Dateline Rice for Dec. 13, 2017


Scientists link Hurricane Harvey’s record rainfall to climate change
Antonia Sebastian, a research associate at Rice’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center and a postdoctoral researcher at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, is quoted in articles on two research groups’ findings that climate change contributed significantly to rainfall totals during Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. Sebastian was co-author of a study by World Weather Attribution, an international coalition of scientists.
New York Times (Subscription is required.)
Climate change made Hurricane Harvey’s 51 inches of rain 3 times more likely
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required.)
Attribution of extreme rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, August 2017
IOP Science


In reaction to Trump, Democratic candidates surge in deep-red Texas
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 Democrats running in each of Texas’ 36 congressional districts in 2018 midterm elections. Jones also is quoted on the Bexar County Executive Committee voting to censure retiring Texas House speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, and he discussed the special election to fill Alabama’s vacant Senate seat. (This article appeared in more than 100 media outlets.)
Run ’18: Texas Democrats prepare for most active primary election in decades
Texas Leftist
KUT-FM (Austin, Texas) (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.) (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)
Straus censured in home county over ‘abuse,’ ‘obstruction’
Texas Monitor


How the GOP tax plan could hurt private universities
President David Leebron authored an op-ed on the potential impact of taxing private universities’ endowments and graduate students’ tuition waivers. Photos of Leebron and Rice’s Lovett Hall are included.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This appeared in the Dec. 13 print edition with a different headline, “There’s still time to fix higher ed provisions in tax bill,” and was included in a previous Dateline when the article was posted online.)
Texas graduate students worry they’ll lose big in the federal tax cut bill
A story on the potential impact of taxing graduate students’ tuition waivers mentions Leebron authored an op-ed on the subject.
Texas Tribune (This article also appeared in The Eagle.)

University of Houston to lead new hurricane research center
Rice is a partner in the Hurricane Resilience Research Institute.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required.)

Presurgical imaging may predict whether epilepsy surgery will work
Surgery to remove a part of the brain to give relief to patients with epilepsy doesn’t always result in complete seizure relief, but statisticians at Rice have developed a method for integrating neuroimaging scans to identify patients at high risk of continued seizures before the surgery takes place. Marina Vannucci, the Noah Harding Professor of Statistics and chair of the Department of Statistics, and lead author Sharon Chiang, an M.D./Ph.D. student at Rice and Baylor College of Medicine, worked with colleagues at Baylor, the University of California at Irvine and UCLA to develop a method for integrating functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography scans to find visual biomarkers that distinguish patients with the greatest likelihood of benefit. Michele Guindani, an associate professor of statistics at the University of California, Irvine, and an adjunct associate professor at Rice, is a co-author of the paper.
TMC News (A similar article appeared in Health Imaging News.)

Changing Houston, one little fix at a time
A Rice Design Alliance event is mentioned in an article on “tactical urbanism.”
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This appeared in the Chronicle’s “Gray Matters” online magazine.)

Art show about east end on exhibit
An article on “Eastside As Found & Encounter,” an art show by alumna Jae Boggess ’14 and collaborators at the University of Houston and Buffalo Bayou Partnership, mentions the Rice Design Alliance. Boggess and Angie Chen, interim executive director of RDA, are quoted.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.)

What we’re reading: Snoopy anthology celebrates world’s coolest dog
“Hometown Texas,” a book co-authored by Peter Brown, instructor of photography for the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, is mentioned.
Houston Chronicle (This article also appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.)

American Marketing Association Houston nominates Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land for prestigious award
Rice-based publisher OpenStax, which develops open educational resources, is a finalist for the Sysco Marketing Innovator Award.
Katy News

International Hour of Code at The Rice School/La Escuela Rice
The Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP) helped design activities for the  Hour of Code at the Rice School. Richard Parr, RUSMP executive director, is quoted. Anne Papakonstantinou, RUSMP director, wrote the article.
Village News (This article appeared on the front page.)


KTRH-AM (Houston)
David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute and professor of physics and astronomy, discusses President Donald Trump’s announcement that American astronauts will return to the moon and eventually hope to travel to Mars. President John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech,” given at Rice Sept. 12, 1962, is mentioned in The Drive article. (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)
Are we really going back to the moon, as Trump claims?
The Drive

Customers wait for payment after recycling old gadgets with company
Sean Wang, visiting assistant professor of finance, is quoted in an article on electronics recycling company Stopoint.


Watch how a handheld device detects neonatal jaundice
The first clinical study of a low-cost, hand-held jaundice detector invented by Rice students couldn’t have come at a better time for NEST 360°, an international team of scientists, doctors and global health experts preparing for a Dec. 11 competition for $100 million from the MacArthur Foundation. 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. Pelham Keahey, Rice graduate student and study co-author, is quoted.

