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4 | Moon Rock •

| Nanocarpets
4 •
| Rice License Plate
6 • 14| Oil Futures

The Magazine of Rice University • No. 5 | 2010

in the Sciences and Engineering

10 New Colleges
32 Tracking Music Downloads
34 Focus on Transnationalism
36 Far Afield

Contents 3 Nanoshells target 6 What effect does gen-

cancer cells. der have on donating
to meaningful causes?

6 Rice drivers now have 4 Forget shag, flat

something to hoot weave and twisted
about thanks to a new tuft. The latest word
custom license plate. in carpets is nano.
9 The way to increase
voter turnout may be
simpler than anyone

8 Compounds with novel

magnetic properties are
scarce. Emilia Morosan’s
solution? Create new
46 ones.

6 The kudos continue for

the Rice MBA program
7 No one knows exactly how much Earth’s climate will warm, but current in entrepreneurship.
predictions about global warming might be incorrect.
14 Oil Speculators and the
Future of Oil Futures
5 What if high-tech
surgical tools, de-
signer drugs and
diagnostic gadgets
could make health
care cheaper and
save lives at the
same time?

Features 17 Protecting art from the ravages of
time can be almost as easy as putting
together Tinkertoys.
18 For most people, doing something on a
lark means buying a lottery ticket or going
out for ice cream. For others, it’s protecting
a computer system under attack.
20 Spotlight on Women in the Sciences
and Engineering 18 This fall, Rice welcomed a record
Women seeking careers in the natural sciences number of smiling new faces to
and engineering at Rice have faced challenges campus. Learn a little bit about who
inherent in traditionally male-dominated fields of they are.
academia, but many have more than overcome 19 The Graduate Student Association at 40
them to earn world renown and become role

models for aspiring young researchers.

32 Cybertracker
“You really don’t get it, do you?,” Eric Garland 40 A young symphony conductor
told the music industry back in 1994. “This isn’t discovers that the most valuable
about Napster, and it isn’t over. It’s only just lesson he learned at Rice applies to life
begun.” as much as it does to music.
by David Menconi 42 Sharing the joy of dance requires
openness, creativity and, above all, the
34 Welcome to the Chao Center performer’s best effort.
The new Chao Center for Asian Studies focuses

on transnationalism, with an eye toward
collaborative research.
by Merin Porter 34
44 Before Henry David Thoreau took
36 Far Afield up residence at Walden Pond, he
When it comes to digging up the dirt on accidentally set fire to more than 300
humankind’s past, nothing beats hands-on acres of forest.
experience. 44 In this day of huge agribusinesses,
by Christopher Dow niche agriculture is making a comeback
across Texas.
45 Joyful, optimistic and unflinchingly
honest poems help a renowned
physician deal with personal grief.
36 45 Desegregating private universities in
the South was far more complex than
simply mandating change.

46 Running, swimming and cycling are
serious fun for the new Rice University
Cycling and Triathlon club.
48 When the 2012 Summer Olympic
Games in London roll around, Mauro
42 Hamza will be the coach behind the

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 1

F o r e w o r d Rice Magazine
Vol. 66, No. 5
Welcome to a new decade — the decade in which Rice celebrates its Published by the
100th anniversary as a premier institution of higher learning. Many ele- Office of Public Affairs
Linda Thrane, vice president
ments have contributed to Rice’s excellence, not the least of which is our
outstanding faculty. Though Rice’s initial faculty had only 12 members, it Christopher Dow
has, from the beginning, provided students with the in-depth knowledge Editorial Director
not simply to succeed in the world, but also to make significant contribu- Tracey Rhoades

tions to it. Today, that faculty has even greater depth, and its numbers Creative Director
Jeff Cox
have grown to 647 full-time, 143 part-time and 274 adjunct members.
Art Director
Chuck Thurmon
But quality isn’t about numbers. It’s about depth and breadth. Rice has consistently
proved resilient in recruiting individuals to its faculty who provide a wide range of Editorial Staff
disciplines, experiences and perspectives. Recent years have seen groundswell changes B.J. Almond, staff writer
Jade Boyd, staff writer
in faculty demographics, particularly in the recruitment of women in fields that have been Franz Brotzen, staff writer
predominantly occupied by men. Because this has been especially true in the sciences Jenny West Rozelle, assistant editor
and engineering, we wanted, in this first issue of the decade in which Rice will celebrate David Ruth, staff writer
Jessica Stark, staff writer
a milestone anniversary, to honor the many ways that our women scientists and engineers Mike Williams, staff writer
have contributed to the university’s growth and stature, from research that expands human
understanding and well-being to diversity and leadership. Tommy LaVergne, photographer
When we decided to devote so many pages to female leaders in the sciences and engineer- Jeff Fitlow, assistant photographer

ing, I worried that the variety we strive for in the magazine might be missing from this The Rice University
issue. I needn’t have. Board of Trustees
James W. Crownover, chair man; J.D.
One story that’s sure to interest our readers is a tour of Rice’s newest colleges: Duncan and Bucky Allshouse; D. Kent Anderson; Keith
T. Anderson; Subha Viswanathan Barry;
McMurtry. Not only are they two of the most innovative and attractive buildings on campus, Suzanne Deal Booth; Alfredo Brener; Robert
they also are among the most environmentally conscious, both in design and construction. T. Brockman; Nancy P. Carlson; Robert L.
We also visit the Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center. The facility, as Clarke; Bruce W. Dunlevie; Lynn Laverty
Elsenhans; Douglas Lee Foshee; Susanne
I can attest from my daily visits, rivals the best commercial Morris Glasscock; Robert R. Maxfield; M.
health clubs in Houston with its bright, airy, well thought-out Kenneth Oshman; Jeffery O. Rose; Lee H.
spaces and state-of-the-art exercise equipment. Even better, it’s Rosenthal; Hector de J. Ruiz; Marc Shapiro;
L. E. Simmons; Robert B. Tudor III; James S.
staffed by the same friendly, helpful personnel from the old Turley; Randa Duncan Williams.
Rec Center. (Hats off to my friends at the front desk: Deirdre,
Administrative Officers
Rudy and Lupita.) David W. Leebron, president; Eugene Levy,
Our other features continue the variety, beginning with provost; Kathy Collins, vice president
for Finance; Kevin Kirby, vice president
“Cybertracker,” a profile of Eric Garland ’94, one of the world’s for Administration; Chris Muñoz, vice
leading authorities on digital piracy. “Welcome to the Chao Center” provides a look at the most president for Enrollment; Linda Thrane, vice
president for Public Affairs; Scott W. Wise,
recent addition to Rice’s impressive list of research centers, which focuses on transnationalism, vice president for Investments and treasurer;
and its founding director, Tani Barlow. “Far Afield” unearths the history, aims and training Richard A. Zansitis, general counsel; Darrow
program of the Rice Archaeological Field School. And “Dance” waltzes us around the Rice Zeidenstein, vice president for Resource
Dance Theater. We also introduce you to one of Rice’s newest and most exciting athletic clubs,
Rice University Cycling and Triathlon. Rice Magazine is published by the Office of
We hope you enjoy these and the many other articles in this issue. And be sure to stay tuned Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent
to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate
for future issues because you won’t want to miss any of the exciting developments at Rice in students, parents of undergraduates and
the decade ahead. friends of the university.

Editorial Offices
Creative Services–MS 95
Christopher Dow P.O. Box 1892 Houston, TX 77251-1892
Fax: 713-348-6757

Send address changes to:
Rice University
Corrections Development Services–MS 80
In the last issue, the article “Touch the Sky” contained two errors. The name of the tower on the Humanities Building should have P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892
been spelled Russ Pitman Tower rather than Russ Pittman Tower. Also, the caption for the photo of the Crystal Campanile lists
Michael Graves & Associates as one of the architects, but Graves served as a consultant only, not as an architect on the project. © J a nua ry 2 0 1 0 Rice Unive rsit y

through the Sallyport

“Some of the most essential questions in

nanomedicine today are about biodistribution —
where particles go inside the body
and how they get there.”
—Naomi Halas

Nanoparticle Could destroyed them with heat. Joshi said the next
step will be to destroy whole tumors in live
Combine Cancer animals. He estimates that testing in humans
Diagnosis and Treatment is at least two years away, but the ultimate
goal is a system where a patient gets a shot
containing nanoparticles with antibodies that
Researchers at Rice University and Baylor
are tailored for the patient’s cancer. Doctors
College of Medicine (BCM) have created a would then observe the particles’ progress
single nanoparticle that can be tracked in through the body, identify areas where tu-
real time with magnetic resonance imag- mors exist and kill the tumors with heat.
ing (MRI) as it homes in on cancer cells, “This particle provides four options —
two for imaging and two for therapy,” Joshi
tags them with a fluorescent dye and kills
said. “We envision this as a platform tech-
them with heat. nology that will present practitioners with a
choice of options for directed treatment.”
The all-in-one particle is one of the first ex-
The researchers hope to develop spe-
amples from a growing field called “thera-
cific versions of the particles that can attack
nostics” that develops technologies physi-
The image shows breast cancer cells after treatment cancer at different stages, particularly early-
cians can use to diagnose and treat diseases
with light-activated nanocomplexes. The live cells stage cancer, which is difficult to diagnose
in a single procedure. Tests so far involve
are shown in green, and the dead cells, shown in red, and treat with current technology, and to use
laboratory cell cultures, but the researchers
are within the white-circled area where a laser was different antibody labels to target specific
said MRI tracking will be particularly advan-
applied. Photo: R. Bardhan forms of the disease. Halas said the team
tageous as they move toward tests in animals
has been careful to choose components that
and people.
already are approved for medical use or are
“Some of the most essential questions in
in clinical trials.
nanomedicine today are about biodistribu- In designing the new particle, Halas
Bardhan and BCM postdoctoral associ-
tion — where particles go inside the body partnered with Amit Joshi, assistant professor
ate Wenxue Chen are coprimary authors of
and how they get there,” said study co-author in BCM’s Division of Molecular Imaging, to
the paper. Additional Rice co-authors include
Naomi Halas. “Noninvasive tests for biodis- modify nanoshells by adding a fluorescent dye
Emilia Morosan, assistant professor of phys-
tribution will be enormously useful on the that glows when struck by near-infrared (NIR)
ics and astronomy, and graduate students
path to FDA approval, and this technique light. NIR light is invisible and harmless, so NIR
Ryan Huschka and Liang Zhao. Additional
— adding MRI functionality to the particle imaging could provide doctors with a means of
BCM co-authors include Robia Pautler, as-
you’re testing and using for therapy — is a diagnosing diseases without surgery.
sistant professor of neuroscience and radiol-
very promising way of doing this.” In studying ways to attach the dye, Halas’
ogy; postdoctoral associate Marc Bartels; and
Halas, Rice’s Stanley C. Moore Professor graduate student, Rizia Bardhan, found that
graduate student Carlos Perez Torres.
in Electrical and Computer Engineering, dye molecules emitted 40–50 times more
The research was sponsored by the Air
and professor of chemistry, biomedical light if a tiny gap was left between them
Force Office of Scientific Research, the Welch
engineering, and physics and astronomy, and the surface of the nanoshell. The gap
Foundation and the Department of Defense’s
is a pioneer in nanomedicine. The all-in- was just a few nanometers wide, but rather
Multidisciplinary University Research
one particles are based on nanoshells — than waste the space, Bardhan inserted a
particles she invented in the 1990s that layer of iron oxide that would be detectable
—Jade Boyd
are currently in human clinical trials for with MRI. The researchers also attached an
cancer treatment. Nanoshells harvest laser antibody that lets the particles bind to the
surface of breast and ovarian cancer cells. View the paper in the journal Advanced
light that would normally pass harmlessly
In the lab, the team confirmed that the Functional Materials:
through the body and convert it into tu-
mor-killing heat. fluorescent particles targeted cancer cells and ›› ›

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 3

Nanocarpets Take Flight
Space Rock With creations ranging from carpets to kites, you’d think Rice chemist Bob
Hauge was running a department store instead of a revolution in the world of
carbon nanotechnology.

In a paper published in Nano Research, Hauge’s research team described a method for making
“odako,” bundles of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) named for the large traditional Japanese
kites they resemble. Hauge’s method creates bundles of SWNTs that are sometimes measured in
centimeters, and the process could eventually yield tubes of unlimited length.
Large-scale production of nanotube threads and cables would be a boon for engineers in almost
every field. Hauge, a distinguished faculty fellow in chemistry at Rice’s Richard E. Smalley Institute
for Nanoscale Science and Technology, said the SWNT bundles could be used in lightweight, su-
perefficient power-transmission lines for next-
generation electrical grids; ultrastrong and
lightning-resistant versions of carbon-fiber
Left to right: Pete Olson, David Leebron and Mike Coats materials found in airplanes; batteries and fuel
cells; and microelectronics.
To understand how Hauge makes these na-
At halftime during the Rice–Navy nokites, it helps to have a little background on
football game on Oct. 10, NASA’s flying carpets and printing money.
Hauge and his team — which included
Johnson Space Center Director senior research fellow Howard Schmidt ’80
Mike Coats presented President and Professor Matteo Pasquali, both of Rice’s
David Leebron with a moon rock Department of Chemical and Biomolecular
and the Ambassador of Exploration Engineering; graduate students Cary Pint
Award, originally bestowed post- ’09, Noe Alvarez ’08 and Sean Pheasant ’06;
and Kent Coulter of San Antonio’s Southwest
humously to President John F. Research Institute — used the same machinery
Kennedy last July on the 40th an- the U.S. Treasury uses to embed paper money
niversary of the Apollo 11 landing with anticounterfeiting markings to deposit
on the moon. manufacturing elements onto a sheet of carbon
NASA gave the award to substrate. The top layer consisted of tiny iron
particles that cause nanotubes to grow under
Kennedy for his directive, articu- proper conditions. Under that was a layer of
lated in his famous 1962 speech flaked aluminum oxide, and beneath that was a
at Rice Stadium, that humans release layer the team could activate with a sol-
would reach the moon by the vent to loosen the aluminum oxide and iron.
end of the 1960s. Recipients of The process took off in a mesh cage placed
into a furnace, where the flakes lifted off and
the Ambassador of Exploration “flew” in the chemical breeze of hydrogen
Award are asked to select an edu- and acetylene flowing through the produc- Top photo: Microscopic bundles of “odako” grown at Rice
cational institution or museum tion chamber while arrays of nanotubes grew University shows single-walled nanotubes lifting iron and
vertically in tight, forest-like formations under aluminum oxide “kites” as they grow while remaining firmly
where it can be displayed and
them. The resulting mats of tubes looked re- rooted in a carbon base.
appreciated by all, and Kathleen
markably like the pile of a carpet. Bottom photo: Odako grow from carbon fibers treated with
Kennedy Townsend, the former While other methods used to grow SWNTs iron and an aluminum oxide catalyst. The bare fibers at left
lieutenant governor of Maryland have yielded a paltry 0.5 percent ratio of nano- were covered during the catalyst deposition process.
and daughter of Robert Kennedy, tubes to substrate materials, Hauge’s technique
presented the award to Rice on brought the yield up to an incredible 400 per-
behalf of the Kennedy family. cent. Pint said that the process will likely facilitate large-scale SWNT growth.
Photos show that the odako follow the rounded form of the fibers even while growing to great
Also on hand during the pre- lengths, though the researchers note that shorter may be better for the manufacture of composite
sentation was Congressman Pete materials. Odako growth may even be possible on other materials, such as quartz fibers and a variety
Olson ’85 of the 22nd District of metals.
of Texas, which encompasses “If we could get these growing so that we can pull one end out of the furnace while the other
Johnson Space Center. end is still inside growing, then we should be able to grow meter-long material and start weaving it,”
Hauge said.
The key is the holy grail of nanotube growth: a catalyst that will not become depleted, enabling
furnaces to churn out continuous threads of material.
“You have to make that catalyst stay alive indefinitely,” Hauge said. “That’s a very difficult thing
to do, but it’s not impossible.”
—Mike Williams

through the Sallyport

McDevitt’s lab is all

about miniaturization.
It combines the latest
technology from
nanotechnology and
biotechnology to
shrink all the functions
of a state-of-the-art
clinical laboratory onto
a microchip the size of
a postage stamp.

