Brown in the News Brown Home Office of Relations Home

August 2, 2012

Office of Media Relations
Darlene Trew Crist, Director

Courtney Coelho, Editor
(401) 863-7287

Wall Street Journal   29 July 2012
Physicists mine cosmic answers deep underground
While scientists at CERN in Europe have been grabbing headlines recently by using an enormous accelerator in a hunt for the Higgs boson particle, a team the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, S.D., has lofty goals of its own. They are betting on the power of the quiet, sheltered darkness of the former Homestake gold mine to, among other things, help find dark matter, the so-far invisible particles that are believed to make up as much as 25 percent of the universe’s mass. "We’re trying to chase particles that interact once a week, maybe once a month," says Richard Gaitskell, a 47-year-old Brown University physicist, who is part of a team that is installing the most-sensitive dark-matter detector ever built in an experiment known as LUX.

Scientific American   27 July 2012
Computers can predict effects of HIV policies
Policymakers in the fight against HIV/AIDS may have to wait years, even decades, to know whether strategic choices among possible interventions are effective. How can they make informed choices in an age of limited funding? A reliable, well-calibrated, predictive computer simulation would be a great help, according to Brandon Marshall, assistant professor of epidemiology, who presented his research at the 2012 International AIDS Society Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Philadelphia Inquirer   29 July 2012
Nunn launches large-scale HIV-prevention campaign
Amy Nunn, assistant professor of medicine, is leading what has been described as one of the most ambitious campaigns in the United States to interrupt the spread of HIV in an entire community in Southwest Philadelphia. Volunteers have started going door-to-door and expect to continue for two years, aiming to test 12,000 people. There are billboards, church sermons, Twitter messages and outreach workers who are buttonholing people on the street. Free oral swab tests are offered in the mobile van, and fingerstick blood tests at a health center.   27 July 2012
Experiments inform study of crowd motion
To determine how crowd behavior emerges from individual actions, William Warren, professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences, assembled his own crowds and engaged them in an unusual four-day experiment in Sayles Hall. The subjects were equipped with motion capture markers affixed like antennae to bike helmets.

CBS News   30 July 2012
First Revolutionary War museum on the horizon
In 2015, the first national museum dedicated to the American Revolution, will open in Philadelphia. "There have been museums for almost every conceivable event in American history or person in American history. But not for the American Revolution, which is extraordinary when you think of the revolution as the most important event in our history," says Gordon Wood, professor emeritus of history.   31 July 2012
Coaching is integral to weight loss process
New research by Tricia Leahey and Rena Wing, assistant professor and professor of psychiatry and human behavior, finds that "Health Coaches" are as important to weight loss as a sport coach is to an athlete. In the first study of its kind, published online in Obesity, Miriam researchers found that obese individuals participating in a low-intensity behavioral weight loss program who were supported by either a professional health coach or a peer coach lost clinically significant amounts of weight (at least 5 percent of their initial body weight).

The Providence Journal   30 July 2012
Brown Stadium to get new video board
A new 18-foot-high, 36-foot-wide video board at Brown Stadium will unveiled for the Opening Night football game against Harvard on Sept. 22. The video board is currently being manufactured by Daktronics, of Brookings, S.D., and will be installed over a few days in early September. It will feature live video and instant replays, plus scoring information, statistics, advertisements and interactive contests, as well as an HD audio system.

Healio   30 July 2012
Basal cell carcinoma risk can be chronic
A new analysis of factors that predict basal cell carcinoma recurrence in high-risk people finds that for many people it’s more of a chronic disease. High sun exposure before the age of 30 was a major predictor, as was a history of eczema. Martin Weinstock, professor of dermatology, and colleagues reported their findings online July 19 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.   31 July 2012
LEGO robots make great teachers
A partnership between Brown’s Science Center and the Paul Cuffee Middle School gave 10 young student hands-on instruction in the finer points of computer programming and engineering using LEGOĻ robots as the teaching tool. Brown students Mike Lazos, a computer engineering concentrator, and Raymon Baek, whose concentration is in mechanical engineering, helped the students design, build and program robots for four hours every day during the three-week summer program.

Forbes   1 August 2012
Brown ranked 19th among U.S. schools
Brown has been named the 19th top college in the United States in Forbes magazine’s annual rankings. The rankings, prepared by the Center for College Affordability & Productivity, focus on student outcomes, including career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt. Brown University also ranked 18th in private colleges, 13th on the list of most entrepreneurial colleges and 11th in research universities.
Full report online:

The Christian Science Monitor   1 August 2012
Ralph Milliken: Curiosity’s mission on Mars
Ralph Milliken, assistant professor of geological sciences, is on the science team of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which is set to land the rover Curiosity on the Red Planet in the early morning of August 6. The rover will allow the team to study the rocks and soils of Gale Crater, giving scientists years of data to help them learn the geological history of the planet. If there are signs of water or organic material, Curiosity can find those, too. Milliken is also quoted in another story by the same publication about the rover’s infrared laser and telescope package called ChemCam that will vaporize bits of rock to study its chemical makeup.   1 August 2012
Cataract surgery can reduce chance of hip fracture
A new study by medical student Victoria Tseng and colleagues at Alpert Medical School finds that Medicare patients who had surgery to remove vision-impairing cataracts were significantly less likely to suffer hip fractures afterward, particularly those who were older and very sick. The oldest patients in the study, those aged 80 to 84, enjoyed the greatest benefits, with 28% fewer fractures. Those with chronic illnesses like heart disease or diabetes were also 26% to 28% less likely to experience a hip fracture after cataract surgery, compared with equally sick patients who didn’t undergo surgery.   1 August 2012
Economy remains the focus of presidential campaign
A new poll finds that President Obama is neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney on the economy, the issue cited by voters as the most important to them. Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science, says that while the Romney campaign may be "betting on economic dissatisfaction" to defeat Obama, the poll numbers don’t indicate that voters are feeling that way: "There’s obviously something else driving people’s support other than the economy."

Financial Times   31 July 2012
BrainGate helps open door to future of bioelectronics
The pharmaceutical industry hopes to one day build a “bioelectronics” business that treats disease through electrical signalling in the brain and elsewhere. While only a minuscule fraction of the electrical activity in people’s brains can currently be read by computer, some experiments show that reality is on the horizon, like the recent clinical trial involving Brown’s BrainGate technology that allowed tetraplegic patients to use their thoughts to direct robotic arms.

Education Week   25 July 2012
Waivers Falling Short in ’Parent-Engagement’ Area
To be granted a waiver from some requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, The Department of Education mandates that failing public schools must involve parents and the community in the improvement process. Sara McAlister, a senior research associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, argues that the Education Department "consistently ignores" the requirement, effectively dooming the efforts from the start given the deadlines set forth in the waivers.

The Providence Journal   27 July 2012
Op-ed: Recreational fishing brings salt marsh die-off
Tyler Coverdale, a lab manager in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, pens an op-ed about a recent study by Brown ecologists that found that overharvesting of top predators in coastal waters is destroying valuable coastal wetlands throughout Cape Cod. “Salt marshes are among the most economically valuable ecosystems in the world, providing crucial nutrient filtration, erosion buffering, and storm surge protection to coastal communities...Without juvenile fish to replace those being removed by commercial and recreational anglers, we could be on our way to witnessing another total fisheries collapse like that of the North Atlantic cod in the 1990s,” Coverdale writes.

Some sites may require free registration.