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Boston University Arts & Sciences
CAS News May 15, 2013
Graduating Senior Lee Veitch (CAS’13) placed second in the BU Global Programs Photo Contest with this shot taken in Anhui Province, China. The title of the photo is “Laughter.” 420 photos were submitted. View more of the photos.
Commencement Is This Weekend
Boston University Commencement is this weekend, and it’s time to honor graduating undergraduate and graduate students for their hard work and perseverance in pursuit of their degrees. CAS Class Day, where we recognize and honor our undergraduates who have earned special honors and distinctions, will take place on Friday, May 17, at 2 p.m. in the George Sherman Union’s Metcalf Hall. Click here for more information. The GRS Doctoral Hooding Ceremony is Friday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m. in the GSU Metcalf Hall. For a full list of departmental convocations, click here, then click on College & Graduate School of Arts & Sciences near the top of the page. The All-University Commencement will take place on Sunday, May 19, at 1 p.m. at Nickerson Field. Click here for more details.
CAS-Led Study Sheds Light on Workings of Earth’s Early Mantle
An international team led by CAS Department of Earth & Environment researchers has found evidence that material contained in young oceanic lava flows originated at the Earth’s surface in the Archean Eon, dating back more than 2.45 billion years. The new finding helps define the timing of the initiation of plate tectonics and the origin of some of the chemical heterogeneity in the Earth’s mantle, and may shed light on how the chaotically convecting mantle could preserve such material for so long. The study appeared in the April 25 issue of the journal Nature. Read more
New Study: Different Species May Use Different Methods to Orient Themselves in Space
A new study co-authored by CAS Professor of Psychology Michael Hasselmo investigates the function of grid cells by comparing the resonance properties of neurons in rats and bats. A grid cell is a type of neuron that has been found in the brains of rats, mice, bats, and monkeys and is likely to exist in other animals, including humans. Grid cells are believed to help compute self-position based on continuously updated information about position and direction. The new study appeared in the April 19 issue of the journal Science. Read more
Unexpected Awakenings
New research could prevent people from waking up during surgery
Every year, an estimated one out of every 1,000 patients receiving general anesthesia for surgery—up to 40,000 people—will wake up unexpectedly during the operation. CAS Professor of Mathematics Nancy Kopell and colleagues may have identified the specific electroencephalography (EEG) patterns that mark the points when a patient loses and regains consciousness. Read more at BU Today.
Awards and Recognition
Ten CAS Faculty Members Granted Tenure
Boston University has granted tenure and promoted to associate professor nine CAS faculty members and granted tenure to Cheryl Knott, already an associate professor of anthropology. Tenure is conferred after consideration of faculty members’ teaching, research and publication, and professional service. Read more
CAS Names Templeton Advising Award Recipients
Earlier this month, Dean Sapiro announced the three winners of the 2013 Templeton Award for Excellence in Student Advising. Congratulations to Assistant Professor of Earth & Environment Paul Hall; Professor of Economics Randy Ellis; and Assistant Professor of Psychology Amanda Turullo. These faculty members received strong praise from their advisees for their advice, encouragement, and willingness to go above and beyond to make themselves available to students. Read more
Two CAS Professors Elected to Academy of Arts and Sciences
CAS Professor of Economics Larry Epstein, a pioneer in the field of decision theory, and Aurelio Professor of Scripture Emerita Paula Fredriksen, an expert on the history of ancient Christianity, have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Read more
Two CAS Administrators Receive Top University Staff Award
Cynthia Brossman, CAS Learning Resource Network administrative director, and Joanne Hart, African Studies Center program administrator, have been named recipients of this year’s John S. Perkins Distinguished Service Award. The award is given annually to three members of the BU community in recognition of their dedication to the University. Read more
CAS Honors Outstanding Teaching Fellows
On May 6, CAS named this year’s Outstanding Teaching Fellows. One PhD student-teaching fellow was chosen from each academic discipline for his or her tireless work to help undergraduate students achieve their full academic potential. Read more
Binland Lee (CAS’13) Remembered as Playful, Passionate
The College of Arts & Sciences mourns the loss of Binland Lee (CAS’13). The 22-year-old senior in the BU Marine Program (BUMP) died in a fire in Allston on April 29. Read more
GWISE Pushes the Boundaries for Women in Science, Math
The student-run group Graduate Women in Science & Engineering (GWISE) hosts year-round events for women graduate students—providing a dynamic, supportive community. A collaboration between ENG and GRS students, GWISE prepares women for success in traditionally male-dominated fields in math and the sciences. Women in these fields face challenges such as a dearth of female mentors or self-doubt, which can crop up when women (or minorities) wonder if they really belong in a profession dominated by others. GWISE leaders sat down with CAS News to discuss the group’s role on campus. Read more
Rethinking World Literature
In an interview with CAS News, Wiebke Denecke, associate professor of modern languages & comparative literature, discusses her critical role in producing the third edition of the Norton Anthology of World Literature. Read more
Video: Exploring the Eurozone Crisis
In a three-part series of interviews, Vivien Schmidt, professor of political science and director of BU’s Center for the Study of Europe, discusses the ongoing Eurozone Crisis and problems of leadership and democracy in the EU. Watch the videos
Video: CAS After Dark
Nearly 9,000 students a day walk the halls of our iconic neo-Gothic building. Once classes are done for the day and dusk falls, however, the building takes on a different sort of life. Classrooms, hallways—even stairwells—are transformed into a vibrant rehearsal space for dance troupes, comedy acts, theater groups—even a barbershop quartet. Watch the video
Join the Dialogue on the Use of Technology in the Humanities
The BU Center for the Humanities (BUCH) is launching a Digital Humanities Discussion Group that will meet regularly to share ideas, participate in workshops, and hear lectures on the role of new technologies in humanities research and teaching. Anyone interested in participating in this discussion group should contact buch@bu.edu. On April 3, BUCH hosted a conversation on these topics. Twenty-five humanities faculty members, along with representatives from the Hariri Institute and the Mugar Library, discussed opportunities to use new web and computational tools to improve their work. Read more
CAS Online Bookshelf Allows Faculty to Showcase Their Work
CAS faculty members can now submit recently published books to the new online CAS Faculty Bookshelf; just fill out this brief form. Three recent publications in the bookshelf (www.bu.edu/cas/faculty-bookshelf/books/) demonstrate the breadth of scholarship that walks these halls. Read more
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Faculty News