Health Care: Helping Africa Can Pay McDevitt’s lab is all about miniaturization. It combines the latest
technology from microcomputing, nanotechnology and biotechnol-
U.S. Dividends ogy to shrink all the functions of a state-of-the-art clinical laboratory
onto a microchip the size of a postage stamp. These lab-on-a-chip ele-
Technology often is blamed for the rise in U.S. medical spending ments contain tiny chambers where “biomarkers” react with proteins
from 5 percent of the U.S. economy in 1960 to 16.5 percent today. and cells in a patient’s saliva or blood. The microchips are mounted
on disposable, plastic cards that are slotted into a battery-powered
But what if the steady stream of surgical tools, designer drugs and analyzer that determines whether the patient is sick and how sick he
diagnostic gadgets coming out of university laboratories could or she is.
make health care cheaper — and save lives in underdeveloped LabNow is currently field testing the new analyzer in Africa, and
countries at the same time? McDevitt said the field tests will determine how well the analyzer works
in the rural areas for which it was designed. Early results showed the
analyzer functions as well as a flow cytometer, but McDevitt’s analyzer
It’s already happening in Houston’s Texas Medical Center, where en- is expected to cost about one-fifth as much to produce.
gineering researchers from Rice University and Austin-based start-up Trials of a test for heart attacks also began this fall at Baylor College
LabNow are putting the finishing touches on a toaster-sized machine of Medicine (BCM). That test, which McDevitt is conducting in col-
that is designed to diagnose virtually any disease or medical condition laboration with BCM Professor of Medicine Christie Ballantyne, uses
for a fraction of the cost of modern U.S. clinical assays. The machine biomarkers in saliva to tell whether a patient is having a heart attack.
already works for HIV monitoring and heart-attack screens and soon “Electrocardiograms miss up to 30 percent of heart attacks, delay-
will be used to diagnose various kinds of cancer. ing treatment for hours until lab tests can be completed,” McDevitt
Rice bioengineer John McDevitt originally designed the device said. “Preliminary research found our saliva tests could be a great
for use in rural Africa. McDevitt recently moved his laboratory from complementary test to what’s already available. Safely moving false
Austin to Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative, home alarms out of the ER would have a major impact on U.S. health care
to Rice’s Department of Bioengineering, one of the top 10 biomedical costs for chest-pain patients.”
engineering programs in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World McDevitt said the disposable cards used in the saliva-based heart-
Report. attack screens presently are manufactured using silicon fabrication
“Typically the developing world gets the leftovers when it comes methods from the computing industry. The cards cost about $5 each,
to medical technologies,” said McDevitt, Rice’s Brown-Wiess Professor but McDevitt’s laboratory is testing alternative materials that can be
in Bioengineering and Chemistry. “For HIV immune-function testing, used to produce the disposable cards for just pennies. Any biomarker
which is one of the most significant humanitarian problems on the that’s specific to a type of cancer or other disease can be added to
planet, we went to Africa first. Tens of millions of people need these these disposable cards to create a new type of test.
tests in sub-Saharan Africa, but only about 30 percent of the popula- Now that the analyzer is nearing commercial availability, McDevitt’s
tion is now being served.” lab is making the transition from creating the technology that reads
The remaining 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas the tests to creating the tests themselves.
without the stable electricity, refrigerators and trained lab personnel “Finding and applying biomarkers for these tests is going to be our
needed to run the complicated tests now in use. In addition, the cur- new focus,” he said. “It’s akin to creating software for a computer rather
rent tests require a flow cytometer, a refrigerator-sized device that than the computer itself. Up to now we’ve been like Dell, but we’re go-
costs as much as a new car. ing to be the Microsoft of biomarker signatures from here on out.”
—Jade Boyd

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 5

of being moral are central and important to one’s self-identity.
The studies found that women who placed a high importance on
being moral gave equally to victims of the South Asian tsunami and
Hurricane Katrina. Men who believed strongly in morality, on the
other hand, were more inclined to donate to Katrina victims only.
When it came to victims of terrorism, women gave to victims in both
London and Iraq, while men donated only to the London group.
“In terms of donations, we found that women expand their circle
outward,” Mittal said. “They tend to view
victims of the tsunami as much a part of “Men and women
the ‘in-group’ as people suffering after are different,
Katrina, who are actually much closer
to home. Men were willing to donate to but the carica-
Katrina victims but considered the tsu- tures of how
nami victims members of the ‘out-group.’ we differ are
Who’s More Generous, Men or Women? With the terrorism studies, women con-
wrong. This
sidered victims of both London and Iraq
Donating to meaningful causes is an important facet of American attacks as members of their circle, while and other new
life, but how do individuals choose where to spend their chari-
men expanded their group only as far as research give us
those injured in London.”
table dollars? A recent study co-authored by Vikas Mittal, Rice The findings could be particularly
insight into how
University’s J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Management, showed relevant for fundraisers and nonprofit the genders
that men and women take different approaches to donating based leaders. “Although it would mean more make decisions
on their gender and moral identities. time and effort,” Mittal said, “creating about money.”
communications pieces that target men
and women separately should have a –Vikas Mittal
A series of three studies, published in the August 2009 Journal of positive impact on donations.”
Consumer Research, examined whether men and women would do- Mittal has long been interested in examining how men and wom-
nate to victims of natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the en make financial choices and how new science helps us understand
South Asian tsunami, and to terrorism victims in London and Iraq. the differences in psychology between the genders. A 2008 study he
“Men and women are different, but the caricatures of how we co-authored on gender and investing found that women are generally
differ are wrong,” Mittal said. “This and other new research give us more conservative and seek to minimize losses, while men tend to
insight into how the genders make decisions about money.” take greater investment risks, with the hope of maximizing gains.
Research over the past several years has found that individuals “Women are more nurturing,” Mittal said. “This orientation cre-
with a feminine gender identity — predominantly women — are mo- ates differences in how they take risks, communicate, donate and
tivated by communal goals such as the welfare and nurturing of other approach other aspects of their lives. These are not biological differ-
people, while those with a masculine identity are driven by “agentic” ences. They are based on psychology and on the different things that
goals, including assertiveness, control and a focus on the self. The women learn to value in socialization processes.”
study authors describe “moral identity” as the extent to which notions — Julia Nguyen

Rice MBA Program Places

Fifth in Entrepreneurship
The kudos continue for the Rice MBA program in entrepre-
neurship, recently ranked No. 5 among U.S. graduate entre-
preneurship programs by the Princeton Review. It was one of
25 undergraduate and 25 graduate programs selected from a
pool of more than 2,300. During the last two years, the Rice
entrepreneurship program has moved up a total of 17 spots,
from No. 22 in 2007 to No. 16 in 2008 to its current position in
the 2009 rankings.
Owls on Wheels
Now Rice drivers have something to hoot about thanks For more on the rankings, visit:
to a new custom license plate developed by the Texas ›› ›
Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Rice
Office of Public Affairs. Learn more about the Rice MBA:
›› ›
Learn how to purchase your own Owl license plate:

through the Sallyport

No one knows exactly how much Earth’s climate will different,” Dickens said. “This has been documented time and again
at sites all over the world.”
warm due to carbon emissions, but a new study this Based on findings related to oceanic acidity levels during the
week suggests scientists’ best predictions about PETM and on calculations about the cycling of carbon among the
oceans, air, plants and soil, Dickens and co-authors Richard Zeebe
global warming might be incorrect. of the University of Hawaii and James Zachos of the University
of California at Santa Cruz determined that the level of carbon
The study, which appears in Nature Geoscience, found that climate dioxide in the atmosphere increased by about 70 percent during
models explain only about half of the heating that occurred during a the PETM, not quite a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
well-documented period of rapid global warming in Earth’s ancient Since the start of the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide
past. The study, which was published online, contains an analysis levels are believed to have risen by about one-third, largely due to
of published records of a period of rapid climatic warming about the burning of fossil fuels. If present rates of fossil-fuel consump-
55 million years ago known as tion continue, the doubling of
the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal carbon dioxide from fossil fu-
Maximum, or PETM. els will occur sometime within
“In a nutshell, theoretical “In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain the next century or two.
models cannot explain what what we observe in the geological record. Doubling of atmospheric
we observe in the geological There appears to be something fundamentally carbon dioxide is an oft-talked-
record,” said oceanographer about threshold, and today’s
Gerald Dickens, a co-author wrong with the way temperature and carbon climate models include accept-
of the study and professor of are linked in climate models.” ed values for the climate’s sen-
Earth science at Rice University. —Gerald Dickens sitivity to doubling. Using these
“There appears to be something accepted values and the PETM
fundamentally wrong with the carbon data, the researchers
way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.” found that the models could only explain about half of the
During the PETM, for reasons that are still unknown, the warming that Earth experienced 55 million years ago.
amount of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere rose rapidly. For The conclusion, Dickens said, is that something
this reason, this period of climatic warming, which has been other than carbon dioxide caused much of the heating
identified in hundreds of sediment core samples worldwide, during the PETM. “Some feedback loop or other pro-
is probably the best ancient climate analogue for present- cesses that aren’t accounted for in these models — the
day Earth. same ones used by the Intergovernmental Panel on
In addition to rapidly rising levels of atmospheric car- Climate Change for current best estimates of 21st
bon, global surface temperatures rose dramatically during the century warming — caused a substantial
PETM. Average temperatures worldwide rose by about portion of the warming that occurred
7 degrees Celsius — about 13 degrees Fahrenheit during the PETM.”
— in the relatively short geological span of
—Jade Boyd
about 10,000 years.
“You go along a core and everything’s
the same, the same, the same, and then
suddenly, you pass this time line and
the carbon chemistry is completely Read the study:
› › › 35

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 7

Her Honor
Annise Parker, a 1978 graduate of
Rice University, defeated former
City Attorney Gene Locke in the
Dec. 12 runoff for Houston mayor.
Rice condensed-matter physicist Emilia Morosan, who uses furnaces in her lab to
The first openly gay mayor of one of the na- create compounds with novel magnetic properties, has landed a highly coveted
tion’s largest cities, Parker teased her sup- Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science
porters as she began her victory speech. “I
am proud, very proud, to have been elected Foundation (NSF).
the first [pause], the very first graduate of
Rice University to be mayor of Houston.” CAREER awards support the research and educational development of young scholars who are
She did not make an issue of her sexual ori- likely to become leaders in their field. Among the most competitive grants awarded by the NSF,
entation during her campaign. which gives out only about 400 per year across all disciplines, each comes with a five-year grant
“We’re united in one goal, and that is of up to $550,000.
making Houston the city that it should be, For her CAREER grant, Morosan has an ambitious goal: discover and perfect the synthesis of
could be, can be and will be,” Parker said in compounds that are not normally magnetic but that can become “itinerant ferromagnets.” Only two
her victory speech. “Houston is a city built such unusual compounds are known to exist: scandium-indium and zirconium-zinc. Unconventional
on dreams, but these dreams have always superconductivity and possibly other exotic phase transitions are believed to occur in these com-
been powered by hard work, creativity, com- pounds, and Morosan is confident that physicists can learn much from the materials if they have
mon sense and cooperation.” more of them to study.
A native Houstonian, Parker attended When itinerant ferromagnets are cooled below a critical temperature, they go through a phase
Rice from 1974 to 1978 and was a member transition — changes of matter from one state and set of characteristics to another, such as ice to
of Jones College. She graduated with a water and water to steam. By appropriately manipulating these compounds, the phase transition
bachelor’s degree in anthropology and so- can be tuned to absolute zero temperature. These changes are fundamentally different from more
ciology. She was elected city controller in familiar phase transitions, such as a liquid freezing. In the case of the zero-temperature phase
2003, 2005 and 2007 following a stint on transitions, quantum and not thermal fluctuations take over, and they are therefore called quantum
the Houston City Council as Houston’s first phase transitions.
openly gay elected official. In ferromagnetic materials — such as common refrigerator magnets — the magnetic “mo-
As mayor, Parker will work closely with ments” of each atom are perfectly aligned. The reason that other materials, like plastic or silver
fellow Rice alumnus Harris County Judge Ed spoons, don’t stick to the refrigerator is that they have no magnetic “moments.” In itinerant fer-
Emmett ’71, who is the presiding officer of romagnets with no magnetic constituents, magnetism occurs even though there are no magnetic
Harris County Commissioners Court. Other “moments” to be aligned.
Rice alums currently holding elected office “This is the result of a collective behavior that cannot be traced back to any single atom’s mo-
are Texas Rep. Scott Hochberg ’75, Texas ment,” Morosan said. “The theories that attempt to explain this behavior are incomplete at best. It
Sen. Eliot Shapleigh ’74, and U.S. Reps. Pete would clearly help to have new materials to study.”
Olson ’85 and John Kline ’69. Former Harris Utilizing the partial theories available, Morosan plans to systematically create and test crystal-
County Judge and former Mayor of Houston line compounds containing two or more transition metals in search of new itinerant ferromagnets
Roy Hofheinz ’32 attended Rice but did not that could help physicists better understand the underlying physics of quantum phase transitions.
earn a Rice degree. It may sound like hunting for a needle in a haystack, but Morosan is confident that she has a
—Franz Brotzen good chance of finding undiscovered itinerant ferromagnets during the course of her research.
“The worst thing that can happen is that I end up discovering new compounds that I wasn’t
looking for to begin with,” she said. “I will take that failure mode anytime.”
—Jade Boyd

through the Sallyport

Vote Centers May Help Get Out the Vote

People have been trying to increase voter turnout for decades, using
a variety of reforms that would ease the challenges would-be voters
face each election. The answer may be simpler than anyone suspected.
Rise to the Challenge
It hinges on the creation of Election Day vote centers (EDVCs), which are nonprec-
inct-based locations for voting. The sites are fewer in number than precinct-voting
stations, are centrally located to major population centers (rather than distributed
among many residential locations) and rely on countywide voter-registration data-
bases accessed electronically at each polling site. Voters in a given jurisdiction are
provided ballots appropriate to their registration address.
Working with a grant from the Pew Charitable
Trusts, Bob Stein, the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor
Their findings

of Political Science, and Greg Vonnahme ’04, now
indicate that an assistant professor at the University of Alabama,

EDVCs increase I Giv
have studied EDVCs. Their findings indicate that
voter turnout in EDVCs increase voter turnout in general and among e
infrequent voters in particular and that they are
general and among more effective than previous efforts, like relaxed
infrequent voters absentee voting, voting by mail and in-person early
in particular and voting. The research was published in the Journal
that they are more of Politics. Name: Stephanie Taylor
To study the effectiveness of EDVCs, Stein and
effective than Vonnahme examined polling data from counties in Graduation year: 2005
previous efforts,
like relaxed
Colorado and Texas to understand voters’ feelings
about the entire voting process. Larimer County in
Major: Civil engineering
absentee voting, northern Colorado dropped its 143 precinct-based
voting by mail and polling places in 2003, and replaced them with 22
vote centers. It was the first county in the country
in-person early to move to EDVCs. Weld County, which is adjacent
voting. to Larimer, continued with precinct-based voting.
From 1990 through 2000, voter turnout was
higher in Weld County than in Larimer County.
“Turnout in Larimer County, however, increased
at a faster rate than in Weld County after Larimer
County’s adoption of Election Day vote centers in
2003,” Stein and Vonnahme noted. The increase in
Larimer County came despite the fact that many
voters actually had to travel greater distances to
vote at the EDVCs.
“The convenience of voting might not directly
correspond to the distance between where people
live and their polling site,” the authors hypothesized. “For example, a person might
prefer to vote at a polling location that is two miles from their house but on the
way to work rather than at a polling site that is only a mile away from their house
but in the opposite direction.”
In a separate study, Stein and Vonnahme conducted exit polls of 538 voters at
10 EDVCs in Lubbock, Texas, in November 2008. For comparison purposes, they
also interviewed 251 voters at six precinct sites in Potter County and 402 voters at Recent graduates like Stephanie Taylor ’05 are sup-
five precinct sites in Randall County. “The results,” they wrote, “tentatively suggest porting Rice’s world-class education and influencing its
the EDVCs increase voter turnout, particularly among less engaged voters.” national ranking through the Centennial Challenge to
In addition, the Lubbock survey results “also show that EDVCs seem to in- Young Alumni. If you graduated between 1999 and 2009,
crease voters’ satisfaction with polling place operations,” which may help explain
the higher turnout. The exit polls found voters were generally pleased with the
Karen ’79 and Rich Whitney ’80 will match your gift to
length of lines, the availability of parking and the helpfulness of poll workers. the Rice Annual Fund 2-to-1 until March 20, 2010.
The researchers cautioned that the findings are far from conclusive. The areas
studied are small and may have unique characteristics, and the studies cover only
a short time frame. However, they concluded that EDVCs are the first reform that Rise to the challenge and fill out your questionnaire at:
seems to have led to higher voter turnout overall and, perhaps more importantly,
among infrequent voters.
—Franz Brotzen

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 9

Construction @ rice

Good as Gold
This year, Rice University is going for the gold. The new Duncan and McMurtry students are in the process of
forming their own college traditions — such as drafting constitutions,
Not only did the campus welcome the largest freshman population​ designing crests and hosting social events — by studying those of the
in university history, but it also is housing around 150 of them in other nine colleges. These responsibilities also include selecting the
two new residential colleges that outshine the competition in en- masters, resident associates, college coordinators, college officers and
ergy efficiency and innovation. In the near future, Duncan College O-Week coordinators who will begin serving in fall 2010.
is expected to go where only a handful of other college dormito- Sister Colleges
ries have gone before by earning gold certification from the U.S.
Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Packed with thoughtful, sustainable details, the colleges are mirror
Design (LEED) program. Rice also will apply for LEED gold certi- images of each other with only a few exceptions. Both are built with
the wood-molded St. Joe brick that hallmarks the Rice campus, al-
fication for McMurtry College. though in slightly different colors, and both feature cypress siding on
the first floor. However, the iconography at Duncan College will have
The opening of McMurtry and Duncan colleges — respectively the
a sustainability focus, and Duncan houses a classroom finished with
10th and 11th residential colleges at Rice — marks only the second time
green materials and furnishings and will feature displays to help teach
since 1971 that the university has added new colleges. With 324 beds
Rice students about sustainable living.
each, they are Rice’s largest residences and have equalized the student
The colleges also differ in the design of their masters’ houses —
populations on the north and south sides of the campus, with each side which were planned to be identical until the design of Duncan’s house
now capable of housing approximately 1,400 students each. was altered to save a 52-inch live oak — and in the design of each
commons. Though they were built of similar materials, the Duncan
Fresh Faces College Commons was constructed in a traditional rectangle, while
the McMurtry College Commons’ circular shape was inspired by the
At the beginning of the fall 2009 semester, Duncan and McMurtry each prospect of accommodating arena theater.
welcomed 75 freshmen, as well as students from the two south colleg-
es that are currently under renovation. McMurtry College’s population Sustaining a Lifestyle
was rounded out with 236 students from Will Rice College, while 226
Baker College students moved into Duncan. Most are slated to return With features such as thick walls, double-paned windows, efficient
to the south side of campus when renovations are completed this fall, lighting and smart thermostats, the new residential colleges are two
but several Will Rice and Baker students will stay on at the new col- of the most energy-efficient buildings on campus and reflect Rice’s
leges as part of a group of 350 current Rice sophomores and juniors commitment to environmental responsibility.
who were invited at random to populate Duncan and McMurtry in the “We estimate that these colleges will use half as much energy as
coming academic year. they would have if they had just been built to the minimum code,”

through the Sallyport
said Rice Director of Sustainability Richard Johnson, who also is a
professor in the practice of environmental studies in sociology. He
added that the colleges would use approximately 40 percent less wa-
ter due to their front-loading washing machines and low-flow toilets
and showers.
Both colleges offer many other sustainable features, as well.
Vegetated “green” roofs help reduce the buildings’ energy consump-
tion, minimize storm-water runoff, limit damage from hailstorms,
and provide a habitat for songbirds and other native animals and
insects. Low-emitting indoor finishes such as concrete flooring con-
tribute to indoor environmental quality. And both colleges provide
extensive bicycle storage and are close to public transportation and
Rice’s Zipcar services.
During construction, as much as 95 percent of construction waste
was recycled. In addition, many of the building materials used were
manufactured within 500 miles of Houston — which reduced trans-
portation-related environmental impacts — and fly ash was used ex-
tensively as a substitute for Portland cement, which yielded a stronger
concrete with a substantially smaller carbon footprint.
Chic, innovative prefabricated restroom pods reduced construction
waste, traffic to worksites and the number of on-site subcontractors.
The ultramodern pods made even more headlines when they were
featured in the Museum of Modern Art in New York’s Cellophane
House exhibit last year.
“For me, these colleges represent a living laboratory for how to
design buildings that respond to the environmental challenges of the
21st century,” Johnson said. “Students will be able to learn about is-
sues concerning energy, water and climate change in their classes and
then return to their rooms in buildings that are physical manifestations
of how to respond to these issues. In that way, these new buildings
offer both education and inspiration.”
—Merin Porter

Feeding the Night Owls

One of the most inspired features of the new colleges’ de-
sign can be found at Duncan and McMurtry’s West Servery:
a late-night service window that students will run as a busi-
ness after campus serveries have closed.

