Appointments, honors and activities

August 29, 2014  

Appointments and promotions:

- Erin Oliver, assistant director for conflict resolution in the Office of Vice President for Ethics and Compliance, has been appointed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to the Indiana Native American and Indian Affairs Commission. She has a four-year term on the 15-member board. The commission's website says the panel "studies and makes recommendations to appropriate federal, state and local government agencies in areas of concern" to Indiana's native and nonnative people and communities.

Faculty and staff honors:

- Charles R. Santerre, professor of food toxicology and Purdue Extension specialist in the College of Health and Human Sciences, was selected as a National Academy of Sciences Jefferson Science Fellow for 2014-15. He will be on assignment for one year with the U.S. Department of State, serving as a science adviser on foreign policy issues. The Jefferson Science Fellows program was created to engage academic scientists in the formation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. Purdue leads the nation in the number of Jefferson Science Fellows accepted into the program that started in 2003. Previous Jefferson Fellows from Purdue include Melba Crawford, Alexander King (no longer at Purdue), Suresh Garimella and Jay Gore, all from the College of Engineering.

- Purdue police officers Kevin Balzer and Gabe Argerbright, along with the K-9 partners Vara and Macho, received several honors at the 2014 K-9 Olympics earlier this month at the Von Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana. Balzer and Vara captured first place for the Narcotics Overall division with Lafayette police offers A.J. Demello and Ron Dombkowski and their K-9s Raoy and Tommy. Balzer and Vara were first in the Scramble and third in the Luggage Detection competitions. Balzer and Vara, along with their Lafayette police teammates, were 18th in the Patrol Team Overall category. Argerbright and Macho placed first in the Door Bottom Detection and second in the Vehicle Interior Detection events. They teamed with Barry Shatzer and K-9 Crazy of Pentagon, and officer Shane Howard and Iron of the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department for second place in the Explosive Team Overall competition. Teams from across the nation participated in the competitions.

Alumni honors:

- Mathematics alumnus Yitang Zhang delivered the final address of the International Congress of Mathematicians earlier this month. The congress is held once every four years and is considered one of the most prestigious venues for mathematicians to present research. Zhang, who earned his doctorate in mathematics from Purdue in 1991, reported on his acclaimed work in number theory. Zhang recently received the 2014 Rolf Schock Prize in Mathematics from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the 2014 Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Number Theory from the American Mathematical Society and the 2013 Ostrowski Prize from the Oswtrowski Foundation in Switzerland. The awards honor his achievement in the Twin Prime Conjecture, which states that there are an infinite number of pairs of prime numbers that are only two numbers apart, for example 5 and 7. The Twin Prime Conjecture has not been proven. Zhang's proof showed that there are an infinite number of prime pairs that are less than 70 million numbers apart, which mathematicians consider to be a big step toward proving the Twin Prime Conjecture.

Student honors:

- The Barbara Cook Chapter of Mortar Board at Purdue is the co-winner of the Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award, Mortar Board's highest national honor for a collegiate chapter. The University of Nebraska at Kearney is the other co-winner. The Purdue chapter, which also received the award in 2002, is the second chapter to win it twice. The recipient of the award is selected based on a variety of criteria, including chapter operations, campus visibility, member participation, advising, communications and chapter points. There are 231 chapters of Mortar Board. The Purdue chapter was founded in 1926.

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