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art/sci update December 2013: Physics researchers’ work selected for top 10 breakthroughs of 2013 list


Physics researchers’ work named
among Top 10 Breakthroughs of 2013

Researchers affiliated with the Department of Physics are among the scientists whose discoveries appeared on Physics World magazine’s list of the Top 10 Physics Breakthroughs of 2013.

Professor John Ruhl’s team, which includes two of his graduate students and a former postdoctoral researcher, helped design and build sensors and a camera used on the South Pole, as well as analyze the project’s first year of data. The research detected, for the first time, B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background—the oldest light in the universe.

This so-called “twist” in the light may help scientists learn how the universe’s structure grew from its early stages. Read more.

Spirituality research receives
$1.4 million grant

Julie Exline, The Armington Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, is one of the co-leaders of a $1.4 million project that will examine why some people struggle with their spirituality or religious beliefs and practices in the face of life’s challenges while others don’t.

The three-year project, funded by a grant from The John Templeton Foundation, builds on her longtime work studying spiritual struggles. The researchers hope to learn what factors may predict who will struggle with their spirituality and why. They also want to understand whether spiritual struggles may have positive effects, such as personal growth or increased compassion for others. Read more.

Exline also blogs on the website of Psychology Today. Read her latest post about the benefits of gratitude.

New books by faculty members

Melvyn C. Goldstein, the John Reynolds Harkness Professor and co-director of the Center for Research on Tibet, has published A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 3, 1955-1957: The Storm Clouds Descend. The third volume in the anthropologist’s award-winning series examines a critical period in Sino-Tibetan relations, marked by a major Tibetan uprising in Sichuan Province and discord within the Chinese Communist Party. Read more.

Professor Norah Feeny of the Department of Psychological Sciences is the co-editor of a new book that examines why some trauma survivors are resilient, while others suffer from mental health problems such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Facilitating Resilience and Recovery Following Trauma, edited with Lori Zoellner of the University of Washington, explores scientific evidence related to interventions following trauma, and also focuses on special populations, including military personnel, children and members of low-income or marginalized communities. Read more.

CAS in the News

Ake’s album named to lists
of top jazz releases of 2013

The latest release from Department of Music Chair David Ake has landed on several best-of-2013 lists. Bridges received notice from Dan Bilawsky of All About Jazz and Hank Shteamer of the Jazz Journalists Association. The website Burning Ambulance also selected it for its Best Jazz Albums of 2013 list.

Starkman on the universe’s structure

Forbes posed this question to several theoretical cosmologists: Why is the universe’s Large Scale Structure organized as it is, and could it have been significantly different?

Physics and astronomy Professor Glenn Starkman responded that fluctuations of cosmic inflation account for the evolution of the universe’s structure, and that small changes in that inflation could have led to a much different structure. Read more.

Stay connected

Check out photos from our events, including the fall Mix and Mingle alumni event, on the college’s Flickr page.

Issue 36 / December 2013

cwRU IN?

As you consider your December charitable giving, why not include a contribution to the College of Arts and Sciences? Your gift provides important opportunities for our high-achieving students, faculty and staff.

Now is the time to make an end-of-year gift that may be tax-deductible. Please consider making your gift via our secure website by visiting

You can also contact Becky Krumhansl, director of annual giving, at 216.368.5006 or

Thank you in advance for your generous support.

Alumni events

Alumni events are scheduled regularly. To find out what’s happening in your area, visit the Alumni Association calendar below.

View the full alumni events calendar

Upcoming events


Science Café Cleveland

featuring Distinguished University Professor Cynthia Beall


Department of Music

Northeast Ohio Band Invitational XI


Department of Theater

The Bald Soprano

View the full college events calendar

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Page last modified: February 20, 2014