As fans eagerly await the U.S. return of the BBC television series “Sherlock” on Sunday to PBS (how did he survive that fall?!), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective is once again in the spotlight.
Not that he ever really left it. The current fascination is only the most recent chapter in a long history of Sherlockian enthusiasm.
Fortunately for Holmes devotees, UT’s Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library, holds an extensive collection of materials related to both the fictional character and his creator, including Doyle’s personal effects and papers, original manuscripts and Holmes memorabilia and tributes. In November the center launched a new online collection, making some of its Holmes highlights (along with more than 8,000 items from other collections) freely available for digital browsing and download.
Below, explore items from the collection, and be reminded that Sherlock Holmes lives on.Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself was unable to kill off his popular detective: pressure from fans led him to resurrect Holmes a decade after his apparent death at Reichenbach Falls, as this sticker from the Baker Street Irregulars (the first American Holmes fan society) attests. [Source: Harry Ransom Center Arthur Conan Doyle vertical file] It’s unknown why Doyle filled out this autobiographical questionnaire in 1893, but the answers give a sense of his humorous side. His favorite occupation: “Work.” Favorite food and drink: “Anything when hungry – nothing when not.” [Source: Harry Ransom Center Arthur Conan Doyle papers] Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes in the novel “A Study in Scarlet,” which received several rejections before being published in the 1887 “Beeton’s Christmas Annual.” The 27-year-old Doyle wrote the novel in three weeks and received only £25 for the full rights. The Ransom Center holds one of the 11 complete copies known to exist. [Source: Harry Ransom Center Ellery Queen Book Collection] Illustration from “A Study in Scarlet,” which served as the inspiration for the first episode of the 2010 BBC modern Holmes reboot, “Sherlock.” [Source: Harry Ransom Center Ellery Queen Book Collection] Holmes inspired all manner of fan creations, including this sonnet by Vincent Starrett, seen here in its rare original issue. “221B” — a nod to Holmes and Watson’s home office on Baker Street in London — was distributed at Christmas 1942. The timing added poignancy to the line, “Here, though the world explode, these two survive.” [Source: Harry Ransom Center Christopher Morley papers] A manuscript page dated April 1891 from “A Scandal in Bohemia,” the first of the Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand magazine later that year. The handwriting seen here is Doyle’s. This story is the only one that contains the famous character of Irene Adler, known as “the woman” by Holmes. [Source: Harry Ransom Center Arthur Conan Doyle papers] This original illustration for “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder” is one of 356 drawings Sidney Paget created for the original publication of the Sherlock Holmes tales in The Strand Magazine. It was Paget who would later put Holmes in the iconic deerstalker hat, which was never specifically mentioned by Doyle in any Holmes story. [Source: Harry Ransom Center Arthur Conan Doyle Art Collection] Another original Paget drawing, illustrating “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty” for its initial publication in The Strand magazine. [Source: Harry Ransom Center Arthur Conan Doyle Art Collection] In 1934 writer and editor Christopher Morley founded the Baker Street Irregulars, a fan society that also counted Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman as honorary members. [Source: Harry Ransom Center Christopher Morley Papers] In later life, Doyle developed a strong interest in spiritualism and the supernatural. This was his Ouija board. The Ransom Center also holds a large collection of Doyle’s spirit photographs, in which ghostly apparitions hover over the living. [Source: Harry Ransom Center Arthur Conan Doyle Personal Effects Collection. Photo: Pete Smith] You may also like:
AUSTIN, Texas — Astronomer Taft Armandroff has been appointed the new director of the College of Natural Sciences McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas.
Armandroff, who is currently director of the W. M. Keck Observatory, located on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, will join the university in June.
He succeeds David Lambert, who, as the observatory’s third director, propelled the observatory to national prominence. Lambert will resume his position as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Astronomy.
"The McDonald Observatory is one of the most significant astronomical research facilities in the world, and Taft is well-suited to provide innovative leadership at the observatory and continue to strengthen its role as a key center for discoveries about our universe,” said Linda Hicke, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “I am delighted that he will be joining our community.”
“I'm tremendously excited to be joining the Texas astronomy program, to develop the McDonald Observatory further with new instrumentation and research programs, and to continue the observatory's stellar efforts to communicate astronomy discoveries to the public,” said Armandroff. “There are very few places like UT Austin that can boast such a strong astronomy faculty and total access to a facility like the McDonald Observatory. The observatory is also a fantastic resource for graduate and undergraduate students to gain hands-on research experience at the cutting edge.”
Armandroff is a widely recognized research astronomer with a specialty in dwarf spheroidal galaxies, stellar populations in our galaxy and nearby galaxies, and globular clusters.
Prior to joining Keck Observatory in 2006, he worked for 19 years at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson, Ariz. During his past five years at NOAO, he held the positions of associate director of NOAO and director of the NOAO Gemini Science Center. Armandroff is a 1982 graduate of Wesleyan University, holding a B.A. in astronomy with high honors. He then continued his studies at Yale University, earning master’s degrees in science and philosophy and a Ph.D. in astronomy.
The McDonald Observatory is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The observatory is home to multiple telescopes that provide data for a wide range of astronomical research under the darkest night skies of any professional observatory in the continental United States.
The consortium-run Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET), one of the world’s largest telescopes, is now being upgraded to begin the HET Dark Energy Experiment. McDonald Observatory is also an international leader in astronomy education and outreach, connecting with the public through its StarDate radio program and magazine.
Each year, the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, ranks the economic performance of U.S. cities, and this year, the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metropolitan area was ranked America’s Best Performing Large City. The institute noted that “The Lone Star State, which has both technology and energy assets, claimed three of the Top 10 and seven of the Top 25 large cities.” In the institute’s own words:
This year’s Best-Performing City, Austin, is a case study in concocting the proper recipe for economic vitality. A rising technology center, it is creating high-quality jobs that improve the region’s overall wage structure. Economic development officials rightly tout its business-friendly, low-tax, low-regulation climate when recruiting outside the state, particularly when soliciting California firms. They also herald the business startups of local entrepreneurs, the spinouts from the University of Texas, Austin, and the number and quality of UT graduates.
Austin’s technology base is fairly diversified: hardware, chips and communication gear, computer system design, Internet-related services, and biomedical research. The metro has its share of homegrown tech companies — Dell, Freescale Semiconductor, Flextronics International, and National Instruments among them — and has been successful at attracting technology icons from elsewhere as well. The financial services sector is also adding jobs.
