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Spring plant sale through April 28 in Wolfe Hall

Graduate students in The University of Toledo Department of Environmental Sciences are holding their spring plant sale this week.

The fundraiser benefits the community gardens and student groups.

“We offer a huge variety of vegetable and herb plants,” said Jessica Sherman, PhD student researcher in UT’s Department of Environmental Sciences and vice president of the Graduate Student Association. “All three- and four-inch pots are $1.50 each or four for $5. We also offer some larger perennial wildflowers that cost up to $10.”

The sale is open from noon to 5 p.m. through Friday, April 28, inside the northeast entrance of Wolfe Hall.

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.”

Bright work: UT research shines, sets low-bandgap perovskite solar cell world record for efficiency

With the depletion of nonrenewable energy sources and the increase of pollution, researchers have turned to finding ways to harness clean energy from cheap alternative sources.

Researchers at The University of Toledo have recently focused their investigation in the area of perovskite solar cell technology.

Dr. Yanfa Yan and his team make perovskite solar cells in the lab. Their research revealed a world record efficiency (low-bandgap) for the conversion of sunlight to electricity.

Perovskite is a compound material with a special crystal structure, according to Dr. Yanfa Yan, Ohio Research Scholar chair and UT professor of physics.

“Metal halide perovskites can effectively harvest sunlight and efficiently convert it into usable electrical power. They have the potential to be used for fabricating cheap and highly efficient solar cells,” he said. “Perovskite photovoltaic technology has attracted tremendous interest in the past several years.”

Current conventional solar cells are made out of materials such as silicon, a material more expensive than perovskite solar cells.

Yan explained that his research combined theoretical and experimental approaches to understand the fundamental mechanisms of the limitations of the perovskites and to develop processes and design new materials to overcome the limitations.

“Our ultimate goal is to help improve the energy conversion efficiencies of photovoltaic cells and solar fuel devices,” Yan said.

Dr. Yanfa Yan’s all-perovskite tandem solar cell combines two different solar cells to increase the total electrical power generated by using two different parts of the sun’s spectrum.

He and his team did just that. In fact, their research revealed a world record efficiency for the conversion of sunlight to electricity in the area of perovskite solar cell technology using less toxic lead as well as demonstrated a concept for producing an all-perovskite tandem solar cell that can bring together two different solar cells to increase the total electrical power generated by using two different parts of the sun’s spectrum.

“We reported a method that can easily be followed by other researchers in the field,” Yan said.

The research has been published in the journal Nature Energy.

“The publication of this paper in Nature Energy shows a significant recognition of our work by the peers in the field of photovoltaics,” Yan said. “We are very proud of our achievements.”

He added, “We are thankful for collaborations with colleagues in the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization at UT.”

“Dr. Yan and his team are doing outstanding work on this promising type of solar cell, paving the way for cheaper and more efficient ways to provide clean renewable energy to meet the needs of society,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy; and Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy. “The faculty and researchers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and UT’s Wright Center for Photovoltaic Innovation and Commercialization continue to lead the way in improving photovoltaic devices to address our growing energy demands through sustainable and renewable means.”

UT advocates for science research as Earth Day nears

As Earth Day 2017 approaches, The University of Toledo is hosting a series of events to connect with science enthusiasts and interested citizens of all ages about the vital role science plays in all lives.

The Northwestern Ohio Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is co-sponsoring the March for Science in downtown Toledo along with Imagination Station this weekend to correspond with the national March for Science in Washington, D.C., in celebration of science’s contributions to society.

“Our love of science has led us to advocate for using scientific evidence to help guide public policies,” said Dr. Susanne Nonekowski, associate lecturer in the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry and president of the AWIS Northwestern Ohio Chapter. “The mission of the march is to share and highlight the contributions of science and to inspire future generations to uphold the values of curiosity, free speech, free inquiry and critical thinking.”

The March for Science rally in Toledo will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at International Park. The march starts at 11 a.m. Participants will walk together across the Martin Luther King Bridge and end at Imagination Station. Interactive activities, which include UT student groups presenting Asian carp, algal bloom, physics, astronomy and chemistry research, will start at 11:30 a.m. at tables outside Imagination Station.

Speakers at the 10 a.m. rally include Dr. Tom E. Brady, founder of Plastic Technologies Inc. and sponsor of the Brady Engineering Innovation Center at The University of Toledo, and Nick Dulaney, a junior studying physics at UT who recently helped discover a new star and is the lead author in a published research paper regarding the discovery.

