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The University of Alabama

UA in the News: January 12, 2011

Hubble telescope zeroes in on green blob in space
National Public Radio – Jan. 11
…In a press release from the University of Alabama, Dr. Bill Keel, professor of astronomy and leader of Hubble’s Hanny’s Voorep study, presented two surprising findings: First, that very young stars are forming inside the tidal tail. “The region may have been churning out stars for several million years,” said Keel. “They are so dim that they have previously been lost in the brilliant light of the surrounding gas.” Keel told us that this is remarkable because this is not the kind of environment in which you would usually find star formation. Second, Hanny’s Voorwerp was lit up by a powerful beacon of light called a quasar, which formed as a byproduct of the harsh conditions created by a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. Keel said the tail likely formed as the result of energy from two merging galaxies. That green light we see is glowing oxygen. “We just missed catching the quasar because it turned off no more than 200,000 years ago, so what we’re seeing is the afterglow from the quasar,” said Keel. “This implies that it might flicker on and off, which is typical of quasars, but we’ve never seen such a dramatic change happen so rapidly.”…Keel is looking for more green blobs, and he’s using volunteers to find them. Galaxy Zoo users looked through images of 15,000 galaxies. They narrowed that down to 100 galaxies of interest and then scientists further winnowed it down to 18, which they will look at using high-powered telescopes.
Associated Press – Jan. 11
Science Magazine – Jan. 11 – Jan. 10 – Jan. 11
National Geographic – Jan. 11

MBA program ranked 34th in national survey
Crimson White – Jan. 12
The Manderson Graduate School of Business at the University of Alabama ranked 34th among public institutions, according to a new ranking of MBA programs developed by John Byrne, former editor of Business Week and founder of the original Business Week rankings in the 1980s. Manderson ranked 70th overall among all MBA programs. Byrne’s “Poets & Quants” ranking of the various MBA programs in the United States is based upon the ranking methodologies developed by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and The Economist…Robert Morgan, associate dean of the Manderson Graduate School of Business, said Byrne contributed to the spearheading of publishing MBA rankings with BusinessWeek, which pioneered the effort to rank MBA programs in the United States. Morgan said Byrne is attempting to clarify the rankings of the MBA programs after other publications have followed in the footsteps of BusinessWeek and have added noise to the ranking system. “Each put different priorities on things,” he said…Morgan said Manderson received a favorable ranking in Byrne’s survey because of many factors, one of which includes the starting salary of graduates from the University’s MBA program. “We put a priority on making sure that we are doing all that we can for students by finding employers and by bringing in recruiters to campus,” he said. He said Manderson continues to be one of the most attractive programs on campus as indicated by rises in enrollment in the program…

Professors make predictions about 2011
Crimson White – Jan. 12
It begins with a topic and then turns into a prediction. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the University’s Educated Guesses, which features UA professors’ predictions for the new year. This edition caters toward trending events, world news and effects of recent national events. “The Office of University Relations started the Educated Guesses project in 1981,” said UA spokeswoman Cathy Andreen. “The media relations office continues to do this project each year.” The office brainstorms ideas for the coming year and asks professors to make predictions in their areas of expertise, Andreen said…

Few celebrate anniversary of state’s secession
Crimson White — Jan. 12
Alabama became the fourth state to secede from the Union 150 years ago yesterday, but the anniversary saw very little recognition. Josh Rothman, director of the University’s Summersell Center for the Study of the South, said he felt the state should commemorate, but not celebrate, the historical event. “From a modern perspective, there’s very little to cheer about a political maneuver whose primary purpose was to ensure that the state of Alabama could continue to enslave roughly half its population without fear of interference,” Rothman said. “That said, I think a failure to commemorate secession would be a tremendous mistake, lest we forget the causes and consequences of a movement that nearly destroyed the United States.”…Rothman said he imagined that students at the University, which had just been turned into a military college, were pretty enthusiastic about the state’s secession. “[I think they were] under the impression that they would be able to defeat the Union in any war that might result from it,” Rothman said…As for Tuscaloosa’s plans to commemorate the event, the Summersell Center for the Study of the South, housed in ten Hoor Hall, has planned a Civil War Sesquicentennial Roundtable to be held April 11 in Room 205 of Gorgas Library. According to the Summersell Center’s website, the roundtable discussion will feature “leading scholars from both the University of Alabama and elsewhere [who] will consider the significant military, political, social and cultural considerations that faced the United States and its residents as the war approached and then began in earnest.”…

Snow-related business closings could take toll on Huntsville, Madison budgets
Huntsville Times – Jan. 12
…Ahmad Ijaz, director of economic forecasting at the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said it is hard to find reliable numbers for a lost day or two of work in a local economy. “It’s difficult to know how much productivity you’ve lost, unless you measure how productive you are on the average day,” he said. Ijaz said that lost shopping days for consumers are often made up in the run-up to inclement weather by heavier advance shopping. At the same time, when not much is moving, that’s one less day of busy lunch crowds and gas station sales and the like, and those can’t be replaced, he said…

Transportation museum leader chosen
Tuscaloosa News – Jan. 12
A director has been hired for the Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum, which is preparing for its opening in March. Shaina Strom, 22, was hired Jan. 3 by the University of Alabama Museums department, which has entered into a management contract with the city of Tuscaloosa to help operate the $1.53 million facility under construction on site of the former Queen City Bathhouse…

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.