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In the Headlines

November 2015

The Christian Science Monitor (November 11) 

Scientists look into hydrogen atom, find old recipe for pi

piA duo of scientists have spotted something unexpected in their calculations for the energy levels of a hydrogen atom: a 360-year old formula for pi. Published in 1655 by the English mathematician John Wallis, the Wallis product is an infinite series of fractions that, when multiplied, equal pi divided by 2. It has not appeared in physics at all until now, when University of Rochester scientists Carl Hagen and Tamar Friedmann collaborated on a problem set that Dr. Hagen had developed for his quantum mechanics class. Instead of using Niels Bohr's near-century-old calculations for the energy states of hydrogen, Hagen had his students use a method called the variational principle, just to see what might happen. Ultimately, the calculations demanded mathematical expertise, which came in the form of Dr. Friedmann, who is both a mathematician and a physicist

(Also reported in: Scientific ComputingScience DailyScience CodexThe AustralianForbes, Chemie.deFresh Ghana.comDerStandard.atScinexx )

NPR (November 25) 

Explaining Einstein's Theory Of General Relativity On Its 100th Birthday

Albert Einstein and a GPSSHAPIRO: Are there real-world technologies that we use today that wouldn't work if Einstein had not had this insight? FRANK: You know, it's an interesting question because if you'd asked me that question 20 years ago or 30 years ago, I'd have been like, no, this is - you know, this is super important for physicists and their understanding of the universe, but there's really nothing around that we use. But now everything is changed because literally without general relativity, we would all be lost. And I say that because it's essential to GPS. SHAPIRO: Really? FRANK: All of us - yeah. All of us are using GPS technologies, right? It's in our phone. And the only reason it's accurate is because we have to take into account that time difference. You know, GPS works by having these satellites orbiting, and they're sending signals back and forth. And if we didn't take into account the fact that the time is flowing at a different rate for the satellites as it is for us on the ground, it would start to lose time in some sense. It would lose accuracy - about 45 microseconds per day. And you think, oh, that's not very much. But, you know, after a week, for example, if you were to step out on your porch in Columbus, Ohio, the GPS would tell you that you were 5,000 meters above Detroit. So GPS is so accurate, the small differences matter a lot. SHAPIRO: That's Adam Frank who teaches astrophysics at the University of Rochester. Thanks for the explainer.

CBS News (November 27)

Overindulge on Thanksgiving? Health tips for the day after

Thanksgiving mealThe Friday after Thanksgiving can be a tough one for those trying not to overindulge for a second day in a row, and for holiday revelers still recovering from overeating and imbibing too much on turkey day. "The day after Thanksgiving, I really try to encourage folks to get back on track to their normal routines," said Kim Povec, a registered dietician at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Healthy Living Center. First off, don't skip breakfast. It won't make up for overeating on Thanksgiving, she said. "Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism for the day. If we don't get enough calories early on in the day, often times we can get very hungry and overeat later in the day, consuming even more calories," said Povec.

Huffington Post (November 11) 

Our Impending Uncanny Intimacy

three guys looking at a smartphoneBy Harry Reis, Professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester studying relationships, intimacy and attachment.
Just a decade ago, a telephone call was the primary means of contacting distant friends. Now, we are more likely to Facebook, tweet, Skype, Instagram or Snapchat a friend than to call her. By upending how we connect with friends, find romantic partners, choose restaurants and monitor our exercise, these social outlets feel modern, and sometimes even invasive. But technologies just around the corner will make what we use now seem primitive and discreet by comparison. And these new, even more intimate technologies will force us to redefine relationships -- some for the better, and some for the worse.

Reuters (November 23)

Poor kids who attend day care do better in school

little boy with a toy at a daycarePrevious research has suggested that good child care centers can help kids develop a wide range of cognitive and behavioral skills that can serve them well in school, said Kevin Fiscella,, a researcher in public health and community health at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. "Low socio-economic status children may also benefit from implicit learning from peers from more advantaged backgrounds in terms of vocabulary exposure, basic numeracy, curiosity and exploration, peer to peer interactions, and modeling of emotional self-regulation," Fiscella, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email.

