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University recognizes faculty, staff for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

UT outstanding advisers, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were honored last week.

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Winners of the Outstanding Adviser Award were Rose Marie Ackerman and Dr. Matthew Franchetti.

Rose Marie Ackerman
, associate director of student services in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering. She joined the University in 2006.

“Rose is the only adviser I know that does long-range plans for students. This helps tremendously because I am able to check off the classes I have already taken because she provides a specialized plan for each individual,” one nominator wrote. “She is the best adviser I’ve had at any university, and I’ve been to three different universities.” “Rose is always willing to see and talk to any student,” another noted. “She responds to emails quickly with any information needed. I just changed my major, and Rose is the person who helped me the most.” Another wrote, “She is the go-to person in the department for policies and procedures.”

Dr. Matthew Franchetti, associate professor and associate chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering. He began working at UT in 2007.

“Dr. Franchetti is the most helpful person I have ever met,” one nominator noted. Another wrote, “The other day I walked into his office looking for advice on going to grad school. He went through the positives and negatives and all of the things required in the application process. He sat down and went over the different courses of study and what each plan entails. On top of that, he took the time to explain what the University is kind of looking for and offered to be one of my references. I do not know how I would have gotten through engineering without him.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Receiving Outstanding Research Awards were, from left, Dr. Robert Collins, Lee J. Strang, Dr. Blair Grubb and Dr. Mohamed Elahinia.

Dr. Robert Collins
, NEG Endowed Chair and Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Collins is an internationally recognized expert on thin films and photovoltaics, especially for his groundbreaking contributions in the use of optical measurements, in particular, ellipsometry for assessments of real-time thin-film growth. This work is not only important to the photovoltaics industry, but also is valuable to related technologies such as displays and sensors. His total research funding, either as principal investigator or co-principal investigator at both UT and his former university, exceeds $48 million. He is a prolific writer with more than 450 peer-reviewed journal and conference proceedings articles, and he is the editor or co-editor of nine books. His published work has more than 10,000 citations.

Dr. Mohamed Elahinia, professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering.

Elahinia’s group, with support from the Ohio Federal Research Network and NASA Glenn, has fabricated high-temperature shape memory alloys in 3D printing for the first time. His research on low-temperature shape memory alloys has resulted in several medical devices, which are at various stages of commercialization. In collaboration with NASA Glenn and the Cleveland Clinic, he organized the development of the Nitinol Commercialization Center to support startup companies. He has been the principal investigator and co-investigator on 37 research projects, bringing in more than $12 million in awards. He is the author of a leading book on shape memory alloys, as well as more than 70 journal articles; his publications have been cited about 2,000 times.

Dr. Blair Grubb, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Electrophysiology Program in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

He is one of the world’s authorities in the treatment of syncope — abrupt, brief loss of consciousness — and other disorders of the autonomic nervous system. He has patients referred to him from all over the world to help those dealing with severe autonomic disorders. His patients testify on how he takes a personal interest in their condition, and he has a long list of testimonials on how he has provided patients with ways to improve their condition. Grubb has published more than 240 scientific papers, authored five books, written 35 book chapters, and has been the recipient of 10 research grants while at UT. He has been recognized as one of America’s Top Doctor’s 15 years in a row.

Lee J. Strang, the John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values in the College of Law.

Strang is an expert in constitutional law, particularly originalism and constitutional interpretation. He has expertise on the topic of law and religion and the history of Catholic legal education. He is highly sought as an invited speaker and expert on constitutional law matters and has presented his work at more than 150 conferences at top institutions. Since arriving at UT, Strang has authored 17 articles, two book chapters and five book reviews, as well as co-written a 1,500-page casebook. His work is highly regarded; Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens cited Strang’s work on the original meaning of “religion” in the First Amendment. Strang’s work also was cited in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Hobby Lobby case.

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were:

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach and Dr. Andrew Jorgensen.

Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach
, associate professor of educational foundations and leadership in the Judith Herb College of Education. She is the co-chair of the UT Anti-Bullying Task Force, a campus violence prevention and protection trainer for the Department of Justice, and author of “School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies.”

“Dr. Pescara-Kovach has performed countless service in the community in working with the prevention of tragedy in our schools and workplaces. She works with University and community agencies in multiple stages: preventing bullying and other aggressive behaviors; preventing targeted violence and suicide; and postvention of first responders, victims and witnesses when such incidents occur,” one nominator wrote. “While many faculty think their work is life-changing, few (outside the medical fields) can honestly claim their work saves lives; Dr. Pescara-Kovach is such a faculty member.”

Dr. Andrew Jorgensen, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He studied climate change during his sabbatical at the National Council for Science and the Environment, helping to create Climate Adaption Mitigation E-Learning, an online program with more than 300 resources on climate change.

“Dr. Jorgensen has given more than 150 lectures to general public audiences all over the world about climate change. Having been an audience member, I can attest to the way he presents scientific knowledge in a nonpolitical, approachable way that makes a strong case for the need to address this topic,” one nominator wrote. “I admire his energy, commitment and passion, and am deeply respectful of his personal mission to educate as many people as he can about the importance of climate change to our global future.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Dr. Patricia Sopko, Dr. Ruslan Slutsky, Dr. Jillian Bornak, Dr. Nitin Puri and Dr. Todd Crail.

Dr. Jillian Bornak
, associate lecturer of physics and astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. She began teaching at the University in 2014.

“She brought her enthusiasm for science into the classroom every Tuesday and Thursday night when we were all tired and drained. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and her energy made it easy to show up to every class that semester,” one nominator wrote. “She gave us every tool we needed to learn the material and pass her course with a good grade. She taught us with both ease and eagerness for her students to learn. Her students gained knowledge of these tough physics concept without ever feeling like we were too behind or too incapable of learning these concepts. The University is lucky to have her.”

Dr. Todd Crail, associate lecturer of environmental sciences in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the faculty in 2012.

“I have yet to meet any professor as engaging and passionate about the environment as Dr. Crail,” one nominator wrote. “He has a distinct voice and motivation in what he teaches — take action. If you want a better world, a better environment, then you have to act upon it. Dr. Crail encourages students’ critical thinking, he supports the curious mind, and he makes time for his students.” Another noted, “He has changed the lives of so many students, and he deserves to finally be rewarded for all the hours of hard work and dedication that he puts into his class, activities, service learning, and the Department of Environmental Sciences.”

Dr. Nitin Puri, assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. He has been at the University since 2012.

“Dr. Puri teaches physiology with great passion and consistently has the highest turnouts for lectures and review sessions. He expects the most from his students and repeatedly encourages you to think like a physician,” one nominator wrote. “Dr. Puri’s teaching style is interactive and certainly yields the strongest staying power of the basic sciences. I still use his notes to prepare for clinical rotations. Dr. Puri is more than a teacher. He is a fierce advocate for students, an outstanding mentor and, most importantly, a genuine person.” Another wrote, “Dr. Puri prepares you for the future, not just exams, but for clinical practice unlike any other professor.”

Dr. Ruslan Slutsky, professor of early childhood education, higher education and special education in the Judith Herb College of Education. He came to the University in 2001.

“Dr. Slutsky always makes time for his students. He is always willing to give extra help, and he goes out of his way to provide students with learning experiences outside of the classroom — research opportunities, helps send projects to conferences, etc. His lectures are always thought-provoking and stimulate deep classroom discussions. He expects a lot from his students and, in turn, his students achieve great things,” one nominator wrote. “I am thankful to have had him as a professor and am thankful for all the things he has done for the college, as well as the University and community as a whole.”

Dr. Patricia Sopko, instructor in the College of Nursing. She joined the faculty in 2010.

