Archive for November, 2011

Stanford Women’s Basketball Meet the Team Day

November 30th, 2011

On Saturday, Dec. 3, from 1-2 p.m. the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team will be available for a meet-and-greet with fans at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto.  You can get an autograph of your favorite player  and enter a raffle for a chance to win tickets to the Dec. 20 game against Tennessee; an autographed ball; or other Stanford merchandise.  

Athletics also is sponsoring a pre-event contest. Visit the Meet the Team Day website to enter for a chance to win courtside tickets to the Tennessee game. Twenty-five additional winners will receive two  tickets to the Stanford vs. Princeton game on Dec. 17.
The deadline to enter is on Thursday, Dec. 1. Winners will be  selected randomly and notified via email, but they must be present at the Meet the Team event at 12:45 on Saturday, Dec. 3, to receive their winnings.

Luck for the Heisman

November 30th, 2011

“The most outstanding player in college football this generation, Stanford senior QB ANDREW LUCK has redefined his position by being the coach on the field and consistently putting the Cardinal offense into the perfect play. Andrew’s individual QB success, the offense’s success and the team’s success at Stanford are incomparable. Andrew Luck for Heisman,” says the caption of this Andrew Luck highlight reel. Check it out.

Martin Perl, blogger

November 29th, 2011

When he’s not actually doing experiments, SLAC physicist and Nobel laureate MARTIN PERL loves to talk about important trends in physics. For about the last decade, for example, he and his partner, Joyce, hosted weekly discussions in their home on Friday nights attended by 30 to 50 friends and colleagues.

Now, at 85, Perl has turned to social media to recreate the spirit of those “Friday Set” gatherings: He’s officially a blogger.

His blog, “Reflections on Physics … from the Tau to Dark Energy,” debuted Oct. 29. The title refers to his late-1970s discovery of an elementary particle, the tau lepton, for which Perl received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics, as well as to his latest quest: determining if certain aspects of the dark energy thought to make up much of the universe are real.

About once a month, Perl expects to post a 1,000- to 2,000-word essay covering a big-picture topic in particle physics, cosmology or astrophysics. He’s aiming for an audience of technically literate non-physicists. “I’m not interested in competing with the rapid-fact or rumor blogs,” he said. He expects to invite occasional contributions from guest bloggers as well.

Read the full story in SLAC Today.

— Mike Ross

Inaugural Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies named

November 28th, 2011
Ari Kelman

Ari Kelman

ARI KELMAN, associate professor of American Studies at the University of California-Davis, has been named the inaugural Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies. Kelman will lead the new academic Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies and will facilitate collaborations between the School of Education and the Taube Center for Jewish Studies.

Kelman is widely recognized as a leading scholar of contemporary Jewish life, with an emphasis on media, ethnic identity and American religious culture. He is the author of two books—Station Identification: A Cultural History of Yiddish Radio and Sacred Strategies—and the editor of Is Diss a System: a Milt Gross Comic Reader.

Lee Shulman, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor Emeritus of Education, said, “The study of how personal and social identity develops and how it affects civic engagement, educational aspirations and group membership has become a central topic of educational research. Kelman’s appointment strengthens ongoing work at Stanford on the interactions of religion, ethnicity, identity and education, and may well prefigure future growth in this area.”

Added Steven Weitzman, director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, “Dr. Kelman’s research places him on the cutting edge of Jewish thought today, and my colleagues and I are thrilled to be able to collaborate with him. We are excited by what it means to have one of the world’s leading schools of education addressing such issues.”

The chair and concentration are the result of a $12 million gift from the Jim Joseph Foundation. The gift, the largest in the history of the School of Education, endowed the chair and will provide fellowships for graduate students.

Read the School of Education press release.

Soundararajan wins the 2011 Infosys Prize for Mathematical Sciences

November 22nd, 2011

The Infosys Science Foundation recently announced that KANNAN SOUNDARARAJAN, professor of mathematics and director of the Mathematics Research Center, won the Infosys Prize 2011 for Mathematical Sciences. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in engineering and computer science, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physical sciences and social sciences.

The citation credits Soundararajan for “fundamental contributions to analytic number theory. These include numerous brilliant breakthroughs in well known and difficult problems, as well as the resolution of some that have been open for a long time. In particular, his recent development of new unexpected techniques to study the critical values of general zeta functions has led to the proof of the Quantum Unique Ergodicity Conjecture for classical holomorphic modular forms. Many of the analytic and combinatorial tools that Soundararajan and his collaborators have developed, in works ranging from prime numbers and sieve methods to character sums and zeta functions, have become standard tools for researchers in these fields.”

Soundararajan serves as an editor for the Journal of Number Theory, the International Journal of Number Theory, Communications in Contemporary Mathematics and The Ramanujan Journal.

