UA in the News: October 17, 2012
October 17, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
Scientists study magnetism
Tuscaloosa News – Oct. 17
Magnets are used in nearly all electronic devices, from computers and cellphones to airplanes and medical appliances. The materials needed to create magnets, however, are not as readily accessible, and with continued advances in electric energy, there is a growing concern that supply of the naturally magnetic materials will not keep up with demand. Takao Suzuki, a University of Alabama professor and director of UA’s Center for Materials for Information Technology, is leading an international effort to find alternative materials to produce a magnet that functions as well as or better than what is now used. The $1.6 million project, of which the MINT Center will receive $600,000 over the next four years, will involve 13 additional MINT Center researchers, as well as scientists in Delaware, Germany and Japan. The project is part of an effort started several years ago when researchers began to notice the dwindling supply of rare-earth materials, or naturally magnetic materials that make the most powerful and efficient magnets. The size and reliability of the materials create magnets that are well-suited for electric motors that use the magnetic field as power, Suzuki said. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that electric vehicle usage and offshore wind farms could create a shortage of the minerals by 2015, he said. There are also environmental concerns surrounding the extraction of the minerals and, Suzuki said, about 95 percent of the world’s supply is said to be produced in China, which creates risks for global markets. “We really need to come up with an alternative that is readily available, inexpensive and not too toxic,” said Patrick LeClair, associate professor in physics and astronomy and a MINT Center researcher.
UA collegiate license tag program raises more than $4 Million
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Oct. 17
The University of Alabama collegiate license tag program raised about $4.1 million. The money raised through the statewide program is used for scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. The alumni association raised the most money of any college or university in the state by selling the car tags. More than 97,000 car tags were sold during the 2012 fiscal year. Auburn came in second, selling more than 62,000 tags. You can get the tags at your local county license offices. They cost $50 above the normal cost of your tag.
Inventor of stable N-heterocyclic carbenes reflects on the impact of his discovery 20 years later
Chemical and Engineering News – Oct. 15
Anthony J. Arduengo III likes molecules that break the rules. The University of Alabama chemistry professor has spent his career creating compounds with abnormal valency and bonding arrangements leading to unusual molecular electronic properties. Although many chemists might not recognize Arduengo by name, they will recognize one of his milestone rule-breaking achievements: the discovery 20 years ago of the first isolable N-heterocyclic carbene, or NHC. Arduengo was a researcher at DuPont when he made the cyclic diamine (an imidazole) bearing adamantyl substituents. In carbenes, the central carbon has a valency of two instead of the usual four, Arduengo explains. A lone pair of electrons fills one of the carbon’s orbitals, leaving one orbital empty. Chemists once viewed carbenes as highly reactive, transient species that were important intermediates in some reactions, Arduengo says. Although predictions were made that the electron imbalance in carbenes could be stabilized with structural modifications, no one had been able to crystallize one and put it in a reagent bottle. He credits the research culture at DuPont for making it possible. “We worked on applied projects, but we also were free to look for new ideas and concepts. This discovery-driven approach liberates you from the philosophical confines of what is conventionally known,” he says. “Within that culture, if you keep your ear to the rail and listen for research problems that come along, you can always be thinking about how you might provide a quick solution.”
UA students’ public service announcement, directed by Shaquille O’Neal, debuts Thursday
Al.com – Oct. 17
Students at The University of Alabama tomorrow will unveil an anti-binge drinking public service announcement that they produced under the direction of former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. The video, part of the national LessThanUThink campaign, will be shown at 10:18 p.m. at Innisfree Pub & Grill, 1925 University Blvd. in Tuscaloosa. The screening will follow a day of related activities at UA, and the video will be made available online at the time of the Tuscaloosa screening. O’Neal, a graduate of the New York Film Academy, visited the UA campus in April to direct the video. LessThanUThink is a student-generated campaign financed by The Century Council and the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association on behalf of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The video was produced by UA advertising and public relations students, LessThanUThink coordinator Grace McElroy said in a prepared statement.
