Archive for February, 2010

National Science Foundation awards $10 million for national election study

February 26th, 2010

The National Science Foundation has awarded $10 million to fund the American National Election Studies (ANES) to study voter participation and decision-making in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, and in the mid-term elections of 2010. The Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) shares the award with the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR), which has conducted the study since 1948. Stanford has served as co-lead of the project since 2005.
“This is the longest running survey of the American people in the social sciences,” said Provost JOHN ETCHEMENDY, congratulating Stanford political scientists SIMON JACKMAN and GARY SEGURA, who will serve alongside Michigan political scientist Vincent Hutchings as co-principal investigators of the four-year collaborative grant. Although the major piece of science funded by the grant is a large, face-to-face survey of the American electorate immediately before and after the 2012 presidential election, researchers will field a series of smaller studies of the electorate between now and the summer of 2012. Visit the IRiSS website for the complete announcement.

SIEPR creates new prize, names Volcker first recipient

February 25th, 2010

Paul Volcker

The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) announced recently that it has created a new award, the SIEPR Prize for Contributions to Economic Policy. Former Federal Reserve Chairman PAUL VOLCKER will be the first recipient. The idea for the SIEPR Prize and the initial funding came from former Secretary of State and Hoover Fellow GEORGE SHULTZ and a group of leading economists.
In addition to Shultz, the selection committee includes SIEPR Director JOHN SHOVEN, Stanford Nobel Prize-winning economists KENNETH ARROW and GARY BECKER and MIT’s JIM POTERBA, president of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
According to the press release, the recipient of the SIEPR Prize receives an award of $100,000. SIEPR has set a goal of raising $1.5 million to endow the prize and currently has funds or pledges in excess of half of that amount. The full announcement is on SIEPR’s website.

Former Knight Fellow returns as innovation director

February 24th, 2010


PAM MAPLES — journalist, journalism educator and journalism entrepreneur — has been named innovation director at the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford. She will begin the newly created position in March. Maples is vice president for editorial at, a multi-source video news startup in partnership with the University of Missouri, where she is an adjunct associate professor of journalism. She is also an adviser to Apture, a media technology company in San Mateo, Calif., hatched in 2006 out of conversations between Stanford computer science students and a group of Knight Fellows. Visit the Knight Fellowships website for the complete announcement.

It’s E-Week at Stanford!

February 23rd, 2010

Entrepreneurship Week 2010, sponsored by the Stanford Entrepreneurship Network, runs this week through Sunday, Feb. 28. Organizers say that, despite the recession, E-Week features the strongest lineup of speakers offered since the event began four years ago. Activities include a start-up job fair on Wednesday, networking events, a water technology expo and more. The program of events is designed to bring the campus community together to focus on entrepreneurship and the role it plays in helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Among the featured events is “Ladies Who’ve Launched,” a panel discussion on Wednesday evening with three Stanford alumnae:

GINA BIANCHINI, co-founder and CEO of Ning, has led the social networking platform from its inception in 2004 to its current position as an exponentially growing top 100 global website and one of the world’s most valuable startups. She has been featured in Fortune’s “40 under 40,” Huffington Post’s 10 technology “Ultimate Game Changers,” the New York Times and Forbes. Prior to founding Ning, she was co-founder and president of Harmonic Communications and held positions at CKS Group and Goldman Sachs. She graduated with honors from Stanford as an undergrad and received her MBA from the Graduate School of Business.

JUDY ESTRIN, CEO of JLABS LLC, is the author of Closing the Innovation Gap. She  co-founded seven successful technology companies and became Cisco’s chief technology officer in 1998. Estrin has been named to Fortune’s list of the 50 most powerful women in American business and sits on the boards of Walt Disney Co. and FedEx Corp., as well as privately held Packet Design Inc. She holds a BS in math and computer science from UCLA and an MS in electrical engineering from Stanford.

MAE TAI O’MALLEY is the founder and managing attorney of Paragon Legal, one of the nation’s fastest-growing alternative model law firms. O’Malley began her career at Morrison & Foerster and then worked in-house for Symantec and Google before founding Paragon in 2006. She has been featured in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, National Law Journal and SF Business Times, and was named a “legal rebel” by the American Bar Association Journal in 2009. She graduated from Stanford with honors and received her JD from Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law.

Panel moderator will be GARTH SALONER, dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and director of the school’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Cost for the program is $30 for Stanford Professional Women members and $25 for Stanford students.

Most E-Week events, however, are free, including “VC3: Venture Capital Speed Dating” from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday in Wallenberg Hall. The event gives Stanford students a chance to pitch their business ideas to Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

For more about E-Week, visit the website.

