A&S Faculty News
Harris Develops 'Science in Cinema' Guide
Breanna Harris, a research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has developed a new discussion guide that uses a major motion picture as a classroom tool for talking in-depth about science in cinema. "Is it Reel? Using Cinema to Explore Science," takes on the challenging subjects of death, dying and decay. The guide is based on the movie "To Dust," which won the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award. Starring Matthew Broderick and Géza Röhrig, this dark comedy explores a man's obsession with how a loved one's remains will decay. Harris's guide, subtitled "Case Study #1: To Dust—A Story of Love, Loss, and Decomposition," contains movie scenes along with scientific discussion questions that introduce topics—death and decomposition—that Harris says are seldom approached in American society and are often glossed over in biology courses. By combining a movie with questions ranging from basic science (e.g., What is apoptosis?) to philosophy (e.g., What is death?), the guide brings critical thinking to bear on the subject matter. Harris designed the guide for use in high school and introductory college-level courses. She says this case study would be appropriate for a variety of courses, including introductory biology, forensic science, research method, gerontology, anatomy and physiology, aging/lifespan, religion, media communication, and film study. To help instructors guide students, a list of resources is included; but instructors are free to add whatever other sources they deem relevant to their course, syllabus, and learning goals.
Van Gestel Skypes from Antarctica with School Kids
Natasja van Gestel, a quantitative ecologist in the Department of Biological Sciences, is on her second research expedition to Antarctica. On Feb. 12, she made time for a Skype session with two fourth-grade classes at North Ridge Elementary School in Lubbock's Frenship Independent School District. On Day 71 in her daily blog from the icy continent, van Gestel, pictured above piloting an inflatable boat, wrote that the children were well-prepared by their teachers Joanne Grothusen and Whitney Sarinana: "I was very impressed with the insightful questions! It was obvious they had done some research regarding Antarctica!" More about van Gestel's correspondence may be found at this link.
Hayhoe 'Talking Climate in West Texas'
Texas Tech University Climate Science Center held its first Science by the Glass lecture of 2019 at Lubbock's Local Bar and Grill. Science by the Glass is an informal discussion series that periodically brings together members of the community, Texas Tech faculty and students to discuss topics in the fields of science, climate and society. The Feb. 12 session, accompanied by food and drinks, was led by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, a professor in the Department of Political Science. Her topic was "Talking Climate in West Texas."
McLeod Publishes on Stellar Jet in 'Nature'
Anna F. McLeod, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Texas Tech Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Department of Astronomy at the University of California-Berkeley, has discovered one of the longest stellar jets ever observed--nearly 33 light-years in length. Her discovery was published in the journal "Nature" on Jan. 24, 2019. McLeod's research, "A parsec-scale optical jet from a massive young star in the Large Magellanic Cloud," found the phenomenon in a region of newly forming stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and captured it with the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. The relatively small amount of dust in the LMC and MUSE's acute vision allowed intricate details of the region to be picked out in visible light, and the image of this neighborhood is a spectacular kaleidoscope of colors. Details of McLeod's research may be found at this link.
Kendall Studies Parasites to Save Quail
Ron Kendall, a professor of environmental toxicology and founding director of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University, has been studying the declining Bobwhite quail population of the West Texas Rolling Plains, one of the last areas for wild bobwhite quail hunting in the United States. The team at the Texas Tech Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory (WTL) believe the decline in the quail population can be attributed to multiple variables, including parasitic infection. Two of the most common parasites of quail in this region are the eyeworm and caecal worm. Eyeworms live behind the eyes of quail feeding on the tissues within the eye where they cause damage that may lead to poor eyesight. A female eyeworm can grow long enough to span a penny, which would be comparable to the length of a toothpick in the human eye. "These two significant parasitic diseases, which we have now documented in our scientific publications, can be intense and widespread in such a short period of time that they can infect more than 90 percent of the quail in a given zone," Kendall said. Recently, the WTL received a $200,000 grant to fund research toward a cure for these infections. The grant is sponsored by the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on the preservation of Texas' wild quail-hunting heritage. Details of Kendall's research may be found at this link.
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2018 FACULTY NEWS
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2016 FACULTY NEWS
"Moments of Joy and Heartbreak: 66 Significant Episodes in the History of the Pittsburgh Pirates"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, leads as author and editor in this 208-page paperback, "Moments of Joy and Heartbreak: 66 Significant Episodes in the History of the Pittsburgh Pirates." The Pittsburgh Pirates have a long history, peppered with moments significant both to Pirates fans and Major League Baseball. While the Pirates are recognized as fielding the first all-black lineup in 1971, the 66 games in this book include one of the first matchups in the majors to involve two non-white opening hurlers (Native American and Cuban) in June 1921. We relive no-hitters, World Series-winning homers, and encounter the story of the last tripleheader ever played in major-league baseball. Some of the games are wins; some are losses. All of these essays provide readers with a sense of the totality of the Pirates' experiences: the joy, the heartbreak, and other aspects of baseball (and life) in between. This book is the work of 37 members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), SABR Digital Library, Vol. 46, paperback. (Society for American Baseball Research, March 2018)
"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, Adjunct 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)