The American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) has awarded the 2014 ASEH Distinguished Scholar Award to Professor of History Jim McCann for his transformational scholarship, particularly in the field of African environmental history. The ASEH Distinguished Scholar Award is given every two years to an individual who has contributed significantly to environmental history scholarship.

Associate Professor of Chemistry John Caradonna, and his group have received a three-year National Science Foundation award from the Chemical Catalysis (CAT) Program in the Division of Chemistry (2013–16). The project aims to investigate new oxidation processes that directly use dioxygen in sustainable metal-based systems that preclude non-selective free-radical chain reactions. The area of catalytic alkane oxidation and functionalization is of intense scientific and commercial interest because of its potential to convert inexpensive aliphatic hydrocarbons to valuable chemical and fuel products. Read more

Professor of Astronomy Dan Clemens, who serves as the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Member-Representative for Boston University, was reelected for a second three-year term on the AURA Board of Directors and was reelected for a third one-year term as the Chair of the Board. AURA is the manager of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (with sites in Arizona and Chile), the National Solar Observatory (in Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii), the International Gemini Observatory (in Hawaii and Chile), the Space Telescope Science Institute (in Baltimore, MD), and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project—selected for a new start in the FY14 Federal Budget and slated for construction in Chile.

Over the past two years, Professor of International Relations Kevin Gallagher has raised over $1 million for the Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI). GEGI is an initiative that spans three centers at the University—the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future; the Center for Finance, Law & Policy; and the Center for International Relations. The initiative conducts policy-oriented scholarly research in three areas: global trade, global finance, and the role of emerging powers in global economic governance. GEGI is co-directed by Gallagher and Assistant Professor of International Relations Cornel Ban. Read more

During the 2013/14 academic year, Associate Professor of Biology Pamela Templer will be a joint Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science and Charles Bullard Fellowship programs at Harvard University. She will also spend time at Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA. Studies of forest dynamics in seasonally snow-covered ecosystems have been primarily conducted during the growing season. However, Templer’s research is making considerable progress toward our understanding of how winter climate change influences dynamics of Northeastern U.S. forests. Read more

On April 29, the Japanese Government announced that the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, will be conferred upon Professor of Anthropology Merry White in recognition of her significant contributions to the development of Japanese studies and the introduction of Japanese culture in the United States of America. Her many books cover the areas of education, internationalization, youth and popular culture, family/social policy, and women in Japan. Read more

this month's accolades
Student News

Two GRS PhD candidates, Jamie Kendall in Earth & Environment and Katherine Zhao in Computer Science, have won Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellowships for 2013–15. Each year, BU provides the graduate fellowships—which include tuition, fees, and a stipend—to promising young scientists. In addition to the two graduate students, four CAS undergrads (as well as one ENG undergrad who is mentored by a CAS professor) were named Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Research Scholars. Read more

Qais Akbar Omar, a recently admitted student in the MFA program in Creative Writing, recently published an op-ed in the New York Times about CIA payments to Afghan President Hamid Karzai (read it here). In addition, a memoir Omar released last month titled A Fort of Nine Towers (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) was selected as an Amazon Best Book of the Month in April. Omar has managed his family’s carpet business in Kabul. In 2007, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado. He also studied business at Brandeis University before matriculating at CAS. He has lectured on Afghan carpets in Afghanistan, Europe, and the United States. He is co-author, with Stephen Landrigan, of Shakespeare in Kabul.

The BU Women in Computer Science group (BU WiCS) has won a Symantec Student Seed Fund grant from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). The BU WiCS will use the award to organize a résumé/interview workshop, Lecture Series events involving professors and outside speakers, and a bowling “Bonding/Orientation” event for new members. Read more

Anthropology students are racking up the awards lately. Recent award recipients include: Andrea DiGiorgio, National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship; and Huwy-min (Lucia) Liu, Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (declined).

In 2013, Department of Biology graduate students have also accumulated a number of impressive awards. Equally impressive is the breadth of scholarship, from studying long-term trends in exploited fish stocks to the social dynamics of paternal care in Neotropical glassfrogs. Read more

Keep us in the loop
We want to hear your news! Announcements about upcoming events, new faculty book publications, social media/student announcements, and news items can be submitted online. If you prefer, you can send news items to cascom@bu.edu, or call Patrick Farrell at 617-358-1185. For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Director of Alumni Events & Programming Susan Richardson at 617-358-6937.

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