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CMNS News - November 2014


Vol. 4, No. 11     November 2014

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Jayanth Banavar, Dean                  Mary Kearney, Editor



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



Computer Science undergraduate contestants Sina Dehghani, Soheil Ehsani and Xi Yi, with coach Mohammad Hajiaghayi (Computer Science and UMIACS), ranked among the top two teams in the ACM ICPC Mid-Atlantic Regional Programming Contest, November 1, in a fierce competition among 187 teams from the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and  West Virginia. The team now advances to the 39th Annual World Finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest to be held in Morocco, May 2015.

Gregory Ball (dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Psychology and Biology) has been named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Ball was recognized for his contributions in the field of biological sciences.

John Benedetto (Mathematics) has been named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society for “contributions to theoretical and applied harmonic analysis as well as for editorial service, mentoring, and professional leadership.” Benedetto joins 14 other CMNS faculty members and seven alumni who were named inaugural Fellows in 2012.

Gretchen Campbell (JQI and NIST) is the recipient of the 2015 Maria Goeppert Mayer award from the American Physical Society for “…her pioneering contributions to the study of superfluidity in atomic gas Bose-Einstein condensates using ring-shaped condensates, realizing atomic analogs to superconducting and superfluid liquid circuitry, including the use of weak links to create the first closed circuit atomtronic devices.”

Biological sciences major Fang Cao has been elected a 2015 Rhodes Scholar, and will pursue an M.Sc. in medical anthropology at Oxford University. Cao was awarded a Truman Scholarship in 2014 and a Goldwater Scholarship in 2013. Fang “…is passionate about solving the national crisis in community healthcare for the underserved.” Read more at

The Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation has awarded Eleanor Gillette (graduate student, chemistry and biochemistry) and Rachel Lee (graduate student, physics) with scholarships for the 2014-2015 school year. Each scholar is a merit award winner currently pursuing significant research in the sciences. Read more at

Christopher Monroe (Physics and JQI) has been awarded the 2015 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science by the American Physical Society for “…pioneering research in the use of lasers to realize the elements of quantum information processing with trapped atomic ions, including demonstrations of remote entanglement for quantum communication protocols and use of frequency combs for high-speed qubit manipulation and entanglement.”

CMNS faculty Todd Cook (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics), Christopher Monroe (Physics and JQI), Chris Reynolds (Astronomy) and Victor Yakovenko (Physics and JQI), were recognized as mentors of students Fang Cao, Geoffrey Ji, Allison Bostrom and Zachary Siegel (respectively), who were named the 2014-2015 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars. The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors the University of Maryland’s most successful seniors and their designated University faculty and K-12 teachers for their mentorship,

Ian Spielman (JQI and NIST) has been awarded the 2015 I.I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics by the American Physical Society for “…the development of quantum simulations using ultra-cold atoms, creation of synthetic electromagnetic fields, demonstration of synthetic spinorbit coupling, and applications to studying new physical systems.”

Lai-Xi Wang, who will join the faculty of Chemistry & Biochemistry starting January 2015, has been named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Wang was honored for "distinguished contributions to the field of carbohydrate chemistry and glycobiology, particularly for development of new chemoenzymatic methods for glycosylation engineering of therapeutic proteins."

Undergraduate students Iowis Zhu, Pavel Vlasov (Biochemistry), Janine Taira and Adip Bhargav (Biological Sciences) were members of the UMD team that earned a gold medal in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) held October 30-November 3 in Boston. The team developed a biosensor to detect the presence of the oyster pathogen Perkinsus marinus, commonly found in the Chesapeake Bay. Read more at



Bryan Eichhorn and Michael Zachariah (Chemistry & Biochemistry and Maryland NanoCenter), Defense Threat Reduction Agency, $453,609, “In Situ Mechanistic Studies of CWA Simulant Reactions with Filtration/Destruction Materials.”

Richard Ellis (Physics and IREAP), University of Texas-Austin, $142,264, “Physics and Engineering Design Support for ITER Electron Cyclotron Emission.”

Mohammad Hafezi (IREAP, JQI and ECE), Central Intelligence Agency, $189,000, “Topological Orders in Silicon Photonics.”

Christopher Monroe (Physics and JQI), Lockheed Martin, $969,584, “Lockheed Martin:University of Maryland Quantum Engineering Center.”

