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Tuesday, February 28 2012


Tickets for Vice President Biden's town hall meeting

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's town hall meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 1, is a ticketed event. No one will be admitted without a ticket.

Due to capacity in Howe Hall, a limited number of tickets are being distributed first to students and student groups. If you are interested in attending the event, please send a request to The request should include your name, phone number, academic major, and year in school (freshman, junior, etc.). For those with tickets, the doors will open at 9:15 a.m., and CLOSE at 11 a.m. All guests with tickets must be in the building by 11 a.m. Expect traffic delays in the area on Thursday and allow extra time for arrival.

Ecologist and cancer survivor to talk about pollution and health March 4

Sandra Steingraber, a biologist, cancer survivor and author, will speak on "Environmental Pollution, Climate Change and Our Health" at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 4, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. In her latest book, "Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis," Steingraber speaks as a scientist and a mother about the joys of bringing up her son while searching for ways to shield him - and other children - from the effects of climate change and environmental pollution. Steingraber's presentation is the 2012 Shivvers Memorial Lecture. It is free and open to the public.

Iowa State, Ames Lab chemists aid study of mutated plants that may be better for biofuels

A new study says genetic mutations in plants could make it easier to break down plant cellulose to the sugars that are fermented into biofuels. Mei Hong, a professor at Iowa State and an associate of the Ames Laboratory, and Tuo Wang, an Iowa State graduate student, contributed their expertise in solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to the study. The researchers' findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Leath names search committee for new provost

Iowa State University President Steven Leath has appointed a committee to conduct the search for ISU's next provost. Wendy Wintersteen, Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will chair the 17-member group.

Chicago community leader will speak about urban homelessness and poverty Feb. 29

Jane Ramsey, an influential community leader and activist in Chicago, will speak on "Myths and Realities of Homelessness and Poverty: A Plan for Transforming Cities" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. Ramsey is president of the Chicago-based Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, which combats poverty, racism and anti-Semitism in partnership with the city's diverse communities. A principal organizer of coalitions that bring wide-ranging groups together to address common concerns, Ramsey has been at the forefront of many critical issues affecting Chicago. Ramsey's talk is free and open to the public.

L to R: Edward Swing and Douglas Gentile

L to R: Edward Swing and Douglas Gentile

Video game playing can compound kids' existing attention problems, says ISU study

Children who are already more impulsive or have attention problems tend to spend more time playing video games than other children, which subsequently may compound their attention problems. That's according to a new longitudinal study led by Douglas Gentile, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State; and Edward Swing, an ISU psychology doctoral candidate, and published this week by the American Psychological Association in its debut issue of the Psychology of Popular Media Culture journal.

Eating disorder survivor and recovery mentor to speak Feb. 29

After battling anorexia and bulimia for 15 years, Shannon Cutts has become an internationally known advocate for the value of mentoring in the eating disorder recovery process. She will present a talk, "Beauty Undressed," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. Cutts is the founder of MentorCONNECT, the first global eating disorders mentoring organization, which serves more than 2,000 members in 15 countries. Her talk is free and open to the public.

Nobel winner Shechtman honored at Statehouse

Danny Shechtman (second from right), of ISU, the Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, and Israel's Technion, was honored by the Iowa Legislature Feb. 21 for his 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Pictured with Shectman are (left to right) College of Engineering Dean Jonathan Wickert, the James and Katherine Melsa Professor in Engineering; Regent Nicole Carroll; Sen. Herman Quirmbach; and Iowa State University President Steve Leath.

Adam Heathcote and Christopher Filstrup examine lake core samples. ISU photo by Bob Elbert

Adam Heathcote and Christopher Filstrup examine lake core samples. ISU photo by Bob Elbert

Examining history of Iowa’s lakes reveals past, helps set goals for future: ISU study

A recent three-year study by an Iowa State University research team led by John Downing examined changes in sedimentation rates and sediment composition in 34 Iowa lakes from as long ago as 150 years. According to Downing, the idea that all of Iowa's lakes were uniformly pristine before the land was cleared is not true. And while our lakes have changed pretty dramatically, we can now look at what types of practices need to be put in place to improve the lakes.