The service will begin in spring 2010, and the success of its
inaugural semester will play a large role in determining how it
— and potentially a similar operation in the East Servery, which
is under renovation — will be run in the future. Tentatively, the
window will operate from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through
Saturday. Students will set the price points for the menu, which
likely will feature salads, heat-and-serve foods such as Quiznos
sandwiches and pizza, and drinks.
“We’ve never done this before, so we’re just going to see
what happens,” said Rice Director of Residential Dining David
McDonald, who will be paying for the operation’s food and
supplies out of the Office of Housing and Dining budget until
the business is able to turn a profit. He also will advise the
students on best practices. “If it’s popular, we’ll expand it, and
if it’s not working, we’ll initiate some marketing campaigns. We
don’t want to give the students too much structure, so I’m giving
them quite a bit of leeway on this.”

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 11

Construction @ rice
When Rice students, faculty and staff “It is a fabulous addition to our campus in every sense,”
Getting Physical
want to exercise more red cells than said Rice University President David Leebron. “It will help
us reinforce our sense of community as we bring students,
gray cells, the new Barbara and David faculty and staff together, and it will enable all members of
Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center our community to stay physically fit while they pursue their
offers the perfect solution. With every- intellectual endeavors.”
thing from weight machines, swim- The two-story building, which opened Sept. 25, features an
industrial-style interior with lofty ceilings, exposed ductwork,
ming pools and ping-pong tables to and concrete floors and beams. A freestanding concrete stair-
basketball and racquetball courts, the case serves as a lobby centerpiece, and pinewood benches,
handrails and other accents add warmth to the interior. In ad-
103,000-square-foot center provides a dition, Rice has commissioned a hanging sculpture by former
host of fitness options for Rice com- Rice Gallery artist Aurora Robson to fill the vertical space cre-
ated by the lobby’s 36-foot ceiling. The artwork is scheduled for
munity members. installation in January.
The recreation center’s first floor offers 9,000 square feet
of state-of-the-art cardio and weight machines, as well as
four racquetball and two squash courts, an activity area that
includes ping-pong and pool tables, and men’s and women’s
locker rooms. In addition, an outdoor-adventure center allows
members to rent equipment for camping, rock climbing, white-
water rafting and other excursions. Just outside the building are
two basketball courts, and 15 Florida sabal palms surround a
2,400-square-foot recreation pool and a 50-meter competition
The second floor features two basketball courts, four multi-
purpose rooms for group fitness and dance classes, a practice
and performance studio specifically designed for Rice Dance
Theater, and a large multipurpose activity court for indoor
soccer and other sports. The facility, which also features a
personal-training and fitness-assessment center, adjoins a new

The new recreation center is part of a major construction initiative

fueled by the Vision for the Second Century’s goal of increasing
Rice’s student body and raising its international profile.

through the Sallyport
two-story office building that houses recreation center staff and
Rice’s Wellness Center.
Located at the northwest corner of Alumni Drive and
Laboratory Road, the new recreation center is part of a ma-
jor construction initiative fueled by the Vision for the Second
Century’s goal of increasing Rice’s student body and raising
its international profile. Like all other recently constructed
buildings on campus, the center adheres to the Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design standards developed by the
U.S. Green Building Council. It was designed by SmithGroup
(formerly F&S Partners), Lake/Flato Architects and the Office of
James Burnett and is named in honor of Rice alumni David ’71
and Barbara Jenkins Gibbs ’73, who made the lead gift for the
$41 million facility.
“Rice University and its gym were defining influences in
my life,” said David Gibbs. “Whenever I would get in a funk
or a solution to a problem failed to present itself, I headed to
the gym, and after a good workout, I was ready to get back to
my studies with the juices flowing. This has worked for me my
entire life. I’m a believer in lifelong fitness.”
Another believer, Student Association President Patrick
McAnaney, raced to be the first person to use the new weight
room when the recreation center opened its doors. “This is the
most anticipated day during my time at Rice,” McAnaney said.
The replacement of Rice’s 1950s-era gymnasium with the new
recreation center makes Rice “perfect,” he said.
Memberships to the new facility are currently available to
Rice students, faculty, staff, retirees, Rice trustees, and their
spouses and domestic partners.
—Merin Porter and Jessica Stark

Learn more about the center:


Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 13

When the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) eased As noted in a 2007 U.S. Government Accountability Office re-
regulations in the oil futures market through the Commodity port, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 made it
easier for financial players to obviate speculative limits and made it
Futures Modernization Act of 2000, the commission reasoned that more difficult for the CFTC to regulate oil futures markets. Changes
speculation wasn’t influencing oil futures markets. According to at London’s International Petroleum Exchange (now ICE Futures,
a study by energy experts at Rice University’s James A. Baker III a subsidiary of IntercontinentalExchange) regarding U.S. delivery-
Institute for Public Policy, however, the commission’s action was based contracts also created problems with monitoring and limiting
based on inappropriate analysis. speculative activity because these contracts were outside the juris-
diction of the CFTC.
While there were short windows of time before 2001 when the
The authors of the study are Kenneth Medlock, an energy and resource price of oil and the value of the dollar were correlated more strongly,
economics fellow at the Baker Institute and lecturer of economics, and a dramatic sustained period of high correlation emerged during the
Amy Myers Jaffe, an energy studies fellow at the Baker Institute and as- 2000s, according to the study. Given this new strong interconnection,
sociate director of the Rice Energy Program. the authors note, the threat to the United
In “Who Is in the Oil Futures Market and States’ economic health and national secu-
How Has It Changed?” they present new rity is that the dollar risks getting caught in
evidence that shows a clear increase in the a vicious cycle where continually rising oil
size and influence of noncommercial trad- prices feed the U.S. trade deficit, leading
ers, or “speculators”: about 50 percent of to increased U.S. indebtedness and there-
those holding outstanding positions in the by an even weaker dollar, which further
U.S. oil futures market, compared with only drives oil prices higher.
about 20 percent prior to 2002. The report The authors conclude that new poli-
also finds that the correlation between oil cies are needed. When oil prices rose
and the dollar has strengthened significantly in 2007–08 from $65 per barrel to $125,
over the past several years. governments around the world, including
Jaffe and Medlock note that, while the United States, built strategic stock-
the question of what has produced sharp piles. This policy signaled to oil market
swings in oil prices since 2005 is a complex participants and the Organization of the
one that requires further and deeper study, Amy Myers Jaffe Kenneth Medlock
Petroleum Exporting Countries that gov-
there are “inescapable facts” that need to be ernments would not use strategic petroleum stocks to ease prices
part of the debate about regulating the activities of institutions bet- under any circumstances except major wartime supply shortfalls.
ting on movements in oil price purely for financial gain. Specifically, This allowed speculators to confidently expand their exposure in oil
speculators, which the CFTC designates as any reportable trader who market futures exchanges without fear of repercussions or revenue
is not using futures contracts to hedge, have increased their footprint losses from a surprise release of U.S. or International Energy Agency
in the marketplace dramatically since the late 1990s. strategic oil stocks.
Hedgers are typically producers and consumers of the physical “We need to re-evaluate our policies for how we utilize strategic
commodity who use futures markets to offset price risk. By contrast, oil stocks in light of the oil/dollar linkages,” said Jaffe. “Clearly, our
speculators seek profits by taking market positions to gain from government needs to fashion a better response.”
changes in the commodity price but are not involved in the physical
receipt and/or delivery of the commodity. —David Ruth
“To protect the U.S. economy and American consumers, there
needs to be greater market oversight,” Medlock said. “The tremendous Download a PDF file of the complete study:
increase in the market presence of speculators by fifteenfold speaks › › ›
for itself.”

through the Sallyport

“Randa has developed a distinguished record of business

accomplishments, community service and philanthropic leadership.
That combination of skills, experience and passion
will be a tremendous asset to our board.”
— Jim Crownover

Randa Duncan Williams Elected to Rice Board

Local businesswoman and Rice University alumna Randa Rice President David Leebron said Duncan Williams offers a won-
derfully broad vision and passion for Rice. “Randa chaired the Houston
Duncan Williams was elected to the Rice Board of Trustees Museum of Natural Science board at a time when the museum was
at the Dec. 10 board meeting. experiencing great growth,” Leebron said. “Rice, too, is undergoing
growth in many ways — in our student body, our research endeavors
Duncan Williams is co-chairwoman of EPCO Inc., the private hold- and our engagement with our home city, among others — and Randa’s
ing company for three public partnerships that form one of North record of leadership during times of great opportunity and challenge
America’s largest midstream transportation and energy networks: will serve our vision for the university well.”
Enterprise Products Partners L.P., Enterprise GP Holdings L.P. and Duncan Williams is a 1985 graduate of Rice with a B.A. in political
Duncan Energy Partners L.P. She also serves on the board of direc- science and economics, and she was a member of Hanszen College.
tors of Enterprise GP Holdings L.P. and is president of DLD Family She received a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1988
Investments, a family asset management company. and then practiced law with Butler & Binion L.L.P., where she handled
Active in the Houston community, Duncan Williams is a former chair- toxic tort cases. In addition, she worked on maritime and property
woman of the Houston Museum
of Natural Science board, and she
chaired the museum’s gala last year.
She has been highly involved with “Randa chaired the Houston Museum of Natural Science board at a
the Children’s Learning Institute time when the museum was experiencing great growth. Rice, too, is
at the University of Texas Health
Science Center at Houston, where
undergoing growth in many ways — in our student body, our research
she has served in an advisory and endeavors and our engagement with our home city, among others —
fundraising role. She also has served and Randa’s record of leadership during times of great opportunity
on the boards of the Houston and challenge will serve our vision for the university well.”
Zoo, the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto
Chapter and the River Oaks Baptist —David Leebron
School, among others. Randa Duncan Williams
“Educating kids and getting
them excited about all the possibili-
ties available to them is important to me,” Duncan Williams said. liability cases at the firm Brown, Sims, Wise and White P.C. She joined
At Rice, Duncan Williams is a member of the School of Social EPCO in 1994 and became the company president and CEO in 2001.
Sciences Advisory Council and a former board member of the In 2007, she was elected group co-chairwoman of EPCO.
Shepherd Society. She serves as a nonboard member of the Academic The EPCO family of public companies provides services to pro-
Affairs committee of the Rice Board of Trustees. ducers and consumers of natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil, re-
“Randa has developed a distinguished record of business accom- fined products, liquefied petroleum gases and petrochemicals. EPCO
plishments, community service and philanthropic leadership,” said also has an indirect significant equity interest in Energy Transfer
Jim Crownover ’65, chair of the Rice Board of Trustees. “That combi- Equity L.P. and owns Enterprise Transportation Co., one of the top 10
nation of skills, experience and passion will be a tremendous asset tank truck companies in the country.
to our board.” Including Duncan Williams, the Rice board consists of 22 trustees.
—B.J. Almond

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 15

Jun Yao, left, and
Noe Alvarez stand at
the electron scanning
microscope they used
to capture images of
their nano-scale owl
and Rice wordmark.

Tiny Owls Take Flight

You might want to fly this Rice Owl and wordmark at Rice’s next baseball of liquid poly(methyl methacrylate),
aka PMMA. “We bake it at 180 degrees
game, but since each is only about twice the width of a human hair, you’d centigrade for two minutes to crystallize
need a very tiny pennant. The images are made of carbon nanotubes grown the liquid,” he said. “We already had
the image in the computer, so we just
in carpets by means of a process developed at Rice. (See article on Page 4.) had to program the electron beam to
trace the pattern into the PMMA.”
They used a developer to wash
away the PMMA that had been ex-
Jun Yao, a graduate student in the labs Alvarez said that he and Yao made posed to the electron beam, followed
of James Tour, Doug Natelson and Lin the nano-owls for fun, but they still by deposition of a .5-nanometer iron
Zhong, drew the Rice Owl and wordmark wanted to get a good look at their cre- catalyst film and then an acetone bath
at the behest of his friend and colleague ations. When Alvarez later noticed that to remove the catalyst outside the
Noe Alvarez, who recently earned his the microscope had been repaired and nano-owl pattern. “Then we put it in
doctorate at Rice. He used a mouse to was sitting idle, he grabbed the opportu- the reactor, where the carpet grows in

The images consist of more than 10 mil ion nanotubes – each of which is about 1/50,000th the diameter of a hair – and appear to the naked eye as barely visible dots.
painstakingly trace the images into a com- nity to make a few portraits of the tiniest about 15 minutes,” Alvarez said.
puter program that controls the electron owl ever. The images consist of more Alvarez, who worked in the labs
beam of an electron scanning microscope. than 10 million nanotubes — each of of co-advisers Tour and Robert Hague,
“I really wanted to use the Rice logo made which is about 1/50,000th the diameter a pioneer in the growth of nanotube
of nanotubes on one of my slides for the of a hair — and appear to the naked eye bundles, will leave Rice soon for a
Ph.D. defense committee,” Alvarez re- as barely visible dots. postdoctoral position at Japan’s National
called. “We finished the drawing in time, Yao explained that the process of Institute of Advanced Industrial Science
but the electron scanning microscope we creating the images involved layering a and Technology.
needed to create the image at the nano- silicon wafer with a 10-nanometer-thick
—Mike Williams
scale was broken.” alumina substrate and a slim coating


Room with Many Views multiples of those dimensions. That makes the system remarkably
versatile. “They’re still cuboidal, like the plywood boxes, but you don’t
have to cut new wood each time you make one,” Wettergreen said.
Protecting art from the ravages of time can be almost as easy as “You can arrange them into many configurations.”
putting together Tinkertoys, thanks to a group of Rice students Part of the solution’s out-of-the-box inspiration can be credited
who have developed a system that may revolutionize the way to the diversity of the project team. “I love the fact that our team
had students in humanities and art history as well as engineering,”
museums handle complex storage issues. Keller said. “This project went beyond my wildest imagination in
terms of what they accomplished. I didn’t think they’d end up at a
The four undergraduates and their mentor, Matthew Wettergreen ’08, place where the MFAH would actually use their prototypes to store
came up with the modular system over the course of nine intense precious artifacts.”
weeks. Wettergreen, who holds a doctorate in bioengineering from The museum is using the system to store several pieces. One is a
Rice, said that museums have depended 15-foot piece, “La sordidez,” by José
for decades on the old-fashioned method Antonio Berni. “It’s fairly light for its
of building plywood boxes around things size,” Wettergreen said of the piece,
they want to store. But when conserva- which is made of found materials.
tors at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston “But that also means it’s fairly frag-
(MFAH) approached Rice’s Sallie Keller, ile.” Two other pieces — a bronze ti-
the William and Stephanie Sick Dean tled “The Bronco Buster,” by Frederic
of the George R. Brown School of Remington, and a wax-and-plaster
Engineering, and Gary Wihl, then dean bust — also were packaged.
of the School of Humanities, about find- The team used standard en-
ing a better way, they inspired the cre- gineering procedures to solve a
ation of the Engineering Design for Art problem not usually addressed by
and Artifact program. engineers, and that opens doors to a
“We wanted visible storage,” said world of possibilities Keller is eager
Wynne Phelan, conservation director at to explore, starting with a fall course
the MFAH. “We wanted materials that taught by Wettergreen on engineer-
were not harmful and did not produce ing for art conservation.
acid that would attack artworks. And we “It’s a really exciting time to build
wanted a modular system that was easily a strong programmatic connection,”
assembled.” Keller said, “not only in the storage
Maria Oden, director of the Oshman of artifacts, but also in this whole
Engineering Design Kitchen and profes- interplay between art, science, engi-
sor in the practice of engineering edu- neering and technology.”
cation, recruited Wettergreen to run the
—Mike Williams
program, and he in turn chose the par-
ticipating students: Nicole Garcia, Rhodes
Coffey Jr., Caleb Brown and Kristi Day.
The students received fellowships from
Rice’s Center for Civic Engagement to
spend the summer brainstorming, build-
ing and learning business planning
through the Rice Alliance for Technology
and Entrepreneurship.
“We took a week and a half to come
up with as many solutions as we could,”
said Wettergreen, who still has the 500
three-by-five cards containing their ideas.
Packaging was only part of the problem, he explained.
“Some of the design constraints were that the art
had to be visible and that it had to interact with
the environment, because some of the pieces
are made of harmful chemicals that give off
gas. In a concealed and enclosed environ-
ment, that off-gassing will accelerate the deg-
radation of the artwork, so the piece has to
remain open to the air.”
The team’s elegant solution incorporates
interchangeable elements of steel tubing,
vented Plexiglas panels, snap-on cast-
ers and myriad connectors that
link all the bits together. The
tubes are 30, 60 and 90 inches
long and can be combined
to make containers of any

From left, Nicole Garcia, Rhodes Coffey, Kristi Day and Caleb Brown.

Rice Magazine • • No. 2010 17
No.55 • • 2009 17
The Coder Is a Champ
For most people, doing something on a lark means
buying a lottery ticket or going out for ice cream. For
Michael Dietz, it means untying the knots bogging
down a computer system under attack — for fun, glory
and even a little bit of prize money.

