Emeritus Faculty Association news December 2008 - January 2009

Next Meeting:
The next meeting will be Friday, December 5th at 10.30 am. in the usual location, Javits room, library 2nd floor. The speaker will be David W. Krause, Distinguished Service Professor, Departments of Anatomical Sciences and Geosciences, Research Associate of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and former President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology..He will talk on "Science with a Social Conscience: Digging for Dinosaurs and Helping Children in Madagascar".
Outline: In 1993, Krause launched a reconnaissance expedition in search of Cretaceous dinosaurs, mammals, and other backboned animals to Madagascar, home to some of the most bizarre plants and animals on the planet. Not in his wildest dreams did he anticipate the paleontological riches that he would find on that expedition, as well as on the eight field campaigns since. Among the most significant finds are exquisitely preserved skulls and skeletons of previously unknown sauropod and theropod dinosaurs, a diverse array of crocodiles, and, most recently, the largest frog ever to have existed. These discoveries have profound implications for addressing questions related to plate tectonics and biogeography. Krause's research in Madagascar, the fourth poorest country in the world, led him to interact with the local peoples and, ultimately, to establish the Madagascar Ankizy Fund, whose mission it is to build schools and provide healthcare for children living in remote areas of the country, see: http://www.ankizy.org/. Krause will present spectacular slides of some of his exciting discoveries in Madagascar, recount some of the extraordinary adventures involved in his field work, and detail how his work led him to give back to the country by assisting with education and healthcare.
Bio: Born and raised on a cattle ranch in southeastern Alberta, Krause received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Alberta and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Krause is a 35-year veteran of field research in Canada, the United States, Pakistan, India, and Madagascar and has over 170 publications on fossil vertebrates. Krause has been a leader in the battle to protect fossil resources on U.S. Federal public lands from commercial exploitation. His research, humanitarian, and conservation work has been the subject of considerable media attention, including articles in National Geographic magazine, Newsday, the New York Times, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, and various other major newspapers. It has also been featured in several television specials (e.g., The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel). Krause has made various appearances on CBC, NBC, CNN, and Fox newscasts and was featured in the journal Current Biography (February, 2002).

Last Meeting
As previously announced there will be a memorial service for Bernard Semmel in the Wang Center Chapel, Monday 1st December at 10am. Semmel, an historian of 18 - 19th century Britain was one of the founding members of the History Department and taught at Oyster Bay and Stony Brook from 1960 - 1990. He went on to be a distinguished professor of History at the graduate Center of CUNY, although continuing to live in Stony Brook with his wife, Maxine.

There was a service in the Wang chapel on Thursday November 4 for Eli Seifman Distinguished Service Professor of Social Science, who died October 1 while in the hospital for byass surgery. Eli served in many leadership roles, including Director of the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education (1988-2001); Chair of the Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Program (1978-2001); Director of Teacher Education (1976-1999); Director of the Social Studies Secondary Teacher Education Program (1973-2001); and, Chair of the Department of Education (1965-1970). After his retirement, he was the Program Coordinator for Stony Brook Manhattan (2002-2004) and Director of the State University Urban Teacher Education Center from 2004 until his death.

Teaching help requested
Les Paldy invites emeriti to take part in teaching a Chautauqua Course. These courses are for college and university faculty who are in a position to send graduate students to the university.
Another possibility is a professional development course/ workshop for US undergrad faculty over two and half days ( 8:30 AM -4:00 PM and 8:30 AM -1:00 PM including breakfast & lunch breaks) at the Manhattan campus in the area of natural or social sciences, mathematics, or engineering . Typically the courses run in the Spring from April through June. Upon approval of your course proposal and proper enrollment, you will be compensated at $1500 (1 instructor) or $1000 each (2 instructors) per course. Additionally you will be reimbursed for hotel, breakfast and dinner at the NYS per diem rate.To offer such a course this spring, you will need to provide asap a course proposal, your most current CV, and possible dates to teach between April and June. Course proposals will be reviewed by a panel of senior/ distinguished faculty from Stony Brook and other US institutions from the corresponding discipline.
For further details: http://www.stonybrook.edu/ceie/chautauqua, describes the programs, courses taught last Spring, and earlier (archives). Contacts (also listed there) are Chandrani Roy, director, Chroy@notes.cc.sunysb.edu, and Tricia Dixon, Staff Assistant, padixon@notes.cc.sunysb.edu, Professional Education Program - Outreach, S-109 Social and Behavioral Sciences Tel: 631-632-7696; Fax: 631-632-7968.

Report on November 7th talk given by Professor Clint Rubin.
Rubin began by identifying the two medical conditions that are now the object of his research, osteoporosis and obesity. Sixty percent of women over 65 develop osteoporosis, while in the U.S. obesity has increased since 1991 from 12% to 30%. As the title of his talk made clear, however, Rubin began his career focusing only on osteoporosis and finding ways to control it. Only recently did he come to see a relationship between osteoporosis and obesity and thus, in the words of his wife, his "transition from bone head to fat head."
Bone mass decreases with age; beginning at the age of 35 bone mass decreases two percent per decade; women after menopause loose two percent per year. Yet bone mass is also related to exercise, or lack thereof. Thus astronauts loose 2 percent of their bone a month, while professional tennis players have 35% more bone in their serving arm. But what about persons who are obese? They too are advised to get more exercise, leading to the question: How are obesity and osteoporosis related? Why does a decrease in weight seem to be accompanied by an increase in bone mass? Said differently, when a stem cell evolves what determines whether it becomes a fat cell or a bone cell?
It was to enhance bone mass that Clinton originally developed oscillating his high-frequency vibrating plate device. He and his colleagues asked themselves how can we mechanically stimulate the cells in our bones to form bone and prevent bone loss, rather than having persons with osteoporosis taking drugs which, although approved by the FDA, have been shown to have long-term negative consequences.
What is there about exercise that appears to increase bone mass? Rubin answers that question by noting that muscles quiver when they contract, and that quivering is the predominant signal to bones. Even when people stand still their muscles are contracting to keep them upright. Exercise increases the strength of the quivering, but more exercise does not necessarily increase bone density, anymore than shouting in a friend's ear will increase his ability to hear the message. Over the years Clinton and his colleagues discovered that bone responded to signals that were high in frequency but low in magnitude, like a buzzing. Clinton discovered that mice, sheep, and turkeys standing on his small vibrating plate experience bone growth, and small studies of humans, e.g., children with cerebral palsy who could not move much on their own, indicated that vibrations might build bones in humans too.

Post-election ruminations from webmaster
After each election I generally get emails from English relations saying things like "I cannot understand the US electoral system". As you would expect, your correspondent stands ever ready to be helpful. So here goes for the current outing:
Unlike Europe, most states sternly forbid felons permission to vote. On the other hand convictions are no deterrent from actually serving as representative or senator, from whom much less exalted standards of behaviour are required.
While it has become customary for recent US elections to include propositions sternly forbidding abortions even in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency, this should not be cause for concern, since under safe haven laws in most states offspring can always be dropped off at public facilities (up to the age of 18 in Nebraska).
Still, the US did manage to elect a leader from a minority racial background. To our knowledge the only other countries which came close were India (almost but not quite had an Italian as prime minister), and a convicted leader of Japanese origin in Peru.
I hope that clears things up for now, at least until the next election.