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News Clips - October 12, 2007

From October 5 to October 11, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 530 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Pioneer in surface chemistry wins Nobel Prize
The Chronicle of Higher Education | October 11
A German scientist, Gerhard Ertl, has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for experiments showing how atoms and molecules react on solid surfaces—work that has laid the foundation for the entire field of surface chemistry. ... "The announcement didn't surprise me," said Robert Tilton, a professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. "I've known about him since my undergraduate days. He's a pioneer in understanding how metal surfaces increase the rate of chemical reactions."


How stress harms the heart
Time Magazine | October 9
Researchers have long suspected that stress does the body harm, but bulletproof clinical evidence linking stress to heart attacks and other disease has been elusive — partly because stress is such a personal and variable thing. Only recently have such studies started to gather critical mass, and researchers have begun calling on clinicians to include the diagnosis and treatment of stress in the routine care for patients with conditions like AIDS and heart disease. ... Joining her call for intervention is Sheldon Cohen, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University and author of a commentary, which also appears in the current issue of JAMA and examines the effects of psychological stress on a variety of major diseases. Cohen's review of past studies finds that stress — particularly "social stressors" like divorce and the death of a loved one — often triggers clinical depression or worsens it, and causes relapses in people who have recovered.,8599,1669766,00.html


Nothing can kill drive and inspiration like a long wait
The Wall Street Journal | October 9
Home life has its interminable waits: for the clothes to dry, for the MIA cable guy or for a renovation. But at work, waiting is often endemic. The specialization of office tasks creates an interdependence of staffers that makes every move susceptible to delays that can slip toward forever. A project can only be as speedy as its most sluggish participant. ... Research shows that waiting for uncertain outcomes can be more uncomfortable than adjusting to the worst of them, which explains why impending mergers and reorganizations drive people mad. In a paper to be presented later this month, George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, studied people who underwent colostomies, or intestinal bypasses. Half of them had the possibility of having it reversed; for the others it was permanent.


Zoellick charts inclusive course at World Bank
The Wall Street Journal | October 9
The World Bank's new president, Robert Zoellick, has put an end to a staff insurrection at the bank by styling himself as the opposite of his predecessor, Paul Wolfowitz, a former Pentagon official. ... Conservative critics argue that the bank no longer has a role to play in China and other nations that can finance development projects from their bulging financial reserves or from global markets. They say Mr. Zoellick already has gone soft. Pointing to Mr. Zoellick's goal of increasing lending and other services to developing nations, Allan Meltzer, a Carnegie Mellon economist, says he already "has shown he won't make major reforms at the bank." Mr. Meltzer chaired a commission in 2000 that recommended overhauling the bank so it focused on giving grants -- not loans -- to the world's poorest nations.


Google and I.B.M. join 'cloud computing' research
The New York Times | October 8
Even the nation’s elite universities do not provide the technical training needed for the kind of powerful and highly complex computing Google is famous for, say computer scientists. So Google and I.B.M. are announcing today a major research initiative to address that shortcoming. ... “We in academia and the government labs have not kept up with the times,” said Randal E. Bryant, dean of the computer science school at Carnegie Mellon University. “Universities really need to get on board.” Six universities will be involved in the initiative. They are Carnegie Mellon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Maryland and the University of Washington.

Education for Leadership

Classical music news: PSO names general manager
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 11
The Pittsburgh Symphony has promoted Marcie Solomon to the position of general manager. ... The Squirrel Hill resident has a bachelor's in double bass performance and a master of arts in management from Carnegie Mellon University.


Stomp and think: Children's Museum's new exhibits get kids active
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 9
There's a lot of activity at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh this month, some of it involving listening, looking and learning, much of it hands-on and, in one case, a lot of stomping of little feet. ... "Tough Art" is an apt title for this collection of four interactive installation pieces, which are designed to spark imaginations and teach, and at the same time are constructed in a way that kids can't damage them. Instead of the usual "hands-off" policy of most galleries, the "Tough Art" pieces are strictly hands-on. They were designed and built this summer by four Carnegie Mellon University art students and graduates.


For Carnegie Mellon art students, personal notes call for personal delivery
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 6
One evening this summer, Mel Packer opened the front door of his home in Point Breeze to a young man wearing a bicycle helmet. His name was John Pena, and in his hand was a letter, handwritten by two friends of Mr. Packer's 17-year-old daughter, Rosa. This was no ordinary mailman, and Mr. Packer was game for the experience. The letter to Rosa earned Mr. Pena an invitation to share dinner with the Packer family. It was one of few delivery rounds Mr. Pena made without his partner, Ally Reeves. The Carnegie Mellon University art students, in a collaborative performance-art project, have delivered more than 300 handwritten letters as the self-styled "Pittsburgh Pedal Express."

