||Vol. 3 No. 7 August 27, 2008
Physics Teachers Honor Michio Kaku
CCNY Physics Professor Michio Kaku received the 2008 Klopsteg Memorial Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) at the organization’s annual meeting July 21 in Edmonton, Alberta. The award recognizes extraordinary accomplishments in communicating the excitement of physics to the general public. Professor Kaku, a member of the CCNY Physics Department for more than 35 years, is a popular science author whose most recent book, “Physics of the Impossible [Doubleday, 2008],” was on “The New York Times” best seller list for five weeks. His knowledge and accessible approach to explaining complex physics topics from a layperson’s point of view have made Professor Kaku a popular figure in mainstream media. Earlier this year, he hosted the BBC series “Time,” the BBC documentary “Visions of the Future” and the Discovery Channel series “2057.” He is also host of “Visions of the Future,” a three- part, three-hour series for The Science Channel that starts August 10. Other TV appearances include: “Good Morning America,” “Larry King Live,” “60 Minutes,” “Nightline” and “20/20.” In addition, he hosts two syndicated radio programs, “Explorations in Science” and “Science Fantastic.” More on this story.
Engineering Educators Recognize Professor Jiji
Dr. Latif M. Jiji, Herbert M. Kayser Professor of Mechanical Engineering in The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY), was chosen to receive the 2008 Ralph Coats Roe Award from the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Mechanical Engineering Division. This national award, which carries a $10,000 cash stipend and is given annually to an “outstanding teacher who has made a notable contribution to the profession,” was presented to Professor Jiji at ASEE’s annual conference June 25 in Pittsburgh. A CCNY faculty member since 1964, Professor Jiji has received numerous teaching awards dating back to 1969. In 2007, the Undergraduate Student Government named him Professor of the Year. In student evaluations over his career, he has earned an enviable score of 4.85 on a scale of one to five with five being ranked as “one of the best.” Over the past two years, Professor Jiji, who was born in Basra, Iraq, has been chairing a committee to develop an interdisciplinary Master’s degree program in sustainability involving The Grove School, The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture and CCNY’s Division of Science. More on this story.
Jerry Backer Takes Second in Computer Machinery Competition
Computer engineering major Jerry B. Backer won second prize for undergraduates in the Association for Computing Machinery’s Student Research Competition, a prestigious nationwide contest sponsored by Microsoft Research. Jerry’s prize-winning project, “Towards a Bandwidth Friendly Memory System,” was the fruit of just such a partnership with his mentor, Dr. Mohamed Zahran, Assistant Professor of Computer Engineering. “Our research has to do with the bandwidth requirement between the microprocessor and the main memory,” explains Professor Zahran. “The memory is almost 1,000 times slower than the processor, so we need to reduce the traffic to the memory or make it friendlier. Our work concentrates on making the traffic friendlier. We give the processor a budget of allowed traffic. The processor must use this budget as wisely as possible, while not affecting the overall performance of the system.” “Research which involves improving memory bandwidth is becoming increasingly important because in modern computers we have more than one processor,” adds Mr. Backer. “The ACM competition gave me a platform to present my work to a group of people working in the industry. Hopefully with their insight and advice, I will be able to make more progress with the project and as a research student in general.”
Senior Darla Thomas Presents at Evolution Meeting
Darla Thomas, a senior biology major from Oakland, Calif., was one of 19 students selected to participate in the Undergraduate Diversity Program at Evolution 2008, the joint annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of Naturalists. The program paid for her travel to the conference, held June 20 – 24 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Ms. Thomas presented a poster demonstrating the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) modeling to predict species distribution. It was based on her analysis of research from field trips conducted in Venezuela’s Península de Paraguaná by her mentor, Assistant Professor of Biology Robert P. Anderson. “Darla has tremendous curiosity, self-motivation, and a strong work ethic,” Professor Anderson said. “She has shown great attention to detail and has conducted the first phase of a fascinating project comparing the environmental requirements of species of small mammals on the mainland versus in the isolated peninsular setting. Our work on the peninsula can shed light on the long-term effects of human actions that isolate species populations.” Ms. Thomas, who holds a B.A. in communications from New York University and plans to attend medical school after graduation, called Professor Anderson the “best mentor I’ve ever had. He’s really dedicated and committed to helping students learn as much as they can and have the best experience in his lab."
