Ancient Travelers
The Art and   Science of Music
Water Wisdom Advanced   Research
Diagnosis by   Computer
Flower Power

Departments Chancellor's Note
News Briefs
Alumni Spotlight

Faculty Books

Faculty Portraits

Research and   Service
End Note


UNT Resource magazine >> News Briefs

Lewis and Clark
Brent Phelps, associate professor of visual arts and internationally recognized photographer, is creating a new documentary survey to mark the bicentennial of the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition.
     To date, Phelps has created hundreds of panoramic photographs. By 2004, he plans to have fully documented the trail of the expedition and organized a book of photographs and a traveling exhibition, which will open at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth.
     Both the exhibition and the book will juxtapose the photographs with excerpts from the Lewis and Clark journals, creating a "then and now" context that will highlight the changes time brings.

Cybercemetery site
Documents from defunct U.S. government agencies live on through UNT's cybercemetery. Sponsored by the university and the U.S. Government Printing Office, the cybercemetery at www.library.unt.edu/govinfo/research/research.html provides electronic access to anyone seeking information generated or gathered by five agencies that have closed since 1996. Records from more defunct agencies, as well as older issues of the Texas Register, will be added to the site, which is the only one of its kind in the nation.
Melody Kelly, head of government documents at UNT, initiated the project, and Cathy Nelson Hartman, electronic resources coordinator, manages the site.

Teachers in the Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth Independent School Districts are adding to their knowledge of mathematics and physics through the UNT Regional Collaborative for Excellence in Science Teaching. The teachers come to campus to receive information about physics experiments for their classrooms, and they can enroll in one of four UNT physics courses to receive college credit. The collaborative is co-directed by James Roberts, professor of physics, and physics alumnus Jamal Hajsaleh.

Friendly viruses
Imagine replacing all of the computer network managers of the world with intelligent, friendly computer viruses. That's the goal of a UNT professor and graduate students in the Department of Computer Sciences. They are perfecting software programs called "intelligent mobile agents" that can think, work and reproduce on their own.
These smart programs may be the caretakers for future networks like the Internet 2a high bandwidth network between academic and research institutions. These mobile agents could travel through out a network to gather requested information and manage the flow of data while they repair and maintain linked computers.
The agents would be intelligent enough to perform these tasks on their own, producing as many of their kind as needed, says Armin Mikler, assistant professor of computer sciences.
With computer and networking equipment donated to UNT by Alcatel Inc., Mikler and his students can test these "friendly viruses" in a safe environment.

Electric fields
Professor of chemistry Jeff Kelber and his research team have found that the chemical bonds of ultrathin oxide films break down when they are exposed to very high electric fields. The films are commonly used to inhibit corrosion and in the manufacturing of solid state memory chips and other nanoelectronics.
    Kelber, postdoctoral research fellow Noel Magtoto and graduate students Chengyu Niu and Michelle Anzaldua generated electric fields, comparable to the forces holding an atom together, using a scanning tunneling microscope. They discovered that after being subjected to an electric field, a film's bond between the oxide and metal develops a void that can grow with the length of exposure to the field. The result is runaway corrosion or failure of an electronic device.

Businesses may experience a surge in savings as the Internet changes where people choose to live as well as how they live, according to a study by John Baen, professor of finance, insurance, real estate and law. Baen says the trend toward employees telecommuting will result in businesses needing less office space, rotating employees in the same space, and experiencing less absenteeism and lower turnover rates.
    Telecommuting may also change considerations for future homebuyers, as fewer people will look for homes within comfortable commuting distance, he says. Many people will leave the cities for the countryside and rent small condos, apartments or budget hotel rooms in city or suburban areas for a few days each week or month as a temporary workplace, he adds.

The CooLN2Car
Three UNT researchers have developed nitrogenwhich constitutes 78 percent of the atmosphere into an alternative to gasoline.
Carlos Ordonez, associate professor of physics; Mitty Plummer, associate professor of engineering technology; and Rick Reidy, assistant professor of materials science, constructed the CooLN2Car, which is powered from the energy released when super-cooled compressed liquid nitrogen expands into a gas. The process is similar to that of a steam engine.
    The CooLN2Car currently travels at 36 mph and produces no emissions that are harmful to the environment. The researchers are working to improve top speeds.
    The project is attracting national and international attention.

