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The University of Alabama

UA in the News: December 7, 2012

UA student attending Qatar session
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 7
A University of Alabama graduate student is serving as a delegate at a conference on climate change being held in Qatar. “We will inherit the environment that our parents’ generation has created,” said 24-year-old Parker McCrary, a second-year graduate student at UA, in an email interview from the Persian Gulf state. “We, as the youth, should be particularly engaged … and the best way to get engaged is to become climate literate, so citizens can make informed decisions instead of listening to political rhetoric.” For the past week, McCrary has gotten a firsthand look at the environmental and political issues surrounding climate change. He was chosen to represent the American Chemical Society as one of four student delegates at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 18th Conference of Parties in Doha, Qatar. In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases. The first Conference of Parties took place in Berlin in 1995. “Climate change is an interesting topic that is seen very differently depending on which country you are from,” McCrary said. “From my experience here, the science behind climate change is far beyond the climate policy portion.”

New technology for hybrid car motors leaves rare earth behind
Triple Pundit – Dec. 7
There was a time when the hybrid car was considered the coolest thing on the block. Its electric motor, which utilized rare earth minerals – something that was once found in plentiful supply in many parts of the world – seemed like the simple answer to a dependence on fossil fuels. Electric vehicles are still in growing demand. But China’s announcement last summer that it would reduce its mining of rare earths (China currently generates more than 90 percent of the world’s usable supply) and the increasing cost of the minerals have forced manufacturers to rethink their design of the conventional electric motor…The use of magnets in conventional motor design, however, hasn’t been totally discarded. The University of Alabama is working on developing nano-structure magnets that are designed from composites made of iron and manganese (and rare-earth free) that can be used in hybrid car motors as well. Its research is funded in part with an $823,000 grant from the ARPA-E program.

West Alabama colleges hold fall graduation
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 7
… The University of Alabama will also hold two fall commencement ceremonies on Dec. 15 at Coleman Coliseum. The university will confer degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Human Environmental Sciences, Capstone College of Nursing and School of Law at 9 a.m. and the College of Commerce and Business Administration, College of Communication and Information Sciences, College of Engineering and School of Social Work at 1:30 p.m. The ceremonies will be available for viewing through live feed at The site will be updated for each ceremony. The webcast will not be available until the start of each ceremony.

County’s first birding trail launched
The Cleburne News – Dec. 6
Local officials along with JSU Field School and representatives of USDA Forest Service and state conservation groups gathered in Heflin last week at the new Mountain Center to launch one of six new birding trails in Cleburne County…The birding trail is a collaborative project: The Alabama Tourism Department has provided much of the funding for this project; The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development is providing the leadership role of facilitation…The eight Alabama Birding Trails unify existing and potential birding sites into a series of cohesive trails that are part of a state-wide system.

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.