2009 Archives-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Fall 2009

Invasion of the Little Green Molecules
Inter Press Service via Thomson Reuters, December 31, 2009

While the world's climate negotiators were getting ready for Copenhagen earlier this month, a meeting was taking place in Mumbai to discuss progress in green chemistry, a field that - like the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions - has the potential to greatly enhance the world's environmental health and sustainability...read more

Calculating the Steeler's Playoff Chances
KDKA-TV and KDKA.com, December 29, 2009

CMU Mathematics Professor John Mackey put chalk to the blackboard and found that the Pittsburgh Steelers' chances of making the playoffs are a lot better than you might think...read more

Watch Mackey explain the math behind probabilities in a web extra.

Zalinda Cyrille"IT'S TIME" For a Hero: Zalenda Cyrille Mentors D.C. Youth
Carnegie Mellon home page story, December 2009

Zalenda Cyrille (MCS'01) has been dedicated to community service for as long as she can remember. This past November, Cyrille was recognized by the March of Dimes and Women in Technology with their new Rising Heroine award...read more

Worlds in Collision
Toledo Blade, December 15, 2009

If you're reading this, then the Large Hadron Collider in Europe hasn't created a black hole that swallowed the planet...read more

Aerosols in the Atmosphere
U.S. News & World Report (usnews.com), December 14, 2009

It's no secret that the emissions leaving a car tailpipe or factory smokestack affect climate and air quality. Until now, scientists have struggled to know where the organic molecules from these emissions go, and what happens to them once they leave their source. Climate and air quality models therefore have been incomplete or less than accurate...read more

ACRCLasting Impressions: The Art of Preservation
Carnegie Mellon home page story, November 2009

It was a mystery. Murals painted by 20th century abstract expressionist Mark Rothko had only been hanging on the walls for 10 years — and already their signature crimson red had turned to denim blue.  The work of the Art Conservation Research Center at Carnegie Mellon is aimed at preventing such tragedies in the modern art world...read more

Physict in Switzerland at restart of huge collider
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 30, 2009

With last weekend's startup of the LHC, CERN says "our understanding of the universe is about to change. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the universe,"...read more

Stef SydlikStef Sydlik (S '08): Rowing Her Way to Success

Carnegie Mellon home page story, November 2009

Whenever Stef Sydlik feels frustrated, she heads for the water. A recent bronze medalist at the World Rowing Championships, Sydlik says nothing soothes her mind, body and spirit like gliding across a river at the crack of dawn...read more

McCulloughSolar Ink, Paper Thin TV: McCullough's Spin-off, Plextronics
Carnegie Mellon home page story, November 2009

Rick McCullough is all about discovery. When he’s not busy serving as Carnegie Mellon’s Vice President of Research, he’s leading his own research team — or building his spin-off company, Plextronics...read more

Neuronal NavigationNeuronal Navigation: The Cellular GPS System
Carnegie Mellon homepage story, November 2009

Just like the GPS system in your car, the cells in our body have a system that guides them to create a properly wired nervous system.  A grant from a Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) will enable an international group of researchers to develop molecular probes that will help researchers better understand this system...read more

RDCsStructure of Natural Cancer Fighters Unraveled
Futurity, November 6, 2009

A new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methodology has enabled a group of chemists to determine the correct chemical structure of a natural compound known as a withanolide, which has been shown to slow the growth of breast cancer cells...read more

Careers Q&A: Krzysztof Matyjaszewski
Nature, October 14, 2009

A chemist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Matyjaszewski is the winner of this year's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge academic award...read more

Peggy Johnson

Scientific Impact: Giving Voice to Vaccine Research
Carnegie Mellon home page story, October 2009

Dr. Margaret Johnston (S'72) saw her 23 years in the field of AIDS research hit an incredible high point Sept. 24, as the first successful human trial for an AIDS vaccine was announced...read more

Kristine FerroneKristine Ferrone: A Mars Adventure
Carnegie Mellon home page story, October 2009

Sporting a space suit, Kristine Ferrone (S'04) ventured out into the uninhabited environment with nothing but rocks, boulders and crags before her. The environment was so far removed from her everyday life, it might as well have been another planet...read more

Art Conservation Research Center seeks to lengthen lifespan of valuable artifacts
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 12, 2009

Art is a fragile patient in the world of conservation.  The clock is always ticking, and anything from light to humidity to temperature can cause an art piece to slowly deteriorate.  Worst of all, researchers can't "operate" on a masterpiece to figure out how to save it...read more

Former professor's Nobel Prize medal presented to CMU
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 8, 2009

On Monday, the children of the late John A. Pople honored his bequest and presented his gold Nobel Prize medal to Carnegie Mellon University at the inaugural John A. Pople Lectures in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry...read more

Carnegie Mellon University to display professor's Nobel Medal
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 3, 2009

Carnegie Mellon University plans to establish a permanent display for the Nobel Medal received by one of its professors...read more

Summer 2009

The Thinkers: Black holes, black energy and the history of the universe
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 31, 2009

A black hole walks into a bar and says, "Hey, where'd everybody go?"  That old joke captures the essence of what most people believe about black holes -- places in the universe so dense that they suck in all matter and light, letting nothing escape.  In the past 10 years, though, scientists have turned that concept upside down, and Carnegie Mellon University's Tiziana Di Matteo has helped rewrite the book on the subject...read more

CMISTJoel Stiles: Lights, Camera...Science
Carnegie Mellon home page story, July 2009

It bobs and dances, inches from your nose, quivering as it hovers in mid-air.  You push up the plastic glasses to get a better look at this water molecule, in 3D like you've never experienced...read more