I’m proud of the huge economic driver UT Austin continues to be both for our state and for our area. With the addition of UT’s Dell Medical School, our power to drive innovation and the economy will only increase.
What starts here changes the world.
Photo by UT philosophy junior Amyn Kassam
The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired 21 previously unrecorded and unpublished letters by author J.D. Salinger. The letters are accessible as part of the Ransom Center’s existing Salinger collection, which includes published and unpublished manuscripts, galleys, page proofs and correspondence.
Most of the newly acquired letters are written by Salinger to Ruth Smith Maier, a classmate and friend he met at Ursinus College. Salinger attended Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., in the fall of 1938, but he quit midterm and returned to New York City. He and Maier maintained a 40-year correspondence in which Salinger commented on a wide range of topics including his literary ambitions, his writing and his family life. A number of letters offer insight into his evolving attitude toward public exposure and cast light on his decision to withhold new work from public view.
In the earliest letter, the 22-year-old Salinger expresses confidence in his literary gifts: “Oh, but I’m good,” he writes Maier. “It will take time to convince the public, but [it] shall be done.” In later letters Salinger reminisces about his brief time at Ursinus College (“one of the last peaceful or simple or oddly comforting times of my life”) and comments on his second marriage and early fatherhood. Five letters from 1977 and 1978 are written to Ruth Maier’s son, Christopher. In one he offers an explanation for his decision to withhold his writing from the public, explaining “publication tends, for me, at least, to put all work still in progress in dire jeopardy...I distrust the finality of publication.”
The acquisition also includes copies of Ruth Smith Maier’s letters to Salinger and a draft of the first letter Christopher Maier sent the author.
Stephen Enniss, director of the Harry Ransom Center, notes the correspondence will be of particular interest to those who wish to understand Salinger’s withdrawal from public life. He adds, “It also humanizes the author, showing him confronting a range of life-changing events from marriage to fatherhood and his own aging.”
The Ransom Center’s Salinger collection was established in 1968 and has been augmented with subsequent additions over many years. The Ransom Center is one of a handful of institutions that hold original Salinger manuscripts, including Princeton University, Harvard University, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress and the Morgan Library.
New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short lived, but they don’t have to be. Follow this advice from UT researchers who know what fuels the human mind and body, and you’re sure to see a whole new you in 2014.
New Year’s Resolutions for 2̶0̶1̶1 2̶0̶1̶2 2̶0̶1̶3 2014 pic.twitter.com/1RE3h9ZxQo
— Art Jonak (@ArtJonak) December 31, 2013Resolution: Choose an exercise regime and stick with it Strategy: Don’t ease into it; start at high intensity [Credit: Peiyu Liu via Flickr]
Resetting after the indulgent holiday season sounds like a great idea, but many who set exercising as a goal find it hard to stick with a program. Turns out that easing into new activity isn’t the answer, according to research by Molly Bray, geneticist and exercise physiologist in UT’s School of Human Ecology.
Bray recommends working out at higher intensities. The longer a participant in her study maintained an optimal heart rate (find your target heart rate zone) and the higher the heart rate, the more likely that person was to complete the exercise program and see results.
“Many people can tolerate a higher intensity of exercise than they think, and they often feel better after such a workout,” Bray says.
A higher exercise dose is associated with greater positive changes in several health risk factors (including body mass index, weight, percent body fat and resting heart rate). But it may be actual brain chemical changes, in addition to positive effects, that help people stick to a vigorous exercise program.
Consistency is key. “Consistent workouts can also help to establish a base of fitness that makes successive workouts easier,” Bray says. “Exercising only once a week is like starting over every time.”Resolution: Learn to negotiate more effectively Strategy: Make the ask
If 2014 is going to be the year of your professional reinvention, pursuing new opportunities may require some negotiation. Unfortunately, according to Doug Dierking, senior lecturer in management at the McCombs School of Business, successful negotiators are the exception rather than the rule.
Rule number one for a good negotiation: ask.
“It’s very common for people to feel reluctant to ask for things, even things they really are entitled to,” Dierking says.
In the lead-up to the ask, it’s important to have confidence and consider the other side’s perspective.
“Most of the time, when people look at negotiation they only consider their own perspective,” he says. “People who are very successful are good at putting themselves in the other sides’ shoes.”
For instance, pick the right time. If your ask would inconvenience the other person, then it’s probably not the right time.
Equally important is to ask for something reasonable, something the requestee can conceivably grant. Make sure you’re talking to the decision maker.
According to Dierking, who teaches “The Art and Science of Negotiation” in the Texas MBA program, inexperienced negotiators make three common mistakes: asking for something that is not reasonable, making a demand instead of an ask, and not asking in the first place. The last, of course, is the most common.
“The worst somebody can do is say no, but you’ve already got no,” Dierking says. “You’re working from no.”Resolution: Breaking bad habits Strategy: Understand how your brain creates patterns
Quit smoking. Stop eating junk food. Turn off the TV. Resolutions often center on ending a bad habit. But, according to psychology professor Art Markman, it’s almost impossible to break a habit without replacing it with something else.
Take snacking. Your first thought may be to change the habit of snacking by replacing it with nothing (i.e., NOT snacking). “But your brain cannot learn to do nothing,” Markman says. “So you need to start the process by trying to replace an existing habit with a new one.” If you typically snack while watching TV, try knitting instead — the new activity will keep your hands busy.
“Your brain is optimized to continue doing what you did last time without having to think about it,” Markman says. “So, when you decide you want to change a behavior, you are fighting against millions of years of evolution that have created mechanisms that want you to maintain your behaviors.”
Markman’s new book, “Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others,” is based on cognitive research that shows how to harness the brain’s capabilities to adopt better habits.
Another tip? Find someone else with the same goal — or who already has the habit you’re aiming for. “If you spend time with people who have the habits you want to develop, it will naturally lead you to adopt the same goals.”
Good luck with those resolutions and Happy New Year!
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AUSTIN, Texas — Microscopic fungi that live in plants' roots play a major role in the storage and release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere, according to a University of Texas at Austin researcher and his colleagues at Boston University and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The role of these fungi is currently unaccounted for in global climate models.
Some types of symbiotic fungi can lead to 70 percent more carbon stored in the soil.
