Elie Wiesel to Deliver Inaugural President’s Lecture April 9
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel will deliver the Inaugural President’s Lecture at The City College of New York (CCNY) Wednesday, April 9. Prior to the lecture, President Williams will confer upon him the honorary degree, Doctor of Letters. The degree presentation will take place at 5 p.m. in The Great Hall of Shepard Hall, followed by the lecture, titled “Confronting Fanaticism: Building a Moral Unity in a Diverse Society,” at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Night, Professor Wiesel’s 109-page memoir of his experiences during the Holocaust and his loss of faith in God, is considered one of the bedrocks of Holocaust literature. Wiesel, who is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities at Boston University, received the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy to end violence, repression and racism. Three months after receiving the award, he and his wife, Marion, established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Its mission is to advance the cause of human rights and peace throughout the world by creating a new forum for the discussion of urgent ethical issues confronting humankind. From 1972 to 1976, Professor Wiesel was Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at CCNY. More on this story.
David Bauer, ’09, Wins Truman Scholarship
David L.V. Bauer, ’09, a junior chemistry major in the Macaulay Honors College, was selected as a 2008 Truman Scholar. The scholarship provides up to $30,000 in funding to students pursuing graduate degrees in public service fields and is one the most prestigious and competitive national scholarship programs. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have been selected from an amazingly talented pool of candidates,” said Mr. Bauer. “City College has provided me with a nurturing environment where I not only gained a solid foundation in the sciences, but also came to see how my work impacted New York City and the world at large.” Mr. Bauer, who is the 2005 First Prize Winner in the Intel Science Talent Search and a 2007 Goldwater Scholar, said he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the sciences after graduation. He is the second Truman Scholar from CCNY in four years. In 2005, Claudio Simpkins, a political science and philosophy major from Queens, was selected. “When he decided to come to City College, we knew David was an exceptional student, and we expected him to accomplish a very great deal here,” said CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams. “He has met – and exceeded – those expectations.” More on this story.
New Supercomputer at CCNY Tackles Traffic Congestion
A supercomputer at CCNY custom built by Silicon Graphics will soon be helping transportation engineers, policymakers, planners and commuters anticipate and cope with traffic congestion across the New York metropolitan area. Dubbed the Universal Transportation Model Simulation Center, it represents the latest in intelligent transportation systems, according to Dr. Neville Parker, Director of the CUNY Institute for Transportation Systems, which operates the system. Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams inaugurated the facility at a March 26 reception. Mr. Stringer said the Center would help solve many of the problems plaguing transportation in the City. “We now have a much needed and operational high-tech resource that will prove invaluable in analyzing road traffic and offering solutions to challenges in the nation’s busiest commuter hub,” President Williams added. More on this story.
Sustainable Energy Expert Joins Grove School Faculty
In a move that will expand its energy and sustainability research and teaching programs, Dr. Sanjoy Banerjee has joined The Grove School of Engineering faculty as Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Technologies. Professor Banerjee joins from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he had taught since 1980 and held appointments as Professor Abovescale in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. “The appointment of Professor Banerjee is one of several strategic, senior-level hires The Grove School of Engineering is making to bolster its teaching and research programs,” said Dean Joseph Barba in announcing the appointment. “These hires create exciting opportunities for our students to train with internationally recognized leaders. At the same time, they help us achieve our goal of becoming a flagship school of engineering serving students from underrepresented groups.” Professor Banerjee holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo in Canada. In 2006, Professor Banerjee received the Donald Q. Kern Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for his seminal work on transport phenomena in multiphase systems. More on this story.
CCNY Hosts NYC-LSAMP 11th Annual Conference
CCNY will host the New York City Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NYC-LSAMP) 11th Annual Urban University Conference, Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12. “Exploration and Discovery,” the theme for this year’s conference will be examined during three panel sessions. Speakers will discuss opportunities for students to participate in collaborative international research and Study Abroad programs. “We want our students to take advantage of these opportunities,” said Dr. Claude Brathwaite, NYC LSAMP Project Administration. “At the end of the day, we’d like to see at least 20-25 students doing summer research in international programs.” One of the panelists will Marie-Elena John, a 1986 CCNY graduate and the College’s first African-America female valedictorian. Ms. John’s Study Abroad experiences moved her to focus her career on fighting for human rights, women’s rights and democracy in Africa. In addition to the panels, the conference will feature poster sessions presented by CUNY Research Scholars, a Best Practice symposium and a Graduate Education / Technology Expo with exhibitors from academic institutions, private industry and public agencies. Dr. Maria M. Larrondo Petrie, Associate Dean of Academic and International Affairs, Florida Atlantic University, will be the conference’s keynote speaker. More on this story.
