A&S Faculty News
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Bruning Gets Artist's Viewpoint
Eric Bruning, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Geosciences is collaborating with artist and art professor Tina Fuentes on a project that helps visualize the science of weather phenomena, such as lightning. The research is funded by a $733,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, with $70,000 allocated for the art project. "An important part of the grant, from NSF's point of view, is how you will do active outreach and education, and I was interested in doing something a little bit outside the box," Bruning said in a Spring 2017 Texas Tech Discoveries article. "I've always enjoyed data visualization and looking at our data in graphical form. So I figured it would be interesting to work with someone who has a lot of experience working visually." That desire to look at his science through a different lens led him to Fuentes, who at the time Bruning contacted her was Professor and Director of the School of Art of art at Texas Tech. "When Eric came into my office he started talking about lightning and he used words like color, line and texture," Fuentes said in the Discoveries article. "I thought to myself 'wait, you are describing art, you're using my vocabulary.'" Bruning's research focuses on understanding how lightening works within a thunderstorm and how that could help scientists predict when a storm will turn dangerous. "Everyone has seen lightning coming from the bottom of the cloud, but there is probably 10 times more lightning inside the cloud that you don't see," he said. "I'm looking at how the turbulence in the cloud ends up making very small flashes when it's really turbulent and very large flashes when it's smoother inside the cloud." The art may not directly help Bruning answer scientific questions, but he hopes it will help lay people better understand the research. In addition to an exhibition at the Museum of Texas Tech University later this year, Bruning and Fuentes are planning presentations to high schools in the South Plains area that will involve Bruning's graduate students.
Hayhoe Sees Changes in EPA Site
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was quoted in an April 30 article in the St. Augustine Record about changes to the Environmental Protection Agency's website. The story described how the changes were being made to better represent the new direction the agency is taking under President Donald Trumps administration, including taking down some agency sites that contained detailed climate information. “The EPA's climate site includes important summaries of climate science and indicators that clearly and unmistakably explain and document the impacts we are having on our planet,” the story quoted Hayhoe as saying. “It's hard to understand why facts require revision.”
Guengerich Presents in Peru
Sara Guengerich, Associate Professor of Spanish and Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor for Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, presented her work, "Las redes de comunicación social de las élites coloniales del siglo XVI," to a panel of colonial Andean experts at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) 50th International Congress in Lima, Peru, April 29-May 1.
Curzer Blogs on Upset Liberals
Howard Curzer, Professor in the Department of Philosophy, writes about how conservatives can understand liberal angst in his April 27 Huffington Post blog, “Why Are Liberals SO Upset?” His current areas of interest are ancient philosophy, virtue ethics, existentialism, and Confucian philosophy. And among his publications is a book entitled, "Aristotle and the Virtues" (Oxford University Press, 2012). Curzer is recipient of the 2016 College of Arts & Sciences Excellence in Research Award—Humanities.
Hayhoe on Houston Flooding
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was quoted in an April 26 article in the Houston Chronicle about why Houston is flooding more often. "Human-induced climate change has irrevocably altered the background conditions of our atmosphere," the newspaper quoted Hayhoe as saying. "And so everything that happens now has some component of climate change. The question is now, how much?"
Akchurin, Kunori Muon Detector
Nural Akchurin, Professor and Chair, and Shuichi Kunori, Associate Professor, both in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and a group of Physics undergraduates are developing a muon detector that will help archeologists map small voids in potential dig sites. Hunter Cymes, Aashish Gupta and Jason Peirce are three of the Physics undergrads working on the detector and who were quoted in a story about the project, “Archaeology Meets Particle Physics,” that published April 25 in Symmetry Magazine. The story explains that muons are produced when single-atom meteorites, a.k.a. cosmic rays, collide with the Earth's atmosphere and that muon detectors work the way X-rays do, but use muon particles instead. Instead of passing through the human body to confirm, say, a broken bone, the TTU muon detector will search out spaces half the size of what older muon detectors can find. The goal is to build the prototype detector within the next few months, with a final design by fall 2017.
Surliuga Book in 'Discoveries'
Victoria Surliuga, Associate Professor of Italian in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, wrote a book, “Ezio Gribaudo, the Man in the Middle of Modernism” (Glitterati 2016), that was featured in the Spring 2017 issue of Discoveries magazine.
