Buff Briefs | Provost candidate withdraws from consideration


Provost candidate withdraws from consideration
Robert J. Sternberg, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, has withdrawn as the sole candidate for the position of provost at CU-Boulder, in order to pursue a pending offer at another university. Todd Gleeson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at CU-Boulder, who is chair of the search committee for the position, says the search is suspended for the remainder of this academic year. Chancellor Phil DiStefano says he will consult with key constituents and announce his decision on the provost situation within the next few weeks.

Chasing tornadoes
A group of students and faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder will join a storm-chasing science team for the second consecutive year across the nation’s infamous “Tornado Alley” from May 1 to June 15. The team’s goal is to understand how and why tornadoes form and evolve, in order to improve warning forecasts. The project, called Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2), is the largest tornado field project in history and will involve more than 100 scientists and 40 support vehicles. The technology will surround severe storms to learn about their birth, duration and wind speeds and to assess damage potential. Led by CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Katja Friedrich of the atmospheric and oceanic sciences department, the team will use three vehicles to travel among states in pursuit of severe storms. There are eight students on Friedrich’s team, including doctoral students at CU-Boulder and students from the University of Florida. %u2028%u2028

UMC Hosts 20th annual International Festival
The annual International Festival, which will take place this year in the Glenn Miller Ballroom at CU-Boulder’s University Memorial Center, is an offering of the traditions and customs of countries spanning the globe. The festival will take place on Saturday, April 24, from 4 to 10 p.m., and will feature 27 booths representing more than 27 countries. Visitors can enjoy food samples, live music and dance performances, all indigenous to different parts of the world. Students representing 14 countries formed a committee last fall to organize this year’s event; the festival is one of the most popular spring events at CU-Boulder. For more information, visit www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/festival.

Engineering Days

This week at CU-Boulder’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, students are engaging in hands-on engineering activities and completing projects for demonstration to the community at the Engineering Design Expo. The annual celebration of the engineering profession is organized by the school’s student government as well as various honor societies. Activities include an egg drop and rocket launch. The egg drop, which will begin on Thursday, April 22, at 1 p.m. at the base of the Engineering Office Tower, challenges students to build contraptions that will protect a raw egg when dropped from an eighth-floor window. Prizes will be awarded for the best use of engineering principles, most destroyed, largest volume, crowd pleaser and judges’ choice. The rocket launch, which will take place on Friday, April 23, from noon to 4 p.m. on the Business Field, will involve balsa wood rockets. The Engineering Design Expo, on Saturday, April 24, from noon to 3 p.m., will showcase the work of about 300 students at the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory.

%u2028CU programs ranked in top 10
Five University of Colorado at Boulder graduate programs were ranked in the U.S. News World Report’s 2011 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools as part of the top 10 national programs. The physics department landed two rankings; the atomic/molecular/optical physics program was tied for number one in the nation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the quantum physics program tied for number five with the University of California, Santa Barbara. The environmental sciences program was ranked in a tie for number five in the nation. The School of Law’s environmental law specialty program was tied for number six in the nation, and the physical chemistry program ranked number eight.

Local company collaborates with students on spacecraft

Sierra Nevada Space Systems of Louisville is collaborating with students and faculty in the department of aerospace engineering sciences at CU-Boulder for the development of a new craft called Dream Chaser that will be used to carry astronauts into space. Former astronauts Jim Voss and Joe Tanner, faculty members in aerospace engineering, are advising students on the development of a software package to optimize the arrangement of spacecraft systems critical to astronaut operations. Other faculty members are guiding students in other areas of the construction of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, including building a scale model. The Sierra Nevada Corporation has provided a $20,000 gift to the aerospace department to support the undergraduate senior projects program, as well as two research grants totaling $300,000 to aerospace professors in support of spacecraft development. %u2028

CU professor to receive Hazel Barnes Prize
Juri Toomre, a professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences, has been selected to receive the Hazel Barnes Prize, the highest faculty recognition for teaching and research awarded by the university. Toomre will receive $20,000 cash and an engraved university medal, and he will be recognized at spring commencement on May 7 and at a reception in his honor next fall. Toomre is receiving the prize for his highly cited and influential research in solar physics, astrophysical fluid dynamics, supercomputing simulations and helioseismology, along with his excellent teaching record throughout his nearly 40 years at CU-Boulder.