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2011: The Year in Review

Author: Julie Hail Flory and Paul Murphy

Dome and Clouds

The calendar year 2011 was filled with numerous moments of accomplishment, celebration and reflection at the University of Notre Dame. Here are some of the highlights.

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Amazement at the Grotto

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Crèche at Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

It appears early each Advent season, the massive crèche mounted on a platform of hay bales at the western edge of Notre Dame’s Grotto. Vibrantly colored, oversized figures of Mary, Joseph, an adoring shepherd, the oncoming Magi, some eerily well-groomed livestock and a girlish angel overhead, all symmetrically arranged around an empty patch of stable floor. All the figures, even the animals, have credulous and startled faces. The Baby is not yet where their apprehensive gazes fall.

While it is unlikely to be mistaken for a great work of art, this Grotto nativity scene is nevertheless irresistible, and not just for those small children whose parents bring them there to marvel and gawk and wonder where the Baby is. Naivete is commendable in this season.

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Notre Dame researchers develop paint-on solar cells

Author: Arnie Phifer

This paste of cadmium sulfide-coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles could turn large surfaces into solar cells. (Photo Credit: ACS Nano)

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Imagine if the next coat of paint you put on the outside of your home generates electricity from light—electricity that can be used to power the appliances and equipment on the inside.

A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame has made a major advance toward this vision by creating an inexpensive “solar paint” that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy.

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Five Notre Dame faculty members named AAAS fellows

Author: William G. Gilroy


Five University of Notre Dame faculty members have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in honor of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

AAAS, founded in 1848 as a nonprofit association, is the world’s largest scientific society and publisher of the prestigious journal Science.

The new Notre Dame AAAS fellows are: Mark Alber, Vincent J. Duncan Family Professor of Applied Mathematics, concurrent professor of physics and computer science and engineering, director, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Biocomplexity and adjunct professor of medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine; Panos Antsaklis, H. Clifford and Evelyn A. Brossey Professor of Electrical Engineering; Margaret Dobrowolska, Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C., Professor of Physics; Jacek Furdyna, professor of physics, Aurora and Thomas Marquez Professor of Information Theory and Computer Technology and professor of physics; and Gary Lamberti, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences.

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Robinson Center Shakespeare Company member wins regional monologue competition

Author: Paul Murphy

(pictured right to left) Scot Shepley, Candace Williams, Scott Jackson, Joan Becker, J. Randall Colborn

Candace Lebron-Williams, a member of the Robinson Community Learning Center Shakespeare Company, took top honors at the fourth annual Shakespeare at Notre Dame Regional Monologue Competition held Dec. 10 at the Robinson Center.

Lebron-Williams, a senior at John Adams High School, won accolades for her performance of the prologue from
“Henry V.” She now advances to the English Speaking Union of the United States
(ESUUS) State Shakespeare Competition in Indianapolis, to be held in February, and will compete for the opportunity to represent Indiana at the national competition in New York.

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Volumes of poet Robert Creeley added to Notre Dame special collections


Robert Creeley (1926-2005)

Renowned poet Robert Creeley (1926-2005) was a master bookshelf builder, driven by a need to keep his beloved books “safe, sorted and out of harm’s way,” says his widow, Penelope Creeley.

Thanks to a Library Acquisition Grant from the University of Notre Dame’s Office of the Provost, some 200 volumes of the late poet’s works are now safely tucked away in the special collections section of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library, with hundreds more to follow.

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Notre Dame researchers demonstrate new DNA detection technique

Author: William G. Gilroy

Carol Tanner and Steven Ruggiero

A team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame have demonstrated a novel DNA detection method that could prove suitable for many real-world applications.

Physicists Carol Tanner and Steven Ruggiero led the team in the application of a new technique called laser transmission spectroscopy (LTS). LTS is capable of rapidly determining the size, shape and number of nanoparticles in suspension.

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Research to improve sanitation in Africa gets $1 million boost

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Innovations for Poverty Action

Molly Lipscomb, assistant professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, and Laura Schechter and Jean-François Houde, economists at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, hope to increase the accessibility of sanitation technology in poor neighborhoods, making sanitation services more environmentally friendly and improving the health of neighborhood residents in Dakar, Senegal.

