The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science April 2013  
Welcome to the April 2013 edition of Maverick Science E-News. This monthly e-newsletter provides information about College of Science events involving students, alumni, faculty and staff. To contribute items for inclusion, please send an email to If possible, please include a high-resolution headshot photo of those mentioned in your items.
Math department wins prestigious award from American Mathematical Society  

For Alumni

UT Arlington Alumni
You can help the next generation of Mavericks

Andrew Baum

Did the University of Texas at Arlington change your life? Do you want to help a future Maverick? Call Dr. Ignacio Nuñez, the chair of the College of Science Advisory Council. He'd love to help get you involved on campus again. The Advisory Council is issuing a challenge to each alumnus and to each member of our North Texas community who believes in our mission. The challenge: Give one day a year and $1,000 annually (that's just $83.33 a month) to benefit the students of UT Arlington. Dr. Nuñez was a first-generation college student, and UT Arlington made it possible for him to attend medical school and create a life vastly different than that of his parents. Did UT Arlington change your life too? Let's work together to help the next generation. You can contact Nuñez at or leave a message for him at 817-272-1497.

Memorial fund created to honor Truman Black

Andrew Baum
A special fund has been created to honor the memory of Dr. Truman Black, professor of physics and beloved member of the UT Arlington family, who died on Sept. 12, 2012.
Donations to the fund may be mailed to:
Truman D. Black Scholarship Fund at The University of Texas at Arlington
Office of Development
P.O. Box 19198
Arlington, TX 76019-0198

Calendar of events

Friday, May 3
Final day of classes for Spring 2013 semester
May 4-10
Final exams for Spring 2013 semester
College of Science Spring 2013 Commencement ceremony
Saturday, May 11
8 p.m., College Park Center

The College of Science and School of Architecture will have a joint graduation ceremony. Guest speaker is Scott Green (Biology '99). More information here.
Monday, June 3
First day of classes for first 5-week Summer Session.
Wednesday, July 3
Last day of classes for first 5-week Summer Session.
Tuesday, July 9
First day of classes for second 5-week Summer Session.
Thursday, August 8
Last day of classes for second 5-week Summer Session.
The Planetarium at
UT Arlington

Have you been to a show at the planetarium lately? The facility, one of the finest in the nation, offers a variety of exciting shows and programs year-round and is equipped with Digistar 5, the latest in planetarium software. The Spring 2013 schedule, featuring the new public show Astronaut, runs now through May 26. See the full Spring schedule here.
Maverick Science
New edition of Maverick Science magazine
The 2012-13 edition of Maverick Science Magazine has arrived! Copies are available in the Dean's Office (Life Sciences Room 206) and in LS 112. The magazine has the latest College of Science news and features about faculty, students and alumni. The website version is online here.
COS T-Shirt
College of Science
T-shirts are here