Ross Salawitch (AOSC, Chemistry & Biochemistry and ESSIC) and Tim Canty (AOSC), University of Maryland-Baltimore County, $122,307, “Understanding the Response of Tropospheric Chemistry to Trends in Natural and Anthropogenic Emissions Through In Situ and Remote Observations of Formaldehyde.”



UMD ranked No. 55 among the world's most productive scientific research institutions in the Nature Global Index 2014. UMD also made the Nature Index specialty lists of the top 50 most productive institutions in two subject areas:

  • No. 26 in Physical Sciences (No. 7 among public U.S. universities and No. 12 among all U.S. universities)
  • No. 46 in Earth and Environmental Sciences (No. 18 among public U.S. universities and No. 24 among all U.S. universities)

The Department of Computer Science has been ranked 23rd of 50 most innovative computer science departments in the U.S. by Computer Science Degree Hub.

The UM Observatory celebrated its 50th Anniversary with John Trasco (Astronomy, retired) giving an historical overview titled “50 Years at an Urban Observatory.”

The 3rd Annual Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites-Maryland (CICS-MD) Science Meeting was held at ESSIC on November 12-13. The goal of the meeting was to present CICS-MD research activities and serve as a collaborative forum for NOAA and UMD scientists to exchange ideas and identify research priorities. The two-day meeting featured 50+ talks and posters covering the full range of CICS-MD tasks. Initiated originally by Hugo Berbery (ESSIC), the meeting was sponsored by NOAA.

Rosetta's Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) captured images of the Philae lander as it approached and landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Michael A'Hearn and Dennis Bodewits (Astronomy) are part of the OSIRIS camera team. Images from OSIRIS are expected to help find Philae's final landing spot and report back more information about 67P over the next year and a half. For more information, read the CMNS article.

Michael A’Hearn (Astronomy) was the invited speaker at the Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin-Adlershof, Germany, on November 20 with a topic of “Cometary Misbehavior.”

Matthew Biddle, Alexey Mishinov and Jim Reagan (ESSIC) are co-authors of the newly released 2013 World Ocean Atlas, produced by the NOAA/NESDIS National Oceanographic Data Center. The annual atlas is used to provide initial and boundary conditions for modeling studies, as well as baselines for climate studies. This version features higher resolution spatial scales and vertical resolution.

Ralph Ferraro (ESSIC) and team members were recognized at the 2014 NOAA Administrator's and Technology Transfer Awards Ceremony. Their work was cited for “…greatly increasing the usefulness of state-of-the-art NOAA polar satellite information by the TV broadcaster community.”  This award recognizes NOAA's scientific and technical employees for achievements that are developed further as commercial applications or those that advance the transfer of NOAA science and technology to U.S. businesses, academia and others.

Michael Fisher (IPST) was the invited Joe L. Franklin Memorial lecturer at Rice University’s Chemistry Department, October 29. His presentation was titled “Atoms and Ions. Universality, Singularity, and Particularity:  On Boltzmann’s Vision a Century Later.”

Graduate student Brian Lovett (Entomology, advisor Raymond St. Leger) gave an invited seminar entitled “Metarhizium: An Outdoor Survival Guide” at the International Symposium on Fungal Stress in São José dos Campos, Brazil on October 29.

John Mather (Physics and NASA) gave an invited talk at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, November 19, on “Creating the Future:  Building JWST (James Webb Space Telescope), what it may find, and what comes next?”

Margaret Palmer (Entomology and SESYNC) was an invited speaker at the North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resources 85th anniversary celebration symposium, November 11. The day-long symposium was on the future of natural resources, with Palmer’s topic titled “From Ecosystem to Ecosystem Services: Stories from a Restoration Ecologist.”

Computer science faculty member Adam Porter’s MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) titled “Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems,” was listed in U.S. News & World Report, November 13, as the most popular course on the Coursera platform with a single offering enrollment of over 250,000` students

Louiqa Raschid (UMIACS and Smith School of Business) was an invited speaker at the University of Delaware, November 7, with a topic of “Financial Big Data and Data Science for Finance.”

Scott Rudlosky (ESSIC) participated in a Capitol Hill briefing, November 20, organized by the American Meteorology Society Policy Program. The briefing, “Lightning: Economic and Public Safety Implications,” identified the observations, science, and services that exist to reduce lightning risks to power utilities, airports, public safety, and more.

Jan Sengers (IPST) gave an invited seminar on “Fluctuations in non equilibrium thermodynamics” at the Department of Chemical and Bioengineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, November 6.