"Natural fluxes of carbon between the land and atmosphere are enormous and play a crucial role in regulating the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, in turn, Earth's climate," said Colin Averill, lead author on the study and graduate student in the College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin. "This analysis clearly establishes that the different types of symbiotic fungi that colonize plant roots exert major control on the global carbon cycle, which has not been fully appreciated or demonstrated until now."
"This research is not only relevant to models and predictions of future concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases, but also challenges the core foundation in modern biogeochemistry that climate exerts major control over soil carbon pools," added Adrien Finzi, co-investigator and professor of biology at Boston University.
Averill, Finzi and Benjamin Turner, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, published their research this week in Nature.
Soil contains more carbon than both the atmosphere and vegetation combined, so predictions about future climate depend on a solid understanding of how carbon cycles between the land and air.
Plants remove carbon from the atmosphere during photosynthesis in the form of carbon dioxide. Eventually the plant dies, sheds leaves, or loses a branch or two, and that carbon is added to the soil. The carbon remains locked away in the soil until the remains of the plant decompose, when soil-dwelling microbes feast on the dead plant matter and other organic detritus. That releases carbon back into the air.
One of the limits that both the plants and the soil-dwelling microbes share is the availability of nitrogen, an essential nutrient for all life. Most plants have a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi, which help extract nitrogen and nutrients from the soil and make that nitrogen available for the plants to use. Recent studies have suggested that plants and their fungi compete with the soil microbes for the nitrogen available in the soil and that this competition reduces decomposition in the soil.
There are two major types of the symbiotic fungi, ecto- and ericoid mycorrhizal (EEM) fungi and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. EEM fungi produce nitrogen-degrading enzymes, which allows them to extract more nitrogen from the soil than the AM fungi extract.
Examining data from across the globe, Averill and his colleagues found that where plants partner with EEM fungi, the soil contains 70 percent more carbon per unit of nitrogen than in locales where AM fungi are the norm.
The EEM fungi allow the plants to compete with the microbes for available nitrogen, thus reducing the amount of decomposition and lowering the amount of carbon released back into the atmosphere.
"This study is showing that trees and decomposers are really connected via these mycorrhizal fungi, and you can't make accurate predictions about future carbon cycling without thinking about how the two groups interact. We need to think of these systems holistically," said Averill.
The researchers found that this difference in carbon storage was independent of and had a much greater effect than other factors, including the amount of plant growth, temperature and rainfall.
Averill is a student in the ecology, evolution and behavior graduate program in the lab of Christine Hawkes, associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology.
Three faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin have been selected to receive Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.
They are among 102 recipients who will receive their awards at a Washington, D.C., ceremony later this year. These recognition awards pay tribute to the honorees’ past and ongoing accomplishments.
The University of Texas at Austin recipients and their areas of research are:
- Kristen Grauman, associate professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Natural Sciences. She studies computer vision and machine learning, with a focus on visual recognition and search.
- Mattan Erez, associate professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering. His research addresses the challenge of providing efficient resilience against system errors and failures at large scale by elevating resilience to first-class programming abstraction.
- Jonathan Pillow, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, and the Department of Neuroscience and Division of Statistics; Scientific Computation, College of Natural Sciences. He develops mathematical models to study how neurons in the brain work together to process information.
“The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead,” President Barack Obama said about the 102 recipients. “We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America’s global leadership for many years to come.”
The recipients are employed or funded by various federal departments and agencies that join together annually to nominate those whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for ensuring America’s pre-eminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions.
[Credit: UT Athletics]
“We will work like it’s fourth-and-one or fourth-and-inches,” new Texas football coach Charlie Strong promised during his introductory press conference Monday, Jan. 6. He later added, “We’ll be a hard-nosed football team. We’ll be very exciting to watch. You know, for our fans, I think they’re going to be very pleased at what they’re going to see.”
With dozens of reporters and cameras watching, President Bill Powers and men’s athletic director Steve Patterson officially welcomed Charlie Strong as the 29th head coach of the University of Texas football program. Strong, who was previously the head coach at the University of Louisville, replaces Mack Brown, who resigned in December after 16 years at the helm of the Longhorns.
We’ve gathered a selection of quotes from the press conference, plus images from Strong’s first week at Texas and fan and expert reaction to the hiring.[Credit: UT Athletics]
President Bill Powers:
“He’s the right person to represent our university on the field, on the campus, in the community, in the living rooms of potential recruits. He’s the right person to carry on the winning tradition that we have here, winning with integrity that was cultivated by Darrell Royal, DeLoss Dodds, Mack Brown; he is the right person.”
“There is no question he’s a winner. He transformed the Louisville football program into champions. He was honored as Coach of the Year. His talents as a coach are truly evident. More important than that, he elevated the football program while increasing graduation rates, developing a culture rooted in academic success.”Strong with Edith Royal, widow of legendary Longhorns football coach Darrell Royal. [Credit: UT Athletics]
Men’s Athletic Director Steve Patterson:
“We wanted somebody who was bright and an ethical leader, somebody who was physically and mentally tough, somebody who could really recruit and evaluate talent. Then once that talent is here, somebody who is a great coach and teacher who can really help our young football players grow both on the field and off.”
Coach Charlie Strong:
“I will ask the Longhorn football team to believe and trust in one another. We’re going to create a family atmosphere here. We’re going to be a program that has the right attitude. We’ll have the right commitment. It will be a program that’s built on accountability and responsibility.”Strong and his wife and daughters get the star treatment at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, including a custom scoreboard message. [Credit: UT Athletics]
“Nationally, the Texas high school coaches are king,” said Strong. “My staff and I will be committed to closing the borders on this great state and making them realize that this is their program. We’ll recruit with fire, and we’ll recruit with passion.”
“It’s never about me; it’s always about the young men. I want to make sure this is all about building them and making sure they represent this university the right way. I’m so happy and proud. Hook ‘em.”
