a total of 7,000 applicants, with only 609 finalists chosen. The program is a flagship leadership development program for advanced degree candidates, designed to develop a cadre of potential government leaders. More information at:

Astronomy graduate student Gabriele Betancourt-Martinez has won the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NTSRF). She will use the fellowship to work on X-ray microcalorimeters at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center under the supervision of Dr. Scott Porter. Earlier Betancourt-Martinez received an American Astronomical Society (AAS) International Travel Grant to attend the SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics) meeting in Montreal, Canada, May 5-9.

Computer Science and Biology double major Fang Cao has been awarded a 2014 Truman Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Cao is the first UMD student to be awarded both Goldwater and Truman scholarships.

Rita Colwell (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics and UMIACS) received the Gold Medal from the Society for General Microbiology, April 14 at their annual conference in Liverpool, UK. "...As a global leader in her field this award has been given to recognise the outstanding contribution she has made to microbiology, in particular the control of cholera and the far-reaching impact this has had."

Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduate students Brenna Hodges and Alexandra Suberi have been recognized by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation as Beckman Scholars. Hodges will work with faculty member Efrain Rodriguez investigating how novel inorganic photocatalysts can be used to split water and provide a source of green energy, while Suberi will work with faculty member John Fourkas investigating how nano-topographical features on surfaces can direct cell migration. More information on the Beckman Scholars program can be found here:

Doron Levy (Mathematics) and Sylvain Veilleux (Astronomy) have been named Fellows of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Levy has advanced the integration of math in medicine, receiving national and international recognition for his work on cancer. Veilleux is known for his work on active galactic nuclei (AGN), objects powered by supermassive black holes (SMBHs), and starburst galaxies, systems that form stars at prodigious rates.

Stephanie Lighter, a senior majoring in Biology and Psychology, has been awarded a 2014-15 Fulbright Student Grant to teach English at the Vinay Nagar Bengali Senior Secondary School in New Delhi, India. On her return from India, Lighter plans to pursue a masters in global public health and become a licensed nurse practitioner focusing on issues in women's health.

Undergraduate students Robert Lukin (Chemistry) and Michael Natoli (AOSC and Mathematics) received National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings scholarships. The scholarships awards include academic assistance (up to a maximum of $8,000 per year) for full-time study during the 9-month academic year; a 10-week, full-time internship position during the summer at a NOAA facility; and, if reappointed, academic assistance for full-time study during a second 9-month academic year. More information can be found at:

Jandelyn Plane (Computer Science) is the recipient of the 2014 Women in Technology (WIT) Social Impact IT Leadership Award for her work in improving computing education, her leadership as Associate Director of the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Undergraduates program and for her efforts in advocating for under-represented populations in computing. The WIT awards program honors "...leading female professionals who have excelled as mentors, exemplified unique vision as well as embodied the WIT mission." Plane is Director of the Maryland Center for Women in Computing.

Hanan Samet (Computer Science and UMIACS) has been named the 2014 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society's prestigious W. Wallace McDowell Award for "...fundamental contributions to the development of multidimensional spatial data structures and indexing, translation validation, and proof-carrying code." Samet is a Fellow of AAAS, ACM, IEEE, the International Association for Pattern Recognition and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science.

Biological Sciences graduate student Daniel Serrano, who is studying the interactions between immune cells, blood clots, and blood vessels, has been named an AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow. This 10-week summer program places science, engineering, and mathematics students at media organizations nationwide, with fellows using their academic training as they "..research, write, and report today's headlines, sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to the public." Serrano's 10-week assignment will be with Nuestra Tele Noticias. Information on the program at:

Freshman Aaron Solomon (Computer Science and Cellular Biology & Molecular Genetics major) and sophomore Kai Keefe (Broadcast Journalism and Environmental Science major) received LabTV awards at the Tribeca Film Festival for their video portraits of young medical scientists who work in labs funded by the NIH. Solomon was honored for a video profile of graduate student Di Wu in the laboratory of Kan Cao (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics), while Keefe was honored for a video profile of graduate student Rachel Lee who works in the lab of Wolfgang Losert (Physics, IREAP and IPST).

Computer Science graduate student Vikas Shivashankar with Dana Nau (advisor) and co-authors (F. Ivankovic, P. Haslum and S. Thiebaux) have received the ICAPS 2014 Outstanding Student Paper Award, "Optimal Planning with Global Numerical State Constraints." More information at


Michael A'Hearn and Stuart Vogel (Astronomy), Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, $109,050 in additional funding bringing the total award to $592,827, "Rosetta – OSIRIS Project."

