This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage.
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page

Reception to celebrate faculty achievements

On October 15, the University will celebrate faculty creativity with a presentation by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes at the Konover Auditorium, followed by a reception and exhibit at the William Benton Museum of Art. The Advance interviewed some of the faculty members whose works will be on display.

Fifty years ago children played with plastic toys that had very short lifespans because they were made of materials like polystyrene, which are brittle and fragile and crack easily. Today's toys are much more durable because they are made of more resilient plastics like polyethylene.

What was true for children then is still true for companies today, says Myer Ezrin, director of the Institute of Materials Science Associates Program. "Sometimes plastics do not live up to their expected service life," he says.

That's why Ezrin wrote the Plastics Failure Guide: Cause and Prevention. The book contains examples and suggestions for companies to determine for themselves what the likely cause for plastics failure is so they can prevent it from happening again.

"This book is geared to the companies that buy materials and process them and sell them as a product," says Ezrin.

John Gregoropoulos, an emeritus professor of art, is showing a book of reproductions of his art work in connection with a major exhibition he had at the Titanium Gallery in Athens, Greece.

He had shown his work in Athens before, but this exhibit was on a "grand scale," he says. The show included 30 works - large and small paintings and drawings. The paintings centered on the theme of 19th century architecture that is disappearing in Greece.

The National Gallery in Athens has acquired one of his paintings for its collection.

Gregoropoulos, who taught painting and drawing at UConn, has exhibited his works around the country in both group exhibitions and one-man shows. He will have a retrospective in Athens next spring.

Bruce Hedman, associate professor of mathematics at the West Hartford campus, is showing a music CD, Crossroad: Ceilidh. Hedman and his wife, Sandy, who are of Scottish and Irish ancestry, were trained in classical music. In the last few years, they have turned their musical bent toward Irish and Scottish music. This is their first CD.

Hedman plays the bagpipes, guitar, flute and tinwhistle and his wife plays keyboard and Bodhran, the Irish drum. She also does vocals. The couple perform at community functions, ethnic festivals and receptions under the name Tara's Thistle.

"Math and music are naturally linked to each other," Hedman says. "I think it has to do with the creative spirit. Both math and music somehow come out of the soul, the creative heart of human experience," he says.

In the early 1990s, Patricia Neafsey, an associate professor of nursing, was searching for a way to increase retention of information about specific drug products for advanced practice nurses, many of whom have the authority to write prescriptions.

Armed with a grant and the assistance of some student animators from E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, Neafsey created a customized software package that focused on how drugs metabolize and react in the body.

In a paper titled "Computer-Assisted Instruction for Home Study: A New Venture for Continuing Education Programs in Nursing," published in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, she details the experiences of 27 nurses who used the software. The results show that such computer-assisted home study programs can add greatly to nurses' knowledge base and confidence.

Since Neafsey's study, the software is currently being used by 38 schools of nursing nationwide.

Richard D. Pomp, a professor at the School of Law. His article, "State Taxation of Mail Order Sales of Computers After Quill" was published in the journal State Tax Notes. The article discusses the use tax - the state sales tax as it is applied to mail orders across state lines. In Quill, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that businesses that do not have a physical presence in a state do not need to collect that state's sales tax.

"Local computer stores are mad because customers come in and pick their brain about what to buy, then they purchase their computers from mail order businesses to avoid the sales tax," Pomp says.

To get around this, mail order companies have established separate corporations or entered into special arrangements in the state to handle local customer service and repair, avoiding Quill's requisites for collecting the sales tax, he says. Pomp, who was assisted by graduate students in his research for the article, said he wrote the article after doing work for the Multistate Tax Commission, a voluntary association of states formed to fight tax avoidance.

Carl Schaefer, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, has had a long-standing interest in Hemipteran insects, which include aphids, leaf hoppers, and stink bugs. These insects subsist by sucking the juices out of plants and other insects.

During the last 10 years, a significant amount of new information has been discovered about these animals, some of it controversial. After hearing presentations and discussions of these discoveries at a symposium sponsored by the International Congress of Entomology, Schaefer decided to collect much of the new work into a single volume. The resulting book, titled Studies on Hemipteran Phylogeny, was published last year by the Entomological Society of America.

"It is quite probable that the way we categorize and talk about these insects will undergo dramatic change in the next few years," he says. "I am hoping that this ... will create more discourse on the subject."

When Cyrus Zirakzadeh's parents would have friends over to visit, he looked forward to their conversations: There was always talk of radical movements and reform. His parents' families had to flee Iran and Guatemala because of their involvement with governments that were eventually overthrown.

"Ever since I was a young boy, their stories have helped create this fascination I have with social movements," says Zirakzadeh, now an associate professor of political science.

His interest led him to write Social Movements in Politics: A Comparative Study, published in August by Addison Wesley Longman.

The book looks at popular political movements in Germany, Peru, and Poland.

"Sometimes American students are unfamiliar with how social movements evolve and develop," he says, "so they can romanticize the movement or see it as something dangerous. I hope that once the readers learn about the good and bad features of these movements they will start to think about political movements closer to home."

Staff writers Sherry Fisher, Luis Mocete, David Pesci, and Renu Sehgal-Aldrich contributed to this article.