“Number one, I want our players to understand that you’re here to graduate. You’re here to get a degree. When you get a degree, you will always have options in life. Number two, let’s go win football games, let’s go win championships. Number three, I want to make sure when they leave here, they’re a better person than when they came into this university.”Strong chats with former Texas standouts Vince Young and David Thomas, who played together on the 2005 national championship team. [Credit: UT Athletics]
Strong makes his Longhorn Network debut with lead anchor Lowell Galindo.AM 1300 radio host and Longhorn football play-by-play announcer Craig Way interviews Strong after the press conference. [Credit: UT Athletics] Strong meets women’s basketball head coach Karen Aston. [Credit: UT Athletics] [View story on Storify]
As many of you know, UT recently lost a great friend and Distinguished Alumnus. Jack Blanton, a leader in the energy industry, philanthropy, and higher education, died in Houston on Dec. 28 at the age of 86. Jack served UT in countless ways. He supported programs as varied as the law school, the Wildflower Center, British Studies, athletics, nursing, and, of course, the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, named in his honor in 1997.
Jack’s campus involvement extended to scores of initiatives, including the Centennial Commission, the Commission of 125, the Development Board, and his service as president of the Texas Exes. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1977. Jack was appointed to the Board of Regents in 1985 and was elected chairman in 1987. At a time when educational budgets were severely challenged, he was instrumental in increasing state revenue, much of which supported higher education in Texas. The UT System awarded him its Santa Rita Award in 1994.
Jack earned a bachelor’s degree in history at the University in 1947 and a law degree in 1950. After graduation, he worked for the Scurlock Oil Company in Houston, which he would eventually lead. He also served as president of Eddy Refining Company.
I will miss this great friend and leader, whose name will forever be held dear on our campus.
Today begins the next chapter in one of the great stories in all of college sports — the story of Texas Longhorn football. It’s my pleasure to introduce to the Longhorn family our next football head coach, Charlie Strong.
Coach Strong is exactly the right pick for The University of Texas, and I want to thank our men’s athletics director, Steve Patterson, and the search committee for their superb work.
From the outset, we knew the University’s new football coach had to have the two qualities all of our coaches have: he had to be a winner, and he had to win with integrity. This is our standard because of the work of numerous coaches over the decades but no coach more so than Mack Brown.
There’s no question Coach Strong is a winner, having transformed Louisville’s football team into champions and being honored twice as coach of the year during his four years there. But more important, he elevated that football program while increasing graduation rates and developing a culture rooted in academic success. Coach Strong has said, “When you talk about a player’s future, it all starts in the classroom.” A lot of coaches can win, but that philosophy is why we asked him to come to Texas.
He’s the right person to represent Texas on the field, on campus, in the community, and in the living rooms of potential recruits across the nation. He’s the right person to carry on the Texas tradition of winning with integrity that was cultivated by giants like Darrell Royal and Mack Brown.
Finally — to Charlie and his beautiful family, including his wife, Vicki, and daughters Hailee and Hope, I say welcome to Austin and welcome to the Longhorn family.
Here’s a quick look at Coach Strong’s career so far: http://youtu.be/hB1EKrYgsOI
And you can watch this morning’s introductory press conference at: http://youtu.be/L6V6RRrulig.
Hook ’em Horns!
This year’s acceptance packets arrived with a #gonetotexas banner, perfect for Instagram captures, like this one from @vousestebelle.
The first round of acceptance notifications went out to prospective undergraduates in December, and we asked the new Longhorns to share their news online using #gonetotexas and #UT18. Their captivating messages display the joy, pride and anticipation of embarking on a life-altering journey.
Congratulations to our newest Longhorns, and welcome to Texas![View story on Storify]
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will bestow John B. Goodenough of The University of Texas at Austin with the highest honor in the engineering profession for the groundbreaking creation of the lithium-ion battery.
Goodenough holds the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. He is one of four recipients of this year’s Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering in recognition of their significant roles in developing the lithium-ion battery, which is used by millions of people around the world in devices such as cellphones, laptops, tablets, hearing aids, cameras, power tools and many other mobile electronics.
Goodenough, Yoshio Nishi, Rachid Yazami and Akira Yoshino will receive the Draper Prize "for engineering the rechargeable lithium-ion battery that enables compact, lightweight mobile devices." They will share the $500,000 annual award that honors engineers whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society.
The prize will be presented at a gala event in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 18. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Draper Prize. Past winners can be found online. In addition to the Draper Prize, NAE will also award the Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education at the gala.
“The NAE’s major prizes for 2014 highlight the dramatic impacts of engineering innovations on people and society, and they inspire new ideas about educating the next generation of great innovators,” said C.D. Mote Jr., president of the National Academy of Engineering, a 50-year-old group that has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign associates. “I congratulate the prize winners on their achievements, and thank them on behalf of all beneficiaries of their creativity.”
In 1979, Goodenough showed that by using lithium cobalt oxide as the cathode of a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, it would be possible to achieve a high density of stored energy with an anode other than metallic lithium. This discovery led to the development of carbon-rich materials that allow for the use of stable and manageable negative electrodes in lithium-ion batteries.
Goodenough began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory in 1952 where he laid the groundwork for the first random-access memory (RAM) of the digital computer. After leaving MIT, he became professor and head of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford. During this time, Goodenough made the lithium-ion discovery.
In 1986, he took the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair of Engineering at UT Austin. He holds faculty positions in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
In 2013, Goodenough was awarded the National Medal of Science for his lasting contributions to materials science and technology. He also holds the Japan Prize, which he received in 2000.
For more information on the 2014 Draper Prize and Gordon Prize winners, visit the NAE website.
Former Louisville head coach and two-time conference coach of the year becomes the 29th head coach in UT history
AUSTIN, Texas — A two-time conference coach of the year and the architect of a revitalized University of Louisville program that has posted at least 11 wins in each of the last two seasons, Charlie Strong has been named the 29th head football coach at The University of Texas, Men's Athletics Director Steve Patterson announced Sunday. Strong will be introduced at a Monday news conference."I'm excited and my family is excited to have the chance to lead one of the premier football programs in the country," Strong said. "Texas is one of those places that is always on your radar and a program anyone would dream of being a part of because you have a chance to compete on a national level every year. It's special because it has such great history, pride, tradition and passion for football."
Strong spent the past four seasons as Louisville head coach, re-energizing a program that was coming off back-to-back losing seasons (5-7 in 2008, 4-8 in 2009) and a 15-21 record in the three years prior to his arrival. He amassed a 37-15 record, a pair of Big East Conference Championships (2011, 2012) and was named Big East Coach of the Year in both 2010 and 2012. He also led UofL to four straight bowl game appearances (3-1 record), including a victory over No. 4 Florida in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl. Strong is the only coach in Louisville history to win three bowl games and prior to his arrival, the Cards had won just six bowl games in the program's 100-year history.
