News

Regents Professor David Tilman, an MSI Principal Investigator, has been named the 2008 recipient of the International Prize for Biology for his research proving that biodiversity makes ecosystems more productive and resistant to drought, disease, and pests. His research was carried out at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Tilman and his research group use MSI to host their database and Web page. They also use databases housed at the SDML for organizing decades of data and distributing it to ecology-research communities.

A recent paper by MSI Associate Fellow Professor Traian Dumitrica and his graduate student Mayur Suri has received national attention. The paper publishes the results of computer simulations, performed at MSI, of nanoparticles crashing into a surface at hypersonic speeds. The paper was published in the August issue of Physical Review B (Phys Rev B, 78, 081405).

Above speeds of 3,300 miles per hour, nanoparticles stick to the surface instead of bouncing. The computer simulations helped the researchers explain the sticking phenomenon. Summaries of the paper have appeared in Physical Review Focus ("Nanoparticles Stick a Perfect Landing," M. Schirber, August 27, 2008) and the New York Times ("If Traveling Very Fast, the Very Small Just Stick," K. Chang, September 2, 2008). The PR Focus article also includes information from Professor Dumitrica's collaborator, MSI Fellow Professor Steven Girshick.

Teachers from Arlington BioSMART High School in St. Paul visited MSI on September 23. Arlington is a magnet school with a focus in science, math, and technology. Their program, BioSMART (Biology, Science, Math, Academic Rigor, and Technology), introduces students to careers in biotech industries.

The teachers saw a presentation about MSI and the research being done here and toured the LMVL and the machine room. They also gave a presentation to MSI staff members about the school and its programs. MSI staff members are working to establish working relationships with secondary schools in order to reach students and give them an understanding of the kinds of science and technology careers they can prepare for at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Renata Wentzcovitch, Departmen t of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and MSI Fellow, has been awarded "The Invitation Fellowship for Research in Japan." The award is presented by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; Professor Wentzcovitch will be doing research at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Tokyo, Japan from October through December 2008. More information can be found on the CEMS department Web site.

Professor Steven Ruggles, Minnesota Population Center and a Principal Investigator at MSI, has been elected a University of Minnesota Regents Professor, the University's highest rank. Professor Ruggles specializes in the history of populations, known as historical demography, and he has done considerable research on the American family. He uses MSI core resources to aid in his analyses of population data. More information can be found at the University News site.

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