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Ayres HallIn September, Larry Bray, research professor in the Department of Economics, appeared before the United States Congress as an acknowledged expert on US Inland Waterways. Bray spoke to the US House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. His comments specifically dealt with the importance of commercial inland navigation to the US economy.

During the hearing, Mike Toohey, president of the Waterways Council, Inc., said his organization relies and builds upon Bray’s scholarly research in commercial inland navigation and uses it as a justification to request recapitalization of this transportation system. The hearing was webcast and can be viewed on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s website.

Jim Coleman Jr., piano technician with the School of Music, has been elected president of the Piano Technicians Guild. He will represent the interests of more than 4,000 piano technicians around the world. The Coleman family has a long history in the piano industry. Coleman’s father and grandfather were also piano technicians. As UT’s resident piano technician, Coleman maintains more than 100 pianos for the School of Music, which will soon be an all-Steinway school. He also runs Coleman’s Tools, a supplier of innovative tools for the piano trade.

Full-time MBA students Kimel Fryer, Laronda Jones, and Alex McGhee recently placed in the top six out of 22 competitors at the 2011 National Black MBA Association Case Competition. The team represented UT’s College of Business Administration at the contest, sponsored annually by Chrysler. It is one of the most prestigious case competitions for MBA students.

The team participated in a case that asked them to recommend a strategy to help Chrysler excel at attracting and retaining top talent. They had four weeks to prepare the case, and twenty minutes to present the strategy, followed by a ten-minute question-and-answer session with two different panels of judges, several of whom were Chrysler executives. Fryer and McGhee are first-year MBA students who will complete MBA coursework in 2012. Jones is a second-year MBA student who will graduate in December 2011.

Jay Rubenstein, associate professor of history, has been working on translating the memoirs of a twelfth-century monk for three years. This month his work will be published in the book, Monodies and on the Relics of Saints. The book is set against the backdrop of the First Crusade and offers insights into medieval society. Readers witness a world and a mind populated by royals, heretics, nuns, witches, and devils, and come to understand just how fervently Guibert of Nogent was preoccupied with sin, sexuality, the afterlife, and the dark arts. Critics call the book “exotic, disquieting, and illuminating.” Rubenstein has another book about the First Crusade to be published in November called Armies of Heaven: the First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse.

Witek Nazarewicz, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the prestigious Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics from the American Physical Society. The Bonner Prize recognizes and encourages outstanding experimental research in nuclear physics, including the development of a method, technique, or device that significantly contributes in a general way to nuclear physics research. Nazarewicz was cited “for his foundational work in developing and applying nuclear Density Functional Theory, motivating experiments and interpreting their results, and implementing a comprehensive theoretical framework for the physics of exotic nuclei.” Read more about the award on the Department of Physics and Astronomy website.

Thomas Zawodzinski Jr., Governor’s Chair in Electrical Energy Storage, and Alex Papandrew, research assistant professor in electrical engineering, are the recipients of award money from Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP). GCEP seeks new solutions to one of the grand challenges of this century: supplying energy to meet the changing needs of a growing world population in a way that protects the environment. Zawodzinski and Papandrew are working to develop enhanced electrolyte energy storage systems. This research seeks to introduce transformative changes in the construction and composition of the redox flow battery, a promising but expensive technology that stores and generates electricity by pumping streams of charged materials, or electrolytes, across a membrane.