The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
May 2016
Welcome to the May 2016 edition of Maverick ScienceE-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.
UTA leading $7.3 million national initiative to develop new space weather simulator
From left, Chaoqun Liu, Yue Deng and Mingwu Jin
Physicists at The University of Texas at Arlington, led by associate professor Yue Deng, are leading a $7.3 million national initiative to develop a next generation space weather simulator capable of predicting energy distributions during space weather events like solar flares to an accuracy of one degree longitude and one degree latitude - about 100 km in each direction.
Current estimates of the energy entering the upper atmosphere during times of greatest solar output can be off by as much as 100 percent. As a result, the models used to forecast trajectories and track satellites orbiting in a specific region can also yield an error of up to 30 percent, affecting the stability of GPS and communication systems.
High-frequency radio waves, used in military, governmental and aviation communications, weather stations, maritime sea-to-shore services and distress communications and shortwave international and regional broadcasting, are also affected by the disturbances.
Deng is joined on the project by UTA assistant professor of physics Mingwu Jin and UTA professor of mathematics Chaoqun Liu.
Read more of this story here.
College of Science honors faculty and staff for excellence in research, teaching, service
Dimitar Grantcharov (tenure track) and Cornelia Winguth (non-tenure track) received the 2016 COS Award for Excellence in Teaching.
The College of Science dean’s office hosted its annual Spring Faculty and Staff Meeting on May 3 in the E.H. Hereford University Center, presenting awards and recognizing outstanding achievements by faculty and staff members in all departments.
Dean Morteza Khaledi reviewed some of the highlights of the 2015-16 academic year, in which the College of Science celebrated its 50th anniversary. He also detailed some of the College’s plans and goals for the coming years, which include hiring new faculty and establishing a comprehensive plan for the College of Science which will complement the University’s Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.
He also gave an update on building construction and renovation, noting that the UT System Board of Regents has approved the design for the new Science and Engineering Innovation and Research building, a $125 million, 220,000-square-foot facility to be built just south of the Life Sciences Building, with construction expected to begin this summer. He also noted that the Life Sciences Building will be undergoing a series of renovations and updates in the coming months to modernize the facility, which opened in 1970.
Read more of this story here.
College of Science salutes its Class of 2016 during Spring Commencement cerem
Dr. Franklyn Alexander addresses the audience during his keynote speech.
The College of Science welcomed its newest alumni with the graduation of the Class of 2016 on May 13.
The Spring 2016 commencement ceremony, held in College Park Center, provided the opportunity for families and friends to watch as their graduates walked the stage and officially marked the close of one chapter in their lives and the beginning of another.
The ceremony began with a welcome from Linda Johnsrud, vice president for academic affairs and interim provost, and the introduction of the marshals and stage party by Morteza Khaledi, dean of the College of Science. Khaledi then introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Franklyn Alexander, a member of the UT Arlington Development Board and longtime supporter of UTA and the College of Science who has practiced dentistry in Arlington for over 30 years.
Alexander encouraged the new graduates to become engaged with UTA as alumni, and to become engaged with whatever city they end up settling down in.
“In my opinion, education and engagement will be the defining parameters that will guide your career and your life,” he said. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you deal with it. If you're ever presented with the choice of having a mentor or higher pay, always, always take the mentor. They have life experiences you don't have, and when you listen to them, they can help you get to the next level a lot faster than you'd ever be able to get there on your own.”
Watch a video of the ceremony here and see photos from the ceremony on the COS Facebook page here.
Mann retires following 33-year career as integral part of COS psychology department
From left, James Erickson, professor emeritus; Verne Cox, former COS dean and professor emeritus; Perry Fuchs, professor and chair of the psychology department; Martha Mann; Paul Paulus, former COS dean and distinguished professor; and Roger Mellgren, former professor of psychology who retired last year.
Martha Mann, associate professor of psychology and Distinguished Teaching Professor, announced her retirement from UTA after a 33-year career at the University. A reception was held in her honor on May 5 in Davis Hall’s University Club.
Mann came to UTA in 1983, after she received her Ph.D. in Biopsychology from the State University of New York at Albany. Her research focused on the hormonal, genetic and nutritional aspects of development and behavior. Her research topics included: territoriality; parental care, lactation and perinatal nutrition; sexual differentiation; population regulation; and comparative approaches to behavior.
In addition to her teaching and research activities, she served as campus director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, an NSF-supported project that seeks to increase the number of historically underrepresented people in STEM fields. She was also instrumental in planning and coordinating the Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) symposium, a university-wide research and creative activity symposium for undergraduate and graduate students. As president emeritus of the Arlington Chapter of Sigma Xi, she promoted the recognition of STEM activities for students through ACES, and for faculty members through her participation in various teaching and research award committees. She also assisted in the establishment and initial growth of the UTA Honors College, serving as associate dean from 1999-2003.
Mann received numerous awards during the course of her career, including induction to the UTA Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2011; the UTA Honors College Outstanding Faculty Award in 2000; and the College of Science Teacher of the Year Award in 1998.
Mann’s husband, Roger Mellgren, retired last year after 26 years as a professor of psychology at UTA
See photos from the reception honoring Mann on the COS Facebook page here.
UTA scientists study global warming events from past to gain insight into climate change
From left, Elizabeth Griffith, Arne Winguth and Cornelia Winguth
A team of scientists led by researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington is examining global warming events that happened millions of years ago in order to gain new insights into present-day climate change.
