January 16, Vol. 24, No. 25                

President Suresh Goes to the White House 
Carnegie Mellon President Subra Suresh is among a select group of college and university presidents and leaders from nonprofits, foundations, state governments and businesses invited by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to the White House today to discuss expanding college opportunity.

"Carnegie Mellon has a long tradition of providing educational opportunities to those striving to be the first in their family to get a university degree," President Suresh said. "We continue to honor our legacy of education accessibility by engaging young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure that they are excited about and prepared for the challenges and rigors of postsecondary education."

Carnegie Mellon has pioneered a number of initiatives to open admission opportunities for students from underrepresented groups and communities, including the Summer Academy for Math and Science, the Leonard Gelfand Center for Outreach and Service, and Women@SCS.

Learn about the Summer Academy for Math and Science, the Gelfand Center and Women@SCS.

Watch the White House webcast.

Celebrating King's Legacy Monday, Jan. 20 
Carnegie Mellon will pay tribute to the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. with an afternoon and evening full of events and activities in the University Center. Classes after 12:30 p.m. are canceled to allow students, faculty and staff to participate. Here are some highlights:

11:30 a.m. - President Subra Suresh will host a special Listening Tour stop focused on CMU's commitment to diversity. (Rangos Ballroom)

12:30 p.m. - Children's School Tribute to MLK (Connan Room & Wean Commons)

12:30 p.m. - 15th Annual MLK Day Writing Awards Program with a musical tribute by the School of Drama (Rangos Ballroom)

2 p.m. - Story Circles: Social Justice & Community (Danforth Lounge)
2:30 p.m. - Arts Greenhouse Performance & Workshop (Kirr Commons)

4:30 p.m. - Keynote address, "Leading with Courage and Conviction," by Distinguished Service Professor Jendayi Frazer (top). Student speakers are Vijay Jayaram (E'15, middle) and Millard McElwee (E'15, bottom).

8 p.m. - MLK Late NIght Spoken Word, "Force Through Speech" (Skibo Cafe)

Learn more details about MLK Day.
Learn more about the MLK Day Writing Awards.  

Your Thesis, In Three Minutes, Please        
Dean of Libraries Keith Webster is hosting Carnegie Mellon's first Three Minute Thesis competition, challenging Ph.D. candidates in every college to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just three minutes, in language appropriate for a general audience.

Thus far, 145 candidates have registered to compete. Competition began this week with the first of 11 preliminary heats - all scheduled from 4:30 - 6 p.m. and open to the public.

Heat winners will receive their choice of an iPad or the equivalent in travel monies, and move on to compete in the final 3MT showdown from 5 - 6:30 p.m., Feb. 18 in McConomy Auditorium. Final winners will receive travel grants of $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000.

Three Minute Thesis (3MTŪ) is a competition developed by The University of Queensland in 2008. Enthusiasm grew and its adoption by numerous universities led to the development of an international competition in 2010. Today, students from the U.S., UK, Canada and Hong Kong compete in regional events.

Read more about the competition.
See the schedule of heats (participant lineup subject to change).

Measuring the Universe Like Never Before    
Using what cosmologists call the standard ruler, an international group of researchers, including physicists from Carnegie Mellon's McWilliams Center for Cosmology, have made the most precise measurement of the universe to an accuracy of 1 percent using galaxies more than six billion light years away.

Standard rulers can be thought of like a car's headlights. The distance between the two headlights of most cars is more or less the same. The farther away a car is from the observer, the closer together the headlights appear to be. If we measure the angular separation between the headlights, we're able to calculate how far away the car is. If we have multiple measurements, we can tell how fast the car is moving.

"Before, our picture of the universe looked fuzzy. It was like we were nearsighted, but didn't have glasses," said Shirley Ho, assistant professor of physics. "Now we're seeing 20/20 and we're able to measure the scale of the universe's structure to an accuracy of 1 percent. This can help us to better understand the expansion history of the universe and tell us vital information about the nature of the dark energy that drives the expansion."

Ho and Mariana Vargas-Magaņa, a post-doctoral researcher at the McWilliams Center, are part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III's (SDSS III) Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Study (BOSS).

Read the full story.

Save a Little Now vs. Saving More Later 
Carnegie Mellon researchers have found that consumers are more likely to choose the more expensive energy-efficient bulbs when the annual energy cost is listed on the label.

"Energy-efficient bulbs, like compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, can go a long way in saving energy and reducing harmful emissions," said Ines Azevedo, an assistant professor of engineering and public policy.

"The trick with energy-efficient bulbs, is that the extra cost happens up front at the point of purchase, and the savings happen later with lower electricity bills," said CMU's Jeremy Michalek, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and engineering and public policy. "When consumers value up-front savings so much more than future savings, efficient bulbs don't look very attractive.

"But when we include the estimated annual energy cost on the label, consumers behave as though saving a dollar today is worth the same as saving 50 cents next year. They still prefer savings in the present, but they are more aware of future costs and give energy efficient bulbs more of a chance," Michalek said

Read the full story.

Help ensure the safety and well-being of the CMU community:
University Police: 412-268-2323
Ethics Hotline: 1-877-700-7050

Calendar Highlights 

 Personal Mention

Subra Suresh
Stephen Fienberg

Aarti Singh and Siddhartha Srinivasa

David Shumway
Dan Gilman

Dale Mortensen

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