Biology and Agriculture
Researchers from the Department of Integrative Biology landed a $2.1 million grant to create a “What’s What” list for the fish, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, and terrestrial plants of Patagonia, the southernmost portion of South America. The five-year National Science Foundation grant went to assistant professor Jerald B. Johnson (MS ’99), associate professors Keith A. Crandall and Leigh A. Johnson (BS ’91), and professor Jack W. Sites Jr. They will bring together more than 100 scientists and students from North and South America to study biodiversity, discover new species, and create an evolutionary history for the region.
Catastrophic wildfires have become almost a routine summertime event in the west. BYU professor of integrative biology Bruce A. Roundy has received a $1.4 million federal grant to study ways to end this annual tradition by managing vegetation in the Great Basin. As part of his research, Roundy will coordinate a thousand-acre controlled burn in Utah to study the effect on vegetation and hydrologic resources.
Engineering and Technology
It may not be earth-shaking news to outsiders, but engineers consider an election to the National Academy of Engineering–an honor recently given to earthquake expert T. Leslie Youd (BS ’64)–the highest distinction in their discipline. In his career the recently retired professor of civil and environmental engineering developed techniques for mapping soil-liquefaction hazards, which are widely used in earthquake-hazard evaluation today.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Turns out it’s also a good way for the deaf to learn speech. Samuel Fletcher, an adjunct professor of audiology and speech language pathology, has transformed the palatometer–a sensor-covered device resembling an orthodontic retainer–into an effective speech-teaching tool. The device translates the learner’s tongue position into an image on a computer screen. Next to that image is one of a normal speaker’s tongue position for a given sound, allowing the learner to practice the patterns.
Family Home, and Social Sciences
Why do Native Americans drop out of high school in larger-than-average numbers? After researching students at three high schools in Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Nation for 30 years, associate professor of sociology Carol Ward addresses this question in a recent book. In Native Americans in the School System she finds that, contrary to popular belief, students reared in traditional Native American homes were most likely to succeed in school.
Felix Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E Major for Two Pianos and Orchestra has been around for 175 years, but only now is the original first movement available. Tantara Records’ Mendelssohn, which includes the premiere recording of the original first movement, is drawing international applause from magazines like Gramophone and International Piano. Associate professor of music Stephan D. Lindeman discovered the music, written when Mendelssohn was just 14, in a Berlin library and researched differences between it and the better-known revised version. The recording features pianists Jeffrey L. Shumway (BM ’76), professor of music, and Del Parkinson, along with the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by music professor Kory L. Katseanes.
Health and Human Performance
Good news for people suffering from type 2 diabetes: A recent BYU study of diabetics and others at high risk of becoming diabetic showed that lifestyle changes can reverse the disease. After a year of healthy eating and moderate daily exercise, more than half of the study participants were either no longer diabetic or no longer at risk. “Ideally, it’s best to prevent diabetes from happening in the first place,” says professor of exercise science Steven G. Aldana (BS ’86), who coauthored the study, “but in many cases where it appeared to be too late, we were able to stop it or reverse it.”
Thanks to a $122,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 15 schoolteachers will become students for five weeks in Spain. The seminar, conducted by John R. Rosenberg (BA ’79), dean of the College of Humanities, is titled Art and Literature in the Prado Museum. The seminar will be similar to a 2004 program Rosenberg directed in Spain.
Kory D. Staheli (BA ’84) is the new director of the Howard W. Hunter Law Library. The law school also announced the appointments of Frederick M. Gedicks (BA ’77) to the Guy Anderson Chair and David A. Thomas (BA ’67) to the Rex E. Lee Chair.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Marriott School retained its stature as a top business school in 2005. It ranked the MBA program sixth among smaller (regional) programs worldwide. The Marriott School moved up to fourth for excellence in accountancy and held on to its second-place standing for the best place to hire graduates with high ethical standards.
Kent D. Blad (MS ’99), an assistant teaching professor of nursing, received a presidential citation from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. In 2005 he also became the first nurse from Utah to be named a fellow in the American College of Critical Care Medicine.
Physical and Mathematical Sciences
In a new book with more than 140 aerial photographs, professor of geology emeritus W. Kenneth Hamblin (BA ’53) takes readers on a flyby tour of the canyons, mesas, and other geologic wonders of Utah’s redrock country. From this lofty vantage point, Beyond the Visible Landscape teaches geologic principles through panoramic photography complemented by illustrations and explanations.
Many members of the Religious Education faculty team up with other LDS scholars to examine the life, ministry, and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith in Joseph: Leading Church Scholars Explore the Life and Ministry of the Prophet. Their findings are available in two formats–a six-episode DVD documentary and a companion book of essays.