Sustainability dashboard tracks UB’s real-time power consumption

Question: Which University at Buffalo residence hall, Fargo or Spaulding, consumed less electricity last week?

The answer, according to the new UB Sustainability Dashboard, is Fargo. But that could change if students in Spaulding turn off unused lights, power down their laptops at night and find other ways to use less electricity.

A partnership between UB’s divisions of Finance and Administration, and University Life and Services, the dashboard tracks real-time electricity use in more than 145 buildings on North and South campuses. It also uploads monthly data on water consumption, solar-power generation, natural gas use and other information.

It is the latest in a series of new, eco-minded initiatives at UB, and it is a key component to help the university achieve its aggressive commitment to become climate neutral by 2030.

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UB to celebrate student research and successes

University at Buffalo students and faculty will gather on April 23 to recognize the scholarly, research and creative achievements of the university’s students at the 10th annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence.

The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

“This is a wonderful celebration where the UB community recognizes our talented students, their remarkable work and their accomplishments,” says Charles F. Zukoski, UB provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The event will open with poster presentations from both graduate and undergraduate students who will describe the results of their research projects. The Black Box Theatre will hold the Sigma Xi Graduate Student Research Poster Competition, while more than 200 undergraduate students will present on more than 160 varied research posters in the CFA atrium.

Student research topics range from why athletes become sports legends to silicon nanoparticles, the reliability of capturing sleep diary data using wrist-worn electronic devices and the effect of resistive respiratory muscle training on breathing.

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UB elevator pitch competition winners take big ideas to small screens

Two business ideas for smartphone apps took first place and a prize of $1,000 each in the University at Buffalo’s second annual Elevator Pitch Competition, held April 16 in the Student Union Theater on UB’s North Campus.

Undergraduate computer science students Joel Little and Robert Barber took one of the first place prizes for their idea for Ethos Studios, which would produce customized mobile video games for business marketing. Undergraduate accounting student Brittany Popovski was the other first place winner for ULock, an app that would lock students out of their cell phones so they can focus on studying.

The winners stood out among nearly 60 UB undergraduate and graduate students who pitched business ideas with novel solutions to real-world challenges. They had just 90 seconds to convince a panel of expert judges without the use of notes, slides or other visual aids.

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English professor Mazzio named 2014-15 Guggenheim fellow

Carla Mazzio, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the University at Buffalo Department of English, has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for 2014-15 for her book in progress, “The Trouble With Numbers: The Drama of Mathematics in the Age of Shakespeare.”

She is one of 178 scholars, artists and scientists awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation this year, selected out of an application pool of almost 3,000. The fellows are selected, said the foundation, “on the basis of their prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Mazzio’s new book, under advance contract with the University of Chicago Press, examines the affective, tensional and often conspicuously irrational environments in which mathematics circulated in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

The fellowship will help fund Mazzio’s 2014-15 research at three institutions: the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.; the Houghton Library at Harvard University; and the Venerable English College in Rome.

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New UB MBA program for medical residents is first in New York State and one of few in the nation

The University at Buffalo School of Management is collaborating with the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to offer UB residents and fellows in any graduate medical education specialty an accelerated MBA program, starting this fall.

The only one in New York State and one of a few such programs in the nation, the Accelerated MBA for Residents/Fellows program is designed to help physicians develop the leadership and business skills they need to measure the quality of care, negotiate with third-party payers, manage medical practices efficiently and help lead the health care system in the future.

To learn more about the program, directors, residents and fellows in a UB Graduate Medical Education residency or fellowship are invited to attend an evening reception from 6-8:30 p.m. on April 30 at the 31 Club, 31 North Johnson Park in Buffalo. To register, visit

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Undergrads showcase work at SUNY research day

Three UB undergraduates joined their peers from across the SUNY system in presenting original research at the Innovative Exploration Forum, a celebration of undergraduate research held April 1 in Albany.

The showcase allowed 125 of SUNY’s most talented undergraduate scholars and more than 40 faculty mentors to introduce more than 90 research projects to New York State legislators and SUNY administrators. The bi-annual symposium was sponsored by the SUNY Faculty Senate and UB’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA).

“The state-wide research symposium allows each campus to show the success and the return on investment of the state support each receives,” says Timothy Tryjankowski, director of CURCA, and co-chair and architect of the symposium.

The UB student participants and their projects were selected by faculty members and administrators from across UB’s three campuses after a comprehensive review of student proposals.