Over the past two years, Louisville has been one of the nation's winningest programs, posting a 23-3 record (88.5 percent) and registering bowl victories in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. The Cardinals' 11-plus win seasons in 2012 and 2013 were the fourth and fifth in school history and the first back to back. Louisville is also on pace to finish among the nation's top 15 for a school-record second straight year. It will be just the Cardinals' ninth top-25 finish in school history.
"To follow a future Hall of Fame coach like Mack Brown, who built a program that had great success and a reputation of doing it with class and integrity, is extra special," Strong said. "The National Championship, BCS Bowl wins and all he accomplished in 16 years built on the Longhorn legacy and makes it such an exciting place to be.
"Coach Brown developed such a strong bond with his players, the lettermen, community and high school coaches in this state, and that's something I hope to build on. He made everyone feel at home. I had the opportunity to speak at the High School Coaches Clinic in Austin a few years ago and Coach Brown introduced Coach (Darrell) Royal, and everyone gave him a standing ovation. Meeting Coach Royal and being around him that day is something I'll never forget."
Featuring an explosive offense and stingy defense in 2013, the Cardinals rank 16th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 18th in the BCS and Associated Press Poll after compiling a 12-1 record, including a 7-1 mark in the American Athletic Conference, and capped the year with a 36-9 win over Miami (Fla.) in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Strong's squad racked up 554 total yards while holding the Hurricanes to just 174. It marked just the second 12-win season in school history (2006).
"This was a difficult decision because the University of Louisville gave me my first opportunity as a head coach," Strong said. "I have so much respect for President (James) Ramsey and (Athletics Director) Tom Jurich. They have been great to me and my family, and it was very hard to say goodbye, but they know this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up."
This season, Louisville is one of only six schools to rank among the top 28 nationally in both total offense and defense, and one of just eight to rank among the top 25 in scoring offense and defense. The Cards lead the nation in total defense (251.5 yards per game), rushing defense (80.7 ypg), sacks (3.31 pg), fewest passes intercepted (4), fewest turnovers lost (10), fewest first downs allowed (183), third-down conversion defense (26.7%), completion percentage (70.8) and punt-return defense (1.15 yards per return). UofL also ranks second in scoring defense (12.2 ppg), turnover margin (+1.3 pg), third-down conversions (56.0%) and time of possession (33:49), while placing in the top 10 in passing efficiency (third), pass efficiency defense (fourth), passing yards allowed (fifth), tackles for loss (sixth) and red-zone defense (fifth). The team ranks 25th in scoring offense (35.2 ppg) and 28th in total offense (460.8 ypg).
Junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a finalist for the 2013 Manning Award and was a semifinalist for both the 2013 Maxwell Award and Davey O'Brien Award. He threw for 3,970 yards and a school-record 31 touchdowns with only four interceptions and leads the nation with a 71.0 completion percentage. On the defensive side of the ball, DE Marcus Smith was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award and earned second-team All-America honors while leading the nation in sacks (1.1 per game/14). The Cardinals had 11 players earn All-American Athletic Conference honors in 2013.
In 2012, Louisville posted an 11-2 record, claimed a Big East Championship and finished the year ranked 13th in the BCS Standings, USA Today Coaches Poll and AP Poll. The Cards capped the year with a 33-23 upset win over the fourth-ranked Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Bridgewater was named Big East Player of the Year, ranked eighth in the nation in pass efficiency and led the Cardinals to the nation's 24th-ranked passing offense (296.1 ypg), while ranking 16th in passing defense (154.2 ypg) and 23rd in total defense (340.3 ypg).
In Strong's first two seasons (2010-11), Louisville recorded identical 7-6 records, including appearances in the 2010 Beef `O' Brady's Bowl and the 2011 Belk Bowl. After Louisville won a combined two league games in the two seasons prior to his arrival, Strong led the Cardinals to three Big East victories in 2010, and five in 2011. UofL won five of its last six games, including a win over nationally-ranked West Virginia to win a share of the Big East title and qualify for the Belk Bowl. Strong guided Bridgewater to Big East Rookie of the Year honors and freshman All-America accolades, while guard Jake Smith became the first Cardinal player to be named a FWAA Freshman All-American.
Louisville defeated Southern Mississippi 31-28 in the 2010 Beef `O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., after falling behind 14-0. The game capped one of the best turnarounds in FBS football, improving by three games from the previous season.
Prior to Louisville, the veteran of 31 years in collegiate coaching built an impressive resume as an assistant coach, including 11 seasons as a defensive coordinator in the SEC and four years as an assistant coach at Notre Dame. All totaled, Strong spent 15 seasons as an assistant at Florida during four stints, including seven years as the defensive coordinator, the last five of which were under current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. Strong was also on two of Lou Holtz's staffs, spending the first two years of his Fighting Irish tenure under the Hall of Fame coach, as well as four more as defensive coordinator at South Carolina. Strong was a finalist for the Broyles Award (nation's top assistant coach) three times.
Strong spent seven seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida under Meyer from 2005-09 and Ron Zook from 2003-04 where he helped the Gators win a pair of national titles - 2009 over Oklahoma (2008 season) and 2007 over Ohio State (2006 season).
In that stretch, Strong coached 13 All-Americans, a National Defensive Player of the Year, a Jack Tatum Award winner, two SEC Defensive Freshmen of the Year, two Thorpe Award finalists, two Nagurski Trophy finalists and the 2008 Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year. He also developed seven first-round NFL Draft picks and 18 players that were selected in the third round or higher.
In 2009, Strong guided one of the nation's top defensive units, finishing in the top six in four different statistical categories. UF was fourth in the nation in scoring defense (12.4 ppg), second in passing defense (152.8 ypg), fourth in total defense (252.6 ypg) and sixth in passing efficiency defense (96.1 rating) as the Gators went 13-1, including a trip to the SEC Championship game for the third time in Strong's tenure. Florida finished the season with a 51-24 win over Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl and a No. 3 ranking in both polls. He was named a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant coach, for the second straight year and is only the second three-time finalist in the history of the award. In Strong's position group, LB Brandon Spikes earned consensus first-team All-America honors and earned the second of his two Butkus Award finalist nods and was a finalist for the Bednarik Award, while CB Joe Haden also earned unanimous first-team All-America honors and was a Thorpe Award finalist.
