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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News
Download Knowledge Directly to Your Brain, Matrix-Style

For the first time, researchers have been able to hack into the process of learning in the brain, using induced brain patterns to create a learned behavior. It’s not quite as advanced as an instant kung-fu download, and it’s not as sleek as cognitive inception, but it’s still an important finding that could lead to new teaching and rehabilitation techniques.

Future therapies could decode the brain activity patterns of an athlete or a musician, and use them as a benchmark for teaching another person a new activity, according to the researchers.

Scientists from Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to study the learning process.

Read the entire Popular Science article.

Staff Holiday Party

The annual Dean's Holiday Party took place on December 19 at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies. CAS faculty and staff who attended were treated to jazz, drinks, good food, and good company. Check out these photos of the event taken by Dean Sapiro. Click here for more.

Rocks Beneath Our Toes Brings Teens to CAS

The Earth Sciences Department welcomed 20 students from Concord-Carlisle Regional High School on December 12 for the annual Rocks Beneath Our Toes (RoBOT) program. The high schoolers joined 10 BU undergraduates enrolled in ES 222 Mineralogy for the sixth annual RoBOT outreach event. Once again, it was a great success.

As in past years, the evening included tours of several of our labs (Piston Cylinders, XRD, TIMS, ICP-MS, Clean Lab) as well as student-led research on RoBOT rock samples with our petrographic microscopes. Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Ethan Baxter was the lead organizer, and special thanks go to Uli Faul, Joel Sparks, Denise Honn, Rachel Scudder, Nora Sullivan, and Rita Cabral, who opened their labs and helped with aspects of the lab tour and program organization.

Rocks Beneath Our Toes students

Students from Rocks Beneath Our Toes. Click here for more.

Keylor on Dangers of North Korean Transition

With the official mourning period now over for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who died December 17, attention has turned to his youngest son and successor, Kim Jong-un. William Keylor, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of international relations and history, suggests that the safest future for North Korea, its neighbors, and the world, at least as it now appears, may be a continuation of the status quo. Read the full article.

Globe Chronicles Sociologist's Journey in Modeling Industry

CAS Assistant Professor of Sociology Ashley Mears worked for several years as a high-fashion model before changing careers to earn a PhD and become a professor. But she has turned her experiences in the industry into a compelling research focus. Read the Boston Globe article.

Welcome Back to Campus

As classes start up again this week, we can look forward to another busy, exciting semester. And finally (as of last night) a couple inches of snow. Here’s to learning, discovery, and community, winter storms or no.

Lynton Award Nominations Due April 27

Nominations for the Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty are due April 27. The award recognizes a faculty member who is pre-tenure and who connects his or her teaching, research, and service to community engagement. To learn more about the Lynton Award, click here. To submit an application, please see the Application Instructions.

Faculty Meetings and Deadlines

Faculty Actions deadlines:

Faculty Salary Review deadlines not available yet

Feb 20: External Activity Reports, Faculty Annual Reports

March 9: Summer Term appointment/reappointment and salary sheets

April 2: Secondary Administrative Appointments for 2012/13

April 6: Initial requests to conduct faculty searches

April 27: Mid-Tenure Reviews (date is tentative)

May 4: Full-time Faculty Reappointments

Course evaluations: Process now handled by Lorraine Dooley (ldooley@bu.edu).

Tenure reviews: Initial notifications regarding the 2012/13 tenure review year have been sent to departments with candidates for tenure/promotion.

For full information on Faculty Actions deadlines, click here.
Please contact Gareth McFeely (garethmc@bu.edu, 3-2405) with any questions about these deadlines.

CAS Faculty Meetings:
2/15, 3/21, 4/25
4–5:30 p.m., STO B50

Council of Chairs and Directors (CCD) meetings:
1/18, 2/9, 3/7, 4/4, 5/2
4–5:30 p.m., CAS 211

Academic Policy Committee meetings:
Feb 1, Feb 22, Feb 29 (if needed), Mar 28, Apr 11, May 9 (if needed)
4-5:30 p.m., CAS 200

Social Sciences CCD meetings:
Feb 1, Mar 28
4-5:30 p.m., CAS 132

Natural Sciences CCD meetings:
Feb 29, Apr 11
4-5:30 p.m., CAS 132

Humanities CCD meetings:
Feb 29, Apr 11
4-5:30, STH625

Social Sciences Curriculum Committee meetings:
Jan 23, Feb 6, Feb 13, Feb 27, Mar 5 (if needed), Mar 19, Apr 2, Apr 9, Apr 23
12-1 p.m., CAS 132

Natural Sciences Curriculum Committee meetings:
Jan 23, Feb 6, Feb 14, Feb 27, Mar 5 (if needed), Mar 19, Apr 2, Apr 9, Apr 23
2-3 p.m., CAS 132

Humanities Curriculum Committee meetings:
Jan 25 (held in CAS 132), Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 22, Mar 7, Mar 21, Apr 4, Apr 18, May 2
12-1 p.m., CAS 200 (except Jan 25; see above)

Faculty Accolades

Professor of Astronomy Tom Bania was mentioned in a recent SETI Institute press release on the discovery of new planets. He and recently deceased colleague Bob Rood were mentioned for previous work they did to propose frequency ranges in which to search for habitable planets elsewhere in the universe. Read an article on the subject.

Assistant Professor of Astronomy Elizabeth Blanton co-authored an article in the August 20, 2011, issue of The Astrophysical Journal analyzing the “sloshing back and forth” of hot gases in the Abell 2052 galaxy cluster, located about 480 million light years from Earth. Read an article on the discovery. Read the Astrophysical Journal article here.

Professor of Computer Science Mark Crovella has been elevated to Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow. Mark was cited for his contributions to the measurement and analysis of networks and distributed systems.

Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Institute for Astrophysical Research Alan Marscher will speak at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, February 16-20. The title of his talk will be: “Gamma Ray Blazars: Jets from Super Massive Black Holes in Galactic Nuclei.”

Associate Professor of History Jonathan Zatlin has won the 2010 Hans Rosenberg Article Prize for his article “Integrating without Unifying: The East German Collapse and German Unity,” Central European History 43:3 (September 2010): 484–507. Read More

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 Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Caitlan Nee at 617-358-6275.

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