The student researchers and their projects are:

Susan Little, a senior environmental geosciences major, who presented “Combined Sewer System Impact on the Integrity of an Urban Waterway.” Her faculty mentor is Chris Lowry, assistant professor of geology.

Nigel Michki, a sophomore computational physics major and 2014 Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipient, who presented “Method for Electrostatically Aligning Proteins in Solution.” His faculty mentor is Andrea Markelz, professor of physics.

Phillip Tucciarone, a senior chemical and biological engineering major and 2014 Marshall Scholarship recipient, who presented “Silicon Nanoparticles: Synthesis and Applications.” His faculty mentor is Mark Swihart, professor of chemical and biological engineering.

Two UB architecture projects — including Silo City wall — win international awards

Two projects by University at Buffalo architects have landed prizes through the Architizer A+ Awards program, a competitive annual contest that draws entries from around the world.

Project 2XmT, a sculptural wall that UB professors and students erected in Buffalo’s Silo City, won three awards, thanks in part to votes from the Western New York community.

The structure, crafted from more than 150 pieces of super-thin steel folded into geometric patterns, took home the Popular Choice Award and Jury Award in the Architizer A+ competition’s Architecture +Fabrication category, as well as the Jury Award in Architecture +Materials. Online voting determined Popular Choice winners, while judges including architects and cultural leaders selected Jury Award recipients.

The Silo City wall is uniquely Buffalo: Standing against a backdrop of grain elevators near the Buffalo River, it showcases materials manufactured by local company Rigidized Metals.

In addition to the Project 2XmT team, Jin Young Song, assistant professor of architecture, won the Architizer A+ Jury Award in the Products +Living category.

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Up to 110 students expected at UB’s third annual hackathon this weekend

Dozens of Western New York college students are expected to compete in a 24-hour hackathon this weekend at the University at Buffalo.

The third annual event pairs budding developers, designers and entrepreneurs together to create new computer software in a fast-paced and creative setting.

At the hackathon’s conclusion on Sunday, teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges. They will be ranked based upon usefulness, technical difficulty, creativity and polish.

Here’s some additional information:

What: Contrary to the term’s connotations, the original meaning of “hacking” is coding and building computer software programs. A hackathon is when entrepreneurs, designers and developers come together to collaborate and build cool things.

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Rainbow-catching waveguide could revolutionize energy technologies

More efficient photovoltaic cells. Improved radar and stealth technology. A new way to recycle waste heat generated by machines into energy.

All may be possible due to breakthrough photonics research at UB.

The work, published March 28 in the journal Scientific Reports, explores the use of a nanoscale microchip component called a “multilayered waveguide taper array” that improves the chip’s ability to trap and absorb light.

Unlike current chips, the waveguide tapers (the thimble-shaped structures above) slow and ultimately absorb each frequency of light at different places vertically to catch a “rainbow” of wavelengths, or broadband light.

The paper, “Broadband absorption engineering of hyperbolic metafilm patterns,” is available online.

“We previously predicted the multilayered waveguide tapers would more efficiently absorb light, and now we’ve proved it with these experiments,” says lead researcher Qiaoqiang Gan, assistant professor of electrical engineering. “This advancement could prove invaluable for thin-film solar technology, as well as recycling waste thermal energy that is a byproduct of industry and everyday electronic devices, such as smartphones and laptops.”

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Ancient Roman cooking course inspires 2,000 UB students to dine as Romans did thousands of years ago

On April 6, 2,000 University at Buffalo students will join Julius Caesar and other historical figures for an authentic ancient Roman feast of cinnamon lamb soup, carrots and parsnips with cumin and honey glaze, Cato the Elder’s cheesecake, and more.

The themed dinner, “Eat Like a Roman,” is hosted by UB’s Department of Classics and Campus and Dining Shops.

The dining center will be transformed. It will be as if guests are stepping out of a time machine into ancient Rome.

Roman music will set the mood, and diners will be greeted in Latin. Classics students will demonstrate toga wrapping. A fountain and chariot will serve as backdrops for photos, and exhibits will display examples of ancient pottery and cookware. Dining staff will dress the part, donning gear including typical Greco-Roman clothes, Roman armor and a Julius Caesar costume.

“Eat Like a Roman” will take place from 5-8:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 6 at the Crossroads Culinary Center in the Red Jacket Quad of the Ellicott Complex on UB’s North Campus. Media are invited to attend.

The dinner is inspired by a one-credit course of the same name offered through the Undergraduate Academies’ Discovery Seminar Program, which provides first and second-year students with thought-provoking learning experiences in a small-class environment.

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