New Material Absorbs, Conserves Oil

An ultra-lightweight sponge made of clay and a bit of high-grade plastic draws oil out of contaminated water but leaves the water behind.

And, lab tests show that oil absorbed can be squeezed back out for use.

Case Western Reserve University researchers who made the material, called an aerogel, believe it will effectively clean up spills of all kinds of oils and solvents on factory floors and roadways, rivers and oceans. Watch a video demonstration.

The EPA estimates that 10 to 25 million gallons of oil are spilled annually in this country alone. Spilled oil ruins drinking water, is a fire and explosion hazard, damages farmland and beaches and destroys wildlife and habitats. The harm can last decades.

The aerogel is made by mixing clay with a polymer and water in a blender, said David Schiraldi, chair of the macromolecular science and engineering department at the Case School of Engineering. Read more.

Campus News

February has been designated as Matching Gift Month by HEP Development's Matching Gift Advisory Council. Matching Gift Month allows nonprofits and companies nationwide to build awareness of matching gifts benefits, including doubling the impact of a donation, celebrating achievements and inspiring more companies to establish matching gift programs. The idea for Matching Gift Month was suggested by the Annual Giving team at Case Western Reserve University. Learn more about the university's program.


In celebration of Engineers Week, Joe Prahl lets go of his winning egg container from high in Nord Atrium yesterday. Prahl, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, built the lightest of four contraptions that protected their eggs from the second story drop. Sylvia Aarons, from the dean's office, placed second; David Zeng, chair of the department of civil engineering, third; and Ken Gustafson, professor of biomedical engineering, and his son, Max, fourth out of a field of 10 competitors. Engineers Week continues through Friday, Feb. 19.

.OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) is now available on the Information Technology Services (ITS) Software Center for all Case Western Reserve faculty, staff and students. The menu description will be "Apple Software Collection for Faculty and Staff" or "Apple Software Collection for Students." The Apple Software Collection includes the OS upgrade in addition to iWork and iLife. Users will download one installer and then select which (or all) of the products they want. Please note: Apple has changed its licensing strategy, which no longer allows the use of net installs. Because of this change, the new operating system software is being distributed as an .iso disk image file. This file type requires users to burn the file to a DVD- DL(dual layer) before the operating system can be installed. Complete step-by-step instructions are available online. ITS is recommending that users verify that they have a complete current backup of data before installing OS X (10.6) Snow Leopard.

For Faculty and Staff

The Employee Education, Training and Development Unit will present a session on "Coaching and Developing Your Staff" from noon to 2 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Adelbert Hall's Toepfer Room. The program will cover a wide range of activities. Register online.

For Students

The Graduate Student Senate (GSS) is a forum of graduate students whose focus is to meet, discuss and take action on academic, social and professional affairs. Graduate students are invited to learn more about the organization.

Delta Upsilon fraternity will present its "DU Academic Gala" from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, in Thwing Center's 1914 Lounge. Four professors will present modern views of academic thoughts in various disciplines. The professors are J. Thomas Mortimer, biomedical engineering; David Samols, biochemistry; Bernard Jim, history, and Donald Feke, chemical engineering. Free food will be available. Extra credit will be given to students in the CHEM 224 class. Contact Daniel Chopyk for details.



The Office of Multicultural Affairs will present its 20th Annual Unity Banquet and Scholarship Dinner on Friday, March 26. The theme for this year's event is "Justice for All." The keynote speaker is Cristina Perez, judge and host of the syndicated court show "Cristina's Court." The banquet—which will include dinner, a jazz band and a dessert reception—will be held at the Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield, Ohio. This annual celebratory event recognizes the academic accomplishments of Case Western Reserve's underrepresented students. Tickets are on sale now for $50 per person. Learn more. As part of this year's event, there will be a raffle with prizes of Continental Airlines tickets and Dell Mini Notebook computer. Raffle tickets will go on sale Thursday, Feb. 18. Call 368-2904 for details.

The Department of History and History Associates will present John Flores, Climo Junior Professor for the College of Arts and Sciences, on the topic of "Deporting Dissidence: Examining Transnational Politics, Civic Assimilation and the Cold War through the Life of Refugio Roman Martinez," from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Mather House 100. Contact Kalli Vimr for more details.

The Cell and Molecular Biology Training Program continues its Emerging Technologies in Biomedical Sciences Symposium Series with Andras Nagy on Wednesday, Feb. 17. He will present two seminars in the Wolstein Auditorium (WRB1413). Go online for details.

The Cleveland Hillel Foundation will host an interactive video conference with Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the Agnar Pytte Center for Science Education and Research. Campus members are invited to listen in and ask questions. Go online for complete details.

The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

In Memoriam

Dr. Philip Wells Hall III, former acting dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, died Jan. 29. He was an alumnus of the School of Medicine, served twice as acting associate dean and chaired the Faculty Council. At Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, he ran the renal service and nephrology department, and he spent years studying Balkan endemic nephropathy. In addition, he published many articles, received federal and World Health Organization grants, won several awards and became an honorary member of the Serbian Medical Society's academy. He was appointed Professor Emeritus of Medicine in 1991. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 21, at Amasa Stone Chapel. Contact the medical school's Alumni Office with questions.

Et al.

Melvin Logan, a mobile security officer, is a competitive athlete who took second place in his division in the Ohio Mid-Valley Strongman last fall. He is now raising funds to get to the national competition. His team is selling "No Slogan, Just Team Logan" T-shirts. Contact Aron Savage for details.

February 16, 2010

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Feature of the Day


Case in the News

Raising the bar for nursing education, Feb. 15, 2010
With patients more acutely ill and nurses shouldering greater responsibilities, controversies about educational standards for entry to practice as a registered nurse and an advanced practice nurse are again at the forefront of many nursing leaders' minds. May L. Wykle, dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, offers insight on the topic.

Colleges diversify offerings with more online classes

Crain's Cleveland Business, Feb. 15, 2010
Sitting in a classroom with a growling belly and listening to lectures under a sea of fluorescent lights are no longer musts for those seeking college degrees. Many students instead are opting to take college courses online at area universities. Case Western Reserve University has offered online classes for years.

Study finds metastasis 'on' switch

United Press International, Feb. 15, 2010
Scientist Ge Jin, who has joint appointments at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, said the protein called disabled-2 switches on the process that releases cancer cells from the original tumor and allows the cells to spread and develop into new tumors in other parts of the body. When the protein was eliminated, the scientists said, the process was not activated.

CWRU study: Dance mat workouts get results, Feb. 15, 2010
It was the perfect combination—video games and dance. The students at Mayfair Elementary in East Cleveland took part in a Case Western Reserve University study during the last school year. Researchers wanted to see if early morning exercise with dance mats for 20 minutes would have a positive impact on students' health and classroom performance. Peg Heinzer, a Case Western Reserve University researcher, comments.

Word of mouth

Toronto Sun, Feb. 12, 2010
They say the eyes are like a window to the soul, but it's the mouth that tells us a whole lot more. Research in the past few years has demonstrated a definite mouth-body connection–one that now cannot be ignored. Last month a researcher from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine published the first documented link between a pregnant woman with gingivitis and her stillborn baby.

Higher Ed News

Judge: Student's Facebook rants about teacher are protected speech

Miami Herald, Feb. 15, 2010
A student who set up a Facebook page to complain about her teacher—and was later suspended—had every right to do so under the First Amendment, a federal magistrate has ruled.