Dateline Rice for June 8, 2018


New Mars discoveries advance case for possible life
NASA’s Curiosity rover recently found organic molecules, potential building blocks of life, preserved in 3.5 billion-year-old bedrock on Mars. Curiosity also confirmed sharp seasonal increases of methane in the Martian atmosphere, and researchers cannot yet rule out a biological source because most of Earth’s atmospheric methane comes from animal and plant life, and the environment itself. Kirsten Siebach, assistant professor of Earth, environmental, and planetary sciences, is quoted.
The New York Times (This Associated Press article appeared in over 800 other media outlets.)
KPCC-FM (Los Angeles)
Curiosity rover finds 3.5-billion-year-old organic compounds and strange methane on Mars
Mars rover Curiosity’s new findings hailed as ‘breakthroughs in astrobiology’
NASA’s Curiosity rover finds new evidence Mars isn’t a dead planet
Nasa Mars rover finds organic matter in ancient lake bed 
The Guardian (UK)

Simpler model gets to the point with proteins
Rice research that developed a molecular modeling framework that should enable scientists to model larger molecules with greater accuracy than ever is featured in “Top Story” on the National Science Foundation’s homepage and in the June 7 issue of the NSF’s Science 360 newsletter. Cecilia Clementi, professor of chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering, is pictured.
National Science Foundation


4 ‘doubt-raisers’ sap recommendation letters for women
Letters of recommendation written for women are more likely to contain words or phrases that raise doubts about job or education qualifications than are letters written for men. On average, more than half of the letters contained at least one and such wording might weigh in on decisions in which candidates otherwise have very similar qualifications. Co-author Mikki Hebl, the Martha and Henry Malcolm Lovett Chair of Psychology at Rice’s School of Social Sciences, is quoted. Bustle also cites recent research from Hebl that debunks myths about the wage disparities between men and women.
Futurity (This article also appeared in the Houston Chronicle San Antonio Express-News,, the Jersey Tribune, Follow News and Infosurhoy.)
Reasons for the gender pay gap don’t include this major myth, according to new research

Brain ‘ripples’ lock in mental maps while bodies rest
Caleb Kemere, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is quoted in an article about his research, which demonstrated that even minimal data harvested from the brain during periods of rest can be used to explore big ideas about how memories are formed and retained.
Futurity (This article also appeared in ALN Magazine.)


For Eric Holguin, Michael Cloud it’s a battle on the ballot again (and again) for Congress
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 a Caller Times article about the likelihood of a second runoff election for Congressional District 27, as well as a broadcast about the impact of allowing Salvadorans living abroad to vote in the country’s 2019 presidential election.
Caller Times
Salvadorans who want to vote abroad have 3 months to register for the electoral roll
Univision (An English translation is not available.)

8 things to do with your best friend in Houston
James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace on the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion is mentioned is featured. A time-lapse video is also included.
KTRK Online

San Marcos CISD hires assistant superintendent for human resources
An article featuring Marcela Baez mentions that she participated in the Strategic Marketing Management program at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business.
San Marcos Corridor News

Affordable apartment project breaks ground in Houston
An article cites Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research that the city of Houston and its housing authority are moving forward on 12 new affordable housing projects totaling 1,543 units amid growing concerns that Houston faces an “affordable housing crisis.”
Houston Defender Network

TEXAS VIEW: Mexican immigrants raise a valedictorian

An article mentions that Juan De La Garza plans to attend Rice.
Odessa American

Applying to dozens of colleges isn’t common despite viral reports, Rice’s admission head says
Yvonne Romero da Silva, vice president for enrollment, is featured and quoted in an article about application processes for high school students.
The Courier of Montgomery County


Concert celebrates Houston’s space history through music

David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute and professor of physics and astronomy, is interviewed about how Rice came to own the land that would later become NASA and the link between outer space and music.
Houston Public Media (Comments begin at 9:30.)

Full show: The intersection of faith and science, and stolen paintings from WWII 
An episode of “Houston Matters” discusses a recent talk held at Rice titled “Science at a Particular Crossroads: Bringing the Religious Implications of Mainstream Science to Evangelical Christians.”
Houston Public Media


Scientists go deep to quantify perovskite properties

Scientists led by Rice and Los Alamos National Laboratory have discovered electronic properties in quantum-scale devices that are likely to impact the growing field of low-cost perovskite-based optoelectronics. Researchers Aditya Mohite and Jean-Christophe Blancon will be joining Rice. Junichiro Kono, professor of electrical and computer engineering, of physics and astronomy and of materials science and nanoengineering, is quoted.