Hayhoe on Trump's Climate View
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was quoted in an April 23 article in the San Francisco Chronicle that gathered responses from scientists around the country to President Donald Trump's stance on environmental issues. Hayhoe was quoted as saying: “If you look way back in the paleoclimatic history of the earth, there has never been a period of time when this much carbon has been put into the atmosphere this fast. So we don't really even have any analogue to understand how quickly and how massively the climate system could respond to what we're doing.” And: “It's as if Henry Ford had already built the assembly line and was rolling out Model T's and people were buying them left right and center, and a new government came in and said, ‘We're really concerned about the horse farmers. We have to invest in horses. More and more and more horses.”
Hayhoe on Climate & Zika Risk
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was quoted in an extensive April 20 New York Times Magazine article about the impact of climate change on mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika virus, dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever. “Climate change is a threat multiplier,” Hayhoe was quoted as saying in the article. “If there's one overarching theme that connects almost every way that climate change impacts us, it's that climate change takes a risk that already exists and enhances it. It's not inventing something new. It's taking something that we've already dealt with before, but giving it that extra oomph that makes it a bigger problem.”
Hayhoe Speaks at Marfa Theater
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, spoke April 20 at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas. The event was presented by the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center (CDRI) as its spring Conant Distinguished Lecture Series. Hayhoe's subject was “Talking Climate: Why Facts are NOT Enough.” A reception followed.
Perkins on Gorsuch & Hot-Buttons
Jared Perkins, Visiting Instructor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in an April 16 Boston Herald report about newly installed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and the cases he will soon consider. “The court has recently placed several hot-button cases over for re-arguing in the fall or sent down to lower courts, in part to wait to decide until the full court could hear them,” Perkins told the newspaper. “Now Justice Gorsuch will be able to weigh in on these cases addressing issues from transgender bathrooms and workplace discrimination to redistricting and environmental policy.”
Lewis Evaluates MOAB Use
Col. Dave Lewis (USAF Retired), Director of the Strategic Studies graduate program in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Lubbock Avalanche-Journal story about the MOAB (GBU-43/B) bomb drop in Afghanistan. “The use of the GBU-43/B is intended to send a strong message to adversaries and potential adversaries that the United States is willing to commit significant technology and resources to counter an enemy's unconventional tactics,” Lewis was quoted as saying in the April 14 report. Lewis said the GBU was designed to use blast “overpressure” waves against soft targets.
Guengerich Gives Paper at Council
Sara Guengerich, Associate Professor of Spanish and Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor for Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, presented a paper entitled "Elites and Hegemony in the Andes" at the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies 64th Annual Conference. the conference was held April 5-8 in Salt Lake City.
Milam Talks to A-J About WWI
Ron Milam, Associate Professor of Military History in the Department of History, and Interim director of TTU's newly established Institute for Peace and Conflict, was quoted in an April 5 Lubbock Avalanche-Journal article about World War I. Milam was quoted describing President Woodrow Wilson's efforts at diplomacy after the sinking of the Lusitania May 7, 1915, and again after the sinking of the Suffix, a French ferry, March 24, 1916. American citizens suffered injury and death at the hand of German submarines in both incidents. But the Zimmerman telegram of 1917 moved the United States to declare war: The telegram from Germany to Mexico promised the states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona if Mexico would agree to attack the United States. “We pledged to put around 2 million boots on the ground as soon as possible, and on the Fourth of July we had soldiers in Paris,” Milam told the newspaper. “We were not a war-making nation, and when we went to war, a lot of people frankly thought it was a bad idea.”
Van Gestel Prices-Out Biodiversity
Natasja van Gestel, Research Assistant Professor and Director of Research Coordination for the Texas Tech Climate Science Center, is co-author of one of the first models to assign a dollar value to the loss or gain of species in an ecosystem. Research findings were published in Science Advances, one of the journals of Science, on April 5. This new work offers an economic argument for preserving biodiversity. “Biodiversity evokes exotic birds, tropical forests, the beauty of nature. Money isn't usually what comes to mind,” van Gestel said in a press release. “But biodiversity has monetary value, and in this study, we figured out how much value for one critical ecosystem service: carbon storage.” Bruce Hungate, lead author of the study and Director of the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society at Northern Arizona University, described their work this way: “We tackled this by blending models of ecology and economics to make explicit, quantitative estimates about the value of species richness for carbon storage.” At small scales, such as 1 hectare, going from one to two plant species over a 50-year time period would store an additional 9.1 metric tons of carbon, potentially saving $804.55 per hectare based on a mid-range estimate ($137 per metric ton) of the social cost of carbon. Hypothetically, at larger scales, cost savings could be significant. For example, adding just one species to the 12.3 million hectares of cultivated lands restored to grasslands by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program could save over $700 million. The biggest cost savings come from restoring the most degraded, species-poor lands. "This is one of the first studies to estimate the economic value of biodiversity,” said Dr. Brad Cardinale, professor at the University of Michigan and leader of the working group that brought the economists and ecologists together at The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). “It provides what is almost certainly an underestimate of value, but I still expect the study to become a classic as others repeat and improve these estimates for other ecosystems." It's an underestimate because biodiversity confers economic value in many ways beyond storing carbon. “Biodiversity means products like wood, food, and fuel, and services like recreation, water purification, and flood protection, all of which could be quantified using our approach,” van Gestel said. “Money is a language that speaks, and showing the economic value of biodiversity underscores the importance of conservation, and the policies that support it.” While the value of biodiversity is more complex than just one economic measure, this new research takes a bold step toward understanding the value of nature. Read more here.