Digital Trends (November 2)

Instagram Helps Researchers Monitor Underage Drinking

young woman holding a cocktail in an Instagram photoAlthough one of the most popular platforms for sharing filterized selfies, or images of the sky, or of whatever we had for lunch, it seems that Instagram has followed the path laid down by Twitter and Facebook, and has evolved into a network that can actually provide helpful data. A team of researchers at the University of Rochester found that Instagram photos and text can expose drinking patterns of underage drinkers cheaper and faster than conventional surveys. Furthermore, Instagram images help to pinpoint new patterns, such as the types and brands of alcohol that different demographics prefer.

(Also reported in: WROC-TViTech PostMobileWorldThe Asian AgeTime Warner CableDemocrat and Chronicle13WHAM-TV)

NYC Today (November 5)

New Take On Curiosity

little girl holding a snailFor years, researchers have been trying to know more about curiosity, which indeed is exciting, but to approach it scientifically has become quite a task. New research has unveiled this field has lately managed to have new method including formal and quantifiable techniques to study what curiosity actually is. Two researchers from the University of Rochester have come forth with a proposal that it is a high time now to not only have detailed information on curiosity, but also to know what are its functions, evolution, mechanism and development.  

(Also Reported in: The Hans IndiaMaine News OnlineProthom AloChennai OnlineCBCnewsNeuroScientistNews )

Rochester Business Journal (November 6)

URMC research team gets $2.6M NIH Grant

pregnant woman's bellyUniversity of Rochester Medical Center research team has won a $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the role expectant mothers' stress levels might play in their babies' health outcomes as children and adults. The research team, led by scientist Emily Barrett, theorizes documented differences in men's and women's health outcomes could originate before birth and at least partly be determined by maternal stress effects. Barrett, an assistant professor in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and public health sciences, plans to test the notion that expectant mothers' stress levels affect their babies' sex-hormone levels in the womb, which in turn has consequences for the offspring's health in later life. Her team plans to recruit some 290 pregnant women and follow the women from the first trimester until their children are 15 months old. To determine the expectant mothers' stress levels, they will use questionnaires and keep track of the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the women's blood. Information gathered by her team could one day help doctors better diagnose and treat conditions that predominantly affect males or females, Barrett said.

NPR (November 17) 

After Paris: Reason, Faith And Love

flowers and peace signs in ParisI'm good at abstracting things. It's part of my job description as a theoretical astrophysicist. This weekend, however, I spent much of my time restraining that impulse. I didn't want to hide in the comfort of a million-year perspective or the view from 30,000 light-years. It felt important to keep my feet firmly on this world to honor the sharp, unbidden suffering of the innocent in Paris and Beirut after terrorist attacks late last week. But now, as we struggle to make meaning in the horror's wake, there is a need for the long view. There is so much at stake in these events and our response to them. And the long view, I believe, requires our deepest understandings of three principles that should define any society worth defending: reason, faith and love.
Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester, a book author and a self-described "evangelist of science."

Innovation Trail (November 3) 

Connections: Monthly Science Roundtable - What Caused Global Cooling 3.6 Million Years Ago?

In our Monthly Science Roundtable, we look at climate change and global cooling...3.6 million years ago. How did the northern hemisphere, which didn't have much ice four million years ago, end up with continental ice sheets by roughly 2.7 million years ago? There are a number of ideas that could explain the global cooling. The National Science Foundation recently awarded $4.24 million to two University of Rochester researchers to launch a joint U.S.-China research project studying the role of CO2 in reverse global warming.

(Also reported in: WXXI )

The New York Times (November 28) 

The Return of Werner Erhard, Father of Self-Help

For several years before his latest professional reincarnation, Mr. Erhard consulted for businesses and government agencies like the Russian adult-education program the Znaniye Society and a nonprofit organization supporting clergy in Ireland. Enter the Harvard economist Michael Jensen. Dr. Jensen, who is famous in financial circles for championing the concepts of shareholder value and executive stock options, had taken a Landmark course in Boston at the suggestion of his daughter, who mended a rocky relationship with Dr. Jensen after taking the course herself. In 2004, with the help of a Landmark official, Dr. Jensen developed an experiential course on integrity in leadership at the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester. The class was offered there for five years, with Mr. Erhard signing on as an instructor during its third year. It has since been taught at several universities around the world as well as at the United States Air Force Academy.

Rochester City Newspaper (November 4)

Coming soon: HIV shots?

One of the more daunting challenges of managing HIV is properly taking the daily regimen of one to five pills. But that could soon be in the past. The results of an experimental treatment, which appear in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, could mean that patients get an infrequent injection to stop the progression of the disease instead. "If you think about this in common sense terms, every time you take a medicine or any form of drug, you have to worry about the balance between therapeutic effects and side effects because all medicine has side effects," says Dr. Harris Gelbard, who led the UR team that developed URMC-099.