The Rice University graduate student in computer sci-

ence went to the 18th USENIX Security Symposium in
Montreal last fall, intending to take in sessions and do
a bit of networking, and he did all that. But in the eve-
nings, he and two impromptu teammates coded their
way to victory in the Security Grand Challenge.
Dietz arrived with no plan to compete, but he was
intrigued when the grad student he was sharing a room
with, Sunjeet Singh of the University of British Columbia
in Vancouver, suggested they check out the challenge.
The event gave five teams responsibility for vir-
tual servers into which organizers had programmed all
kinds of bugs. Competitors had to find the bugs, squash
them and make the systems as unhackable as possible.
Dietz and Singh found a third willing conferee, grad
This fall, Rice welcomed a record number of smiling new
student Justin Cummins of the University of California,
Davis, and the team spent two days uncovering faces to campus. The 896 freshman students were selected
the diabolical traps that contest organizers from the largest applicant pool — 11,173 — in the univer-
had set for them. sity’s history. The incoming class is almost 14 percent
“Our virtual machine had five com-
puter programs critical for a medical ap-
larger than last year’s class, putting Rice’s Vision for
plication,” Dietz said. “We had about three the Second Century plan for a 30 percent expansion
hours on the first day to try to harden the of the undergraduate student body ahead of schedule.
servers against attack.”
At the end of the first day, he and his “It’s not just the quantity of students entering Rice this year that is impres-
teammates were surprised to find them- sive, but also the quality and the diversity, ethnically and geographically,”
selves in first place. “Suddenly, there was said Chris Muñoz, vice president for enrollment. “We have students from
incentive,” he said. “We could win this.” foreign countries that have never been represented at Rice. They bring
On the second night, Dietz and his unique cultures and histories to the university and enrich the educational
colleagues worked into the wee hours and experience for all.”
found programs embedded within other Among other distinguishing characteristics of Rice’s
programs that would trigger attacks Class of 2013:
by even more programs. “The
• Underrepresented minorities make up almost
organizers were very tricky,” 20 percent.
Dietz said. “They were doing
things I hadn’t seen before, • The number of Mexican-American, Chicano,
Hispanic and Latino students increased by al-
just to try to trip us up.”
most 20 percent over last year.
Between sessions, he
said, organizers would run • More than 7 percent of the students are
specially designed bots to African-American, which sustains the growth
try to find holes in their from the previous year.
work. But a final coding • Thirteen percent are foreign nationals, an in-
tweak by Singh assured crease of 67 percent from last year that sup-
the team a narrow victory ports Rice’s V2C goal of becoming a more
over runners-up from the internationally focused university.
University of Washington. • The number of U.S. students from outside of
Dietz was low-key about Texas is up by almost 17 percent over last year.
the victory and his share of About 44 percent of the entering class is from
the $5,000 prize. “It was an Texas, and more than 40 percent comprises
interesting diversion,” students from other parts of the U.S. and U.S.
citizens living abroad.
he said.
—Jennifer Evans
—Mike Williams
Michael Dietz

A Grand Day for GSA

If one can measure success by the number of friends a person has, Tom
Nichols is an extraordinarily successful man. The Houston dermatologist and
Rice alumnus was pleased to be in the company of many friends when the
university hosted its 40th-anniversary celebration of the Graduate Student
Association (GSA) in October.

Nichols’ hard work and foresight were driving forces behind the GSA’s formation at the
close of the turbulent 1960s, when the number of graduate students at Rice doubled from
400 to 800 at the behest of then-president Kenneth Pitzer.
Since then, Rice’s doctoral and master’s candidates — including the
university’s current graduate student population of about 2,300 — have
had Nichols and his associates to thank not only for the GSA, which has
historically stood up for students on the issues that matter to them, but
also for Valhalla, the graduate student lounge that Nichols founded.
“Many, many people made a tremendous effort back in the sixties to
have the GSA and Valhalla come together and form better means of com-
munication between graduate students, between the students and fac-
ulty, between the students and administration and, ultimately, between
the students and trustees,” Nichols said.
Partly as a result, the university’s work on behalf of graduate stu-
dents in recent years has included the construction of the Rice Village
Apartments, a reduction in the cost of medical care, new graduate programs
in sociology and art history and increased
“Many, many people stipends.
Other speakers at the event also addressed
made a tremendous the importance of graduate students to the life of
effort back in the sixties the university. Paula Sanders, dean of graduate and
postdoctoral studies, noted that the first graduate student
to have the GSA and at Rice earned a doctorate in mathematics in 1918 — Kristjan Stone

Valhalla come together and stayed to teach. “Graduate students are now, as they
have always been, a fundamental part of this university
and form better means and an essential part of this intellectual community,” she
of communication said.
Julia Smith Wellner ’01, former GSA president, cur-
between graduate rent chairwoman of the Graduate Alumni Committee
students, between the and an assistant professor at the University of Houston,
told current graduate students assembled at the celebra-
students and faculty, tion that it’s important to maintain a connection to Rice.
between the students “Please stay involved with us, whether that means joining
the Friends of Fondren, the ‘R’ Society or the Graduate
and administration and, Alumni Committee,” she said. “Join Rice in whatever way
ultimately, between the is appropriate for you — but don’t disappear.”
Last year’s GSA president, Michael Contreras, raised
students and trustees.” a toast to Bob Patten, the Lynette S. Autrey Professor in
—Tom Nichols Humanities, who has worked diligently on GSA’s behalf
since he was appointed to a three-year term as Graduate Michael Contreras
House master in 1993. Even now, Patten works to maintain a sense of community among
graduate students in ways that go above and beyond the call of duty.
Top photo, from left, Tom Nichols, the GSA’s founding president;
Current GSA President Kristjan Stone, a graduate student in physics and astronomy
President David Leebron; Julia Smith Wellner ‘01, chairwoman of
who rose through the organization’s ranks, noted that the GSA has worked hard in recent
the Graduate Alumni Committee; Paula Sanders, dean of graduate
years to bring international students into the fold by creating clubs and networking events
and postdoctoral studies; and Michael Contreras, last year’s GSA
designed to coax them away from their research and into the larger community.
president, who served as master of ceremonies.
Alison Contreras, who coordinated the anniversary event and has served as the GSA’s
secretary and historian, said the organization has aided her greatly in navigating the
complexity of earning a Rice degree. “It has helped me understand the inner workings
Learn more about the Graduate Student Association:
of the administration,” the environmental engineering student said. “You have to be able
to work not just with the research side, but also with the administration. Along with the › › ›
social aspects, that’s what I’ve gotten most out of the GSA.”
At the celebration, the GSA introduced a history of the association by graduate stu-
dent Laura Renée Chandler that will be available on the association’s Web site.

—Mike Williams

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 19

on Women
in the Sciences
and Engineering
By Christopher Dow

Women seeking careers in the natural sciences
and engineering at Rice may have faced challeng-
es inherent in traditionally male-dominated fields
of academia, but many have more than overcome
them to earn world renown and to become role
models for aspiring young researchers — both
women and men.

ice’s charter called for “a thorough polytechnic school,
for males and females,” and the inaugural student
body reflected that in its composition of 48 men and
29 women. From the beginning, the university encour-
aged women in the sciences and engineering despite
early criticism about the lack of stereotypically “femi-
nine” courses such as home economics. One mother called the school
to find out what the curriculum would be, and when she was told her
daughter would study science and math, she commented that those
did not sound like subjects a girl might like.
President Edgar Odell Lovett disagreed and proclaimed his pride
in the “unusually fine group of young women” who bore “their full
share in making and maintaining the good name of the Rice Institute.”
Students — women or men — who wanted a thorough education
could find it at Rice.
Rice’s inaugural faculty of 10 was entirely male, however, and
while Alice Crowell Dean ’16 was Rice’s first female instructor fol-
lowing her graduation — a teaching fellow, interestingly enough, in
mathematics — it wasn’t until 1950 that Katherine Fischer Drew ’44
(history) joined Rice as the first woman to hold a full-time, tenure-
track faculty position. In 1965, Krystyna Ansevin (biology) became the
first woman faculty member in the natural sciences, and Mary Fanett
Wheeler ’71 (computational and applied mathematics) was the first
woman hired in engineering.
By the mid 1990s, women at Rice comprised 32 percent of the fac-
ulty in the humanities and 23 percent in the social sciences, but only
9 percent in the natural sciences and 7 percent in engineering. Today,
those numbers have grown, and women account for 42 percent of the
faculty in the humanities, 35 percent in the social sciences, 17 percent
in the natural sciences and 19 percent in engineering.
Women also serve in a number of top academic and administra-
tive roles. Sallie Keller is the dean of the George R. Brown School
of Engineering, and Cindy Farach-Carson is Rice’s first associate vice
provost for research. Kathleen Matthews served as dean of the Wiess
School of Natural Sciences for 10 years until stepping down at the end
of 2008. Rice women faculty chair four Rice science and engineering
departments and serve as directors of several research centers and
institutes, and many are elected members of professional societies or
are editors of professional journals.
This year, women comprise about 48 percent of Rice’s overall
undergraduate enrollment, including 50 percent of the students in
the natural sciences and 34 percent in engineering. Among graduate
students, women make up 34 percent of the sciences and 28 per-
cent of engineering. That’s good news since graduate students are
the pipeline that produces the researchers and university faculties of
the future.
Even so, experts say, all too often cultural biases disadvantage
women from fulfilling their potential in the sciences and engineering.
Overcoming those disadvantages is important to the country’s future
economic health, according to “Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling
the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering.” The
report, published by the National Academies Press in 2007, found that
women have the ability and drive to succeed but still face barriers at
every educational transition, from high school on up. Those obstacles
include discrimination, implicit bias from both men and women, and
evaluation criteria that disadvantage women.

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 21

Stellar Achievements In a one-month span this past fall, Richards-Kortum helped land a
$2.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, won a National
Rice, along with many other universities, is making special efforts to Institutes of Health stimulus grant to develop a cancer-diagnosing
overcome those barriers. One such effort is Rice ADVANCE, a five- camera small enough to fit inside a needle, secured Rice’s first grant
year program funded by the National Science Foundation. (See related from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a needle-free
article on page 30.) Just as important as any program, however, are technology for diagnosing malaria, and won additional funding from
people: the women among Rice’s natural sciences and engineering the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for an innovative biomedical
faculty who were not deterred from realizing their goals and are now training program she established in 2006.
making some of the most important discoveries and advancements When Vicki Colvin, another renowned Rice researcher, was
found anywhere on the planet. named to Discover magazine’s list of 20 Young Scientists to Watch in
Naomi Halas is a perfect example. Her efforts in nanoscale science 2000, most people had never heard of nanotechnology. The following
and technology span applications in manufacturing, materials technol- year, she took the reins of Rice’s federally funded Center for Biological
ogy, nanophotonics and, perhaps most important, bioengineering and and Environmental Nanotechnology, the only academic center in the
biomedicine. Over the past several years, she has worked to develop world dedicated to studying how nanomaterials interact with living
nanoshells that can be used to deliver medicines to targeted areas of organisms and ecosystems. Two years later, when the public voiced
the body, and that research recently has taken a dramatic turn with concerns over nanotechnology in the environment, Colvin was called
layered nanoshells that actually seek out cancers then light up under to testify before Congress as the world’s leading academic expert on
particular wavelengths of radiation nanotechnology risks. Colvin has co-authored dozens of studies about
to allow physicians to literally target ways to mitigate the environmental risks of nanotechnology and use

These women
the diseased tissue with lasers. (See nanotechnology to clean the environment. In 2004, for example, she
related article on Page 3.) and colleagues found a simple method to reduce the toxicity of water-
Halas’ incredible range of re- soluble buckyballs by a factor of more than 10 million. Nanorust,
search has earned her professorships
in four Rice departments (electrical
and computer engineering, chem-
are just a few a pollution-cleaning nanoparticle she co-discovered, made Forbes
magazine’s list of Top Five Nanotech Breakthroughs of 2006.
As government regulators search for the root causes of the global
istry, bioengineering, and physics
and astronomy) and recognition by of the many financial crisis — and for the means to prevent future crises — they
are asking for help from Rice statistician Katherine Ensor. Ensor, chair

at Rice who
many professional societies. She has of the Department of Statistics, has spent more than a decade devel-
received the Department of Defense oping computational models of world financial markets. She helped
Breast Cancer Research Program found Rice’s Center for Computational Finance and Economic Systems
Innovator Award from the congres-
sionally directed Medical Research
Programs, and she has been named
are making seven years ago, and she spearheaded the effort to create an under-
graduate minor in financial computation and modeling — the first
undergraduate minor offered by the university — in 2007.
a National Security Science and
Engineering Faculty Fellow by the world-class Ensor recently was asked by the Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency — the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s principal banking

Department of Defense. Last fall, she regulatory agency — and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences
was elected to the American Academy to help organize two workshops on financial modeling. The ultimate
of Arts and Sciences. goal is a computer program that lawmakers can use to test how new

and leading
Another member of the American banking regulations will play out in the market.
Academy of Arts and Sciences is bi- Another theme of Ensor’s work is environmental modeling, and
ologist Joan Strassmann, one of the she was asked by then-Houston Mayor Bill White to work with city
world’s foremost experts on the evo-
lution of social behaviors, such as the way in regulators to develop computer models that more accurately explained
the causes of the city’s air pollution — work that Ensor hopes to carry
over with the new administration of Mayor Annise Parker ’78.

their various
competition, cooperation and altru-
ism, and the genetics that underlie
them. Earlier in her career, she was New Generations
known for her work with wasps, but
for the past decade, she and long-
time research partner David Queller
fields. These women are just a few of the many at Rice who are making
world-class discoveries and leading the way in their various fields.
have studied the social amoeba Those fields cover the entire spectrum, from the nanoscale to astro-
Dictyostelium discoideum. They have nomical distances, from the creation of novel materials to the develop-
found that the presence or absence of a single gene can influence the ment of computing systems, and from an in-depth understanding of
likelihood that an individual amoeba will sacrifice itself for the good of the earth to insight into ecology and evolutionary biology.
the colony. Strassmann’s work earned her a prestigious Guggenheim But despite their diverse interests and methodologies — and status
Fellowship in 2004, and in 2009, she was elected president of the ranging from senior researcher to assistant professor — these women
international Animal Behavior Society. have one notable thing in common: They serve as role models and
Rebecca Richards-Kortum was already a rising star for her research mentors to younger generations of women who come to understand
on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in women, but she vaulted that they, too, can attain similar levels of achievement. This goes be-
into the elite ranks of the faculty when she became both the first Rice yond ADVANCE’s formalized Triad Mentoring Program to the fact that
woman and, at age 43, the youngest Rice faculty member ever elected female students have the opportunity to work daily with other female
to the National Academy of Engineering. The NAE also recognized her researchers in labs led by women.
leadership in bioengineering education and global health initiatives, In the following pages, we celebrate Rice’s women in the sciences
such as Beyond Traditional Borders, which takes a multifaceted ap- and engineering — many of them pioneers in their fields — as they
proach to health in the developing world and includes a focus on the tell us about their academic careers and groundbreaking research.
underrepresented role that women’s economic and social empower-
ment play in global health. With reporting by Jade Boyd and Mike Williams

Bonnie Bartel
Bonnie Bartel, Rice’s Ralph and
Dorothy Looney Professor of Bio-
chemistry and Cell Biology, re-
searches the molecular mechanism
of plant growth, specifically how
growth is influenced by the hor-
mone auxin.
A member of the Rice faculty
since 1995, she uses a variety of
methods to study how auxins,
which promote root growth and are
Discussion widely used by commercial grow-
ers, are regulated in Arabidopsis,
a small flowering plant native to
Europe. Her work has extended to
Rice University may be small among America’s tier-one universities, but the study of plant microRNAs —
regulatory molecules that dampen
it’s a giant among schools with top women researchers in the sciences gene expression in both plants and
animals. Currently, she is using
and engineering — not to mention the humanities and social sciences. genetic approaches to understand
how proteins enter and exit the
peroxisome, which are subcellular
For this issue on women in science and engineering, Rice Magazine
organelles that house enzymes
brought together five who are among the best in their respective implicated in auxin production. She
fields to talk candidly about their lives as academics and how they’ve received Rice’s prestigious Charles
W. Duncan Jr. Achievement Award
succeeded in endeavors traditionally dominated by men. Here is for Outstanding Faculty in 2005.
some of that lively conversation, moderated by Linda Thrane, Rice’s Bartel considered studying
vice president for Public Affairs. medicine during her undergraduate
days at Bethel College, but her love
of research led her to study biology
Linda Thrane: How did you all become scien- Farach-Carson: I wanted to be a paleontolo- as a graduate student at MIT. She
tists, and how did you find your research areas? gist. I loved dinosaur bones and all that stuff has enjoyed working with numer-
and still have a collection, but I became a ous students in her lab at Rice, and
Marjorie Corcoran: My field of research bone biologist instead. I think the common in 2006, she received a four-year,
picked me. I became interested in particle thing is that your path finds you. My dream $1 million grant from the Howard
physics when I was in the seventh or eighth is to go back now and look at all my favorite Hughes Medical Institute to develop
grade. I was reading about it and said, “Wow! molecules in dinosaur bone marrow. programs at Rice that combine un-
This is so amazing.” It went on from there. dergraduate teaching with research
Bonnie Bartel: I was actually in premed. I re- and focus on bringing freshmen and
Yildiz Bayazitoglu: I had a heat transfer alized I could take all this biology, but then I
sophomores into research labora-
teacher in my third undergraduate year who would have to go to medical school. It would
tory settings.
was very strong and very well known at that be interesting, but at the end I would be a
Bartel and her husband, Seiichi
time. He influenced me. doctor. That was not at all appealing to me.
Matsuda, who also is a professor at
Cindy Farach-Carson: I failed home Julia Morgan: Apparently my mother knew I Rice, have “one perfect child,” Ella,
economics! would be a geologist when I was 8. We trav- age 12.
eled quite a bit to the mountains, and I would
Corcoran: My mom was a home ec teacher complain about all the work you had to do
and was chagrined that I could never do very to climb to the top. I was miserable, which
well in it. made my parents very unhappy. Once, while

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 23

“There’s no question that, being female in
a department that’s dominated by men,
Yildiz Bayazitoglu

you play a unique role.”

