University of Maine News
Given the current forecast, the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast will close at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 and is scheduled to reopen at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 if conditions permit. For the latest information, check the Hutchinson Center’s website or call 338.8099.
The Penobscot Bay Pilot reported on ice core research led by Paul Mayewski, director and distinguished professor of the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute. Mayewski and his team, who are studying nearly 11,700-year-old ice cores from Greenland, found today’s climate situation in the Arctic is equivalent to, but more localized, than the warming during the Younger Dryas/Holocene shift about 11,700 years ago. Mayewski and Nicole Spaulding, a postdoctoral candidate at the Climate Change Institute, also spoke with WABI (Channel 5) about how the institute is using laser technology to study ice cores. Mayewski said ice cylinders are extremely valuable for researchers to understand how climate has changed.
WLBZ (Channel 2) and WABI (Channel 5) spoke with Karlton Creech, the University of Maine’s new director of athletics, during his first week on the job. Creech, who was previously the senior associate director of athletics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), said he has already seen a strong passion and pride for the university and the state of Maine which makes his job easier. He also said he plans to take it upon himself to make sure student-athletes are successful and to create a positive atmosphere for UMaine athletics.
Marie Hayes, a psychology professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for the article “For Maine babies exposed to drugs, disadvantageous mount after leaving the hospital.” Hayes spoke about her ongoing research on the health of drug-affected babies conducted with Mark Brown, chief of pediatrics and director of nurseries at Eastern Maine Medical Center. She said many babies face challenges after leaving the hospital, such as poverty, poor nutrition and parents with limited parenting skills, which makes it difficult to isolate the effects of prenatal exposure to opiates. She added many of the infants also are exposed to tobacco and alcohol while in the womb. Hayes’ research has also determined babies prenatally exposed to drugs have displayed subtle problems developing their stress response, which could lead to a low tolerance for frustration and new challenges as they grow up.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the third Big Gig pitch-off and networking event held at Husson University’s Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business in Bangor. The Big Gig is a network for innovators and entrepreneurs in the Orono, Old Town and Bangor areas that was started by a partnership between the University of Maine, Old Town, Orono and Husson University and is supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth. Three participants were preselected to deliver a three-minute elevator pitch about their business idea to a panel of judges and attendees. The winner moves on to complete for the $1,000 grand prize in the Big Gig finale in April.
The Portland Press Herald reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer its annual spring workshop on food safety for those who cook for crowds. The Falmouth workshop costs $15 per person and begins March 25.
The 2014 Employee Recognition and Awards Ceremony will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, 2014 in Wells Conference Center on the University of Maine campus. UMaine President Paul Ferguson, senior administrators and members of the campus community will celebrate employees who have reached 25, 35 and 45 years of service, Outstanding Classified and Professional Employee award recipients and the Steve Gould Award winner. More information about the event and a list of the 2014 service award recipients are available online.
A Story Collider podcast of a talk given by Skylar Bayer, a marine biology graduate student at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, is now online. Bayer was one of four science enthusiasts to share a story as part of The Story Collider event “Charting New Territory” in Cambridge, Mass. Bayer’s talk, “Phoning home from Alvin,” focused on facing her fears to go on a deep-ocean dive aboard the Alvin submersible, and getting more than she expected. The Story Collider is a group that believes everyone has a story about science and is dedicated to letting people share their stories to depict how science is important in all our lives.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the dedication of the University of Maine Emera Maine Power Systems Laboratory to benefit undergraduate electrical engineering and electrical engineering technology education. The lab, made possible by a $100,000 donation to the University of Maine Foundation from Emera Maine, is equipped to demonstrate concepts in electromechanical energy conversion and power systems, including smart-grid technology. Dana Humphrey, dean of the College of Engineering, said understanding how to manage power systems is what students will learn in the new lab. After the dedication ceremony, a demonstration was held to show how the lab can tap into the power grid system.
Pamela Simpkins, a licensed social worker who is currently enrolled at the University of Maine in the master of social work program, wrote an analysis for the Sun Journal titled “We can make a difference in a child’s life.”