Raymond St. Leger (Entomology) gave two invited seminars “Stress is the rule rather than the exception” (October 29) and “Don Roberts: 50 years of leadership in biocontrol” (October 30) at the International Symposium on Fungal Stress in São José dos Campos, Brazil.

The paper, “Mining security vulnerabilities from Linux distribution metadata,” authored by graduate student Jeff Stuckman and Jim Purtilo (Computer Science) won best research paper at the 2nd IEEE International Workshop on Reliability and Security Data Analysis, Naples, Italy, November 3.



Josefa Becerra-Gonzalez (Astronomy) et al., “Black hole lightning due to particle acceleration at subhorizon scales,” Science, November 6.

David Berley, Erik Blaufuss, Brian Christy, John Felde, Jordan Goodman, Robert Hellauer, Kara Hoffman, Warren Huelsnitz, Kevin Meagher, Alex Olivas, Peter Redl, Michael Richman, Torsten Schmidt, Greg Sullivan and Henrike Wissing (Physics and IceCube Collaboration) et al., “Multimessenger search for sources of gravitational waves and high-energy neutrinos: Initial results for LIGO-Virgo and IceCube,” Physical Review D, November 17.

Laura Blecha (Astronomy), Richard Mushotzky, Sylvain Veilleux (Astronomy and JSI) and Michael Koss (2011 Ph.D. Astronomy, advisors Richard Mushotzky and Sylvain Veilleux) et al.,  “SDSS1133: an unusually persistent transient in a nearby dwarf galaxy,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, November 21.

Michael Brown (Geology) et al., Taking the temperature of Earth’s hottest crust, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, November 4.

Judy Che-Castaldo (SESYNC and 2011 Ph.D. Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, Systematics, advisor David Inouye), Tara Ruoff and Maile Neel (Entomology) et al., “The compadre Plant Matrix Database: an open online repository for plant demography,” Journal of Ecology, November 9 online.

Aaron Corcoran (Biology) et al., “Bats jamming bats: Food competition through sonar interference,” Science, November 7.

Jingyun Fan and Alan Migdall (JQI and NIST) et al., “Photon number resolution enables quantum receiver for realistic coherent optical communications,” Nature Photonics, November 17 online.

James Farquhar (Geology) et al., “Sulfate was a trace constituent of Archean seawater,” Science, November 7.

Maria Cecilia Fernandes, Matthias Corrotte, Danilo Miguel, Christina Tam and Norma Andrews (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics), “The exocyst is required for trypanosome invasion and the repair of mechanical plasma membrane wounds,” Journal of Cell Science, November 6 online.

Keryn Gedan (Biology and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center) et al., Climate change and dead zones,” Global Change Biology, November 10 online.

Eleanor Gillette, Sang Bok Lee (Chemistry & Biochemistry), Gary Rubloff (Maryland NanoCenter, IREAP and Engineering) et al., “An all-in-one nanopore battery array,” Nature Nanotechnology, November 10 online.

David Hucul, Ismail Inlek, Grahame Vittorini, Clayton Crocker, Shantanu Debnath and Chris Monroe (Physics and JQI) et al., “Modular entanglement of atomic qubits using photons and phonons,” Nature Physics, November 17 online.

Lan Jian (Astronomy and NASA) et al., “A statistical analysis of heliospheric plasma sheets, heliospheric current sheets, and sector boundaries observed In Situ by STEREO,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, November 3.

Lan Jian (Astronomy and NASA) et al., “Generation and propagation of ion cyclotron waves in nonuniform magnetic field: Application to the corona and solar wind,” Journal of Geophysical Research, November 28.

Jacek Klos (Chemistry & Biochemistry) and Millard Alexander (Chemistry & Biochemistry and IPST) et al., “The interaction of OH(X 2Π) with H2: Ab initio potential energy surfaces and bound states,” The Journal of Chemical Physics, November 5 online.

Mingdong Li, Jiaojie Tan and Michael R. Zachariah (Chemistry & Biochemistry and NIST) et al., “Absolute Quantification Method for Protein Concentration,” Journal of Analytical Chemistry, November 8.

Chuan Liu (Physics) et al., “Effects of relativistic electron temperature on parametric instabilities for intense laser propagation in underdense plasma,” Physics of Plasmas, November 21.

David Mosser (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics) et al., “Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 Production by Monocytes is Enhanced by TNF and Participates in the Pathology of Human Cutaneous Leishmaniasis,” PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, November 13.