The National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences has awarded a $403,114 grant to Arne Winguth, UTA associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, for a three-year study titled “Evaluating Deep-Sea Ventilation and the Global Carbon Cycle during Early Paleogene Hyperthermals.” Winguth is joined on the project by co-investigators Elizabeth Griffith, a UTA assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, and his wife Cornelia Winguth, a lecturer in the same department.
The project focuses on the Early Paleogene, the period of time roughly 66 million to 45 million years ago, when rapid, short-term global warming events, called hyperthermals, were caused by large amounts of greenhouse gases being released into the ocean-atmosphere system. Hyperthermals had far-reaching effects on the evolution of life of Earth, ecosystems and the carbon cycle
Read more on this story here.
Passy shows environmental factors, stress tolerance drives freshwater species disparity
Forested stream in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Sophia Passy.
In nearly every biological community, distributions among species are highly uneven. That is, there is a large number of rare species with very few members and only a small number of common species concentrating most members of the community.
Sophia Passy, an associate professor of biology, has now demonstrated that this distribution is driven by environmental favorability and species stress tolerance, shedding light on the long-standing academic debate about whether this much-studied pattern is a biological or a non-biological, or even a statistical phenomenon.
Passy’s work, published recently in the leading journal The American Naturalist, in an article titled “Abundance inequality in freshwater communities has an ecological origin”, showed that freshwater communities experienced significantly lower disparity between common and rare species in favorable, low-stress environments. Specifically, watersheds with extensive wetlands were favorable for algae and watersheds with large proportions of deciduous forests were favorable for fish.
Read more on this story here.
UTA physicists prepping Titan supercomputer to process LHC particle experiment data
  Kaushik De
University of Texas at Arlington physicists are preparing the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee to support the analysis of data generated from the quadrillions of proton collisions expected during this season’s Large Hadron Collider particle physics experiments.
The LHC is the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, located at the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN near Geneva in Switzerland. Its collisions produce subatomic fireballs of energy, which morph into the fundamental building blocks of matter.
The four particle detectors located on the LHC’s ring allow scientists to record and study the properties of these building blocks and to look for new fundamental particles and forces.
“Some of the biggest challenges of these projects are the computing and data analysis,” said physics professor Kaushik De, who leads UTA’s High-Energy Physics group and supports the computing arm of these international experiments. “We need much more capacity now than in the past.”
Read more on this story here.
Cuntz, Gurdemir use Planetarium software to accurately date 2,500-year-old lyric poem
At left, detail from a Pompeii fresco painting of Sappho holding a stylus. At right, a color composite image of the Pleiades from the Digitized Sky Survey. Credit: NASA/ESA/AURA/Caltech.
Physicists and astronomers from The University of Texas at Arlington have used advanced astronomical software to accurately date lyric poet Sappho’s “Midnight Poem,” which describes the night sky over Greece more than 2,500 years ago.
The scientists described their research in the article “Seasonal dating of Sappho’s ‘Midnight Poem’ revisited,” published May 13 in the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. Martin George, former president of the International Planetarium Society, now at the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, also participated in the work.
“This is an example of where the scientific community can make a contribution to knowledge described in important ancient texts, “ said Manfred Cuntz, physics professor and lead author of the study. “Estimations had been made for the timing of this poem in the past, but we were able to scientifically confirm the season that corresponds to her specific descriptions of the night sky in the year 570 B.C.”
Cuntz and co-author and astronomer Levent Gurdemir, director of the Planetarium at UTA, used advanced software called Starry Night version 7.3 in their study.
Read more of this story here.
UTA research shows groundwater quality changes with hydraulic fracturing expansion
Kevin Schug
New research from The University of Texas at Arlington demonstrates that groundwater quality changes alongside the expansion of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing but also suggests that some potentially hazardous effects may dissipate over time.
The new research, published April 26 in the journal Science of the Total Environment in the article, “Temporal Variation in Groundwater Quality in the Permian Basin of Texas, a Region of Increasing Unconventional Oil and Gas Development”, is the first to analyze groundwater quality in the Cline Shale region of West Texas before, during and after the expansion of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Kevin Schug, UTA’s Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, was lead author of the study.
The research team collected and analyzed private water well samples on the eastern shelf of the Permian Basin four times over 13 months to monitor basic water quality, metal ions, organic ions and other chemicals. They discovered the presence of chlorinated solvents, alcohols and aromatic compounds exclusively after multiple unconventional oil wells had been activated within five kilometers of the sampling sites. Large fluctuations in pH and total organic carbon levels also were detected in addition to a gradual accumulation of bromide.
Read more of this story here.
UT System approves design for Science and Engineering Innovation and Research facility
Artist's rendering of the view of the SEIR Building from the north. Copyright UTA Magazine.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents has approved the design for a new University of Texas at Arlington Science and Engineering Innovation and Research building, a space that will support the significant growth of students in areas of workforce need and provide the basis for enhancement in research activity.
The $125 million, modern glass and steel building will span 220,000 square feet and provide a new, iconic southern entry to the UTA campus, south of the existing Life Science building. The project will add 900 teaching seats in lecture halls and classrooms, which will support enrollment growth across campus, especially the planned growth in the College of Science, the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the College of Engineering.
“The SEIR building will enhance UTA’s capacity to meet the state’s need for the generation of a highly skilled workforce and intellectual capital while assuring that we continue to rise in reputation as an R-1 university,” UTA President Vistasp M. Karbhari said. “The approved plans support multi-disciplinary teams working in large multi-use, collaborative spaces and will foster the generation of new ideas and solutions to real-life problems.
Read more of this story here.