The Weekly and The Maine Edge advanced the University of Maine School of Performing Arts’ spring production of “Grease.” Seven February performances of the musical are slated in Hauck Auditorium on campus. Admission is $15; tickets may be purchased online at umaine.edu/spa or at the door.
A team of researchers from the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center won the Best Paper Award from the Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers at the 19th Offshore Symposium, Feb. 6 in Houston. The paper, “VolturnUS 1:8 — Design and Testing of the First Grid-Connected Offshore Wind Turbine in the U.S.A.,” was written by Anthony Viselli, Habib Dagher and Andrew Goupee, and outlines UMaine’s design, fabrication, deployment and testing of the prototype, deployed in June 2013 off Castine, Maine. The prototype serves to de-risk the technology as it transitions to a commercial project planned for 2017.
Since 1998, University of Maine has been organizing trips for students to provide volunteer service to others. This year, Alternative Breaks, a student-run organization, will send out eight volunteer groups. The 101 undergraduate members and nine graduate students, and faculty trip advisers will volunteer one week of their spring break to work and travel.
Volunteer activities will take place at a children’s hospital in Denver, Colo.; a national park located in Miami, Fla.; animal sanctuaries and farms located in Woodstock, N.Y., Pittsboro, N.C., Falls Church, Va. and Savannah, Tenn.; and camps and after-school programs for children in West Milford, N.J. and Washington, D.C.
During winter 2013, Alternative Breaks organized a trip working with a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., to prepare and deliver food to people with terminal illnesses.
The organization’s undergraduate site leaders selects Alternative Break locations. Two site leaders will travel to each volunteer site.
Each volunteer pays $200 in dues to Alternative Breaks. Fundraising also helps cover travel expenses.
Volunteer locations this March:
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (Woodstock, N.Y.)
Carolina Tiger Rescue (Pittsboro, N.C.)
Camp Vacamas (West Milford, N.J.)
Liberty Hall Livestock Rescue (Falls Church, Va.)
Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge (Savannah, Tenn.)
Children’s Hospital Colorado/Denver Children’s Home (Denver, Colo.)
Biscayne National Park/Monkey Jungle (Homestead/Miami, Fla.)
The Alternative House (Washington, D.C.)
More information is available online.
University of Maine music professor Stuart Marrs has begun a five-country tour to teach master classes in percussion.
The European leg began earlier this month at the Paris Conservatory of Music, where he offered master classes on the solo timpani works of Elliott Carter — pieces Marrs recorded on an interactive pedagogical DVD in 2006.
Carter’s works were also featured in Marrs’ master classes in Germany with students from Tübingen and Stuttgart.
This month, Marrs also is conducting musicological research at the Paul Sacher Foundation Archive in Basel, Switzerland, where the last manuscript of “Ionisation,” by Edgard Varèse is housed. Marrs is working on a critical performance of the piece, considered a monument of 20th-century music, and the results of the research will comprise a definitive recording with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Percussion Ensemble and an article in the international trade journal, “Percussive Notes.”
In March, Marrs will travel to Singapore. In conjunction with master classes, he will be directing and recording with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Percussion Ensemble. Marrs will also be performing in the percussion section of the Singapore National Symphony Orchestra in one of its Young Persons Concerts.
His tour will end in Costa Rica at a school where he was one of the founding faculty members. In the 1970s, Marrs was part of the “Musical Revolution” in Costa Rica, founding the school of percussion playing there and which is still active today. He and two former students were invited back to Costa Rica by Bismarck Fernández, also one of Marrs’ former students and now head of the percussion department at the National Institute of Music, for a celebratory festival.
Marrs says it’s rewarding to be asked to return to the school where he spent 11 years teaching and working with students who might not otherwise have been exposed to music.
“The bond created through those years with this talented group of young people is incredibly strong,” says Marrs.
“As a teacher I feel most fulfilled when I can contribute something relatively unique to my field, so that I know I have helped the art form continue to develop,” Marrs says.
A team of University of Maine scientists studying nearly 11,700-year-old ice cores from Greenland found that history is repeating.
Paul Mayewski, director and distinguished professor of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, says today’s climate situation in the Arctic is equivalent to, but more localized, than the warming during the Younger Dryas/Holocene shift about 11,700 years ago.
