Dateline Rice for Sept. 4, 2013


Former US assistant secretary of energy headed to Rice University
Charles McConnell, a former U.S. Energy Department assistant secretary and the new executive director of Rice’s Energy and Environment Initiative (e2i), comments on e2i’s role in making Rice an honest brokerage of future technology and energy policy. (Sydney, Australia)
Houston Business Journal
Rice taps former US fossil energy chief to lead new initiative

Japan’s energy savior?
Gerald Dickens, professor of Earth science, comments on the low risks associated with methane hydrate exploration for commercial energy use in this article on Japan’s tapping of natural gas from seabed methane hydrates.

Clay supercapacitors built to handle extreme heat
Rice researchers have used cheap and abundant clay as a key ingredient in a supercapacitor that can operate at very high temperatures. The supercapacitor could be useful for powering devices in extreme environments on Earth and in space. Pulickel Ajayan, professor of chemistry, chemical and biomolecular engineering and of mechanical engineering and materials science, and Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, the study’s lead author and a former research scientist at Rice, are quoted. (Similar articles appeared in five other news outlets.)

M1nutoUno (Argentina)
Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor and chair of political science and fellow in political science at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, commented on the performance of Argentine President Cristina Fernadez and Argentine politics in general and on the controversy surrounding a redistricting plan in the city of Pasadena, Texas. Also, a statistical analysis by Jones of the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature was cited.
M1nutoUno Radio (Buenos Aires, Argentina. A link was not available.)
Polemica electoral en Pasadena
La Voz de Houston
Is purple the new red?

Xinhua News Agency
Richard Stoll, the Albert Thomas Chair in Political Science and scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, comments on President Barack Obama’s request for congressional approval to strike in Syria.
(A link was not available.)

Festival of Ideas: Gov. Bill Richardson speaks Sept. 23
Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will speak at the West Virginia University Law School Sept. 23. (Editor’s note: While the article mentions he is at Rice, Richardson recently resigned his post as senior fellow of Latin America at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.)
The Exponet Telegram (Clarksburg, W.Va.)


Critics of Affordable Care Act pushing misinformation
Elena Marks, scholar in health policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, wrote this op-ed about recent criticism of the Affordable Care Act.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription required.)

Look up: Pollution-sniffing planes flying above Houston this month
Two NASA airplanes were expected to fly over the Houston area today to measure air pollution. The planes are part of an effort to improve the ability of satellites to detect air quality at the surface of the Earth. Rice is a partner in the NASA study.
Houston Chronicle

Rice to offer online courses for K-12 science teachers
This fall, Rice University will begin offering tuition-free courses for K-12 science teachers through the online education provider Coursera. The courses, to be developed by Rice’s Center for Digital Learning and Scholarship, are for the professional development of elementary, middle and high school teachers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — fields. Rice Provost George McLendon is quoted. Also mentioned are the center’s staff: Reid Whitaker, executive director and professor in the practice of digital learning; Lara Arch, associate director of K-12 curriculum; Chris “C.J.” Thompson, associate director for secondary professional development; and Lisa Webber, associate director for school relations.
Texas Medical Center News

Scientists designing ‘safe’ viruses for use in gene therapy
Rice researchers are developing instructions to help scientists design a variety of “safe” viruses that can be used in gene therapy. Junghae Suh, assistant professor of bioengineering, is quoted and Jonathan Silberg, associate professor of biochemistry and cell biology, is mentioned.
Texas Medical Center News

Dover String Quartet takes home top Banff prize
The Dover String Quartet, all 2013 graduates of Rice’s Shepherd School of Music, made a clean sweep at the Banff (Alberta) International String Quartet Competition on Sunday. The group walked away with the $25,000 first prize and also three special prizes. The Dover Quartet — cellist Camden Shaw plus violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee and violist Milena Pajaro-Van de Stadt — also won a recording contract and a series of international engagements. Shaw is quoted about the group’s years at Rice.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription required.)

Artist and alumna Lina Dib ’13 will have an installation on exhibit at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston Sept. 6.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription required.)


Bill Arnold, professor in the practice of energy management at the Jones Graduate School of Business, comments on how the U.S. consideration of striking Syria is prompting uncertainty among traders and a rice in oil prices. (Click broadcast.)


A Silicon Valley pioneer molds the next wave of innovators at Rice
Jack Gill, professor of the practice of entrepreneurship at the Jones Graduate School of Business, is interviewed about his Rice course and Houston’s startup ecosystem. Tom Kraft, new ventures development director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneuship, Rice President David Leebron and Steve Currall, founder of the Rice Alliance, are mentioned.

Neural connections unique in synesthesia
In the perceptual condition known as synesthesia, unrelated sensory experiences such as color are triggered by ordinal stimuli such as numbers, letters and months of the year. Exactly how and why this happens is unknown. Researchers at Rice, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital found a special relationship between the color and graphemes regions of the brain during certain stimuli. Graduate student Manjari Narayan and Genevera I. Allen, the Dobelman Family Junior Chair of Statistics and assistant professor of statistics and electrical and computer engineering, are mentioned.

Monash Undergraduate Research Projects Abroad Seminar
Jack Dongarra, adjunct professor in computer science, will present via video link a talk on emerging technologies in high performance computing Sept. 6 to the Monash eScience and Grid Engineering Laboratory of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Elements: Material matters
Architect and alumnus Blaine Brownell ’98 mentions Mark Wamble, professor in the practice of architecture, in this Q-and-A article.

Memorial Hermann Medical Group Memorial City welcomes 2 new physicians
Family medicine physician and alumna Angela Chen ’97 has joined the medical group.


Poison gas and the Syrian dilemma
In this op-ed, alumnus Gwynne Dyer ’66 writes about the uncertainty of who to blame for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Top 10 late-night coffee shops in Houston
A list of late-night coffee shops mentions one convenient for students studying at Rice.


NCAA re-rank: Our list from 1-125
Following their performance against 8th-ranked Texas A&M, the Rice Owls moved up 11 spots to No. 83 in this week’s rankings by USA Today of NCAA football teams.
USA Today (This article also appeared in 58 other news outlets.)

Indians, Diamondbacks complete Jason Kubel trade with Matt Langwell
Right-handed relief pitcher and former Owl Matt Langwell ’10 has been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Veteran Josh Rodriguez leads Binghamton Mets into playoffs
Former Owl Josh Rodriguez ’07 is featured ahead of tonight’s playoff game between his Binghamton Mets and the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division championship.

Minnesota Twins prospect J.T. Chargois to undergo surgery
Pitcher and former Owl J.T. Chargois ’13, the Minnesota Twins’ second-round draft pick in 2012, will undergo Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in about two weeks.

AM-1400 ESPN
The story mentions last week’s football game between Rice and Texas A&M.
ESPN (Click broadcast.)
KSAT-SAT (San Antonio) (Click broadcast. Similar mentions appeared in 189 other broadcast outlets and 158 news outlets.)


President of CARE USA to speak at Rice’s 2014 commencement
Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of the global poverty-fighting organization CARE USA, will be Rice’s commencement speaker for 2014.

Bismuth-carrying nanotubes show promise for CT scans
Scientists at Rice University have trapped bismuth in a nanotube cage to tag stem cells for X-ray tracking. Bismuth is probably best known as the active element in a popular stomach-settling elixir and is also used in cosmetics and medical applications. Rice chemist Lon Wilson and his colleagues are inserting bismuth compounds into single-walled carbon nanotubes to make a more effective contrast agent for computed tomography (CT) scanners. Details of the work by Wilson’s Rice team and collaborators at the University of Houston, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, and the Texas Heart Institute appear in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B.

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