“I was essentially failing my pathopharmocology class despite hours of studying. I always felt the exams to be very fair, and I approached Dr. Sopko to help me understand what I was doing wrong,” one nominator wrote. “When I did eventually speak with her, she in no way looked down upon me or made me feel intimidated, despite the fact that I should have approached her long before to ask for help. She not only clarified what I was doing wrong, she also made sure I was properly preparing for the final exam. She helped me improve my overall critical thinking abilities. The fact that she took the extra time to help me is something that I greatly appreciate.”

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice donates papers to UT

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice and Toledo native Judith Ann Lanzinger recently donated her personal papers to the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections at The University of Toledo.

Lanzinger, who is the only person ever elected to all four levels of Ohio’s judiciary, retired from the state’s highest court in 2016.

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice and UT law alumna Judith Ann Lanzinger, second from left, recently donated her personal papers to the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections. She posed for a photo with, from left, Lauren White, manuscripts librarian and lecturer; D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law; and Barbara Floyd, director of the Canaday Center and interim director of University Libraries, who propped up a 2007 portrait of justices from the Supreme Court of Ohio.

During her long career, she also served on the 6th District Court of Appeals, the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas and the Toledo Municipal Court.

The Canaday Center, the special collections department of the UT Libraries, has long collected manuscript materials related to the history of women in northwest Ohio. Noteworthy collections include the papers of educators, politicians and activists such as Linda Furney, Betty Mauk, Betty Morais, Mary Boyle Burns, Ella P. Stewart and Olive Colton. The center recently has begun collaborating with the College of Law to preserve the history of Toledo’s women lawyers and judges.

“We are delighted to help ensure this important history is accessible to future scholars and citizens,” said D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law.

As part of this collaboration with the College of Law, the center also recently acquired a collection of scrapbooks documenting the career of Geraldine Macelwane, the first woman elected judge of the Toledo Municipal Court (appointed in 1952) and the first woman judge of the Lucas County Common Pleas Court (appointed in 1956). She died in 1974.

“Justice Lanzinger is one of our most distinguished alumni, having notably served at all levels of the Ohio judiciary. We are honored that the University is able to house her papers, which we hope will encourage and inspire others to civic engagement,” Barros said.

The Lanzinger collection contains photographs, awards and research files documenting her judicial career. Of particular note are the former justice’s case notes that provide insight into her thoughts and opinions as they developed during trials.

“This collection will provide a rich source of information on many aspects of Justice Lanzinger’s career,” said Barbara Floyd, director of the Canaday Center and interim director of University Libraries. “We hope to continue to collect and preserve the papers of other women lawyers and judges from this area to add to these collections.”

Lanzinger said, “I am honored that the Ward M. Canaday Center has accepted these documents that represent my 31 years of service at all levels of Ohio’s judiciary. I hope they may be of help in future academic projects at The University of Toledo, my alma mater.”

For more information on the collection, contact Floyd at 419.530.2170.

Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals to hold oral arguments at UT College of Law March 22

On Wednesday, March 22, UT law students and members of the public will get to experience a morning of appellate court arguments when the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals holds oral arguments in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

Oral arguments at the free, public session will begin at 9 a.m., and the final case will be argued starting at 10:15 a.m.

Presiding over oral arguments will be a panel of three judges from the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals: The Hon. Arlene Singer, a 1976, UT law alumna; Thomas J. Osowick, a 1981 UT law alumnus; and Christine E. Mayle. The judges will hear four cases:

• Romstadt v. Garcia, et al. is a personal injury lawsuit in which the plaintiff was injured when hit by a vehicle owned and insured by defendant-appellee but driven by her son. The issue on summary judgment was limited to the question of whether the son had his mother’s permission to drive the vehicle at the time of the accident. Plaintiff now argues that summary judgment was inappropriate because of material inconsistencies in the mother’s deposition testimony and because the question turned on the credibility of the mother’s testimony.