Seniors to build hovercraft, race AU
Crimson White – Oct. 17
The rivalry between The University of Alabama and Auburn University may add another component this spring in the form of a hovercraft race. Hisham Ali, a UA senior majoring in aerospace engineering, recently submitted a proposal to the College of Engineering to create an Alabama hovercraft team. The proposal was approved shortly before fall break. Ali and three other aerospace engineering seniors are planning to build a fully functional hovercraft as part of their senior design project. They hope to bring a hovercraft race to Tuscaloosa in coordination with Hoverclub of America. “The problem is, these national hover rallies are always in the summer, and that’s not good for an academic design schedule,” Ali said. “So, I proposed that we organize our own race.” Hoverclub of America sponsors hovercraft races across the country, but it has never held one in Alabama. Auburn created a hovercraft team in 2003 and won second place overall at its first rally. Auburn’s team, the Hovering Tigers, hasn’t raced in a few years, but they are constructing a craft to race later this year. Ali contacted the team about holding a race in Alabama.
Students gain experience, work with Food Network Star
Crimson White – Oct. 17
…several University of Alabama students had the chance this past weekend to get a taste of what life outside of the classroom will be like. Five UA students traveled to Dauphin Island Oct. 12-14 to work alongside Food Network star Martie Duncan in a culinary event. Duncan was a recent finalist on Food Network’s “Food Network Star.” The team of UA students helped Duncan plan, set-up and execute the 2012 Seafood, Science & Celebrity event. Diana DeFatta, a senior majoring in restaurant and hospitality management, was chosen to attend this event in order to give her experience in her field of study. “I was able to have my first real world experience and hands-on experience,” DeFatta said, “which is something I could not get in the classroom setting.” DeFatta was able to utilize her major concentration of meetings and event planning as she helped set up and work the event. “I learned that there is a lot of work that goes into making an event,” DeFatta said. “There is a lot of physical work, lots of heavy lifting and lots of details.” The involvement of Alabama students was coordinated by the new UA chapter of Meetings Professionals International. MPI is designed to help students gain industry experience and connect them to industry professionals before they enter the workforce. Alyssa Tilkin, co-founder of UA MPI, was the student leader of the event this past weekend.
Science Fiction writer presents newest book
Crimson White – Oct. 17
The University of Alabama Honors College held a book signing on Tuesday, Oct. 16, for one of its instructors, award-winning science fiction writer Andy Duncan. The event took place in Gorgas Library to promote his new book, “The Pottawatomie Giant And Other Stories.” Duncan, who is also a professor at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., usually hosts class through the Honors College by video conference calls, but he flew in for the event. “It seemed fitting that a science fiction author would teach classes online,” Shane Sharpe, dean of the Honors College, said. Founding Dean Emeritus of the Honors College Robert W. Halli introduced Duncan to the audience. He explained that Duncan had been a great instructor and that, since the writer couldn’t teach science fiction in the English department, he would have to hire him for the Honors College…Within Duncan’s new book, many of the short stories have won awards or received nominations for numerous science fiction awards. The main story, which holds the same title as the book, was awarded the World Fantasy Award for short story in 2001. He also won a World Fiction Award in the same year for the best collection for his “Beluthahatchie and Other Stories” and a Theodore Sturgeon Award for his short story, “The Chief Designer.”
UA students excited for opening night of student-produced Dance Alabama!