Several UT scientists are traveling to Washington, D.C., this weekend to participate in the national March for Science, including bird expert Dr. Henry Streby, UT assistant professor in the Environmental Sciences Department and ornithologist.

“This is a critical time for science in our country and around the world,” Streby said. “Ignoring or belittling science comes at a high cost to our society and our planet in the long run.”

UT will hold its 17th annual Earth Fest Tuesday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Centennial Mall.

The event, which is run by student organizations that include Building Ohio’s Sustainable Energy Future and the Society of Environmental Education, will focus on practicing sustainable habits and protecting the soil, water and air. Activities will include a bag and bottle swap, spring plant fair, giant Jenga, solar-powered boat races, a wind turbine, and prizes of Chipotle gift cards.

The UT Lake Erie Center will host an open house Thursday, April 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to experience live demonstrations, tours of the facility and a scientific poster show to learn about the wide variety of algal bloom and invasive species research being done by UT scientists. The UT Lake Erie Center is located at 6200 Bayshore Road, Oregon, Ohio.

“Water quality research at the Lake Erie Center is currently focused on the effects of excess nutrient runoff into the western basin of Lake Erie,” said Dr. Tim Fisher, geology professor, chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, and interim director of the Lake Erie Center. “The excessive nutrients foster algae growth, some of which is toxic and known as harmful algal blooms, which is being studied by Dr. Tom Bridgeman. Dr. Daryl Dwyer’s lab works with a variety of agencies to engineer and build wetlands to remove excessive nutrients before reaching the lake.”

The UT College of Engineering will hold its Senior Design Expo Friday, April 28, from noon to 3 p.m. on the first floor of Nitschke Hall. Seniors in engineering will display and demonstrate their senior design projects.

The next Saturday Morning Science program will be Saturday, April 29, at 9:30 a.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100 and feature the topic, “From the Stone Age to Today: Why Do Humans Love Music?” The free event is open to the public.

The Saturday Morning Science lecture series presented by the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics features presentations on a broad range of topics in science and technology.

MIT mathematician to speak April 10-12

Dr. Gigliola Staffilani, the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will visit The University of Toledo next week to give three talks.

She will deliver the Shoemaker Lecture Monday, April 10, at 4 p.m. in University Hall Room 4010.

“The Many Faces of Dispersive Equations as Infinite Dimensional Hamiltonian Systems” is the title of her talk.

“She is an expert in nonlinear partial differential equations, combining techniques from dynamical systems and harmonic analysis. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,” Dr. Alessandro Arsie, UT associate professor and associate chair of mathematics, said. “Besides being a very accomplished mathematician, she also has a very interesting personal story to tell.”

Staffilani is from Martinsicuro, Italy, where she grew up on a farm. Her father died when she was 10, and her mother decided she didn’t need to continue her education. But her older brother shared his books with her, and Staffilani fell in love with math.

She returned to school and decided to become a mathematics teacher.

With a fellowship, she studied at the University of Bologna and then moved to the United States, where she received master of science and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago in 1991 and 1995, respectively.

Gertrude and Richard Shoemaker

The Italian mathematician has taught at Stanford University, Princeton University and Brown University before joining MIT in 2002.

Her free, public talk is made possible by the Richard Shoemaker funds and is sponsored by Delta X; Pi Mu Epsilon National Mathematics Honor Society at the University; the Mathematics and Statistics Department; and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Richard Shoemaker and his wife, Gertrude, had the foresight to provide funding for these and future math talks. Their daughters, Martha Gallagher and Ann Weber, plan to attend the April 10 lecture.

Before the lecture, an induction ceremony for the Pi Mu Epsilon National Mathematics Honor Society will take place. New members being recognized are students Jackson Schall, Carson Granata, Nurul Raihen and Jacob Noon. Dr. Nathaniel Iverson, an associate lecturer in mathematics, also will be inducted.

Staffilani also will give lectures Tuesday and Wednesday, April 11 and 12, at 4 p.m. in University Hall Room 4010. She will discuss “Energy Transfer for Certain Nonlinear Schrodinger Initial Value Problems” and “Almost Sure Well-Posedness and Randomization of Initial Data,” respectively.

For more information on the free, public lectures, contact Arsie at 419.530.3247 or alessandro.arsie@utoledo.edu.

Biochemist studies new point of attack against dangerous stomach bacteria with help from astronauts

Research at The University of Toledo could lead to new treatments for a type of bacteria that is in the stomach of half the world’s population, causes ulcers, and is linked to the development of stomach cancer, one of the most common causes of cancer death worldwide.

