Michele Salzman Awarded a Bogliasco Fellowship

Michelle Salzman

History professor Michele Salzman has been awarded a Bogliasco Fellowship for 2013 by the Bogliasco Foundation. She will work on a chapter of her book, “The ‘Falls’ of Rome: Transformations of the City in Late Antiquity (270-603 CE),” while at the foundation’s Liguria Study Center in Bogliasco, Italy. The foundation awards approximately 50 fellowships every year.

Salzman’s book examines Roman responses to five crises associated with the decline and fall of the city over a 300-year period. Chapter 5 considers the impact on Rome of the 20-year war of “Reconquest” undertaken by Justinian (535-555).

The downturn of the city “was not inevitable, nor was it the result of a sudden catastrophic moment,” Salzman explains. “Rather,  each ‘crisis’ carried with it an increasingly limited range of options even as new opportunities were presented for ascendant elites to further their influence and their vision of the city.”

Salzman received a University of California Presidential Fellowship for 2012-13 to work on the book. The Bogliasco Fellowship will allow her to work in Italy and to incorporate recent archaeological evidence concerning the Justinianic Reconquest of Italy, as evidenced by the ties between Ravenna and Rome. “I will be able to visit with archaeologists in Ravenna and Rome to update the material evidence for this chapter,” she adds.

Salzman also appears in the second of three episodes of a BBC documentary, “Rome: A History of the Eternal City,” about the central role religion played in creating and maintaining the power of Rome. The documentary aired in December. She was interviewed in Rome by author and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore about the Christianization of the city by 5th century Pope Leo the Great. Salzman has written about Leo the Great’s central role in making the old Basilica of St. Peter’s in the Vatican a new civic center in the 5th century.

“Pope Leo wanted to incorporate Rome’s classical past and to make Rome a Christian Capitol,” she says. “Leo developed new liturgy and preached sermons around Christ that for the first time brought Romans to St. Peter’s for fasts and feasts on a set annual cycle of holidays.”

Miller Elected Secretary of the Inland Empire Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

Bettye Miller, a senior public information officer in the Office of Strategic Communications, has been elected secretary of the Public Relations Society of America, California Inland Empire Chapter (PRSA-CIEC). She previously served on the board as treasurer for two years and as vice president for membership in 2012.

In October Miller won two awards in the PRSA-CIEC Polaris competition. Miller won a Polaris Award (first place) for her press release “Cuban American Support for GOP Still Strong,” about political science professor Ben Bishin’s research on why Cuban American voters continue their strong support of the GOP; and a Capella Award (second place) for magazine writing for “Crime in a Bottle,” an article about sociologist Robert Nash Parker’s research in San Bernardino linking crime to the proliferation of liquor stores,  which was published in the Winter 2012 issue of UCR Magazine. Entries were judged by the PRSA chapter in Nashville, Tenn.

Zebley to Tour With Brian Setzer Orchestra

Matt Zebley

Matt Zebley, director of bands at UCR and a working jazz musician, has been granted a leave of absence this quarter to be part of a five-week U.S. tour with the Grammy-winning band, Brian Setzer Orchestra.

After studying composition, arranging and jazz performance at Berklee College of Music, Zebley went on to attend USC, where he earned his master’s degree in jazz studies as well as his doctorate in musical arts. He is a multi-instrumentalist, playing the alto sax, clarinet, and flute.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra was formed in 1990 by Brian Setzer, former member of the musical group Stray Cats. Setzer envisioned leading a large instrumental band with a guitar, and after being signed to Hollywood Records, the band’s fame grew. Its most recent tour included two shows in Southern California: one at the California Theater of the Performing Arts in San Bernardino on Dec. 21, and one at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles on Dec. 22.

“In addition to playing great music with some of Los Angeles’s finest musicians, playing in this rock band has taught me about the art of performing an entertaining show,” Zebley said. “Each night, the crowd ends on their feet, dancing, clapping and cheering. That’s how we know we rocked the house!”

Zebley has been performing with the Brian Setzer Orchestra for over 12 years; a year after he joined the band, they received a “Best Instrumental” Grammy for their song “Caravan.” Zebley then released his first CD, “Live at Moondog.”  Over the years Zebley has collaborated with prominent jazz figures such as Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin and Tony Bennett. He’s also an active performer in several local groups.