Al.com – Oct. 17
There was an air of excitement Monday night in the Morgan Auditorium for opening night of Dance Alabama! fall concert series. Alabama students came in packs to support their friends, watch their classmates and enjoy 20 student-produced dance numbers. Dance Alabama! is the only fully student-produced production put on by the University of Alabama’s Theatre and Dance department. Students were able to choose and create every detail of their dance number from the lighting to the costumes and choreography to the dancers. The UA dance faculty was closely involved with the decision of the 20 dance numbers that were shown on Monday night and judging by the crowd’s reaction, they were pleased. Some fan favorites included Kiley Gipson’s tap dancing “Put Your Hands Up,” Jackie Zarcone’s use of cell phones in “The Sidewalk,” Paige Crawford’s smoky hip-hop number “The Unknown Peril” and Savannah and Vivian Reach’s “Synergy” finale, among others. Jarrett Byers, a UA freshman, picked Margaret Seither’s “Dive into the Wreck” as his favorite play before the intermission. Byers said he enjoyed everything about this particular dance number. “The amount of people, the music,” Byers said. “Everything came together.”
Public school discussion linked with amendment
Tuscaloosa News – Oct. 17
Amendment 4 on the Nov. 6 ballot asks voters to remove racist language regarding segregated schools and poll taxes from the state constitution, but even if the amendment passes, the debate over public education in Alabama will continue. A similar amendment was defeated in 2004, but it contained language guaranteeing a right to a public education. A yes vote on Amendment 4 would remove a historic stain in the state’s basic law, but the question remains: Should children be guaranteed a public education or should the state merely “foster” education? On Thursday in Tuscaloosa, the debate foreshadowing possible legislative review of the constitutional article defining education could begin. The University of Alabama Honors College will host a Town Hall Experience on constitutional reform. The forum will include former Gov. Albert Brewer and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, who will debate ways to address change. The Town Hall Experience will begin at 6 p.m. in the moot courtroom of Farrah Hall. Bob McCurley, retired director of the Alabama Law Institute, is the Town Hall Experience director within the Alabama Honors College.
Creative Campus hosts DIY UA
Crimson White – Oct. 17
Creative Campus is in the development stages of a do-it-yourself series that will allow student art making and hands on projects through interactive events. “Part of Creative Campus’s objective is to spread artistic diversity throughout the UA campus,” Shiori Ito, Creative Campus intern and leader of DIY UA, said. Each week will have a different DIY focus, and the events will be held bi-weekly throughout the school year. Although the project is not fully off the ground yet, the first session will begin Nov. 13 from 6 to 7 p.m. “Creative Campus is designed to connect people while turning innovative ideas into action,” Katherine Howard, one of the students working on the project, said. “In many ways, this is DIY UA’s goal.” The first session will be a tutorial teaching students basic knitting skills, and the second will be an overview of candle making…The club requires no monthly or annual dues. Students may be required to bring some of their own materials, but other materials will be provided by DIY UA.
Debate advice for Romney: Stay aggressive and show people you get it
Al.com – Oct. 16
The challenge for Republican Mitt Romney at tonight’s second presidential debate is to guard against the feeling he has “one to give,” said William Stewart, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alabama and a veteran political observer. “Sometimes you see teams go on the road to begin the playoffs win that first game and then let up in the second (game) thinking it’s not so critical since they won the first,” said Stewart. Such a mindset would be a mistake for Romney, said Stewart. “If you approach it as if you’ve got a game to give, you’ll invariably then give away the game and you end up back where you started,” said Stewart. “You don’t want to be reckless, make a gaffe. But, I think Gov. Romney needs to do what he did in the first debate and that is be aggressive.” And the way to be aggressive, said Stewart, is for Romney to show tonight what he did in the first debate. “In that first debate Gov. Romney showed poise, showed he was knowledgeable and most importantly, showed a concern for people and the problems they are facing,” said Stewart. “I think that is a formula that will work again. He has to be knowledgeable, has to show that intellectually he’s up to the challenge of the job. “But, it remains important that Romney shows a human side, that side that tells voters he gets it, that he understands what people are going through during hard economic times,” added Stewart.