Their two-year research project is supported by a more than $1 million grant to Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Professor joins leading scholars for second seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum

Author: Susan Good

Carozza was one of 24 Catholics invited to attend the seminar by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, headed by Cardinal Jean-François Tauran.

Paolo Carozza, professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, participated in the second seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum on Nov. 21 and 23, held at the site of Jesus’ baptism in Jordan.

Carozza was one of 24 Catholics invited to attend the seminar by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, headed by Cardinal Jean-François Tauran. Twenty-four prominent Muslim religious leaders and scholars also attended, led by H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan.

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Robinson Center I-Robotics team receives top honors at state LEGO® competition

Author: Paul Murphy

The team is coached by assistant vice president of student affairs, David Moss, and graduate assistant Lionel Pittman. Members include: Isiah Crudup, Cambrin Dixon, Thomas Forsythe, Malik Giger, Andrew McDonald, Hannah Moss, Lydia Moss, Philip Moss, Tiana Mudzimuerma and Valencia Randolph.

The Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) Lego I-Robotics Team has once again been awarded a top prize at Indiana’s FIRST® LEGO® League Championship. Since the team began in 2009, it has been recognized at the event as a top program.

The team travelled to Fort Wayne, Ind., where members participated in a day-long competition that required team work and innovation. This year’s theme had 52 teams from across Indiana seeking to find ways to combat food contamination. The RCLC I-Robotics team was honored as the top FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO® League Robotics Team in the state.

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ND Expert: EU fiscal summit unsuccessful; countries headed for recession

Author: Shannon Chapla


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University of Notre Dame Finance Professor Jeffrey H. Bergstrand, one of the world’s top experts in international trade and the world economy, says the European Union last week agreed on deeper economic integration, but fell short of a convincing plan to fix the region’s debt woes.

“The summit was not a success because they did not address one of the central issues the Eurozone has to face,” Bergstrand explains, “and that is the willingness of the European Central Bank to absorb some of the sovereign debt. The European Central Bank has powers even larger than the Federal Reserve system has in the US economy. They have explicitly said they can buy sovereign debt of countries like Italy, Spain and Greece. They can also buy private liabilities from banks to help solve their banking crisis. This is what the markets have been looking for and was not provided in the summit agreement.”

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Honoring our Latina mother

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Virgin of Guadalupe

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe falls on Monday (Dec. 12), agreeably apposite to recent activities of Notre Dame’s scholars and administrators.

The feast celebrates the 16th century apparition of the pregnant, Nahuatl-speaking Virgin Mary and the vibrant image she left behind.

Her image, enshrined at the site of the apparition in what is now Mexico City, is venerated particularly in Latin America, but ubiquitously in the western hemisphere, including in the western apsidal chapel of Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart, where a rendition painted by Maria Tomasula, the Michael P. Grace Professor of Art, was installed three years ago.

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New documentary explores “Compassion in Global Health”

Author: Notre Dame News

“Compassion in Global Health"

University of Notre Dame faculty and students joined colleagues at an inaugural symposium on Compassion in Global Health during the annual meeting of American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) this week in Philadelphia. The symposium featured a distinguished panel of experienced global health professionals, some of whom celebrated Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Notre Dame president emeritus; and the late UNICEF President Jim Grant as among visionaries who have recognized the importance of linking compassion with global health and development.

The symposium featured the premiere of “Compassion in Global Health,” a new documentary by award-winning British filmmaker Richard Stanley.

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New paper calls for strong steps to tackle antibiotic resistance

Author: William G. Gilroy

Shahriar Mobashery

Shahriar Mobashery, a University of Notre Dame researcher, is one of the co-authors of a new paper by a group of the world’s leading scientists in academia and industry that calls for strong steps to be taken to control the global crisis of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The group issued a priority list of steps that need to be taken on a global scale to resolve the crisis.

The paper is an outgrowth of a meeting the group held at the Banbury Conference Centre in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., to discuss the crisis and it appears in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology.