— Julia Morgan

Yildiz Bayazitoglu, Rice’s Harry

S. Cameron Professor in Mechanical
Engineering, has been at Rice since
1977. The first woman to earn a me-
chanical engineering Ph.D. from the
University of Michigan, she studies
heat transfer, radiation, energy and
fluid flow as they relate to the manu-
facture and processing of materials.
She and her students conduct
groundbreaking work in the con-
tainerless processing of carbon
nanotube-embedded materials; the
they were looking out at the beautiful view, Princeton came back and gave a colloquium,
heating by electromagnetic radiation
I found a green rock, and I spent the next and she told me it made a huge difference to
of nanoparticles in biological sys-
hour picking up every piece of green rock her to have a woman on the faculty. I never
tems; and the thermal transport of there was. I guess that was a manifestation really appreciated that.
nanoscale-altered surfaces, materials of my curiosity about the Earth.
and fluids. Bartel: I’ve had maybe 13 graduate students,
Her work with her students On M e nt o rs and two of them have been male. Our gradu-
could lead to new ways to cool elec- ate students are slightly less than 50 percent
tronic devices, create nanoparticle- Thrane: Many of you refer to having wonder- female, but there are two things going on:
enhanced materials with unusual ful mentors. Were they all male? Some women seek out a female adviser, and
thermal and mechanical properties, there may be some males who seek out a
and advance cancer therapy that Bartel: Mine was. male adviser. Those two things have led to a
uses lasers to heat nanoparticles in big skew in my lab.
tumors. In addition, she wants to de- Corcoran: Mine, in graduate school, was
termine the magnitude of near-field male. There were no women. But he was Morgan: There’s no question that, being fe-
radiative heat exchange between black, and he understood prejudice. male in a department that’s dominated by
nanoparticles. men, you play a unique role.
She serves as an editor-in- Farach-Carson: All white males.
chief of the International Journal of Farach-Carson: Were you the first?
Thermal Sciences and was the first Morgan: Mine was my mother, who was a
woman in the half-century history of physicist. And my father was, too. The good Morgan: No, but I was the first woman with
the American Society of Mechanical thing is, I’m not a physicist. tenure. Many students feel it’s easier to talk
about things with another woman, so I play
Engineers to receive the organiza-
Corcoran: What kind of physics did they do? that role independently of being on their
tion’s Heat Transfer Memorial Award.
committees. We’re visible evidence that one
She also served as chair of the so-
Morgan: She was more in the mechanics side can succeed.
ciety’s heat transfer division and has of it. My father did materials science. She
authored an undergraduate textbook, tried very hard to have a faculty career and On F amili e s
“Elements of Heat Transfer.” didn’t succeed because she had children. But
Bayazitoglu has three adult I saw her try, and more importantly, I saw Thrane: How do you handle family life
sons, all Rice graduates. She enjoys her curiosity. She actually had interests in issues?
mentoring minority and international many of the things her kids got into.
graduate students. Farach-Carson: Marry well.
Thrane: Do you see mentoring as part of
your role? Corcoran: You need to have somebody who
has his own work and understands your pas-
Corcoran: Definitely. I’ve been at Rice 30 sion and how you’re driven because he has
years, and it’s only recently that I’ve come to the same passion.
realize how much impact I have on women
undergraduates. One who’s now tenured at Bayazitoglu: I think you have to be lucky,

Cindy Farach-Carson
Mary “Cindy” Farach-Carson
joined Rice in 2009 to take on several
roles. As the university’s first associ-
ate vice provost for research, she
focuses on building collaborations
between Rice and local biomedical
research and educational institutions
centered on the new BioScience
Research Collaborative.
She is also a professor of bio-
chemistry and cell biology, with a
second appointment in bioengineer-
a little bit. Actually, the unlucky ones are for me, the lines between what I call work
ing. The Galveston native began
likely not around. If you have problems at her career as a bone biologist and
and what I call …
home, you just cannot be a good performer segued into cancer research. She’s
at work. currently part of a National Cancer
Corcoran: … fun! …
Institute research project to study
Bartel (to Corcoran): We’re both married to how and why prostate cancer me-
Farach-Carson: … are really blurry. If you do
professors, right? I don’t know how it was for tastasizes to bone.
what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s After receiving her Ph.D. at
you, but when we had our one perfect child,
what I tell students: Choose something you Virginia Commonwealth University
we could bring her into work. For the first
four months of her life, she was at Rice. If love, and it’ll work out. Medical Center (then the Medical
we both had a meeting at the same time, she College of Virginia), Farach-Carson
went with him because it was like, “Look at Corcoran: Sometimes I’ll be in my office on was a postdoctoral fellow there
him. He’s so caring.” a Saturday or Sunday, and my youngest son and at Johns Hopkins University
will call me and ask, “Why are you work- before moving to Texas, where she
Corcoran: Yeah, if a woman brings a baby to ing on a Sunday?” Well, Connor, because it’s joined the University of Texas M.D.
a meeting, they don’t say that. what I like to do. Anderson Cancer Center and taught
at Baylor College of Medicine for a
Bartel: So you have to be lucky there, too. Farach-Carson: I was a spectacular failure at year. She achieved the rank of asso-
Not all kids are going to be amenable to that ciate professor with tenure at the UT
partitioning my life, so …
kind of upbringing.
Health Science Center at Houston
Corcoran: Now you don’t have to. and then joined the University of
Bayazitoglu: It goes a little bit further. I have
Delaware in Newark, where she
three boys, and they were healthy. But if one
Farach-Carson: I have an empty nest now. taught biological and materials sci-
had had health problems or a learning prob-
lem or something else, my work would have It’s nice. It’s weird. My youngest just started ences, coordinated a five-year reno-
suffered. college. At about 4:30, I have this thing that vation project and planned the build-
starts ticking, and I think, “I have to … oh, ing of a laboratory for the Center for
Morgan: There are a lot of challenges and no I don’t.” For 30 years, I’ve been running Translational Cancer Research.
stresses that go with being an academic. It’s home and trying to pick up somebody from Even during her years away from
not a 9-to-5 job, five days a week. Children soccer or something.
Houston, Farach-Carson, a mother
do require a family life. It’s doable if the cir- of four, would return every summer
cumstances are right. to teach part of a tissue engineer-
Bayazitoglu: I had a Ph.D. student, a profes-
ing course at Rice. She’s delighted
sor at the University of Florida who retired
Corcoran: I think Julia had the key. It’s not a to have returned for the long term
recently — my students are retiring! — who
9-to-5 job. Even now, I still work weekends. with her husband, Dan Carson, who
had two sons. One day she asked the old-
You just have a certain number of things you succeeded Kathleen Matthews as
have to get done, right? est one, “What do you want to become?” He the dean of Rice’s Wiess School of
said, maybe a policeman or fireman. And she Natural Sciences.
Farach-Carson: Research and parenting: said, “Why don’t you become an engineer?”
They’re both more than 40 hours a week. But He said, “No, only girls become engineers.”

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 25

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing
Marjorie Corcoran

elit. Etiam vel urna dui. Nam accumsan commodo

dictum. Proin et lorem turpis. Meo interdum lectus,
eget fringilla quam augue venenatis ante. Integer
ut convallis risus. Vivamus porttitor interdum tur-
Marjorie “Marj” Corcoran, a pis, et tempor nibh ultricies nec. Suspendisse.”
professor of physics and astronomy,
studies experimental particle phys-
ics at Rice’s T. W. Bonner Nuclear
Laboratory, where she and her col-
leagues work to understand the most
elementary constituents of matter.
In recent years, Corcoran
and her students have worked at
Fermilab, the particle accelerator
near Chicago, where they studied
the W and Z bosons, the particles re- On B ias Whereas these guys are, “I’ve just solved this!
sponsible for the weak nuclear force. I’m going to cure that!”
She currently is co-convener of the Morgan: I like to tell this story: I went to a
Fermilab physics group that studies reading downtown and walked into a room Bayazitoglu: This is very true.
particles containing the b-quark. where about 70 percent of the attendees
Corcoran earned her bachelor’s were women, and I realized that had never Corcoran: I would say women graduate stu-
degree at the University of Dayton happened in my entire life. If I’m at a confer- dents tend to view themselves in a much lower
and her Ph.D. in 1977 at Indiana ence, it’s predominantly men. So I was over- light than the guys. Most of the women students
University and is a fellow of the whelmed. I didn’t know what to make of it. I know are much better than they think they
American Physical Society. She are, whereas most of the guys are not nearly as
joined Rice in 1980 but already had Bartel: You notice when you’re in a situation good as they think they are. Some of them are
begun her research at Fermilab while where there’s a majority of women. When I not as smart as they think they are. I think it’s
a graduate student. In earlier work at was a graduate student and a postdoc, my reflected when they write their grants.
Fermilab, she worked on the KTeV advisers were all males, but also my peers
experiment, which searched for an were mostly males. So it was really weird for On A DV A N C E

explanation to the matter–antimatter me to come and start this lab and have it
asymmetry of the universe. Her cur- made up almost entirely of females. Farach-Carson: What can we do to create an
rent work in the B-Physics group even healthier environment for women in
continues the theme of seeking an Bayazitoglu: When I go to a meeting, I notice science at Rice?
I’m less defensive when there are more fe-
understanding to this asymmetry.
males in the room. Thrane: We’ve already answered part of it in
Corcoran has three children;
terms of helping women …
Colleen, 28; Craig, 21 and a Rice stu-
Morgan: This is an interesting point. Some
dent; and Conner, 18. Her husband is
studies about how men and women do sci- Corcoran: … have confidence in themselves.
a geophysicist with Shell.
ence reveal that men are very competitive by
nature, so if someone is tackling a problem Farach-Carson: Skill building and confidence
from one perspective, then the appropriate building.
way to respond is to tackle the same prob-
lem from another perspective and then argue Thrane: Do programs like ADVANCE help?
about it. Women, in contrast, tend to be much
more cooperative and/or avoid conflict. We Morgan: One of the key things ADVANCE
tend to define new and unique problems in has done here is community building. The
a field that’s less competitive. I think this is a fact that I know people’s names in this room
general observation, and I think I reflect it. really comes from ADVANCE. It puts you
in touch with people outside your depart-
Farach-Carson: I’ve been looking at the lan- ment, as there aren’t many inside who can
guage we use to describe our work. If you provide advice on problems your male col-
look at the things we write, they’re careful, leagues may never encounter. That, to me, is
they’re precise. When we’re not sure, we say extremely valuable, especially for the more
we’re not sure. We qualify the conclusions. junior people.

Julia Morgan
Julia Morgan, a professor of earth
science who joined Rice in 1999, stud-
ies the mechanics and deformation of
the planet’s shallow crust and special-
izes in the tectonics of convergent
plate boundaries, mountain belts and
oceanic volcanic islands.
While she spends time in the
field studying fold and thrust belts,
volcanoes, avalanches, and landslides,
both above and below the oceans —
“A wide range of geologic structures
On M o ti v ati o n not the best time of my life, but I could see capture my attention and provide
most of my life was ahead of me. entertaining research targets,” she
Thrane: What will motivate more young writes in her online bio — a great deal
women to enter science and engineering? Morgan: That’s extraordinarily perceptive at of her work happens in the lab, where
that age. I certainly didn’t see it that way. she and her team build computer
Morgan: Science and math. That’s the prob-
simulations of the forces that act on
lem. We don’t get enough.
Bartel: I was very conscious of, “These are and mold the Earth and extract the
not the people I’m going to be spending my resulting patterns of deformation.
Bartel: In the high schools and junior highs,
life with.” Her studies are not limited to her
there’s a lot of peer socialization — whether
home planet. Last year, in a paper
it’s okay to be the smart one. I think there’s
Thrane: Was it worth the struggle to do what co-authored with colleague Patrick
a cost to that.
you do? McGovern, a staff scientist at the
Bayazitoglu: Yes.
Lunar and Planetary Institute and
adjunct associate professor at Rice,
Corcoran: Oh, yes!
Corcoran: A little danger. My oldest child is a Morgan drew national attention for
girl, and I really saw this. She was the super- her numerical modeling of Olympus
Bartel: We couldn’t do anything else, right?
star student, and when she hit middle school, Mons, the largest volcano on Mars.
it was almost like she was afraid. Her research suggested that water —
Morgan: I have no job skills! and perhaps even signs of ancient life
Thrane: How did you all get here? Were you — could be trapped under the great
Bartel: What if we had a boss? mountain’s flanks.
just lucky?
A graduate of Vassar College,
Morgan: I was a geek. Bayazitoglu: I think Cindy had a really good Morgan earned a Ph.D. from Cornell
point. She said, “I don’t think of anything University. She came to Rice by way
Bartel: I was a geek. else to do on the weekend.” People should of postdoctoral positions at Cornell
do what they like, regardless. and the University of Washington and
Bayazitoglu: I came from an all-girls high work as an assistant researcher at the
school. Bartel: I would never try to convince some- University of Hawaii. She was named
body that a career track is really right for a fellow of the Geological Society of
Corcoran: I was a geek. In fact — and this them. You just have to love it and be unable America in 2004.
has been really true for me over the years —
to do anything else.
when I was in high school, I really didn’t care
what people thought about me. I still don’t
Morgan: You have to be a self-starter. You
care. It’s been a great strength. I took great
glee in always getting the highest scores on have to be motivated.
a math test.
Bartel: I looked around in high school and Bayazitoglu: Hopefully, what you love will
said, there are people here who think this is be your strength. Work on your strengths
the best time of their lives. I knew this was rather than your weaknesses.

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 27

Kathleen Matthews: This Path Is Possible

When it comes to gauging the progress of women in science at Rice, Kathleen Matthews
has a unique viewpoint. Among the first five women hired to the science and engineering faculty at the
university, she was the first woman in her department, the first woman to chair her department and the
first woman at Rice to become a dean of science or engineering. She also helped lead Rice’s efforts to
land a prestigious ADVANCE grant from the National Science Foundation in 2006 to transform Rice into
a more welcoming and equitable place for women in the sciences and engineering. (See accompanying
article on Page 30.)

“My awareness of women’s issues is far keener now than it was when I
arrived here,” said Matthews, who joined Rice in 1972. “I was used to being
“Now we’re doing a pretty good job of moving the only woman or one of the few women in a class or in a professional setting.
forward, and we have more resources and Things that today seem so inappropriate to me were simply the norm then.”

personnel to do things that are almost impos- Matthews recalled being invited, during her first months on campus, to a
dinner at the home of a college master. Upon greeting her, one of the faculty
sible to do without strong support, given members present immediately asked which department her husband worked in.
On another occasion, a faculty member struck up a conversation with Matthews
today’s demands on faculty.” as they walked across campus. “He assumed I was an incoming freshman,”
Matthews said. “I had to say, ‘No. I’m an assistant professor of biochemistry.’”
Both men eventually became good friends and colleagues. They didn’t
act out of maliciousness, any more than did the student who called her “Mrs.
Matthews” in the 1970s. “I told him he was free to call me Mrs. if he intended to
address his male professors as Mr.,” Matthews said.
Kathleen Matthews

“I didn’t find any of that behavior discouraging,” Matthews said. “I think

that was because my dad was a professor, and I grew up on a university cam-
pus. I worked for him in the summers from the time I was 12, so the academic
setting felt normal.”
Matthews said she considers herself fortunate that she didn’t get caught
up in being angry, upset and resentful about the way she was treated in the
1970s. “While I was growing up, it was important that I had female role models
around me who were scientists. The late Lorene Rogers was one of them — she
went on to become president of the University of Texas at Austin. So I knew
anything was possible.”
That belief gave her the boldness and tenacity to rise to the top of her field.
The year Matthews earned her bachelor’s degree from UT–Austin, scientists iso-
lated the lactose repressor protein — the first example of a protein that directly
regulated a gene by binding with DNA. Matthews began studying the lactose
repressor just four years later, in 1970, and she published her latest paper on it in
September. Her investigations of the repressor and other DNA-binding proteins
have propelled her to the forefront of her field. In 1996, she was elected a fellow
of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Today, Matthews is among the many role models available to women. “The
opportunity to have a robust, extended community of women in science did
not exist back then because there just weren’t enough of us,” Matthews said.
“Now we’re doing a pretty good job of moving forward, and we have more
resources and personnel to do things that are almost impossible to do without
strong support, given today’s demands on faculty.”
Matthews said the goal is not to give women special breaks but to increase
awareness of the issues. “It’s about evening the playing field,” she said. “And the
things we do to help women — mentoring for example — are things that we
hope to learn to do well and implement to help men, too.”
Matthews said it also is important to pay special attention to drawing more
women into academia, particularly those who weren’t lucky enough to grow up
on a university campus like she was.
“Those are the people I care about,” she said. “The ones who may be the
first in their families to go to college and who don’t even know about graduate
school. We have to get out the message that this path is possible — that you
can do it if you choose to and that there is a growing and dynamic community
of support.”
—Jade Boyd

Sallie Keller: Keeping the Communications Open

It’s not Sallie K eller’s job to bring women into engineering. As the William and
Stephanie Sick Dean of Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering, her job is to put together an
outstanding team and create an environment that fosters great engineering education and research. But
Keller is well aware of the status of women in engineering, and as co-principal investigator on Rice’s
ADVANCE program (see accompanying article on Page 30), she’s happy to report the steady rise of
women researchers among her faculty.

Keller’s perspective is unique. While a tenured professor of statistics at

Kansas State University, she spent a number of summers at the Los Alamos
National Laboratory, where she went from a department where she was “I’m really proud that, in engineering,
the only female to one split evenly between genders. we’ve gone from 12 percent to 19 percent
“There was a huge disparity at Los Alamos in general, but in the
statistics group, half the Ph.D.s were women,” she recalled. “It was an women, and it’s been in a very natural
anomaly, but it was the first time I was in an environment that had so
many professional women. I realized there was something that felt differ-
way. We’re getting good pools and bring-
ent about this group.”
Keller left Kansas State to lead the Los Alamos Statistical Sciences
ing in a lot of people to interview.”
Group in 1998, and she found that it wasn’t hard to maintain that trend.
“The group had this interesting environment where people shared a lot
of responsibility,” she said. “I had single fathers, single mothers, and you
didn’t see unrealistic expectations put on those people. If they had a
deadline or family issues, somebody would step up and help them meet
the challenge.”
She joined Rice in 2005 with that experience as a model and was glad
to find at least enough women among her faculty — 12 percent at that
Sallie Keller
time — to help attract more candidates. “When you get a critical mass
of women — or underrepresented minorities in general — the environ-
ment is different,” she said. “So when women come here to interview,
they don’t have to be convinced it’s going to be a good place for them.
It just feels right. Often it feels a lot different from anywhere else they’re
Keller said that having a diverse faculty automatically broadens the
pool of candidates when jobs open up. “I’m really proud that, in engineer-
ing, we’ve gone from 12 percent to 19 percent women, and it’s been in a
very natural way,” she said. “We’re getting good pools and bringing in a
lot of people to interview.”
She acknowledged that women thinking about careers in academia
face challenges. “I don’t think we should underrate the potential child-
bearing years, which lead women in different directions,” she said.
“Particularly in the sciences, and in some of the engineering areas, you get
your Ph.D. at 27 or 28, you do postdoctoral research for four or five years,
and then you’re in your mid-30s. If you’re thinking about an academic
position, it’s going to be seven years until you’re tenured, so now you’re
in your low 40s. When women confront that, they frequently will choose
a career route rather than research or academia, particularly after the
Keller credits ADVANCE for helping keep women among the junior
faculty at Rice on track, and although the program ends in 2011, she
would like to see its initiatives remain in place here and expand.
“We’ve had adequate time to test different kinds of programs. There
are certain things I’d like to see continue, like having Jan Rinehart, execu-
tive director of ADVANCE — or someone in her type of position — keep
the communications open and engage with junior faculty in a way that’s
safe and comfortable, and not just for women.”
That means incorporating more opportunities for men as well.
“We need to build more networks between men and women,” Keller
said, “and we’re starting to work on that.”
—Mike Williams

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 29

ADVANCEing Women
in the Sciences and Engineering

Historically, science and engineering have

been fields dominated by males, but things
are changing. That’s good for Rice as well
as for science and engineering.

