Having trouble viewing this email? Click here.

Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News
CAS Researchers Unveil Roadmap to Build Intelligent Machines with Silicon Synapses

Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Cognitive & Neural Systems (CNS) Massimiliano Versace and CNS PhD candidate Ben Chandler are featured on the cover of the December issue of IEEE Spectrum, a publication of the world’s largest professional technology association. The feature article describes the ongoing effort at BU to build brain-like computational models to run on the next generation of low-power and massively parallel computer chips.

Learn More English Class Explores City’s Cultural Geography

Assistant Professor of English William Huntting Howell is the creator of the CAS course EN128: Representing Boston. The first of its kind in the curriculum, the course tackles the literary and cultural geography of Boston. “The course is designed to get students thinking about the city that they live in,” Howell says, “not just by reading books about it, or by people who live here, but also by treating the city itself as a kind of text.”

Learn More
In the Footsteps of Thoreau

CAS Professor of Biology Richard Primack, graduate student Elizabeth Ellwood, and recent graduate Michelle Talmadge completed an analysis of the changing arrival dates of migratory birds to Concord, Massachusetts, that includes observations by Henry David Thoreau from the 1850s. This research builds on earlier work by Primack and his students showing plants in Concord respond rapidly to temperature and are now flowering 10 days earlier than in the time of Thoreau.

Learn More African Studies Welcomes New Assistant Director

Dr. Peter Quella will be joining the African Studies Center in January as Assistant Director. Peter served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho before undertaking graduate study at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in African languages and literature. He earned his PhD in 2007 with a dissertation focusing on contemporary Lesotho folk tales under the direction of Professor Harold Scheub. During his time in Madison, Peter was very active in Wisconsin’s African Studies Program, serving as Assistant Managing Editor of their publications program, coordinating an African Literature Association conference, and coordinating workshops and activities for K–12 outreach. Peter is currently based in Johannesburg, involved in editorial work and book sales and acquisitions.

Peter will be in charge of the center’s communications, help manage the Title VI grant, oversee international linkages, serve as a liaison with students and faculty, and work on developing alumni relations. His first day in the office will be January 10. Please stop by and welcome him.

Astronomy Researchers Discover Star Formation Sites in Milky Way

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) has cited recent work by Tom Bania, professor of astronomy, and astronomy graduate student Loren Anderson as a “major scientific result” in its most recent quarterly report to the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NRAO is a federally funded research and development center of the NSF operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. for the purpose of radio astronomy. NRAO designs, builds, and operates high sensitivity radio telescopes for use by scientists around the world.

Learn More Pardee Center Director Invited to Serve on Advisory Panel for 2011 Human Development Report

Adil Najam, director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and professor of international relations and of geography and environment, has been invited to serve as an advisor to the head of the United Nations' Human Development Report Office (HDRO). Najam also will serve on the advisory panel for the 2011 UN Human Development Report. The topical focus for this year's report will be sustainability, giving the Pardee Center a leading role in designing the methodology, focus and structure of this landmark annual report of the UN and to bring into it the insights and essence of the Pardee Center’s research program.

Learn More
Happy Holidays to All!

Thank you for all your work, both staff and faculty, to make the fall semester a successful and exciting one for CAS. We hope you have a warm holiday season full of food, family, and fun. See you in January!
Lectures and Events

Humanities Lecture: “Network Theory and Plot Analysis”
By Franco Moretti of Stanford University
Lectures in Criticism event, sponsored by the BU Humanities Foundation
5 p.m., Photonics Center, Room 906
Reception to follow

Discoveries Lecture Series: “Political Humor Throughout the Ages”
Led by Jeff Henderson, Professor of Greek Language & Literature
7 p.m., Metcalf Trustee Center, 1 Silber Way, 9th Floor

Full calendar

Chairs' Calendar


Professor of Computer Science MARK CROVELLA has been named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In naming him a Fellow, the ACM recognized his “contributions to the measurement and analysis of networks and distributed systems.” The ACM also recognized 40 other members for their contributions to computing and computer science that have provided fundamental knowledge to the field and generated multiple innovations in industry, commerce, entertainment, and education.

Two MLCL faculty have recently published their translations of Japanese literature. Lecturer ANNA ZIELINSKA ELLIOTT’s translation in Polish of Volume One of Murakami Haruki’s newest bestseller 1Q84 hit the stands recently, with reports of readers forming long lines outside the bookstores. Elliott’s translation precedes the English translation. Dr. Elliott has published many translations of Japanese novels, stories, and plays, including works by Murakami Haruki, Mishima Yukio, and Yoshimoto Banana.

Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies J. KEITH VINCENT has published a translation into English of Riot of Goldfish by Okamoto Kanoko from Hesperus Worldwide. The son of lower-class goldfish sellers falls in love with the beautiful daughter of his rich patron. After he is sent away to study the science of goldfish breeding, with strict orders to return and make his patron’s fortune, he vows to devote his life to producing one ideal, perfect goldfish specimen to reflect his loved-one’s beauty. This poignant and deft tale is published with another novella by Okamoto, the story of a pauper from Kyoto who teaches himself to be an accomplished chef. Together, these two novellas show the great Japanese writer at her most precise, fluent, and lucid.

The C&E News article, “Putting DNA in a Bind,” gave an overview of a symposium at the Fall ACS Meeting in Boston on how small molecules interact specifically with DNA and regulate gene expression. Prominently featured was the work of Professor of Chemistry TOM TULLIUS and his group on their use of hydroxyl radical cleavage, a technique developed in the Tullius lab in which DNA is cleaved to give an indirect image of the shape of the grooves of DNA.

Keep Us in the Loop

Let us know about news or upcoming events. Please send news items to cascom@bu.edu, or call Patrick Farrell at 617-358-1185. Announcements about upcoming events can also be submitted online. Events geared toward students should be submitted to the Student Programs Office.

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Relations Kirsten Lundeen at 617-358-5525 or Alumni Relations Coordinator Lauren Hall at 617-353-1060.

Boston University

Boston University
Arts & Sciences
725 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215