Zebley lives in Redlands with his wife and two daughters.

Mathematicians Recognized by American Mathematical Society

John Baez, a professor of mathematics at UCR, and UC Riverside alumnus John Huerta will receive the 2013 Levi L. Conant Prize from the American Mathematical Society (AMS).

Established in 2000 and presented annually, the prestigious prize recognizes the best expository research paper published in either the Notices of the AMS or the Bulletin of the AMS in the preceding five years.

Baez and his former graduate student Huerta will be awarded the prize on Thursday (Jan. 10) at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego, Calif., for their article “The algebra of grand unified theories,” which appeared in the Bulletin of the AMS in July 2010.

The Standard Model of particle physics, one of the central theoretical constructs of twentieth century physics, attempts to describe all particles and all the forces of nature except gravity.  While the model seems complicated and somewhat arbitrary, it has been very successful in describing mathematically what we see in reality.  The article by Baez and Huerta focuses on a key mathematical ingredient in this research, namely, group representation theory.  The authors take on the daunting task of conveying decades of work in one, relatively short article—and they succeed.

Baez was an undergraduate at Princeton and got his Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT in 1986.  After a two-year postdoctoral appointment at Yale, he was hired by UCR. Until recently he worked on higher category theory and quantum gravity.  His internet column “This Week’s Finds” dates back to 1993 and is sometimes called the world’s first blog.  In 2010, concerned about climate change and the future of the planet, he switched to working on more practical topics and started the Azimuth Project, an international collaboration to create a focal point for scientists and engineers interested in saving the planet.

Currently Baez is studying network theory.  Many branches of applied mathematics use diagrams to study complex networks made of interacting parts.   Electrical circuit diagrams are the most famous example, but similar diagrams appear in chemistry, biology, computer science and many other fields.

“By treating these in a general, unified way, we can take techniques developed in any one of these areas and, with luck, apply it to problems in other areas,” Baez explained.

Turfgrass Specialist Receives High Honor

Victor Gibeault, a cooperative extension specialist, emeritus, at UCR, will receive the 2013 United States Golf Association (USGA) Green Section Award.

Presented annually by the USGA to honor those persons who deserve special recognition for distinguished service to golf through their work with turfgrass, the award will be presented to Gibeault on Feb. 8, at the USGA Green Section Education Conference in San Diego, Calif.

Gibeault, 71, has been researching and educating the golf industry on turfgrass for more than 40 years.

“I am both pleased and honored to have been selected to receive the USGA Green Section Award,” he said. “Now retired, I have been fortunate to spend my career as a University of California Cooperative Extension specialist, and in that role, I have worked on turfgrass research issues and educational projects and programs. My activities with the golf course industry have been enjoyable, fruitful, and have given me a sense of personal accomplishment, for which I am grateful.”

Gibeault served 13 years on the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee. As a member of the committee he played a key role in formulating its policies, establishing research priorities, analyzing proposals and monitoring the progress and results of funded projects.

He holds the U.S. patents for two zoysiagrass cultivars, De Anza and Victoria, and one buffalograss cultivar, UC Verde. Additionally he co-edited the 1985 book, Turfgrass Water Conservation.

In 2004 the board of directors of the Southern California Turfgrass Foundation presented him with the Turfgrass Hall of Fame Award. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America awarded him its Distinguished Service Award in 1993, and he was recognized by the USGA with its Piper & Oakley Award in 1999.

Gibeault retired from UC Riverside in 2007.

UCR Named a Best-Value Public College by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

UCR has been named as one of the nation’s 100 best values in public colleges for 2012-2013 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. It is the fifth time that UCR has appeared on the Kiplinger’s list.

The list, which appears in the February 2013 issue of the magazine (available on newsstands January 1, 2013) and is also available online, gave UCR high marks in a variety areas, including four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid, a low “sticker price,” and overall great value.

“Rankings like the Kiplinger’s survey help confirm to the nation and the world what we already know; that UCR is a world-class university and research institution and a first-choice campus for many of our applicants,” said Emily Engelschall, director of undergraduate admissions. “In addition to being a ‘best value,’ we are pleased to have been recognized in a variety of other areas, including the diversity of our student body, the fact that we’re military and LGBT friendly, and that our graduation rates among underrepresented students are outstanding.”

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