In 2008, Strong's defense ranked in the top 20 nationally in 10 statistical categories, including a school-record tying 26 interceptions that also tied for the most in the country that season. UF's scoring defense showed the third-largest improvement from 2007 to 2008, finishing fourth in the nation by yielding only 12.9 points per game. The defense also ranked ninth in total defense (285.3 ypg), and third in pass efficiency defense (96.76 rating). Spikes preceded his consensus All-America honors from the previous year with unanimous honors and being named a finalist of the Lombardi and Butkus Awards under Strong. In the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship Game versus Oklahoma, which entered the contest with a nation's best 54.0 ppg scoring average, the UF defense held Heisman-winning quarterback Sam Bradford and the Sooners to just 14 points and 363 total yards in a 24-14 win. The Gators ended the year with a 13-1 record and earned their second national title in three years. That came on the heels of a nine-win season in 2007 in which Florida finished No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 16 in the coaches poll with an appearance in the Capital One Bowl.
Under Strong's watch in the 2006 season, Florida set a BCS record for fewest yards allowed in the national title game, holding Ohio State to only 82 total yards. He guided a Gator defense that limited opponents to a SEC-best 72.5 rushing yards per game for the season, ranking fifth nationally, while rating sixth in the nation in total defense (255.4 ypg), sixth in scoring defense (13.5 ppg) and fourth in passing efficiency defense (98.31 rating). Safety Reggie Nelson earned first-team consensus All-America honors and was a Thorpe Award and Nagurski Trophy finalist, while the AP named CB Ryan Smith second-team All-America and LB Brandon Siler was on its third team.
The 2005 season saw Florida once again win nine games with the defense ranking in the top 10 in both total yards allowed (ninth/299.8 ypg) and rushing (10th/94.9 ypg). The Gators also ranked 18th in scoring defense at 18.8 ppg. UF defeated Iowa, 31-24, in the Outback Bowl and finished the season ranked 12th in the AP poll and 16th in the coaches poll.
In Strong's first two seasons (2003-04) the Gators finished 8-5 and 7-5, respectively. UF finished ranked in both seasons coming in at No. 24/25 in 2003 and No. 25 in the coaches poll in 2004. Strong made his first appearance as a head coach in the 2004 Peach Bowl in place of Zook. In 2003, CB Keiwan Ratliff was a consensus first-team All-American and a finalist for the Thorpe Award, while being named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, while in 2004, Siler was the SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year.
From the 2003-09, Strong's defensive units at Florida allowed an average of 17.6 points per game, which ranked ninth in the country over that span. His stint as defensive coordinator marked his fourth tenure at Florida, including a stretch from 1991-94 in which he coached defensive ends (1991-93) and defensive tackles (1994) after coaching outside linebackers in 1988-89, and serving as a graduate assistant in 1983-84.
Before returning to Florida for the fourth time, Strong received his first defensive coordinator assignment at the University of South Carolina under Lou Holtz from 1999-2002. There, he earned his first finalist nod for the Broyles Award after he helped guide the Gamecocks to a top 20 national ranking in 2000, which he did twice while at South Carolina, peaking with a No. 13 final ranking in both polls in 2001. The 2000 squad ranked sixth in the country in scoring defense after yielding just 15.8 points per game, while the 2001 team finished 12th at 18.4 points per game. The 1999 team ranked 20th in the nation in total defense, allowing 307.7 ypg. The 2000 and 2001 seasons saw some of the highest achievements in South Carolina history to that point, ending in back-to-back Outback Bowl wins over Ohio State.
Outside of his time at Louisville, Florida, and South Carolina, Strong's career stops have included one season (1985) at Texas A&M as a graduate assistant before moving on to Southern Illinois as wide receivers coach from 1986-87, one season (1990) at Mississippi as wide receivers coach and four seasons (1995-98) as the defensive line coach at Notre Dame.
A native of Batesville, Ark., Strong was a four-year letterwinner (1980-83) and three-time all-conference safety at Central Arkansas. He and his wife, Vicki, have a son, Tory, and two daughters, Hailee and Hope.
Statements on Charlie Strong
Steve Patterson, University of Texas Men's Athletics Director:
"I am excited to have Charlie Strong here to build on the proud tradition of Texas football and the 16 great years that Mack Brown gave to the program. Our committee and former lettermen helped create an extensive selection criteria and after visiting with Charlie, it was clear he met them all. He led championship defenses as an assistant, a resurgence at the University of Louisville with double-digit game winning seasons, and twice been selected conference coach of the year. Most importantly, Charlie is a man of great integrity, with a wonderful family, who is well respected inside and outside the game. He is committed to the development of the total student-athlete both on and off the field. Charlie will represent the program and University extremely well. We look forward to a long and successful tenure for him here at Texas. I'd also like to thank President Bill Powers, our search committee, Jed Hughes and others who helped us select Coach Strong."
William Powers Jr., University of Texas at Austin President:
"This is a historic day for The University of Texas and a historic hire for our football team. Charlie Strong is one of the best coaches in the country. I'm confident he will continue the Longhorns winning tradition while maintaining the integrity and commitment to students that have always defined our program. I'm thrilled by Athletics Director Steve Patterson's leadership in finding the right coach for Texas."
Statement from UT Austin President Bill Powers on the Loss of Philanthropist Harold Simmons
The University of Texas community is saddened by the loss of Harold Simmons. Since his graduation from the university in 1951, he has been a strong supporter of UT, education, health care, the arts and the work of the McDonald Observatory. He had great passion for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment, and we regret that he will miss the discoveries resulting from the project he supported. He was a great businessman, philanthropist, and friend of The University of Texas at Austin. I will miss him.
Jack Sawtelle Blanton, a leader in the energy industry, philanthropy and higher education, died in Houston on Dec. 28 at the age of 86. The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin was named in his honor in 1997.
“The university has lost a great friend,” said Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin. “Jack Blanton served UT in countless ways. He supported programs as varied as the law school, the Wildflower Center, British Studies, athletics, nursing and, of course, the Blanton Museum of Art. Moreover, for decades he contributed his time, energy and vision to UT. And he was a wonderful friend. I will miss him.”