Stephanie Schollaert Uz and Phillip Arkin (ESSIC) et al., “The effectiveness of Science on a Sphere stories to improve climate literacy among the general public,” Journal of Geoscience Education, September issue.

Jan Sengers (IPST) and J. Robert Dorfman (Physics and IPST) et al., “Kinetic theory of drag on objects in nearly free molecular flow,” Physica A, November 1.

Raymond St. Leger (Entomology) et al., “Trajectory and genomic determinants of fungal-pathogen speciation and host adaptation,” PNAS, November 3 online.

Subramanian Vaitheeswaran and David Thirumalai (Chemistry & Biochemistry and IPST), “Entropy and enthalpy of interaction between amino acid side chains in nanopores,” Journal of Chemical Physics, November 11 online.

Noor White (Graduate student, Behavior, Ecology, Evolution and Systematics) et al., “Target enrichment of ultraconserved elements from arthropods provides a genomic perspective on relationships among Hymenoptera,” Molecular Ecology Resources, September online.

Min Xu (ESSIC) and Xin-Zhong Liang (AOSC and ESSIC) et al., “MODIS Consistent Vegetation Parameter Specifications and Their Impacts on Regional Climate Simulations,” Journal of Climate, November 15.

Ning Zeng, Fang Zhao, Eugenia Kalnay and Ross Salawitch (AOSC and ESSIC) et al., “Agricultural Green Revolution as a driver of increasing atmospheric CO2 seasonal amplitude,” Nature, November 19.

Ben Zhang and Lyle Isaacs (Chemistry & Biochemistry), “Acyclic Cucurbit[n]uril-type Molecular Containers: Influence of Aromatic Walls on their Function as Solubilizing Excipients for Insoluble Drugs,” Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, November 4 online.

Jiehang Zhang and Luis Orozco (Physics and JQI) et al., “Isotope shifts in francium isotopes 206−213Fr and 221Fr,” Physical Review A, November 7.

Iadviga Zhelezinskaia, Alan Kaufman, James Farquhar (Geology) et al., “Large sulfur isotope fractionations associated with Neoarchean microbial sulfate reduction,” Science, November 7.

Ari Zitin and Alexander Gorowara (IREAP), Shane Squires (2014 Ph.D. Physics, advisors Michelle Girvan and Edward Ott), Thomas Antonsen (Physics and IREAP), Michelle Girvan (Physics, IREAP and IPST) and Edward Ott (Physics and IREAP) et al., “Spatially embedded growing small-world networks,” Nature, November 14.



The annual Cool Careers in Cybersecurity for Girls Workshop, hosted by the Maryland Cybersecurity Center was featured in the Gazette, November 14. Workshop activities include cryptography, assembling a computer, steganography, penetration testing and cell phone forensics.

Michael A’Hearn (Astronomy) was quoted in Wired, November 25, in an article on the Rosetta spacecraft and future NASA missions. “…I expect that there will be at least two separate proposals for a comet surface sample return mission in the next round of New Frontiers.”

Laura Blecha (Astronomy) and Michael Koss (2011 Ph.D. Astronomy) were quoted in Time, November 20, in an article on recently published research (see Journal Articles) identifying an object, named SDSS1133, that might be the remnant of a massive star that erupted for a record period of time before destroying itself in a supernova explosion. Media coverage included ABC News, Astronomy Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Earth and Sky, Mother Nature Network,, SpaceDaily, Universe Today and UPI.

Michael Brown (Geology) was quoted in a story by BBC on recently published research (see Journal Articles) on samples of mountainous rock from the Eastern Ghats in east India that indicate high crustal temperatures exceeding 1000C.

Russ Dickerson (AOSC) was quoted in Greenwire, November 17, in an article on Air Pollution, the Clean Air Act and the EPA. “…The EPA had paid attention to inner-hemisphere transport in the last few years, and they didn't used to. This is a good thing.”  On November 26 Dickerson was quoted in the The Baltimore Sun in an article on the same subject with an emphasis on the Maryland area.

Jonathan Dinman (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics) authored the article “Molecular biology: Entry signals control development,” published in Nature, November 19. The article reviews recently published research revealing “…a surprising mechanism by which Hox [homeobox] expression is controlled during embryonic development to ensure proper formation of the body plans of multicellular animals.”