(Also reported in: , WXXI News, Time Warner Cable News, RochesterFirst.comWHAM 1180 ,Vaccine News)

Medical Xpress (November 9)

Study sheds light on health needs of adults with autism

While the spotlight of autism research generally shines on children, research at the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to suffer serious health problems like seizure disorders and depression. The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, reveals a need for greater advocacy and awareness to ensure that adults with autism have access to appropriate and effective care. "Autism is one of the most common neurodevelopmental conditions in childhood, estimated to affect 1 in 68 children. Although it has been extensively studied in children, little is known about health conditions in adults with autism," said lead author Robert J. Fortuna, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in Primary Care at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "This study highlights the importance of careful monitoring of their health status and urges us to examine best practices to facilitate their access to high-quality health care," said senior author Philip W. Davidson, PhD, URMC professor emeritus of Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine and Psychiatry.

WROC TV CBS 8 Rochester (November 18) 

Slaughter Pushes Congress to Support $68 Million for UR Laser Lab

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter urged Congressional leaders to support Monroe County's high-tech photonics industry by including $68 million in support for the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics in its annual budget. The laboratory at the University of Rochester conducts groundbreaking research into lasers and photonics that fuels Monroe County's burgeoning high-tech economy and helps support more than 1,000 jobs.

(Also reported in: Rochester Business JournalTime Warner Cable News )

Millennium Post (November 8) 

Curiosity is a driving state for information: Study

Now, two researchers from the University of Rochester propose that it is time to organize and focus on curiosity's function, evolution, mechanism and development. "Curiosity is a long-standing problem that is fascinating but has been difficult to approach scientifically," said study co-author Benjamin Hayden, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences. "But we felt that the field has recently managed to develop new formal and quantifiable techniques for studying curiosity and that it's worth getting the word out," he added.

(Also reported in: EENADU IndiaBNR )

Rochester Business Journal (November 2)

Trustee gives $1 million for iZone at UR library

A $1 million gift to the University of Rochester River Campus Libraries will create a new technology-rich workspace designed to foster the development of young entrepreneurs, officials announced Monday.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (November 12)

UR physicists in breakthrough finding

The University of Rochester is known for its expertise in particle physics - the branch of physics that studies the fundamental particles that exist in nature and how they interact. Two UR physicists, Steven Manly and Kevin McFarland, along with two post-doctoral researchers and a former graduate student are among the 1,370 physicists who this week were awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for their work on neutrinos.

WHEC TV NBC 10 Rochester (November 26)

Make sure your turkey hits the magic number: 165 degrees

If you're getting ready to cook the turkey, it's always good to remind you about cooking safety. We asked UR Medicine's senior sanitarian what you should keep in mind. "The stuffing absorbs the juices from the turkey, the salmonella from that turkey gets into the stuffing, it's thick, it's condensed, it doesn't get to that 165," says Peter Castronovo, UR Medicine. "So if people want to stuff their turkey it's important that the stuffing also got to that proper temperature."

(Also reported in: WHEC-TV )

Healthcare Facilities Management (November 4)

Pediatric facility designs embrace family and fun

This July, the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center opened Golisano Children's Hospital, an eight-story, 245,000-sq. ft. facility built adjacent to the medical center's Strong Memorial Hospital. Previously, Golisano Children's Hospital operated as a hospital within a hospital in the Strong Memorial facility. Susan K. Bezek, R.N., PNP-BC, the hospital's associate director of pediatric nursing, says the project team for the new Golisano Children's Hospital building wanted to create a healing place for families, designed to decrease the fear and anxiety of hospitalization. The new hospital has 52 general care patient rooms, each with dedicated family space, and a number of family amenities on the patient units. These include kitchen facilities and a lounge where people can greet visitors or sit and talk away from the patient room. The 68-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is also designed for increased privacy and family space; a lounge on the NICU floor includes a fireplace and a place for parents to work. A clubhouse for patients' siblings is located on the first floor. A Ronald McDonald House located in the Strong Memorial Hospital facility provides guest rooms and other services for patients' families. In addition, Ronald McDonald House has partnered with the health care organization to operate a family room on the first floor of Golisano Children's Hospital that includes respite space, a dining area and laundry services, says Bezek.

