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Boston University Arts & Sciences
CAS News June 11, 2013
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A Commencement to Remember
Commencement 2013 was a special occasion, as we wished well this year’s graduating class. If you weren’t there (or if you were), you might want to watch the video highlights. Or, check out this time-lapse video of the setup, celebration, and breakdown of the events at Nickerson Field. Or watch this video of the commencement address by Wendy Kopp (Hon.’13), founder and chair of Teach for America. Student commencement speaker Adolfo Gatti (CAS’13) did CAS proud as he addressed his outgoing classmates. Read the recent BU Today article on Adolfo here.

CAS and GRS gave our graduates a warm send-off. The weekend included 33 separate ceremonies for CAS/GRS, including Class Day, the GRS Hooding Ceremony, and departmental and program convocations. Approximately 1,200 people packed the Metcalf Ballroom for CAS Class Day on Friday afternoon, May 17. Psychology graduate Miles Greene was the student speaker, and awards were given out recognizing academic achievement as well as student service and leadership. For a full list of award recipients, see the program here. In total, there are over 1,600 undergraduate students graduating from CAS in the Class of 2013, including January and September graduates.

The PhD Hooding Ceremony, held Friday evening in Metcalf Hall, honored 204 newly minted PhDs. As Dean Sapiro explained in her remarks, the practice of hooding is derived from the medieval predecessors of today’s universities and celebrates the professors welcoming new PhDs into a community of scholars. The student speech was given by Kamen Kozarev, a PhD graduate from Astronomy. Read his speech here.
Bringing Water to the Sinai?
CAS’ El-Baz, AbuBakr use radar to locate ancient watershed
According to a new study co-authored by CAS researchers, the traces of an ancient watershed in the Sinai Desert may hold clues to making sustainable agriculture possible in one of the driest places on earth. Farouk El-Baz, research professor and director of BU’s Center for Remote Sensing, and Mostafa AbuBakr, a visiting scholar at the center, were part of an international team of scientists who used advanced space-borne radar to reveal how water flowed through the Wadi El-Arish in less arid times—about five to ten thousand years ago. That discovery opens the possibility of capturing water from seasonal downpours by channeling it to the Wadi’s central basin. Their findings appear in the April 2013 edition of the Journal of Geomorphology. Read more. The study can be viewed online.
Ruha Benjamin’s Book Explores Social Impact of Stem Cell Research
Ruha Benjamin, a CAS assistant professor of sociology and African American studies, witnessed up close the debates over stem cell research during former President George W. Bush’s administration. She was the sole social scientist invited by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to be invited to study the ethical, legal, and social implications of stem cell research while she was a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley.

Benjamin explores the controversy surrounding California’s 2004 stem cell research initiative and the bioethical questions it raised in her new book, People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press, 2013), which draws on her observations at CIRM. She addresses the social impact of stem cell research and how the voices of women, minorities, and members of the disabled community were ignored during CIRM’s founding. Read more
What Coral Reef Fishes Can Tell Us About Animal Social Systems
CAS study yields new insights into evolutionary ecology
After reviewing recent research based on the study of habitat-specialist coral reef fishes, CAS postdoctoral researcher Marian Y. L. Wong and Peter M. Buston, assistant professor of biology, have found that these species have proven invaluable for experimental testing of key concepts in social evolution. They note that studies of these fishes already have yielded insights about the ultimate reasons for female reproductive suppression, group living, and bidirectional sex change. Based on this impressive track record, the researchers maintain that these fishes should be the focus of future tests of key concepts in evolutionary ecology. Their findings are published in an article titled “Social Systems in Habitat-Specialist Reef Fishes: Key Concepts in Evolutionary Ecology” in the June 2013 issue of the journal BioScience. Read more
$2.5 Million Gift Creates Maria Stata Professorship
Endowment focuses on classical Greek studies
The culture of ancient Greece is alive and well and living conspicuously, for those who pay attention, in the sciences, arts, architecture, politics, and philosophy of our everyday world. Now, thanks to a gift from Maria Stata (CAS’62), that enduring influence will be even more greatly appreciated by students and scholars at CAS.