Mayewski led the research team that examined Arctic ice formed 11,700 years ago during a rapid climate transition from the Younger Dryas (near-glacial) period to the Holocene era (period of relative warm since then). Ice cores, in essence, are timelines of past climates.
The abrupt shift then included a northward shift in the jet stream, an abrupt decrease in North Atlantic sea ice and more moisture in Greenland. These changes resulted in milder weather, fewer storms and initially more than a doubling of the length of the summer season around Greenland, the team says.
“It is highly unlikely that future change in climate will be linear as evidenced by the past and by the recent, abrupt and massive warming in the Arctic,” Mayewski says. “Understanding and ideally predicting the likelihood, timing and location of future nonlinearities in climate is essential to realistic climate prediction, adaptation and sustainability.”
The ice formed during that one-year onset of the Holocene climate “sheds light on the structure of past abrupt climate changes and provides unparalleled perspective with which to assess the potential for near-term rapid shifts in atmospheric circulation and seasonality,” Mayewski says.
Additional exploration of the ice cores, with respect to the length of seasons, is expected to yield information about precursors for abrupt climate shifts. “Identifying and using the precursors will fill an essential void in climate prediction models by testing for sensitivity in the context of past analogs,” the researchers say.
In the university’s W.M. Keck Laser Ice Facility, the researchers had the first-ever ultra-high-resolution look at ice cores formed during the swift shift from the near-glacial period to the current period of relative warmth. The ice core samples were removed from a depth spanning 1,677.5 meters to 1,678.5 meters, or from 11,643 to 11,675 years ago.
Mayewski has led more than 50 expeditions to the Arctic, Antarctica, Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau, Tierra del Fuego and the Andes. He has shared his research with numerous media venues including “60 Minutes,” “NOVA,” BBC, “Fresh Air” and “The Diane Rehm Show.”
The research team includes Sharon Sneed, Sean Birkel, Andrei Kurbatov and Kirk Maasch, all from UMaine. The researchers’ findings are included in the article, “Holocene warming marked by abrupt onset of longer summers and reduced storm frequency around Greenland,” published in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Quaternary Science.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, spoke with Mainebiz about UMaine’s effort to apply engineering to aging for an article about Maine retirees rejoining the workforce. Kaye said the initiative follows the example of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab, which is engineering products that could improve and extend the quality of life for seniors. The UMaine initiative aims to allow seniors to remain in their homes or at work longer, and even inspire them to start their own business or return to the workforce.
The Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5) and WLBZ (Channel 2) covered the University of Maine women’s basketball team’s Play 4Kay game. The team raised $13,585 for the Kay Yow Foundation to support breast cancer research. Coach Richard Barron, who dyed his hair pink for the game, made good on his promise to shave his head if the team met its goal of $10,000. Play4Kay is named after Yow, a longtime North Carolina State women’s coach who died of breast cancer in 2009.
A study being conducted by University of Maine researchers to determine what flowers are most attractive to bees was the topic of the latest column in the Portland Press Herald’s Maine Gardener series. UMaine professors Alison Dibble, Lois Berg Stack and Frank Drummond are conducting the study at gardens in Old Town, Jonesboro and Blue Hill with the help of graduate student Eric Venturini. Honeybees have become scarcer and more expensive to bring in from out of state, which makes wild and native bees more important to commercial growers and home gardeners, according to the article.
The Bangor Daily News reported 20-year-old University of Maine student Margaret Howson was elected chair of the Hampden Republican Committee at the caucus held by the Penobscot County Republicans. She will also head Hampden’s 23-member delegation to the Republican state convention in April. Howson, who is majoring in English and psychology and minoring in political science and journalism, said she didn’t think of herself as a political animal until recently.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, for a report titled “Weak Canadian ‘Loonie’ worries Maine retailers.” Bayer said cheaper Canadian goods currently aren’t making a difference for Maine’s live lobster market, but he predicts there could be an effect on processed lobster this summer. He said Maine has fewer processing facilities than Canada and a weaker Canadian dollar allowing for cheaper workers could worsen the situation for Maine.