For Alumni

Alumni Relations
You can help the next generation of Mavericks


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. To learn more, please contact College of Science Director of Development Christie Mosley-Eckler at 817-272-1497 or

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

Monday, June 6
First day of classes for first Summer 5-week session and 11-week session

Thursday, July 7
Last day of classes for first Summer 5-week session

Tuesday, July 12
First day of classes for second Summer 5-week session

Thursday, August 11
Last day of classes for Summer 14-week session, 11-week session and second 5-week session

Planetarium offering cool summer lineup

Check out The Planetarium at UT Arlington’s lineup of fun and exciting shows for the summer! The summer 2016 schedule runs May 31 through August 28.
2:00 pm - Texas Stargazing
3:30 pm - Spacepark 360: Infinity
2:00 pm - Dynamic Earth
3:30 pm - Spacepark 360: Infinity
2:00 pm - One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure
3:30 pm - Spacepark 360: Infinity
2:00 pm - We Are Astronomers
3:30 pm - Spacepark 360: Infinity
1:00 pm - One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure
2:30 pm - Secret of the Cardboard Rocket
5:30 pm - We Are Astronomers
7:00 pm - Pink Floyd
1:30 pm - Secret of the Cardboard Rocket
3:00 pm - Spacepark 360: Infinity

For tickets, reservations or further information, please contact The Planetarium at UT Arlington.
Maverick Science
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