According to the foundation’s press release, the Infosys Prize carries the largest prize in India for scientific research. Winners receive a 22-karat gold medallion, a citation certificate and prize money of 50 lakh.

The award ceremony for the Infosys Prize 2011 will be held on Jan. 9, 2012 in Bangalore.

Richard Holeton, fiction writer

November 21st, 2011

RICHARD HOLETON, director of Academic Computing Services in the Stanford University Libraries, is one of 40 recipients of a creative writing fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts last week. The award is designed to give writers the time and freedom to pursue their work. The new fellows come from 20 states and the District of Columbia, according to an NEA press release.  The list of recipients also includes STEPHANIE SOILEAU, a lecturer in Stanford’s English Department and a former Stegner Fellow.

Holeton has published several works of fiction on a variety of platforms, from traditional literary journals to CD-ROM. The Dish caught up with him by email to find out what he thought of it all.

What was your reaction when you were notified that you had received the fellowship?

Absolutely thrilled! Since the stories I submitted had been published in literary journals, which don’t have large readerships or (usually) long afterlives, it’s gratifying to get the recognition of the NEA panel of judges and writers for this work.

The fellowship comes with a monetary award. How much?


You have written several pieces of fiction. Would you name and describe them and where and when they were published?

I’ve published both conventional print fiction and electronic literature (work meant to be read on a computer screen or using a software interface). My hypertext novel Figurski at Findhorn on Acid was published in 2001 by Eastgate Systems (on CD-ROM) and it’s received some critical attention. I have a web fiction in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1 and have published some “presentation fiction” (i.e., PowerPoint) and other e-lit. View URLs and other publications.

The two print stories I submitted to the NEA were “Thanks for Covering Your Lane,” published in the Indiana Review in 2006, and “Product Placement,” 2007, Mississippi Review. “Thanks for Covering Your Lane” is narrated by a Gulf War veteran with PTSD and his VA hospital comrades who engage with the local community by swimming at a local pool. “Product Placement” is about a father and teenage daughter with a suicidal friend, set in the final days of Saddam Hussein and amidst an array of consumer products.

Is there something specific you plan to work on with the help of this grant?

I’m working on a novel that relates to video games, and the grant may help me conduct research by, for example, increasing my novice-level fluency with gaming.

When do you write?

On the weekends and whenever I can find an hour or two or three during the week.

What advice would you give those who are trying to balance the demands of their “day jobs” with their creative writing endeavors?

It would be helpful to have a day job that you could completely leave at the end of the day. That’s not exactly the case for me, so my “balance” is very much still a work in progress.

— Elaine Ray

VanDerveer, Azzi recognized

November 17th, 2011

Cardinal Women’s Basketball coach TARA VANDERVEER was honored Wednesday, Nov. 16,  with a 2011 Athena award, given by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce.  The award honors the achievements of outstanding professional and business women who not only achieve success in their own careers, but who open doors for women. The awards luncheon, held at the Garden Court Hotel in downtown Palo Alto, started at 11:15 a.m., a bit earlier than usual, because VanDerveer  had to get to practice.

“I’ve been called a lot of things, but I have to say, I’ve never been called a goddess,” VanDerveer said, adding that Athena had been her favorite character in Greek mythology since elementary school.

Jennifer Azzi hugs Tara VanDerveer as members of the 1990 National Championship team reunite during a win over win over USC on Feb. 7, 2010 at Maples Pavilion. Photo Credit: Marc Abrams

VanDerveer said her style of coaching through positive reinforcement reflects the wisdom passed down by her mother, who once told her that  “tearing others down doesn’t make you any better.”

Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa, who presented VanDerveer with a proclamation from the city, thanked her for the inspiration that “changes lives. You do so much for the community in a sincere and honest way.”

JENNIFER AZZI, who played women’s basketball for Stanford from 1987-1990, seems to be following in Coach VanDerveer’s footsteps.  Azzi was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, seven years after VanDerveer was inducted.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15,  just a few months after VanDerveer was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s class of 2011, Azzi, head women’s basketball coach at University of San Francisco,  has been nominated for the 2012 Naismith Hall of Fame class. It is still a long way from nominee to finalist, but our fingers are crossed.


— Elaine Ray

Obama honors Stanford Medical Youth Science Program

November 16th, 2011

Executive Director Judith Ned, center in solid red dress, surrounded by Stanford Medical Youth Science Program students in 2007 during the program's 20th-year celebration.

The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program Tuesday was named as a 2011 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The award, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for mentoring in these fields, carries a $25,000 prize from the National Science Foundation to help further SMYSP’s efforts. The awards will be presented at a White House ceremony later this year.

