Archive for August, 2012

Ask Stanford Med about Internet addiction

August 13th, 2012

To further explore how excessive Internet use may be harmful to our health, the SCOPE blog asked ELIAS ABOUJAOUDE, director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic and the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Clinic at Stanford Medical School, to respond to your questions on the topic for this month’s Ask Stanford Med.

Aboujaoude’s work focuses on obsessive compulsive disorders and behavioral addictions, including problematic Internet use. He was lead author of a 2006 paper that laid the groundwork to determine if compulsive online activity warranted a medical diagnosis. In his latest book, Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality, Aboujaoude explores how our online traits are unconsciously being imported into our offline lives.

Questions can be submitted to Aboujaoude by either sending a tweet that includes the hashtag #AskSUMed or posting your question in the comments section of the original post. The SCOPE blog will collect questions until Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 5 p.m.

For more information about Aboujaoude’s work and the ground rules for posting questions, visit LIA STEAKLEY’s SCOPE blog post.

Stanford physicist wins prestigious Dirac Medal

August 9th, 2012
Shoucheng Zhang

Shoucheng Zhang

At the peak of the Olympic Games, the gold medal of theoretical physics has just been announced. Physics Professor SHOUCHENG ZHANG and two other physicists were awarded the Dirac Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics for their research on a novel type of matter known as a “topological insulator.”

Topological insulators are one of the most exciting topics in condensed-matter physics, because of both their conceptual beauty and their exciting practical applications. The materials function as insulators on the inside, but they conduct electricity on their surface; this conductivity is “topologically protected,” so the state of the electrons passing on the surface cannot be changed or destroyed. Because the conducting electrons arrange themselves along the surface – “spin-up” electrons travel in only in one direction, “spin-down” electrons go only the opposite – the material could be useful for building a practical spintronic device that reads an electron’s spin, rather than its charge.

Unlike most exotic phases of matter, topological insulators were predicted theoretically before they were discovered experimentally. Zhang predicted the first topological insulator material in mercury telluride, which was confirmed experimentally soon after by a group at the University of Würzburg in Germany. Later, Zhang’s group predicted other topological insulator materials, including bismuth telluride, which has been extensively studied at Stanford. There is a worldwide race to apply topological insulators to integrated circuits in order to extend the life of Moore’s law.

“I have deeply admired Dirac ever since I was a student,” Zhang said Wednesday. “He pioneered a novel scientific method – to discover the truth of nature by searching for mathematical beauty. Discovery of topological insulator is a triumphant tribute to Dirac’s inspiring style and to his ubiquitous Dirac equation.”

The Dirac Medal is named after the British Nobel Prize-winning theorist Paul Dirac. He is best known for his unification of quantum mechanics with Einstein’s theory of special relativity, leading to the discovery of the Dirac equation and the prediction of anti-matter. The medal was first awarded in 1985 and is given each year on Dirac’s birthday, Aug. 8. This year’s medal, which comes with a $5,000 prize for each medalist, marks the 110th anniversary of his birth.

by Bjorn Carey of the Stanford News Service

Stanford IT Services team honored as model of innovation

August 8th, 2012

The Stanford team that developed the university’s Mobile Device Management software recently won a 2012 Innovators Award from Campus Technology.

Each year, the monthly magazine honors “exemplary colleges and universities, their visionary technology project leadership, and their innovative vendor partners who have deployed extraordinary campus technology solutions to campus challenges.”

Campus Technology selected 10 winners in five categories out of 354 nominations submitted from higher education institutions around the world.

Stanford’s MDM software, which gives Stanford the ability to monitor and audit compliance of mobile users accessing high-risk data with support that complements desktop/laptop services, was honored in the IT Infrastructure & Systems category.

“These IT leaders have deployed extraordinary technology solutions to meet campus challenges,” the magazine said in its July 2012 issue.




Keeping track of Stanford’s Olympians in London

August 7th, 2012

Tennis duo Bob and Mike Bryan, both of the Class of ’98, won gold. Photo: Stanford magazine

With nearly 40 Stanford-affiliated athletes participating in the summer games in London, it may be hard to keep track of who has won the gold and who is still in contention. There are two Stanford sites that are keeping tabs on it all. One, of course is Athletics, which has a dedicated Olympics site. There also is Stanford magazine, which, in addition to its online postings, is using Facebook and Twitter (#Cardinal2012) to keep readers abreast of Stanford’s contenders.

On tap today, Aug. 7?

The U.S. women’s water polo team, which includes ANNIKA DRIES, ’14; MELISSA SEIDEMANN, ’13; MAGGIE STEFFENS, ’16; JESSICA STEFFENS, ’10; and BRENDA VILLA, ’03, will play in the semifinal against Australia. MARIYA KOROLEVA, ’12, will compete for Team USA in synchronized swimming; ARANTXA KING, ’12, will compete in the women’s long jump for Bermuda; KERRI WALSH-JENNINGS, ’00, will compete for the USA in the women’s beach volleyball semifinal against China, while USA volleyball players LOGAN TOM, ’03, and FOLUKE AKINRADEWO, ’09, play the Dominican Republic.

The Stanford magazine site as well as the Athletics Olympics site both feature profiles and highlights.

Alumna Colleen Lim returns to Stanford to become director of admission

August 6th, 2012

COLLEEN LIM, senior associate commissioner for governance and administration at the West Coast Conference, has been named associate dean and director of admission at Stanford.

