Research and Public Service
President's Report: 2005-2006 University of Virginia
From the President
A Year at a Glance
Achieving Vision through Leadership
Students: Minds of the First Order
University of Virginia
International Experience: A Global University
A Faculty of Distinction
Research and Public Service: Remaking the World
Health System: Designing the Next Decade of Health Care
University of Virginia
Athletics: Striving for Excellence
2005-2006 Financial Report
Credits
University of Virginia
Research and Public Service: Remaking the World
Successful researchers must now be leaders as well as experts.

A section of the south addition to Campbell Hall.

A section of the south addition to Campbell Hall, the home of the School of Architecture. Now under construction, the south addition to Campbell Hall was designed by William Sherman, the Mario di Valmarana Professor of Architecture, with SMBW Architects. The addition provides offices with shared porches behind glass-louvered shading devices similar to Jefferson's study and "porticle" at Monticello, as well as indoor and outdoor classrooms.
Recent years have witnessed a shift in the way research is conducted at universities. The fundamentals of research have not changed, but the scope and complexity of many research initiatives have grown enormously. Faculty members still make observations in the field, conduct experiments in the laboratory, and write papers at their desks, but, thanks to advances in computing and telecommunications, they now have the opportunity to address dramatically more ambitious questions than ever before. Tackling these grand challenges requires more of everything—more time, more people, and more funding. In addition to their traditional academic skills, successful researchers must now be leaders, capable of motivating people, mobilizing resources, and building organizations.

This year, University faculty demonstrated their mastery of these skills. The Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory/Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News is among the world's most productive high-energy research facilities, with more than 2,000 international users. Nearly one-third of the Ph.D.s awarded in nuclear physics in the United States result from research done at Jefferson Lab.

Meeting at the Jefferson Lab.

Sarah Phillips, a doctoral candidate at the Jefferson Lab, tours the facility with (from left) Joseph Scarcello, vice president for contract administration for CSC Applied Technologies; Jeff Purnell, JSA board member and vice president for finance for CSC Applied Technologies; and JSA president and director Christoph Leemann.
The University's Department of Physics was instrumental in creating the Southeastern Universities Research Association, which has played a critical role in designing and operating the Jefferson Laboratory since its inception.

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of SURA and Computer Sciences Corporation, was awarded a $500 million contract from the Department of Energy to manage the Jefferson Lab for the next five years. JSA has the option to extend the contract for an additional fifteen years based on performance. President John Casteen serves as chairman of its board of directors.

John T. Monahan

John T. Monahan
A Place for Developing Policy and Practice
As involuntary treatment for mental disorders has shifted away from institutions to the community at large, the issue of mandating appropriate care is often framed in terms of public safety versus civil liberties. This year, John T. Monahan, the John S. Shannon Distinguished Professor of Law and professor of psychology and psychiatric medicine, was awarded a $4.5 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for the final phase of a three-part study. Professor Monahan and his colleagues are seeking to provide scientifically sound evidence for developing effective policies and practices on whether, and how, to mandate such treatments. The research network he has mobilized for the project includes experts in psychiatry, psychology, sociology, social work, economics, and law. Since 1988, the MacArthur Foundation has awarded more than $22 million to the University to support research in mental health law.

NLR logo
With its recent connection to the $100 million National LambdaRail network, the University has laid the foundation for faculty to continue pursuing large-scale, data-intensive research problems in fields such as astronomy, climate change, and computational genomics. This nationwide high-performance network, designed specifically for research, dwarfs the capabilities of the Internet. Thanks to its multigigabit-per-second capacity, the NLR can transmit a 200-megabyte file in about one-sixth of a second. A typical broadband home modem, transmitting data at one megabit per second, would take close to twenty-eight minutes. Participation in the NLR will be a prerequisite for conducting—and receiving funding for—major research projects over coming years.

An Impressive Array of Talent
As a matter of responsible stewardship, the University cannot strive for excellence in every field of inquiry. Nonetheless, a survey of research under way at the University reveals the range of faculty interests and our faculty's success in making important breakthroughs. University faculty members are probing the farthest reaches of the universe, a world of virtually incomprehensible force, while others are measuring the infinitesimal transfers of energy that mark a chemical reaction. What follows is a representative sample.

Addressing Energy Needs
With the economic and environmental costs of fossil fuel threatening to undermine health and economic development around the world, researchers at U.Va. have focused their efforts on accelerating the With the right catalysts, technologies such as fuel cells and biodiesel- and ethanol-based engines can emerge as practical alternatives to fossil fuel. shift to sustainable, less-polluting sources of energy through a study of catalysts—the substances that control chemical reactions. With the right catalysts, technologies such as fuel cells and biodiesel- and ethanol-based engines can emerge as practical alternatives to fossil fuel.

Ian Harrison, chair of the Department of Chemistry; Kevin Lehmann, professor of chemistry and physics; and their colleagues in the chemistry department have developed a number of highly sophisticated tests that are enabling chemists for the first time to observe catalysis at the molecular level. Matthew Neurock, the Alice M. and Guy A. Wilson Professor of Engineering, will be using these observations to refine our theoretical understanding of the process, giving chemists the basis to fine-tune catalysts for specific applications.