Support the College of Science by wearing one of our COS T-shirts! They're short-sleeve, 100% cotton, with a small College of Science UT Arlington logo on the front and a full color logo on the back. They’re only $10 each! Available in S, M, L and XL sizes. Buy them in the Dean's Office (Life Sciences Room 206) or in Life Sciences Room 112.
Follow the COS on Facebook and Twitter
Facebook LogoKeep up with the College of Science on the popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter, and stay informed Twitter Logoabout what's going on and upcoming events in the College of Science.
Maverick Science
E-Newsletter Archives
The American Mathematical Society has named The University of Texas at Arlington the winner of its 2013 AMS Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department. The award honors the mathematics department at UT Arlington as a model of excellence among the group's 570 member institutions.
The Society recognized the UT Arlington mathematics department for doubling the size of its doctoral program over five years and bolstering those ranks with historically underrepresented student groups, including women and minorities.
From 2005 to 2010, the number of doctoral students in the UT Arlington math department grew from 23 to 52. Large gains were also made in the number of U.S. citizens or permanent residents pursuing doctoral degrees.
"This is an extraordinary honor and recognition of the achievements of the UT Arlington Department of Mathematics," said Ronald Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Our nation needs more leaders who have achieved the highest degrees in math, science and engineering. We are pleased to see the tremendous work of our math faculty recognized on the national stage."
Read more on this story here.
College of Science to celebrate its newest graduates at Spring Commencement May 11
The College of Science will officially mark a significant milestone in the lives of many of its students with the Spring 2013 Commencement ceremony at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 in College Park Center.
The ceremony will include graduates from the College of Science and the School of Architecture.
The guest speaker will be College of Science alumnus Scott Green (Biology '99), owner and president of The Greenery, a landscape and nursery business and event venue in Waxahachie.
The University-wide Graduation Celebration is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10 at the Levitt Pavilion in downtown Arlington, at 100 W. Abram Street, just northeast of campus. If it rains, the event will be held in College Park Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Actor, producer and political activist Kal Penn will give this year's keynote address at the Graduation Celebration. Penn, known for his starring roles in "House," "24" and the popular "Harold and Kumar" franchise, switched from acting to politics in 2009, joining the Obama administration as an associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. The program will also include live music, remarks by UT Arlington President James Spaniolo and Rene Grimes, an education graduate student, who will represent the Class of 2013. Fireworks will conclude the program.
For more on Spring 2013 Commencement, click here.
College of Science students earn numerous awards at 2013 ACES research symposium
The College of Science was well-represented among the award winners during the Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students, held March 27 in the E.H. Hereford University Center.
The annual daylong event allows students to present their research in either a poster or oral format. A panel comprised of faculty members, alumni and area professionals judged the entries, and awards were presented to the winners at the closing reception.
"Congratulations to all our College of Science students who received awards at this year's ACES symposium," Dean of Science Pamela Jansma said. "The number of award recipients from the college attests to the excellent research being done by so many of our students and it's wonderful to see their hard work recognized. We look forward to great things in the future from all of you."
Ashanti Johnson, executive director of the Institute for Broadening Participation and a research associate in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, delivered the keynote address.
Read more on this story here.
UT Arlington team uses quick thinking to bring home title at 14th annual Brain Bowl
UT Arlington team members included, from left, faculty mentor Linda Perrotti, graduate student coach Amber Harris, Gaurang Gupte, John Perish, Matt Fisher, Eliza DeNobrega, Hannah Wriston and graduate student coach Samara Morris Bobzean.
UT Arlington's team showed superior brain power and came home with the trophy at the 14th annual Intercollegiate Brain Bowl.
The Brain Bowl, sponsored each spring by the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UTSCSA), is a neuroscience quiz show in which three teams of undergraduates from universities across Texas compete for prizes, bragging rights, and the Brain Bowl trophy.
The Brain Bowl is a quiz show which tests the knowledge of undergraduate neuroscience students. Questions range from relatively easy to very difficult, covering fields of neuroscience research including neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, drugs and the brain, and the brain and behavior. Modeled after the 1960s quiz show 'University Challenge', the Brain Bowl includes three rounds of short answer questions that get more difficult with each round. The final round is a complex 'challenge' question, where teams can wager points they have accumulated in the previous rounds.
Read more on this story here.
College of Science faculty members honored at Spring Meeting of Faculty and Associates
Dasgupta Pierce
College of Science faculty members received various honors from the University at the annual Spring Meeting of the Faculty and Associates, held April 22.
Among the honorees was Purnendu (Sandy) Dasgupta, the Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who was inducted into the University's Academy of Distinguished Scholars. Darlene Campbell, lecturer in Mathematics, received the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Bradley Pierce, assistant professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry, received the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