Researchers Use Fluorescence to Detect Prostate Cancer
Researchers at CCNY’s Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers (IUSL) have conducted time-resolved fluorescence measurement and optical imaging studies that demonstrate the efficacy of Cytate as a fluorescence marker to detect prostate cancer. Cytate, a contrast agent that conjugates to receptors on prostate cancer cells, exhibited greater fluorescence when applied to cancerous prostate tissue as opposed to normal prostate tissue. Prostate cancer accounts for approximately 29 percent of cancer occurrences among men. According to “CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians,” in 2007 it was responsible for 27,000 deaths in the United States. Early detection is important to reducing the death count. Current noninvasive detection methods, which include digital exams, blood tests and ultrasound, have limited accuracy. “There is a need to develop a noninvasive technique for early detection of prostate cancer with higher accuracy and resolution,” said Dr. Robert R. Alfano, Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering and Director of IUSL. The researchers performed ultrafast time-resolved fluorescence polarization measurements on Cytate solution as well as on cancerous and normal prostate tissue samples that were stained with Cytate. In addition, they conducted fluorescence imaging of two small pieces of Cytate-stained normal and cancerous prostate tissue sandwiched between larger pieces of normal prostate tissue. More on this story.
Jeffrey Blustein Named First Zitrin Bioethics Professor
Dr. Jeffrey Blustein, a nationally recognized expert in the fields of bioethics and moral psychology, has been appointed the first Arthur Zitrin Professor of Bioethics in the Philosophy Department at City College. Dr. Blustein will join CCNY in August from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. The position was established this year through a $1 million endowment from Dr. Arthur Zitrin, ’38, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at New York University and a leading figure in medical ethics. While Professor Blustein will be a member of the Philosophy Department, his research responsibilities will encompass the sciences and engineering as well as philosophy. In announcing the appointment, President Williams noted that Dr. Blustein brings to CCNY cutting-edge scholarship and inquiry into the increasingly important field of bioethics. “Given Professor Blustein’s prolific scholarship and activities promoting moral psychology, clarity around healthcare and medical issues, and social justice, I foresee great potential for The City College to become a nexus of bioethics thought for years to come.” Dr. Nickolas Pappas, who was Chair of Philosophy when the endowment was received, hailed both Dr. Blustein and Dr. Zitrin for adding this new dimension to the department. More on this story.
Photography Exhibit Celebrates Dominican Women
CCNY is hosting “MUJER,” a groundbreaking photography exhibit by Nicole Sánchez honoring the lives and achievements of Dominican women from all walks of life, August 19 through September 30. The exhibit was installed on the campus’ newly refurbished Amsterdam Plaza, an open space between the North Academic Center building and Amsterdam Avenue. More than 400 persons attended an opening reception August 19. “MUJER,” which means woman in Spanish, stems from a highly acclaimed, similar experiment launched a year ago in the Dominican Republic. The show profiles the lives, struggles and views of 125 Dominican women through poster-size photographs, biographical profiles, audio interviews and videos. It is the largest exhibit of its kind to showcase Dominican women. The exhibit is presented by MercaSID, a food service company headquartered in the Dominican Republic, the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) and City College Libraries. The original exhibit, which profiled 100 women from the Dominican Republic, has been augmented with profiles of 25 women living in New York City’s Dominican communities. More on this story.
Cohen Library Exhibit Looks at Structural Failures
“Why Structures Fail: Challenges to Engineering Design,” a new exhibit on display in the Cohen Library Atrium through October 10, examines disasters that have tested engineers and architects over the past 150 years. Among them: the South Fork Dam failure (1889); World Trade Center Building 7 collapse (2001) and the New Orleans Levees (2005). The exhibit is a collaborative effort of faculty and students from CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering, the School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA) and the CCNY Libraries. “A key theme running through this exhibit is: anything that humans build will eventually fail, from either the wear and tear of years of use, natural disasters, accident, or human incompetence, ignorance, greed or malice,” wrote Loren D. Mendelsohn, Chief, Science/Engineering Library and co-curator. “The task of the engineer is not to make a structure failure-proof, but to anticipate the ways in which it might fail.” More on this story.
Professor Schonfeld Edits Newsletter for Emerging Field
As a secondary school math teacher, Irvin Schonfeld observed that one of his colleagues was having trouble handling a tough class. “After two months on the job he was gone. He suffered acute occupational stress,” recalls Schonfeld, who began reading research on teachers experiencing something similar to post traumatic stress disorder. The future CCNY professor drew on this experience after obtaining a Ph.D. in psychology when he began to study the impact of working conditions on mental health. Recently, he was named founding editor of the Newsletter of the Society of Occupational Health Psychology (SOHP), an organization established in 2006 and devoted to the study of work, stress and health. “Occupational health psychology is an emerging discipline that applies principles of psychology to understand how working conditions affect people’s health and the health of organizations,” he explains. “We’re also interested in applying these principles to prevent work-related illnesses from developing.” The newsletter, which Professor Schonfeld publishes twice a year, is the glue that holds the society together by keeping its approximately 250 members informed. It can be accessed online at: www.sohp-online.org/SOHP newsletter.htm. Professor Schonfeld, who moved to the Psychology Department from the School of Education last January, plans to offer a graduate course in occupational health psychology in the Spring 2009.