“We are thrilled that Stanford and the School of Medicine — whose students, faculty and staff have been instrumental to our success — are being recognized by this wonderful award,” said MARILYN WINKLEBY, professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. Winkleby founded SMYSP in 1988 with two pre-med students, and has since served as its faculty director. Each year, 10 Stanford undergraduates oversee the summer residential program.

SMYSP focuses on low-income and under-represented minority high school students from northern and central California. Those who are selected receive full tuition for the five-week program on the university campus. During that time, participants are immersed in science and medicine through a broad curriculum that includes anatomy classes in the human cadaver lab; hospital internships; group research projects; lectures by prominent scientists and physicians; college admissions and standardized test preparation; and long-term guidance to aid them on their path to science and health professions.

“SMYSP reaches students who may feel they are not academically competitive and promotes confidence and awareness of their capabilities in science and medicine,” said Executive Director JUDITH NED, She added that the presidential award is a validation of  pipeline programs in the field and “a culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of pride in watching the students develop. It’s also wonderful for the university and School of Medicine to be recognized in this manner.”

The program’s results are impressive. More than 80 percent of its 547 alumni have graduated from four-year colleges, many of them the first in their family to do so. Among SMYSP’s college graduates, 47 percent are attending or have completed medical or graduate school, and 43 percent are working as or training to become health professionals.

Read the full story on the Medical School’s news website.

Seven ways to get into the Big Game spirit

November 15th, 2011

Still reeling from Saturday’s loss to the University of Oregon? Here are a few ways to move on:

1. Contribute to the “BIG DRIVE” and Support Second Harvest Food Bank: The Cardinal Council, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for the Stanford Athletic Department, is sponsoring  a competitive canned food drive between Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley.  Through Thursday, Nov. 17,  donate can goods by placing them in bins located on the second floor of the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, on the first floor of the Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation and on the pool deck of the Avery Aquatic Center. Student-athletes also will be collecting non-perishable food items at the women’s basketball game against Old Dominion on Nov. 17  and the women’s volleyball matchup against Oregon on Nov. 18.  The  goal is to collect more than 4,000 pounds of food, which will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.

2. Attend the BIG SING, tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m., in Toyon Hall: This free concert will feature 11 a cappella groups from Stanford and Berkeley. Admission is free.

3. Give during the RIVALS FOR LIFE BLOOD DRIVE, which takes place Wednesday Nov. 16, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. in the Arrillaga Sports and Recreation Center.  See which school  — Stanford or Cal  — can  donate more blood. Each donor will receive a commemorative T-shirt. For more information, visit the Stanford Blood Center website.

4. Attend the 100th anniversary of the GAIETIES.  This year the student-written and directed musical comedy titled “Leland Junior Must Die,” is scheduled for 8 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 16-18,  in Memorial Auditorium.  Reminder: The program is for mature audiences. More information can be found in the Events Calendar.

5. And speaking of the Gaieties, check out the GAIETIES EXHIBIT in the Bender room on the fifth floor of Green Library’s Bing Wing through Jan. 3, 2012.

6. Take in BIG JEOPARDY, Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p. m., in GSB’s CEMEX Auditorium. Stanford vs. Cal vs. IBM’s Jeopardy-playing computer, Watson.

7. And, of course, there is the BIG GAME at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. BEAT CAL!

More details about these and other Big Game week activities are available on the Athletics website.

Marking the ‘elevenses’

November 14th, 2011

“In case the Game isn’t exciting enough,” ELIZABETH FISCHBACH wrote in an email on the morning of Nov.11, “In Special Collections, we couldn’t let 11-11-11 day pass without marking the occasion.”

Fischbach, exhibits manager and designer in Special Collections and University Archives in Stanford University Libraries, added:

“While numer010g1sts and believers of all stripes are debating what it means —the beginning of doomsday, or the dawning of an age of unprecedented love — I think it means a once-in-a-lifetime chance to gather for elevenses at 11:11 to have coffee and Cadbury Fingers (which are, after all, digital).”

Fischbach also noted that on the train that morning ANDREA KUDUK, MLA student and administrative associate in Electrical Engineering, had volunteered that her office was holding an 11-11-11 party as well — in the “elev(en)ator.”

Asked how the Special Collections celebration had gone, Fischbach said:

“It was a fun and lighthearted break. PETER WHIDDEN, the department’s rare books specialist, reported that the Egyptian government closed the pyramids for the day to discourage rituals. And on a historical remembrance note, the date being Veterans Day, we recalled that the Armistice was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

“In addition to Cadbury Fingers, we had rolled German waffle cookies on the table, and participant MATTIE TAORMINA observed that two of the signing countries were confectionally represented.” Taormina is head of public services and a manuscripts processing librarian in Special Collections.

Fischbach added that she hadn’t spoken to Kuduk about her office celebration. “I suppose it had its ups and downs.”