New Book by Professor Kaku Debuts at #12 on NY Times List
“Physics of the Impossible” (Doubleday, 2008), Professor Michio Kaku’s new book, has climbed to number 12 in nonfiction on “The New York Times” best seller’s list for April 6. The book explores to what extent technologies and devices deemed impossible today might become commonplace in the future. The “impossible” technologies are categorized into three groupings: technologies that are not possible today, but which may be possible in the coming decades or century (Class I), such as invisibility, teleportation, ray guns, force fields, anti-matter engines, star ships, and robots; technologies that are possible on a scale of centuries to millennia (Class II), such as time travel, faster-than-light travel through wormholes, and interdimensional travel, and technologies that violate all the laws of physics as we know them today (Class III).
Professor’s Theatrical Release Becomes City College Project
Media & Communication Arts (MCA) Chair Andrzej Krakowski is a Hollywood veteran with over 40 credits as director, producer or writer on films or television. But he calls his latest film, “ Looking for Palladin,” which he directed and wrote and which debuted to rave reviews at the Cartegena International Film Festival in Colombia, March 5, a City College project. It stars actor Ben Gazzara, who attended CCNY in the 1950s. Two other MCA faculty members had key roles: Professor Jerry Carlson was co-producer and played an expatriate writer, and Professor Babak Rassi was editor and co-producer. Several CCNY students participated in the production, as well. “I think this project truly represents the collegial and cooperative spirit that our film program is famous for,” said Professor Krakowski. Shot in Antigua and Guatemala, “Palladin” is about a young and arrogant Hollywood talent agent, played by David Moscow, who is sent reluctantly to Guatemala to find and offer a role to a retired actor played by Mr. Gazzara. Slated for release in the United States in October, “Palladin” has been invited to the Monte Carlo Film Festival next month.
Oxford Journal Appoints Professor Kierszenbaum to Board
Dr. Abraham L. Kierszenbaum, Medical Professor and Chair of Cell Biology and Anatomy in The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, has been appointed to the editorial board of "Molecular Human Reproduction," a prestigious journal is published by Oxford University Press. Professor Kierszenbaum is also executive editor of "Molecular Reproduction and Development," published by Wiley-Blackwell. Noting Oxford University Press’ reputation, Sophie Davis Dean Stan Roman called Dr. Kierszenbaum’s appointment a measure of his international stature as a scientist. “His textbook, Histology and Cell Biology – An Introduction to Pathology (second edition) has revolutionized instruction in histology and introduction to pathology in medical schools worldwide,” Dean Roman noted. Professor Kierszenbaum’s collaborative research focuses on the major clinical causes of male infertility. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for 33 consecutive years. Professor Kierszenbaum joined Sophie Davis in 1988 and served as Acting Deputy to the Dean for Academic Affairs, Basic Sciences, from 1988 through 1990.
Hewlett-Packard Provides Technology for Physics Courses
CCNY’s physics department has won a Technology for Teaching Award from Hewlett-Packard. A presentation ceremony was held at the College Tuesday, April 1. The award, valued at $118,430 with matching funds from the College, provides for 21 HP tablet computers, laboratory equipment and training. CCNY was one of 42 colleges and universities in the United States and Puerto Rico selected to receive this award from a pool of more than 300 applicants. The physics department plans to utilize the computer technology to improve instruction in introductory Physics courses in order to increase retention rates and attract more physics, science and engineering majors. Professors Jiufeng Tu, Richard Steinberg, Michael Lubell, Matthias Lenzner and Carlos Meriles applied for the award and are investigators for the project.
CWE Re-launches ‘City at the Center’ Journal
The Center for Worker Education (CWE) has re-launched its academic journal, “City at the Center,” following a two-year hiatus. “It is an exemplary body of work,” said Acting Dean Juan Carlos Mercado, who pushed to resume this long-lasting tradition at CWE. “Our students are very talented and the journal wonderfully highlights their enormous creative and artistic abilities.” Since 1986, “City at the Center” has served as the sole institutional organ for displaying the outstanding artistic and academic accomplishments of CWE students. Edited by a five-member editorial committee, the 160-page journal features poems, short stories, and artwork of over 30 students and recent alumni. Its spring 2008 issue was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Puffin Foundation. ““City at the Center” shows the array of experiences and quality of voices that are possessed by our students,” stated journal editor John Calagione. “As impressive as this is, it is just a small sample of the creative powers that working students can bring to bare.” The re-launch will be celebrated with a launch party 5 – 8 p.m. Friday, April 11, at CWE, located at 25 Broadway. Copies of the journal will be available for purchase at the event for $5.
Daytime Nap Boosts Memory, CCNY Professor Says
A daytime nap could sharpen your memory, according to new research by Dr. William Fishbein, CCNY Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. To test their hypothesis, Professor Fishbein and colleagues asked 33 CCNY undergraduates to memorize words or images. Then the students were divided into two groups: one took a 45-minute nap while the other group watched television. When the students were tested afterwards for memory recall, those who took naps did better on word recall, but the differences on image recall were not significant. The research was part of an ongoing series of studies on the role sleep plays in facilitating the processes involved in the consolidation of newly acquired information, explained Professor Fishbein, who has been studying sleep and memory for over 40 years. However, he has mixed views on recommending naps to boost memory. Accumulated evidence shows that a full night of sleep and brief naps seem to play an important role in facilitating the consolidation of newly acquired information. “However, if one takes a nap they are taking the sleep time out of their nighttime sleep and, because the brain needs just so much sleep, that night sleep is likely to be shortened,” he cautioned.
