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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News
H. Eugene Stanley Appointed to Warren Distinguished Professorship

President Robert A. Brown last week named H. Eugene Stanley of the College of Arts & Sciences and Wendy Gordon of the School of Law as William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professors. The second and third Warren Professors named this month, their appointments came less than two weeks after CAS biologist Thomas Kunz received the same honor. The professorships were established in 2008; Kunz was the first named since 2009.

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NASA Satellites Detect Extensive Drought Impact on Amazon Forests

Researchers at Boston University, NASA, and Federal University in Vicosa, Brazil, have published a new NASA-funded study that shows the widespread reductions in the greenness of South American forests in the vast Amazon basin were caused by the record-breaking drought of 2010. “The greenness levels of Amazonian vegetation—a measure of its health—decreased dramatically over an area more than three-and-one-half times the size of Texas and did not recover to normal levels, even after the drought ended in late October 2010,” said Liang Xu, the study’s lead author from Boston University’s Department of Geography & Environment.

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Eyewitness to Disaster: CAS Astronomer Experiences Japanese Earthquake

Michael Mendillo (GRS’68, ’71), a College of Arts & Sciences astronomy professor, was in the Japanese city of Sendai for an international planetary astronomy meeting during the week leading up to the March 11 quake-cum-tsunami. What had been an honor—an invitation to be one of just five non-Japanese speakers at the conference—turned into a nightmare after he found himself the lone American stranded for almost two days with 1,400 others at the Sendai airport as the disaster unfolded.

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Bats Worth Billions to Agriculture: Pest-Control Services at Risk

Thomas Kunz, Warren Distinguished Professor in Boston University’s Department of Biology, has coauthored an analysis published this week in the journal Science that shows how declines of bat populations caused by a new wildlife disease and fatalities at industrial-scale wind turbines could lead to substantial economic losses on the farm. He has also published an important review paper on “Ecosystem Services Provided by Bats” in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, along with a team of researchers including Elizabeth Braun de Torrez, graduate student in BU’s Department of Biology, and Dana M. Bauer, assistant professor in BU’s Department of Geography and Environment.

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The Science (?) of Anthropology

Last fall’s decision by the American Anthropological Association to delete three references to “science” from its long-range plan drew volcanic eruptions from some outraged anthropologists. According to a New York Times report, the plan, which had said the AAA aspired “to advance anthropology as the science that studies humankind in all its aspects,” now says its goal is “to advance public understanding of humankind in all its aspects.” Critics of the change charge that cultural anthropologists—who study such topics as race, ethnicity, and gender—disdain science and favor political advocacy for human rights and indigenous peoples. BU Today sat down with two University anthropologists to parse the debate. Robert Weller chairs the College of Arts & Sciences anthropology department and falls into the cultural anthropology camp, specializing in the study of Chinese and Taiwanese religion and religious authority. Biological anthropologist Matt Cartmill, a CAS professor and director of graduate studies, hails from the science-rooted camp, studying human evolution. The two agree that their department hasn’t been torn by war between science-based and cultural anthropologists, as has happened elsewhere.

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William Grimes Named to Council on Foreign Relations

The economic fallout from Japan’s nuclear crisis—supply interruptions and lost business—has caught the eye of William Grimes, a BU expert on Asian economies. His research had already yielded insights into Japan’s economic travails in recent decades and the economies of East Asia generally. That work has paid off with Grimes receiving life membership on the Council on Foreign Relations.

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What Massachusetts Residents and Other Americans Think About Global Warming: Results from an In-Depth Statewide Study and National Surveys

In recent years, headlines on newspapers across the country have proclaimed: “Scientists and the American Public Disagree Sharply Over Global Warming” and “Public Concern About Climate Change Wanes.” Is it really true? Do Americans really not accept the opinions of scientific experts on climate change?

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Recycling and Coffee

This semester, sustainability@BU will host Recycling Café every other Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the GSU Link. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to drop off ink cartridges, light bulbs, Brita filters, batteries, and small electronics. If you bring your reusable mug, you will also receive free coffee compliments of Dining Services. Dates for the rest of the semester: April 7, April 21, May 5

More to Political Science at Boston University than Meets the Eye: Graduate Faculty of Political Science Showcases Discipline’s Strength at BU

If the size and impact of academic departments within the University were based solely on the number of faculty members on departmental rosters, one would get entirely the wrong impression about the discipline of Political Science at Boston University.