Volker Briken (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics), NIH-National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases, $226,854, "Inhibition of the Host Cell AIM2 Inflammasome by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis."

Patrick Brosnan (Mathematics), NSF, $286,100, "FRG: Collaborative Research: Hodge Theory, Moduli and Representation Theory."

Antonio Busalacchi (AOSC and ESSIC), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Sequences 29, 30 and 32, $986,996 in additional funding bringing the total award to $10,356,779, "Collaborative Earth System Science Research between NASA-GSFC and UMD."

Rama Chellappa (UMIACS and ECE) and Larry Davis (Computer Science and UMIACS), Air Force Research Laboratory, $278,092 in additional funding bringing the total award to $527,981, "Visual Fingerprint as a Novel Modality for Mobile Active Authentication."

Rama Chellappa (UMIACS and ECE) and Vishal Patel (UMIACS), Office of Naval Research, $120,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $502,880, "Compressive Sensing for Image Understanding."

Michael Cox (UMIACS), Office of Naval Research, $155,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $645,500, "MIDCA: A Metacognitive, Integrated Dual-cycle Architecture for Self-regulated Autonomy."

Michael Cox (UMIACS), Office of Naval Research, $225,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $245,000, "Goal-driven Autonomy and Robust Architecture for Long-duration Missions."

David Doerman (Computer Science and UMIACS), DARPA-Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, $241,105, "Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement."

William Dorland (Physics and IREAP) and Ramani Duraiswami (Computer Science and UMIACS), DOE-Chicago, $201,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $767,000, "Center for the Study of Plasma Microturbulence."

Bryan Eichhorn (Chemistry & Biochemistry and Maryland NanoCenter), DARPA-Defense Threat Reduction Agency, $338,091 in additional funding bringing the total award to $1,039,447, "Next Generation Energetic Materials: New Clusters, Cluster Hydrides and Metastable Alloys of Aluminum in Very Low Oxidation States."

Michael Fuhrer (Physics), Sankar Das Sarma (Physics and JQI) and William Cullen (Physics), Office of Naval Research, $179,178 in additional funding bringing the total award to $4,375,001, "Tailoring Electronic Properties of Graphene at the Nanoscale."

Victor Galitskiy (Physics and JQI), University of California-Irvine, $240,000, "TQUID Magnetometer and Artificial Neural Circuitry Based on a Topological Kondo Insulator."

Eric Haag (Biology), NSF, $245,000, "mRNA Translation and Germlime Evolution in Caenorhabditis."

Mohammad Hajiaghayi (Computer Science and UMIACS), Office of Naval Research, $126,884 in additional funding bringing the total award to $535,000, "ONR YIP Proposal: Efficient Algorithms for Strategic Problems in Network Design."

Kayo Ide (AOSC, IPST and CSCAMM), Office of Naval Research, $367,748 in additional funding bringing the total award to $640,882, "Multi-model Ensemble Approaches to Data Assimilation Using the 4D-local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter."

Joseph JaJa (UMIACS, SESYNC and ECE), Maryland Procurement Office, $210,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $375,192, "E-VERIFY: LTS-DO-001: Program Management Task."

Joseph JaJa (UMIACS, SESYNC and ECE), Maryland Procurement Office, $200,000 in addition funding bringing the total award to $400,079, "E-VERIFY: LTS-DO-003: Topics in Network Mapping and Measurement."

Bruce Kane (Physics and JQI), Maryland Procurement Office, $1,026,399 in additional funding bringing the total award to $5,036,462, "E-VERIFY: Quantum Computing Research."

Patrick Kanold (Biology), Johns Hopkins University, $180,202 in additional funding bringing the total award to $364,472, "Cross-model Regulation of Auditory Cortex Function."

Jonathan Katz and Amitabh Varshney (Computer Science and UMIACS), Maryland Procurement Office, $1,332,377, E-VERIFY: Establishing a Science of Security Research Lablet at the University of Maryland."

Michael Kelley (Astronomy), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $113,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $230,000, "Crystalline Silicates in Comets and Dynamical Mixing of the Disk."