The transformation of gender issues in science and engineering annual “Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position” workshop, a two-day
at Rice received a big boost in 2006 through a $3.3 million grant session that attracts women from across the U.S. who are preparing
to interview for faculty jobs. Created by bioengineering’s Rebecca
from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create its own Richards-Kortum, the workshop has sessions covering everything
version of the NSF’s ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and from recommendation letters and interviews to lab start-up negotia-
Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering tions and family life issues.
Careers program. The goals of Rice ADVANCE are bold: to re- “One thing the workshop has done is dispel the myth that there
aren’t qualified women in the pool,” said Jan Rinehart, executive
cruit a more diverse faculty and to build a culture that provides
director of Rice ADVANCE. “I no longer hear that there isn’t a pool
support to each member of that faculty. of women, and that’s partly because, each year, we have 1,000 ap-
plicants for the workshop.”
“A lot of ADVANCE programs opt for a signature feature like a
Changing Rice’s culture and climate to better support female fac-
women’s research center, but Rice is taking a different approach,”
ulty members is an equally important goal of Rice ADVANCE. When
said Carol Quillen, vice provost for academic affairs and principal Rinehart arrived to lead ADVANCE in 2006, she found that many
investigator for Rice ADVANCE. “We are really trying to change the of Rice’s female scientists and engineers were isolated. “A couple of
basic processes through which the institution organizes and manages departments had just hired their first female, and five departments
itself. That’s a longer process, and success is harder to measure, but had one-and-onlys,” she said. “A year before that (2005), three de-
if your goal is institutional transformation, you want to shape how partments had never had a woman. Research on minority status has
the institution functions on a daily basis.” found that if you’re the one-and-only, you’re a token. You have to
Women always have been underrepresented on science and speak for the whole gender, which puts you in a horrible position. If
engineering faculties, but the long-term societal and economic one of the department’s goals is to diversify committees, that person
implications of this gap are becoming apparent. In 1990, the National ends up on every single committee.”
Research Council formed a standing committee on the topic — the Jennifer West — Rice’s Isabel C. Cameron Professor
Committee on Women in Science and Engineering. NSF established of Bioengineering and chairwoman of the Department of
its ADVANCE initiative a decade later, and as recently as 2007, the Bioengineering — experienced that firsthand. “When other women
National Academy of Sciences found that “women face barriers to came aboard,” she said, “there was a shift in some of the dynam-
success in every field of science and engineering.” The academy’s re- ics of how the department functioned, and it instantly felt like a
port, “Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in friendlier place.”
Academic Science and Engineering,” came to a sobering conclusion: West’s lab blends the most advanced methods of materials
“Without a transformation of academic institutions to tackle such research and bioengineering to create biomaterials that can help
barriers, the future vitality of the U.S. research base and economy is diagnose and treat the nation’s three biggest killers — heart disease,
in jeopardy.” cancer and stroke. Her group is using, for example, innovative tech-
Rice ADVANCE is answering that call with a wide-ranging nology that could one day eliminate the need for doctors to remove
approach. One theme is recruitment. ADVANCE conducts search veins from a patient’s leg for heart bypass surgery. It also is creat-
committee workshops for faculty that show how implicit biases can ing materials that can be coated onto arteries to reduce clots and
subtly disadvantage women, minorities and others. Quillen said strat- promote healing for stroke victims, and it is using gold nanoshells
egies as simple as using a standard set of questions for all applicant to kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. Other of West’s
interviews can help level the playing field. research efforts include the development of a polymer that will aid
Another Rice ADVANCE recruitment-themed program is the in healing fractures by serving not only as an internal cast, but also

as an ossification promoter, prompting damaged tissue to regrow departments, aims to boost retention by creating a stronger sense
bone in seven to 14 days. of community among female faculty members across campus.
“Now there are no departments that have only one female Quillen and Rinehart said ADVANCE is looking at how to con-
faculty member,” Rinehart said. Women hold 18 percent of tenure tinue these programs and sustain ADVANCE’s success after NSF
or tenure-track science and engineering positions, up from 12 funding ends in 2011. Quillen, a historian, said the experience of
percent in 2003. her own discipline shows that failure is not an option.
Equally important are improvements in the climate for women “All you have to do is pick up a history article written 60 or
as reported in an annual ADVANCE survey, though it also shows 70 years ago to see that the stories we told ourselves about our
the need for more training for men and women to make them own national past weren’t just incomplete, they were distorted,”
aware of the biases that accumulate against women over time. she said. “And they were distorted at least partly because the
“The survey told us that women teach larger sections, teach people asking the questions, framing the hypotheses, gathering

“We are really trying to change the basic processes through

which the institution organizes and manages itself. That’s a
longer process, and success is harder to measure, but if your
goal is institutional transformation, you want to shape how the
institution functions on a daily basis.”
—Carol Quillen

more new classes, and mentor more undergraduates and master’s the evidence and then going from the evidence to conclusions
students,” said Rinehart, who also noted that women are asked to were very similar to each other.
serve on more committees but asked to lead them less often. “We “The same process occurs in the physical and applied sci-
need chairs to be very thoughtful about how they balance the ences. And that means that cultivating a diverse community of
workload in the departments.” inquirers is not just icing on the cake. We can’t be the university
ADVANCE sponsors the creation of mentoring initiatives within we claim to be if we don’t make it a priority.”
departments, but just as significant is its unique Triad Mentoring
Program. This program, which joins one senior female faculty —Mike Williams and Jade Boyd
member with two junior faculty members, each from different

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 31

Eric Garland ’94 remembers the moment when the
record industry thought it had won the war on piracy.
It was March 2001, and he was at a music industry convention when word came
down that Napster — the online file-sharing service that allowed users to illegally
trade songs over the Internet — had been shut down by court order. And that was
supposed to be that. There would be no more stealing songs, and everyone would go
back to buying $17 compact discs.

Cybertracker B y Da v i d M e nc o ni

Garland wasn’t directly involved, but he was hardly a disinterested observer.

As co-founder of BigChampagne, a company that tracked file-sharing, he had a
vested interest in the online revolution taking hold.
“Friends from the industry were commiserating and saying, ‘Sorry, man, it
was such a cool dream, but it’s over!,’” Garland recalled, seated at his desk in his
Beverly Hills office. “And I remember thinking, ‘Wow, you really still don’t get it,
do you? This isn’t about Napster, and it isn’t over. It’s only just begun.’”
History has borne out that prediction. Nearly a decade later, illegal file-shar-
ing is more pervasive than ever, and authorized sales aren’t what they used to be.
More and more people buy single 99-cent tracks from iTunes rather than those
$17 CDs, and the market has fractured into countless microniches.
As BigChampagne’s public face, Garland helps media companies make
sense of this confusing landscape. He regularly makes lists of the entertainment
industry’s most influential figures, and he’s a familiar voice preaching a gospel of
change: Evolve or die. He calls himself “the guy who shows up to tell you what
you don’t want to hear,” and he’s not kidding.
“I’ve been telling major labels for years that they need to get leaner,” Garland
said. “They can have a very profitable business one-third the size of what they
were, but not spending what they’ve been spending. Napster came along in 1999,
and the industry regarded that as an unfortunate blip they’d get rid of then go
back to making money hand-over-fist. What we were telling them even then was,
‘This is just the first domino. What’s coming next is about to reinvent your busi-
ness — perhaps catastrophically.’”

Making a Case
BigChampagne subscriptions can cost from as little as a few hundred dollars to
a hefty seven figures. Wired magazine likens the company’s data to television’s
Nielsen ratings. BigChampagne can tell you how many times a song was down-
loaded last week in Peoria, Ill., and crunch numbers between that and plays on
radio, MySpace, YouTube and other online outlets to give a complete picture of a
song or an artist’s presence in the marketplace.
“When I went around pitching this in 2000, the most common response was,
‘You’re asking me to pay you to tell me what’s being stolen from me?’” Garland
said. “After I picked my jaw off the floor, I’d say, ‘Yes. Don’t you think GM or
Chrysler would take a keen interest in which of their cars were being boosted
from which neighborhoods?’ You should want to know everything about the
marketplace. We’ve been accused of validating or endorsing piracy, but we’re
simply tracking a consumer phenomenon and collecting good information about
what people want to listen to.”
Making his case, Garland is harshly judgmental of some of his best customers
and frequently lambastes record companies in the media.

“Eric works with record companies even while criticizing them,” and offering advice on maximizing online revenues.
said Rolling Stone magazine contributing editor Steve Knopper, Does Garland worry about getting too enmeshed in the record
who used Garland as a major source in his acclaimed 2009 book, industry?
“Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record “From day one of hashing this out on the back of a napkin, our
Industry in the Digital Age.” “He has this unique access to go into disinterested third-party status has been our only real asset,” he
boardrooms and say, ‘I have this data you should buy because it’s said. “If that’s compromised, we have no value. We’re paid to call it
important. You’d better listen, or you’ll lose all your business.’ He’s accurately. If we fall down there, we’ve lost our business.”
been saying that for 10 years, and it used to seem futuristic. But a lot As to whether or not record labels can stay in business, that’s not
of it has come true.” assured. Two BigChampagne studies illustrate the size of the chal-
lenge. One concerned Radiohead’s pay-what-you-wish experiment,
Unconventional Trajectory in which the group offered its 2007 “In Rainbows” album on its Web
site at whatever price people wanted it — even free. But far more
Garland comes by his passion for music honestly, and most con- people still chose to download the music through unauthorized file-
versations with him involve a fair amount of geek-speak about old sharing networks.
records. A Houston native, Garland found himself among kindred The other study examined Chris Anderson’s “Long Tail Theory,”
spirits at Rice, where he earned a B.A. in English. which posits that the online world’s numerous microniches can add
“Rice was a great place to be geeky and self-directed,” he said. up to as much collective business as old-fashioned blockbuster hits.
“I didn’t realize at the time how rare that is: this wild undisciplined But BigChampagne found that the opposite is true. Hits account for a
creativity among socially disadvantaged people thrown together at age larger percentage of sales than ever, even though hits are smaller —
18. I just loved the deeply ingrained celebration of the oddball there.” a double dose of bad news.
At Rice, Garland played in a student band called Bee Stung Lips. “The depressing conclusion is that the Internet has been a de-
He took it more seriously than his bandmates, installing a second pressive force on economic opportunity across the board,” Garland
phone line in their off-campus house so they’d have a “world head- said. “It’s been even harder on the middle and upper-middle class of
quarters” for their do-it-yourself record label. bands, just below the superstar level. They’re selling less and making
Bee Stung Lips didn’t last beyond graduation. Garland less than they were. So who’s winning now? The entrepreneurial
worked at a management consulting firm before heading to artists are winning.”
California in 1999 to seek his fortune in the dot-com boom. Those entrepreneurial artists include Radiohead and Nine Inch
Napster’s launch that year got him thinking about the intersec- Nails, who have released very profitable albums through unconven-

“From day one of hashing this out on the back of a napkin, our disinterested third-party status has been our only real asset.
If that’s compromised, we have no value. We’re paid to call it accurately. If we fall down there, we’ve lost our business.”
—Eric Garland

tion of music and technology, which led to BigChampagne. tional channels. As for the labels those artists have left behind, their
The name started as a joke, based on Peter Tosh’s song easy-hit days are long gone. It’s the natural order of things.
“Downpressor Man,” which is about someone quaffing “big cham- “As businesses evolve, major incumbent players come and go,”
pagne,” unaware that doom is about to strike. That’s a fitting meta- Garland said. “The introduction of cars mattered a great deal to
phor for the record industry, which ignored the Internet for years. buggy-whip manufacturers. But with enough distance, we call that
Napster was merely the opening salvo. progress. I don’t think the art form faces any threat. Music is as
Napster, which logged millions of users, was a centralized trad- vibrant as ever now, perhaps even more so.”
ing post, and a popular theory is that the past decade would have
been very different if the record labels had gone into business with Staying Alive
Napster instead of suing it. Garland’s contrarian viewpoint is that it
wouldn’t have changed much. If music labels want to survive, they have to give and get: They have
“Over the last 10 years, think of how many things were charac- to get smaller, and they have to give up control to the audience,
terized as ‘the ultimate response’ to ‘the problem of the Internet,’” which is in charge as never before.
he said. “Ringtones, iTunes, paid-subscription services, DVD audio, “It used to be that the audience took orders,” Garland said. “But
MySpace and ad-supported streaming were all supposed to save the the entertainment consumer calls the shots now. Record labels don’t
industry. But there was no magic bullet because this wasn’t about a like that, but it’s undeniably true.”
problem that needed fixing. It was the evolution of the marketplace. There are lessons here for every media company. From dete-
Piracy didn’t kill the record business as much as frictionless distribu- riorating sales of movie and television DVDs to circulation declines
tion for pennies rather than tens of dollars.” for newspapers, magazines and books, every content-providing
company is confronting the same issues as the record industry.
Evolution of an Industry In this world of iPods, Kindles and TiVo, no one knows what
form new content-providing companies will take. Garland admits
Initially, record labels tried to stamp out file-sharing by suing people that coming up with smaller businesses that make sense is easier
caught stealing songs. That turned out to be a public-relations night- said than done. But that’s what has to happen.
mare, and it did nothing to decrease piracy. “I empathize with traditional media companies,” Garland said.
By now, the industry has no choice but to pay attention to what “But crying in your beer won’t help. I’d say they need to move
Garland’s been saying all along. One sign of the times is a deal through the stages of grief more quickly, and you can trace them all
BigChampagne struck last fall with Universal Music Group, the world’s over the last 10 years in the music industry: denial, rage, bargaining.
largest music company. BigChampagne will serve an enhanced con- Fast-forward through them all and get to acceptance, because that
sultant’s role for Universal by standardizing the company’s online data grieving time is so costly. Get to acceptance, and go back to work.”

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 33

With a focus on transnationalism and an eye toward
collaborative research, the new Chao Center for Asian Studies
nurtures Rice’s Vision for the Second Century.
By Merin Porter
—By Merin Porter

pril 15 usually isn’t known for much besides tax deadlines. In 2009, though,
internationally minded scholar and director of the Chao Center for Asian Studies, Tani
Barlow, the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Asian Studies and professor of history,
took note of the day for a completely different reason. On a bridge spanning the Rio
Grande between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, U.S. “border czar” Alan
Bersin addressed members of the Mexican press in Spanish, reflecting America’s
growing commitment to a more sophisticated style of international relations.

It’s the same commitment to internationalism that Rice University Currently, Barlow is expanding the Chao Center’s focus to include
echoes in its Vision for the Second Century — and a primary reason a serious examination of an ongoing debate about how Asia should
the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation pledged $15 million be defined and what countries should be considered part of which
toward the establishment of a premier center for Asian studies at Rice continental region. For example, the U.S. government used to consider
in September 2007. Vietnam a part of Southeast Asia but now considers it a part of East
“The Chao family’s investment at such an extraordinary level pro- Asia. However, if you ask an economist, a diplomat or even the United
vides the catalyst for taking our Asian initiatives to the next stage,” Nations where Vietnam should fall on the regional map, you’re likely
said Rice University President David Leebron. “It provides substantial to come away with different answers. To begin addressing questions
support for our goal to further internationalize Rice.” like these, the Chao Center hosted a workshop in May called “The
The George and Nancy Rupp Professor of Humanities and University in the World, the World in Asia,” at which international
Professor of History Richard J. Smith served as the center’s acting scholars debated the topic “How Big Is Asia?” in closed meetings after
director throughout its formative months, during which time Rice the public portion of the workshop ended.
conducted an international search for the center’s founding director. “Ever since the end of the Cold War and the beginning of oil
Barlow stepped into that position Jan. 1, 2009, the same day the Chao politics in a really severe way, nations have fought to be included
Center for Asian Studies officially opened. in Asia for a variety of different reasons,” Barlow said. “Scholars and
A leading scholar of modern history and a critical theorist, Barlow specialists have different ways of addressing that, but personally I
came to Rice from the University of Washington, where she taught in would argue that if you can make a claim, and it’s a good argument,
the departments of History and Women Studies. She served for sev- then why should you not be part of Asia?”
eral years as that university’s director of the Project for Critical Asian Regardless of how it’s defined, South Asia is an area of study the
Studies, which was funded by a Rockefeller Foundation grant in the Chao Center wants to address seriously. However, students across the
humanities. university also have expressed interest in courses related to Southeast
When Barlow joined Rice, she brought with her “positions: east Asia, North Asia and the old “Orient,” in addition to the East Asian
asia cultures critique,” an award-winning journal she founded 17 years studies that are already a current focus of the center. To meet these
ago and still edits. The journal now falls under the umbrella of the demands, the center plans to hire three additional associate professors
Chao Center, as does Rice’s long-established Asian Studies program, over the next several years. This faculty expansion will enable the cen-
which offers an undergraduate degree, approximately 40 Asia-oriented ter’s undergraduate and graduate courses to include a range of Asian
courses and support for a variety of Asia-related activities across cam- specializations in the humanities, social sciences and preprofessional
pus and in Houston. disciplines. The transnational coursework and basic language training
The Chao Center aims to distinguish itself from similar centers for that result will benefit students no matter what their majors are.
Asian studies through its explicitly transnational focus, which places em- “The major will always be something that a very de-
phasis on how people, ideas, products and technologies travel across voted group of students will seek,” Barlow said, “but
national and other boundaries. Barlow hopes to lead the center in estab- given the world now, anyone studying business,
lishing a “world-class, world-renowned research program” through: chemistry or engineering eventually will work in
India and China. How much better it would be
• Supporting faculty, graduate and undergraduate student for them on every level if they understood the
research. languages being spoken around them.”
• Collaborating with peer research institutes in Asia, Europe In addition to expanding its South Asian
and the U.S. focus and in response to student requests, the
Chao Center also is collaborating with other
• Encouraging student and faculty exchanges among leading
emerging centers at Rice to increase university
Asian research centers.
course offerings in Asian-American literature
• Promoting academic discussions through a program and culture.
of visiting scholars, distinguished speakers, In so doing, the center not only will sup-
conferences, travel and international port Rice’s Vision for the Second Century and
research. nurture America’s tendencies toward inter-
• Leveraging existing faculty strengths with nationalism, but also will provide additional
strategic new hires, new visiting scholar opportunities for Rice students both to ex-
positions, institutional partnerships and plore the vital Asian world and to discover
dedicated graduate fellowships to create their place in it.
and sustain multidisciplinary research
communities that produce world-class (Jessica Stark and B.J. Almond
work on transnational Asia. contributed to this article.)

• Expanding Asia-related curricula for

undergraduate students in all majors.