• In State of Ohio v. Whites Landing Fisheries Inc., the defendant-appellee was charged by the state under the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Administrative Code with three counts of illegally harvesting yellow perch from a part of Lake Erie for which the annual quota was zero. The defendant-appellee alleged in its motion to dismiss that the definition of “Lake Erie yellow perch management units” in the code provision was unconstitutionally void for vagueness. The appeal is from a grant of a motion to dismiss based on the unconstitutionality of a penal provision.

• State of Ohio v. Brandeberry involves a guilty plea and sentencing order for a juvenile prosecuted as an adult for charges of arson and murder. On appeal, the defendant challenges the constitutionality of the mandatory transfer and sentencing provisions that resulted in defendant being prosecuted and sentenced as an adult. The constitutional challenges allege violations of due process and equal protection, as well as ineffective assistance of counsel.

• In State of Ohio v. Greely, the appeal is from a sentencing order after a guilty plea to charges of aggravated burglary and rape. For purposes of sentencing, the court treated the aggravated burglary and rape counts as dissimilar offenses and ordered separate and consecutive sentences. The defendant argues that the court erred in treating the offenses as dissimilar and imposing consecutive sentences.

Experiencing appellate arguments firsthand will be especially helpful for first year UT law students. As part of their Lawyering Skills II course, each law student must research and write an appellate brief and then present an oral argument on behalf of a fictional client.

“The opportunity for students to observe judges and lawyers in a real court session is a valuable learning experience in our oral advocacy curriculum,” said Terrell Allen, UT legal writing professor and director of the College of Law’s legal research, writing and appellate advocacy program. “We appreciate the court’s willingness to provide this useful experience and instruction for our students.”

UT College of Law jumps 12 spots in U.S. News graduate school rankings

The University of Toledo College of Law improved its national ranking by 12 spots in one year.

U.S. News & World Report ranked UT’s law school No. 132 out of 196 schools as part of its 2018 Best Graduate Schools edition. That is up from No. 144 last year.

Indicators that helped this increase include higher selectivity of incoming students, higher employment rate at graduation, and higher employment rate 10 months after graduation.

“I am glad to see that the rankings reflect some of the fundamental improvements that we have made in the past year,” said D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law. “We significantly increased the entering credentials of our first-year class, and our job placement numbers also moved up. We will continue to work on improving our fundamentals, especially in areas of crucial student outcomes like job placement.”

The UT Judith Herb College of Education also ranked No. 172 out of 256. That is up 18 spots compared to last year’s ranking of No. 190. Contributing factors are higher research expenditure and higher selectivity.

“The Judith Herb College of Education continues to strive to improve the quality of all of our programs,” said Dr. Virginia Keil, interim dean of the college. “This recognition validates the quality of our faculty and the excellence of our students. Our increase in rank mirrors our upturn in graduate-level enrollment, both of which reflects the college’s rising reputation.”

The rankings are based on fall 2016 data.

Since her arrival in July 2015, UT President Sharon L. Gaber has made boosting the University’s national reputation one of her main goals.

“I am proud that the U.S. News rankings reflect the progress being made in the colleges of Law and Education,” Gaber said. “These are important measures that contribute to student success, and a double-digit climb in one year is a significant accomplishment.”

UT scholars to host forum March 16 titled ‘Immigration in the Time of Trump’

The University of Toledo’s fourth post-election forum since President Donald Trump was elected focuses on the topic “Immigration in the Time of Trump: The Executive Orders and Shifting Deportation Priorities.”

The free, public event will take place Thursday, March 16, at 6 p.m. at the West Toledo Public Library, 1320 W. Sylvania Ave.

“Toledo is known for providing a warm welcome to refugees and representing the best of the American values of diversity and inclusion,” said Shelley Cavalieri, UT associate professor of law. “This forum will provide community members a chance to learn from local experts about how the new executive order and the shifting deportation priorities of Trump’s administration will alter the important work we are doing here in our city, and give all citizens a chance to engage in an informed dialogue about how we can continue to make Toledo a place of welcome.”