The $2.5 million gift will support the ongoing scholarship and teaching of David Roochnik, who has been named the inaugural Maria Stata Professor in Classical Greek Studies. Read more
“BU on the Hill” Event Highlights Alumni Impact in DC’s
Halls of Power
On May 7, BU President Robert A. Brown and Board of Trustees Chair Robert Knox (CAS’74, GSM’75) hosted a reception on Capitol Hill for BU alumni working in and around the corridors of power in Washington, DC. Dean Sapiro joined the broad contingent of CAS and GRS alumni who attended the event, “Boston University on the Hill,” which highlighted BU’s federal partnerships and the work of alumni in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and on K Street. Read more
Awards and Recognition
2013 CAS Teaching Awards
Each year, CAS honors a select group of faculty members for their outstanding work in the classroom—as instructors, motivators, and resources for their students. It is always a difficult task to choose the most deserving professors, as CAS has so many great teachers across so many disciplines. We give out these awards to highlight the importance of classroom learning as the primary way in which we cultivate the next generation of scholars, leaders, and thinkers.

At the May 15 faculty meeting, Dean Sapiro announced the winners of the 2013 teaching awards. They are: Claudio Rebbi, professor of physics, Gitner Award for Distinguished Teaching; Wally Fulweiler, assistant professor of earth & environment, Neu Family Award for Excellence in Teaching; Carrie Preston, associate professor of English, Frank and Lynne Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching; Bill Marx and Tony Wallace, senior lecturers in the Writing Program, College of Arts & Sciences Award for Distinction in First-Year Undergraduate Education; Deborah Belle, professor of psychology and director of Women’s Studies Program, College of Arts & Sciences Award for Distinction in First-Year Undergraduate Education; and Bruce Schulman, professor and chair of history, Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Education. Read more
Innovator Finnerty Wins Metcalf Award
Popular biology professor uses games to bring scientific method to life
For a style that is both engaging and rigorous, Associate Professor of Biology John Finnerty, who is also director of the BU Marine Program (BUMP), has received a 2013 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching. In a time when college professors are fighting an uphill battle against students’ smartphone addictions and the seductive diversions of the iPad, Finnerty has no problems with people playing games in class. It was his idea.

Searching for a way to get reluctant students, especially non-science majors, to participate in class, the popular professor divides his students into teams that compete to translate messages in DNA coding or build mantras from words “evolving” through a process that mimics natural selection. Read more
Anthropology’s Weller Awarded Guggenheim
Fellowship will fund research on religious pluralism in China
For more than three decades, anthropologist Robert P. Weller has studied contemporary culture in China and Taiwan, a field broad enough to include everything from politics and rebellions to ghosts and Chinese landscape painting. He has long been fascinated with ritual, and has written extensively about religion and authority.

Weller, a CAS professor and chair of anthropology and a research associate at BU’s Institute on Culture, Religion & World Affairs (CURA), was recently awarded one of academia’s highest honors: a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Read more
Features
Check Out the Spring 2013 Issue of arts&sciences
Explore the Spring 2013 issue of arts & sciences, the CAS alumni magazine. Learn about our new $10 million Autism Center of Excellence, Archaeology’s new partnership with the University of Mosul in Iraq, a three-part piece on new approaches in systems biology, and much more, including photo galleries and video. Read the issue here.

Email us at cascom@bu.edu to let us know which articles interest you and what else you’d like to read about.
A 16-Year-Old Takes on a Disease of the Elderly
For CAS neuroscience student, ending Alzheimer’s disease is personal
For more than three decades, anthropologist Robert P. Weller has studied contemporary culture in China and Taiwan, a field broad enough to include everything from politics and rebellions to ghosts and Chinese landscape painting. He has long been fascinated with ritual, and has written extensively about religion and authority.

