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Yang to Lead China Science Foundation

Wei Yang, Ph.D. '85  in Engineering and recipient of a Brown honorary degree last May, has been named president of China’s National Natural Sciences Foundation, the nation’s top science agency. He takes the helm of an organization that last year allocated $2.8 billion to fund scientific activity.

Lunar Impacts Created Seas of Molten Rock

Melting on a massive scale:

A new analysis of data from NASA’s Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), led by graduate student William Vaughan, shows that molten rock may have been present on the Moon more recently and for longer periods than previously thought. Differentiation — a settling out of rock layers as liquid rock cools — would require thousands of years and a fluid rock sea at least six miles deep.

Student to Attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

 Kelly Schermerhorn, a PhD candidate in Chemistry, has been selected to attend the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany. The week-long meeting brings young scientists from all over the world together with the most esteemed scientists of their times. This year’s meeting, which will begin on June 30, will focus on Nobel-winning research in chemistry, with 35 Nobel laureates scheduled to attend. Schermerhorn is one of 625 undergraduate and postgraduate students from 78 countries selected to attend.

Call for Application: Mellon-Sawyer Graduate Research Assistantship

The Program in Early Cultures at Brown University (PEC) invites applications from current Brown University doctoral students for two Graduate Research Assistants for AY 2013-2014 to support participation in a Mellon-Sawyer Seminar, “Animal Magnetism: The Emotional Ecology of Animals and Humans.” All applicants should submit a letter of application and curriculum vitae by March 26, 2013. Find out more.

Team Wins Regionals for Policy Solutions Challenge

Taubman Center master’s students Matthew McCabe, Kelsey Sherman, Amber Ma, Gayatri Sahgal, and Dana Schwartz, have won the mid-Atlantic regionals of Policy Solutions Challenge USA, a competition that encourages public policy students to develop innovative solutions to U.S. policy problems. The Taubman team will compete in the finals in Washington, D.C. on March 22 and 23, facing off against teams from seven other policy schools.

How a Microbial Biorefinery Regulates Genes

The protein PcaV in the presence of protocatechuate:

A group of researchers, including graduate student Jennifer Davis, have unlocked the genetic and molecular mechanisms behind a part of the process to break down plant biomass into the precursors of biodiesel or other commodity chemicals. These might one day be used to produce alternatives to petroleum. The potential of this “biorefinery” technology is limited by the fact that most microorganisms cannot break down lignin, a highly stable polymer that makes up as much as a third of plant biomass. Streptomyces bacteria are among few microorganisms known to degrade and consume lignin.

Girl Rising: In Many Countries, Education is for Boys Only

Edwidge Danticat '93 MFA tells the story of a girl from Haiti in Holly Gordon '93's documentary, Girl Rising. This film shows how education transformed the lives of ten girls from ten different developing countries. It will debut on March 8 and air on CNN this spring. Read more.