Dateline Rice for Dec. 12, 2017


A real reality show: MacArthur grant competitors vie onstage for $100 million prize
NEST360°, a 10-year effort to save the lives of 500,000 African babies per year, is a finalist for the MacArthur Foundation’s first $100 million 100&Change grant. The money would allow the team to carry out its visionary plan to halve the number of newborn deaths in African hospitals within 10 years. Rebecca Richards-Kortum, the Malcolm Gillis University Professor, professor of bioengineering and of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Rice 360° Institute for Global Health, was part of a NEST360° delegation that gave a presentation to the MacArthur Foundation Dec. 11 in Chicago and is featured in a video and a slideshow.
Chicago Tribune
100&Change: The finalists
MacArthur Foundation


All these colleges have now gone ‘loan-free’ to help keep students out of debt
An article on colleges and universities that have no-loan policies for students mentions Rice.

VAT in Saudi Arabia and the UAE: The Gulf states redefine the social contract
Jim Krane, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, was part of a Bloomberg Tax Webinar Dec. 4 on a new value-added tax to be introduced by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Bloomberg BNA

Annise Parker’s mission: To get more LGBT candidates elected
Alumna Annise Parker ’78, a fellow at Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders and former mayor of Houston, is featured.
Daily Beast

Yes, we can defeat sexual harassment in the workplace. Here are 6 powerful ways to do it.
Associate Professor of Psychology Eden King is quoted in an article on sexual harassment training.

Gothenburg professor awarded 50 million Swedish kronor for research into innovation and entrepreneurship
Alumna Maureen McKelvey ’87, a professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, was awarded 40 million Swedish kronor (about $5.9 million) as part of the Swedish Research Council’s Distinguished Professor Programme.
Daily Telescope (This article also appeared in NB Herald and Life Pulse Health.)

In Alabama’s deeply divided Senate election, Democrat Doug Jones faces an uphill battle
Alumnus Andrée Reeves ’84 authored an op-ed on the race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones to replace Jeff Sessions, whose U.S. Senate seat was vacated when he became U.S. attorney general under President Donald Trump.
LSU US Centre

Was your hometown warm or cold? Here’s how it shaped your personality
Christopher Fagundes, assistant professor of psychology, is quoted in a story about links between weather and personality development.
Today (This article also appeared at


Filing is over, now the hard part begins — raising money and wooing voters
Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor of political science, fellow in political science at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, is quoted in articles on 2018 midterm elections in Texas.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article appeared in the Dec. 12 print edition with a different headline, “Filings end with crowded fields.”)
After GOP family fight, 2018 elections will show if Democrats can close gap
Dallas Morning News (Subscription is required.)
Primary filing deadline yields few surprises, sets GOP primary race focused on Alamo
San Antonio Express-News
How Abbott, Trump might influence Bexar County voters
San Antonio Express-News (Subscription is required.)


Democrats on track to extend Harris County gains in 2018
Bob Stein, the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science at Rice, is quoted.
Houston Public Media

What religious people really think about science
Elaine Howard Ecklund, founding director of the Religion and Public Life Program and the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, discusses her book “Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really Think,” which she co-authored with Christopher Scheitle. (This story also aired on KUT-FM in Austin, Texas.)


Rice University professor honored as fellow
Satish Nagarajaiah, a professor of civil engineering and of mechanical engineering, was elected a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
American Society of Civil Engineers

ACM recognizes 2017 fellows for making transformative contributions and advancing technology in the digital age
Edward Knightly, professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science and department chair of electrical and computer engineering, was named an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow for contributions to multi-user wireless LANs, wireless networks for underserved regions and cross-layer wireless networking.
Association for Computing Machinery

Poverty eradication: Rethinking our educational orientation
Marc Epstein, former distinguished research professor of management in Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, is mentioned.
Business Day


Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug of war
Nature whispers its stories in a faint molecular language, and Rice scientist Laurence Yeung and colleagues can finally tell one of those stories, thanks to a one-of-a-kind instrument that allowed them to hear what the atmosphere is saying with rare nitrogen molecules. Yeung, assistant professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences, and colleagues at Rice, UCLA, Michigan State University and the University of New Mexico counted rare molecules in the atmosphere that contain only heavy isotopes of nitrogen and discovered a planetary-scale tug of war between life, the deep Earth and the upper atmosphere that is expressed in atmospheric nitrogen.
MSU Today

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson to girls: Dream it, then achieve it
Astronaut and Rice alumna Peggy Whitson ’86 was the keynote speaker at the Celebrate Iowa Gala Dec. 8 in Des Moines.

CFP: ASLH Student Research Colloquium
The Rice History Department will host the American Society for Legal History’s Student Research Colloquium Nov. 7-8, 2018.
Legal History Blog


KCBD-TV (Lubbock, Texas)
The Rice men’s basketball team will face Texas Tech University Dec. 16 in Lubbock. (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
Takeaways: Red Raiders, alumni prepare for Saturday night in coliseum

Chris Del Conte introduced as Texas’ new athletics director
Former Rice Athletic Director Chris Del Conte was hired by the University of Texas.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in the San Antonio Express-News, and it appeared in the Dec. 12 print edition with a different headline, “Del Conte brings some emotion to new job.”)
Chris Del Conte hire a boon for Shaka Smart, Texas basketball
Houston Chronicle (This article also appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.)

Daniella Famili named 3rd team All-Region
A story on the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s All-South Region teams mentions that Rice’s Louise Stephens, Samantha Chaiken, Nia Stallings and Annie Walker were named to the first team and Maya Hoyer made the second team.


Baker Institute paper: Houston, Harris County law enforcement leaders favor drug policy reform
Houston and Harris County law enforcement leaders support the need for drug policy reforms in the United States, according to experts at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. A new paper, “Houston-Area Law Enforcement Leaders Favor Drug Policy Reform,” authored by William Martin, director of the Baker Institute’s Drug Policy Program, comprises excerpts from interviews that Dean Becker, a contributing expert to the Drug Policy Program, conducted with former Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland (2010-2016), current Chief Art Acevedo, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and District Attorney Kim Ogg, along with additional comments by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Rodney Ellis.

Rice men’s basketball to host 4,200 grade-schoolers for 5th annual ‘School House Mania’
Rice’s Athletics Department will host more than 4,200 local elementary schoolchildren for its fifth annual “School House Mania” when the Owls men’s basketball team tips off against St. Edward’s University at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 14 at Tudor Fieldhouse. Prior to the game, the Rice University School Mathematics Project will provide students opportunities to participate in math and science activities from 10 to 11 a.m.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is a senior editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.