A commuter’s dream

February 22nd, 2010

In the category of “world’s shortest commute,” STEPHEN STEDMAN, a senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation in Encina Hall, can roll out of bed in Crothers, where he and his wife are the new resident fellows, and stroll to work in two minutes. However, his wife, CORINNE THOMAS, has got even that beat. Since last October, she’s been a residence student affairs specialist in Res Ed in Toyon, a mere minute away – 30 seconds if she runs. But, as Thomas notes, “The traffic can be just horrendous! All those bikes and students – it’s hard to cross Arguello Way sometimes!” Stedman maintains a positive perspective, saying, “Now, if they would just build a Whole Foods in the Toyon parking lot, we’d be all set!”

—Lisa Trei

Steve Stedman, Corinne Thomas and their family.

Steve Stedman, Corinne Thomas and their family.

Moneyhun and Buffington headed to Boise

February 19th, 2010

CLYDE MONEYHUN and NANCY BUFFINGTON will be leaving Stanford for new jobs in Idaho.

Clyde, currently director of the Hume Writing Center and associate director of Stanford Introductory Studies, will take over as director of the Boise State University Writing Center and will teach in the English Department’s new doctoral program in rhetoric and composition. Nancy, a lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric and director of PWR’s Community Writing Project, also will teach in the English Department and continue work she started at Stanford on a series of children’s books, among other projects.

Clyde and Nancy came to Stanford in 2004 and became resident fellows at Branner Hall in 2006, establishing it as a public service theme house this year. They’ll make the move to Boise with sons Jesse (15) and Gabriel (7) in late summer.

Stanford Drama presents ‘Rent’

February 18th, 2010

RENT_3Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning Rent took New York by storm when it debuted off Broadway in 1996 – now it is taking Stanford on Feb. 18-21 and 25-28. Jonathan Larson’s rock opera, based on Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, sold out weeks before opening – even before organizers had launched the publicity. An extra midnight (11:59 to be exact) performance was added for Friday, Feb. 26 – and sold out within hours.

The production’s director, Drama Professor HARRY ELAM, says the show, which has an international cult following, has generated more buzz than any other Drama Department offering in the two decades he’s been here. He’s not surprised: “There’s a misconception out there that all musicals are not ‘serious theater,’” he says. “Rent is serious theater. It’s complex. It’s work that deals with critical cultural and social issues. It’s a show that speaks to ideas that have currency and importance today: that there is ‘no day but today’ and that we need to think about this and what it means.”

Don’t give up hope: Every night there will be a waiting-list signup at 7 p.m. at the Roble Studio Theater. Tickets unclaimed by 7:45 will be released at that time.

Two SLAC Scientists receive $5 million in Early Career Research grants

February 17th, 2010
Ariel Schwartzman

Ariel Schwartzman


Yuantao Ding

Chosen from 1,750 applicants nationwide, SLAC scientists YUANTAO DING and ARIEL SCHWARTZMAN have been awarded five-year grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. Ding and Schwartzman each will receive at least $500,000 a year to cover salary and research expenses.

The Early Career Research Program awarded 69 young scientists with a total of $85 million. The scientists are tenure-track assistant professors at U.S. academic institutions or national laboratory scientists who received their doctorates within the past 10 years.

Using SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source laser, Ding and his coworkers are figuring out how to produce X-ray pulses that could potentially enable scientists to track electrons zipping around in atoms. The work has widespread applications in physics, chemistry and biology.

Schwartzman is searching for new physics at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. His work will help shed light on key mysteries in physics: the origin of dark matter, the Higgs boson and the hierarchy problem.

Richard Zare wins Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Science

February 17th, 2010

Stanford über-chemist RICHARD ZARE has won a 2009 Frontiers of Knowledge Award, in the basic sciences category. The award is given by the BBVA Foundation in collaboration with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). In announcing the award, the foundation said Zare was chosen for his pioneering work in laser-induced fluorescence.
The announcement said Zare’s work “has unraveled secrets of nature’s building blocks and the underlying interactions between them by enabling us to view what happens at the molecular scale.” It said the technique “has allowed the counting of individual molecules in a bacterial cell and has contributed to the DNA sequencing of the human genome.”
The award includes 400,000 euros (about $540,000), which Zare will share with the co-winner of the basic sciences award, Michael Fisher, a physicist at the University of Maryland. Zare and Fisher are scheduled to receive the award in a ceremony in Spain in June. (Coincidentally, Fisher is the father of Daniel Fisher, a professor of applied physics at Stanford.)
The Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, in which there are eight categories, were first given in 2008.
The BBVA Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of the BBVA Group, a multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Spain. BBVA stands for Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.

Love your brain for Valentine’s Day

February 12th, 2010

image004Parking & Transportation Services is hosting a “Love your Brain” promotion for Valentine’s Day to promote wearing a bike helmet for every ride.  This Friday at White Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., bike helmet wearers will be rewarded with gift cards. (While supplies last; gift cards donated by the Stanford Trauma Center.)