June 9, 2010 FYI

Rosenblatt Prize goes to Chris Johnson

2010 Rosenblatt Prize Awarded to Computer Scientist and Director of SCI Institute

Christopher R. Johnson

Christopher R. Johnson, distinguished professor of computer science, was honored at this year’s commencement with the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, the U’s most prestigious award. The $40,000 gift is presented annually to a faculty member who displays excellence in teaching, research and administrative efforts. As director of the Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute, Johnson oversees cutting-edge research in the areas of scientific computing, visualization, and image analysis.

In presenting the prize, President Michael K. Young said, “There is no one who typifies the overall spirit and respected reputation of the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence more than Chris Johnson. His contributions to the U as a gifted teacher, administrator, and world-renowned researcher are invaluable and his work in extending the power and science of computing has quite simply transformed the way we live.” See Full Story

Natural history museum’s heavy metal tour



UMNH’s Rio Tinto Center marks the halfway point

On a cool Saturday morning in late May, a group of Utah Museum of Natural History enthusiasts and supporters gathered at the construction site for the new natural history museum—the Rio Tinto Center—located  in the foothills of Research Park. They were there to mark the halfway point  in its construction. The event was billed as a “heavy metal tour,” referring to the copper strips donated by Kennecott Utah Copper that cover portions of the exterior of the concrete building. Guests were given a hardhat, safety glasses, an orange vest and ferried by van to the base of the structure. 

Signing the copper strips

Using Sharpie pens, people signed their names on the backside of long strips of copper which were then permanently attached in a horizontal pattern by the construction crew to the exterior of the building. After a welcome from museum Executive Director Sarah George, and brief remarks by Rob Moore, president and COO, Big-D Construction,  Kelly Sanders, president and CEO, Kennecott Utah Copper, and Speaker of the House David Clark, Utah State Legislature, the crowd broke into small groups to tour the building.

An enormous freight elevator—large enough to hold a dinosaur skeleton—took the first load to the top (fourth) floor. The north end of the building is a large open room without interior walls where the administrative offices will be located. One can see the foothills out the windows to the east, and by a mere pivot—and on a clear day—the Salt Lake Valley and Oquirrh Mountains (and the Kennecott open-pit copper mine) to the west. The south side of the building is an open area with slanted pedestrian bridges connecting the floors.  The east wall of concrete, called the “canyon,” is a full four stories high.  Below on the main level, a 12- by 14-foot recessed area in the floor will hold a topographical map of Utah.

Copper and concrete

In addition to the copper used on the building’s exterior, concrete is a major feature of the design and construction. Employing a traditional method no longer often used, wet concrete was poured into forms made of Douglas fir so the striations from the wood are embedded into the concrete, making the final product—board-formed concrete—more visually interesting in texture and pattern. It is used both inside and outside the building.

The new structure will serve as a significant teaching tool. With the goal of reaching LEED gold certification (a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings), the building will help set the example of sustainability through the various green elements, including retaining storm water through planted roofs and cisterns to capture runoff, use of recycled building materials, landscaping with native plants, and permeable pavement. The goal is to install solar panels that will generate enough electricity to run the nine different galleries. 

The new museum promises to draw young and old alike to explore, discover, imagine, and get involved—first-hand—in the science of natural history, and is scheduled to open by the end of 2011.


Quick Facts

  • Three types of horizontal copper panels are used on the exterior of the building: Nordic copper (80 percent of the copper areas of the building), Nordic brass (5 percent), and Nordic bronze (15 percent).
  • Nordic copper is composed of pure copper. Nordic brass is composed of 83 percent copper and 17 percent zinc. Nordic bronze is 95 percent copper and 5 percent tin.
  • The copper panels are attached to the building with stainless steel clips every 18 inches. Approximately 59,000 clips will be installed at the copper panel areas on the project.
  • The installation crew of 12 people will use a sheet metal brake, aerial lifts, seamers, and hand tools to install the copper panels.
  • The copper panel installation on the building will be completed in October 2010.
  • Up to 180 workers on any given day—including weekends—have worked  328,875 man hours without a lost time accident.



Joyce Ogburn

Joyce Ogburn, University Librarian and director of the J. Willard Marriott Library, has been elected vice-president/president-elect of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Beginning in July 2010 Joyce will serve a one-year term as vice-president, and in July 2011 she will assume the presidency. ACRL, the largest division of the American Library Association, is a professional association dedicated to enhancing the ability of academic librarians and information professionals to serve the higher education community and to improve learning, teaching, and research. Its 12,000 members work to promote and support approximately 2,300 academic libraries throughout the U.S.

In case you missed it…

New U of U center will focus on veterans

With 23 million veterans in the United States today,  more than two million of whom have joined those ranks since September 11, 2001, about 25 percent of the new vets are facing serious health, psychosocial, family, and employment issues related to re-entry into civilian life. At the same time, their training and experience contribute vital assets  at home and abroad. Recognizing the challenges  facing veterans since 9/11 has prompted scholars at the U of U to join forces on their behalf. President Michael K. Young recently announced the formation of a new center—the University of Utah National Center for Veterans Studies (NCVS)—whose mission is to improve the lives of veterans and their families and further advance American values, prosperity and security. See Full Story

Mental illness tied to immune defect

The U’s Nobel Prize winning geneticist, Mario Capecchi, has discovered that bone marrow transplants cure mutant mice who compulsively pull out their hair. The study provides the first cause-and-effect link between immune system cells and mental illness, and points toward eventual new psychiatric treatments. See Full Story.