Tony Farnham (Astronomy) and alumnus Carey Lisse (1992 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Michael A’Hearn) were quoted in the Daily Mail, November 7, in an article on the comet Siding Spring that passed within 82,000 miles of Mars on October 19, and recently released NASA images of the event. “…Comets are complex beasts and don't always live up to our predictions.”

James Gates (Physics) was quoted in the New York Times, November 24, in an article about the one-handed touchdown catch by Odell Beckham at the Giants vs. Dallas Cowboy game, November 23. “…It’s the gyroscopic effect. It means the ball will likely stay on the same line, and that makes it easier for the human eye to see where the center of the ball is headed, which makes it easier to catch.”

Keryn Gedan (Biology and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center) was quoted in Smithsonian Magazine and Chron, November 10, in an article on recently published research (see Journal Articles) on oceanic dead zones and climate change. “… A lot of people live on the coast, and they're experiencing more fish kills and more harmful algal blooms. These are effects of dead zones that have an impact on our lives.”  Media coverage included the ABC News, The Advocate, Arizona Daily Star, CBS, Earthlink, French Tribune, MSN, Sun Herald, Tech Times, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Post and the Weather Channel.

Tom Holtz (Geology) was quoted in the Star Tribune, November 8 and Stuff (New Zealand), November 11, in articles on the new specimens of the dinosaur species, Deinocheirus mirificus. “...Now it’s a creature that would strike bemusement, amazement.”  Holtz was also interviewed by Radio New Zealand, November 21, when he discussed this century’s new discoveries on the evolution of Tyrannosaurus rex. Holtz was also quoted in a National Geographic story on the science of the new movie Jurassic World. “…The original movies brought the dinosaur research of the 1980s to 1990s viewers. And the latest one seems to bring the dinosaur research of the 1980s to the 2010s viewers.”

Xiangdong Ji (Physics) was quoted in Science, November28, in an article on the extension of the China Jinping Underground Laboratory. “…We are interested in building the ultimate dark matter experiment: a 20-ton scale liquid xenon experiment.”

Michael Kelley (Astronomy) was quoted in a Science news article, November 14, on a comet-like object originating from the Oort cloud – an immense field of icy bodies at our solar system’s outer edge. “…If this one asteroid in particular really is made of inner solar system material that got out to the Oort cloud and has worked its way back in, it could refine theories about how the solar system formed.”

Research conducted by Sang Bok Lee (Chemistry & Biochemistry) et al. (see Journal Articles) was the subject of articles in Clean Technica, IEEE Spectrum and Tech Times the week of November 10. The researchers have invented a “...structure called a nanopore:  a tiny hold in a ceramic sheet that holds electrolyte to carry the electrical charge between nanotube electrodes at either end.”  Read more at

Vedran Lekic (Geology) was featured in an article in The Baltimore Sun, November 7, on Earthscope – a program of the National Science Foundation 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. “…In recent years, seismologists have been studying two massive and mysterious structures just outside the planet's core, and the research could help explain them.”

Dave Levin (Computer Science) and Tudor Dumitras (ECE) worked with a team of computer scientists from Northeastern University and Stanford University on “Analysis of SSL Certificate Reissues and Revocations in the Wake of Heartbleed.”  Their paper, presented at the ACM 2014 Internet Measurement Conference, Vancouver, BC, November 5-7, addressed the difficult task of measuring whether or when a systems administrator should have revoked a certificate (for the secure operation of a public key infrastructure or PKI) in the wake of a security threat--in this case, the Heartbleed bug. Media coverage included Business Standard, Newsroom America,, Red Orbit, The Register and Zee news.  Read more at

Karen Lips (Biology) co-authored a New York Times op-ed article titled “Stopping the Next Amphibian Apocalypse,” November 14. Media coverage continues for Lips and Carly Muletz (Biology) on recently published research about a type of ranavirus (RV) being responsible for the declining populations of a wide range of amphibians in the Picos de Europa National Park, Spain. New coverage includes the Examiner, Red Orbit, Register and Tech Times,

Alan Migdall (JQI and NIST) was quoted in Photonics Online, November 14, in an article on recently published research (see Journal Articles) demonstrating a quantum receiver that surpasses the standard quantum limit.  “…By greatly reducing the error rate for light signals we can lessen the amount of power needed to send signals reliably.”  Media coverage included

Charles Misner (Physics) was interviewed by Christian Science Monitor about the accuracy of the science in the movie “Interstellar” and Misner’s 1973 textbook “Gravitation,” co-authored with Kip Thorne. “Science provides a stepping stone into a universe that it would be exciting in which to live, and which we can enjoy as fiction.”

