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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News
BU Astrophysicist Leads Discovery of "Sloshing" Gas in Galaxy Cluster

CAS astrophysicist Elizabeth Blanton led a team of researchers in the discovery of vast clouds of hot gas "sloshing" in Abell 2052, a galaxy cluster located about 480 million light years from Earth. The scientists are studying the hot (30 million degree) gas using X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Read more

Staff Holiday Party

New Study by BU Biologist Finds Dramatic Improvements and Persistent Challenges for Women in Science

The underrepresentation of women in science has received significant attention. However, there have been few studies in which longitudinal data were used to assess changes over time. In a paper recently published in the journal BioScience, Richard B. Primack, professor of biology at Boston University; Krista L. McGuire, assistant professor of biological sciences at Barnard College, Columbia University; and Elizabeth C. Losos, adjunct professor at Duke University and president and CEO of the Organization for Tropical Studies, find that women in the field of ecological studies have experienced dramatic improvements, but persistent challenges remain. Read more

Ecological Study Based on Thoreau's Writing Offers Template for Using Historical Data to Study Climate Change

Also in the current issue of BioScience, BU biologist Richard Primack outlines how historical records can be used to measure climate change going back at least as far as the 19th century. Read More

Exploring Earth From All Angles

In this decade, the field of biogeoscience has emerged as one of the most important new areas for interdisciplinary research. Biogeoscience is the study of the processes in and interactions among the Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.

In January 2013, CAS will begin offering the only PhD degree program in the United States in this exciting new field. "We expect this to be a watershed moment for Boston University, bolstering our already growing crop of top-rated PhD students, post-doctoral scholars, and visiting faculty," says Professor of Biology and Director of the CAS Program in Terrestrial Biogeosciences Adrien Finzi. Read more

The Musical Economist

Nearly every seat is full in Robert Margo’s Tuesday morning economics class. The department chair, with a horseshoe of downy white hair and theatrical eyebrows, paces methodically at the front of the classroom as he discusses the Solow-Swan growth model, a standard model of economic growth.

This is the Margo that most colleagues and students know. But there’s another side to the eminent College of Arts & Sciences economics professor, one that wakes up early in the morning and stays up late at night to pluck away on his collection of early musical instruments, including at least a dozen classic guitars, Renaissance and baroque lutes, classical mandolins, mandolas, a waldzither, and a Russian domra. Read more.

CAS Prof's Book Looks at Black Characters in Works of Black Writers

Should bad writers lose their civil rights? Thomas Jefferson thought so. In his time, Phillis Wheatley was a respected poet during an era when few women, let alone black slave women, could become writers. Jefferson, however, was not impressed. In his iconic Notes on the State of Virginia, he denigrated Wheatley’s work. As Gene Jarrett, a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor and chair of the English department, notes in his new book, Representing the Race: A New Political History of African American Literature (NYU Press, 2011), Jefferson argued that her writing “fell well below the stratum of reason and imagination that he had set for the political emancipation and national citizenship of slaves.”
Read more

Little Rock at Center of Big Controversy

In an office on Commonwealth Avenue sits a small rock that is shaking geology to its core. About an inch long, gray, and a little chalky, to the untrained eye it's indistinguishable from any other lying on the sidewalk. It's a small piece of basalt, derived from some of the Earth's oldest mantle, the big green rock between the core and the crust that makes up most of the planet. And the work of Matt Jackson has catapulted this 62-million-year-old chunk of rock into the middle of a scientific controversy. Read more.

Origami Robots Run Only on Air

CAS Professor of Chemistry Xin Chen is part of a team that has designed robots built of paper and silicone rubber powered only on puffs of air. These robots can even lift more than 100 times their weight. Read the Wired article.

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.

Six Promoted to Full Professor

Six CAS faculty members were recently promoted to full professor: Tian Cao, Philosophy; Gene Jarrett, English; Nazli Kibria, Sociology; Ibrahim Matta, Computer Science; Tibor Palfai, Psychology; and Martin Schmaltz, Physics. Congratulations to all!

BU's Center of International Relations Enters Agreement with Czech Institute

On February 10, BU's Center of International Relations signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague. The MOU will facilitate cooperation and exchange of documents between the two institutions. The institute, created by a decree of the Czech Parliament, studies totalitarian systems and manages the vast archives of the Nazi era (1938–1945) and of the Communist-era Czechoslovak secret police. This agreement will contribute to Boston University's position as a leader in the study of intelligence and Cold War history.