Tani Barlow
Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 35
When it comes
to digging up
the dirt on
past, nothing
beats hands-on
By Christopher Dow

The stone ruins of the town are quiet and empty. They’ve been that way since the 16th
century, when the people who built this place departed. But despite its age, the town
remains remarkably untouched by time or the hands of scavengers and looters who
frequently mar the integrity of sites that contain tantalizing clues to humankind’s past.

his is Songa Mnara, located on an island off the coast of gives us a focused view of the 15th and 16th centuries,” Fleisher said.
southern Tanzania, and, last summer, its quiet repose was “Also, if you dig sites that have long histories, then you have to go
finally disturbed. But the tramp of feet and excited voices down three or four meters. That’s a lot of digging. At Songa Mnara,
that drifted down a path flanked by lush tropical growth the deposits are mostly in the first meter.”
did not herald the arrival of scavengers or looters. They were the
sounds of the students of the Rice Archaeological Field School, a six-
week intensive training exercise in the techniques of archaeological Beginnings
excavation and the intellectual challenges of making sense of objects
and remains from departed civilizations that often left no written Although this is the first year that the Rice Archaeological Field
clues to the complexities of their cultures. School has visited Songa Mnara and the first time that Fleisher has
The team of young archaeologists were in Songa Mnara with led the group, it’s not the first time the field school has visited Africa,
Rice Assistant Professor of Anthropology Jeffrey Fleisher, who studies and it’s no accident that Africa is its focus. The field school had
the Swahili, a group of people who today are scattered among many its inception in the work of Rice Professor of Anthropology Susan
African countries. From the ninth to the 16th centuries, however, Keech McIntosh, renowned for her co-discovery of Jenne-jeno in
the Swahili dominated East African trade, acting as brokers between Mali, the oldest-known and most sophisticated African city south of
merchants who sailed the Indian Ocean and traders who bore goods the Sahara.
to the coast from the interior of Africa. In the process, the Swahili Since then, McIntosh has continued her research into Africa’s
grew wealthy, developed a rich culture and left their language as the past, both in Mali and in Senegal. “In Mali, I’ve excavated a tell
lingua franca of East Africa. site — a mound that people built above the flood plain over many
“The Swahili built a number of very elaborate, urbane, sophis- centuries,” she said. “At the very top are structures from the French
ticated towns, including Songa Mnara,” Fleisher said. “By the 12th colonial period, and we’ve gone down about seven meters — really
century, the East African coast was a very interesting place, ground- deep — to the 14th century. Other parts of the site probably go back
ed in an African past but emerging as a cosmopolitan Muslim world. to the 12th century. Another mound three kilometers away was a
The towns were built of local materials but in styles that were very precursor settlement, and that goes down another seven meters to
common around the rim of the Indian Ocean.” 200 B.C. So we have a whole sequence that is greater than 2,000
Two factors make Songa Mnara particularly interesting. The first years long.”
is its condition. “The ruins of many Swahili towns can be found else- Because of McIntosh’s expertise in African archaeology, study
where on the coast,” Fleisher said, “but people either live on them and preservation of the continent’s many archaeological sites and
or take the stones to construct other buildings. Others have been treasures became a focus of the Rice archaeology program.
well studied. But Songa Mnara is so isolated that it’s been relatively “We’ve trained people who are in the countries where we do
untouched, even by archaeologists. Most of the rubble from the our work because we collaborate with these folks in the field,”
buildings remains, and walls stand all over the site. It’s a remarkable McIntosh said. “They’re either in the universities or they’re employed
time capsule.” in the government service that oversees archaeology, and they often
The second exciting factor about Songa Mnara is that it dates to become influential in the management of archaeological resources
the last century or so before the Portuguese assumed dominance and heritage in their home countries.”
over Indian Ocean trade. “Songa Mnara may not be as interesting A case in point is Ibrahima Thiaw ’99, who earned his Ph.D.
regarding the long-term transformation of Swahili culture, but it at Rice and is an associate professor of archaeology at the Institut

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 37

serves as an
independent test
of the narratives
that we have
fashioned about
the past, and
it also allows
us a view of a
deep past before
written narratives
defined human

Fondamental d’Afrique Noire, Université Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Fourth Ward, formerly known as Freedman’s Town.
Senegal. For several years, Thiaw has been digging on Gorée Island, “Freedman’s Town is the only precinct in America where the
Senegal, which was one of the centers of the Atlantic slave trade. descendants of freed slaves who settled it still live, so it has huge his-
“Ibrahima is studying the diversity of the population living on toric importance,” McIntosh said. “Working there is exciting because
Gorée at different points in time and learning about the interaction of the parallels with what we’ve tried to do in Africa, which is to
between the native peoples and the Europeans who built houses examine standard histories in which
there and married Senegalese,” McIntosh said. “The most important certain topics are overlooked or not
people in that society were the wives and their offspring. These
women arranged for the provisioning of slave ships and were slave Learning the basics represented.”
After taking the excavation
owners themselves, so this was a very complicated setting in terms
of the ethnicity of people.” of doing archaeology class, students can then opt to par-
ticipate in the field school. “Our stu-
McIntosh thought that working with Thiaw would be a great op- dents come to the field school well
portunity for her students, and in 2005, the Rice Archaeological Field allows students to trained,” Fleisher said. “Because of
School was born. that, even undergraduates have an
market themselves opportunity to run an excavation
unit and really get a sense of what
Hands-On Experience
as experienced field it’s like to do field work.”
Field schools in both Songa
Participating in a real excavation teaches students how archaeologists
use material culture to fashion a perspective on the past. That per- workers and can lead Mnara and Gorée have affiliated
faculty and researchers who come
spective, McIntosh said, can be different from a historian’s. “When
we deal with historical sites, you have several kinds of evidence,” to the next step in their in to do specialized studies, which
give the students a chance to gain
she said. “There are written documents such as ledgers, decrees and practical experience in a wide range
other things that have mercantile and political purposes. And there careers. of archaeological techniques and
are oral histories. People always have a self-interest in what they analyses. On the Gorée dig, for
remember and why they remember it. Then there is material culture example, students worked with an
— the stuff that archaeologists find interesting — which consists of archaeobotanist to learn how to
those things that people have thrown away — the things they have collect, sort and analyze botanic material. And one of the students
not chosen to remember.” worked with a lab to do isotopic testing of teeth from individuals dis-
Archaeology looks at these castoffs and asks how they add covered in a grave site. “Most of the people in the graves showed the
dimension to the picture that we have from written and oral sources. isotopic signature of people from Gorée,” McIntosh said, “but one
Sometimes it forms a different picture, and sometimes it will even adult male was clearly from somewhere else. The student produced
contradict other sources. Archaeology, then, serves as an indepen- an honors thesis out of that work.”
dent test of the narratives that we have fashioned about the past, Fleisher’s group was fortunate in being accompanied by a
and it also allows us a view of a deep past before written narratives diverse international team that included Chester Cain ’92, an honor-
defined human histories. ary research scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, who
Rice students with an interest in archaeology are introduced to lent his expertise in analyzing animal bones; a geophysical survey
excavation techniques in class. They then participate in ongoing team; a geoarchaeologist who studied soils and sediments; and a
work for the Yates Community Archaeological Project, a program historical linguist.
sponsored by the Rutherford B. H. Yates Museum in Houston’s Learning the basics of doing archaeology allows students to

market themselves as experienced field workers and can lead to the next step
in their careers. That might be in academia, but there also is a world of private
archaeology in the United States, such as companies that do clearance and miti-
gation work for construction and development. “Any one of our students could
start working for one of these firms as a field technician,” Fleisher said.

On Site

On Gorée, which is a small island with a large population, students live in a

school, but they also stay for a week in the homes of local families. The experi-
ence gives them a chance to immerse themselves in a very different culture.
“One of our Muslim students, for example, lived with a family who were
Muslim religious leaders on Gorée, and she got to see how Islam is practiced in
that part of world,” McIntosh said. “One of our
Christian students lived with that same family,
“It’s very intense and it gave him a whole different view into a
world where people live in very large families
for students. But and where privacy is not a value that anybody
holds. That’s very illuminating for Americans.”
On Songa Mnara, which remains remote,
living in a different there is a fishing village of about 500 people
some distance from the dig site, but there is no
cultural milieu might fresh water, electricity or transportation. The
students there learned that solving logistics
be the most important problems and living in primitive circumstances
often are as much a part of an archaeological
thing they take away dig as are excavation techniques. Everyone slept
in tents, and all the water and other supplies
from the project.” had to be carried in.
“It’s very intense for students,” Fleisher
said. “But living in a different cultural milieu
—Jeffrey Fleisher
might be the most important thing they take
away from the project. They are exposed not
only to a dramatically different way of living,
but also to people who are engaged in the
global world in a different way than they are. It
teaches them a lot about themselves as well as
about other cultures.”

Continuing Excavations

For the near future, the two archaeologists plan to trade off every other year,
moving back and forth between East and West Africa. Fleisher will return to
Songa Mnara in 2011, but McIntosh is looking at sites other than Gorée Island for
next year. “Ibrahima Thiaw led the excavations on Gorée,” McIntosh said, “but he
recently was named director of the national museum in Senegal, so he’s become
a very busy guy. We’re investigating other possibilities in West Africa or up on
the north coast. It will be someplace interesting.”
That’s a promise McIntosh and Fleisher have kept so far. The sites in Mali,
Gorée and Songa Mnara are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the area
surrounding the Yates Museum is a National Historic District. “We’ve had the
enormous privilege of being among the pioneers in investigating these sites that
are deemed to be instructive and exemplary for the history of all humanity,”
McIntosh said. “For students, it’s really exciting because everything that comes up
is something that no one else has seen, and that leads to interpretations that no
one else has advanced.”
The archaeologists also feel fortunate to be able to actively research African
and African-American history not only on both sides of Africa, but also on
both sides of the Atlantic. “Having our American students working in Africa
and our African students interacting with the African-American community
in Freedman’s Town provides such interesting opportunities for examining
assumptions each group holds about the other,” McIntosh said. “I don’t think
there’s anyplace else in the United States that has that set of perspectives.”

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 39

Thomas Hong
Thomas Hong ’08 said the most valuable lesson he learned
from Rice conductor Larry Rachleff applies to life as much
as it does to music. “Larry always says if you conduct great,
great things will happen,” Hong said. “When I was younger
I had all these lofty goals, but it’s much simpler now. I just
want to enjoy every opportunity I have to work with great
musicians and orchestras.”

Hong has gotten his wish. He recently was named assis-

tant conductor of two top-tier symphonies: the Pittsburgh
and Seattle symphony orchestras. The appointments came
on the heels of stints as assistant conductor of Orchestre
National de France and associate conductor of the Fort
Worth Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Incheon, South Korea, Hong came to the U.S.
with his family in 1978. He began his musical training on
the piano at age 15 and studied at Philadelphia Biblical
University, Temple University and the Curtis Institute of
Music. After four years of modest work in the Philadelphia
music scene, Hong decided to go back to school. It was a
decision that changed his life.
“My education at the Shepherd School was an invest-
ment in every sense of the word,” Hong said. “It prepared
me to pass auditions and to stand in front of the world’s
best orchestras, but at the Shepherd School, you also learn
about how to have a good career.”
Hong credits his good career start to the faculty of
the Shepherd School, particularly Rachleff, the Walter Kris
Hubert Professor of Orchestra Conducting, with whom he
“I can’t say enough about Larry Rachleff. He is the
complete package,” Hong said. “He’s a phenomenal con-
ductor — second to none — and a unique teacher. When
he takes on new students, he commits and invests not just
in their talents, but in their lives.”
During his time at Rice, Hong also worked with Richard
Bado, professor of opera and director of the Opera Studies “A conductor is a spokesman for the composer.
Program. Hong learned about staging, singers and the idio-
syncrasies of opera, and Bado then invited him to conduct
As a conductor you have the chance to initiate
an entire opera. the music-making process. It’s inspirational
“That’s the thing about the Shepherd School,” Hong
said. “The faculty here is unified and has one common
and rewarding in so many ways.”
—Thomas Hong
goal: to teach and equip students to do well and excel. The
environment that is created is one of collaboration of the
highest order. Faculty members are constantly stopping
by rehearsals and showing up during the course of prepa-
ration to offer insights. That just doesn’t happen at other
As assistant conductor at Pittsburgh, Hong will assist
with programming, conduct educational and community
concerts, and lead preconcert talks. He has similar respon-
sibilities in Seattle, where he also will conduct rehearsals
and performances. Hong will split his time between both
cities and continue to travel for guest opportunities.
“A conductor is a spokesman for the composer,” Hong
said. “As a conductor you have the chance to initiate the
music-making process. It’s inspirational and rewarding in
so many ways.”
Hong hopes to embody the principles he learned at
Rice during the next phase in his life. He also is looking
forward to marrying and starting a family with his longtime
girlfriend. “I know this sounds trite,” he said, “but she is
my source of inspiration.”

—Jessica Stark


Keeping a Cool Head

There was a giant disembodied head of George Jones in the middle of Rice Gallery.

Created by the Tennessee-born artist Wayne White, the enor- White conveyed that humid restlessness via a peephole in the
mous noggin was the centerpiece of his installation “Big Lectric back of Jones’ head. The viewer could peer into the unquiet inner
workings of the musician’s brain, where a marionette in a rhinestone-
Fan to Keep Me Cool While I Sleep,” and it was something only studded suit danced continuously amid flickering stage lights while
a Southerner like White could come up with. the sun endlessly rose and set behind it.
George Jones is the bad-boy country music icon who blended in- Meanwhile, in an effort to conjure a cooling breeze, White turned a
credible talent with infamous booze-fueled antics — among them an small side gallery into an “ice house,” pun intended. The walls were painted
eight-mile lawnmower ride for a drink after his wife took his car in a rustic, blue-tinged faux bois, and a cartoony Styrofoam “ice sculpture”
keys. White has a particularly Southern take on the performer and rested in the center and little Styrofoam icicles collected on the walls.
blends admiration with wry acknowledgment of the singer’s tragic White painted the text of the title on the walls and floors of the
flaws. White’s George Jones was a massive puppet head, a caricature gallery in giant, 3-D, billboard-style letters. It’s a device he uses in his

He kept imagining Jones in the city as a young man in those years before air conditioning,
“full of crazy artistic passion and making music history.”

carved from Styrofoam and tilted on its side as if passed out. Deftly thrift-store paintings — cheesy mass-produced landscapes the artist
painted beard stubble covered Jones’ jaw, while his circa-1950s flattop alters by painting over them with amusing or absurd phrases and
was crafted from cardboard tubes sprouting from the top of his head. words like “Failed Abstract Paintings Seventies” or “Tinted Lard.”
His bloodshot eyes slowly rolled in his head, and when you pulled a While the text was crisply executed, the sculptural elements of
nearby rope, his mouth opened to waft booze and a recorded snore. the installation were especially impressive, with good reason: White’s
The exhibition title “Big Lectric Fan to Keep Me Cool While I a pro. In addition to his fine art career, he’s renowned for his Emmy
Sleep” was taken from the lyrics of Jones’ song “Ragged but Right.” Award–winning work on the sets and puppets of Pee-wee’s Playhouse
According to White, the song was playing in his head when he visited as well as for his art direction of Peter Gabriel’s classic stop-motion
Houston last summer. He kept imagining Jones in the city as a young music video for “Big Time.”
man in those years before air conditioning, “full of crazy artistic pas- Jones, who is clean and sober now, reportedly called White to
sion and making music history.” thank him for the exhibit.
—Kelly Klaasmeyer

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 41

Spirit of the Dance • By Leslie Contreras Schwartz

The dancers, grouped in pairs, spread out across the floor of the dance studio in
Rice’s new Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center. One member
of each pair begins an impromptu dance, while the other — a human shadow —
immediately repeats the steps. In moments, the large, brightly lit room is filled with
figures leaping, spinning, contracting, rolling on the floor and performing ballet-style
pirouettes. These are the members of Rice Dance Theatre (RDT), which celebrates
its 30th anniversary this year. The styles they employ span the array of contemporary
dance: from ballet and jazz to unconventional moves — diverse training that allows
students of all dance backgrounds to find a place within the company and provides
the rigor that teaches students skills important to their success in Rice’s academic


“Dance training is excellent life training,” said Leslie Scates, assistant elements. Originally part of Kinesiology and the recreation center
director for dance and RDT leader. Scates expects her dancers to be program, RDT now is offered within the Department of Visual and
open, not hold back and not resist. Above all, they must offer their Dramatic Arts. Choreographer and dancer Linda Phenix was first to
best. Since joining Rice in August 2008, Scates has seen students helm the company, along with fellow dancer Christine Lidvall, who
change dramatically through the work they do for RDT. “As their con- served as dance coordinator until last year. Since the company’s
fidence grows,” she said, “they are willing to try new things.” inception, it has grown to garner much campus support, including
RDT held special appeal for mechanical engineering major and Rice grants and its own state-of-the-art dance studio in the new
company president Emily Jacob ’10, who danced for a preprofessional Gibbs Recreation Center.
company while she was in high school. Despite her technically oriented At the center of the company’s purpose is an approach that in-
major, she “just wanted to keep dancing in college.” Her involvement cludes dancers of all backgrounds, said Rebecca Valls, who served as
in the preprofessional company required four hours of practice every director of RDT from 2000 to 2008 and now is assistant professor of
day in ballet and jazz, but immediately after joining RDT, Jacob realized dance at the University of Houston.
the Rice dance company was different. “I don’t have to stress out trying “RDT is an inclusive organization meant to foster creativity and
to be the best one there,” she said. “In my life, that helps a lot. It’s a share the joy of dancing together both in class and on stage,” Valls
fantastic outlet for emotions.” said. “The company always has had a mixture of beginners and ad-
For fellow RDT president Prudence Sun ’10, a biochemistry and vanced dancers. It’s a democratic spirit that works at Rice.”
cell biology major, the company proved to be the right fit as well, It is that spirit of fellowship that keeps RDT going strong, Scates
even though she had less dance training than Jacob. “At a college affirms. “In every piece of choreography,” she said, “it’s like a little
with a dance major, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to join a family gets created.”
company and dance,” she said. “I’m really grateful.”
RDT trains under the mentorship and guidance of Scates, a
Houston-based dancer who has choreographed pieces since 1989 for
various companies. She teaches RDT members techniques in her spe-
cialty, improvisational dance, which is an experimental dance form
that includes modern dance, wrestling and the Japanese martial art of
aikido. It is a form of dance that has little or no choreography, but it
does involve humor and one-on-one communication — aspects that
Scates considers important parts of dancing’s benefits.
RDT’s training is “more open” than other dance classes, said
Stephanie Dunlop ’11, RDT vice president. “Leslie is really good at
getting us to go outside our personal box. And there are a lot of
good people in the company with me. We support each other as
dancers and friends. Dancing is a great release after the rigors
of homework. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t dance.”
In addition to receiving training from Scates, the company
benefits from visits by world-renowned guest artists throughout
the year. At a September practice in the studio, students trained
in speed choreography as part of a series of courses in com-
position and technique. The class, taught by Erin Reck of
New York City’s Torque Dance, challenged students to use
space and varying levels of control and dynamics to create
their own dances.
“This is not about the product but the process,” Reck
told the class. “You are gaining solid tools to create a prod-
uct in the studio.”
Each fall, students audition for the company, which
holds performances in the fall and spring. The company’s 21 danc-
ers learn what Scates calls “the language” of dance through twice-
a-week intermediate modern dance technique classes. There also
are weekly practices for choreographed dances. Dancers who
have been involved with the company for at least a year get
the opportunity to choreograph a dance for the fall or spring
Past student performances reveal an appreciation for an
array of dance styles. RDT’s fall 2008 production, “Muscle
Memories,” contained tango-inspired ballet, modern lyrical
dance set to poems by Pablo Neruda and an avant-garde
dance duet composed around chairs. The spring 2009 pro-
duction, “Retrospection,” featured performances with a range
of themes, including an interpretive dance set to the intro-
duction of James Agee’s novel “A Death in the Family,” a
ballet-like dance using Latin music, and a whimsical piece
introduced by strange and dark verse.
Students with a passion for dance began RDT three de-
cades ago, and that passion remains one of the company’s core

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 43

Fire of Change
Henry David Thoreau is famous for being one of
America’s first environmentalists thanks to “Walden,”
his reflection on simple living in natural surround-
ings penned while on a retreat at Walden Pond. He
had much to reflect on. The year before he took up
residence there, he and a friend lit a campfire to cook
a simple meal and accidentally ignited a fire that
burned 300 acres of forest outside of Concord, Mass.