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was quoted in an article in India Climate Dialog, November 3, on a recently published study stating that the western Indian Ocean has been warming at a faster rate than any other tropical ocean. “…So the paper raises an interesting possibility of an El Niño contribution to the western Indian Ocean warming but only points to the need for much more research to understand the remaining issues – especially the fate of El Niño and monsoon in a warming world.”

Philip Resnik (Computer Science, UMIACS and Linguistics) was featured in a story in Newsweek, November 12, about using technology to help people keep better track of their mental health. “…most of the available signals about mental health state through language were not accessible—[like] the conversation by the water cooler at work or at the dinner table at home.”

Roald Sagdeev (IPST) was interviewed by CBS Baltimore, November 12, on Rosetta releasing the Philae lander. “It’s one of the most memorable moments in my scientific career.”

Elaine Shi (Computer Science and UMIACS) is a member of a team of researchers featured in MIT Technology Review, November 5, for their work on a prototype browser extension called ShadowCrypt, which makes it easy for users to send and receive encrypted text on Twitter, Facebook or any other website.

Jessica Sunshine (Astronomy) was interviewed by NPR, All Things Considered, November 13 on the landing of Philae on the comet Rosetta. “…I'm in awe of what they've accomplished. I mean, they really should be extremely impressed and proud of what has gone on. It’s really miraculous.” Sunshine was quoted in Nature News, November 18 and Science News, November 29, in articles on the same subject. Sunshine was also quoted in a Nature News article, November 25, on NASA’s limited supply of plutonium-238, DOE reactivating its capability for making 238Pu and NASA’s decision to cancel the space-going Stirling engines. “…How are we getting from DOE’s restarting the programme to NASA’s flying something?”

Research conducted by graduate student Ladviga Zhelezinskaia, Alan Kaufman and James Farquhar (Geology) et al. and published in Science (see Journal Articles above) was featured in the Stamford Advocate, November 6. The researchers show that bacteria dependent on sulfate were plentiful in some parts of the Neoarchaean ocean, even though sea water typically contained about 1,000 times less sulfate than it does today. Media coverage included Digital Journal, Environmental Research Web,, Science Daily, and Space Daily.

Research conducted by Ning Zeng (AOSC and Geology), Eugenia Kalnay (AOSC and IPST), Ross Salawitch (AOSC, Chemistry & Biochemistry and ESSIC) and graduate student Fang Zhao (AOSC) (see Journal Articles) was featured by the NSF, November 19. The researchers suggested that the intensification of agriculture during the past five decades is a driver of changes in the seasonal characteristics of the global carbon cycle. Media coverage included the Charlotte Observer, Christian Science Monitor, Climate Central, RedOrbit and Tech Times.

Thomas Snitch (UMIACS) and his work using drones to protect animals from poachers were featured by the Society for Science and the Public, November 6. “…The key to success  . . . is to put drones where the poachers are most likely to show up, no matter what they’re after. With good science and really great math, you can do things that people say are impossible.”



On December 10, the University of Maryland will host its second Scholarship Day, a 24-hour giving challenge to support student scholarships across campus.  Donors can choose from 17 scholarships, giving to particular schools, colleges or programs.  Without additional support, $80 million in requests for financial aid won’t be filled this year.  For more information, visit

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Janet Ariemma (1979 M.A. Mathematics) was elected to the Mahwah Township Council, November 5. “…Traffic is the other hot issue. Residents want the traffic problem solved so highway traffic is not backing up on local roads.”

Ralph Boe (1970 Ph.D. Physical Chemistry) was featured in The Chattanoogan, November 17, on his role as the first executive-in-residence  for Dalton State’s School of Business. Boe recently retired from Beaulieu of America after over a decade as a President and CEO.

Nicholas Caruso (2011 M.S. Biology) was featured in the University of Alabama’s Research magazine, November 3. Caruso is pursuing his Ph.D. in biological sciences at the University of Alabama, is conducting research on shrinking salamanders.

