Ali Khademhosseini Wins Presidential Award

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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BOSTON, MA–Ali Khademhosseini, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard University, has won the   Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. He received the award because his contributions to micro-engineering, such as the generation of controlled micro-scale environments and regulation of cell behavior and fabrication of tissue-like structures, according to a release.
“Our research is based on generating biological tissues that can be transplanted into patients to treat various diseases,” Khademhosseini said. “The ability to generate tissues outside the body can be used to alleviate the challenge in a lack of organ donors. We combine cells and materials to develop tissues that mimic the function of the natural organs.”

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Cumran Vafa

September 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Syed Aslam

vafaCumrun Vafa was born in Tehran, Iran in 1960 and graduated from Alborz Boys School. He came to the US in 1977 and completed  his undergraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a major in physics and mathematics. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985 under the supervision of Edward Witten. He then became a junior fellow at Harvard, where he later got a junior faculty position. In 1989 he was offered a senior faculty position, and he has been there ever since. Currently, he is the Donner Professor of Science at Harvard University.

Cumrun Vafa’s primary area of research is string theory. String theory, a subject that is about four decades old, is at the center of efforts by theoretical physicists to find a unified fundamental theory of nature. String theory provides a framework to unify everything we know about nature, including all particles and the forces between them, in a consistent quantum theory. This is an ambitious goal, given that it aims to describe physical phenomena involving scales 1025times smaller than the atom, as well as the cosmology of our entire universe, which involves a scale of about 1037times bigger than the atom. In a single theory, one studies the mysteries of confinement of quarks inside atomic nuclei, as well as enigmatic properties of astrophysical objects such as black holes.

Such an all-encompassing theory necessarily requires a tremendous amount of mathematical skill. In fact, most of the mathematics needed for string theory is not even yet developed. String theorists thus have the exciting task of building new mathematics as tools to explore new laws of physics. It is therefore not surprising that string theory is at the cross roads of many fields, including mathematics, particle phenomenology and astrophysics. Cumrun Vafa’s research has involved essentially all these aspects. Together with his colleagues he has worked on topological strings, trying to elucidate some new mathematics originating from string theory  and using these techniques to uncover some of the mysteries of black holes, particularly the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy. He has also applied these ideas to particle theories by geometrically engineering quantum field theories, as well as solving the strong coupling dynamics of confining theories  and geometrizing string theory defects.  His recent work involves applying these ideas to come up with stringy predictions about what the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located at Franco – Swiss border may potentially discover in the near future.

Dr. Cumrun Vafa,  was elected as a new member of The National Academy of Sciences on April 28, 2009. Members are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

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Community News (V13-I21)

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Saheela Ibraheem: Budding scholar Par Excellence

EDISON,NJ–Muslim Americans continue to excel in a variety if fields despite all the odds. The latest such examplar is Saheela Ibraheem, a 15 year old student from New Jersey, who has been accepted to the prestigious Harvard University. She  opted for the world renowned university even though she had an option of thirteen other top rated schools to choose from including, MIT, Columbia, and Princeton.

The hijab wearing Ibraheem has always been a brilliant student and and hard worker.She speaks Arabic, Spanish and Latin. She said she hopes to become a research scientist and study the brain.

“If you are passionate about what you do, and I am passionate about most of these things, especially with math and science, it will work out well,” Ibraheem told CBS News.

Mosque to come up in Harford County

ABINGDON,MD–Harford County will soon have a mosque of its own. A ranch style home on 5 acres of property is now being renovated to house the new mosque, ABC News reported.

Dr. Rehan Khan, a spokesperson for the community, told the channel that the mosque was much needed: “People use to go to Baltimore. (It’s) almost an hour’s drive. There are about a hundred families in the area. Most of them are highly professional physicians, pharmacists, computer specialists… living in the area. There’s not a single place of worship for them.”

Unlike in other places the neighbors have been welcoming the group.

Once work on the mosque is completed, the group plans to hold an international food festival to serve as an open-house for the community.

Long range plans include providing a soup kitchen, an after-school program and a free health clinic as well.

Muslim inmate wins long fought case

NORFOLK, VA–A Muslim inmate in Virginia has won a seven year battle to have access to religious materials in the prison library. The Virginian-Pilot reports that the State;s Attorney General has settled with Rashid Qawi Al Amin after court’s ruling in his favor.

The Corrections Department will spend up to $2,500 on Islamic library materials at the Greensville Correctional Center and hire a Muslim inmate to work there. Inmates will be allowed to donate religious materials, after security review.

Al-Amin will be able to submit his own list of reading materials, videos and CDs and get $2,000 to defray his costs fighting the case.

Christian clergy plan Qur’an readings to combat Islamophobia

Washington, D.C. – Christian clergy at churches across the country will host readings from the Qur’an and other sacred religious texts as they welcome their Muslim and Jewish colleagues on Sunday, June 26, 2011 for Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding.

Faith Shared is a project of Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First, which seeks to send a message both here at home and to the Arab and Muslim world about our respect for Islam. The National Cathedral in Washington, DC, along with 50 churches in 26 states have committed to participating in this effort.

“The anti-Muslim rhetoric that has pervaded our national conversation recently has shocked and saddened me,” said Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy.  “Appreciation for pluralism and respect for religious freedom and other human rights are at the core of our democracy.  We believe that demonstrating our commitment to those core American values will help counteract the intensified level of negative stereotypes and anti-Muslim bigotry in our recent public discourse.”

Faith Shared seeks to counter the anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes that have erupted throughout the country in the past year and led to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases, violence.  This countrywide, day-long event will engage faith leaders on the national and community levels in a conversation with their houses of worship, highlighting respect among people of different faiths.  This event will help counter the common misperception abroad that most Americans are hostile to Islam.  It will send a message that Americans respect Muslims and Islam, as they respect religious differences and freedom of religion in general.

Faith Shared is designed to reflect the mutual respect shared among so many Muslims, Christians, Jews and other Americans, as they stand together to oppose the negative images that have dominated domestic and international news.

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