Archive for May, 2010

U.S. secretary of state speaks at event organized by CISAC scholars

May 28th, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recounts a story to President Barack Obama, Senior Advisors David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, outside the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recounts a story to Senior Advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, and President Barack Obama, outside a mosque in Cairo last June. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. secretary of state (and former Stanford First Mom), spoke at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 27, on the Obama administration’s first National Security Strategy, a report submitted to Congress by each president to outline the intended U.S. response to major national security concerns. The Managing Global Insecurity project hosted the event. The project is led by STEPHEN STEDMAN, a senior fellow, and BRUCE JONES, a consulting professor, at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). Jones’ blog about Clinton and the administration’s national security strategy is posted on the CISAC website.

—Lisa Trei

Grad students take iPad App to users in five weeks

May 27th, 2010

ANKIT GUPTA, a graduate student in computer science, and AKSHAY KOTHARI, a grad student in electrical engineering, have taken an iPad application from “idea to prototype to beta product to release (and revenues!)” in a mere five weeks, according to Gupta. The app, called Pulse, is a news reading application created as part of the Launchpad course at Stanford’s Not bad for the duo’s first product, which reached the top 20 apps in five days and is now No. 1 in the news category. Pulse sold 5,000 copies in a week at $3.99 an app.

“Pulse employed Stanford’s design thinking methodology to get to their final product. This includes spending several days in the field with target users and continuing to iterate the product several times based on feedback,” Gupta wrote in an email. The application was featured on NBC Bay Area.

Susan Taylor wins Arnice P. Streit Award in H&S

May 26th, 2010

SUSAN TAYLOR, financial administrator in the Department of Economics, was recently presented with the Arnice P. Streit Award of the School of Humanities and Sciences by RICHARD SALLER, the Vernon R. and Lysbeth Warren Anderson Dean of the school.

Taylor was recognized at a ceremony in which four other H&S staff members were given the Dean’s Award of Merit. That award recognizes staff members who make meritorious contributions; foster team productivity, optimism and creativity; design and implement procedures that simplify work and save money; demonstrate high performance consistently under extraordinary circumstances; and contribute to the university, as well as the school.

Winners of the Dean’s Award of Merit are JOAN BERRY, assistant director and outreach coordinator for the Center for Ethics in Society; MARCIA KEATING, administrative associate in the Department of Physics; RYAN JOHNSON, administrative manager in the Department of Classics; and PATIENCE YOUNG, curator in the Cantor Arts Center.

The Arnice P. Streit Award, according to the school, “was created in 1987 in honor of the woman whose record of excellence in several key posts left an indelible impression on faculty and staff during her 27-year career in the school.”

Saller said this about Taylor:

“This year’s recipient has had an amazing 36-year career with Stanford, and for the last 10 years has served her department with great distinction. She has become the person everyone turns to and relies on far beyond her technically circumscribed role, due to her unflagging professionalism, creativity, resourcefulness and dedication.

“While it’s clear to everyone that her expertise is highly valued, time and again her colleagues point to her extraordinary level of productivity, the quality of her work, and, perhaps most importantly, the personal attributes that make her such an exceptional employee.

“The adjectives that nominees used to describe her are quite simply glowing: gracious, resourceful, trustworthy, creative, flexible, ethical, unflappable, unassuming, cheerful, efficient, enthusiastic, professional, extremely committed, exceptionally helpful and just a super-nice person.

“Her commitment to her job and to her colleagues, as well as the ease with which she handles problems and her compassion towards others – these were all constant themes throughout her nomination letters. She is widely recognized for her willingness to help and for consistently going above and beyond her role as finance administrator. As one faculty member said, ‘When you ask a question to no one in particular in the room and someone says, “I’ll take care of that,” you can bet it is this person.’ She is described as an island of calm and care in a sea of stress and trouble.

“She is exemplary and professional in dealing with faculty. She undertakes her work with a cheerful demeanor and with flawless results. She has saved faculty from losing grant money or having to pay penalties because of a reporting or renewal deadline that had somehow slipped away. She is described as an impeccable ambassador in dealing with visitors, seminar speakers, job candidates, visiting scholars and others.

“She has created an environment of camaraderie and professionalism among her colleagues, which has spread to the rest of the department. Her calm demeanor and willingness to help in any situation have contributed to keeping staff and faculty morale high.

“Her thoughtful presence in the department is felt and appreciated by all. She brings a strong work ethic, patience and enthusiasm to the office. As one faculty member said, she is an exceptional candidate for the Arnice Streit Award, embodying many of the personal and professional attributes old-school Stanfordites remember of Arnice herself.”

Carl Djerassi elected foreign member of the Royal Society

May 25th, 2010
Carl Djerassi

Carl Djerassi

Chemistry Professor Emeritus CARL DJERASSI has been elected a foreign member of the Royal Society. The Fellowship of the Royal Society is composed of 1,300 of the most distinguished scientists from the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth countries and the Republic of Ireland. Fellows are elected for life. The Royal Society is celebrating its 350th anniversary. Previous fellows have included Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke.

Djerassi was among the 44 new fellows, eight foreign members and one honorary fellow announced by the Royal Society on May 20.

The Royal Society said this about Djerassi:

“Carl Djerassi is eminent in organic and medicinal chemistry, and in the popularization of science. With colleagues, he achieved the first synthesis of cortisone, providing treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation and eczema. He received the National Medal of Science and the first Wolf Prize in chemistry for the creation of a progesterone analogue approved in 1960 as the contraceptive pill. He developed (with others) mass spectrometry in organic chemistry, and greatly advanced natural product chemistry. In the latter part of his career, he has promoted science to the general public through books and plays.”

