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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News
Welcome Back to Campus

As classes start up again and Boston digs out from yet another snowstorm, staff and faculty are in full swing preparing for an exciting spring semester. If you weren't on campus last week to witness the blizzard that nearly buried CAS, here are some photos of what you missed.

Learn More Remembering Richard Ely

Dr. Richard Ely, a full-time faculty member in the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences, died on Saturday, January 7, following a brief illness. Ely resided in Lexington and taught at Boston University for more than 20 years, where he was recognized as an exceptional advisor and teacher.

Learn More Rocks Beneath Our Toes

This fall, a group of Earth Science undergraduates, under the supervision of Ethan Baxter, Associate Professor in the Earth Sciences Department, assisted high school students in learning modern geoscience procedures. Baxter runs "Rocks Beneath Our Toes" (RoBOT), a high school outreach program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, currently in its fifth year. View the slideshow.

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Runnels' Find Makes Archaeology Magazine's Top 10 List

Professor of Archaeology Curtis Runnels played an integral role in unearthing evidence of early hominid habitation on the island of Crete, making Archaeology Magazine's list of Top 10 Discoveries of 2010. The stone tools that Runnels and his colleagues found at two sites on Crete were between 130,000 and 700,000 years old and resemble those used by Homo heidelbergensis and Homo erectus. This shows that one of these ancient human ancestors traveled across 40 miles of open sea to reach the island—the earliest indirect evidence of seafaring.

Learn More CAS Prof Plays Traffic Cop on the Information Superhighway

There is a good chance you own a zombie. Your computer could have been infected by a website you visited or a link you clicked in an email from a trusted friend. Or maybe you didn't do anything at all to compromise your computer, and still an attacker slipped past your firewalls and turned it into a virulent drone. Computer viruses, explains Mark Crovella, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of computer science, have changed drastically in the last five years.

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Physics Department Announces New Chair

Professor Sid Redner has agreed to become the next chair of the Physics Department. He will succeed Professor Claudio Rebbi, who will be completing his term of office at the end of this year. Redner is a condensed-matter theorist whose research focuses on non-equilibrium statistical physics and its applications.


A New Chair for Math Department

Tasso Kaper will serve as the new chair of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics beginning in Fall 2011. He will succeed Ralph D'Agostino, who has led the department to great success in recent years. Kaper earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the California Institute of Technology. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at Brown University. Since 1992, he has been on the faculty at Boston University.


Faculty and Staff: Become a Posse Mentor

You can help make a big difference in the lives of underprivileged students. The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits, and trains leaders from public high schools to form multicultural "Posses." These teams are then prepared for enrollment at selective universities nation-wide to pursue their academics and help promote cross-cultural communication. Boston University has partnered with Posse Atlanta and this fall the University will be welcoming the fourth class of Posse Scholars to the Class of 2015.


2011 Boston University Alumni Awards Nominations

The Development & Alumni Relations office and the Boston University Alumni Association are pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2011 Boston University Alumni Awards. For details on how to nominate someone, click here.

Learn About Your Newest Colleagues

Each year we are fortunate to recruit excellent new scholars and teachers to our faculty. Click here to view an updated list of those hired during the 2009-2010 recruiting season. You can click on a faculty member's name to view their bio.

Earth Systems Forum: Save the Date

On February 4 from 12:30 to 5 p.m. in the Photonics Center Colloquium Room, CAS will host a forum open to all interested faculty with the goals of providing the Boston University community the opportunity to learn about and discuss existing activities at BU related to the Earth's integrated physical, natural, and societal systems; to initiate the process of identifying core strengths and opportunities moving forward; and to develop a vision for research, teaching, and facilities related to Earth Systems at BU.


Humanities Foundation Announces Eight Junior Faculty Fellows

The Boston University Humanities Foundation has named eight faculty members as Junior Faculty Fellows for 2011–2012. The winners of these coveted fellowships, chosen by the nine members of the Foundation's Executive Committee, will pursue their individual projects while meeting regularly to exchange ideas with each other and with the Senior Research Fellows, who were named in November.


Procedure for CAS Online Bulletin

Faculty and staff please note: if you have changes to the online Bulletin text that are urgent (such as factual errors that affect the current requirements for degree programs), please send these changes to Peter Law (pgl@bu.edu) for College of Arts & Sciences departments/programs or to Geri Montgomery (gmonty@bu.edu) for Graduate School of Arts & Sciences departments/programs. Otherwise, please submit your changes, as usual, during the editing cycle of the next year's Bulletin to your department/program's Bulletin coordinator. Thank you for your cooperation.
Department Spotlight: Computer Science

2010 has been a banner year for researchers in the CAS Computer Science Department (CS). Eleven grants poured in this summer to support research in a diverse range of areas, including softphone security, networking architectures, safe software development, privacy of social media users, cloud computing, mobile programmable devices, secure Internet routing, high-performance computing, computational methods for analysis of human behavior, and other areas.

So how does Computer Science Chair Stan Sclaroff explain his department's success? "You want to clear the path so that people can pursue the things that they have a passion for," explains Sclaroff. He says he and other faculty members provide mentorship and feedback to each other and to younger faculty and students on a regular basis. He says he is carrying on a tradition set by his predecessors whereby the department chair acts as a facilitator rather than a top-down administrator.