The Huffington Post (November 6) 

Smacking Down the Opposition: edTPA Advocacy in Illinois

The Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) is the new set of evaluations of teacher candidates that is spreading across the country. Packaged as government-mandated test that assures the quality of teaching, it in fact colonizes the curriculum of teacher education programs and narrows the focus on teaching as pre-determined and top down delivery of lessons. As edTPA is becoming required in more states, the criticism is mounting. Deborah Greenblatt and Kate O'Hara's expose-style analysis of lessons learned from edTPA implementation in New York challenges the validity of the assessment, its impact on candidate learning, and its disparate impact on diverse candidates and school contexts. Kevin Meuwissin and Jeffrey Chopin, both at the University of Rochester, examine the tensions edTPA creates for candidates in New York and Washington (the first two states to require the test as a condition of licensure). In their comprehensive analysis of candidate's experiences completing--and, generally, passing--edTPA they argue that the nuances of the assessment and its implementation require candidates and teacher educators to focus "on managing social and instrumental factors that interact with the assessment rather than improving practice through it." Meuwissin and Chopin, who aren't against teacher performance assessment in theory, nevertheless find edTPA a mess.

NPR (November 3)

Is It Moral To Explore,And Colonize, Mars?

By Adam Frank From the nature of human endurance to questions of science and politics, it's a film that deserves the success it has gained (how many films can throw around terms like hexadecimal and Hohmann Transfer like you already know them). But unspoken, behind the film, is a truly profound question about humanity's next steps into the solar system. Adam Frank is an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester.

(Also reported in: Oregon Public Broadcasting90.5 WCBE )

New York Times (October 29)

Amateur Musicians Find Their Harmony With Westchester Winds

Christian D. Carbone, who two decades ago gave up a promising career as a professional tubist to become a lawyer, was thrust back into the musical spotlight this year as a soloist on two of Westchester County's top stages, the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, in Katonah, and the Tarrytown Music Hall. The performances were no walk in the park. On both occasions, Mr. Carbone, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, tackled "Fnugg Blue," a challenging piece by the Norwegian composer Oystein Baadsvik that required him, among other feats, to adapt the hip-hop vocal technique of beatboxing to the tuba mouthpiece.

Yahoo News (November 16)

Modern Sleeplessness: How Your Phone Is Keeping You Up At Night

Smartphones "have become kind of ubiquitous in society now," Dr. Heidi Connolly, chief of the division of pediatric sleep medicine at the University of Rochester's Golisano Children's Hospital, told Yahoo Health. "10 to 15 years ago, there were simply not devices like this, so we're all spending way more time in front of screens, in general. And the more time you spend in front of a screen, the more likely you are to be a short sleeper and to be overweight."

WXXI PBS News (November 17)

WATCH: What You Need To Know About Bladder Health Issues

November is Bladder Health Awareness month and joining this Need to Know segment to address some of the myths and misconceptions associated with this issue is Dr. Gunhilde Buchsbaum, the Director of the Division of Urogynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Buchsbaum is also the founder and director of UR Medicine's Pelvic Health and Continence Specialties practice.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (November 9)

UR laser lab eyes military, energy uses

Imagine if your car were made of a material that could repel rain, the droplets bouncing and flying away before they could start to rust your hood or freeze to the roof. This technology may sound like a desperate fantasy of Rochester drivers who are sick of scraping ice off their cars. But it does exist, thanks to University of Rochester scientists, and the military is keenly interested in tapping their research to protect its vehicles and equipment from corrosion and icing. (November 14)

The Next Frontier of Big Data Gets Personal

Big data allows for the quantifying of structured and unstructured information in the forms of numbers, audio, text, transactions or videos. Billions of portfolios are created every second that allow for personal engagement, insightful predictability, and wise decision making. Research conducted within the University of Rochester in New York stipulates that by 2020, more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected. Imagine what that would mean for consumers and corporations both. Imagine personalized catering to the needs of consumers based on observed trends, behaviors, and wants. (November 5)

Can 'superhydrophobic' material end de-icing, scraping car windshields in winter?

Most Upstate New York residents keep a snow and ice scraper in their car six months out of the year. But could that become a relic of the past someday? Last winter, University of Rochester scientists announced that they used lasers to transform metals into "superhydrophobic," or extremely water-repellent, materials. They said the technology could be applied to creating rust-free solar panels, helping with sanitation by preventing bacteria from forming on wet surfaces, or even anti-icing on car windshields and planes.