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2016 FACULTY NEWS
"True Sex: the Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century"
Emily Skidmore, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, uncovers the stories of 18 trans men who lived in the United States between 1876 and 1936 in "True Sex, the Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century." At the turn of the 20th century, trans men were not necessarily urban rebels seeking to overturn stifling gender roles. In fact, they often sought to pass as conventional men, choosing to live in small towns where they led ordinary lives, aligning themselves with the expectations of their communities. They were, in a word, unexceptional. Despite the "unexceptional" quality of their lives, their stories are nonetheless surprising and moving, challenging much of what we think we know about queer history. By tracing the narratives surrounding the moments of "discovery" in these communities—from reports in local newspapers to medical journals and beyond—this book challenges the assumption that the full story of modern American sexuality is told by cosmopolitan radicals. Rather, "True Sex" reveals complex narratives concerning rural geography and community, persecution and tolerance, and how these factors intersect with the history of race, identity and sexuality in America. (NYU Press, September 2017)
"The Restless Indian Plate and Its Epic Voyage from Gondwana to Asia"
Sankar Chatterjee, Horn Professor in the Department of Geosciences, writes that the fossil history of animal life in India is central to our understanding of the tectonic evolution of Gondwana, the dispersal of India, its northward journey, and its collision with Asia in "The Restless Indian Plate and Its Epic Voyage from Gondwana to Asia" . According to a review in Phys.org, "This beautifully illustrated volume provides the only detailed overview of the paleobiogeographic, tectonic, and paleoclimatic evolution of the Indian plate from Gondwana to Asia," and quotes Chatterjee and his colleagues as saying, "The tectonic evolution of the Indian plate represents one of the most dramatic and epic voyages of all drifting continents: 9,000 kilometers in 160 million years. ... The extensive reshuffling of the Indian plate was accompanied by multiple temporary filter bridges, resulting in the cosmopolitan nature of tetrapod fauna." The review goes on to conclude that "This thorough, up-to-date volume is a must-have reference for researchers and students in Indian geology, paleontology, plate tectonics, and collision of continents." (The Geological Society of America, July 2017)
"Modern Sport Ethics: A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition"
Angela Lumpkin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, offers, in "Modern Sport Ethics: A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition," descriptions and examples of unethical behaviors in sport that will challenge readers to think about how they view sport and question whether participating in sport builds character—especially at the youth and amateur levels. Sport potentially can teach character as well as social and moral values, but only when these positive concepts are consistently taught, modeled, and reinforced by sport leaders with the moral courage to do so. The seeming moral crisis threatening amateur and youth sport—evidenced by athletes, coaches, and parents alike making poor ethical choices—and ongoing scandals regarding performance-enhancing drug use by professional athletes make sports ethics a topic of great concern. This work enables readers to better understand the ethical challenges facing competitive sport by addressing issues such as gamesmanship, doping, cheating, sportsmanship, fair play, and respect for the game. A compelling read for coaches, sport administrators, players, parents, and sport fans, the book examines specific examples of unethical behaviors—many cases of which occur in amateur and educational sports—to illustrate how these incidents threaten the perception that sport builds character. It identifies and investigates the multiple reasons for cheating in sport, such as the fact that the rewards for succeeding are so high, and the feeling of athletes that they must behave as they do to "level the playing field" because everyone else is cheating, being violent, taking performance-enhancing drugs, or doing whatever it takes to win. Readers will gain insight into how coaches and sport administrators can achieve the goals for youth, interscholastic, intercollegiate, and Olympic sport by stressing moral values and character development as well as see how specific recommendations can help ensure that sport can serve to build character rather than teach bad behavior in the pursuit of victory. (ABC-CLIO, December 2016)
"Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport" 10th Edition
Angela Lumpkin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, gives college students a wide-angle view of physical education, exercise science, sport, and the wealth of careers available in these fields in the 10th Edition of "Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport." The textbook provides the principles, history, and future of physical education, exercise science, and sport. Lumpkin's clear writing style engages the reader while covering the most important introductory topics in this updated introduction to the world of physical education. (McGraw-Hill, July 2016)
