The Duke Digest - May 2, 2011
In Today's Issue:
- Duke Physics Research for Safer Ports
- Duke Alum Named Chief Patent Judge at USPTO
- President Brodhead Outlines FY12 Federal Funding Priorities
- Opinion: Dean Chameides on EPA in the Crosshairs
- After Bin Laden: Duke Faculty React
- Duke Researchers: Smart Grid Development Holds Promise for U.S. Jobs
DUKE PHYSICS RESEARCH FOR SAFER PORTS
Two teams of North Carolina physicists are conducting research that could provide better security at our nation's ports.
Mohammad Ahmed, a nuclear physicist at Duke University, is one of the researchers mapping the intricacies of the atomic nucleus, which allows them to identify "fingerprints" of nuclear materials, such as uranium and plutonium. The fingerprints would be used in new cargo scanners to accurately and efficiently identify suspicious materials. Cargo scanners using the new nuclear fingerprints would be sensitive enough to spot an entire bomb or the smaller parts to build one.
Ahmed's anti-terrorism project was developed with the support of the Department of Homeland Security's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, or DNDO. The agency awarded Ahmed and his colleagues a $2 million grant.
Physcis for Safer Ports (Today.duke.edu)
DUKE ALUM NAMED CHIEF PATENT JUDGE AT USPTO
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has appointed James Donald Smith (JD '86) of Chicago, Ill. to serve as the next Chief Administrative Patent Judge of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As BPAI Chief Judge, Smith will lead the board that hears and adjudicates patent appeals from decisions of patent examiners. Smith begins serving as Chief Judge on May 8, 2011.
James Donald Smith Named Chief Patent Judge at USPTO (ipwatchdog.com)
PRESIDENT BRODHEAD OUTLINES FY12 FEDERAL FUNDING PRIORITIES
President Brodhead sent a letter on Friday to Representative David Price outlining Duke's federal funding priorities for the upcoming FY12 budget cycle. In the letter, President Brodhead acknowledges the country's tenuous financial situation and emphasizes the need to make education and scientific research funding a national priority.
Duke FY12 Appropriations Request Letter to David Price (pdf)
OPINION: DEAN CHAMEIDES ON EPA IN THE CROSSHAIRS
In an opinion piece originally published in Science Magazine's Earth Day issue, Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment Bill Chameides writes about the EPA in the context of current budget difficulties:
"There are those in the U.S. Congress who seem determined to dismantle the nation's Environmental Protection Agency in the name of economic growth and jobs. This despite EPA estimates that last year, the accumulated benefits of the Clean Air Act alone exceeded its costs by more than $1 trillion.
The struggle over EPA has just been played out within the context of the larger budgetary conflict between the Republican-controlled House and the Obama administration. In the brinkmanship negotiations that kept government doors open, EPA appears to have escaped more or less intact. The agency will have to absorb $1.6 billion in cuts, or about 16 percent of its 2010 budget. Although not fatal, those cuts will surely slow the implementation of programs that are under legislative attack, including those that tackle water and air pollution. But the battle is far from over."
EPA in the Crosshairs (nicholas.duke.edu)
AFTER BIN LADEN: DUKE FACULTY REACT
The death of Osama bin Laden is a historic moment for the United States, but it does not mean the world is a much safer place today, Duke faculty experts agreed Monday.
Faculty from political science, public policy, religion, Islamic studies, law and other academic fields spent much of the day sharing their views in media interviews, on blog postings and through Tweets and Facebook messages. They addressed issues ranging from the raid's military effectiveness and likely political impact on the 2012 presidential election to the implications for Muslims in the United States and worldwide.
After Bin Laden: Duke Faculty React (today.duke.edu)
DUKE RESEARCHERS: SMART GRID DEVELOPMENT HOLDS PROMISE FOR U.S. JOBS
Turning the electric power system into a smart grid, or so-called "energy Internet," has already created thousands of U.S. jobs and has the potential to create many more, says a new report by a Duke University research team.
The team's report, "U.S. Smart Grid: Finding New Ways to Cut Carbon and Create Jobs," identifies 334 U.S. locations in 39 states that are already developing or manufacturing products for a smart grid.
Using two-way digital communication, a fully developed smart grid in the future will allow utilities and customers to share information in real time -- often automatically -- so both sides can more effectively manage electricity use. Smart grid promises to reduce carbon emissions, stimulate technology innovation and create jobs, and represents a huge technological advance over today's centralized, one-way U.S. electric system, according to the Duke study.
Smart Grid Development Holds Promise for U.S. Jobs (today.Duke.edu)