Lynn Brooks: WVUA news director, anchor
Tuscaloosa News – Oct. 17
For Lynn Brooks, every day begins with a blank page. The WVUA news director and anchor starts each day making plans for the coming broadcasts. There are stories to write and oversee, spots to film and packages to produce. It’s a busy life, but it’s one she loves. Brooks is a rarity, one of just two percent of news directors in the country who are still on the air each night. It’s because she still has a deep love of reporting. “I love having the ability to continue to be in the field and do stories — to be a journalist still and not just a manager, although I love that,” she said. “When there is a story I really care about, I still go out in the field. Most news directors are in their office, in a more administrative roll.”… Brooks’ impact spreads further than the Tuscaloosa community though. She oversees the nation’s largest broadcast internship program at WVUA, where between 100 and 200 students intern each year…After a dozen years at WVUA, Brooks said that she would like to think she has helped build the team who has made that happen, but that it has all been because of that team. “Nothing I accomplished there has been alone, it’s all because of my team,” she said…And Brooks has had much success. The Associated Press recognized WVUA as “Most Outstanding News Operation” four times under Lynn’s leadership, and her coverage of the April 27 tornado earned her the Associated Press award for “Best Spot News Story.” WVUA was also nominated for three Southeast EMMY Awards this year. “I owe everything to (the University of Alabama) for having us, and to my team,” Brooks said.
Angela Benson: Romance author
Tuscaloosa Magazine – Oct. 16
Angela Benson realized she had a knack for creative storytelling when she was in the fifth grade. On Fridays, her teacher had the students write stories then read them aloud to the class…In all her years of schooling, she never took a writing class. “It never occurred to me that this was something you could do,” said Benson of writing for a career…her first novel. “Bands of Gold” took a year to write but was bought by a publisher who signed her to a two-book contract. She wrote seven more multicultural romances before making a change to Christian fiction. Her first two Christian genre books were written simultaneously while she was working on her Ph.D. Her first Christian romance was the award-winning “Awakening Mercy.” Benson’s count is now at 12 novels, two novellas and a writing guide, all while working fulltime, becoming a first-time bride in 2010 at age 50, and spending that first year of marriage battling breast cancer…Her next book, “Delilah’s Daughters,” comes out next year. She’s lived in Tuscaloosa since 2006 and is associate professor of instructional technology at the University of Alabama, scheduling writing deadlines for summer break. “I like to think my books make the world better for that small segment of time they’re reading that book,” said Benson.
Sitters for Service uses volunteers to help parents
Crimson White – Oct. 17
Between juggling school and raising a child, many student parents simply do not have the time or resources to find a babysitter who meets their needs. In response to this, The University of Alabama created Sitters for Service, an initiative developed to provide parents with free babysitting services from student volunteer babysitters. Sitters for Service was developed three and a half years ago to serve the 2,000+ student parents on campus. Currently, it serves 38 student families and provides them with access to 38 different sitters, the highest quantity in the program’s history. “The program is the first of its kind in the country,” Cori Perdue, work life manager for the University and program coordinator, said. “We now have two other universities that have contacted us about setting up similar programs on their campuses.” The program is volunteer-based, and student sitters can earn community service hours by choosing the number of hours they would like to dedicate per semester.
Dewpoint vies for 2nd national award
Crimson White – Oct. 17
Although The University of Alabama offers several publishing outlets to students, the Dewpoint Literary Journal specializes in poetry, prose and critical writing, for which they have received national recognition. Dewpoint is run by the Phi Xi chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society. Phi Xi works with the English and creative writing departments with a goal of publishing the creative works on campus and is open to all undergraduate students…The student journal was awarded the second-place national prize for Most Outstanding Literary Journal for 2011-2012 from Sigma Tau Delta.
Day of Sharing for teachers of the gifted to be Oct. 26 at USM
Hattiesburg American – Oct. 17
The Day of Sharing for teachers of the gifted will be held Oct. 26 at R.C. Cook University Union at the University of Southern Mississippi. This conference, sponsored by the Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies, is designed to educate teachers on current curriculum and instructional issues in gifted education… Keynote speaker Kevin Besnoy, assistant professor of gifted and talented education at the University of Alabama, will present Steps to Being a More Efficient Digital Citizen. Other sessions will follow.
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.