Duke Professional News, April 9, 2004

Denis Mickiewicz | Stanley Abe | Adrian Bejan | Amy Laura Hall | Gail Goestenkors | James Siedow | Shin Yeu Ong and Shin Rong Ong | Putnam Math Contest | Mathematical Contest in Modeling | Parking Garage IV

Denis Mickiewicz, a professor emeritus in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, was recently awarded a medal "In Commemoration of St. Petersburg's 300th Anniversary" for his contribution in the field of American-Russian cultural relations, particularly for teaching, performing and presenting Russian music.

The award was presented on March 23 during a ceremony at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. It was awarded by the ambassador of Russia, Yuri Ushakov, on behalf of President Vladimir Putin and the mayor of St. Petersburg.

Mickiewicz, who teaches Russian literature, also won a recent honor from Yale University's School of Music. In October, he was presented with a cultural leadership citation for extraordinary service to Yale and the international music community. At Yale, Mickiewicz earned his bachelor's degree in music and doctorate in Slavic Languages and Literature.

Stanley K. Abe, associate professor of art history, was chosen from a group of 27 international nominees to receive the 2003 Shimada Prize for distinguished scholarship in the history of East Asian art. The prize of $10,000 is awarded biennially by the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies in Kyoto, Japan.

The presentation ceremony was March 30 at the Freer Gallery. At the ceremony, Abe gave an inaugural lecture for the new Sackler exhibition Return of The Buddha titled, "The Qingzhou Discoveries: Contexts and Questions." Abe is an expert in the field of early Chinese Buddhist sculpture.

This year's prize is awarded for Abe's pioneering study "Ordinary Images," published by University of Chicago Press (2002). It examines the little known world of Chinese Buddhist sculpture created for patrons of modest economic and social standing. While most scholarship to date focuses on sculptures created and tied to wealthier patrons, in contrast, Abe presents four case studies concentrating on more modest provincial examples of Buddhist imagery.

His analysis suggests a critical re-reading of mainstream views relating to Buddhist stylistic development. In addition, Abe confronts current scholarly views linking wealth and power with sculpture content and concludes that there is little correlation between a patron's social class and the style and symbolism found in Chinese Buddhist works.

Adrian Bejan, the J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering, will receive an honorary doctorate, his 14th such degree, from the Technical University of Gabrovo in Bulgaria on April 5.

Bejan has come a long way from his teenage years as a professional basketball player in Romania. He won a full academic scholarship to MIT, defected from his then-communist home country to complete his Ph.D.

Bejan specializes in the fields of energy and thermal sciences and fluid mechanics, but is also noted for his promotion of humanistic values and European culture.

Bejan has published more than 390 technical papers and his contributions to thermodynamics have garnered numerous awards, including the prestigious American Society of Mechanical Engineers International's (ASME) Max Jakob Memorial Award.

Amy Laura Hall, assistant professor of theological ethics in Duke Divinity School, has been named one of the seven Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology for 2004-2005, according to the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the Henry Luce Foundation Inc.

Hall, who will write on the topic of "Concerning Parenthood: The Protestant Spirit of Biotechnological Reproduction," will begin her sabbatical research in July 2004. She will examine how mainline Protestantism has influenced the growth of biotechnological parenting and contributed to shaping the norm for the American family since the early 20th century as well-bred, medically managed, fitter, chiefly nuclear and responsible.

The Luce Foundation's Fellows in Theology program, which is administered by the Association of Theological Schools, supports innovative research and publication by full-time seminary faculty that links the academy to churches and the wider public.

Gail Goestenkors, women's basketball coach at Duke, has been selected to serve as assistant coach on the 2004 U.S. Women's Olympic Team. The selection was made by the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee. She will be one of three coaches to assist the team's head coach, Van Chancellor of the WNBA.

The XXVIII Olympic Games women's basketball competition will feature national teams from 12 nations competing in Athens, Greece, Aug. 14-28.

James Siedow, vice provost for research and professor of biology, has been named to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Blue Ribbon Panel on Conflict of Interest Policies. The panel held its first meeting March 1-2.