Visit the Royal Society site.

Christopher Khavarian wins SAA’s Sterling Award for service

May 24th, 2010

It’s the end of the year, so awards are now rolling in for Stanford students.

For instance, graduating senior CHRISTOPHER KHAVARIAN has received the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) 2010 J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for outstanding service to Stanford.

HOWARD WOLF, vice president for alumni affairs, announced the award at a reception on Monday, May 17.

Khavarian, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in management science and engineering, has served as Admit Weekend coordinator, chair of the senior formal, yell leader, Crothers resident assistant, freshman transition coordinator and director of the Alternative Spring Break Program.

One of his nominators described him as “an unsung hero on campus who has devoted countless hours of service.”

Khavarian was cited for “the uncommon grace, sustained commitment and exceptional standards with which he has approached his many Stanford pursuits” and for “the passion that permeates all his efforts.”

SAA presents the Sterling Award annually to a graduating senior whose undergraduate activities have made an impact on campus and demonstrate the strong potential for continued service to the university and the alumni community.

The award is named for the late J.E. WALLACE STERLING, who served as president from 1949 to 1968.

Film ‘Countdown to Zero,’ premiered at Cannes, features Scott Sagan

May 21st, 2010
Scott Sagan

Scott Sagan

Countdown to Zero premiered at the Palais des Festivals during the 63rd Annual Cannes Film Festival in France on May 17. The film traces the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs. It makes a compelling case for worldwide nuclear disarmament. Among those featured in the film is SCOTT SAGAN, the Caroline S. G. Munro Memorial Professor in Political Science and co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation. He joins a stellar list of people featured in the film, including Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev and Tony Blair. The film will be released in theaters in North America this July. The film was screened on campus in April and also was featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

Arcadio Morales wins the 2010 Margaret Ann Fidler Award in Student Affairs

May 19th, 2010

MoralesARCADIO MORALES, residence dean in Residential Education and resident fellow at Twain Hall, has been named the 2010 winner of the MARGARET ANN FIDLER AWARD for Distinguished Service in Student Affairs.

Morales was presented the award, which comes with a $1,000 prize, by Vice Provost for Student Affairs GREG BOARDMAN during a Student Affairs service award meeting on Tuesday, May 18.

The award was created in 2001 by former Vice Provost JIM MONTOYA to honor Fidler, who was retiring from Student Affairs after a 30-year career. The award recognizes exceptional contributions in the area of student affairs. It specifically recognizes those who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to their work and the mission of the university and whose work reflects integrity and a “sincere belief in the value of teamwork and collaboration.”

The award citation lauded Morales as follows:

  • For more than 20 years of dedicated, unflappable and thoughtful support to students, parents and staff;
  • For always saying “yes” with a positive attitude and a professional approach, when asked to take on additional duties or responsibilities;
  • For your calm, approachable, non-judgmental demeanor, and your unique sense of humor;
  • For being a role model as a Dad, mentor, colleague and member of the broader Stanford community;
  • And finally, for being one of the most loyal and rabid Stanford Women’s Basketball fans of all time.

Now here is an invitation you can’t refuse

May 19th, 2010
Julie Muir is inviting everyone to a waste audit.

Julie Muir is inviting everyone to a waste audit.

Julie Muir, PSSI recycling manager for Stanford, is inviting everyone to the final waste audit of the year. The waste audit—the 20th Muir has done—will be Friday, May 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the PSSI/Stanford Recycling Center at 399 Bonair Siding, across from Parking & Transportation Services.

She promises that “you will see the world differently after you have experienced sorting through a day’s worth of trash—and you will even save some bottles and cans, paper and food from death in a landfill and allow them to go on to another useful life.”

During a waste audit, volunteers open bags of trash and sort the material into 12 categories. The materials are then measured and weighed. Lab coats, gloves, glasses and other protective gear are provided, and Muir promises the event is “not as gross as you might think.”

She says, “Our purpose is to characterize the waste that we are sending to the landfill to see where we need to improve or expand waste reduction, recycling and composing programs. These audits have allowed us to develop useful and interesting data on the waste stream that will allow us to design a Zero Waste Plan for the campus. We have learned that over 20 percent of what we send to the landfill is bottles and cans and paper, and 30 percent is food and compostable material.”

Email Muir at and visit

Bike to Work Day tally – 1,324

May 17th, 2010

According to Stanford’s Bicycle Program Coordinator ARIADNE SCOTT, 1,324 bicyclists breezed by or checked in at one of the campus energizer stations on Bike to Work Day, Thursday, May 13 – a 50 percent increase in riders compared to 2009. There were nine energizer stations, including one at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

As of Friday morning, 450 bicyclists had pledged to wear a helmet for every ride and follow the rules of the road all the time.

It’s not too late: Bicyclists who pledge through the month of May will have their names entered into a drawing to win a free bike, bike helmet or bike light. Visit

David Kreps honored by American Economic Association

May 14th, 2010

kreps-david-mDAVID KREPS, professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has been elected a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association (AEA). The honor, announced last month, is given to past presidents of the AEA and can be awarded to other economists of high distinction from the United States and Canada. Not more than three economists can be elected in any year. Two other Business School faculty have received the honor: Emeriti GEORGE SHULTZ and ROBERT WILSON were elected in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

—Cathy Castillo