Members of the Department of Chemical Engineering also are working on catalysts. Robert Davis, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, is developing a reusable solid catalyst to convert heavy fats and oils to
Algorithms with an edge
Irina Mitrea

An NSF grant supports mathematician Irina Mitrea's research and teaching.
Mathematicians have long used partial differential equations as a tool for creating accurate models. However, the complexity of the resulting mathematical algorithms tends to increase dramatically as more details are taken into account.

By combining harmonic analysis with partial differential equations, assistant professor Irina Mitrea is one of a group of mathematicians developing techniques to improve the applicability of the algorithms used to describe phenomena involving more complex objects. Her work is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation as well as one of the University's highly competitive Funding for Excellence in Science and Technology (FEST) awards for young faculty.

biodiesel with the flow properties needed for conventional diesel engines. It would replace liquid catalysts, which must be neutralized and disposed of at the end of the process. Assistant Professor Steven McIntosh's specialty is solid oxide fuel cells, which can use any combustible fuel, including gasoline, diesel, and biofuels. Professor McIntosh is working to find high-performance materials that provide the ideal balance of catalysis and conductivity. If he is successful, solid oxide fuel cells may be used to provide power and heat for home use.

Illuminating Everyday Life
The United States is increasingly an urban society, yet we lack good tools to predict the evolution of American cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas. For William H. Lucy, the Lawrence Lewis, Jr., Professor of Architecture; and David Phillips, associate professor of architecture, the answer is straightforward: follow the money. Rather than rely on shifts in population, they look at shifts in income, and they found that cities are undergoing a steady resurgence. Per capita income is on the rise, as is the median value of owner-occupied housing.

While this is good news for cities as a whole, the effects are not uniform across the country. They note that while the average per capita income in Atlanta was 128 percent of the metropolitan area average, in Detroit it was just 58 percent. And neighborhoods built between 1940 and 1970, when the average new house was between 1,000 and 1,400 square feet, tended to lag behind pre-1940 neighborhoods, with larger houses that are closer to activities to which residents want to walk.

Strengthening Education
There is a science as well as an art to teaching. Thanks to advances in behavioral science, we now have the techniques to model interactions between people in complex social settings. With funding from the Office of the Provost, Robert Pianta, the Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education and professor of psychology, has founded the Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning to apply these methods to the interaction between teachers and students.

His goal is to develop evidence-based methods of teacher education. This year, the Curry School of Education was awarded $10 million from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences to evaluate a new Web-based method for training preschool teachers that Professor Pianta and his colleagues designed. In addition, he and psychology professor Joseph Allen received a $1.25 million award from the William T. Grant Foundation to pinpoint how the best teachers make individual connections with their students and motivate them.

The University is also at the forefront in providing executive education for school administrators. This year, the Wallace Foundation awarded a grant of $5 million to the Curry and Darden schools to provide leadership training in such areas as instructional improvement, leading change, and data-driven decision making to teams of state and local school administrators. The grant will be administered by the Darden-Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education.

Craig Sarazin

Craig Sarazin
Making Fundamental Discoveries
Other University researchers devote themselves to understanding the colossal physical forces that shape the universe. One of the predictions of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity is the existence of gravitational waves, faint ripples in the space-time continuum. In the ninety years since he published this theory, the existence of gravitational waves has been widely accepted, though they have yet to be observed directly.

The latest discovery by Craig Sarazin, the W. H. Vanderbilt Professor of Astronomy, is about to change all this. Scientists have long speculated that the collision of two supermassive black holes would be cataclysmic enough to produce gravitational waves, and NASA is planning to launch a series of satellites called LISA to observe them. Before the first satellite is launched, the agency must be certain it can find supermassive black holes in the process of colliding.

Professor Sarazin's first-ever observation of two black holes rotating around each other was the confirmation NASA needed. Though this particular set of black holes is not scheduled to merge for a million years, the fact of its existence makes it likely that there are other pairs in the universe on the verge of collision.


Tom Graham of WMRA with Julian Bond and Phyllis Leffler.

Tom Graham of WMRA, a National Public Radio affiliate in Harrisonburg, interviewed Julian Bond and Phyllis Leffler for his "Insight" talk show.

What makes people leaders?
Are leaders simply born that way or do circumstances—a particular time, place, and situation—come together to imbue them with leaderships qualities? These are questions that history professors Julian Bond and Phyllis Leffler have set out to address. Explorations in Black Leadership, their ambitious oral history project, explores the nature of leadership, making it clear that every leader has a unique story to tell. Begun in 2000 by Professor Leffler, director of the University's Institute for Public History; and Professor Bond, chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the project features videotaped interviews with such African American leaders as Vernon Jordan, Nikki Giovanni, and Dick Gregory. These interviews can be found at www.virginia.edu/publichistory/bl/index.php.

 

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