The panel's charge is to review and make recommendations for improving the existing rules and procedures under which NIH currently operates regarding real and apparent financial conflict of interest of NIH staff and requirements and policies for the reporting of NIH staff's financial interests.

Three student teams at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering have won national awards for devices they created for people with disabilities.

Twins Shin Yeu Ong and Shin Rong Ong, who are from Singapore, and the team of Diana Hsu, of Raleigh, and Elizabeth Strautin Schwartz, of Mt. Olive, N.C., tied for first place in the NISH Workplace Technology Scholarship competition. NISH, formerly the National Industries for the Severely Handicapped, is a national nonprofit agency that provides technical assistance to community rehabilitation programs. Each team will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

The Ongs, who are seniors, developed several envelope-stuffer devices for workers with cerebral palsy. Hsu and Schwartz, who both graduated last May, developed a supportive head-neck brace that attaches to the wheelchair of a man with quadriplegia, improving his comfort and ability to interact with others.

Irene Tseng, of Lawrenceville, N.J., and Derek Juang, of Poquoson, Va., were selected winners of the student design contest sponsored by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). Their project was a shoulder-steered tricycle for a boy with TAR syndrome, which results in very short arm length. Tseng and Juang also graduated last May.

All of the projects were created in a biomedical engineering course, called Devices for People with Disabilities, that was started in 1996 by bioengineering professor Larry Bohs with funding support from the National Science Foundation.

"We are very proud of these students," Bohs said. To date, 15 student teams have won national awards for their technologies.

The course, taken by seniors, gives students a chance to shepherd design ideas from paper to practical application, and work face to face with the people who need the technology. In addition to creating a new device, students are required to present their work at a conference and write a technical paper.

The technologies that students develop are given to their clients free of charge at the end of the class. Bohs has developed working relationships with hospitals, rehabilitation clinics and various businesses in North Carolina to help identify new opportunities for students in the class.

"Often we're contacted by individuals or family members asking for help," Bohs said. "We always try to accommodate those requests. I've seen this class change students' career plans. It's a very rewarding experience to make a difference in someone's life."

For the fourth time in five years, a team of three Duke students placed third in the annual William Lowell Putnam mathematical competition, which was held Dec. 6.

David Arthur, a Trinity senior, '04 ranked 9th in the nation for completing 8 problems while first-year student Nikifor Bliznashki '07 and junior Oaz Nir '05 were named honorable mention for finishing among the top one percent of contestants. The team of Arthur, Bliznashki and Nir finished behind MIT and Harvard to capture the $15,000 third place prize. Duke teams have won the competition three times, finished second twice, and finished third four times since 1990.

A record 3,615 participants from 479 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada spent six hours working on 12 challenging math problems. Only one-quarter of the participants nationwide managed to solve even one problem completely. Of the 25 Duke students who were in the competition, 17 ranked among the top 25 percent and nine placed in the top 11 percent.

Four Duke teams successfully competed in the 2004 Mathematical Contest in Modeling, sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP) in February. Nearly 600 teams of three undergraduates from around the world worked for four days on one of two problems.

Two Duke teams-advised by Duke alumnus, W. Garrett Mitchener - were declared meritorious, ranking among the top 10 percent. Sophomores Pradeep Baliga, Adam Chandler, and Matthew Mian developed a "quick pass" system that could be used by amusement parks to reduce waiting time for rides.

Sophomore Abhijit Mehta '06, junior Oaz Nir '05, and freshmen James Zou developed an algorithm for identifying fingerprints that would require fewer measurements than are currently required and for which the probability of a mismatch is roughly the same as for DNA evidence. The teams of Nikifor Bliznashki, Matthew Fischer and Brandon Levin, and of Morgan Brown, Will Horn and Ethan Neil earned honorable mention for their efforts.

Parking Garage IV received an honorable mention award in the International Parking Institute's 2004 International Parking Awards competition. The competition honors the best in parking design. The award will be presented during the 2004 International Parking Conference and Exposition in New Orleans on June 20.