The fire and its catalyzing effect on Thoreau is the sub-

ject of “Woodsburner: A Novel” (Doubleday, 2009) by John
Pipkin ’97. Prior to the incident, Thoreau is lost, plagued
by indecision and attempting to resign himself to a career
designing pencils at his father’s factory. He dreams of more
important work, but the tension between artistic fulfillment
and economic necessity will require a life-shaping change.
Told through the viewpoints of Thoreau and several
other sharply etched characters, the book portrays an
America in transition from fledgling agrarian nation to ma-
jor industrialized power. This transition is ironically appar-
ent in a passage in which a fire-and-brimstone preacher
looks over the 100 barrels of molasses in which the panes
for his new stained-glass window have been suspended to
protect them from shock during shipment. “Ingenious, he
thought. There was no end to the clever feats man could
achieve when guided by the hand of heaven.”
Pipkin’s suspenseful, complex narrative is filled with
Farm to Market
impeccable period detail, and it provides a fresh perspec- Small-scale farming and ranching may seem like an anachronism in this
tive into both the life of an American legend and the ways day of huge agribusinesses, but niche agriculture is making a comeback
we have chosen to utilize the opportunities presented by — as you can readily see in the pages of “Growing Good Things to Eat
the New World. in Texas: Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers Across the State”
—Christopher Dow
(Texas A&M University Press, 2009) by Pamela Walker ’91, former as-
sistant director of Rice’s Center for the Study of Cultures.
In the book, Walker profiles 10 Texas farms and ranches specializing in
organic food products, and from South Texas Organics in the Rio Grande
Valley to Animal Farm in the Brenham area to Boggy Creek Farm, an urban
farm in east Austin, the output of these operations is as diverse as the man-
agement styles of the men and women who run them.
Walker devotes sections to two categories of agricultural products we
don’t normally think of in terms of organic: dairy and meat. One of the
two dairy farms she profiles is located in the Hill Country and the other in
Northeast Texas, and their characters are as different as their locations. In the
category of meat, ranches with a typical array of chicken and beef predomi-
nate, but more curious is Permian Sea Organics, home to a miniature ocean
ecosystem pooled beneath the West Texas sun. This “ranch” harvests shrimp
fed on plankton grown without chemicals or preservatives.
The large-format book, which is filled with photos by landscape and
documentary photographer Linda Walsh, amply demonstrates how organic
farming and ranching operations can provide fulfilling lives for the people
who own and run them. It also chronicles the trials and tribulations some of
these operations have faced not only in delivering products that are certifi-
ably organic, but also in dealing with the failures of federal and state agricul-
tural agencies to provide technical and regulatory assistance.

—Christopher Dow

on the Bookshelf

Soular Energy
Sharon “Shay” Bintliff ’57 has accomplished more in
Desegregating Private Universities in the South
her life than most people. A renowned M.D. in Hawaii,
she is director of the emergency department at Hale The growing civil rights movement in the two decades follow-
Hoòla Hamakua Hospital on the Big Island, and she ing World War II brought legislation and court orders mandat-
has taught at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s John
A. Burns School of Medicine and served as director of
ing the desegregation of public institutions of higher education
the Birth Defects Center at Kapi‘olani Medical Center. across the U.S. Private universities in the South, however, were
She also is a well-known Hawaiian surfer, among another matter, and their boards
many other accomplishments. But the one thing she
couldn’t do was save the life of her granddaughter,
often resisted the changes tak-
Ileiana, who died at age 11 after a four-year battle ing place at public universities,
with cancer. generally at the expense of aca-
Bintliff dealt with her grief through her poetry,
and the result is “Soular Energy: A Collection of demic viability.
Poetry” (Ho‘onanea Publishing Co., In “Desegregating Private
2008), inspired by her
g r a n d d au g h t e r. “ E ve n
Higher Education in the South:
as an emergency room Duke, Emory, Rice, Tulane, and
doctor, I had so much to Vanderbilt” (Louisiana State
learn,” Bintliff said. “I think
of Ileiana and all that her University Press, 2008), Rice
life taught me, and yesterday centennial historian Melissa
seems less painful, and I am
unafraid of tomorrow.”
Kean explores the pressures
The poems are joyful, hope- that prompted desegregation at
ful and unflinchingly honest five of the region’s most presti-
and often carry deep currents. “I
have used some of these poems gious private universities. She also shows how leaders
to enable patients understand at these universities sought to strengthen their schools’
and deal with loss,” wrote her col-
league, Dr. David Elpern, who calls
national position and reputation while simultaneously
Bintliff a treasure of Hawaii. “They answering the call to end segregation.
are eloquent, direct, heartfelt and
powerfully therapeutic.” —Christopher Dow

—Christopher Dow

“Essentials of Contem- “Windswept,” by “Vital Statistics on the “Bouncing Billy: “Planting the Union
porary Management,” by Ann Macela (Fredericka Presidency: The Definitive A Learning Flag in Texas: The
Jennifer M. George, the Mary Meiners ’63) (Medallion Source for Data and Adventure,” by Ricky Campaigns of Major
Gibbs Jones Professor of Press, 2008) Analysis on the American Pierce ’83 (Outskirts General Nathaniel P.
Management and professor Presidency,” by Lyn Ragsdale, Press, 2008) Banks in the West,” by
of psychology at Rice, and the Radoslav A. Tsanoff Chair Stephen A. Dupree ’64
Gareth R. Jones (McGraw- of Public Affairs, and dean of (Texas A&M University
Hill/Irwin, 2008) the School of Social Sciences at Press, 2008)
Rice (CQ Press, 2008)

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 45

By Christopher Dow

Most of us are content with pursuing one sport at a time, but not the ironmen
and ironwomen of Rice University Cycling and Triathlon (RUCT).
The club, which began in spring 2009, is woven of two strands of at Boulder cycling team, and after graduating, he raced mountain
student-inspired athletics. The first is the Rice Cycling Team, revived bikes as an amateur.
from dormancy two years ago by Jasper Yan ’10 and Juan Zapata ’08. “I’m not qualified to coach,” Moore said, “but I’ve tried to give
Yan said his interest in cycling began with them tips, share my experiences and go out on
Beer Bike. “I got into Beer Bike during my fresh- training rides. Eventually, the team will need a
man year,” he said. “I went out to the track almost permanent coach, but for now, it has brought in
every day, and I loved riding fast. After I bought my coaches — such as the coach of the Woodlands
own bike, though, I realized that there’s so much Cycling Club and the staff of Bike Barn, one of
more to cycling than riding around a track.” the team’s sponsors — to do sessions.”
Yan searched online for other cycling en- Considering the team’s young age and
thusiasts on campus and found Zapata. The minimal coaching, it already has made a strong
two decided to re-form the cycling club to showing. In spring 2009, it competed in its first
facilitate cycling for recreation, fitness and intercollegiate competition — Division 2 of the
competitive racing. One of the first to join was South Central Collegiate Cycling Conference
Yuekai Sun ’10. championships of the National Collegiate
“I got involved through Beer Bike, too, Cycling Association — and came away with
about a year later,” Sun said. “Basically, I was first place.
pulled off the stands on race day to fill a gap in “Competitive cycling works like track,” Yan
the Baker College team. It was the first time I’d said. “Each cyclist accumulates points for the
ridden a bike.” team, and collectively, we placed first. It was a
He liked it so much that he, too, bought a shock, because we went in saying, ‘Oh, well,
bike, and soon after, he went on his first ride we’ll just see how we do.’”
with Yan, who told him he should join the club. The cycling team is just as interested in
“That first year, we weren’t very organized,” Yan recreational riding as it is in competition.
said, “because we had to start from scratch.” “Hopefully we can draw some of the recre-
Part of starting from scratch was attract- ational riders to get into competition,” Yan said,
ing a faculty/staff adviser, and they found Ryan Moore, manager “but if not, that’s fine, too. We try to get people from all sides of Rice,
of networking for the Office of Information Technology. As an like faculty, staff, grad students and undergraduates. It’s cool because
undergraduate, Moore had raced for the University of Colorado we get to know people we otherwise would not meet.”

46 Sports
The Sprint and Beyond swim, bike and run full tilt for miles — and hours — on end. But
despite RUCT’s status as a club sport, the triathletes practice every
Some of those people come from RUCT’s other thread — triathlon, an day. During the week, they alternate sports; on Saturdays, they cycle
athletic event that combines swimming, running and cycling. Triathlon up to 50 miles; and on Sundays, they do long recreational rides
at Rice got its start in a Lifetime Physical Activity Program class taught in around the Houston area.
spring 2009 by Liz Harwood, assistant director for aquatics. Houston is a difficult place for triathlon training because its flat
“We had some very motivated students,” Harwood said. “Our final terrain doesn’t provide runners and cyclists the challenges of hillier
event was the Lone Star Triathlon in Galveston. After that, some of our country. Nor is there a lot of open water to practice swimming. But
students took it upon themselves to form a club.” the team makes do. “There are places in the city, like the bayou
Leading the group was Justin Lopez ’11, who formed the triathlon trails, where there are small hills,” said Cassie Lopez ’11, whose
club with Russell Ehlinger ’09. “I’d done my first triathlon earlier that background is running. “Also, we run the stairs in campus buildings,
year in Sugar Land, and Russ and I decided to look into collegiate and sometimes we go to Hermann Park.” For swimming, they utilize
events,” said Lopez, who cites Harwood as an inspiration. “Liz has been the campus pool and occasionally visit lakes near Houston to gain
a phenomenal resource. She taught us a lot in her course, which helped experience swimming in open water.
jump-start the club, and she has great workouts for us.” “People ask me why I put myself through all that misery and
Rice triathletes compete in the USA Triathlon’s South Midwest pain,” Justin Lopez said. “For me, it’s about setting a goal and work-
Conference and have participated in a number of collegiate and com- ing toward it. If you put in the hard work, you’ll see the results.
munity triathlons around Texas, leading up to the Collegiate National Achieving a goal I set for myself is what I get out of it.”
Championships, held in Lubbock, Texas. The nationals employ the Yan said that the club has become a real community. “We’ve
“sprint” distance: a .75-kilometer swim, a 22-kilometer bike ride and a bonded over our interest in cycling and triathlon,” he said, “and
5-kilometer run. Other distances are the Olympic (1.5-kilometer swim, we’ve become more like a family than anything else.”
40-kilometer ride and 10-kilometer run), the half-ironman (1.2-mile The students are as excited about the club’s future as they are
swim, 56-mile ride and 13.1-mile run) and the ironman, which doubles about its present. “We’ve seen a lot of progress in one year, go-
the half-ironman distances. ing from having half a triathlon team to needing to hold tryouts,”
Collegiate events, however, can be hard to find because the sport Reineck said. “We’re a really good team together, and we feel like
is relatively new. “We’re gaining events, but we’re still a long way from we’re going to get much bigger and much better.”
having multiple regular collegiate triathlons,” said Amanda Reineck ’10,
who ran track for Rice in her freshman and sophomore years and had Learn more about Rice University Cycling and Triathlon:
a swimming background in high school. Reineck’s mother was a triath- ›› ›
lete and encouraged her to get involved.
Although the team did not have a stellar performance overall at the
nationals, several members did well enough that the future looks
bright. Part of the problem is that the team is just starting out,
and while each of the men’s and women’s teams competing
at the nationals can have up to seven members, last year
there were only three men and five women on the Rice
teams. That’s about to change. “We’ve had a lot of interest,”
Lopez said. “It looks like we’re going to have to hold tryouts
this spring.” The increased number of athletes vying for
positions on the team will bring out the best.
And those best are bound to get better. Lopez
and graduate student David Kao, for example,
spent five months training for a half-ironman,
which they did last summer. “I was shooting for
five hours,” Lopez said, “but it took six. I want
to do another and try to get a better time.”

Achieving Goals

Another thing that will aid the triathlon

team is its merger with the cycling club to
form RUCT. “We decided that we had so
much in common between the two teams
that we might as well unite,” Reineck said.
“We’ve been able to blend our practices and
have people who are more experienced in
one sport help the people who are into the
The combined team, which allows stu-
dents to focus on any one of the three sports
— cycling, swimming or running — or to do
all three, has stirred interest among students.
Separately, the two clubs had only about 10
members each, but since the merger, member-
ship has jumped to nearly 50.
It takes a lot of enthusiasm and determination
to get through the rigorous training necessary to

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 47


He Won’t Be Foiled
In the moments immediately following his July appointment
as men’s foil coach for Team USA, Rice fencing coach Mauro
Hamza could have relaxed and dreamed of Olympic glory. No
one would have blamed him. Except himself.

With the 2009 Senior World Championships looming in September and

next summer’s Senior Pan American Zonal Championships right around
the corner, Hamza could not afford to daydream. Qualifying his team for
the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London will require a commitment
far greater than any effort previously spearheaded by Hamza.
“I can’t cross a hurdle until I reach it,” Hamza said. “I know there is a
lot of work to be done, and that’s why I take it a step at a time.”
Hamza is one of six weapons coaches named by US Fencing. The
national team appointment is the first for Hamza, although he helped
coach the U.S. Junior & Cadet National Team to its first world champion-
ship in Poland in 2001 and served as coach of the Egyptian team at the
2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Those successes validated Hamza in international coaching circles,
but he views his current challenge in a different light. Developing the
juniors into an international power required painstaking persistence, but
achieving a similar level of notoriety on the senior circuit will test the
will of everyone remotely affiliated with US Fencing.
“A lot of work needs to be done in order to achieve a medal in the
Olympic Games,” Hamza said. “Our team is younger than most,
but we’ve managed in the last couple of years to become a top
“When you’re world contender, and last year we took the silver medal.”
an underdog, Hamza is grateful that he’s not building the Olympic team from
scratch. “It’s the same group I’ve been working with. We already
no one knows have instilled in them the culture to become Olympic champions,
who you are. But but it will be difficult to transition them to competition at a very
high level. Even so, there is a good chance for us to do well.”
when you move Hamza believes in blending physical training with mental
up, everyone is reinforcement and video analysis. Many of his potential team
members are young — either college seniors or recent gradu-
watching you. ates — so it is imperative that they follow a strict regimen.
We’re on the Hamza senses a shift of perceptions internationally regarding US
Fencing, thanks in part to the success of the junior team.
spot now, and it’s “When you’re an underdog, no one knows who you are,”
definitely more Hamza said. “But when you move up, everyone is watching you.
We’re on the spot now, and it’s definitely more challenging.”
challenging.” The first challenge came in Antalya, Turkey, at the 2009 Senior
—Mauro Hamza World Championships. There, Hamza aimed to give his team
some important experience as well as to improve its international
ranking. While the results were not a resounding success, two
U.S. team members made it into the top 16: Kurt Getz at No. 7
and Gerek Meinhardt at No. 16. From the Senior World Championships,
Hamza will lead the way through a series of competitions designed to
further prepare Team USA to challenge the international community for
supremacy in London. Only eight teams will qualify for the 2012 games,
and with the clock ticking, Hamza is hard at work.
But taking the team to the Olympics isn’t Hamza’s only dream. He
has re-established the fencing club at Rice, and he would like to see
Rice fencing compete in the NCAA. He plans to do that by establishing
a women’s team at Rice, and as the program expands and matures, he
could further expand it to involve men’s fencing.
—Moisekapenda Bower


“Big things happen at Rice.

You don’t give to Rice
— you invest in it.”
— Howard Leverett

Seeds of Innovation
Physician-Turned-Physicist Invests in a Brighter Tomorrow
On Dr. Howard Leverett’s desk sits a vase of bril- 1960s, he partnered with a Rice chemistry
liant white roses illuminated by an LED lamp. student to research pediatric cystic fibrosis.
The frequency of light emitted from the LED That initial collaboration led to decades of in-
keeps the roses fresh, he explains. That observa- teresting conversations and friendships with
tion comes naturally to the former physician who, Rice professors and students.
since retiring 20 years ago, has dedicated himself Leverett is grateful for Rice’s contributions
to the study of physics. “It’s just fascinating the both to his own life and to the world through
way the world works,” he said. “The harder you its research endeavors. Now, by means of
look at it, the more interesting it is.” charitable gift annuities, he will establish
Although he never attended Rice, Dr. the Howard A. Leverett Innovation Fund in
Leverett has a connection to the university Physics to help Rice conduct basic-science
that spans more than 40 years. While attend- research that could have far-reaching appli-
ing Baylor College of Medicine in the early cations in the future.

To learn more about charitable gift annuities or about including the university in
your estate planning, please contact the Office of Gift Planning.

Phone: 713-348-4624 • E-mail: • Web site:

Rice Magazine • No. 5 • 2010 3

Nonprofit Organization
U.S. Postage
Permit #7549
Houston, Texas
Rice University
Creative Services–MS 95
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892

The snow that fell on Dec. 4 may have been gone by noon the next day,
but for a few hours, it bestowed a rare seasonal look on Lovett Hall
and gave students a fleeting taste of winter.