Laurent Montesi (Geology), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $148,214, "Development and Instability of Melt Decompaction Layers in the Martian Lithosphere and their Effect on the Spacing of Volcanic Centers."

Abhishek Motayed (IREAP) and John Melngailis (IREAP and ECE), NSF, $179,606 in additional funding bringing the total award to $256,620, "Silicon Nanowire High-frequency Field-effect Transistors – Novel Device Designs and Character."

Lee Mundy (Astronomy), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $1,091,828 in additional funding bringing the total award to $31,713,760, "The Goddard Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology."

Lee Mundy (Astronomy), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $137,112 in additional funding bringing the total award to $182,690, "The Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry (BETTII)."

Zhihong Nie (Chemistry & Biochemistry and Maryland NanoCenter), NSF, $110,729 in additional funding bringing the total award to $223,241, "Biomimetic Self-assembly of Polymer-inorganic Hyrid Nanocompartments."

Kasso Okoudjou and John Benedetto (Mathematics), NSF, $288,015, "REU Site: Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics Research Experience for Undergraduates (MAPS-REU)."

Min Ouyang (Physics and Maryland NanoCenter), NSF, $120,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $270,000, "Understanding a Few Nanoscale Light-Matter-Spin Interactions by Combining Ultrafast Optical Spectroscopy and Colloidal Quantum Functional Materials."

Paul Paukstelis (Chemistry & Biochemistry), NSF, $100,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $300,000, "CAREER: Non-canonical Base Pairs for the Construction and Application of DNA Crystals."

William Phillips (Physics, JQI, IPST and NIST) and Gretchen Campbell (JQI and NIST), Office of Naval Research, $100,000 in additional funding bringing the total award to $216,000, "Applications of Cold, Quantum-degenerate Atomic Gases."

Arthur Popper and Joshua Singer (Biology), Office of Naval Research, $166,118 in additional funding bringing the total award to $485,233, "IPA – Naval Submarine Medical Research Lab."

Sylvain Veilleux (Astronomy), Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Lab, $146,681 in additional funding bringing the total award to $396,681, "Cycle 2 Herschel Studies of Galactic Winds."

YuHuang Wang (Chemistry and Biochemistry and Maryland NanoCenter), Army Research Lab, $100,000, "Controlled Synthesis and Characterization of Advanced Thermoacoustic Thin-films."

Wenlu Zhu (Geology), DOE-Washington, $112,838 in additional funding bringing the total award to $233,099, "Collaborative Research: Evolution of Pore Structure and Permeability of Rocks Under Hydrothermal Conditions."


Bitcamp, the University of Maryland's first Major League Hackathon, drew nearly 700 students from colleges as far away as Toronto, Canada to the University of Maryland's Cole Field House on April 4-6, 2014. Attendees spent 36 hours working in teams of four to hack together websites, apps, and hardware projects focusing on the theme YOU+TECH. Organized by undergraduate students at UMD, Bitcamp is now one of 36 official Major League Hackathons that have been held during the 2013-2014 academic year. The event opened with a keynote speech from alumni Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov of Oculus VR, the company that produces the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset designed for immersive gaming.

The Physical Sciences Complex dedication took place on April 23, 2014 with State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, President Loh, Patrick Gallagher (Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology), Elizabeth Nuss (widow of Robert L. Gluckstern, former Chancellor and Physicist), Dean Banavar and William Phillips (Physics, JQI, IPST and NIST) speaking. The complex will have 158,068 square-feet dedicated to state-of-the-art research where undergraduate and graduate students will actively engage with faculty and visiting scientists in cross-disciplinary research.

Two Nobel Prize winning physicists, François Englert and Frank Wilczek, and the physicists who discovered quarks and "color," were among the distinguished speakers at an April 11-12, 2014 symposium, 50 Years of Quarks & Color, highlighting discoveries that sparked a physics revolution. The symposium, supported by the Department of Physics and CMNS, was organized by Wally Greenberg (Physics) who proposed that quarks have "color" charges.

Ricardo Araneda (Biology) has been named a 2014 Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year by the Graduate School. The award recognizes faculty with outstanding achievement in mentoring students, serving the dual purposes of recognizing outstanding mentoring provided by individual faculty and of reminding the university community of the signal importance of mentoring to graduate studies. The 2014 awardees will be recognized at the Annual Graduate School Fellowships and Award Celebration on May 8, 2014.

