Archive for 2011

McFaul confirmed as next ambassador to Russia

December 19th, 2011

Since the beginning of the Obama administration, Michael McFaul has served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council.

MICHAEL MCFAUL, a Stanford political science professor and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Dec. 17 to be the next ambassador to Russia.

“Mike will bring to his new posting in Moscow the same intensity, clarity of vision and imagination that he demonstrated as President Obama’s point person on Russia at the White House,” said COIT BLACKER, FSI’s director and the Olivier Nomellini Professor in International Studies.

The Dec. 17 voice vote confirming McFaul came just before the Senate recessed for its winter break.

Read the full announcement on the FSI website.

First North American website launched at SLAC 20 years ago

December 15th, 2011

Bebo White, left, and Les Cottrell, original members of SLAC’s ad hoc Web development and support group the "WWWizards," reminisced last week over the NeXT computer that hosted North America’s first website.

Its creators saw it as a great way to share information among the world’s widespread particle physics community. But World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls it the Web’s first “killer app.”
On Monday, Dec. 12, North America’s first website – the first site opened outside of Europe – celebrated its 20th anniversary. Intended to ease access to the Stanford Public Information Retrieval System, or SPIRES, the early site has since been outdone by a replacement high-energy physics literature database known as INSPIRE. But its debut on Dec. 12, 1991, got a warm welcome from a physics community starved for a simple way to share research results through a worldwide database of scientific paper abstracts.


Read the full story on the SLAC News Center.

By Janet Rae-Dupree

Basketball lives

December 14th, 2011

They are not desperate and they are not housewives. The Real Ladies of Maples are 15 women’s basketball players who “share the same locker room, the same love of basketball, the same hotel rooms on the road, and the same joy that comes with four straight Final Four appearances and 11 straight conference titles.”

In their debut episode, CHINEY OGWUMIKE, tools around campus with a video camera – sometimes on a bike (We hope she’s wearing a helmet) – shooting campus scenes.

In the second episode, “Sleep-Cam,” team members discuss the ins and outs of travel – particularly the challenges faced by “tall student-athletes” on commercial jets. See how they roll.

Taylor and Noyola named finalists for Hermann Trophy

December 12th, 2011

Teresa Noyola, wearing the number 7, is congratulated by Lindsay Taylor on Noyola's goal during Stanford's 3-0 victory over Oregon at Stanford in 2010.

“Maybe LT and Teresa should arm-wrestle for it,” Stanford’s women’s soccer coach Paul Ratcliffe said on the news that LINDSAY TAYLOR and TERESA NOYOLA were both named finalists for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s answer to the Heisman. “They’re both deserving. LT and Teresa together are a fantastic combination.

Teresa Noyola has been our playmaker and provider for four years. LT has been a great goal scorer. Together, they have helped Stanford win a national championship and become one of the premier programs in college soccer.”

Stanford, which went 25-0-1 this season, could have its third consecutive winner after KELLEY  O’HARA in 2009 and CHRISTEN PRESS in 2010. No school has had three consecutive winners since North Carolina from 1991-94 (Kristine Lilly ’91, Mia Hamm ’92-93, Tisha Venturini ’94).

Read the full announcement on the Athletics website.

David Shaw named regional coach of the year; finalist for national honor

December 9th, 2011

Stanford football Head Coach David Shaw runs with his team.

The American Football Coaches Association has named Stanford’s head football coach DAVID SHAW one of five regional Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) coaches of the year. Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, is now a finalist for National Coach of the Year.

The 2011 Regional Coach of the Year winners will be recognized at a dinner next month during the AFCA’s convention in San Antonio, Texas. The winner of the National Coach of the Year award will be named during the convention as well.

In his first year as a head coach, Shaw has guided the Cardinal to an 11-1 regular season record and No. 4 Bowl Championship Series ranking. Stanford will head to Arizona for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, where the Cardinal will play Oklahoma State.

Read the full announcement on the Athletics website.

Banners signal SLAC’s upcoming 50th anniversary

December 8th, 2011

Recently, 30 banners went up around the campus of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to prepare for the fast-approaching celebration of the lab’s 50th anniversary in 2012.  Festivities will begin next year.

Photo by Matt Beardsley


Researchers use mouthpieces to study football head impacts

December 7th, 2011

Stanford researchers recently outfitted about two dozen Cardinal football players with high-tech mouthpieces to measure the number, force and direction of head impacts during games and practices. In the ABC Nightly News segment below, DAN GARZA, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at Stanford, discusses how researchers are using data from the mouthpieces, which are equipped with tiny sensors, to advance the medical understanding of concussions in football. Read the full post in the Stanford Medical School’s SCOPE blog.


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Luck a finalist for the Heisman

December 6th, 2011

Andrew Luck

ANDREW LUCK, who led Stanford to an 11-1 record this season and its second consecutive Bowl Championship Series bowl, has been named one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which honors the nation’s most outstanding college football player.

Luck, who finished second in last year’s Heisman Trophy balloting behind Auburn University’s Cam Newton, joins the University of Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, Baylor University’s Robert Griffin III, Louisiana State University’s Tyrann Mathieu and the University of Alabama’s Trent Richardson as finalists for college football’s top individual honor.

Luck and the other finalists will be on hand for the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. The winner will be announced during a live televised special on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

David DeCastro

Also announced Monday, Luck and right guard DAVID DECASTRO were named to the 2011 American Football Coaches Association All-America team.



Luck also has been named the recipient of the 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is presented to the top quarterback in the nation who best exemplifies outstanding character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities and athletic accomplishments.

“Andrew personifies everything that my father stood for. He is an outstanding quarterback and an outstanding individual, a leader both on and off the field,” John C. Unitas, Jr., president of The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, said in an announcement on the Stanford Athletics website.

Teaching students to be inventive

December 5th, 2011

“I wonder what would happen if instead of waking up every day and going to school to learn yet another formula, yet another piece of information, kids would wake up every day to go to school to invent something new . . . every day, a new invention, every day, a big idea,” said PAULO BLIKSTEIN, assistant professor in the Stanford School of Education.

Blikstein’s question capped a presentation he gave earlier this fall in a TEDx talk in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Blikstein, director of Stanford’s Transformative Learning Technologies Lab, argued that a lot of the skills we currently teach students are obsolete. He presented a slide featuring a traditional telephone headset, a telephone dial and a Discman to illustrate what an iPhone might look like if designed by most education reformers.

“We don’t know what to give up. We want to teach the new 21st Century skills, but we don’t want to give up any of the previous 20 centuries of knowledge. The day has just 24 hours; there’s no time to teach everything.”

Blikstein argued that you can’t teach innovation in a room with 40 chairs and a blackboard, and you can’t effectively assess new skills with a traditional paper-and-pencil test. Watch the video to find out what he recommends.

Richter to be honored for climate change book

December 2nd, 2011

SLAC Director Emeritus BURTON RICHTER will be in Washington, D.C., today, Dec. 2, to receive the 2011 Phi Beta Kappa Book Award in Science for Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century.

The award comes with a $10,000 prize, given annually by the academic honor society for outstanding contributions by scientists to the literature of science. Its purpose is to encourage literate and scholarly interpretations of the physical and biological sciences and mathematics.

In the book, Richter, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who has served on many U.S. and international review committees on climate change and energy issues, assesses proposals—ranging from the sensible to the senseless—for averting the consequences of global warming, and allows readers to draw their own conclusions.

Read the full announcement on the Phi Beta Kappa Society website.