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

Seminar Follow-Up to "Network Theory and Plot Analysis"
Sponsored by the BU Humanities Foundation
2 p.m., CAS 132

Earth Systems Forum
See announcement above
12:30–5 p.m., Photonics Center Colloquium Room

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

Visit www.bu.edu/winterfest for more information

Full calendar

Faculty Meetings and Deadlines

Full Chairs/Directors (CCD) Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 211

Full Chairs/Directors (CCD) Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 211

Faculty Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 211

Full Chairs/Directors (CCD) Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 211

Faculty Meeting
4 p.m., CAS 211

Chairs' Calendar


The dissertations of anthropology doctoral students Chris Annear and Noah Coburn were listed among the top 40 North American dissertations in cultural anthropology by the blog anthropologyworks. In 2009, the same publication listed the work of anthropology doctoral student Lindsay Gifford among the top dissertations.

Ross Barrett, a former Adelson Fellow in the Department of History of Art & Architecture, recently won the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize from the College Art Association (CAA) in its 2011 Awards for Distinction. From the award notice: "In 'Rioting Refigured: George Henry Hall and the Picturing of American Political Violence,' published in the September 2010 issue of The Art Bulletin, Ross Barrett recovers the history of the artist and a landmark painting of an American laborer."

The Research Corporation for Science Advancement has given a Scialog Award to Associate Professor of Chemistry Sean Elliott and his fellow researchers for their innovative proposal "Artificial Nanoscale Enzymes for CO2 Reduction Catalysis." Their research focuses on making solar energy more viable. The award is a supplement to an earlier grant received by Elliott. It came about through a collaborative process initiated by the Research Corporation whereby awardees get together to explore further research opportunities, for which they can receive additional grants.

As part of the 100th anniversary proceedings for its flagship journal The American Economic Review (AER), the American Economic Association commissioned a study to determine the 20 most influential papers published in the AER over the past century. CAS Professor of Economics John Harris has a paper on this list: John Harris and Michael Todaro, "Migration, Unemployment and Development: A 2-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, Vol. 60, No. 1 (March 1970), 126-142. This is the paper that introduced the so-called "Harris-Todaro" model to the economics literature, now a staple part of the toolkit of development economics.

Professor of Art History Patricia Hills has won the Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award from the College Art Association (CAA) in its 2011 Awards for Distinction. From the award notice: "An active, gifted teacher, faithful mentor, and valued colleague, Patricia Hills has maintained a prodigious career, producing scholarship that has profoundly shaped the history of American art and visual culture. Her textbook Modern Art in the USA: Issues and Controversies of the Twentieth Century (2001) has become standard reading in the field...she is a creative, active, and engaged classroom leader who has developed an innovative style of teaching that emphasizes intellectual role-playing and demonstrates striking methodological openness."

The American Physical Society (APS) has selected four professors from the CAS Physics Department to be APS Fellows: Plamen Ivanov, William Klein, Andrei Ruckenstein, and George Zimmerman.

Professor of Religion and Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies Steven Katz was recently appointed as the new Academic Advisor for the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research (ITF). The ITF is an intergovernmental body whose purpose is to place political and social leaders' support behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance, and research both nationally and internationally.

Professor of Biology Thomas Kunz will be moderating a symposium on aeroecology at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on February 19 in Washington, D.C. Kunz and other speakers will discuss the emerging field of aeroecology, which is the study of the interactions among flighted creatures—such as bats and birds—and the aerosphere.

Joseph Rezek, Assistant Professor of English, has been awarded the 2009-2010 Richard Beale Davis Prize for his essay "The Orations on the Abolition of the Slave Trade and the Uses of Print in the Early Black Atlantic." The Davis Prize is awarded biennially by the Modern Language Association's Division of American Literature to 1800 for the best article published in Early American Literature. It appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of the journal.

Google Inc. has awarded Professor of Computer Science Stanley Sclaroff and former CAS Computer Science post-doc Ikizler-Cinbis a grant for $75,000 as part of Google's Research Awards Program. They will use the funds to develop algorithms that can exploit web image search engines to automatically learn models of human actions. The learned action models will be used in developing systems for video summarization and retrieval based on the human actions that appear in each video. Expected outcomes of this project include new methods for auto-annotation and skimming of YouTube videos, improved precision for searches on human action keywords in Google video search, as well as action-based tagging/categorization of personal image collections and photo websites like Picasa. Ikizler-Cinb is now on the faculty of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hacettepe, in Ankarra, Turkey.

The recipient of the 2010 Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) New Investigator Award in Organic Chemistry is CAS Assistant Professor of Chemistry Corey Stephenson. The award provides $50,000 toward the funding of a postdoctoral fellow who will work on photoredox catalysis to enable chemical synthesis with visible light. A privately held pharmaceutical company, BI supports academic research projects and is dedicated to enhancing the careers of talented scientific professionals around the world.

Assistant Professor of Biology Pamela Templer had her paper published in the December issue of the journal Ecosystems. The paper is titled "The Effects of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on Nitrogen Losses from Urban and Rural Northern Forest Ecosystems. Click here to view the paper.

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.

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