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Dietrich College News
Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Carnegie Mellon University

September 2013

As brain imaging techniques advance, their potential influence on criminal justice is becoming increasingly evident.


An innovative two-part series, "Brains on Trial with Alan Alda," recently aired on PBS, and explored how brain imaging has the growing ability to separate truth from lies - even decoding people's thoughts, intentions and memories - and may radically affect future judicial proceedings.


Carnegie Mellon University's seminal neuroscience research that combines brain imaging with machine-learning techniques to identify a person's thoughts and emotions was featured in part two of the series, "Deciding Punishment."


Read more and watch the episode

DNA Identification after Disaster or Conflict

The April 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory Building in Bangladesh, in which more than 1,130 people were killed, is only the latest in a long line of events that has made plain the plight of the families whose loved ones go missing after conflict and disaster.


In a new paper published in Science, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh ethics, policy and human rights experts argue that international structures are needed to promote more equal access to forensic identification technologies, ensure their fair and efficient use, and provide uniform protections to participants following large-scale conflict and disaster.


"After a conflict or a disaster, if remains are burned, mangled, decayed or comingled, the only way to identify them may be by using DNA, said lead author Alex John London, professor of philosophy and director of the university's Center for Ethics and Policy.


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Student Athlete Gives Back in India
When CMU men's basketball player Keerthi Boru (DC'16) started making phone calls to India, the world's second most populated country, inquiring about holding basketball camps he had no idea that within a one-week period he would be booked at three schools and two basketball organizations for a total of eight sessions.

Boru arrived in Hyderabad, India, where the first indoor basketball court was built only a few years ago. He had always been passionate about helping kids in India with basketball fundamentals, so when his family offered to help him make the opportunity a reality, he decided to take the chance and follow his heart.

Upon his arrival in mid-July, Boru was expecting a quiet trip touring the country while teaching the fundamentals of basketball to children along the way.

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Lord of the Rings: Alum Returns for "How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien" Lecture

Looking back, it might seem that Michael D.C. Drout (DC'90) was destined to become a J.R.R. Tolkien expert. When Drout was young, his father hung a map of Middle-earth that fascinated him, and he enjoyed his dad reading "The Lord of The Rings" out loud to him so much that he frequently insisted on multiple rereadings.


While an undergraduate majoring in professional writing and creative writing, Drout re-connected with Tolkien in English Professor Peggy Knapp's Medieval Literature class and begin writing his own fantasy novels. He eventually decided that he wanted to be a professor of medieval literature and used material he found while researching at Oxford to begin working on Tolkien professionally.


Today, Drout is a professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. He will return to Carnegie Mellon University for the first time in 20 years to give the Department of English's Carol Brown Lecture Series talk on "How to Read J.R.R. Tolkien" on Thursday, October 3 from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. in Wean Hall 7500.


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Cèilidh Weekend: September 26-29 

Be a part of Carnegie Mellon's annual Cèilidh Weekend, a celebration for the entire CMU family, combining the traditions of Homecoming Weekend and Family Weekend.  


Alumni, families, students, faculty, and staff are all invited.


A few event highlights from this year's schedule:


Friday, Sept. 27:

The Limits of American Intervention: Lessons from Afghanistan

Geeks on a Mission

Dietrich College Cèilidh Reception,


Saturday, Sept. 28

The Impact of Brain and Mind Research

Jim Daniels' Book Signing


Also, this year's Alumni Award winners from the Dietrich College are:


Terry F. Yosie (DC'75, '81) - Achievement Award

Anne Witchner Levin (DC'73) - Service Award 


Read more.

More Dietrich College News 

Dietrich College Multimedia 

Class Notes

Please note, due to the college's name change to the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the indicia is now "DC."   


Bart Astor (DC'69), Jonathan Barnes (DC'93) and others in Class Notes.  


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Personal Mention
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Included in this issue are Steve Awodey, Kevin Zollman, Joseph Mertz, Raja Sooriamurthi and more.

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In the August 2013 issue of Dietrich College News, it was reported that the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings honored five from Carnegie Mellon. The article should have stated that seven were honored because Richard Scheines and the late Steven Klepper were recognized for their OLI course, "Empirical Research Methods for the Social Sciences." The course was named an honorable mention in the American Statistical Association's first Causality in Statistics Education Award, which is aimed at encouraging the teaching of basic causal inference in introductory statistics courses. Scheines is professor and head of the Department of Philosophy; Klepper was the Arthur Arton Hamerschlag Professor of Economics and Social Science.

Dietrich College News regrets the omission.
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Dietrich College Pride Day
Join Dietrich College faculty, staff and students and be Dietrich College Proud.

Wednesday, Sept. 25 2:00-4:00p.m.
CFA Lawn

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Global or World Universities?
The Humanities Center hosts Wlad Godzich, Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for a talk on recent university expansion projects.

Thursday, Sept. 26
4:30 p.m.
Porter Hall 100

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