Additional speakers will be Dr. Joel Voss, UT assistant professor of political science; Eugenio Mollo, managing attorney at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality; and Corine Dehabey, resettlement coordinator for US Together in Toledo.

The event is sponsored by the UT College of Law and the School for Interdisciplinary Studies in the UT College of Arts and Letters.

Bankruptcy for troubled cities, states topic of Stranahan National Issues Forum

In the past several years, many of the largest U.S. cities and states have faced financial crises that have caused them to consider declaring bankruptcy. The city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in 2013, while Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory with a current debt of $70 billion, has no access to this remedy.

David A. Skeel, the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, will address municipal and state bankruptcy as well as its causes and solutions, as part of the UT College of Law’s Stranahan National Issues Forum. His lecture titled “When is Bankruptcy the Answer for Troubled Cities and States?” will be held Thursday, March 16, at noon in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

Skeel

Skeel will identify the extent of governmental indebtedness and its many causes. He then will explain current avenues — and obstacles — within the bankruptcy code for municipal and state bankruptcy, drawing upon his experience as one of five members of the federally appointed board overseeing Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.

“Professor Skeel is one of the nation’s leading experts on bankruptcy having written, among many other pieces of scholarship, the definitive history of bankruptcy law in the United States,” UT Law Professor Lee J. Strang said. “We’re delighted Professor Skeel is delivering this spring’s Stranahan Lecture because he will shed light on not just the Detroit bankruptcy, but also other potential municipal and state bankruptcies. Professor Skeel’s lecture is sure to spark debate and conversation.”

A scholar and prolific writer, Skeel’s expertise lies in the areas of corporate law, bankruptcy, and religion and the law. In addition to numerous articles, he has published four books: “True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of Our Complex World” (InterVarsity, 2014); “The New Financial Deal: Understanding the Dodd-Frank Act and Its (Unintended) Consequences” (Wiley, 2011); “Icarus in the Boardroom” (Oxford, 2005); and “Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America” (Princeton, 2001). He also has frequently appeared in the press with commentaries appearing in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard.

The free, public lecture is a part of the Stranahan National Issues Forum and is sponsored by the UT College of Law and its chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.

UT scholars to host forum Feb. 13 titled ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves in the Time of Trump’

The University of Toledo’s third post-election forum since President Donald Trump was elected focuses on the topic “Our Bodies, Ourselves in the Time of Trump” and implications of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The free, public event to discuss health care, reproductive rights and LGBTQA+ issues will be held Monday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. at the Kent Branch Library, 3101 Collingwood Blvd.

“Based on actions thus far and the 2016 presidential campaign, we know the Trump administration will be approaching all three of these areas of policy with a different perspective from the previous administration,” said Dr. Ally Day, assistant professor in the UT Disability Studies Program. “Our forum is designed to address changes and questions community members may have in relation to larger policy and their own health-care options.”

Featured speakers will include:

• Dr. Karen Hoblet, UT associate professor of nursing;

• Robert Salem, UT clinical professor of law and chair of the Equality Toledo Board of Directors;

• Anita Rios, Ohio NOW;

• Hillary Gyuras, community education manager for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio;

• Sarah Inskeep, regional field manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio; and

• Katie Hunt Thomas, disability rights attorney for the Ability Center of Greater Toledo.

The event is sponsored by the UT College of Law and the School for Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Arts and Letters.

UT scholars to host forum Jan. 31 titled ‘A Law and Order Presidency? Issues in Policing and Criminal Justice’

The University of Toledo’s second post-election forum since President Donald Trump became the country’s 45th president will feature a panel of scholars focusing on the topic of “A Law and Order Presidency? Issues in Policing and Criminal Justice.”

political-forumThe free, public event will be held Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. at the West Toledo Branch Library, 1320 West Sylvania Ave.