And astronauts on the International Space Station played a key role in making the experiment possible.

NASA astronomer Reid Wiseman on the International Space Station held Dr. Donald Ronning’s experiment before he activated it. For six months, the protein crystals circled Earth as they grew.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Donald Ronning, professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, discovered a new point of attack for the bacterium called Helicobacter pylori by using neutrons to decipher how an important enzyme works in the bacterium’s metabolism.

“There are no current drugs on the market that target this special enzyme called MTAN found in the bacterium,” Ronning said. “The enzyme synthesizes vitamin K2 and is essential for the bacterium to survive.”

Most of the people who have an H pylori bacterial infection are treated with general antibiotics that are 50 years old, and in some regions of the world 30 percent of the strains are resistant to those drugs.

“It’s likely that inhibitors targeting this enzyme can lead to the development of medication specifically targeted to kill bad bacteria without harming useful bacteria or human cells in the gastrointestinal tract,” Ronning said.

The research, which was supported by a NASA grant and done in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Technical University of Munich in Germany, was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. UT graduate student Mike Banco also participated in the study.

Dr. Donald Ronning, left, and UT graduate student Mike Banco held NASA patches.

The first six months of Ronning’s stomach bacteria experiment took place on the International Space Station, which orbits Earth approximately 16 times a day.

“We sent samples of the protein we were trying to inhibit on a SpaceX rocket up to the International Space Station’s microgravity environment in 2014,” Ronning said. “Astronauts activated the experiment and helped us grow the large, high-quality crystals of these proteins we needed in order to use a rare methodology called neutron diffraction.”

When the proteins were returned to Earth on a SpaceX rocket, the largest crystals were the size of a grain of rice or the width of a paperclip.

Ronning based his structural determination of the enlarged, crystallized proteins using neutron diffraction, which affords visualization of hydrogen atoms in the protein.

“The usual methods for determining three-dimensional structures of molecules, such as x-ray diffraction, don’t allow us to see hydrogen atoms and their movements that are vital to the function of enzymes synthesizing vitamin K2,” Ronning said. “Instead, we used neutron diffraction for our crystal structure analysis, which allows us to see the hydrogen atoms and shows us how they do their job in the protein. In the history of mankind, there have been 106 molecular structures solved using this technique. It’s an expanding field.”

Based on the findings, it is now possible to develop molecules that are better at blocking the enzyme’s reaction process.

“By seeing what the protein looks like in a 3D model and understanding how it functions, we have a better idea of how to create a drug to prevent that function and would kill the bacteria causing the infection in the gastrointestinal tract,” Ronning said.

Re-Energize at Earth Hour celebration March 25

As energy usage and climate change become more urgent and prevalent topics, conservationists are looking for ways to draw attention to these issues.

The Society of Environmental Advocates invites the UT community to its Earth Hour celebration, which is a global event where at least one hour is set aside to bring awareness to energy conservation.

The event will be held Saturday, March 25, at 6 p.m. at the Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road, Oregon.

Speakers at the event will include Melissa Greene, director of the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission and sustainability coordinator for the Board of Lucas County Commissioners, and Michael Green, director of energy management for The University of Toledo.

After presentations by the guest speakers, attendees will tour the Lake Erie Center and, weather permitting, take a short nature walk.

Alex Lytten, president of the Society for Environmental Advocates, said that the event promotes the organization’s message of sustainability and conservation, and that membership is open to anyone who shares an interest in environmental science, geology, ecology and biomes.

To daily reduce your energy usage, Lytten recommends: “Turning down your thermostat, turn off unused lights and appliances, invest in energy-efficient lighting and appliances, and carpool whenever possible.”

For more information, contact ensc.society.ut@gmail.com.

International Joint Commission invites public to meeting at UT Lake Erie Center March 23

The International Joint Commission, an independent binational organization that prevents and resolves issues facing boundary waters between the U.S. and Canada, is holding a public meeting at The University of Toledo Lake Erie Center this week to gather input about progress to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

The free, public event will take place Thursday, March 23, at 6 p.m. at the UT Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon.

It is one of six public meetings being held in communities around the Great Lakes throughout March as the commission finalizes its assessment of progress made by the U.S. and Canada to reach goals of the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Dr. Christine Mayer, UT professor and aquatic ecologist, serves as a member of the International Joint Commission Great Lakes Science Advisory Board, which studies Great Lakes issues and provides its findings to help the International Joint Commission make recommendations to the governments of the two countries.

