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Fall 2013

In Short

Three National Academy Members Join Texas Tech Faculty

Texas Tech has added three National Academy members to its faculty, bringing the total to four.

Danny Reible, a renowned water quality and quantity researcher, is the inaugural holder of the Donovan Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair. Reible was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005 for the development of widely used approaches for the management of contaminated sediments.

Reible joins Fazle Hussain, the President’s Distinguished Engineering Chair, and Chau-Chyun Chen, holder of the Jack Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair in Sustainable Energy.

Chen was elected in 2005 for his contributions to molecular thermodynamics and process modeling technology for designing industrial processes with complex chemical systems.

Hussain was elected in 2001 for fundamental experiments and concepts concerning important structures in turbulence, vortex dynamics and acoustics, and for new turbulence measuring techniques.

The three join Kishor Mehta, the former director of the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech (now the National Wind Institute), who led a team that developed the Enhanced Fujita Scale implemented by the National Weather Service. He was elected a member of the Academy for his studies of structural damage caused by windstorms and leadership in developing structural design standards for wind loads.

Election to the National Academy is considered one of the highest professional honors among engineers.

First Separately Accredited School of Accounting in Texas Established

Texas Tech’s Rawls College of Business joins only 40 other universities nationally to house a School of Accounting. The Area of Accounting officially changed to the School of Accounting on Aug. 15.

The School of Accounting is the only one in the college that holds AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation separate from the college itself.

Fewer than 500 of the approximately 1,600 U.S. business schools are accredited by AACSB, and only 168 of those accounting programs have met the standard for separate accreditation.


Human Sciences Adds Department

The College of Human Sciences has created a the Department of Community, Family and Addiction Services (CFAS).

The move is a result of the significant growth of the CFAS undergraduate major during the past three years and the desire to expand the graduate program. The department will include the Texas Tech Family Therapy Clinic.

With 20 undergraduate courses and 27 graduate courses, the new department offers a CFAS undergraduate degree, the addictive disorders and recovery studies undergraduate minor and graduate certificate program, and master’s and doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy.


University Opens Free Market Institute

Funded by a $4 million anonymous gift, Texas Tech has established the Free Market Institute which is designed to promote research and educate students, the Lubbock community and the nation on the benefits of free-market economics.

The institute is headed by Benjamin Powell, who also is a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, newspaper columnist and a visiting professor in the Rawls College of Business. Powell was editor of “Making Poor Nations Rich: Entrepreneurship and the Process of Development” and co-editor of “Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis.” He has written more than 50 scholarly articles and policy studies. He primarily studies economic development, Austrian economics and public choice.


Texas Tech System Concludes Historic Capital Campaign

The Texas Tech University System marked the official conclusion of its most ambitious fundraising effort, Vision and Tradition: The Campaign for Texas Tech, on Aug. 31.

Surpassing its original goal of $1 billion well ahead of schedule, the campaign generated a total of $1.069 billion, making it the most successful capital campaign in the history of the TTU System.

“From our outstanding alumni base to our tireless development team, we have so many to thank for the success of this campaign,” said Chancellor Kent Hance. “The support of our donors is truly unprecedented, and I am so grateful for their dedication to see this campaign through to the end.”

Officially announced Sept. 17, 2010, the Vision and Tradition campaign has spurred an extraordinary time of growth at all four of the TTU System’s component institutions—Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Angelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso. Donations received during the campaign are benefitting student scholarships, faculty endowments, research efforts and facility improvements, among many other areas.

The $1 billion goal was achieved and exceeded thanks to a total of nearly 130,000 generous donors. Gifts to the campaign came from all 50 states and 41 countries.

“The Vision and Tradition campaign has ensured each of our institutions has a very promising future ahead,” Hance said. “Each and every gift has contributed to a lasting legacy that will benefit the Texas Tech family for years to come.”


More Health, More Wealth

Texas Tech University researchers have found that individuals who can resist an unhealthy but delicious meal also are more likely to save for retirement.

The study was completed by Michael Finke, professor in the Department of Personal Financial Planning in the College of Human Sciences and co-authored by Associate Professor Sandra Huston.

Eight thousand college students in the study were asked how important it was to begin saving for retirement with their first job. They were also asked about certain behaviors, including smoking, drinking, drug use, seat belt use, unprotected sex, healthful eating, nutrition label use and exercise.

“College students are an important group because we know that when people get their first job the decision they make about saving for retirement is often the strongest predictor of whether they have collected adequate financial savings later in life,” Finke said.

The results of the survey revealed that students who were most forward-thinking in terms of health-related behaviors—healthful eating, exercise and using nutrition labels—were most likely to value saving money.


Fossil Amber Shatters Theories of Glass as a Liquid

Fact or fiction? Stained glass found in medieval cathedrals becomes thicker at the bottom because glass moves over time. For years researchers have had their doubts, but now a team at Texas Tech University has further evidence that the glass is not going anywhere.

“Glass transition is related to the performance of materials, whether it is inorganic glass or organic polymers,” said Gregory McKenna, professor of chemical engineering at Texas Tech. “For example, this would be important to people who own a boat made of fiberglass, or fly in an airplane made with epoxy-based composites. Information like that can help predict if that jet will still be flying in 30 years. This result challenges all the classic theories of glass transition behavior.”

The original idea for this research came from a doctoral student Jing Zhao’s qualifying exam. When her results were contrary to perceived notions, they expanded the study to a much older, ultra-stable glass.

The work is funded by a National Science Foundation grant.