“We invite all concerned members of our community to join us for a public discussion about critical issues and questions pertaining to law enforcement, the terms on which we adjudicate crime and punishment, how we think about rights, and how we might aspire to justice,” Dr. Rene Heberle, professor of political science, said.

Heberle will discuss “Undoing Mass Incarceration in the Trump Era: What Is to Be Done?”

Additional speakers and topics will include:

• Jelani Jefferson Exum, UT professor of law, “What May Change? The Influence of the Attorney General on Criminal Justice Protections and Priorities.”

• Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, UT assistant professor of disability studies, “Not in Our Name: Disability, Mental Health and Criminal Justice Reform.”

• Gregory Gilchrist, UT associate professor of law, “Federal Influences on Local Policing.”

“Criminal justice and policing reforms have been at the forefront of political and policy activity at the federal level, in statehouses, in communities and in the streets for the last several years,” Heberle said. “Faculty from various disciplines will offer perspectives on the kind of influence the federal government has had on reform efforts over the past several years. More importantly, we will discuss prospects for continuing reform given the fundamental shifts in ideological perspectives and priorities signaled by the new administration taking shape under President Donald Trump.”

The event is sponsored by the UT College of Law and the UT School for Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Arts and Letters.

800-pound, interactive periodic table at UT inspires living science

It’s the first of its kind at a university or museum in Ohio and Michigan and possibly the only life-size periodic table in the world built and filled by a community.

The 800-pound, interactive periodic table bolted to the wall inside the main entrance to The University of Toledo’s Wolfe Hall features 118 LED-illuminated glass boxes.

“Living Science: The Ever-Changing Periodic Table” is located in the main entrance of Wolfe Hall.

“Living Science: The Ever-Changing Periodic Table” is located in the main entrance of Wolfe Hall.

Each box represents an element, and members of the community are invited to fill the boxes with examples of how each element relates to everyday life and current events.

The display features touch-screen technology that allows visitors to explore a variety of apps that share stories and videos about the elements, contents of the element boxes, and who donated the items for each element.

The display titled “Living Science: The Ever-Changing Periodic Table” was funded by a $31,465 grant from UT’s Women & Philanthropy, a collaborative effort of area women and the University’s Division of Advancement that supports institutional initiatives.

“You’ll be surprised how you can relate to the periodic table,” said Dr. Kristin Kirschbaum, director of the UT Instrumentation Center, who worked for five years to bring this project to life. “This unique display is so inspiring — both visually and educationally — for anyone who walks through the doors. We want the whole community — not only chemists — to participate in filling it in.”

Kirschbaum

Kirschbaum

As part of the grant for the project, Kirschbaum can reimburse donors up to $50 for an item.

“Through all of my research, this is the first and only community-built periodic table in the world,” Kirschbaum said. “We didn’t buy it pre-made with elements already inside. A local carpenter built this from scratch, and we are asking the public to help fill it up. We also will be able to regularly change the items in the boxes.”

Eight-year-old Destiny Zamora furnished the element box labeled “Au” with a gold-plated coin minted to celebrate the 100th year of Mexico’s independence, a gold medal, and a picture of Scrooge McDuck diving into his money vault.

“I chose gold because it’s my favorite color, and I want to be rich someday,” said the second-grader at Napoleon Elementary School whose father’s fiancee works in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “Did you know Olympic gold medals only contain 1.34 percent of gold?”

Alyson Lautar, a UT student studying pharmacy, donated a smoke detector to represent americium, which is made in nuclear reactors and was first produced in 1945 as part of the Manhattan Project. The symbol for the element on the periodic table is Am.

“Americium-241 is a vital ingredient in ionization-style smoke alarms, which are inside homes and help save lives in the event of a fire,” Lautar said. “A tiny piece of the radioactive americium can detect smoke. When americium-241 decays, it releases positively charged alpha particles. The alarm has two ionization chambers — one is closed to everything but the alpha particles, while the other is open to the air. Normally, these two ionization chambers would receive the same amount of positive charge, but if a small amount of smoke gets into the open chamber, the balance of charge between the chambers is thrown off and triggers the alarm.”