William Wenthe, Professor in the Department Of English, explores painful and fleeting emotions within the 96 pages of "God's Foolishness." Here, he mines the feelings of human uncertainty in matters of love and desire, time and death, and uncovers difficult truths with transformative insights. These are poems of crisis. Wenthe examines our conflicting urges to see nature as sustenance and to foolishly destroy it. His poems shift from close observation to panorama with cinematic fluidity, from a tea mug to an ancient monument, from a warbler on an elm branch to the specter of imminent natural disaster. Offering passion and intellect balanced with a careful concern for poetic craft, Wenthe's "God's Foolishness" gives us fine poems to savor and admire. Watch the YouTube video here. (LSU, May 2016)
"Before the Gregorian Reform: The Latin Church at the Turn of the First Millennium"
John Howe, Professor in the Department of History, challenges the familiar narrative that the era from about 1050 to 1150 was the pivotal moment in the history of the Latin Church. The status quo states it was then that the Gregorian Reform movement established the ecclesiastical structure that would ensure Rome's dominance throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. In "Before the Gregorian Reform," Howe examines earlier, "pre-Gregorian" reform efforts within the Church—and finds that they were more extensive and widespread than previously thought and that they actually established a foundation for the subsequent Gregorian Reform movement. The low point in the history of Christendom came in the late ninth and early tenth centuries—a period when much of Europe was overwhelmed by barbarian raids and widespread civil disorder, which left the Church in a state of disarray. As Howe shows, however, the destruction gave rise to creativity. Aristocrats and churchmen rebuilt churches and constructed new ones, competing against each other so that church building, like castle building, acquired its own momentum. Patrons strove to improve ecclesiastical furnishings, liturgy, and spirituality. Schools were constructed to staff the new churches. Moreover, Howe shows that these reform efforts paralleled broader economic, social, and cultural trends in Western Europe including the revival of long-distance trade, the rise of technology, and the emergence of feudal lordship. The result was that by the mid-eleventh century a wealthy, unified, better-organized, better-educated, more spiritually sensitive Latin Church was assuming a leading place in the broader Christian world. "Before the Gregorian Reform" challenges us to rethink the history of the Church and its place in the broader narrative of European history. Compellingly written and generously illustrated, it is a book for all medievalists as well as general readers interested in the Middle Ages and Church history. (Cornell University Press, March 2016)
"New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures"
Ronald J. Kendal, Professor of Environmental Toxicology; Steven Presley, Professor of Immuno-toxicology; and Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor of Countermeasures to Biological Threats, all from the Department of Environmental Toxicology, have co-edited the newly published textbook, “New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures.” The volume compiles a decade's worth of research through TTU's Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats, and updated many changes in the field since an earlier book, “Advances in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures,” came out in 2008. “It's not just for college students,” Ramkumar said. “It's a tool for people in the field, from first responders all the way to policy makers.” (CRC Press, February 2016)
"Psychoanalytic Treatment in Adults: A Longitudinal Study of Change"
Rosemary Cogan, Adjuct Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, is co-author of "Psychonalytic Treatment in Adults: A longitudinal study of change." The book draws from 60 first-hand case studies to explore the outcomes of psychoanalytic treatment, providing examples of the long-term effectiveness of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic work as it delineates negative therapeutic treatment and discusses crucial changes in care. Outcomes of psychoanalysis, as with other psychotherapies, vary considerably. Cogan and her co-author, J.H. Porcerelli, used the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure to describe a patient at the beginning of psychoanalysis and every six months until the analysis ended. This allowed the authors to learn about changes over analysis and, in turn, improved treatment planning and practice for the well-being of other patients. Findings will be of interest to researchers and academics in the fields of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy, psychoanalytic education, psychiatry and psychology, and should also help clinicians recognize potential problems early in analytic treatments in order to work more effectively with patients. (Routeledge, February 2016)