For a full list of honorees, click here.
College of Science's new Advising Center will centralize advising process for students
Dean of Science Pamela Jansma cuts a ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of the College of Science Advising Center.
The College of Science officially dedicated its new Advising Center on April 24, presenting the facility as a place where students can receive an improved advising experience.
The center, located in renovated space in the Life Sciences Building in Suite 107, is across the hall from the Science Education and Career Center and houses advisors from each of the College's six departments. Its central location should make for a better advising experience for students, Dean of Science Pamela Jansma said before cutting a ceremonial ribbon to officially mark the center's opening.
The driving force behind the center's creation is Ed Morton, assistant dean of science and health professions advisor, Jansma said. Morton, who is retiring at the end of May, has been working toward a central advising center for years and he was responsible for making it happen, she said.
"This has been in the works for quite a while, and to finally see it up and running is great," Morton said. "I think students will really be pleased with the advising experience they're going to get here."
Dawn Remmers, executive director of University College, said improved advising is one of the things students universally rate highly in services they want from their universities. She said the College of Science Advising Center will enable the College to better meet the needs of its students.
Faculty members explain chemistry behind West plant explosion on Metroplex TV, radio
A huge explosion at a West fertilizer plant on April 17 killed at least 14 and injured more than 200. Photo courtesy of Fox News Austin.
The massive fertilizer plant explosion that shook the central Texas town of West made headlines around the nation, but many were unclear exactly what caused the deadly explosion, which killed at least 14 and injured more than 200 people on April 17.
The day after the explosion, UT Arlington faculty members were featured on Metroplex TV and radio stations to help the public understand the chemical processes which made the explosion possible. Rasika Dias, chemistry department chair and professor, appeared on WFAA Channel 8 TV and on KXAS Channel 5 TV, while Purnendu 'Sandy' Dasgupta, professor of chemistry, appeared on KTVT Channel 11 TV and on NPR affiliate KERA 90.1 FM radio, and Alejandro Bugarin, assistant professor of chemistry, appeared as an in-studio guest on Spanish-language station KXTX/Telemundo Dallas, and via telephone on KUVN/Univision Dallas.
The faculty members explained that the explosion likely was caused by the fire which was burning in the plant prior to the explosion. The fire likely heated the anhydrous ammonia in the storage tank, causing the tank to exceed its containment temperature and explode. The gas which escaped the tank then likely mixed with the fire and exploded. Ammonium nitrate was also present and its highly volatile nature mean it also could have contributed to the blast.
To see Dias on WFAA, click here. To hear Dasgupta on KERA, click here.
Lopez and team finalize Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 education in U.S.
Ramon Lopez, professor of physics, was quoted in an article in the online magazine The Verge about whether U.S. schools will embrace the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS is a new K-12 science curriculum plan which was officially released April 9 after two years of planning by a team of 41 science teachers and school officials from 26 states, including Lopez.
Not all states will be adopting the plan, including Texas, where officials announced the state will not implement the NGSS plan because Texas officials consider education a state issue. However, it will be up to individual school districts and communities to decide what is taught in their own schools.
Lopez and other members of the panel say they are not overly concerned if every state doesn't adopt the NGSS standards because the framework document will still provide valuable resources to every state.
The NGSS includes politically charged issues like climate change, evolution and geoengineering. Many schools across the country already teach these, but the NGSS is the first time they are being suggested on a national scale.
Read the Verge article here. For more on the NGSS plan, click here.
Mohanty quoted in Optics & Photonics story about latest tools in optical manipulation
Samar Mohanty, assistant professor of physics, was quoted extensively in an April Optics & Photonics News article about the latest in optical manipulation tools, including his optical tweezers. Mohanty's tool allows researchers to control and rotate single cells without making physical contact with them and thus disrupting their structure or functioning.
"Because the fiber-optic spanner can be easily integrated onto a microfluidic platform," Mohanty says in the article, "the configuration is ideal for lab-on-a-chip devices."
Mohanty and colleagues further tested the applicability of the spanner by combining it with quantitative phase microscopy to tomographically image normal and diseased cells, the article states. This approach will enable researchers to test several basic hypotheses and postulates, including cell division and other cellular functions when cells undergo rotation.
"We are also interested in monitoring the change in the rotation speed of cells when they transform to a diseased state and whether we can use it for diagnosis," Mohanty said in the article.
Read the article, found in the April 2013 edition of Optics & Photonics News, here.

Newest edition of Maverick Science magazine is online

     The electronic version of the 2012-13 Maverick Science magazine, the official magazine of the College of Science, is now online! The magazine includes highlights from the past year and features in-depth looks at some of the College's outstanding faculty, students and alumni.
     Print copies of the magazine can be picked up in the Dean's office (Life Science Building Room 206) or in Life Science Building Room 112.
     The web version of the magazine is online here. It also contains links to past issues of Maverick Science.