During last month’s spring break, when many students were sunning themselves on beaches or catching up on sleep, Max Wallack traveled to Los Angeles to deliver a poster presentation at the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry’s annual conference. His subject was the role that ACE inhibitors—a class of drugs used to treat cardiovascular disease—could play in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Heady stuff, especially when you consider that CAS sophomore Wallack is just 16. Read more
Saying Goodbye to BU
BU Today captured a number of touching tributes to BU from CAS graduating seniors. Take a look at these articles and videos featuring CAS students as they look back on all they have experienced and learned during their four years:

Adolfo Gatti (CAS’13) delivered the student speech at Boston University’s 140th Commencement. The dual international relations and economics major grew up in Rome, interned in Geneva, and speaks three languages. He reflects on life at BU. Read the article. Watch the Commencement highlights here.

Miles Greene (CAS’13) graduated with a major in psychology and a minor in Spanish—and says that BU gave him a strong sense of community that expanded beyond the University and made him more culturally aware. Watch the video

Tania Mesta (CAS’13, COM’13), Shivani Mathur (CAS’13, COM’13), Lani Rush (CAS’13), and Zeynep Deligonul (CAS’13) talk about their friendship and the importance of spontaneous dance parties. Watch the video

Track star R. J. Page (CAS’13, SMG’13) discusses the heartbreak of injury, the excitement of victory, and the lessons of failure. Watch the video

Sandor Mark (CAS’13) tells how it feels to be alone during First-Year Orientation, and how a tap on the shoulder led to meeting new friends. Watch the video

Shayna Mizrahi (CAS’13) and Ashley Yaraghi (CFA’13) share thoughts about a friendship forged over toothpaste. Watch the video
Pre-Med Advising Students Share Their Experience
The latest CAS Communications-produced video explains the benefits of the CAS pre-med advising program to prospective students. Watch the video
Announcements
New Social Science/Math Boot Camp for Grad Students
GRS is launching a new social science/math boot camp that will debut in August. The boot camp is organized by GRS and the departments of Political Science, Sociology, and Mathematics & Statistics. It is a noncredit course offered at no cost, and any current or incoming BU graduate students may enroll on a first-come, first-served basis. It will be taught by an MA graduate student and will run for the two weeks prior to the start of fall semester (August 19–30). It is intended as a math refresher to better prepare graduate students for courses such as PO 841 Quantitative Research Methods, which is required for PhD students in political science and sociology. Starting in 2013, PO 841 will assume that students have completed the math boot camp or mastered the equivalent skills elsewhere. Contact Professor Taylor Boas (Political Science, tboas@bu.edu) with any questions or to enroll. Read more
more news
Faculty Meetings & Deadlines
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JUL
Part-Time Faculty Appointments and Reappointments Due for Fall
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JUL
Independence Day—University Holiday
Faculty Meetings
Faculty News

On May 23, Professor of International Relations Andrew Bacevich appeared on the comedy news program The Colbert Report to discuss the U.S. use of drones and constitutional limits on presidential war powers. Watch the full episode here (Bacevich’s appearance begins at the 8:30 mark).

Associate Professor of Sociology Stephen Kalberg has received a Teaching/Research Fellowship from the Fulbright Commission. He will teach and conduct research at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan from January 2014 until August 2014. His research will compare the political culture of Armenia’s “hybrid” model to the political cultures of several Western European nations.

this month's accolades
Student News

First-year physics graduate student Tom Iadecola and colleagues studied what happens in graphene when the underlying lattice vibrates in a particular normal mode. They asked whether it is possible to change the electronic properties of a solid by driving the underlying atomic lattice out of equilibrium. The electronic structure of materials is typically understood in terms of a static lattice that provides the background for electronic motion. Iadecola and his team showed that the transport properties of the non-equilibrium problem can be understood by transforming into a reference frame which is co-moving with the vibrating lattice. In this way, they argued that the driven system behaves as a static semiconductor with a band gap whose size can be tuned by adjusting the amplitude of the vibrations. This is in stark contrast to the equilibrium case, where graphene is gapless. Their work was published in Physical Review Letters, one of the top physics journals. A full synopsis, as well as a link to the original article, can be found on the APS Physics website.

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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