Victor Basili (Computer Science and UMIACS) gave the keynote address at Hot SoS - Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security on April 9, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina with a talk entitled "What the Science of Security might learn for the Evolution of the Discipline of Empirical Software Engineering."

Ben Bederson (Computer Science and UMIACS) has been appointed the new Associate Provost of Learning Initiatives and founding Executive Director of the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC). The new center will lead the strategic development of educational strategy, policy, program assessment, and the appropriate use of technology for existing and new course delivery structures.

As part of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, Matthew Bobrowsky (1985 Ph.D. Astronomy), James Gates (Physics) and Dennis vanEngelsdorp (Entomology) are three of "The Nifty Fifty" scientists and engineers who will fan out across the Washington, DC area in the 2013-2014 school year to speak at various middle and high schools about their work and careers. Nobel laureates John Mather (Physics) and William Phillips (Physics, JQI, IPST and NIST) will participate in the "Lunch with a Laureate Program" – a brown bag lunch with middle and high school students engaging in informational conversations. More information on the festival, hosted by Lockheed Martin and with UMD and NIST contributing as partners, can be found at:

Michael Doyle (Chemistry & Biochemistry) was profiled in The Capital Chemist, April edition. Doyle, who is the 2013 Hillebrand Prize recipient, was distinguished for "...his contributions to asymmetric catalysis and metal carbine transformations, for providing basic understanding to nitrosyl chemistry that includes the biochemical reactions of nitrites and nitrogen oxides, and for his research in physical organic chemistry and synthetic method development."

William Goldman (Mathematics) will give a 3-lecture minicourse as part of the workshop "Geometric Structures on Discrete Groups" at the University of Texas-Austin, May 2-4, 2014. Other invited speakers include alumni Todd Drumm (1990 Ph.D. Mathematics, advisor Ed Ott) and Sean Lawton (2006 Ph.D. Mathematics). Drumm, who teaches at Howard University, will speak on the topic of collaboration with workshop participant Virginie Charette (2000 Ph.D. Mathematics) now at the University of Sherbrooke (Canada). Lawton and Charette were advised by William Goldman.

Sujay Kaushal (Geology and ESSIC) has been awarded the 2014 Junior Faculty Award by the UMD Council on the Environment. The award is given to a faculty member in honor of achievements over the past three to five years that have raised the profile of the university through environmental issues related to student impact, collaboration with external organizations and extraordinary service pursuits.

Debra Kollonige (ESSIC) delivered an invited presentation at the 2014 Midwest and Central States Air Quality Workshop, held in St. Louis, Missouri, April 22-24. Her talk was entitled "Satellite Signatures of Trace Gases Associated with US Oil and Gas Extraction FY 14 AQAST Project" and discussed new potential applications of satellite data for analyzing emissions and air quality models near and downwind of Oil and Gas operations.

Vedran Lekic (Geology) has been invited to be a 2014-2015 EarthScope Speaker on the basis of his exemplary research and activities related to the EarthScope Program. EarthScope is a program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) that deploys thousands of seismic, GPS, and other geophysical instruments to study the structure and evolution of the North American continent and the processes that cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Physics senior Noah Mandell is the recipient of the University Medal, awarded by the University of Maryland in recognition of his "..academic distinction, extraordinary character, and extracurricular contributions to the University and the larger public."

Raj Roy (Physics, IPST and IREAP) gave an invited talk, "Synchronization, Symmetries, and Clusters in Real Networks," at the Department of Physics, University of Arkansas, April 11. Roy is scheduled to give the Graduate Seminar at the University of New Mexico, Mechanical Engineering Department on May 2, with a talk entitled "Seeing the Light: The Art and Science of Visual Perception and Biomechanical Instabilities."

Michael Raupp (Entomology) was an invited speaker at the April 23 Entomological Society of America's discussion of invasive insect species, the environmental and economic impacts, and the role biological control methods and biological collections. The discussion, held at the Rayburn House Office Building, was co-sponsored by the congressional Invasive Species Caucus.

Elaine Shi (Computer Science, UMIACS and Maryland Cybersecurity Center) and Charalampos "Babis" Papamanthou (ECE and Maryland Cybersecurity Center) are winners in the Information Science category of the university's Celebration of Innovation and Partnerships competition. Their technology, developed in part with the late Emil Stefanov, a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, involves a novel method to ensure that cloud computing is more secure and usable. According to Shi and Papamanthou, their new approach accomplishes a great deal in building a more secure and usable infrastructure for cloud computing.

