A Newsletter for Alumni and Friends June 2014
Dear alumni and friends of the UI College of Science,
Summer is settling over the Palouse, and campus seems a bit less busy on the surface. There's still plenty going on, of course. In offices and labs all across campus, faculty are busy with their research endeavors, and students, both undergraduate and graduate, are busy working on those projects as well. There's a great group of about two dozen undergraduate students from many different schools here this summer as INBRE Fellows, most working with faculty in our college.
Commencement always brings an opportunity to recognize the excellence of our students. You can read profiles of this year's student award winners on the College of Science website. Of particular note are John B. George Award winner Connor McCormick, Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award winner Liz Brandon, and Diane Haynes Memorial Award winner Jennifer Sundararajan.
The end of the school year is also a time for recognizing excellence in our faculty and staff, and we had many notable winners this year.
- Mickey Gunter (Chair of Geological Sciences) was awarded the title of University Distinguished Professor. The list of faculty given that recognition is very short, and we're very proud that so many of them are from the College of Science.
- Eva Top, faculty member in Biological Sciences and director of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program, was given the university's Research and Creative Activity Excellence Award.
- Cynthia Piez (Mathematics) earned one of the university's Teaching Excellence Awards.
- Jason Barnes (Physics) earned one of the university's Presidential Mid-Career Awards.
- Physics Department chair David McIlroy was awarded the Jean'ne M. Shreeve NSF EPSCoR Research Excellence Award.
- The College of Science recognized two outstanding faculty as well – Tim Frazier from Geography as the winner of the college's Early Career Award, and Deb Stenkamp from Biological Sciences with this year's Distinguished Faculty Award.
- Two of our college's staff members, Eric Bennett and Jana Joyce, received University Outstanding Staff awards this year.
Science is thriving at the University of Idaho. Commencement this year saw one of our largest college graduating classes ever. We've added many great faculty members over the year, and will welcome some excellent additions to our faculty for this coming fall. We're excited about what is going on and are glad to have the chance to share some of it with you in this newsletter.
Thank you for your continued support of the College of Science.
- Dean Paul Joyce
Problem-Solving Her Future
Music and math double-major Courtney Creech turns her computational mathematics degree into exciting career opportunity with Fast Enterprise LLC. “I love figuring out the problems and finding the best way to solve them,” says Creech. read more »
A High View of Climate Change
Geography researchers Vladimir and Elena Aizen lend their expertise to the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, report.read more »
2014 Jim Lyle Recipients
Kay '69 and Sam '68 Bacharach were honored with the Jim Lyle award at a public ceremony March 11 in Arlington, Virginia. read more »
Vandal Science News Puzzler
The puzzler for this issue comes from Physics, and is appropriate to summer recreational pursuits.
Suppose you are floating on a rubber raft in a swimming pool. For some reason, you have a bowling ball sized rock with you on the raft. You decide you've had enough of holding the rock, so you put it overboard and watch it sink to the bottom of the pool. What happens to the water level of the pool?
A correct answer must include a short explanation. Have fun thinking this one through while you're poolside this summer!
As Archimedes would have known, the solution is all about displacement. The water level of the pool will drop a very small amount when the rock is thrown overboard.
The reason is this:
- While the rock is floating with the raft, its weight is displacing an amount of water with weight equal to that of the rock.
- Once it sinks, however, it displaces an amount of water with volume equal to that of the rock.
Now the rock is more dense that water (after all, we're told that it sinks), so the amount of water weighing the same as the rock will have a volume greater than the volume of the rock. This means more water was being displaced when the rock was in the raft, so the water level will be higher at that time. Eureka!
- Tim Householder (BS Mathematics, 2002)
- Mike Nickerson
- Lee Ogren (Chemistry, 1974)
- Laura Podratz (Geology, 2007)
- Greg Stenback (Geological Engineering, 1985; M.S. Statistics, 1987)
- John Stutz (MS Physics, 1972)