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January 08, 2015

Personal Mention

Following President Barack Obama’s decision to “normalize” relations with Cuba, Robert Cavalier wrote an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about how deliberative democracy forums can and have been helping Cubans learn more about incorporating constitutional ideals into their society. Cavalier is a teaching professor of philosophy and director of CMU’s Program for Deliberative Democracy. Read “Pittsburgh Goes To Cuba: Deliberative Democracy Could Be One Of Our Most Valuable Exports.” 

Joseph B. Kadane, a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, recently wrote about the Senate Intelligence Committee report and its findings that the U.S. government tortured those captured in the War on Terror. Kadane, the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus, said the debate is missing an important point, and that “torture is wrong, no matter who does it and what the circumstances are.” Read “On Torture.”

Yong-Lae Park, an assistant professor in the Robotics Institute and the founder of the Soft Robotics and Bionics Lab, is among the latest recipients of the Okawa Research Grant, which is awarded by the Okawa Foundation for Information and Telecommunications. The grants sponsor research in the United States, China, Japan and Korea in eight topic areas pertaining to information and telecommunications. Park’s research focuses on bio-inspired design and manufacturing of soft robots and microrobots for health care. The grant will support his work on novel sensing and actuation mechanisms for use in robots made from fabrics, plastics and other soft materials. These so-called “soft robotics” can include wearable devices, as well as robots designed to work in close proximity to humans.

Alex Waibel and Howie Choset of the School of Computer Science and Diana Marculescu of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department have been named 2015 IEEE Fellows in recognition of their technological contributions to society. The IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. The IEEE Board of Directors awards the rank of fellow to a person with an outstanding record of accomplishment.

  • Waibel, a professor in the Language Technologies Institute as well as the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, was cited by IEEE for his contributions to neural network-based speech recognition and translation and to multimodal interfaces.
  • Choset, a professor in the Robotics Institute who directs the Biorobotics Laboratory that specializes in snake-like robots, was cited by IEEE for contributions to the design, control and planning of highly-articulated robots.
  • Marculescu, a professor and associate department head for Academic Affairs in ECE, was cited by IEEE for contributions to design and optimization of energy-aware computing systems.

Learn more.

Six faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). This represents the largest group of APS Fellows Carnegie Mellon has had in a single year. Fellows are elected based on their contributions to the physics enterprise, through research, application of physics, leadership and service, or contributions to physics education. This year's APS Fellows from CMU are:

  • Shelley L. Anna, professor of chemical engineering and mechanical engineering, and courtesy professor of physics, was recognized for her contributions in extensional rheology and droplet microfluidics, and in particular for elucidating and manipulating the effect of surfactant in microfluidic tip streaming.
  • Michael R. Bockstaller, professor of materials science and engineering, was recognized for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of block polymer-nanoparticle composites leading to control of novel photonic and plasmonic properties.
  • Roy Briere, professor of physics, was recognized for his important contributions to the physics of particles containing b and c quarks, which were crucial to the success of the CLEO and BESIII experiments, and for his leadership roles in those experiments.
  • Tiziana Di Matteo, professor of physics, was recognized for her pioneering work in computational cosmology, which has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the impact and growth of black holes in the structure and formation of the universe.
  • Colin Morningstar, professor of physics, was recognized for his outstanding contributions to understand the strong force and its hadron spectroscopy based on the fundamental theory of quantum chromodynamics.
  • Reinhard A. Schumacher, professor of physics, was recognized for his extensive studies of the photo- and electro-production of hyperons and the impact these studies have on our understanding of the spectrum of baryons.

Learn more.

Obituary: Lois Josephs Fowler

Lois FowlerLois Josephs Fowler, professor of English, emeritus, died Dec. 28. She was 89.

Fowler, who joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1961, inspired and mentored generations of students and has often been referred to as an "unforgettable" teacher.

"Both in her scholarship and her teaching, Professor Fowler sought to bring the interdisciplinary study of literature, rhetoric and composition and educational psychology into reinforcing relations and to create curricula that allowed students to share her passion for English and to explore the implications of literature for current social issues, especially those related to the role of women in society," said Chris Neuwirth, head of CMU's Department of English.

A mainstay of Fowler's legacy was her devotion to her students.

"Lois didn't simply advise or mentor. What she did was take you on as a project. Once she did so, she was fiercely loyal, always looking out for your interests, making connections in and beyond the university community, and never hesitating to tell you what she thought your next step should be," said Karen Schnakenberg, teaching professor of English, emeritus, at CMU who Fowler took on as a graduate student instructor in 1987 to teach the professional writing courses she had developed. "We quickly discovered shared interests in pedagogy, administration and mentoring, as well as professional writing, and worked closely together over the next nine years until Lois retired in 1996. It's more than fair to say that my 20+ year career in professional writing at Carnegie Mellon was firmly grounded in her advice and friendship."

Read more.