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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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Faculty Accolades December 2012

Continuing their highly productive (32 publications), 20-year collaboration, Professor of Chemistry Karen Allen and Dr. Debra Dunaway-Mariano, University of New Mexico, have received a four-year, $1.26 million award from the NIH. Using an interdisciplinary approach, they will investigate the structural basis for the function of two enzymes that utilize the same protein scaffold to interact with and dephosphorylate macromolecules and phospholipids at the cell membrane. Read more

Professor of Physics Antonio Castro Neto was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The organization, which publishes the journal Science, seeks to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” This year, 701 members were selected as Fellows for their contributions to science and technology.

Former Pakistani Ambassador to the United States and CAS Associate Professor of International Relations Husain Haqqani and his wife Farahnaz Ispahani have been included in Foreign Policy‘s Top 100 Global Thinkers. Read more

Gas hydrates – ice with small molecules trapped in cages – are important for the energy sector because they store natural gas and carbon dioxide, block gas pipelines with an enormous cost impact, and hold potential for hydrogen storage and water purification. In a three-year, $500K award, the Department of Energy has funded Professor of Chemistry Tom Keyes to uncover the mechanism, or pathway, of gas hydrate formation.

Associate Professor of Religion Jonathan Klawans was featured in the prologue on This American Life on Animal Sacrifice. He is the author of a book covering this subject, titled Purity, Sacrifice and the Temple. The audio can be found here

University Professor of International Relations Igor Lukes has been elected Vice President of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences. The Society, which was established in the United States in 1958, is a nonprofit scholarly and cultural organization dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and free dissemination of ideas. Professor Lukes is also the Honorary Consul General of the Czech Republic in New England.

Postdoctoral Associate Dr. Ryan Madigan of Boston University’s Center for Anxiety appeared in an interview on NECN on December 6, 2012. He discussed the psychological responses of fight and flight, specifically in regards to the recent NYC Subway Tragedy. The interview can be viewed here.

University of Massachusetts Press recently published a book by Associate Professor of English Christopher Martin titled Constituting Old Age in Early Modern English Literature, from Queen Elizabeth to “King Lear”. In this book, Martin examines how, contrary to received impressions, writers and thinkers of the era—working in the shadow of the kinetic, long-lived queen herself—contested a variety of prejudicial and dismissive social attitudes.

Cambridge University Press has just published Professor of Political Science David Mayers’s book, FDR’s Ambassadors and the Diplomacy of Crisis. This book constitutes an investigation into the part played by personality and circumstance in US foreign policy during World War II. From appeasement to the Holocaust and the onset of the Cold War, Mayers examines the complicated interaction between policy, as conceived in Washington, and implementation on the ground in Europe and Asia. By so doing, he also sheds light on the fragility, ambiguities, and enduring urgency of diplomacy and its crucial function in international politics.

The CAS-based Neuromorphics Laboratory is starting a new project, funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, centered around the topic of optic-flow based segmentation. This project (PI: Northeastern University Psychology Professor Ennio Mingolla. Co-PI: Research Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience & Neural Technology Max Versace) is a collaboration between Northeastern University and the Neuromorphics Laboratory at CompNet and Boston University. The work will involve and be based upon research by Research Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience & Neural Technology Arash Yazdanbakhsh (CompNet/BU) and Dr. Harald Ruda (Northeastern). Read more

Fallou Ngom, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the African Language Program, began a term on the Board of Directors of the African Studies Association (ASA). BU faculty, students, and visiting researchers were involved in 23 panel presentations and roundtables at the recent ASA annual meeting in Philadelphia, November 30 through December 1, 2012. The annual meeting is the largest gathering in the world of scholars with an interest in Africa, and BU is always well represented at the event. The program is widely interdisciplinary, ranging from literature to history to public health. This year, people from BU presented papers, chaired panels, and served as discussants.

Associate Professor of History Simon Payaslian, holder of the Kenosian Chair in Modern Armenian History and Literature, presented a paper entitled “The Effective Implementation of International Human Rights Law: Challenges Facing Armenia in the 21st Century,” at a conference last month organized by the Ministry of Diaspora in Armenia. Payaslian’s paper emphasized the close relationship between human rights challenges at home and national security considerations.

At its annual meeting, November 1-3, 2012, in Rochester, N.Y., the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (SPHS) honored George Psathas, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, for his contributions to phenomenological sociology and ethnomethodology with a special session and a festschrift, Interaction and Everyday Life, edited by Frances Chaput Waksler and Hisashi Nasu (Lexington Books, 2012). Contributors to the festschrift were nineteen internationally known scholars from the United States, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland, and Japan. In their contributions they noted how, in various ways, Psathas had influenced and informed their thinking and their work.

Brandeis University Press has just published Assistant Professor of History Simon Rabinovitch’s new book, Jews and Diaspora Nationalism: Writings on Jewish Peoplehood in Europe and the United States. In this volume, Rabinovitch assembles a variety of thinkers who offered competing visions of peoplehood within the established and developing Jewish diaspora centers of Europe and America. Rabinovitch provides an introductory essay, as well as short introductions and annotations to each document that contextualize and make accessible this wealth of primary sources for scholars and students.

Senior Lecturer in the Writing Program Anthony Wallace won a cash prize of $15,000 for his short story collection, The Old Priest. The University of Pittsburgh Press will publish the collection in 2013.