The Center for Scientific Computation and Mathematical Modeling (CSCAMM) hosted an international conference on "Modern Perspectives in Applied Mathematics: Theory and Numerics of PDEs" in Bethesda April 28-May 2. More than one-hundred participants were welcomed with the opening remarks of Senior VP and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. The week-long meeting included 30 invited lecturers, among the premier applied mathematicians from around the world, who spoke on the interplay between analytical and computational theories in applications to shock waves, kinetic transport, incompressible flows, image processing and models for self-organized dynamics. The meeting was part of the Ki-Net activities and was supported by NSF, ONR, ARO, the University of Maryland and NCSU.

Computer Science faculty member David Van Horn's book "Realm of Racket: Learn to Program, One Game at a Time" has been selected as a 2013 Notable Book in Computing as part of the ACM Computing Reviews' Best of 2013. The book teaches readers to program by leading them through the creation of a series of increasingly complex games. Van Horn co-authored the book with Northeastern University Professor Matthias Felleisen, Dr. Conrad Barski, and eight undergraduate students from Northeastern University.


John Biddle (Physics graduate student), Jan Sengers (IPST) and Mikhail Anisimov (IPST) with F. Bresme of Imperial College, London, "Minimum in the thermal conductivity of supercooled water: A computer simulations study," The Journal of Chemical Physics, April 25.

Alessandra Buonanno (Physics and JSI) with colleagues from Kyoto University, University of Tokyo and Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa-UTL, "Coalescence of binary neutron stars in a scalar-tensor theory of gravity," Phys. Rev. D 89, April 2.

Rita Colwell (UMIACS and Maryland Pathogen Research Institute) with Bradd Haley (2012 Ph.D. MEES), Elisa Taviani (2011 Ph.D. MEES), Nur Hasan, graduate student Arlene Chen and Anwar Huq (School of Public Health) with colleagues from the Food and Drug Administration, Florida Department of Health and Johns Hopkins University, Genomic and Phenotypic Characterization of Vibrio cholerae Non-O1 Isolates from a US Gulf Coast Cholera Outbreak, PLOS One, April 3.

Jonathan Dinman (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics) with Sergey Sulima (2013 Ph.D.),graduate student Vivek Advani and colleagues from the University of Texas at Austin and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, "Bypass of the pre-60S ribosomal quality control as a pathway to oncogenesis," PNAS, April 15.

James Farquhar (Geology and ESSIC), Joost Hoek (Geology) and graduate student James Dottin III with NASA colleague Heather Franz et al., "Isotopic links between atmospheric chemistry and the deep sulphur cycle on Mars," Nature, April 16.

Ami Iler and David Inouye (Biology) with Paul Cara Donna of The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, "Shifts in flowering phenology reshape a subalpine plant community," PNAS, April 1.

Ted Jacobson (Physics), "Undoing the twist: The Hořava limit of Einstein-aether theory," Phys. Rev. D 89, April 1.

Paul Julienne (Physics and JQI) with colleagues from Durham University, "Effective-range approximations for resonant scattering of cold atoms," Phys. Rev. A 89, April 3.

Ted Kirkpatrick (Physics and IPST), Jan Sengers (IPST) with colleague J.M. Ortiz de Zaratae of Universidad Complutense, Madrid, "Fluctuation-induced pressures in fluids in thermal nonequilibrium steady states," Phys. Rev. E 89, 022145.

Dioisios Margetis (Mathematics, IPST, CSCAMM) with J. Erlebacher of Johns Hopkins University, "Mechanism of Hollow Nanoparticle Formation Due to Shape Fluctuations," Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, April 18.

Stephen Mount (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics and CBCB) with Rob Patro and Carl Kingsford (Carnegie Mellon University), "Sailfish enables alignment-free isoform quantification from RNA-seq reads using lightweight algorithms," Nature Biotechnology, April 20 online.

Yi Pan (JSI), Alessandra Buonanno (Physics and JSI), graduate student Andrea Taracchini with colleagues from Cornell University and the University of Toronto, "Inspiral-merger-ringdown waveforms of spinning, precessing black-hole binaries in the effective-one-body formalism," Phys. Rev. D 89, April 2.

