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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News: October 2009
Drum Roll, Please

Dean Sapiro announced the winners of the 2009 major College teaching awards at the October 21 faculty meeting. The winners are: Stephen Esposito, Classical Studies (Frank and Lynne Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching); Maurice “Mo” Lee, English (Neu Family Award for Excellence in Teaching, endowed by Richard Neu, CAS’61, and his family); and Dana Bauer, Geography and Environment (Gitner Award for Distinguished Teaching, endowed by Gerald Gitner, CAS’66). Congratulations to all!

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BU Panel Tackles the Health Care Puzzle

Arts & Sciences and the Boston University Alumni Association hosted a panel discussion on health care reform, part of the Discoveries Lecture series, on October 8. The Discoveries Lectures give alumni a deeper look into issues affecting the world and their lives. BU faculty experts in economics and health care participated in the lively panel discussion.

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National Day on Writing Comes to BU

Boston University recently celebrated the National Day on Writing. Open to faculty, staff, and students, the all-day event featured an exciting lineup of events exploring writing in various aspects of life. Events included a writer’s fair, writer’s workshops, and coffee house readings.

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Second CAS Café Features Discussion of Iranian Elections and Protests

Nearly 100 students and faculty gathered on October 7 for the second CAS Café, an innovative new program that began this fall. The café featured a presentation by Anthropology Professor Shahla Haeri, who participated in the Iranian election and demonstrations that made news all over the world during the summer. She discussed her experiences and observations in her native Iran, and presented photos and videos taken during the riots. The presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session, Middle Eastern food, and Iranian music.

CAS Cafés are designed to give freshmen and faculty the opportunity to meet together in an informal and interesting setting, part of the new CAS First-Year Experience launched as a result of last year’s Report of the Task Force on the First-Year Experience.

As one first-year student commented, “The best part in both cafés in my opinion was how we got to have intellectually stimulating conversations with distinguished professors, something we as freshmen could never have gotten to do otherwise. Also, the small group size made it easy to interact and make friends.”


RALPH D’AGOSTINO, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, serves as the senior statistician and co-principal investigator of the Framingham Heart Study. President Obama recently praised the endeavor in a speech at the National Institutes of Health. The study has tracked the health of three generations of residents of Framingham, Massachusetts, and is responsible for much of what is known about the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease. Since 1981, Professor D’Agostino has worked on the project. He currently serves as chair of the Nonprescriptive Drugs Advisory Committee and director of data management and analysis for the entire study. Boston University’s School of Medicine, School of Public Health, and College of Arts & Sciences are all partners in the study.

FAROUK EL-BAZ, research professor and director of the Center for Remote Sensing, was appointed to the board of directors of the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF). The National Science Foundation founded this nonprofit organization in 1995 to promote international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, and training. The appointment comes following a CRDF request last July for El-Baz to brief congressional staffers on science and technology in the Middle East. To view the press release, click here.

STEVE GOLUBIC, professor of biology, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Croatian Society of Natural Sciences. This honor is awarded to a distinguished researcher from abroad who has contributed to the promotion of Croatian science. It recognizes Golubic’s career-long contributions to understanding the microbial role in the formation of carbonate depositing systems of lakes and waterfalls.

CHERYL KNOTT, associate professor of anthropology, recently published a paper on female reproductive strategies in orangutans in Proceedings B, the flagship biological research journal of the Royal Society. She found that among orangutans, male and female mating interests often conflict. This is apparent when males force females to copulate, a behavior particularly common in orangutans. Rather than being helpless victims, however, female orangutans employ subtle counter-strategies. Using the first hormonal data from wild orangutans, Knott was able to show that around ovulation, females preferentially encounter and mate with prime males whose impressive size and ornamentation are probable indicators of genetic quality, among other strategies.

CHRISTOPHER MAURER, professor of Spanish, was voted an academico correspondiente by the Royal Spanish Academy, the official royal institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. Only 40 non-Spaniards hold this title, and just four live in the United States. Maurer will return to Madrid next September for an inauguration into the academy.

PIERRE PERRON, professor of economics, enjoys the twelfth most-cited article in economics and econometrics, according to the Social Sciences Citation Index. “Testing for a Unit Root in Time Series Regression,” co-authored by Peter C. B. Phillips, appeared in Biometrika in 1988. According to Google Scholar, the article has since received more than 4,500 citations. In total, Perron’s publications have been cited 18,835 times.

NATHAN SCHWADRON, associate professor of astronomy, is the lead author of a recently published paper in Science titled “Comparison of Interstellar Boundary Explorer Observations with 3-D Global Heliospheric Models.” He is the science operations lead for NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer Mission (IBEX), which is the first mission to examine the global interactions occurring at the edge of the solar system. The first all-sky maps developed by the IBEX spacecraft reveal surprising and intense interactions between our home in the galaxy and interstellar space. Schwadron is also co-author of four other papers from the IBEX team recently published in Science. To view the press release, click here.

ANN VASALY, associate professor of classical studies, was elected to the board of directors of the American Philological Association (APA) for 2010–2013. Founded in 1869, the APA is the principal learned society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures, and civilizations. Vasaly has taught at BU since 1983, and served as chair of the Classical Studies Department from 2002–2005.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

Council of Chairs and Directors Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 132

Veterans Day, Classes Suspended

CAS Faculty Meeting
(Agendas distributed by November 9. Flag items for discussion and vote to Chris McMullen by noon, November 16.)
Meeting: 4 p.m., CAS 522
Sherry Hour: 5 p.m., CAS 106

Discoveries Lecture
“Cyber-Terrorism/Warfare – The Emergent Threat: Strategies for Survival”
7 p.m., Photonics Center, 8 St. Mary’s St., Room 206

Thanksgiving Break

Council of Chairs and Directors Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 132

Faculty Meeting and Sherry Hour (tentative)
4–6 p.m., CAS 522

Last Day of Instruction

Study Period

Final Exams


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