The appointment marks a return to Stanford for Lim, who served as the university’s assistant dean of admission from 2007 to 2009. In that post, Lim supervised the process of recruiting and evaluating prospective students. She also served as the liaison to the Stanford Alumni Association and the Stanford Office of Development.

“We are extremely thrilled to have Colleen Lim return to Stanford,” said RICHARD SHAW, dean of admission and financial aid. “She brings 22 years of management and operations experience, and we have full confidence that she will be an exceptional leader for the undergraduate admission office.”

At Stanford, Lim will direct the daily operations of the admission office and play a key role in shaping the overall direction the university takes with respect to its admission initiatives and programs, including outreach, multicultural programming, international admission and intercollegiate athletics, and the composition of each freshman and transfer class.

Lim will begin her new job Sept. 22. She succeeds BOB PATTERSON, who left Stanford last June for Chegg Inc., where he is the director of college outreach.

Lim, who earned a master’s degree in the Stanford Teacher Education Program in 1980, earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education at the University of California-Berkeley.

Lim joined the West Coast Conference (WCC) in 2009 as associate commissioner for governance and administration, and was promoted to senior associate commissioner for governance and administration in 2011.

At the WCC, Lim managed governance and operations, including conference legislation, cabinets and committee administration. She served as liaison to senior women administrators and to faculty athletics representatives, and to selected coach groups and cabinets. She also oversaw the internal operations of the conference, including supervision of compliance, student services, business, finance and human resources. Lim was appointed to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee in 2010.

Prior to joining Stanford in 2007, Lim worked at Yale University for nearly 20 years, as senior assistant director of athletics (1990-1994), as associate director of athletics (1994-1998) and as senior associate director of athletics (1998-2007).

At Yale, Lim was very active in the NCAA governance structure, having chaired the Division I women’s soccer committee and the Division I field hockey committee, while also serving on the Committee on Athletics Certification, the Championship and Competition Cabinet and the Initial Eligibility Waivers Committee. In addition, she supervised several sports programs, managed the varsity sports operations and student services staffs, and administered the NCAA and Ivy League compliance and eligibility program for 33 Division I sports.





NCAA profiles new tennis pro Ryan Thacher, winner of a postgraduate scholarship

August 3rd, 2012
Ryan Thacher

Ryan Thacher

The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently posted a profile of Stanford graduate and tennis star RYAN THACHER, who turned professional in July.

Thacher is a winner of a $7,500 NCAA postgraduate scholarship. The scholarships are awarded to accomplished student-athletes. According to the profile, Thacher, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history in March, hopes to become a doctor after he ends his professional tennis career. Thacher decided on a career in medicine after shadowing a doctor as part of the Stanford Immersion in Medicine Series.

The NCAA awards 174 postgraduate scholarships annually – 29 per gender for participants in fall, winter and spring sports. To qualify, student-athletes must excel academically and athletically, be at least in their final year of eligibility and plan to pursue graduate study. Student-athletes must also maintain at least a 3.2 grade-point average and be nominated by their institution’s faculty athletics representative. Created in 1964, NCAA postgraduate scholarships promote and encourage education.

Thacher will devote himself to professional tennis for a year. Late next summer, he plans to evaluate his progress, gauge his potential and decide whether to continue with the sport or begin pursuing a career in medicine.

Read the NCAA online profile.




Intramural softball stars take the field!

August 2nd, 2012

Faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate students and alumni took to the ball fields off Sand Hill Road on Tuesday, July 31, for the first of four annual softball all-star competitions.

The stars, who were chosen by their teammates, represent the 19 intramural teams that play summer softball. This year marks the softball league’s 25th annual all-star games.

On Tuesday, men’s and women’s all stars played in two separate games. Games will also be held for over-40 all stars, all stars chosen by the league commissioner, LEANDER ROBINSON, chief engineer at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, and co-ed all stars. The all-star games are held prior to the beginning of intramural softball play-offs.

Photographs are by Kate Chesley, associate director of university communications.

Professors honored for work in computational mechanics

August 1st, 2012

CHARBEL FARHAT, the Vivian Church Hoff Professor of Aircraft Structures and  chairman of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has received the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM) Award in recognition of his outstanding and sustained contributions to the broad field of computational mechanics.
Farhat has received numerous academic distinctions and awards – including several other IACM awards  – for his lasting contributions to aeroelasticity, computational fluid dynamics on moving grids, computational acoustics, computational mechanics and high-performance computing. He was a pioneer of the Finite Element Tearing and Interconnecting (FETI) method which was incorporated in several finite element production and commercial codes in the United States and Europe. His landmark works on the Discrete Geometric Conservation Law have contributed to a renaissance of nonlinear computational aeroelasticity.
Farhat’s current research interests are in computational sciences for the design and analysis of complex systems in aerospace, mechanical and naval engineering.
The International Association for Computational Mechanics is an international group of scholars and practitioners focused on promoting advances in computational mechanics.

Also recognized by the IACM is ADRIAN LEW, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, who won a Young Investigator Award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments, particularly outstanding published papers, by researchers 40 or younger. Lew’s research is concerned with the fundamental design and mathematical analysis of material models and numerical algorithms, with the goal of reducing uncertainty and increasing efficiency, trust and reliability of computational engineering tools in solid mechanics.