Bitan Roy (Physics), Jay Sau (Physics and JQI) and Sankar Das Sarma (Physics and JQI), "Migdal's theorem and electron-phonon vertex corrections in Dirac materials," Physical Review B 89, April 17.

Bitan Roy (Physics) with Pallab Goswami of Florida State University, "Z2 index for gapless fermionic modes in the vortex core of three-dimensional paired Dirac fermions," Phys. Rev. B 89, April 14.

Chris Sargent, Holly Martinson and Michael Raupp (Entomology), "Traps and Trap Placement May Affect Location of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and Increase Injury to Tomato Fruits in Home Gardens," Environmental Entomology, Vol. 43, April 1.

Bo-Wen Shen (ESSIC), "Nonlinear Feedback in a Five-Dimensional Lorenz Model," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, May 2014.

Jonathan Simons (Biology and ECE) with Nai Ding (2012 Ph.D. Electrical Engineering) and Monita Chatterjee of Boys Town National Research Hospital, "Robust cortical entrainment to the speech envelope relies on the spectro-temporal fine structure," NeuroImage, Vol. 88.

Ryan Wilson (JQI and NIST) and Charles Clark (Physics, JQI and NIST) with colleagues from Western Washington University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, "Spin Waves and Dielectric Softening of Polar Molecule Condensates," Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, April 1.

S. J. Yoon (IREAP), John Palastro (2007 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Tom Antonsen) and Howard Milchberg (Physics and IREAP), "Quasi-Phase-Matched Laser Wakefield Acceleration," Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, April 3.

Sina Zahedpour, Jared Wahlstrand (IREAP), and Howard Milchberg (Physics and IREAP) "Quantum Control of Molecular Gas Hydrodynamicscs," Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, April 7.


The undergraduate astronomy class for non-astronomy majors (ASTR 315) who discovered a binary asteroid (reported in January 2014 edition) published their results in The Minor Planet Bulletin (April-June edition). The three papers are entitled "Lightcurve Analysis of Main-Belt Binary System 3905 Doppler," "Rotation Period of 983 Gunila," and "Rotation Perion of 5110 Belgirate." Melissa Hayes-Gehrke (Astronomy) teaches the hands-on class.

Jayanth Banavar (Physics and Dean) was interviewed on WAMC (NE Public Radio)-Academic Minute, April 21, when he explained how geometry plays a significant role in development and evolution.

Michael Brown (Geology) was quoted in Nature-News, April 6, in an article on research conducted by D. Bercovici (Yale) and Y. Ricard (Universite de Lyon) on the origin of Earth's tectonic plates. "...They produce a model that plausibly explains what we see."

Thomas Cohen (Physics) was quoted in New Scientist, April 10, in an article on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) confirming the existence of a particle known as Z(4430). The findings are available at:

Research conducted by Charles Delwiche (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics), alumnus Bradley Cardinale (2002 Ph.D. Biology) and colleague Todd Oakley (University of California, Santa Barbara), was the subject of an NSF "Behind the Scenes" article published by LiveScience, April 28. Their experiments on fresh water green algae did not support Darwin's theory that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches.

Russell Dickerson (AOSC and Chemistry) was interviewed on NPR, April 29, in a story on the Supreme Court upholding the Environmental Protection Agency's rule targeting air pollution that drifts across state borders.

Jennifer Golbeck (Computer Science) was interviewed on NBC4, April 25, on a California-based adult film company filing suits against Maryland residents for allegedly downloading the company's content. Many adult videos found online are shared with a program called BitTorrent. "...It can be configured to automatically take any files that you've downloaded and make them available to other people."

Daniel Gruner (Entomology) was quoted in Epoch Times, April 6, in an article on his research "Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation," published in Nature, March 9 online. "...This study has tremendous significance because human activities are changing grasslands everywhere."

Astronomy Workshop was featured in article on called "The 10 Weirdest Calculations You Can Make Online Right Now." The Astronomy Workshop is a suite of programs and calculators; the one described in this article was written by Doug Hamilton (Astronomy) and is called "Solar System Collisions."

Amy Iler (Biology) was quoted in the New York Times, April 23, in an article on a recent study by Jack Morgan (Agricultural Research Service) et al., and published in Nature, suggesting that carbon dioxide may be directly affecting plants.

Research conducted David Inouye, Amy Iler (Biology) with Paul CaraDonna of The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory was highlighted in Science, April 18, "It's All in the Timing." The article referred to their PNAS paper, March 17, "Shifts in flowering phenology reshape a subalpine plant community."