“Residents of the Great Lakes region deserve clean water, healthy beaches and fish that are safe to eat,” Mayer said. “I encourage residents of northwest Ohio to attend the International Joint Commission meeting and provide their feedback on progress toward restoration of the Great Lakes. Now is a crucial time for the public to voice their support for sustained restoration of the Great Lakes.”

With more than $12.5 million of active grants underway to address water quality concerns, UT faculty and researchers are taking a multidisciplinary approach to protecting the nation’s Great Lakes from invasive species and providing clean drinking water for generations to come.

“I am delighted that the public meeting for the International Joint Commission will be held at The University of Toledo Lake Erie Center,” said Dr. Tim Fisher, geology professor, chair of the UT Department of Environmental Sciences and interim director of the Lake Erie Center. “The citizens of Oregon and Toledo will not have to travel far to learn about ongoing research on harmful algae blooms, restoration and protection plans for Lake Erie, and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. But most importantly, the public will have an opportunity to express their suggestions, views and concerns to this binational agency to influence future activity.”

According to the Ohio Environmental Council, Lake Erie supplies drinking water to roughly three million Ohioans, and visitors spend more than $10 billion a year in communities along Lake Erie for tourism, travel and fishing.

“This meeting in Toledo — and all six of the International Joint Commission’s public meetings — is integral to the the commission’s assessment process,” said Lana Pollack, chair of the U.S. section of the International Joint Commission. “We want to hear what people think about the government’s progress report and the International Joint Commission’s draft assessment of progress, and hear their views on how governments should address the Great Lakes water quality issues that residents care about the most.”

The International Joint Commission’s draft report, the Canadian and U.S. government report, as well as details on the upcoming public meetings around the Great Lakes, can be found at http://participateijc.org.

Event registration is online here and will be available at the door as well.

Lecture to look at birding in northwest Ohio

With 32 recognized state parks, wildlife areas and refuges, northwest Ohio is rich with natural wonders. These areas are favorite spots for birds and watchers during spring migration.

Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory, will discuss “Spring Songbird Migration in Northwest Ohio: The Business of Birding” Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at the UT Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road, Oregon.

“Hosted by Black Swamp Bird Observatory, the Biggest Week in American Birding is a 10-day festival in northwest Ohio, ‘the Warbler Capital of the World,’” Kaufman said. “The festival has something to offer beginner and seasoned birders alike, with bird identification workshops, guided birding trips, birding by canoe, daily walks at the world-famous Magee Marsh, American woodcock field trips, keynote presentations, a birder’s marketplace, and evening socials with free food and music.

“The festival helps attract more than 90,000 birders to northwest Ohio from around the world, generating an annual economic impact of more than $40 million.”

Her free, public talk is part of the Lake Erie Center’s Public Lecture Series.

“I hope attendees will come away with a greater understanding of Black Swamp Bird Observatory’s mission and what the Black Swamp Bird Observatory does for the region,” Kaufman said. “The take-home message of my lecture is that it’s in the best interest of every resident of northwest Ohio to support habitat conservation.”

For more information on the lecture, go to utoledo.edu/nsm/lec or call the UT Lake Erie Center at their office at 419.530.8360.

Easy as Pi: Math Department invites UT to celebrate Pi Day

Worldwide Pi Day celebrations have been bringing mathematicians and math appreciators alike together for decades.

“Not only is pi an important mathematical constant, but pie is also a great reason for people to get together for fun,” said Dr. Donald B. White, professor and chair in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Pi Day, observed March 14 to recognize the first three digits of the pi constant, is marked by the eating of pie and discussing the significance of pi in mathematics. More than 13 trillion digits of pi have been calculated so far, though only 39 digits are needed to perform most cosmological calculations.

This year, the celebration at UT holds extra significance: “Pi, our centennial celebration year, and Women’s History Month, all in one,” White explained. “For all of 2017, we are celebrating 100 years as a Department of Mathematics, and recently Statistics, and for Pi Day, we hope to have 100 pies. Also, for the Women’s History Month of March, watch the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ TV screens for highlights of women who have been great mathematicians and statisticians.”

Attendees can join faculty, staff and students from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for slices of pizza and dessert on Pi Day, Tuesday, March 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in University Hall Room 2060. The event is free and open to all — while slices last.

After the Pi Day treats, Dr. Nate Iverson, lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, will present a lecture, “Circumference Over Diameter; the Different Universes of Pi.”

Iverson’s lecture will be at 4 p.m. in University Hall Room 4010.

For more information on the lecture, visit the Math Department’s website at math.utoledo.edu/colloquia.html or facebook.com/utmath.