Dateline Rice for Oct. 9, 2013


What is a Higgs boson? 
Paul Padley, professor of physics and astronomy, participates in a Q-and-A about the Higgs boson.
Business Insider

Parker, Hall trade criticisms in sole mayoral debate
Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor and chair of political science and fellow in political science at Rice, comments on the candidates’ performances in last night’s mayoral debate.
Houston Chronicle (This story appeared on the front page of the Houston Chronicle.)


Real space travel much cooler than ‘Gravity’
Astronaut Leroy Chiao, lecturer in mechanical engineering and materials science, reviews the movie “Gravity.” (This article appeared on Albuquerque Express, Toronto Telegraph and more than two dozen other media outlets.)
Astronaut Leroy Chiao: ‘Gravity’ works, if you don’t focus on the physics op-ed
Oregon Herald

Hack-proof pacemakers: Code based on heartbeat could thwart disruption
Rice researchers have designed a secure way to cut the risk that an implanted medical device such as a pacemaker, insulin pump or defibrillator could be altered remotely without authorization. Their technology would use the patient’s own heartbeat as a kind of password that could only be accessed through touch. Farinaz Koushanfar, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is quoted; graduate student Mahmoud Rostami is mentioned.

Tiny foam bubbles bring oil to the surface
Scientists have uncovered two new ways bubbles form in foam, a finding that could help engineers extract every last drop from an oil reservoir. Lisa Biswal, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and George Hirasaki, research professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, are quoted.
Clues to foam formation could help find oil
Innovations Report (This article also appeared on Science Daily, e!Science News, and ScienceNewsline.)

The cost of prison reform
Richard Boylan, professor of economics, explores the connection between prison reform and a reduction in social aid programs.
Inside Higher Ed
Dr. Richard Boylan, Rice University – The cost of prison reform

The end of the full college scholarship?
An article about financial aid and education costs mentions Rice University.


Rice moves up on global university ranking
Rice is one of only two Texas schools to make the top 100 on a list of the best universities in the world. Rice ranks No. 65 on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014, powered by Thomson Reuters Corp. That moves the university up 10 spots from where it landed on last year’s rankings.
Houston Business Journal

Official says Mexican energy reform will require new laws
Eduardo Perez Motta, former president of the Mexican Federal Competition Commission, spoke at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Oct. 7.
Houston Chronicle

TribuneFest: Steve Murdock on Texas in 2050 
A presentation by Steve Murdock, the Allyn and Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology and director of Rice’s Hobby Center for the Study of Texas, is featured.
Texas Tribune

Social network launches for oil industry
An article about, a social network for the oil and gas industry, mentions Rice alumnus Leland Richardson ’11.
Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)

Wednesday letters: Perspectives on District D 
A letter to the editor by Lawrence Jablecki, lecturer in sociology, mentions a course he taught at Rice.
Houston Chronicle

Kingwood Park High School kicks off annual campaign
An article about a fundraising campaign for a Houston-area high school mentions specialized instructional training courses offered by Rice.
The Tribune (Atascocita, Humble, Kingwood and Lake Houston, Texas)


Bun B’s latest hit: A coloring book
The latest production by rapper Bun B, distinguished lecturer in Rice’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning, is a rap coloring and activity book.

Huge shift in Texas voters in support of legalizing marijuana
The results of a new poll released Tuesday show growing support among Texas voters for legalizing and regulating adult usage of marijuana. Rice political scientist Mark Jones comments.

Rice University students build robotic arm
Bioengineering students at Rice University developed a robotic arm for a 17-year-old boy who has brittle bones disease.
WLBZ-TV (Bangor, Maine)


Technology is causing increase in hospital prices, study says
Technology, not uninsured patients, likely explains the steep rise in the cost of hospital care in Texas in recent years, according to Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, a professor of economics at Rice and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Ho is quoted.
RTT News
Report: Technology driving rise in Texas health care costs, not uninsured
D Healthcare Daily (Dallas/Fort Worth)

Could biology be to blame for the US government shutdown?
John Alford, associate professor of political science, comments on biological differences that influence much of what makes people who they are, including their orientation to politics, and notes that biology may be to blame for the current political impasse in the nation’s capital.

Boron nitride nanocoatings prevent oxidation at ultra-high temperatures
Rice researchers have discovered that nano-thin films of hexagonal boron nitride – also called “white graphene” – protect materials from oxidizing. Pulickel Ajayan, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, of chemistry and of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Jun Lou, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, are quoted.

Historical trilemmas
An article mentions the upcoming conference Eurocrisis Minefield: Mapping the Way Out set for Oct. 14 at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
International Financing Review

Dongarra honored with Ken Kennedy Award for contributions to supercomputing 
HPC luminary Jack Dongarra has been selected to receive an ACM-IEEE Computer Society Ken Kennedy Award, established in 2009 in honor of the late Ken Kennedy, founder of Rice University’s computer science program and a renowned expert on high-performance computing.

Researchers sharpen DNA mapping
With high-tech optical tools and sophisticated mathematics, Rice University researchers have found a way to pinpoint the location of specific sequences along single strands of DNA, a technique that could someday help diagnose genetic diseases. Christy Landes, assistant professor of chemistry, and postdoctoral associate Jixin Chen are quoted. Undergraduate student Alberto Bremauntz and graduate students Lydia Kisley and Bo Shaung are mentioned.
Bioscience Technology

Biochar quiets microbes, including some plant pathogens
Rice University scientists have used synthetic biology to study how a popular soil amendment called “biochar” can interfere with the chemical signals that some microbes use to communicate. Joff Silberg, associate professor of biochemistry and cell biology and of bioengineering, is quoted; Carrie Masiello, associate professor of Earth science, is mentioned.
Agro Times


Speaker discusses his work with robots
James McLurkin, assistant professor of computer science, spoke Tuesday at Marshall University on the future of robotics.
Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, W.Va.)
Visiting lecturer demonstrates future of robotics
The Parthenon

How to use sunlight to produce steam and other vapors
Naomi Halas, the Stanley C. Moore professor in electrical and computer engineering and director of Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics and professor of physics and astronomy, chemistry and biomedical engineering, and Peter Nordlander, professor of physics and astronomy and in electrical and computer engineering, are mentioned in an article about a solar-powered autoclave.
Teatro Naturale


Articles feature New Mexico State University football team and the pink jerseys they will wear to raise awareness about breast cancer in the Oct. 19 game against Rice.
Aggies unveil ‘Tough Enough’ pink jerseys for Oct. 19 Rice game
Las Cruces Sun-News (New Mexico)
Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign offers new events, more awareness
Silver City Sun-News
Aggies unveil ‘Tough Enough’ pink jerseys for Oct. 19 Rice game 
El Paso Times
Aggies unveil pink jerseys for Tough Enough to Wear Pink game

Augustine Rubit’s path to the basket
A story about University of South Alabama basketball player Augustine Rubit features Rice alumni Steve ’84 and Leticia ’86 Trauber and their efforts to help Rubit.

St. Thomas Episcopal spikers back in TAPPS playoffs
In just her second season as St. Thomas Episcopal’s head volleyball coach, Justyna Brewczyk, a former Rice player, has the Saints back in the TAPPS Class 3A playoffs.
Houston Chronicle


Scientists use blur to sharpen DNA mapping
With high-tech optical tools and sophisticated mathematics, Rice University researchers have found a way to pinpoint the location of specific sequences along single strands of DNA, a technique that could someday help diagnose genetic diseases.

About Rice News Staff

The Rice News is produced weekly by the Office of Public Affairs at Rice University.