Emu eggs
Not all birth defects are inherited. Low oxygen and other threats during fetal development may lead to serious disabilities.
    Warren Burggren, professor of biological sciences and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, uses emu and chicken eggs to study the start of heartbeat and blood flow in embryos. He seeks to determine the extent to which genes and environment shape the development of the heart, which is the first organ to function in any developing vertebrate.
    The research findings may ultimately help to explain, and possibly correct, birth defects in human hearts.

The research of several students resulted in prestigious scholarships this year. Debra Kay McIlvain, an anthropology major who graduated in August, received a National Science Foundation Fellowship to continue her study of the Clovis people believed by many archaeologists to be the earliest humans in North America.
And three May graduates of the Texas Academy of Mathematics and SciencePriyanka Agarwal, Leian Chen and Marcos Floreswon Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, which are awarded to students planning careers in mathematics, science and engineering.
Agarwal studied the death of ganglion cells in the eye's retina, a process associated with glaucoma. Chen developed a model of blood flow to the muscles. A better understanding of that process is needed to treat diabetes and heart disease. Flores helped to create a new adhesive to connect bones and prostheses. It could make metal screws on artificial limbs obsolete and reduce the risk of infection to bone tissue.

Early education
Lack of environmental stimulation and early educational experiences interfere with normal brain development in children, leading to lost potential and lower achievement, says George S. Morrison, professor of teacher education and administration and Velma E. Schmidt chair.
    To address that concern, Morrison and his colleagues developed the Success for Life curriculum, which is based on neuroscience and child development research. The curriculum applies theory to practice for the education and whole development of children during the optimum development period
birth to age 8.
The curriculum has eight academic components: literacy, mathematics, music and fine arts, science, social studies, technology, wellness and healthy living, and character education. Success for Life is currently used with more than 4,000 children in more than 50 programs throughout Texas.

Human resources directors and others who hire new employees may unknowingly discriminate against job candidates' regional accents, according to Patricia Cukor-Avila, assistant professor of English. Cukor-Avila and Dianne Markley, who earned her master's degree in linguistics in August and is UNT director of cooperative education, created a CD-ROM program featuring 10 maleseach from a different region of the United States reading the same 45-second passage. Fifty-six job hirers listened to the readers and made judgments about them based solely on how they sounded.
     Hirers gave readers with the least identifiable accents (California, Minnesota) the highest rating and readers with the most identifiable accents (New Jersey, Georgia, Louisiana) the lowest rating.

Radical burning
Trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, used as industrial solvents and as cleaning agents by dry cleaners, are toxic and can currently be safely destroyed only by burning. To study ways to make that process more efficient, Paul Marshall, professor of chemistry, and his research group are examining these substances' reactions with free radicalsatoms or molecules that have at least one unpaired electron. Marshall's group investigated these reactions at the molecular level and evaluated how quickly the substances would be destroyed by flames.

The Department of Biological Sciences is providing free counseling to Texas residents through the Texas Teratogen Information Service. It provides information on teratogensagents that can cause miscarriage, birth defects or future learning problems when a pregnant woman is exposed to them. Examples include alcohol, cigarettes, illegal drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and occupational and environmental hazards.
     TTIS, which can be reached toll free at (800) 733-4727, is funded through a Texas Department of Health Maternal and Child Health Block grant and an educational grant from the North Texas Chapter of the March of Dimes. Lori J. Wolfe is the director of the service.

Cleaning up
The research of Alan Marchand, Regents Professor of chemistry, may lead to improved water quality in the Rio Grande River, one of the most polluted ecosystems in the nation.
    Marchand and colleague Jennifer Brodbelt of the University of Texas at Austin designed molecules that bind to heavy metal ion pollutants, including lead, silver, copper and mercury. The molecules will be introduced in the river and filtered out to remove the pollutants.

Students at Dallas' Stockard Middle School are receiving guidance in realizing their academic potential and attending college through Gear Up (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a program launched by the College of Education and School of Community Service this year.
     Funded by a five-year federal grant of $4.2 million, Gear Up offers activities to improve students' technology access and skills and to acquaint them with role models and mentors. Teachers receive conflict resolution and diversity training and participate in professional development activities.
    In its first year, Gear Up is focusing on 400 seventh-graders. Each year a new group of seventh-graders will be added to the program. Diane Allen, associate dean of the College of Education, is the administrator of the program. Aurelio de Mendoza is its director.


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