Chinese Lag in Cancer Screening, Sophie Davis Professor Finds
Lower income Chinese residents of New York City with access to primary care were less likely than their African-American or Hispanic counterparts to have undergone cancer screening, reported Dr. Erica I. Lubetkin, Associate Medical Professor in The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. Her findings appear in the current issue of the "Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved." Cancer is the leading cause of death for Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. “However, despite similar access to primary care, Hispanics and Blacks reported higher utilization rates of all screening tests than Chinese,” she noted. Dr. Lubetkin analyzed usage by 833 patients at two community health centers of six common cancer screening tests: mammography, Pap smear, digital rectal examination, fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy and prostate-specific antigen testing. She observed that physician recommendations and years living in the United States were associated with greater use of all screening services. “We should emphasize both physician recommendation and culturally-sensitive patient education to enhance screening by at-risk groups,” she added.
CCNY Professor Finds Drop in Antarctic Snowmelt
Last month, a large chunk of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in western Antarctica collapsed. However, surface snowmelt in Antarctica for 2008 was 40 percent below the average of the 1987 – 2007 period, according to Dr. Marco Tedesco, CCNY Assistant Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science at The City College of New York. “The past season was one with extremely low melting suggesting relatively low temperature,” noted Professor Tedesco. “However, variations in melting from year to year are affected by more than one factor, so it is not possible to predict whether trends are changing in a relatively simple way and by relying solely on melt data. The role played by the ocean needs to be better understood.” In addition, because of the vastness of Antarctica, he called for more detailed research focusing on the Wilkins and other ice shelves. Studies conducted on West Antarctica ice shelves need to be repeated on the East Antarctica to understand the trends on both sides of the continent, he said. Professor Tedesco’s findings were published in “EOS: Transactions of the American Geophysical Society.” More on this story.
CCNY to Hold All-Night Cancer Fundraiser, April 18 - 19
Relay For Life,® an all-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will take place April 18-19 in the Nat Holman Gymnasium. “This is ACS's signature event for communities to celebrate survivors, remember loved ones and fight back by raising funds and awareness of cancer,” said CCNY Relay for Life co-chair Roger Ly. The event will run from 5 p.m. Friday, April 18, to 8 a.m. the next day. “It is held overnight to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps,” explained Mr. Ly, a senior majoring in electrical engineering. Activities include the survivors’ lap and the Luminaria ceremony, which honors everyone touched by cancer. There will also be fun fundraising events such as dance lessons and speed dating, as well as a sport competition. Participants will also be educated on how to perform self-examinations for early detection of breast and testicular cancer. Mr. Ly encouraged all faculty, students and staff to sign up for the Relay. To register or create your own team, visit: http://events.cancer.org/RFLccny.
Professor Alonso Reads From Robert Sherwood Biography
Professor of History Harriet Hyman Alonso will present a reading and talk on her latest book, “Robert E. Sherwood: the Playwright in Peace and War,” 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in the CCNY Cohen Library Archives. A book signing and reception will follow. Sponsored by the City College Friends of the Library, the event is free and open to the public. One of the most popular playwrights of the 1920s and 1930s, Robert E. Sherwood received three Pulitzer prizes and numerous other awards. Professor Alonso’s talk and reading will highlight his relationships with such New York personalities as Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker (and the Algonquin Roundtable), Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, and Spencer Tracy. Professor Alonso, who is also Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the Center for Worker Education, has written numerous books and articles, including Growing Up Abolitionist: the Story of the Garrison Children, which received the 2003 Warren F. Kuehl Book Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. More on this story.
From the President
Spring is barely two weeks old and already the season has seen a number of wonderful things happen at City College. First, kudos to David L.V. Bauer on being named a 2008 Truman Scholar. This is the latest of David’s remarkable accomplishments at CCNY, where he ranks among the top undergrads in the Macaulay Honors College at City College. He is spending the semester doing independent research at Oxford University, where another City College superstar, Rhodes Scholar Lev Sviridov, ’05, helped him prepare for his Truman finalists interview.
We’ve also had two important technology-related events. Along with Borough President Scott Stringer and Professor Neville Parker, we inaugurated a new supercomputer that our students and researchers will use to predict, analyze and find answers to the New York region’s traffic problems. In addition, our Physics Department celebrated a $118,000 grant from Hewlett-Packard to bring computerized learning into introductory classes.
In case you missed them, both the Levine-deBeer Genetics Lecture by Francisco Ayala and the Mumford Lecture by David Harvey drew large audiences and were well received. I know you’ll want to be in The Great Hall on Wednesday, April 9, when Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel returns to City College to deliver the Inaugural President’s Lecture and receive the honorary degree Doctor of Letters.
Gregory H. Williams
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