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TO: University Senate

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

DATE: December 6, 2010



On Wednesday, December 8, 2010, as part of the Provost’s Lecture Series, we are pleased to be co-sponsoring with the Templeton Foundation a lecture by Mark Mitton. Mark Mitton is a professional magician who is interested in using magic to better understand how we see the world. In addition to creating magic for film, television, the Broadway stage, and Cirque du Soleil, Mitton tirelessly explores the theme of perception from an interdisciplinary standpoint.
Mitton’s versatility as a performer has afforded him the opportunity to present his act entitled “Perception” at the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness conference in Berlin, at festivals in Europe and Asia, and at the Olympic Games. Mitton has also lectured with Nobel Laureate Dr. Gerald Edelman of the Neurosciences Institute.
Mitton will present his lecture entitled “Eye on the Ball: An Exploration of Trust and the Motion/Emotion Connection” on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the Humanities Institute, Lecture Hall Room 1006. Please pass along this information to any faculty, students or community members you feel may be interested in this special event.
Stony Brook University is a trailblazer in integrating research and undergraduate education. Accordingly, SBU was one of the first research universities in the country to establish an office for the specific purpose of promoting undergraduate research and creative activity, and offers many programs that support undergraduate research efforts. One such program administered through our office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs is the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Program. URECA collaborates with the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME), and through this program Stony Brook undergraduates are introduced to the world of research through introductory research-oriented courses, encouraged to participate in independent supervised research projects, and offered useful support services on writing abstracts, giving presentations, and finding research mentors.

Every month URECA celebrates the research accomplishments of one of our SBU junior researchers. In September 2010, the featured student was Robert Kimmerling, a biomedical engineering major and member of the Honors College, class of 2011. In summer 2008, Rob was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship and has also received the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholar award. This fall, Rob is among a select group of BME majors who will be presenting at the national Biomedical Engineering Society meeting in Austin, Texas. His project is titled: “Droplet Based Microfluidics for Single Cell Genetic Analysis." Rob has served as an Emergency Medical Technician with the Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps for the past 3 years, is a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Golden Key National Honor Society, and plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in Biomedical Engineering in hopes to continue working in the interdisciplinary field of microfluidics technology.

In October 2010, the URECA featured student was Nicole Calma, a linguistics major/music minor, class of 2011. This past summer, Nicole participated in the URECA program and worked with mentor Dr. Daniel Finer of Linguistics, investigating how Optimality Theory, a theory in linguistics that accounts for cross linguistic differences in grammatical structure, can be applied to music. Nicole has participated in many local and campus theatrical/musical productions, and is a member of Pocket Theatre, The Pipettes and the Stony Brook University Chorale, and is also a member of the Golden Key and Sigma Beta Honor Societies.

In November 2010, we featured the research of Gaku Nagashima, a physics major, class of 2011. Gaku joined Professor Dominik Schneble's Ultracold Atomic Physics research group starting in 2010, this year marking the 50th anniversary of the Laser. Gaku developed and built a sophisticated electronic locking box for stabilizing the frequency of a high-power diode laser. He was able to demonstrate a linewith of 1 MHz, which is a factor of ten better than what the commercial system had been capable of. Supported in summer 2010 with a grant from URECA, Gaku currently works on a precise spectroscopic determination of rubidium background vapor pressure in an ultrahigh-vacuum chamber. Gaku was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma in April 2010, and plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in applied physics.

In December 2010, the URECA featured student is Sean Fitzgerald, an Honors College junior with a 4.0 GPA, majoring in marine vertebrate biology and environmental studies. Sean currently works with Professor Jackie Collier in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences to investigate Labyrinthulomycetes and their role in marine ecosystems. Last summer, Sean spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica as a volunteer in PRETOMA, tagging sea turtles and working to protect the eggs of Olive Ridley sea turtles. Next semester, Sean will be studying marine and environmental sciences at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. At SBU, Sean is member of the Environmental Club, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Sigma Beta Honors Society and the Golden Key Honor Society.


The Center for Italian Studies at Stony Brook University was established to: stimulate interdisciplinary research within the local academic community on issues that bring about a better understanding of Italy and Italian Americans; become a national and international focus for Italian and Italian American affairs; and to promote a better understanding of Italy and of Italian Americans by bringing to the general public the latest scholarly findings on Italy and Italian Americans and by organizing cultural activities of general interest. On Friday, December 10, 2010, the Center will host a conference entitled "Labor, Migration, Development: A 150-Year Old Italian History.” Those interested in attending this event may call 631-632-7444 for detailed program and additional information.

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