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This year Yale is honoring the 150th anniversary of the birth of alumnus Edward Bouchet, who in 1876 became the first African American in the United States to earn a Ph.D.

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From making groundbreaking discoveries to attracting new faculty, there have been numerous new developments on Science Hill in the last year. Here are descriptions of just a few of those activities.

'Artificial Atom' Creator in Physics

Following a spirited recruiting campaign, Michel Devoret, one of the leading experimental condensed matter physicists of his generation, has joined the Department of Physics and Applied Physics.

Formerly director of research of the Condensed Matter Physics Section of the French CEA (Atomic Energy Research Center) at Saclay, Devoret was part of the team last spring that constructed an artificial atom that can be used as a quantum bit, an essential component for the construction of a quantum computer. The researchers accomplished this using a microscopic grain of superconducting aluminum.

Two other recent hires in the Department of Physics are Steven Girvin, who shares Devoret's research interests, and Meg Urry, who directs the new Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and whose research focuses on active galaxies -- i.e., galaxies with unusually luminous cores that are likely powered by very massive black holes.

Special Computer Language

Two computer science professors -- Paul Hudak, chair of the department, and John Peterson, research scientist -- recently teamed up with Microsoft Research to design a special programming language. The language is simple enough for high school students to use, yet so expressive that it can be used for complex geometric concepts.

Hudak and Peterson have been working on "domain-specific languages" for areas such as robotics, graphics and animation.

Fractals and Wall Street

The work of Benoit Mandelbrot, the "father of fractals" and Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences, continues to be applied today to a variety of challenges.

The American Institute of Physics says more and more earth scientists are using fractals to forecast the size, location and timing of natural disasters.

Fractal geometry also is used in trying to predict bear and bull markets on Wall Street. Mandelbrot says his experiments were inspired by the belief that classical geometry was too orderly to describe the reality of nature.

"I set out to create an intellectual environment, a whole toolbox to cover the roughness of nature and of the works of man too," he said in a recent interview. "The stock market isn't nature, but it is very rough."

New Psychology Experts

The Department of Psychology is continuing its campaign to add new areas of research, and to bolster areas of ongoing study.

Among the department's new hires are Doug Mennin, an expert on the causes of anxiety disorders; William Corbin, who will establish an alcohol research laboratory in the department; and Laurie Santos, who studies how monkeys think about social situations and what that tells us about the evolution of human reasoning.

Pollution's Effect on Clouds

A NASA-funded study in the Department of Geology and Geophysics detailed the discovery that tiny airborne particles of pollution might modify developing thunderclouds. This happens by increasing the quantity and reducing the size of ice crystals within the thunderclouds.

This is significant because clouds play an important role in regulating heat in the atmosphere by reflecting the sun's rays back to space.

Evolution of Early Stars Into Black Holes

A collaboration among astronomy professors Richard Larson and Paolo Coppi and former graduate student Volker Bromm has shown that the first stars in the universe, which were made entirely out of hydrogen and helium, would have been thousands of times more massive than stars like the sun, and might well have evolved quickly into massive black holes.

It was announced recently that Bromm will be awarded the Trumpler Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis in astronomy in North America for his work at Yale, the first time in 20 years that this prize has been won by a Yale graduate student.

Creating a 'Chemical Eye'

One of the areas of research in the applied mathematics program is Professor Ronald Coifman's project to create a "chemical eye."

The goal is to have a tunable camera that can directly display desired material and chemical characteristics of a scene. For example, the camera could be used to inspect skin and display an image of potential skin cancer locations, or to look at foliage in summer and see the differences that are usually revealed in the fall. The project includes mathematically tunable hardware in which the mathematical analysis interacts directly with the material image to display the desired chemical features.

Chemistry and Drug-Design

One of the key areas of research in chemistry will ultimately help in designing pharmaceutical drugs. The theme of research by William Jorgensen, Whitehead Professor of Chemistry, and his co-workers is the development and application of computational methods to solve problems concerning structure and reactivity for organic and biomolecular systems.

Specific applications include (1) calculations to help improve the yields of reactions that are used to make organic molecules and (2) the automated design of new drugs, which both bind tightly to their target proteins and have good pharmaceutical properties so that they can be administered orally.

Addition to Anthropology

Arjun Appadurai joined the Yale faculty on July 1, 2002 as the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of International Studies in the Department of Anthropology.

Appadurai's current research is focused on three areas: ethnic violence in the context of globalization, the cultural dimensions of social crisis in Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) and grassroots globalization. His other areas of interest include historical anthropology, international civil society and urban South Asia. He also holds appointments in the Departments of Sociology and Political Science.

Honoring Edward Bouchet

This year Yale is honoring the 150th anniversary of the birth of alumnus Edward Bouchet, who in 1876 became the first African American in the United States (and only the sixth individual of any race) to receive a Ph.D. in physics. As part of the year-long celebration in honor of Bouchet, who was also the first African American to graduate from Yale College (1874), faculty and students will discuss their research during special seminars and lectures being held at Yale's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


Building for State-of-the-Art Research

Inspiring Future Science Leaders

Harnessing the Power of the Genome

Encouraging Women in the Sciences

Forging International Collaborations

Yale Dean Honored With Blue Planet Prize

Engineering the World of Tomorrow

Yale Engineer Receives National Medal of Technology

Promoting the Greening of 'The Blue'

Peabody Museum of Natural History:
Preserving the Past, Educating Future Generations

Bringing Yale Discoveries to The Public

Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory: Probing the Power of Particles

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