While the number of political scientists who call the Department of Political Science home may seem relatively small, the truth is, Boston University has over 30 research-active political scientists on campus in such places as International Relations, Geography & Environment, and the School of Law, in addition to the eponymous department."What this adds up to is a nationally significant number of political scientists at this university," says Graham Wilson, professor of political science and department chair.

For this reason, Wilson has led the way to organize this strength into a new Graduate Faculty of Political Science (GFPS) who will work together to oversee and provide the faculty support for the already-existing PhD in Political Science.

Lectures and Events

Osvaldo Golijov in Conversation with Alicia Borinsky: The Music of Tango
With a performance of Mr. Golijov’s “Last Round” by musicians from the BU School of Music
6 p.m., Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue
Free Admission
Sponsored by the BU College of Fine Arts, Latin American Studies Program, University Honors College, and “Voces Hispanicas/Hispanic Voices,” an initiative of the BU Department of Romance Studies, and made possible by the generosity of Santander Universities Global Division.

Stanford Professor Jon Krosnick on Global Warming Research
“What Massachusetts Residents and Other Americans Think About Global Warming: Results from an In-Depth Statewide Study and National Surveys”
7 p.m., 565 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 106

ArtsLive@BU Launch Party
Performances by Fusion, the BU Pep Band, and other groups, and artwork by CFA students
4–6 p.m., Burke Club Room, Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Avenue
Visit www.bu.edu/arts for details.

Recycling Café
Drop off ink cartridges, batteries, etc.; bring a reusable mug and get free coffee!
10 a.m.–3 p.m., GSU Lobby
For more information, click here.

Peace Corps at 50 Celebration
Fond memories of the Peace Corps shared by returned Peace Corps volunteers Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba (SPH’03), Jeffrey M. Collins, and Steven B. Bloomfield. Live music and newly created art from the College of Fine Arts.
4–7 p.m., Boston University’s Trustee Center, One Silber Way, 9th Floor

Discoveries Lecture: “We Are What We Eat: Issues of Food Supply”
Nathan Phillips, Associate Professor of Geography & Environment
7 p.m., Metcalf Trustee Ballroom, 1 Silber Way
To register, click here

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) at BU 2011 Keynote Lecture
Dr. Rita Colwell, 11th Director of the National Science Foundation
“Climate, Oceans, and Public Health: Cholera in the Twenty-first Century”
4–6 p.m., Trustee’s Ballroom, 9th floor, 1 Silber Way
Please RSVP to: wisersvp@bu.edu

Full calendar

Faculty Meetings and Deadlines

Deadline for Secondary (Administrative) Appointments and Reappointments
If you have questions, please contact Gareth McFeely (garethmc@bu.edu).

Deadline for Full-Time Faculty Reappointments
If you have questions, please contact Gareth McFeely (garethmc@bu.edu).

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

Natural Sciences Chairs/Directors (CCD) Meeting
Time and Location TBD

Humanities Chairs/Directors (CCD) Meeting
Time and Location TBD

Deadline for Submission of Preliminary Search Priorities for Faculty Recruitment 2011/12. For more information, click here. If you have questions, please contact Gareth McFeely (garethmc@bu.edu).

CAS Faculty Meeting
4 p.m., STO B50

Deadline for submission of Mid-Tenure Reviews
If you have questions, please contact Kat Mor (kmor@bu.ed)

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

Deadline for Faculty Merit Assessments
See the PDF. If you have questions, please contact Richard Wright (rwright@bu.edu)

Chairs' Calendar


Associate Professor of Chemistry Sean Elliott has received a second Scialog Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. This very competitive award recognizes the highly innovative nature of his work and its potential to be transformative in solar energy conversion. Read more.

Associate Professor of International Relations Arthur Hulnick was awarded the “Distinguished Scholar Award” by the Intelligence Studies section of the International Studies Association. The award recognizes Professor Hulnick’s substantial contribution to the academic study of intelligence. One of the unique features of Professor Hulnick’s scholarship and teaching is that he has contributed to the development of knowledge about both national intelligence services and private-sector intelligence efforts. Professor Hulnick is the fourth recipient of the award.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Andrew Reeves has been selected to receive a scholarship from the Center for the Study of American Politics at Yale University. His appointment will be for nine months beginning on September 1.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER program supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. In 2011, the NSF conferred one of these prestigious awards on Assistant Professor of Chemistry Corey Stephenson. 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 Lauren Hall at 617-353-1060.

Boston University

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