Blanton’s campus involvement extended to scores of initiatives, including the Centennial Commission, the Commission of 125, the Development Board and serving as president of the Texas Exes alumni association. He received the university’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1977.
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Jack Blanton, a tremendous leader and dedicated supporter of The University of Texas System,” said Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “Jack always articulated his pride in serving on the UT Board of Regents, and the UT System thrived under his leadership as its chairman. He will be greatly missed."
Blanton was appointed to the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System in 1985 and elected chairman of the board in 1987. At a time when educational budgets were severely challenged, he played an instrumental role in increasing state revenue, much of which supported higher education in Texas. He received the Santa Rita Award from the UT System in 1994.
"Jack Blanton built an enduring legacy at The University of Texas at Austin," said Simone Wicha, director of the Blanton Museum of Art. “Since the Blanton Museum opened the doors of its new facility on campus in 2006, the museum has enabled more than one million visitors to experience and interact with great art. We are honored to carry on Mr. Blanton’s vision to serve the university, our city and the state." The new facility benefited from a building gift from Houston Endowment Inc. made in honor of Blanton, its former chairman.
One of the foremost university art museums in the country, the Blanton is home to a robust schedule of exhibitions and public programs, as well as a collection of more than 17,000 objects.
Jack Blanton was born in Shreveport, La., in 1927. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history at The University of Texas at Austin in 1947 and a law degree in 1950. As an undergraduate, he played varsity tennis and in 1945 won the Southwest Conference championship in doubles. After graduation, he worked for the Scurlock Oil Company in Houston, where he would become president, chief executive and chairman. He also served as president of Eddy Refining Company.
Mr. Blanton and first wife, Laura Lee Scurlock, had three children, Elizabeth Blanton Wareing, Jack S. Blanton, Jr., and Eddy S. Blanton, all graduates of The University of Texas at Austin. He was later married to the late Lucinda Bailey Blanton and is survived by his wife, Virginia Nelson Blanton.
Mr. Blanton was active in many civic organizations and, in addition to higher education, he contributed his efforts to advancing health care and the arts. He served as chair of Houston Endowment Inc. and the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce and on the boards of Houston Methodist Hospital, the Texas Medical Center, the Houston Zoo and the Jesse H. Jones School of Management at Rice University. He also served on the boards of Ashland Oil, Texas Commerce Bancshares, Baker Hughes, Burlington Northern, Southwestern Bell and other companies.
Friends are invited to a visitation with the family from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. A memorial service is to be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, in the sanctuary of St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer Road in Houston, where Dr. Tom Pace, senior pastor, is to officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to a reception in the fellowship hall. Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private entombment service in the Memorial Mission Mausoleum at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery in Houston.
Tomorrow, the Longhorns take on the Oregon Ducks in the Alamo Bowl. I know you’ll join me in wishing them the best of luck. Come early, be loud, and wherever you are and whatever you’re doing Monday, let’s show Coach Brown and the Horns we’re behind them by wearing burnt orange.
If you can’t make it to San Antonio, you can watch the action on ESPN at 5:45 p.m. CST.
And to the whole Longhorn family, have a safe and happy New Year.
Eight faculty members have been selected to receive the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The award recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching in the core curriculum. Winners must also have been involved in curriculum reform and educational innovation.
This year’s recipients are:
- Brad Love, Assistant Professor, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Moody College of Communication
- Héctor Domínguez Ruvalcaba, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, College of Liberal Arts
- Karl Hagstrom Miller, Associate Professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts
- Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Associate Professor, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts
- Leanne H. Field, Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Biology Instructional Office, College of Natural Sciences
- Andrew Ellington, Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, College of Natural Sciences
- Cynthia A. LaBrake, Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences
- Lori K. Holleran Steiker, Associate Professor, School of Social Work
The honorees will each receive a $5,000 honorarium made possible by generous contributions by friends of the university who are exceptionally committed to the quality of UT’s instructional programs.
The recipients will be honored with a banquet in spring 2014. Congratulations to this year’s winners.
It’s impossible to comprehensively capture the vitality of The University of Texas at Austin. But we’re giving it a shot with this year-in-review, starting with the 13 most-read stories of 2013.
It just so happens that this collection covers much of what makes the Forty Acres special: generous contributions that will expand our educational capacity (#1, #8, #9); the very best teachers in the state (#2, #13); students, young (#2, #3) and even younger (#5), embarking on grand adventures; and marvelous discoveries that literally change our understanding of the universe (#11).
It’s been an unforgettable year — here’s to many more to come.
2013′s Must-Read Headlines
“Much Ado About Who: Is It Really Shakespeare?”
New York Times, Aug. 12
Professor Douglas Bruster confirms that five pages in a 16th century Thomas Kyd play were actually written by Shakespeare.
“GPS flaw could let terrorists hijack ships, planes”
Fox New, July 26
Todd Humphreys and a research team from the Cockrell School “spoofed” a yacht using a custom-made GPS device.
“Charting a Course”
Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 15
President Bill Powers outlines UT’s principles for online and blended learning.
“Scientists confirm most distant galaxy ever”
CNN, Oct. 25
Discovered by UT astronomer Steven Finkelstein, the galaxy is a window into the past.
“Supreme Court Rules On Affirmative Action Case”
Huffington Post, June 24
The Supreme Court declined to make a decision in the case of Fisher vs. the University of Texas at Austin, sending the case back to a lower court and leaving the state’s narrow consideration of race and ethnicity intact for now.The purpose of the yacht hacking experiment was to measure the difficulty of carrying out a spoofing attack at sea and to determine how easily sensors in the ship’s command room could identify the threat. UT’s 13 Most Popular Stories of 2013
2. 68 Must-Read Books for Incoming Students
On Aug. 27 incoming students will meet some of their professors for the first time during Freshman Reading Round-up, a campus-wide book club. Need a read? Get the list here.
3. Class of 2013: What Starts Here Changes the World (Seriously)
Meet some outstanding members of the Class of 2013: After watching each video you’ll have no doubt that Longhorns are world-changers. Hook ‘em!
8. Rowling Family Gifts $25 Million to McCombs School of Business
Rowling Hall will house business school graduate programs, expand teaching and meeting facilities at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center; add 525 new parking spaces.
10. Five New Career-Boosting One-Year Degrees
What can you learn in a year? Plenty, it turns out. New one-year, highly specialized master’s degrees allow students to get in, learn a lot and leave with in-demand skills. Learn more.
