Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

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February 19, 2015

Personal Mention

Carnegie Science Center LogoThe Carnegie Science Center will present five Carnegie Mellon faculty members and one doctoral student with Carnegie Science Awards at a banquet on May 8. The awards recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania. CMU winners are:

  • David Brumley, University/Post-Secondary Educator Award;
  • Shirley Ho, Emerging Female Scientist Award;
  • Jeanne M. VanBriesen, Environmental Award;
  • Danielle Chirdon, University/Post-Secondary Student Award;
  • Jesse Schell, Entrepreneur Award; and
  • Luis von Ahn, Information Technology Award.

Learn more.

Art Professor Clayton Merrell is in the midst of his biggest public art project to date. He’s transforming the airside center core floor at the Pittsburgh International Airport into an intricately patterned terrazzo image of the sky. The terrazzo is laid out like a paint-by-number, with sections that include drawings of various flying machines. The project is expected to be completed by October 2015. Learn more about the project and listen to a podcast with Merrell at D:1 Podcast

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently featured air pollution maps of the Pittsburgh region created by CMU’s Albert Presto, an assistant research professor of mechanical engineering and a member of the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies. Presto’s maps, which he created by monitoring air pollution levels at 70 key sites countywide for two years, represent the most detailed measurement of pollution by location. His maps reveal levels of black carbon, sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, benzene and toluene, among others. When it comes to particulate matter PM2.5, of which black carbon is a component, the American Lung Association says Pittsburgh is the sixth most polluted city in the United States and the most polluted city east of California. Learn more

Mechanical Engineering Professor Alan J.H. McGaughey has been named an Outstanding Referee of the American Physical Society (APS). McGaughey is the first faculty member from the College of Engineering to achieve this recognition. Nine others from the university have been past recipients of this honor. The Outstanding Referee program recognizes scientists for their exceptional help in assessing manuscripts for publication in the APS journals. The selection process, which takes into account the quality, number and timeliness of the editors’ reports, often helps the authors to improve the quality and readability of their articles. The program is highly selective as 142 editors were selected as Outstanding Referees for 2015 from a pool of 60,000 candidates. Recipients represent more than 50 countries.

Finn Kydland, who holds the Richard P. Simmons Distinguished Professorship at Carnegie Mellon and is a 2004 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, returned to Carnegie Mellon Qatar this spring to teach an undergraduate course in macroeconomics. This is the second time the CMU alumnus has taught business administration students on the Qatar campus. Kydland, who typically teaches graduate courses at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is the Henley Professor of Economics, said he has been impressed with the students at CMU-Q. “The students seem fantastically interested in the course and in the material, and an instructor always appreciates that very much," he said. Kydland is spending five weeks on the Qatar campus, where he is co-teaching "Advanced Topics in Macroeconomics and Real Business Cycles" with John Gasper, assistant teaching professor of economics.

Benjamin Reilly, associate teaching professor of history at Carnegie Mellon Qatar, has authored a book that is scheduled for publication this fall by Oxford University Press. "Slavery, Agriculture, and Malaria in the Arabian Peninsula" brings to light previously unstudied phenomenon: the large-scale employment of people of African ancestry as slaves in agricultural oases within the Arabian Peninsula. The book argues that the key to understanding this unusual slave system is the prevalence of malaria within the Arabian Peninsula oases and drainage basins, which rendered agricultural lands in Arabia extremely unhealthy for people without genetic or acquired resistance to malarial fevers. In this way, Arabian slave agriculture had unexpected similarities with slavery as practiced from 1600-1900 in the Caribbean and Brazil. Overall, this book is intended to educate readers about the Arabian social and economic systems, and to further the understanding of Arabian environmental history.

Christopher J. Phillips, who will join the History Department as an assistant professor in the fall, wrote a piece for TIME Magazine on teaching methods for old and new math. Phillips, who is completing a postdoctoral fellowship at NYU, is author of the book, "The New Math: A Political History." Read the TIME piece, "The New Math Strikes Back."