News from Staff Council

It’s been a busy time for Staff Council.

Learn more about Staff Council online.

University Street project to begin soon

U of U and SLC collaborate on improved design for walking, bicycling, transit, and parking

Intersection at University Street and 200 South

This summer, University Street will undergo a considerable change as Salt Lake City paves and restripes the road, and the adjacent blocks of 200 South and 400 South (between 1300 East and University Street). After the construction, University Street will carry one lane of motor vehicle traffic in each direction, with the addition of bike lanes and enhanced pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians will also find the street safer with fewer lanes of traffic to cross.

Bus stops will be expanded and relocated to improve bus loading and unloading.  

New parking—limited to 30 minutes during the day—will be added along the east side of University Street. Evening parking at that location will allow longer parking time to serve those attending events or concerts on campus. The current metered parallel parking on the north side of 200 South (between 1300 East and University Street) will be changed to diagonal parking—also metered—providing about 50 percent more parking spaces on that block. 

As part of the project, Salt Lake City invited  input and addressed concerns from the University of Utah, Utah Transit Authority, and adjacent businesses and residents. The input on the project has been decidedly positive, with most businesses along University Street and 200 South expressing their support for both improved pedestrian and bicycle connections and additional parking.

The construction is expected to take about two weeks. There will be no parking on University Street for some periods during the construction; however, traffic will continue to flow in both directions. The construction will occur sometime between mid-June and mid-July. Prior to construction, signs will be posted along the street and adjacent businesses and residents will receive notice.

Safety for pedestrians and bicyclists is at the heart of the change. Project details, including drawings of the new striping pattern, are online at Salt Lake City Transportation Division. Scroll down to “New University Avenue Project.”

University Historic District to expand?

A seven-block patch of homes west of the University of Utah may become a historic district. Proposed design standards for the area, dubbed University Expansion, already exist, explains Assistant City Planning Director Pat Comarell, because those blocks simply would stretch the 20-year-old University Historic District. The expansion would run roughly from South Temple to 500 South between 900 East and 1100 East. The exact boundary is expected to be drawn this summer, followed by a vote on the historic status. The homes there do not fall under the six-month moratorium on demolitions in the Yalecrest and Westmoreland Place neighborhoods—that ban expires Sept. 10—so there is less urgency.

From the May 18, 2010 Salt Lake Tribune, by Derek P. Jensen

From the Office of the VP for Research

Research notebookNIH tips for proposal preparation and review

The following Web sites show new NIH-issued tips for proposal preparation and review:

Enhancing Peer Review Application Changes: Reviewer Guidance

The Center for Scientific Review: Guidelines for Reviewers

An explanation of indirect costs for sponsored projects

Costs involved in conducting sponsored projects are categorized in two ways: direct costs or indirect costs. The federal government officially refers to indirect costs as facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, sometimes simply called “overhead” costs. Direct costs and F&A costs together are the actual cost of a sponsored project. Read more about indirect costs including explanations on what indirect costs are, how the F&A rate is established, examples of institutional resources included in F&A, and how F&A rates are applied, what costs are reimbursed by F&A funds, and why F&A funds are important. 

Remember to post on the U Events Calendar

If your department is sponsoring a research conference, talk, or event, please post it on the U Events Calendar. Complete submission instructions are online, or contact Lisa Westlind at (801) 581-5819 for assistance.

Updates from the VP for Research

You will find details on the following topics online.

  • Post Award Management (PAM) Initiative at the University of Utah
  • Financial Information Library FACULTY link
  • Peer Review by Faculty Increases Proposal Success
  • MyRA
  • Scientists Seeking NSF Funding will soon be Required to Submit Data Management Plans
  • Undergraduate Researchers are Overhead-free on any Research Account


June Book of the Month

A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick

The Campus Store offers a 30 percent discount off the suggested retail price of this book.

He placed a notice in a Chicago paper, an advertisement for “a reliable wife.” She responded, saying that she was “a simple, honest woman.” She was, of course, anything but honest, and the only simple thing about her was her single-minded determination to marry this man and then kill him, slowly and carefully, leaving her a wealthy widow, able to take care of the one she truly loved. What Catherine Land did not realize was that the enigmatic and lonely Ralph Truitt had a plan of his own. And what neither anticipated was that they would fall so completely in love.

Filled with unforgettable characters, and shimmering with color and atmosphere, A Reliable Wife is an enthralling tale of love and madness, of longing and murder.

Announcements of interest

Can you hear me now?

The U’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is offering basic hearing tests throughout the summer (June 2- July 30) on Tuesdays from 1:00 – 6:00 p.m., 417 Wakara Way, Room 1112. The cost is $25. For more information, call (801) 585-1259 and leave your name and phone number. An audiology clinician will contact you to schedule an appointment. Additional days and times may become available.            

Summer Continuum now available

Want to find out how doctors in training survive their experience at the U of U Medical School? Find out in the Summer 2010 issue of Continuum, the U’s award-winning magazine, to learn about two young physicians who are not only surviving, but thriving. Staff and faculty who would like a hard copy of the magazine can subscribe online.

Primary Elections: June 22

Don’t forget to vote! A list of candidates and voter information are online.

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Campus Events Calendar

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To view all campus events, please visit the Events Calendar

Learn More

Info for Researchers

Research Updates

Finding funding, spending grant money, and more...

Learn More

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