The three meter geodynamo experiment being conducted by Dan Lathrop (Physics, Geology, IPST and IREAP) is featured in the National Geographic, May 2014 edition. The article is entitled "What Will Happen When the Earth's Magnetic Field Begins to Reverse?"

Karen Lips (Biology) was quoted in the Daily Mail, April 15 in an article on salamanders' reduction in body size and climate change. "This is one of the largest and fastest rates of change ever recorded in any animal."

Research conducted by Applied Mathematics graduate student Safa Motesharrei, Jorge Rivas (University of Minnesota) and Eugenia Kalnay (AOSC and ESSIC) and to be published in the May edition of Ecological Economics, was the lead story in Elsevier Connect, Economics & Social Science section, entitled "Q&A: When a Theoretical Article is Misinterpreted."

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) appeared on CNN, April 9, in a segment on Malaysian Airlines MH370, the silty conditions on the ocean floor and the possibility that parts of the plane may have dug into the mud since silt is quite mobile. Earlier Murtugudde spoke with WBAL host Steve Fermier on the unusually chilly 2013-14 Maryland weather. He also contributed an article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-ed & Insights, April 29, discussing the global warming "pause."

Kerstin Nordstrom (Physics) was quoted in Design & Trend and BBC News, April 9, in articles on the creation of an undersea digging robot "more efficient than commercial digging devices." The UMD and MIT research team modeled the RoboCam on the Atlantic razor clam. "Luckily, nature had already done the work for us."

Gerald Share (Astronomy) was interviewed for a new episode of "Cosmic Front" about Supernova 1987A. Cosmic Front is a weekly, 50-minute program about space and space exploration. The new episode will cover the discovery of the SN1987A as well as its research history since the discovery. The episode is scheduled to be broadcast in Japan in May.

Ben Shneiderman (Computer Science and UMIACS) was interviewed in "People of ACM," April 8. Shneiderman is the co-author with Catherine Plaisant of "Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction."

Thomas Snitch (UMIACS) was featured in The Atlantic, April 29, focusing on his work fighting animal poachers using drones, applying a mathematical forecasting model he developed for use by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan to Africa. "...I said to myself, wait a minute, we're looking at insurgents that use IEDs at U.S. military targets. Would this same model work for poachers?"

Jacob Taylor (Physics and JQI) was quoted in Popular Mechanics, April 10 in an article on research conducted by two research teams, and published in the April 10 edition of Nature on quantum computing: "Nanophotonic quantum phase switch with a single atom" and "A quantum gate between a flying optical photon and a single trapped atom respectively. "...It's exciting to see this [photon-based] technology is coming into its own."


In recognition of their many accomplishments, the 2014 Distinguished Alumni awardees were honored on April 10.

Charles Bennett, B.S. '78, professor, physics and astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University

Rachel Pinker, Ph.D. '78, professor, atmospheric and oceanic science, University of Maryland

Allan Will, B.S. '76, president and CEO, EBR Systems

Michael Rudolph, M.S. '80, dentist, East Warsaw Dental Group

Phil Schneider, B.S. '79, director of the Spine Center and orthopedic surgeon, Holy Cross Hospital

Terry Gaasterland, M.S. '88 and Ph.D. '92, professor and director, Scripps Genome Center, University of California, San Diego

Michael Raupp, Ph.D. '82, professor, entomology, University of Maryland

Eliot Atekwana, B.S. '84, professor, geology, Oklahoma State University

Robert Brammer, '70 M.A. and '72 Ph.D. Mathematics, President and CEO, Brammer Technologies
James Yorke, Ph.D. '66, professor emeritus, mathematics, University of Maryland

Richard Isaacson, Ph.D. '67, program director (retired), gravitational physics, National Science Foundation

Parabon Computation, led by Steve Armentrout (1994 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Jim Reggia), launched Compute Against Alzheimer's Disease (CAAD), a research initiative "...which will accelerate investigations into the causes and risks of Alzheimer's Disease through the application of large-scale computational capacity donated by concerned citizens and organizations." For more information, follow CAAD developments and discussions on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter or go to:

Bradley Cardinale (2002 Ph.D. Biology) and Engineering faculty member Sarah Bergbreiter, were 2 of the guest panelists on the NSF-Google Hangout for Earth Day: Surprising Benefits and Myths of Biodiversity, held April 17. To view the video:

Bradford Hill (2001 M.S. Physics) received the 2014 Paul Zitzewitz Excellence in Pre-college Physics Teaching Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers, in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments in communicating the excitement of physics to students. Hill, a Knowles Science Teaching Mentor from 2009-2011, received the 2013 Outstanding Classroom Teacher Award from the Oregon Science Teachers Association, and sits on the Oregon Science Content Panel as Oregon considers adopting the "Next Generation of Science Standards." Hill is a physics teacher at Southridge High School, Southridge, Oregon.