Once a physicist: Bruce McWilliams
Physics World, July 1, 2009

Bruce McWilliams is chairman of the board of directors at Tessera, a semiconductor packaging, imaging and optics company based in San Jose, California, US. Between 1999 and 2008 he also served as Tessera’s president and chief executive officer...read more (requires free online registration)

CMU Professor wins 'green' chemistry award
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 29, 2009

A Carnegie Mellon University professor has received the 2009 Presidential Green Challenge Chemistry Award for developing an environmentally friendly method to make polymers...read more

Kris MatyjaszewskiPresidential Award: Matyjaszewski Honored by the EPA
Carnegie Mellon home page story, June 2009

For the second time since its inception in 1996, the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award went to a Carnegie Mellon University chemist.  Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences and University Professor at the university, was honored with the distinction from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency...read more 

EPA Honors Recipients of 2009 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards
EPA.gov, June 22, 2009

For the 14th year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing chemical technologies developed by leading researchers and industrial innovators who are making significant contributions to pollution prevention in the United States...read more

Barry LuokkalaBarry Luokkala: Science or Science Fiction
Carnegie Mellon home page story, June 2009

What do Scientific American and The Jetsons have in common? They're both on Barry Luokkala's syllabus for this summer's Science and Science Fiction course...read more

Biofilm Matrix

Combatting Infection: Researchers Make New Discovery
Carnegie Mellon home page, June 2009

A group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University Biological Sciences Professor Aaron Mitchell has identified a novel regulatory gene network that plays an important role in the spread of common — and sometimes deadly — yeast infections...read more

Tim HelbigThe Right Stuff: Timothy Helbig
Carnegie Mellon home page story, June 2009

The door to the lab opens and a wall of heat greets Timothy Helbig (CMU'10). Helbig studies thermal tolerance in plants, hoping to discover how plants will adapt to heat stresses as we face climate change. And his work often finds him in a small, 112° room...read more

The Thinkers: RMU professor finds beauty in math
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 1, 2009

Monica VanDieren's research specialty is about as close as a professor can get to Rodin's "The Thinker," except that she doesn't sit on a rock and wears a lot more clothing.  Dr. VanDieren is a pure mathematician based at Robert Morris University, and she works in an area so rarefied that she and her husband, fellow researcher Rami Grossberg, can gather most of the discipline's leading thinkers in their Franklin Park home for marathon sessions of high-level cogitation...read more

Spring 2009

Epilepsy Drug Discovery: Preventing Seizure Progression
Carnegie Mellon home page story, May 2009

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have identified a new anticonvulsant compound that has the potential to stop the development of epilepsy. The findings are published in the current issue of the journal Epilepsia...read more

Angels and DemonsAngels and Demons: A Scientific Explanation
Carnegie Mellon home page story, May 2009

The new action-packed thriller "Angels and Demons," based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel, focuses on an apparent plot to destroy the Vatican with antimatter stolen from the Large Hadron Collider.  Just how much of the plot is science, and how much is science-fiction?...read more

Real Science doesn't matter for movie's plot
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 15, 2009

Antimatter, the God particle, CERN's Large Hadron Collider and the enormous energy that particle-antiparticle annihilation would produce serve as golden plot nuggets in "Angels & Demons"...read more

Goldwater ScholarsGoldwater Scholars: In Pursuit of Science
Carnegie Mellon home page story, April 2009

Three Carnegie Mellon University students — Carmeline Dsilva (E'10), Timothy Helbig (CMU'10) and Swati Varshney (CMU'10) — have received the prestigious and nationally competitive Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship to support their pursuit of careers in the field of science...read more

Nathan UrbanNewsmaker: Nathan Urban
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 2, 2009

Urban will receive the Association for Chemoreception Sciences' Young Investigator Award for Research in Olfaction. The $2,000 prize is given annually to an outstanding junior scientist who is an emerging leader in the field that studies the sense of smell...read more

black holesBlack holes shed light on nature of the universe
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 21, 2009

Once cosmological curiosities -- for years scientists weren't sure they even existed -- black holes hold a key to understanding galaxy formation and the structure of the universe...read more

Supercomputing means better models of earthquakes, cells and the universe
Medill Reports, February 16, 2009

State of the art supercomputers can build a better cell – or at least a better model of a cell.  They can build more precise atoms and even capture hidden horizons of the universe such as dark matter...read more

Can you hear me now?  Fermilab engineers' desert adventure
Fermilab Today, February 3, 2009

Fermilab engineers Ralph Pasquinelli and Dave McGinnis, along with Carnegie Mellon University's Kevin Bandura, a Moroccan team from Al Akhawayn University and a French team from Saclay and Orsay, traveled to Morocco last month to find a home uncluttered by radio wave chatter for the 21 cm project...read more

"Carnegie Mellon Team a Finalist in Elsevier Grand Challenge," Carnegie Mellon News Blog, January 12, 2009

A Carnegie Mellon University team of experts in computational biology and machine learning is among four finalists in the inaugural Elsevier Grand Challenge on Knowledge Enhancement in the Life Sciences, a contest designed to encourage development of tools dealing with the ever increasing amount of online life sciences information...read more

BIOS3BIOS3 Mini-Course: Street Smarts on a Global Scale
Carnegie Mellon home page story, January 2009

Books smarts and street smarts on a global scale. That's what Carnegie Mellon students get through a mini-course called Biotechnology Impacting Our Selves, Society and Sphere — or BIOS³...read more

Go GreenHow to Go Green: Collins Offers Expert Advice
Carnegie Mellon home page story, January 2009

Environmental experts are raising the alarm bells about everything from our drinking water to what's in the air we breathe. Of specific concern today are "endocrine disruptors"...read more