14 HHMI professors take on important challenges in science education
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, is mentioned.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Plasmons predicted for borophene
An atom-thick film of boron could be the first pure two-dimensional material able to emit visible and near-infrared light by activating its plasmons, according to Rice scientists. That would make the material known as borophene a candidate for plasmonic and photonic devices like biomolecule sensors, waveguides, nanoscale light harvesters and nanoantennas. Simulations by the lab of Rice theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson are detailed in a paper by Yakobson and lead authors Yuefei Huang, a graduate student, and Sharmila Shirodkar, a postdoctoral researcher, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Materials Today

People — Linda Capuano
The nomination of Linda Capuano, fellow in energy technology in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, to serve as administrator of the Energy Information Administration in the Department of Energy is headed to the full Senate for confirmation after a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. EIA is the department’s statistical and analytical agency.
Natural Gas Intel

System Bits
A roundup of tech news mentions Rice physicists dedicated to creating the working components of a fault-tolerant quantum computer have succeeded in creating a previously unseen state of matter. The “topological excitonic insulator” was observed in tests at Rice by an international team from the United States and China. Study co-authors Rui-Rui Du, professor of physics and astronomy, and alumna Lingjie Du ’14 are quoted. Junichiro Kono, professor of electrical and computer engineering, of physics and astronomy and of materials science and nanoengineering, and graduate student Xinwei Li are mentioned.
Semiconductor Engineering

How big data can support epilepsy treatment
Surgery to remove a part of the brain to give relief to patients with epilepsy doesn’t always result in complete seizure relief, but statisticians at Rice have developed a method for integrating neuroimaging scans to identify patients at high risk of continued seizures before the surgery takes place.
Big Data Zone

Technology of the future, coming soonish: Space elevators, robots and fusion
“Soonish,” a book by Kelly Weinersmith, adjunct faculty member and the former Huxley Fellow in Ecology and Evolution, and her husband, Zach, is reviewed.
Electronics Maker

Addressing the research replication crisis
A story mentions that the Gulf Coast Consortia for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences won first prize in the Association of American Medical Colleges Innovation in Research and Research Education Awards.

Apollo-era physicist correlates lunar dust stickiness to sun angle
A study by former Rice professor Brian O’Brien found a link between the stickiness of lunar dust found on spacesuits and the angle of the sun at the time of a moonwalk.


Good Works Studio is a 2-man company using 3-D printed floors to help refugees
The Emergency Floor project initiated by former Rice Building Workshop students Scott Austin Key ’15 and Sam Brisendine ’14 is featured.

ETBU confers 105 degrees during fall commencement
An article on East Texas Baptist University mentions that Ray Martinez worked at Rice.
Longview News-Journal


Rice hires Brian Smith, Jerry Mack as Mike Bloomgren’s coordinators
Rice hired Brian Smith, formerly an assistant coach for the University of Michigan football team, and Jerry Mack, who was head coach at North Carolina Central University, to join new Owls head football coach Mike Bloomgren’s staff. Smith will serve as defensive coordinator and Mack will be offensive coordinator.
Houston Chronicle
Michigan loses assistant coach to Rice
Toledo Blade (Similar stories appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Dayton Daily News.)
Mack departs N.C. Central; Eastman named interim coach

Knevel still tops in December Scouting Bureau rankings
Rice offensive lineman Peter Godber is mentioned in a story on top prospects eligible for the 2018 Canadian Football League draft.

College top 100 MLB draft prospects 2018
Rice baseball player Ford Proctor is No. 87 on Baseball America’s list.
Baseball America (Subscription is required.)
Kelly grad named top college baseball draft prospect
Houston Chronicle (This article also appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise.)

2017-18 C-USA fall Spirit of Service honorees recognized
Rice cross-country runner Anna Figueroa was one of 14 student-athletes to receive the Conference USA Spirit of Service award, which recognizes community service efforts.

Houston: ‘You can build a program here’
Former Rice football coach Fred Goldsmith is mentioned in an article on James Madison University head coach Mike Houston.
Blue White Illustrated


Rice U.’s Philip Kortum named fellow of National Academy of Inventors
Philip Kortum, an associate professor of psychology at Rice, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the organization announced Tuesday. He is one of 155 academic inventors who received the honor this year. According to the academy, election to NAI fellow status is “the highest professional accolade bestowed solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.”

Habitat counts when predators lurk
Take it from the lowly snail: If you’re on a beach and threatened by predators, run for that nearby forest. Your chance of survival will rise, if only a little bit. That may be a plot point in many a bad B-movie, but its strategy has a basis in reality. Nick Keiser, a Rice Academy postdoctoral fellow in the Department of BioSciences, demonstrated as much in a study of predator-prey combinations that tested the effect of habitat structure on how prey species’ behavioral traits predict their survival in the face of predation.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is a news analyst in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.