Dominican Studies Institute Receives $11,000 Humanities Grant
The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute [CUNY DSI] has received a $11,120 grant from the New York Council for the Humanities to create a new exhibit: “Dominicans in New York: An Exhibit from the Dominican Archives and the Library Collections.” The exhibit, which will go on display this fall, will use documents and photographs from the archives to tell the stories of Dominicans who spent their lives in the United States, particularly in New York City, to build the Dominican community here, said Dr. Ramona Hernandez, CUNY DSI Director. “We are going back as far as possible, and all materials to be displayed will come from collections that were donated to the Institute as part of the archives.”
31 from Korean University Take Summer Courses at CCNY
Thirty-one undergraduate and graduate students from Kyung Hee University (KHU) in Seoul, South Korea, are spending four weeks at CCNY as participants in the first CCNY-KHU Collaborative Summer Program in Business English, Communications and Academic Research Writing. “For the first time in our history, an entire cohort of international students from a single institution will be taking instruction on our campus from our faculty in order to receive credit from their school,” said CCNY President Gregory H. Williams. “The agreement is an important milestone in our thrust to become a truly international institution. The goal of both universities is to build off this initial summer program toward full collaboration on academic credit opportunities and research.” In explaining why his school is partnering with CCNY, John George Walsh Jr., Associate Dean of KHU’s College of Business Administration noted: “City College of New York and Kyung Hee University have similar philosophies. We both aspire to provide access to higher education to primarily first-generation college students in an urban setting.” More on this story.
Japanese Delegation Honors Townsend Harris
Twenty-two residents of Shimoda, Japan, led by Mayor Naoki Ishii, visited CCNY July 16 as part of a trip to honor Townsend Harris, the College’s Founder, who also opened the first U.S. consulate in Japan. The visit coincides with the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1858, which formalized relations between the United States and Japan and was negotiated by Mr. Harris. This was the 22nd visit by Shimoda citizens since 1986, when officials of that city and CCNY held a ceremony in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery to dedicate a refurbished gravesite for Mr. Harris that was a gift from the Japanese people. The delegation toured the CCNY campus, attended a luncheon with President Williams and Dr. Richard Rush, Townsend Harris’ great grand-nephew, and visited the Cohen Library Archives, which houses a collection of Townsend Harris memorabilia that includes the American flag that he flew in Japan, his diplomatic pouch, a volume from his journals and his diplomatic passport. In addition, CCNY Archivist Sydney Van Nort delivered a presentation on Mr. Harris’ life and career. More on this story.
Three CCNY Undergrads Participate in UN Forum
CCNY undergraduates Kidist Berhane, Wai Sing Chang and Nandini Shroff participated in the Fourth Athgo Global Governance Forum at the United Nations, April 23-25. The forum is part of the UN global initiative to promote youth involvement in international policymaking and economic development in areas of technology, environment and governance for a sustainable future. The meeting was organized by Athgo, a non-profit organization of the UN Global Compact whose mission is to train young people aged 18-32 as budding diplomats and social entrepreneurs. The three economics majors were chosen to attend the Forum in a highly competitive international selection process. “It exceeded my expectations,” said Mr. Wai. “It enabled me to develop many interaction skills and also strengthen my communication skills. It was simply amazing to work with and learn from people of all backgrounds.” The participants heard from speakers, including China’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Zhenmin, on developing innovative and effective solutions to the challenges that technology poses for global governance. The CCNY delegation was sponsored by the College’s Career Center, headed by Dr. Sophia Demetriou. Other American participants came from New York University, Columbia University and Wesleyan University. China, Belgium and South Africa were among the other countries represented.
From the President
Welcome back and welcome to the fall semester! As you can see, it’s been a busy summer on campus, and I know that many of our faculty and students have had an enormously productive summer off campus – some of you in distant lands, some in your labs, some in your libraries.
2008-09 promises to be a challenging and good year. Our enrollment is very strong. With a few days of registration still to come we are running at numbers parallel to last year’s, and expect a total enrollment of over 14,000 – in spite of the fact that we were prepared for a modest decrease under the higher admissions standards. AND – we are welcoming the largest freshmen honors class in our history!
The residence hall is full, with a short waiting list, and 75% of the students attend CCNY.
We have hired 64 new faculty this year – you will be hearing a lot more about them over the coming months. And the campus has never looked better – you’ll be hearing a lot more about that, too.
Gregory H. Williams
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