Kimberlyn Bailey, a senior philosophy major, has received a two-year post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award with the National Institutes of Health to start in September following her graduation from Oswego. “I ultimately got several offers before settling on a computational systems neuroscience lab led by Dr. Dietmar Plenz,” she wrote to philosophy department chair Craig DeLancey. “I’ll be investigating a brain firing pattern phenomenon called neuronal avalanches that became a research focus only within the past 15 years.” The White House BRAIN Initiative will fund her position.

Matt Doyle presenting posterHuman-computer interaction student Matt Doyle presented the poster “Evaluation of Data Visualization Software for Large Astronomical Data Sets” Jan. 8 at the 227th national meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The work is the result of a collaboration between Oswego’s psychology, HCI and physics programs along with astronomers from the California Institute of Technology. Doyle’s co-authors are Roger Taylor of the psychology department, Shashi Kanbur of the physics department, Damian Schofield of the HCI program, Ciro Donalek and Stanislav Djorgovski of Caltech, and Scott Davidoff of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for NASA by Caltech.

Science Daily and other publications reported on research by physics faculty member Mohammad Islam in December in its article “A Molecular Light Switch? . . . Just Add Water.” It reported on research results published in Nano Letters, a monthly peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society. Islam was first author of the paper, titled “Surface Chemically Switchable Ultraviolet Luminescence from Interfacial Two-Dimensional Electron Gas.” The paper describes work accomplished by Islam and a team of researchers from Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California at Berkeley and Temple University under the leadership of Drexel College of Engineering professor Jonathan Spanier. The Science Daily article reported, “A bit of stray moisture during an experiment tipped off scientists about the strange behavior of a complex oxide material they were studying—shedding light on its potential for improving chemical sensors, computing and information storage. In the presence of a water molecule on its surface, the layered material emits ultraviolet light from its interior,” a phenomenon that makes it “possible to control UV light production via a chemical reaction that functions like flipping a light switch.” Islam, formerly a research faculty member at Drexel, was quoted as saying, “By strategically placing molecules on the surface, the UV light could be used to relay information—much the way computer memory uses a magnetic field to write and rewrite itself, but with the significant advantage of doing it without an electric current.”

Shashi Kanbur, professor and chair of physics, was asked to give a talk at a graduate school workshop to be held later this week at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India. The title of his talk is “Linear Regression in Astrophysics with Particular Application to the Extra-Galactic Distance Scale.” Attending were elite astrophysics graduate students from all around India. Also, he has had several papers accepted for publication recently. Kanbur is co-author of a paper accepted by Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. “Large Magellanic Cloud Near-Infrared Synoptic Survey. III. A Statistical Study of Non-Linearity in the Leavitt Laws” develops a number of rigorous statistical tests for nonlinearity of the Cepheid period-luminosity relation and estimates the effect on Hubble’s constant of such nonlinearities. It lays the groundwork for the development of multiphase period-luminosity relations and their use in estimating Hubble’s constant. Lead author is Anupam Bhardwaj of Delhi University with Harinder P. Singh (Delhi University), Lucas Macri (Texas A&M), Chow-Choong Ngeow (National Central University, Taiwan) and Emilie Ishida (Max Planck Institutes in Munich), in addition to Kanbur. Kanbur is co-author with Oswego alumni Earl P. Bellinger and Daniel Wysocki of “Measuring Amplitudes of Harmonics and Combination Frequencies in Variable Stars” which is to appear in the No. 105 issue of the Communications from the Konkoly Observatory of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. This paper presents a new method for fitting light curves that is much more robust against ringing effects around RR Lyrae and Cepheid variable stars, proves that the amplitude measurement problem is very difficult and provides a heuristic algorithm for solving it quickly and accurately. Kanbur said this project began 10 years ago with a campus scholarly and creative activity grant that also included student Patrick Wallace. Appearing in the same publication is “Period-Color and Amplitude-Color Relations for RR Lyraes” by Kanbur, Bhardwaj, Singh and Ngeow.

Andrew McElwain doing field researchAndrew McElwain, visiting assistant professor of biological sciences, is the 2015 recipient of the J. Frances Allen Institute of Malacology Outstanding Publication Award for the paper “Histological Atlas of Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia, Unionidae): Villosa nebulosa (Ambleminae: Lampsilini), Fusconaia cerina (Ambleminae: Pleurobemini) and Strophitus connasaugaensis (Unioninae: Anodontini).” His co-author on the paper is Stephen A. Bullard, his major professor at Auburn University, where he received his doctorate in 2013. The paper appeared in the journal Malacologia, which is published by the Institute of Malacology, sponsor of the $500 award. Selection criteria included originality, study design, methods, quality of prose and figures, and potential impact of the publication.

Brandon Metroka accepting award for best paperIn November, Brandon Metroka, an adjunct faculty member in the political science department, received the 2014 Lanahan Publishing Award for Best Paper by a Graduate Student from the Northeastern Political Science Association. The award-winning paper is titled “Speaking in Tongues: Understanding the Roberts Court Record on Freedom of Speech.” Metroka received a plaque and a research grant of $350 from Don Fusting, owner and president of Lanahan Publishing, both pictured with a member of the awards committee. Metroka is a doctoral candidate at Syracuse University who has been teaching a section of POL 205: “American Government and Politics” at Oswego.

The literary zine COG recently published five poems by English and creative writing faculty member Donna Steiner, whose work joined that of playwright and poet Paul S. Flores, fiction writer Molly Giles, award-winning poet, novelist and performance artist Opal Palmer Adisa and others in the publication’s premier issue. To be published online three times yearly, the multimedia COG originates from Cogswell Polytechnical College in Silicon Valley, where founding editor Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, who chairs the English and humanities faculty, and students in her publishing course serve as editorial and production staff. Steiner’s writing has been published in such literary journals as Fourth Genre, Shenandoah, The Sun and Stone Canoe. Steiner recently completed a manuscript of linked, place-based essays and is working on a collection of poems. Her chapbook of essays, “Elements,” was released in 2013 by Sweet Publications.

In Memoriam

John McCarthy, 60, former assistant dean for accreditation and assessment in the School of Education, died Dec. 23 at his home in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.