630 free online programming and computer science courses you can start in June
An article mentions that Rice offers several free online computer coding courses.
Free Code Camp

Tilman Fertitta opens his Post Oak Presidential Suite — 5,000 square feet fit for any VIP
President John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” given at Rice Sept. 12, 1962, is mentioned.
Hotel Online


What would Trump’s coal bailout look like in Texas?
Michael Maher, senior program adviser for the Center for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is interviewed about the effects on Texas of the Department of Energy’s plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power.
High Plains Public Radio

Considering racial injustice from a humanist perspective: Meet Dr. Anthony Pinn
Anthony Pinn, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and professor of religion and fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, is interviewed about his recent participation in a panel discussion titled “A Humanist Response to Racial Injustice.” Pinn is also interviewed about his life and research interests in the Canadian Atheist.
People’s World
Interview with Professor Anthony Pinn — Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, Rice University
Canadian Atheist

It’s an ‘it girl’! The birth of ‘Sex and the City’
Alumna Candace Bushnell ’80, creator of “Sex and the City,” is featured and pictured.

As cities report more rats than ever, scientists find eastside and westside rodents
Michael Kohn, an associate professor in the Department of BioSciences, is quoted in an article about the efforts to genetically identify where different rat families have clustered in four cities in the New World.
Virginian-Pilot (This article also appeared in Watertown Daily Times.)

A tribute to Baruch Brody (1943-2018)
The late Baruch Brody, professor emeritus of philosophy and former chair of the department, is featured.

Post-run recovery tips from around the world
Alumna Becky Wade ’11 authored an article about the five best tips to recover quickly from long runs.
REI Co-Op Journal

Opinion: Solve our school spirit shortage
Rice is mentioned.
The Shorthorn

Risk assessment tools may increase number of incarcerations
Risk assessment tools are used to predict the likelihood of convicts reoffending and help determine parole and how closely or not closely to supervise people who are paroled. These risk assessment instruments ultimately consider everyone who is assessed a risk, which in turn may lead to higher levels of people getting involved in the criminal justice system, according to new research by Robert Werth, senior lecturer in sociology.
Homeland Security News Wire


11 UTEP football games picked up in C-USA broadcast schedule
An article mentions that the University of Texas El Paso football will play Rice Nov. 3.
KTSM News Channel 9

2018 Conference USA football TV schedule announced
An article mentions that Rice football will host Prairie View A&M Aug. 25.

Conference USA announces 2018 football broadcast schedule
An article mentions that Rice football will host the University of Texas San Antonio Oct. 6.
UTSA Athletics

Local Hall of Fame inductee Bob Chipman thankful for those who made success possible
Tanner Gardner, the chief operating officer of Rice’s department of athletics, was inducted into the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame.
The Topeka Capital-Journal

WKU soccer releases 2018 fall schedule
An article mentions that Rice women’s soccer will play Western Kentucky University Oct. 14.
Bowling Green Daily News

Bombers have 11 players drafted during MLB Draft
An article mentions that Rice baseball player Cody Staab was recently drafted by the Seattle Mariners.
KBTX Online
Mariners close out Day 3 of the Major League Baseball Draft with final 30 picks
The Seattle Times

Photos: NCAA Championships Day 2
Rice men’s track and field decathlete Scott Filip is pictured.
Oregon Daily Emerald

Texas Tech officially introduces Rice graduate transfer Preston Gordon
Former Rice football player Preston Gordon, who will join Texas Tech as a graduate transfer, is featured
Austin American-Statesman (This article also appeared in My Palm Beach Post, Ein News and the Springfield News-Sun Online.)
Big time transfers arrive on campus
SB Nation


Rebecca Richards-Kortum named US science envoy
The State Department has selected Rice bioengineer and global health pioneer Rebecca Richards-Kortum to serve as a U.S. science envoy. She is one of only 23 scientists ever selected for this prestigious position, which chooses renowned and distinguished American scientists to promote the United States’ commitment to science, technology and innovation as tools of diplomacy and economic growth.

Rice U. leadership scholar Kolditz to give opening keynote speech at Texas Boys State June 10
Tom Kolditz, a leadership scholar and executive director of Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders, will be the opening plenary speaker June 10 at Texas Boys State, the American Legion’s summer program where youth leaders create and run their own government. The weeklong program takes place on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Michael Heaston to lead Rice’s opera program
Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music will welcome Michael Heaston as its new director of opera studies this fall. In addition to his full-time role at Rice, Heaston will be music director of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Baker Institute paper: Corporate tax cuts could lead to modest decline in wealth inequality
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 could lead to a modest decline in wealth inequality due to the act’s corporate tax cuts, according to an analysis by experts at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy titled “Long-term Macroeconomic Effects of the 2017 Corporate Tax Cuts.”

Rice, Los Alamos lead project to study excitons important to next-generation electronics
Scientists led by Rice and Los Alamos National Laboratory have discovered electronic properties in quantum-scale devices that are likely to impact the growing field of low-cost perovskite based optoelectronics. In an open-access Nature Communications paper, researchers studied the behavior of excitons trapped in quantum wells made of crystalline, halide-based perovskite compounds.

About Stefan De La Garza

Stefan De La Garza is a news analyst in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.