Arts and Humanities

Homestead radio offers sounds of a sparrow
WTAE-TV | October 8
When you drive into Homestead using the Homestead Grays Bridge, you'll see something interesting on the left-hand side of the road. A freshly painted building asks drivers to tune into 102.9 FM. ... Jon Rubin and John Pena create the sounds you've never heard for 102.9. Rubin is as associate professor of art at Carnegie Mellon University. Pena is a graduate student. "The dusky seaside sparrow, which is a sparrow that's been extinct for 20 years," said Rubin. "Before it was extinct, it was recorded."


Renowned conductor to lead soloist and choir
The Daily Press | October 7
Renowned choral conductor Robert Page will lead soloists and the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir in an all-Brahms program at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at the church. ... He is director of choral studies at Carnegie Mellon University, where he holds the Paul Mellon Professor of Music Chair, and artistic adviser in choral music at Rowan University.,0,3064198.story

Information Technology

Alice 3.0 software soon to be released from Carnegie Mellon
Design News | October 10
Carnegie Mellon University is preparing to release Alice 3.0, a 3D animation and programming software that uses a drag-and-drop method in a graphical interface to make programming more intuitive and attainable for students interested in computer science. ... Alice was originally developed by Randy Pausch as a rapid prototyping tool for virtual reality. Eventually, the VR gear was dropped and Alice remained an immersive 3D environment and spun into an educational tool with the help of Dann and Stephen Cooper, associate professor of computer science at Saint Joseph’s University.


The Player
Smithsonian Magazine | October Issue
Luis von Ahn has a lofty vision and a short attention span. The 29-year-old computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University prefers short stories to novels, TV shows to short stories, and the Internet to all of the above. If others share his liabilities, so much the better: he plans to harness his generation's fabled impatience to change the world.


Pittsburgh region positions itself as a large player in the alternative fuels industry
Pop City Media | October 10
The alternative fuel industry in Pittsburgh received a big boost this month through a series of creative local initiatives that have helped to promote local biofuel stations and raise public awareness for green transportation. ... On Tuesday General Motors (GM) and Carnegie Mellon University, a leading ethanol research center, hosted a forum on biofuels to promote the use of E85 ethanol fuel, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gas. General Motors spokeswoman MaryBeth Stanek estimates that there are 10,000 GM flex fuel vehicle owners in Pittsburgh served by seven E85 stations.

Regional Impact

Regional insight: Cleaner air, not clean enough
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 7
One of the great environmental success stories of the 20th Century can be seen out of any window in Pittsburgh -- the dramatic improvement in air quality that helped transform the "Smoky City" into the "Most Livable City in America." ... However, unlike the smoke that polluted our air in the past, the sources of ozone and PM2.5 can be located many miles away. Studies conducted in the mid 1990s showed that a significant portion of the ozone here was being caused by pollution sources in upwind states. More recently, research done at Carnegie Mellon University found that as much as 80 percent of the PM2.5 pollution in our region was coming from pollution sources in upwind states.


Desmond Tutu to visit Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 11
Nobel laureate and human rights activist Desmond Tutu will be in Pittsburgh Oct. 24 and 25, during which he will officiate at an interfaith service in Shadyside and receive a joint honorary degree from two city universities. ... A Nobel Peace Prize winner who championed the fight against apartheid, Archbishop Tutu will officiate at a 10 a.m. service Oct. 25 in Calvary Episcopal Church. While there, he is to receive a joint honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, said Carnegie Mellon spokesman Ken Walters.


Carnegie Mellon team's scanner unlocks secrets from the past
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | October 8
A 140-year-old block of sandstone in a Scott cemetery might help revolutionize how we protect our identity and health. For now, though, Carnegie Mellon University professor Yang Cai is using his digital scanning technology to learn more about a woman buried beneath the towering oak tree at Old St. Luke's Episcopal Church.


Cell phones present security risks
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 5
While their primary use remains to make telephone calls, cell phones have come a long way. Thanks to their growing computing power and complexity, cell phones have become mini computers. "As cell phones have gotten more computational power, it's been feasible for people to do the same with them as people did with PCs," said Dave Farber, a distinguished professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.


Researchers: Current education inadequate to fight phishing
Computerworld Australia (IDG News Service) | October 10
Security researchers in the US last week disagreed over how to educate Web users to prevent phishing attacks, but agreed on one thing: most current methods of user education are inadequate. Moreover, it's also difficult to find a method that works because of the diversity of people who use the Web, said Lorrie Faith Cranor, associate research professor at Carnegie Mellon University. "We've taken user education and found that some things work [with some users], but if we e-mail them out to others they don't work," she said at the Anti-Phishing Work Group (APWG) eCrime Researchers Summit.;112125935;fp;2;fpid;1


Environmental awareness fuels excitement about green chemistry on US campuses
International Herald Tribune | October 9
Terry Collins sounds like the world's most dour pessimist. The chemistry professor paints a bleak picture of the Earth's future, a planet damaged by global warming and ravaged by toxins, with a population sickened by poisonous chemicals. "We are practicing time-limited technologies that cause all sorts of environmental damage, and are damaging to the species, to our very civilization," said Collins, director of Carnegie Mellon's Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry in Pittsburgh. But Collins also is an optimist, hoping science can solve those problems.