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Notre Dame and Department of Energy collaboration enables development of unique spectrometer

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Franklin Tao

A new, state-of-the-art instrument installed in the Radiation Laboratory will support a wide range of research at the University of Notre Dame. The AP-XPS (ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectrometer) was designed by Franklin Tao, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in collaboration with the manufacturer.

The project brought together faculty in the departments of physics and chemistry in a collaboration that included the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the College of Science. Creation of the system would not have been possible without such collaboration.

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Notre Dame signs St. Francis Pledge

Author: Rachel Novick

Catholic Coalition on Climate Change

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, has signed the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor , making Notre Dame a partner in a national movement to respond to Pope Benedict’s and the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ call for faithful action on climate change.

The St. Francis Pledge is the central outreach tool for the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, a membership organization drawing guidance and support from a growing list of national Catholic organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

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Baby lab reveals surprisingly early gift of gab


What is this baby trying to say?

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From the moment they’re born, babies are highly attuned to communicate and motivated to interact. And they’re great listeners.

New research from the University of Notre Dame shows that during the first year of life, when babies spend so much time listening to language, they’re actually tracking word patterns that will support their process of word- learning that occurs between the ages of about 18 months and two years.

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Notre Dame astrophysicist to present Christmas Star lecture

Author: William G. Gilroy

Christmas Star

University of Notre Dame astrophysicist Grant Mathews will give two presentations of his popular program titled “What and When was the Christmas Star?” in the Digital Visualization Theatre of Notre Dame’s Jordan Hall of Science.

The programs, which are free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 (Saturday) and 3 p.m. Dec. 11 (Sunday).

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Hesburgh Library gets sustainable lighting upgrade

Author: Sara Brown

Hesburgh Library before and after installation of LED lights

The University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library is shining a little more brightly these days. Last May, new LED lights were installed to illuminate the “Word of Life” mural on the south side of the building. The lights replaced the old mercury vapor fixtures that previously illuminated the 134-foot tall mural.

The high-efficiency LEDs are expected to save approximately 57,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, reducing campus carbon emissions by nearly 80,000 pounds per year.

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Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Haiti to receive Notre Dame Prize for Public Service

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Archbishop Louis Kébreau

Archbishop of Cap-Haitien Louis Kébreau will be awarded the 2011 Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America at a ceremony in Cap-Haitien on Dec. 8 (Thursday).

Presented annually since 2000 by the University of Notre Dame with support from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Notre Dame Prize recognizes the efforts of visionary leaders to enhance the region’s welfare by strengthening democracy and improving life for its citizens.

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Notre Dame, Purdue and GE Healthcare partner on "ultra low" radiation-dose, high clarity CT technology

Author: Notre Dame News

Filtered back projection (FBP) image reconstruction using conventional CT imaging (left) and an image reconstruction using Veo (right).

Demonstrating their shared legacy of innovative research and commitment to patient-centered medical technology, the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University and GE Healthcare have announced the commercial availability of a new CT scanning technology, called Veo™, that enables physicians to diagnose patients with high clarity images at previously-unattainable low radiation dose levels.

CT is an advanced form of spiral x-ray technology that physicians use to help diagnosis disease in their patients – including cancer, cardiac and neurological diseases, and other conditions – with the goal of significantly improving treatment plans and patient health outcomes.

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New York Archbishop Dolan to give inaugural lecture for the Project on Human Dignity

Author: Michael O. Garvey


Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York will inaugurate the University of Notre Dame’s Project on Human Dignity with a lecture entitled “Modern Questions, Ancient Answers: Defining and Defending Human Dignity in Our Time” Tuesday (Dec. 6) at 7:30 p.m. in Notre Dame’s McKenna Hall auditorium.

Ann Astell, professor of theology, and Gerald McKenny, Walter Professor of Theology at Notre Dame, will give responses to Archbishop Dolan’s lecture, which is free and open to the public.

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Notre Dame research attracts new business start-up to Indiana

Author: Arnie Phifer

Artist's model showing the proposed layout and scale of the Triskell MultiProcessor

Pharmaceutical systems company Triskell has announced its intention to relocate its headquarters from Sarasota, Fla., to South Bend to take advantage of the research and commercialization benefits associated with the University of Notre Dame. The company will lease office and lab space in the University’s commercial accelerator, Innovation Park.

