Emeritus Faculty Association news Sept 2013
NOTE: the September meeting date and place is moved from the usual (first Friday of the month in Javits room, 2nd floor library) to Friday 13th in the large seminar room at Chemistry 412, although still at the usual time 10.30 am. The speaker will be one of our own members, Yassin El-Ayouty to talk on the evolving situation in the Middle East.
Bio: Yassin El-Ayouty has a Ph.D. from NYU in international law and international organization (1966) and a J.D. from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, NYC (1994). A former fulbright scholar, he served the UN from 1954 to 1986 including being UN spokesman during the Algerian war of independence, and later became chief of the Africa Division, and Secretary of the Council of Namibia, Department of Political Affairs and Decolonization. In 1964, he drafted the statute of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), later becoming its director of training. Finally he established the first Peace Research Unit within the then Department of Political and Security Council Affairs.
From 1995 to 2009, he was special counsel for the then NYC law firm of Spector and Feldman, and subsequently established his solo practice in New York City. He is a member of several bars including New Jersey, the Bar of the US Supreme Court, the Egyptian Bar, the Bar of the Egyptian Court of Cassation (the Supreme Court of Egypt), the Federation of the Arab Bars and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He specializes in legal and judicial reform; diplomatic and consular immunities; international sanctions; international criminal law; international humanitarian law; terrorism and the law; UN Security Council sanctions regimes, trans-jurisdictional litigation; and compensations for victims of war and other disasters. He also lectures on Islamic Law as it relates to global issues. As an international attorney, he was legal counsel on a variety of cases. In December 2011, he was made a member of the Egyptian Government sponsored Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, simultaneously being appointed adjunct professor at Al-Azhar's Faculty of Sharia and Law teaching US constitutional law at that Faculty's English Language Section. Yassin is a dual citizen (born Egyptian, naturalized American). He works in Arabic, English, and French, plus has a working knowledge of Spanish. In English he has authored 8 books and numerous articles.
Yassin El-Ayouty is founder and president of SUNSGLOW - Global Training in the Rule of Law (www.sunsglow.com), a corporation devoted to transnational judicial and legal training, especially in the developing world. In this he is assisted by a distinguished Board of Advisors, corps of volunteer associates, and 12 regional liaison centers around the world.
Distinguished Emeritus Professor Gerald Brown died on May 31. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_E._Brown
Tax deductible gifts in his memory can be made to the Gerald Brown Endowed Fund for Excellence in Physics and Astronomy. Checks should be sent c/o College of Arts & Sciences, E3320 Melville Library, Stony Brook, NY 11794-339, payable to the Stony Brook Foundation.
Turns out that President Stanley had a million dollar reason for being elsewhere on the morning of our last meeting, see: http://commcgi.cc.stonybrook.edu/am2/publish/General_University_News_2/Dr_Deng_Wei_Donates_1_Million_for_Endowed_Chair_in_Physics_and_Astronomy_at_Stony_Brook_University.shtml?=marquee2
Benjamin Hsiao was kind enough to substitute for him at short notice. He first reviewed his background in rather modest terms - after a diversion for a degree in guitar at Berklee College of Music, then going back to chemistry for a PhD at UNC, and spending 8 years at DuPont, he decided to become an assistant professor without tenure at SB. He in fact has had a very distinguished career, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Hsiao The fact is that after 5 years he was full professor, chair in another 5, and now distinguished professor and Vice President for Research. He is the author of 370 scientific papers, and his work on polymers has led to 14 patents including a novel method for filtering water.
On coming to what he has now renamed simply the "Office of Research", he said he felt like a new kid on Sesame Street, learning all the different ways to see the letter A. In his first year on the job, one of his principal tasks has been maintaining the growth of research during a period of tightening research budgets and while four of his staff positions remain unfilled, including three of his principal deputies. To some extent the effects of sequestration have been offset by prestigious new faculty hires bringing in their existing funding. One example: Esther Takeuchi, electrochemist, and one of the world's leading energy storage researchers. In fact a majority of the new hires have been on the medical side, one result of the reorganization of that side of the campus after the new dean was brought in (see summary of Dr. Kaushansky's talk to us in the March 2011 newsletter on the archive). This is also consistent with when Dr Marburger was our speaker and one of our members (not from life sciences) said he did not begrudge (a life sciences emphasis) because he believed that whereas the 20th was the century of physics, the 21st was likely to be known for the importance of biology (May 2009). At this time also, a particular effort is being made to increase clinical research in conjunction with other hospitals.
After the general health sciences area, Dr Hsiao's second priority for new growth is technology transfer and commercialization. In this he is working with Yacov Shamash, VP for economic development, and new director Doon Gibbs of Brookhaven National Laboratory. This effort recognizes that only some 10% of graduate students can expect jobs in universities and the rest must go to industry or - create their own jobs. Hence several proposals to foster entrepreneurship including faculty, graduates, and undergraduates, with significant cash awards to get the best ideas off the ground.
Among the other developing projects mentioned by Dr Hsiao were a new proposal center (again with BNL) to foster better grant proposals, and new programs in cancer cure, neurosciences, smart electrical grid, and coastal weather preparedness. Questions from Al Carlson, Mel Simpson, Hasty Habicht, and Bob DeZafra developed further the areas discussed above.
Issues old and new
Unfolding events often shed new light on issues discussed in our previous newsletters. For example, from the May 2011 newsletter:
"Unfortunately privacy has been weakened by a succession of acts of congress. For example under the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), if email is downloaded and stored on a recipient's computer, the 4th amendment requirement for a warrant based on probable cause applies. However if the email is stored on a third-party server, then this protection only applies for the first 180 days. Recent administrations have claimed wider reach, particularly for communications to or from foreign countries. So in the brave new world it is wisest to proceed on the assumption that email of any kind has no privacy assurance whatsoever."
Re: the woodland scene of the house of the Dormouse (text and photo in the April 2013 newsletter). The tiny picnic table and chairs and barnacle shell "icing cake" are all gone now, replaced with elaborate rings of stones and an American flag.