The Duke Digest - July 16, 2012
In Today's Issue:
- Reminder: Duke to Host Congressional Briefing on DOD Research July 18
- DC Service Transforms Faculty Teaching and Research
- Mellon Foundation Award to Support International and Area Studies at Duke
- Opinion: A Core Curriculum to Create Engaged Entrepreneurs and Transform Liberal Arts
- Fracking Research: Marcellus Brine Migration Likely Natural, Not Man-Made
DUKE TO HOST CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON DOD RESEARCH JULY 18
The Duke University Office of Federal Relations will host a congressional briefing in the Capitol Visitors Center on July 18 to highlight Duke research funded by the Department of Defense. The briefing, "Department of Defense Research at Duke: Innovative Solutions to Military and Societal Challenges," will feature a panel discussion about the role of universities in the Defense research enterprise as well as specific advances in two areas: signal processing, which is currently in use for IED detection in Afghanistan; and metamaterials, which have led to development of the so-called “invisibility cloak”.
The briefing will take place on July 18, 2012, from 10:30 am – 11:30 am, in SVC 208. Two Duke researchers, Dr. Peter Torrione and Dr. David R. Smith will participate in the panel, and Melissa Vetterkind, Director of the Duke University Office of Federal Relations, will serve as panel moderator.
There is no charge to attend this public event, and light refreshments will be provided. RSVP to the Duke University Office of Federal Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website of Peter Torrione (duke.edu)
Website of David R. Smith (duke.edu)
DC SERVICE TRANSFORMS FACULTY TEACHING AND RESEARCH
"The policy world makes us better academics," says Bruce Jentleson, a Duke public policy professor who recently served as a senior adviser in the State Department. Working directly with public officials -- in his case, on the Middle East and other issues -- "not only provides insights to take back to the classroom but also gives you a little more 'street cred' with your students."
Of his experience taking a leave of absence from Duke to serve in Washington, Eric Toone, head of ARPA-E, says, "It changed absolutely everything about me and how I view the world. You develop a different world view living someplace else. You don't see Duke as your world anymore; you see Duke as a part of the world."
Jentleson, Toone, and other faculty members discuss the influence of government service on their teaching and research in this profile of Duke scholars who have served in Washington.
DC Service Transforms Faculty Teaching and Research (duke.edu)
MELLON FOUNDATION AWARD TO SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL AND AREA STUDIES AT DUKE
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Duke University $750,000 to support the school's 10 international and area studies centers, which provide resources for scholars and students who share interests in a particular region or international theme.
This award will allow Duke to align and link the 10 centers more closely with university-wide priorities focused on global challenges; emphasize external collaborative networks and interdisciplinary theme-based approaches to problems; and encourage work by teams of scholars including faculty members, post-doctoral fellows and undergraduate and graduate students.
Federal funding for international and area studies centers, provided through Title VI of the Higher Education Act, has been significantly reduced in the past two years. The Mellon Foundation has awarded targeted support to these centers in recognition of the funding challenges they face; Duke was one of eight universities invited to participate in the program.
Mellon Foundation Award to Support International And Area Studies at Duke (duke.edu)
OPINION: A CORE CURRICULUM TO CREATE ENGAGED ENTREPRENEURS AND TRANSFORM THE LIBERAL ARTS
Cathy Davidson, professor of interdisciplinary studies and English at Duke proposes a new curriculum to transform the liberal arts:
"So how do we change higher ed to better fit an interconnected, globally volatile, politically vexed, and ever-changing world? It’s time to transform the focus, mission, and rhetoric of liberal arts. Surveys of employers reveal, over and over, that what they prize most in future managers are excellence in written and spoken communication, critical and creative thinking, an ability to collaborate across distances and cultural differences, breadth of knowledge and experience that takes students out of localism and provincialism, basic technical skills, quantitative literacy, and an ability to be flexible and take risks in changing environments. That’s a great syllabus for the new liberal arts. In a world where, according to the U.S. Departments of Labor and Statistics, people change jobs four to six times, it’s the highly specialized skills that become obsolete fastest."
A Core Curriculum to Create Engaged Entrepreneurs (coexist.com)
FRACKING RESEARCH: MARCELLUS BRINE MIGRATION LIKELY NATURAL, NOT MAN-MADE
A Duke University study of well water in northeastern Pennsylvania suggests that naturally occurring pathways could have allowed salts and gases from the Marcellus shale formation deep underground to migrate up into shallow drinking water aquifers. The study found elevated levels of salinity with similar geochemistry to deep Marcellus brine in drinking water samples from three groundwater aquifers, but no direct links between the salinity and shale gas exploration in the region.
"This is a good news-bad news kind of finding," said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.
The good news, he said, is that it's unlikely that hydraulic fracturing for shale gas has caused the elevated salinity. The bad news is that the geochemical fingerprint of the salinity detected in well water from the Lock Haven, Alluvium and Catskill aquifers suggests a network of natural pathways exists in some locations, especially in valleys. These pathways allowed gases and Marcellus brine to migrate up into shallow groundwater aquifers from deeper underground shale gas deposits.
The study appeared last week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was funded by Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.
Avner Vengosh can be reached for additional comment at (919) 491-6792 or Vengosh@duke.edu; Robert Jackson can be reached at (919) 660-7408 or email@example.com; Nat Warner can be reached at (919) 681-6577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcellus Brine Migration Likely Natural, Not Man-Made (Duke.edu)
Study Abstract (PNAS.org)