TO:                  University Senate

FROM:            Eric W. Kaler, Provost and Senior Vice President

DATE:             February 7, 2011        



We are proud of how much research collaboration between our students and faculty has really grown. The 2011 Intel Science Talent Search exemplifies this, with Stony Brook students representing 32 Intel semifinalists out of 300 nationwide and three Intel finalists out of 40 nationwide, making Stony Brook perhaps the largest incubator of Intel talent in the country.
The faculty mentors come from a range of departments and disciplines throughout Stony Brook, including: Anatomical Sciences, Anesthesiology, Applied Mathematics & Statistics, Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Ecology & Evolution, Materials Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacological Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, Psychology, and the School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences.
A number of the Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists participated in summer research programs at Stony Brook, including the Garcia Center: Polymers at Engineered Interfaces Research Scholar Program and the Simons Summer Research Program, which this year had a record 16 semifinalists. Of the 32 semifinalists who worked with Stony Brook University mentors, 27 are from New York State; other semifinalists conducting research and being mentored at Stony Brook include students from California, Connecticut, Florida, and Virginia. The semifinalists each receive awards of $1,000; their schools will also receive $1,000 for each Intel semifinalist named. The Intel finalists will compete for additional awards in Washington, D.C. in March, including a top prize of $100,000.


Three Stony Brook University professors – Jorge L. Benach, Ph.D., Jessica Gurevitch, Ph.D., and Dmitri E. Kharzeev, Ph.D., were named 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellows, and will be recognized for their contributions to science at the Fellows Forum to be held on February 19, 2011 during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

John W. Milnor, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics and Co-Director of the Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Stony Brook University, was awarded The American Mathematical Society’s prestigious Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement. The award, presented during the recent AMS Joint Mathematics Meetings in New Orleans, is among the world's most important honors given for outstanding contributions to mathematics. The award includes a $5,000 prize.

Dr. Lawrence C. Hurst, Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics at Stony Brook University Medical Center, recently received the 2010 Albion O. Bernstein, MD Award from the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY). The award is given to a physician or scientist who has made “the most widely beneficial discovery or developed the most useful method in medicine, surgery, or disease prevention” during a calendar year. He was presented with the award at the Society’s Council Meeting on December 9, 2010.

On December 6, 2010, Dr. Smadar Kort, Director of Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging and Director of Echocardiography at Stony Brook University Medical Center, was elected as the next Governor of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for Downstate New York for a three-year term from 2012-2015.


The SBU-BNL Seed Grant program was set up as a vehicle for fostering collaborative efforts between the University and BNL. This program has become a key element for helping to develop synergistic activities that will grow our research envelope aligned with the strategic plans of both institutions. We are therefore pleased that the Seed Grant program will be used this year to support new initiatives both in the emerging Joint Centers that have been established and in encouraging new ideas and new collaborations.

For this thirteenth year, a pool of up to $200K will be apportioned based on the proposed strategic use of the funds to advance the scientific programs of the new centers. The Office of the Vice President for Brookhaven Affairs will handle proposals and oversee decisions on awards. Recommendations for awards will be made by an ad-hoc committee of SBU and BNL administrators. Successful awards will be written in a way that suggests the significance of the work to scientists who are not necessarily experts in the field, and clearly lay out a vision for the strategic contribution an award will make to the research missions of both institutions. The deadline for submission of proposals is April 1, 2011. RFP information and proposal applications are available online at


The spring 2011 Provost’s Lecture Series began on February 1, 2011 with a co-sponsored lecture with the Center for Science and Mathematics Education by John Ewing on “Valuing Education.”  John Ewing is President of Math for America (MfA), a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve mathematics education in U.S. public secondary schools by recruiting, training, and retaining outstanding mathematics teachers.  Prior to joining MfA in 2009, Ewing served as Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society for more than 13 years. Before that, he was a Professor of Mathematics at Indiana University from 1973 to 1995, where he also served as Chair of the department.
The Provost’s Lecture Series is pleased to co-host with the Center for Communicating Science, the Department of Ecology and Evolution and the Living World Lecture Series Stony Brook University’s Darwin Day 2011 keynote speaker, Carl Zimmer, noted author and science journalist. Zimmer teaches science writing at Yale University and is a visiting scholar at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. To celebrate Darwin's birthday, in his lecture entitled “Darwin, From Birth to Death” on February 11, 2011 at 7:30 P.M. in the SAC Auditorium, he will discuss the work of one of Darwin's great followers, the late Stony Brook University biologist, George Williams. Williams showed how natural selection could help make sense of every stage in the lives of all living things, including ourselves—from birth through childhood to adulthood and finally to old age and death. As a result of these seminal ideas, an important new discipline is emerging: evolutionary medicine. 

Darwin Day marks the February 12, 1809 birth of Charles Darwin, whose profound theories on the evolution of life stand as a landmark of scientific achievement. The Darwin Day Program aims to educate others about the life and work of Charles Darwin, the importance that the science of evolution has upon our understanding, and the central role that science plays within civilization. This program aims to examine evolutionary thought before and after Darwin, how his ideas have developed over the centuries and how his life and work compare to the larger pursuit of science and the role of the scientist within society. Another purpose of this event is to
dispel the myths and misinformation spread about Charles Darwin and the science of evolution and to combat the anti- and pseudo-scientific movements active today. For more information on Darwin Day 2011, please visit

On February 24, 2011, at 5:30 P.M. in Wang Lecture Hall 2, we will host Hendrik Hartog, the Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor of the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University, who will give a talk entitled “Old Age and Care Work: How to Get Paid in 19th and Early 20th Century New Jersey.” Hartog has spent his scholarly life working in the social history of American law, studying how broad political and cultural themes have been expressed in ordinary legal conflicts. A recipient of a number of national fellowships and lectureships, Hartog has worked in a variety of areas of American legal history, including the history of city life and the history of marriage. He is the author of Public Property and Private Power: the Corporation of the City of New York in American Law, 1730-1870 and Man and Wife in America: a History.