Allison Coffin (2005 Ph.D. Biology, advisor Arthur Popper) was a finalist in FameLab, a national competition on science communication, sponsored by NASA and the National Geographic Society. At six regional heats throughout the US over the past 18 months, nearly 100 early career scientists from across the US have participated in FameLab USA. On April 5, the top 11 each took the stage for three PowerPoint-free minutes each, using only their words and wits to impress their peers, the judges, and the public. More information can be found at:

Rajiv Gandhi (2003 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Samir Khuller) was awarded the Rutgers University Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is Rutgers University's highest honor for outstanding and innovative performance in the classroom by a tenured faculty member. Gandhi is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Rutgers University-Camden.

Israel David Groverman (2001 B.M. Music, 2002 B.S. Computer Science) was interviewed by, Performing Arts Section, April 5. Groverman, who wrote the score for the Emmy-nominated documentary "Melting Point," is a photographer, cinematographer and composer.

Edward O'Brien (2008 Ph.D. Chemical Physics, advisor David Thirumalai) recently joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Penn State University. O'Brien, who was a postdoctoral scholar the University of Cambridge, focuses his research on addressing questions of fundamental biological importance a the molecular and cellular length scales by developing and applying theoretical and computational tools rooted in the fields of chemistry, physics and computer science in close connection with experimental data generated by collaborators.

Claudia Romano (1993 M.S. Conservation, 2003 Ph.D. Agricultural & Resource Economics) is Head of the Economic Advisory Group (Chefe da Assessoria Econômica Gabinete do Secretário) for the State Secretariat of Finance, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Suri (Suriyanarayanan) Vaikuntanathan (2011 Ph.D. Chemical Physics, advisor Chris Jarzynski) will join the faculty of the University of Chicago's Department of Chemistry, August 1, 2014. After earning his Ph.D. Vaikuntanathan was a postdoctoral fellow with Phillip Geissler at the University of California, Berkeley. His research program will focus on developing and using tools of equilibrium and nonequilibrium statistical mechanics to understand the behavior of complex systems.

Linda Weir (2001 M.S. Conservation) is co-author of the book "North American Amphibians: Distribution and Diversity," University of California Press, published February 1, 2014. The book covers all recognized amphibian species found in the U.S. and Canada, many of which are endangered or threatened with extinction. Weir is a Wildlife Biologist with the USGS and Coordinator of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD.

Lynsey White Dasher (2006 M.S. Conservation) was the invited speaker at a Riverside, IL discussion on how to protect pets from coyotes and how to maintain a positive and separate relationship with coyotes. White Dasher is the Director of Humane Wildlife Conflict Resolution for the Humane Society of the United States. The community discussion, held on April 29 and hosted by the police department and Riverside's Safe Environment Commission, was held in response to 383 coyote sightings in the community in 2013.




Astronomy Department – Dr. Stuart Vogel, Chair
Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department – Dr. James Carton, Chair
Biology Department – Dr. Bill Fagan, Chair
CBMG Department – Dr. Norma Andrews, Chair
Chemistry & Biochemistry Department – Dr. Janice Reutt-Robey, Chair
Computer Science Department – Dr. Samir Khuller, Chair
Geology Department – Dr. Roberta Rudnick, Chair
Entomology Department– Dr. Leslie Pick, Chair
Mathematics Department – Dr. Scott Wolpert, Chair
Physics Department – Dr. Drew Baden, Chair
CSCAMM – Dr. Eitan Tadmor, Director
ESSIC – Dr. Tony Busalacchi, Director
IPST – Dr. Rajarshi Roy, Director
IREAP – Dr. Thomas Murphy, Director
MPRI – Dr. David Mosser, Director
SESYNC – Dr. Margaret Palmer, Director
UMIACS – Dr. Amitabh Varshney, Director