Sea changes could affect millions

June 18, 2010

If you’re worried about the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf, consider this new report by UNC marine scientist John Bruno and colleagues, showing that unprecedented, far-reaching impacts of climate change on the oceans could affect millions of people. Published in Science.  Details here.


Studying marine life forms near Gulf oil spill

June 14, 2010

Luke McKay, right, taking sediment cores aboard a research vessel near the spill site

UNC marine microbiologist Andreas Teske and doctoral student Luke McKay are searching the Gulf for life forms that could shed light on the impact of the oil spill and be helpful in the clean-up.

Using dozens of water and sediment samples taken in the Gulf in the wake of the BP spill, Teske and his team are conducting various experiments, such as identifying which microbes are present and how they are responding to the spill.They are collaborating with colleagues at UNC and elsewhere to propose various novel “rapid response” projects that could play a role in monitoring and tackling the spill disaster.

McKay and several graduate students have been working in the Gulf on research expeditions studying the spill and the surrounding area.  McKay was aboard one of the first research expeditions to visit the site and surrounding waters shortly after the spill began to unfold. He sent several days on the RV Pelican in early May, helping gather water and sediment samples.

See more details and photos in the News and Observer.

Click here for details on what Teske, McKay and other UNC scientists are doing to understand and address the Gulf oil spill.


4 grads make USA Today All Academic Teams

June 9, 2010

Our students keep making us proud, but we’re not surprised. Four new graduates of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences made USA Today’s All USA College Academic Teams:  Libby Longino, Jimmy Waters, Henry Spelman and Lauren Teegarden.

Libby and Henry are Rhodes Scholars;  all four students had full four-year merit scholarships to UNC.  Click here to learn more and to read the USA Today’s coverage.


Understanding oil spill plumes

June 9, 2010

UNC College Professors Rich McLaughlin and Roberto Camassa explained on CNN how oil forms plumes under the surface, and why it’s a problem. Click here for the video.


David Brooks plugs the humanities

June 9, 2010

New York Times columnist David Brooks stood up today for the value of a humanities education, even during hard times when students are worried about whether it will help them get a job.

Studying humanities can improve your ability to read and write, he argues. “You will have enormous power if you are the person in the office who can write a clear and concise memo.”

Studying humanities exposes you to the “language of emotion,” he says, which is important for taking a technically brilliant innovation to the masses via effective advertising and branding.

Perhaps most important, he argues that studying humanities helps you get in touch with “The Big Shaggy,” i.e. the beast within all of us that tempts us to misbehave (think sex scandals) or be overconfident or arrogant in the face of risk (think oil spill), while at the same time gives us the drive to excel (think Kobe Bryant).

Brooks writes, that “…over the centuries, there have been rare and strange people who possessed the skill of taking the upheavals of thought that emanate from The Big Shaggy and representing them in the form of story, music, myth, painting, liturgy, architecture, sculpture, landscape and speech. [They] developed languages that help us understand these yearnings and also educate and mold them.”

Click here to read the whole column.

Brooks was the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2008.