11. Astronomers Discover Farthest Known Galaxy
Steven Finkelstein led a team of researchers who confirmed that Galaxy z8_GND_5296 is the farthest and earliest galaxy ever discovered. Learn more about this landmark finding.
12. High-Tech Tattoos Redefine Health Care Solutions
Bio-integrated electronic tattoos, which cling to the skin without adhesive and transmit vital signs wirelessly, are part of a health care revolution. Read more.
13. 26 Faculty Members Honored for Teaching Excellence
The 2013 winners of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards will be honored Wednesday for dedication to innovation in undergraduate instruction. See the list of 26 winners.
— UT Austin (@UTAustin) October 12, 2013
— UT Austin (@UTAustin) July 15, 2013
— UT Austin (@UTAustin) July 3, 2013
— UT Austin (@UTAustin) December 1, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving, Longhorns! pic.twitter.com/2eHqO7lQEz
— UT Austin (@UTAustin) November 28, 2013
Our Facebook fans were enthusiastic about news of the university being ranked 27th in the world in the 2013 Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, a comparison of the world’s top 100 most powerful university brands. A Happy Mother’s Day post featuring a burnt orange bouquet was a big hit, along with another ranking: the Texas Longhorn named college football’s best logo.
Meanwhile on Tumblr, alumna astronaut Karen Nyberg’s social media posts from space, UT’s championship quidditch team and the new campus art installation from “sculptor of light” James Turrell were big hits.
And 2013′s most popular video: timelapse footage of incoming freshmen posing for an only-at-UT class photo:
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William C. Powers, President of The University of Texas at Austin, supports and has signed the following statement by the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities.
The Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Three U.S. scholarly organizations have now expressed support for such a boycott. Any such boycott of academic institutions directly violates academic freedom, which is a fundamental principle of AAU universities and of American higher education in general.
Academic freedom is the freedom of university faculty responsibly to produce and disseminate knowledge through research, teaching, and service, without undue constraint. It is a principle that should not be abridged by political considerations. American colleges and universities, as well as like institutions elsewhere, must stand as the first line of defense against attacks on academic freedom.
Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves infringe upon academic freedom. Restrictions imposed on the ability of scholars of any particular country to work with their fellow academics in other countries, participate in meetings and organizations, or otherwise carry out their scholarly activities violate academic freedom. The boycott of Israeli academic institutions therefore clearly violates the academic freedom not only of Israeli scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it. We urge American scholars and scholars around the world who believe in academic freedom to oppose this and other such academic boycotts.
William C. Powers, President, The University of Texas at Austin – Chair
Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania – Vice Chair
Scott S. Cowen, President, Tulane University – Past Chair
Richard H. Brodhead, President, Duke University
Michael V. Drake, Chancellor, University of California, Irvine
Bernadette Gray-Little, The University of Kansas
Mark A. Nordenberg, Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh
Morton O. Schapiro, President, Northwestern University
Lou Anna K. Simon, President, Michigan State University
David Skorton, President, Cornell University
Hunter R. Rawlings III, President, Association of American Universities – ex-officio
Researchers, scholars and experts from The University of Texas at Austin are sought by news outlets every week for their knowledge, expertise and insights. Here’s a selection of recent media hits.Frequent Tests Can Enhance College Learning, Study Finds
New York Times Photo by Marsha Miller/UT Austin. James Pennebaker and Samuel Gosling, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
UT scientists James Pennebaker and Samuel Gosling in a recent report state that grading college students on daily quizzes actually improves both attendance and performance. The findings were a result of an experiment from UT Austin’s introduction to psychology class in which 901 students participated. Pennebaker and Gosling also found that computers can act as an aid to teaching, not just a distraction.
The report also found students from lower-income households performed particularly well. Read more about the findings.
Daily Online Testing Boosts College Performance and Reduces Achievement Gaps, Study Shows (UT News)
TIME.com Krista Soderlund Krista Soderlund, Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences
In a new study, University of Texas at Austin geophysicist Krista Soderlund and several colleagues are using more sophisticated global ocean-circulation models, originally designed to study Earth’s seas, to shed light on the biological possibilities on Europa. The existence of water, in its liquid state, makes Jupiter’s moon Europa “perhaps the most fascinating of all the potentially life-bearing worlds.”
Is a future life-hunting mission possible? Find out.
Model Suggests Ocean Currents Shape Europa’s Icy Shell in Ways Critical for Potential Habitats (UT News)
Los Angeles Times Brad Gemmell and Ed Buskey, Marine Science Institute, College of Natural Sciences
Seahorses are slow, docile creatures, but their heads are perfectly shaped to sneak up and quickly snatch prey, according to marine scientists Brad Gemmell and Ed Buskey from The University of Texas at Austin.
“A seahorse is one the slowest swimming fish that we know of, but it’s able to capture prey that swim at incredible speeds for their size,” said Gemmell, research associate at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, which is part of the College of Natural Sciences.
Read more about the seahorse and its “no wake zone” for catching prey.
Small But Mighty: UT Researchers Discover Seahorse’s Secret Weapon (Alcalde)
Seahorse Heads Have a “No Wake Zone” That’s Made for Catching Prey (Texas Science)
BBC Andrea Alù, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering Image courtesy of Reuters.
Could invisibility be a reality? UT researcher Andrea Alù is working on a not so far-fetched invisibility cloak now with the help of an active cloak which relies on electrical power to make objects “disappear.”
With active-cloaking technology, the cloaks can be thinner, therefore less conspicuous. This ultrathin cloak will be able to “hide” objects from detection at a broader frequency than current passive cloaks.
Read more about the Harry Potter-like possibilities from the BBC.
Researchers Design First Battery-Powered Invisibility Cloak (UT News)
New York Times Denise Spellberg, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts
In The New York Times’ Sunday Book Review, Kirk Davis Swinehart takes a look at Denise Spellberg’s new book “Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an.” Spellberg traces the origins of Jefferson’s religious tolerance to his time at the College of William and Mary, where he studied law. Spellberg writes that Jefferson’s academic interest in Islamic law and religion yielded a fascination with Islamic culture that shaped his views of Muslims and his vision of American citizenship.
Swinehart writes, “’Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an’ breaks fresh ground and should, with any luck, inspire further elaboration.” Read his complete review.
Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an (15 Minute History)