John Degnan (1970 M.S. and 1979 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Carroll Alley) received two awards from the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) during the 19th International Laser Ranging Workshop held the week of October 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. He received the “SLR pioneer Award”, one of only four awarded since the creation of the ILRS in 1998, for his many contributions to the field of satellite laser ranging (SLR) over the past five decades. He also received a certificate of recognition for being a member of the 1964 team at Goddard Space Flight Center, headed by Henry Plotkin, which successfully ranged to an artificial satellite with lasers for the first time. In addition, Degnan gave an invited Joint Science/Engineering Colloquium at Goddard titled “In Celebration of 50 Years of Satellite Laser Ranging” which described the history, technology, and science contributions of SLR.

Sam Droege (1980 B.S. Biological Science) was featured in the November-December issue of Audubon Magazine. The article focused on Droege’s pilot program to survey North America’s wild bee population.  Droege is a biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

Dataprise, founded by David Eisner (1990 B.S. Computer Science), has been named Dell’s Southeast Partner of the Year. The annual awards honor Dell partners for delivering exemplary solutions for their customers, with Dataprise selected from over 300 eligible partners in 13 states. In October Dataprise was ranked in the world’s Top 100 Cloud Service Providers by Penton Media’s fourth annual Talkin’ Cloud 100 report.

Roberto Guzman (2009 Master of Chemical and Life Sciences) has been appointed Vice President of Corporate Compliance for Chimerix, Inc. Guzman will provide a wide range of experience in legal, regulatory affairs, and quality assurance/quality control. Previously he served as Corporate Regulatory Affairs Director at Smith and Nephew where he was responsible for global regulatory affairs and quality assurance. He received his J.D. from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, an MBA from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and a BS in Industrial Engineering at Polytechnic University.

Cheuk Yiu (Horace) Ip (2013 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Amitabh Varshney) was awarded the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee’s Best Dissertation of the Year award at the IEEE Conference on Scientific Visualization, held in Paris, November 9-14. Ip’s dissertation is titled “Towards Data-Driven Large-Scale Scientific Visualization and Exploration.”  Administered by the IEEE Visualization Pioneers Group and presented annually, the award recognizes outstanding academic research and development in visualization and visual analytics.

MailerMailer, founded by Vick Khera (1988 B.S. Computer Science) and Raj Khera (former Chair of the CMNS Board of Visitors, 1986 B.S. and 1988 M.S. Electrical Engineering) was presented with the 2014 Best Email Website, Presstacular: Instant Newsletters and Blogs for IT Web Sites,” by the Web Marketing Association, WebAward 2014.

Simon Levin (1964 Ph.D. Mathematics, advisor Monroe Martin) et al. published the article “Managing the climate commons at the nexus of ecology, behaviour and economics,” in Nature Climate Change, November 26.

John Nance (2013 B.S. Geology) was mentioned in the Washington Post, November 7, in an article on a Maryland family uncovering a 15-million-year-old shark skeleton while digging out space for a home addition.  Nance is Assistant Curator of Paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum.

Scott Ruhren (1994 M.S. Botany), was awarded the “Professional Conservationist of the Year“ award for southern Rhode Island, in part for his leadership in restoration and habitat preservation within New England.  Ruhren, who is Senior Director of Conservation for the Audubon Society Rhode Island, earned his Ph.D. in 1998 from Rutgers University.

Pooja Sankar (2004 M.S. Computer Science) and her company Piazza were featured in CIO magazine, November 5. Piazza is a free, online collaboration platform for students and teachers to communicate.

Gary Solar (1999 Ph.D. Geology, advisor Michael Brown) will begin his one-year appointment as Chair of the Board of the AGU-sponsored organization known as the “AGU Heads and Chairs of Earth and Space Science Departments” on December 1. The organization is primarily responsible for the annual workshop held at the Fall AGU meeting. Solar is Chair of the Department of Earth Sciences and Science Education Buffalo State University.





Astronomy Department – Dr. Stuart Vogel, Chair

Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department – Dr. James Carton, Chair

Biology Department – Dr. Bill Fagan, Chair

Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics Department – Dr. Jonathan Dinman, Chair

Chemistry & Biochemistry Department – Dr. Janice Reutt-Robey, Chair

Computer Science Department – Dr. Samir Khuller, Chair

Entomology Department– Dr. Leslie Pick, Chair

Geology Department – Dr. Roberta Rudnick, 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. Christopher Jarzynski, Director

IREAP – Dr. Thomas Murphy, Director

MPRI – Dr. David Mosser, Director

SESYNC – Dr. Margaret Palmer, Director

UMIACS – Dr. Amitabh Varshney, Director