Triskell provides multi-functional solutions for the rapid and efficient development of tablet and capsule formulations. The company plans two product lines, known as the MultiProcessor and the MultiAnalyzer. The MultiProcessor will perform the process and characterization tasks associated with developing solid dosage forms.

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Program for youth mentoring through literature gains county support

Author: Bill Schmitt

Reading for Life

Reading for Life, an innovative literature-based mentoring program that provides an alternative to prosecution for low-risk juvenile offenders, was recently awarded county funding to sustain its operation in St. Joseph County, Ind. With the unanimous approval of the county council and commissioners, Judge Peter J. Nemeth of the St. Joseph Probate Court has appropriated basic funding for Reading for Life for 2012.

Peter Morgan, executive director of St. Joseph County’s Thomas N. Frederick Juvenile Justice Center, points out, “Reading for Life has been more successful in diverting young people from the juvenile justice system than traditional programs such as community service. The program’s success makes it very cost-effective.”

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Engineering professor named IEEE fellow

Author: Nina Welding

Patrick Flynn

Patrick J. Flynn, professor of computer science and engineering and concurrent professor of electrical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has been named a fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his contributions to biometric identification.

The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 385,000 members in 160 countries, the association is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. IEEE fellow is a distinction reserved for select members who have established an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest.

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Astronomers find that galaxies are the ultimate recyclers

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Chris Howk and Nicholas Lehner

A team of researchers from several universities and institutions, including University of Notre Dame physics faculty Chris Howk and Nicolas Lehner, has demonstrated how galaxies continue to form stars by recycling vast amounts of hydrogen gas and heavy elements across billions of years.

The researchers also identified large masses of previously undetected material surrounding galaxies, and described the large-scale flows of this gas. The results were published in three papers in the Nov. 18 edition of the journal Science.

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New report confirms contribution of Latinos to Chicago region

Author: Raúl Jara

The New Equation

The Latino population of Chicago clearly benefits the economy and does not present a tax burden to local government according to “The State of Latino Chicago 2010: The New Equation,” a report released by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS). The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted a forum Nov. 16 to mark the release of the report.

The report is the second in a series titled The State of Latino Chicago. The first, released in 2005, called “This is Home Now”, provided a general overview of the Latino population in Chicago.

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Play Like A Champion Today® program In partnership with football and soccer awards

Author: Bill Schmitt

Trusted Sports Foundation

Play Like a Champion Today (PLC), the athletics-focused initiative in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame, has teamed with the Trusted Sports Foundation in two awards programs that honor the country’s most inspirational high school athletes in the sports of football and soccer.

The football awards program, called the High School Football Rudy Awards and now in its third year, presents $25,000 in academic scholarships annually to 12 young football players recognized for a commitment to excellence combined with character and courage. The awards are based on the story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, known for his persistence in making the Notre Dame football team as featured in the film “Rudy.”

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Notre Dame survey of African American Catholics offers important insights

Author: William G. Gilroy

Darren W. Davis and Donald B. Pope-Davis

A new, unprecedented national survey of African American Catholics by University of Notre Dame researchers reveals several significant insights into individual religious engagement and identifies several notable demographic trends facing the church. The survey was sponsored by the National Black Catholic Congress and Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life and Office of the President.

Notre Dame social scientists Darren W. Davis and Donald B. Pope-Davis, who co-authored the report, set out to test the validity of anecdotal accounts that African American Catholics were becoming increasingly disengaged from their religion.

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Notre Dame hosts conference for executives in Catholic higher education

Author: Michael O. Garvey and Jennifer A. Monahan


Presidents and trustees of 14 Catholic institutions of higher learning met last week (Nov. 6 to 8) at the University of Notre Dame for a three-day conference on the maintenance and strengthening of their Catholic identity.

The conference, “What We Hold in Trust,” was sponsored by Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life, and hosted by Notre Dame theologian John C. Cavadini, McGrath-Cavadini Director of the institute.

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