Pacific Standard (November 25)

History on the Tracks: The Berlin-Baghdad Railway

As thousands of refugees continue fleeing to Europe, images of their suffering and desperation reveal an intense and personal human drama. But as a historian of architecture and infrastructure, I also see in these images a striking historical resonance: that this refugee drama is playing out, as it has so often before, on Europe's railways. Peter Christensen is an assistant professor of art history at the University of Rochester. He is currently completing his book, Sketch, Spade, Gauge: Architecture and the German Construction of the Ottoman Railway Network.

Huffington Post (November 10)

Ruth's Gift of Hope: How a Total Stranger Changed My Holiday

My daughter, Heidi and I recently delivered a keynote address called "Handling the Holidays" at a hospice event in Greensborough, South Carolina. Looking back on the early years following my son's death I admit that I did not handle the holidays; they handled me. They came and went whether I liked it or not - time marches on. In those early years holidays were difficult and emotionally as well as physically challenging. The lights were too bright and the music too loud the stores too busy. It seemed that every place I looked there were reminders of my life gone by. I remember having to make a host of painful decisions the first year following his death: what to do for Thanksgiving, how to deal with Christmas, which was his favorite holiday. It helped that there were special gifts that came from unexpected places. It was December 15, 1983. Scott had been dead for eight months and I was not in a good place. I continued to teach at the University of Rochester School of Nursing and to fulfill my duties as the psychiatric nursing consultant to the surgical service at Strong Memorial Hospital. The holidays were a rough time. Given advice that it was best to try to maintain our past routines and to not make any big decisions or go anywhere the first year, my husband and I decided to have our traditional Christmas with our three daughters. I tied hard to take on the Holiday spirit, but I was having a tough time. Teaching and consulting with patents and staff on the surgical service and burn unit was taxing.

Chicago Tribune (November 27)

Teachers were confident 2007 North graduate would make it as musician

When it comes to jazz, Katie Ernst is the trifecta, playing bass, performing as a vocalist, and teaching a future generation of musicians. It's all in a day's work for the 2007 graduate of Naperville North High School. Ernst went on to graduate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, in 2011, and continued to pursue her passion for jazz. In 2013, she was one of 24 young artist-composers selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program, an international jazz residency program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Today, she regularly composes and performs with the band Twin Talk, and in 2015, officially released "Little Words," an original album based on the poetry of Dorothy Parker.

BioSpace (November 17)

Software Better Than Humans At Guessing How You Feel From Speech, University of Rochester Study

Chalk up another win for computers. Software developed at the University of Rochester in New York has outstripped humans in its ability to identify emotions in speech. The researchers plan to use it to understand the effects of emotion in parent-child interactions. The software, developed by Rochester graduate students Na Yang and Emre Eskimez, is not the first to recognise the feelings behind human utterances, but it is the first to outstrip humans in a robust comparison

Stat News (November 11)

Getting a Flu shot every year? More may not be better

If you've been diligent about getting your flu shot every year, you may not want to read this. But a growing body of evidence indicates that more may not always be better. The idea is that the antibodies produced in year one may neutralize some of the vaccine in year two's shot before it can trigger a full immune response, explained Dr. John Treanor, a vaccine expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

WHAM TV ABC 13 (November 11)

UR Medicine breakthrough may lead to obesity pill

Imagine a pill to not only prevent obesity, but to reverse it in some people. The research underway at UR Medicine almost sounds almost too good to be true.

(Also reported in: Rochester Business Journal )

WROC TV CBS 8 Rochester (November 4)

Polish Film Festival

The annual Polish Film Festival is being sponsored this week by the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester. For a complete listing of films and screenings visit the University of Rochester website, search for the Skalney Center and there will be a link to the Polish Film Festival, click here.

(Also reported in: WUHF Fox )

Central Oregonian (November 11)

School start time a delicate balancing act

Research suggests kids start school too early, and while local educators agree, many factors go into choosing when students attend class. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention thinks so after recently concluding a study on the topic. The organization found that four out of five schools throughout the country begin the academic day before 8:30 a.m., which can compromise academic performance, increase the likelihood of mental health problems and restrict social mobility. Other studies seem to support the CDC's findings, such as one conducted by the University of Rochester that found the human brain produces toxins during the day that it clears away only during sleep. Without adequate sleep, those toxins remain and can affect the ability to focus.