New Faculty for CAS

The College of Arts & Sciences to date has hired seven new faculty members for the 2012–13 academic year in the departments of Chemistry, International Relations, Mathematics & Statistics, Political Science, and Psychology. Read more
Lectures and Events

"American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us"
Thursday, March 1, 2012, 6–8 p.m.,
Barristers Hall, School of Law

Lecture by Robert D. Putnam of Harvard University

"BU's Road to Washington"
Wednesday, March 7, 12:30–1:30 p.m.,
George Sherman Union

The second edition of this brown bag series, in which faculty experts make brief presentations analyzing the current state of the 2012 election campaigns, electoral politics, and related issues, then lead an open discussion and Q&A session with the audience. All CAS faculty, staff, students, and alumni are welcome to participate. Feel free to bring your lunch. This series is sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Communication, and the Boston University Alumni Association, and is open to the public at no charge.

"The Raw and the Rotten: Perversions of Consumption in Antiquity"
Saturday, March 24, 2012, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.,
Barristers Hall, School of Law

"The Raw and the Rotten" is a graduate student conference supported by the Boston University Center for the Humanities and the Department of Classical Studies. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please email bugradconference@gmail.com.
Faculty Meetings and Deadlines

Faculty Actions deadlines:

March 9: Summer Term appointment/reappointment and salary sheets due

April 2: Secondary Administrative Appointments for 2012/13 due

April 6: Initial requests to conduct faculty searches due to Gareth McFeely (garethmc@bu.edu, 3-2405)

April 27: Mid-Tenure Reviews due

May 4: Full-time Faculty Reappointments due
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:
Mar 21, Apr 25
4–5:30 p.m., STO B50

Agenda and background documents are posted here.

Council of Chairs and Directors (CCD) meetings:
Mar 7, Apr 4, May 2
4–5:30 p.m., CAS 211

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

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

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

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

Humanities Curriculum Committee meetings:
Feb 22, Mar 7, Mar 21, Apr 4, Apr 18, May 2
12-1 p.m., CAS 200

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

CAS International Council Meeting:
Feb 28
9-10 a.m., CAS 132

Faculty Accolades

Late last year, the University of Texas Press published Professor of History Betty Anderson's new book, The American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education. Learn more

On January 7, 2012, Professor of International Relations Andrew Bacevich delivered the annual George C. Marshall Lecture on Military History. The History News Network (HNN) recorded a video of the lecture, available here.

Associate Professor and Assistant Dean and Director of the CAS Writing Program Joseph Bizup is an editor for the recently published 13th edition of The Norton Reader. He joined the team for the 13th edition and will continue as an editor in subsequent editions.

Assistant Professor of Astronomy Elizabeth Blanton has been elected to a three-year term on the Nominating Committee of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Learn more

Professor of English Leslie Epstein's eleventh book of fiction, the novel Liebestod: Opera Buffa with Leib Goldkorn, came out on February 13th from W.W. Norton and Company.

Professor of History Louis Ferleger recently published an article on AlterNet titled “America’s Dead Zones: From Detroit to Dyersburg, Why Does Prosperity Pass So Many Places By?” Read it here.

Professor of International Relations Igor Lukes was awarded the Studies in Intelligence Award by the Central Intelligence Agency. The citation recognizes his “Outstanding Contribution to the Literature of Intelligence.”

Associate Professor of English Anita Patterson gave a keynote at the Nagoya American Studies Seminar in Japan last summer, titled “Global America Revisited: Ezra Pound, Yone Noguchi, and Modernist Japonisme.” It was recently published in the Nanzan Review of American Studies.

In a paper recently published in the journal BioScience, Professor of Biology Richard Primack and Abraham Miller-Rushing, science coordinator at the Acadia National Park and the Schoodic Education and Research Center, National Park Service, show how unconventional sources of data, including historical documents, can be used to extend investigations of environmental change back to the 19th century.

Assistant Professor of English Joseph Rezek has received the Katharine Pantzer Fellowship in the British Book Trades from the Bibliographical Society of America. This will help fund a research trip to Edinburgh this summer at the National Library of Scotland.

Student Accolades

If you have been following the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, you know that every one of the candidates claims the mantle of Ronald Reagan, no one more so than former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who bills himself as "a strong Reagan conservative" in distinction to the "Massachusetts Moderate" Mitt Romney. But as history graduate student Zack Smith reveals in his recent article for POLITICO, Newt took another U.S. president as his role model. For more, visit here.

Currently completing her dissertation, history doctoral student Linda Killian has had a distinguished career as a journalist, author, and administrator. Her new book, The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents, came out this month from St. Martin's Press.

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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