Destiny Zamora, 8, pointed to the gold element box, which she filled.

Destiny Zamora, 8, pointed to the gold element box, which she filled.

Dr. Steven Toth, a lecturer and lead expert at the University of Michigan in Flint who earned his bachelor’s degree and PhD in chemistry from UT, is donating a bottle of Flint water for the box representing lead to help teach about the city’s recent water crisis. The symbol for lead is Pb.

“Lead used to be thought of as a ‘wonder’ chemical. It doesn’t store heat for nearly as long as other metals and has fast-drying powers, so it was used in pipes, paint and makeup,” Toth said. “We now know that lead can be toxic, and pretty much all products are sold lead-free. However, people in Flint were drinking water with high levels of lead after the city changed the water source in 2014. The city treated the water with chlorine to kill bacteria, and the chlorine started leaching lead out of the older, lead-lined pipes.”

Joe Slater, labor and employment law expert and the Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values in the UT College of Law, designed the radium display that contains an old alarm clock, paint brush, New Haven watch box, black-and-white factory photo, description of legal cases, and program from the play titled “Radium Girls.” Radium’s symbol is Ra on the periodic table.

The display in the radium box was created by Joe Slater, the UT Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values.

The display in the radium box was created by Joe Slater, the UT Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values.

“Women who worked at the factory in New Jersey in 1917 used self-illuminating paint that contained radium to make the dials on the watches, and they were told to lick the brushes to give them a fine point,” Slater said. “Some women got radiation poisoning and sued the company because they had been told the paint was harmless. That was the start of health and safety law in the workplace, a very important part of current American employment law.”

Matt Hafner, the local carpenter who built the massive periodic table in seven weeks, wants to do something for hafnium simply because it’s similar to his last name. Hafnium is Hf on the periodic table.

“While researching hafnium, I discovered it is used in tips of plasma torches,” said Hafner, owner of MDH Construction in Maumee. “I have one of those torches, so I’m considering making a video of how they are used on construction projects.”

Only a small handful of the element boxes contain items. A toy-sized Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” stands behind the glass labeled “Sn.”

A radiologist supplied a small bottle of gadodiamide, a gadolinium (Gd) that is used as a contrast agent in MRIs. Gadolinium’s box also contains a CD and the magnetic Pokémon called Magneton as it’s one of the few magnetic elements.

“We’re hoping the community will help us fill the empty element boxes,” Kirschbaum said. “Sparkplugs could be used for iridium (Ir), a tool set or dietary supplement for vanadium (V), dynamite for nitrogen (N). It can be anything from the pure element to something related to it. The possibilities are endless.”

To make a contribution to the periodic table, contact Kirschbaum at kristin.kirschbaum@utoledo.edu or 419.530.7847.

For more information, go to utoledo.edu/nsm/ic/periodictable.html.

UT to host post-election community forum Dec. 1

More than three weeks after Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, a panel of scholars at The University of Toledo will participate in a public forum to analyze the election cycle, its results and what happens next.

The event, which is open to the public and sponsored by the UT College of Law and the School for Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Arts and Letters, will be held Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

web Post-Election Forum flyer“We want to bring our community together to engage in constructive discussion and debate about the changes underway with Trump’s victory,” Dr. Renee Heberle, professor of political science, said. “Topics will include appointments to the White House advisory staff and cabinet, historical comparisons to past presidential elections, constitutional issues, and feminist perspectives on the campaign and outcome.”

Panelists will include Dr. Jeff Broxmeyer, assistant professor of political science; Dr. Jetsabe Caceres, assistant professor of political science and director of the Global Studies Program; Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor of women’s and gender studies; Benjamin Davis, professor of law; and Rebecca Zietlow, the Charles W. Fornoff Professor of Law and Values.

After presentations from panelists, the audience will be invited to ask questions and offer input.