Texas Tech System Makes $10 Billion Statewide Economic Impact

The Texas Tech University System generated a combined economic impact of $9.98 billion for the state of Texas in 2012, according to a report of the system and its component institutions’ influence on business activity.

The assessment also revealed that for every dollar the state of Texas invests in the TTU System, the state’s economy sees more than $23 returned, which is an increase from $16 in 2011.

The report indicates a substantial increase from the TTU System’s $7.37 billion statewide economic impact in 2010.

The total annual workforce contribution of alumni, which represents the yearly contribution to the Texas labor force by graduates of the component institutions, stood at $5.54 billion. The impact on employment increased to 40,775 jobs, which measures the total jobs sustained from operations, employees, research, students and university-related visitors.


Texas Tech Researchers Look at Mystery of Metallic Glasses

Researchers have discovered a way to predict and control the properties of metallic glasses, yielding a highly versatile material that looks like metal, is moldable like plastic, but stronger than steel.

The study, “Critical fictive temperature for plasticity in metallic glasses,” is published in the journal Nature Communications and was researched at Texas Tech University and Yale University.

Golden Kumar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Texas Tech, and Jan Schroers, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale, have developed a model that can explain why some metallic glasses are always ductile or brittle, whereas others are sensitive to processing and age.


Sports on Television: Is Simple Better?

Watching the “big game” on TV has come a long way since the start of sports on television, and each year the industry strives to improve the viewing experience.

Glenn Cummins, an assistant professor in the College of Media and Communication, looked at a method that showed a football game using a mosaic format, where multiple camera angles were shown simultaneously.

The study tested how this visually complex format impacted the viewing experience for viewers who were die-hard fans of one of the teams as well as those who didn’t have any ties to the team. Cummins found that the die-hard fans disliked the new mosaic format, and the viewers with no ties seemed to enjoy it.

His findings were published in the International Journal of Sport Communication. His research team also included Ed Youngblood and Mike Milford, both of Auburn University.


Ag Economics Team Unveils Analysis Tool for Cattle Producers

A problem-solving computer program called the Stocker Cattle Analysis Tool has been developed in a partnership between Texas Tech University, Mississippi State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Risk Management Agency.

The decision tool is designed to assist stocker cattle producers in evaluating a range of production, insurance and marketing decisions on their cattle.

“In a straightforward way, producers now have a new, visually compelling tool to use in analyzing their business options.” said Thomas Knight, an internationally recognized agriculture risk management expert and Horn Professor with Texas Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Among the decisions the online tool can be used to evaluate are profitability and risk for different types and weights of cattle; wheat production versus graze out; and purchase of alternative wheat insurance products, including yield protection, revenue protection, and revenue protection with harvest price exclusion.


New Version of the Fibertect More Viable at Cleaning Nerve Chemical Surrogate

A new version of Fibertect, a nonwoven decontamination wipe created by researchers at Texas Tech University, has proven itself more viable at cleaning up a nerve chemical surrogate than the decontamination substance currently used by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Seshadri Ramkumar, associate professor of nonwoven materials and countermeasures to biological and chemical threats at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech, was the lead investigator of the project and inventor of Fibertect. The results were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Engineered Fibers & Fabrics, by INDA – Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry. Utkarsh Sata, a co-investigator of the project, conducted experiments in the research.

The process to make Fibertect has received a patent and has been validated for use as a low-cost decontamination wipe for the U.S. military and the Department of Homeland Security. Part of the added benefit of this new Fibertect is that it contains biodegradable cotton. Also, the wipe’s qualities were re-engineered to create a better absorbent material to pick up the oil slicks inundating Gulf Coast beaches following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.


Study Finds Terrorism Attacks Drive Voters to the Polls

A study by Greg Murray, Texas Tech assistant professor of political science has found that terrorist attacks motivate citizens to vote. The findings were published July 12 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Peace Research.

The article, “Voters Versus Terrorists: Analyzing the Effect of Terrorist Events on Voter Turnout,” was co-authored by Joseph Robbins of Shepherd University and Lance Y. Hunter of Georgia Regents University. The article focuses on the effect of terrorism on voting behavior via citizen emotions. Traditionally thought of as an irrational basis for decisions, research shows that to the contrary negative emotion in particular often triggers psychological mechanisms that stimulate greater information-seeking and thoughtfulness about decisions to be made. The researchers’ interest stemmed from traditional concern in political science with voter turnout and increasing attention in the research community to terrorism.


Researchers Find Cancer Risks Double When Two Carcinogens Present at ‘Safe’ Levels

Scientists know that arsenic and estrogen can cause cancer. At certain very low levels, the chemicals offer little to no threats to human health.

However, new research conducted by Texas Tech University scientists has found that low doses of both chemicals together—even at levels low enough to be considered “safe” for humans if they were on their own—can cause cancer in prostate cells.

The combination of the two chemicals was almost twice as likely to create cancer in prostate cells, the research found. The study was published online in the peer-reviewed journal The Prostate. The project was led by Kamaleshwar Singh, an assistant professor at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health.

Because cigarette smoke and well water in some areas, including India, Mexico and even Lubbock county, can contain arsenic, Singh and his doctoral student, Justin Treas, wondered how the carcinogenic properties might change when paired with the presence of another carcinogenic chemical. The two focused on estrogen because of the chemical’s abundance. Many plastics, such as food can liners and bisphenol A (BPA), release small amounts of chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body.

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Sep 24, 2014