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Bless the heart of the county commissioners, I think we all will come knocking on your doors when we receive our new...

ECU sculptures on display at New Bern airport

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Michael Austin grinds down a weld. He is working on a piece for the Newbern Airport.

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By ECU News Services

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The work of four East Carolina University sculpture students is on display at the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern.

The School of Art and Design students are graduate Junghoon Han and undergraduates Zach Smith, Michael Austin and Matthew Jones.

ECU sculpture professor Hanna Jubran has worked with the airport for more than 10 years to display student work. One piece will be selected for purchase and displayed permanently, while the other pieces will be exhibited for one year at the airport.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to display large-scale work at an establishment where many people will see their work,” said Mairin Gwyn Narron, a graduate student in sculpture.

The theme for the artwork is flight, aviation, travel and movement.

For more information, visit https://www.newbernairport.com/terminal-information/outdoor-sculpture-exhibition/ .

Dark matter’s connection to extinction

Lisa Randall, Harvard University physicist, visited ECU on April 4 as the final presenter in the 2018-19 Voyages of Discovery Series.

While on campus, Randall met for an informal session with nearly three dozen undergraduate and graduate students whose majors ranged from biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics, to business, dentistry, Hispanic studies and theater.

While meeting with students, Randall discussed how she began her research in theoretical particle physics, which involves the most fundamental questions about the components and interactions of matter.

Later in the evening, Randall spoke to a larger audience in Wright Auditorium on the topic of “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe.” Her research and her most recent book focus on the interactions of dark matter and how it shapes galaxies.

She described the universe as a “cosmic pie” made up of three different slices, or energy components: atoms, dark matter and dark energy.

Atoms, or ordinary matter, which is what humans are made of, constitutes only 5 percent of the universe. Dark matter is 26 percent and dark energy is 69 percent.

Dark energy is hard to study, according to Randall, because it does not have structure and does not clump together. Dark matter, on the other hand, interacts with gravity and clumps together into structures like galaxies. What makes it different from ordinary matter, Randall said, is that dark matter does not interact with light. It only interacts with gravity, but it is all around us.

“It could be that there are billions of dark matter particles passing through you every second,” Randall said. But because dark matter is not interactive, she said we cannot see it, feel it or smell it.

Randall said dark matter exists for a number of reasons, including that we can see stars rotating in our galaxy at a speed that cannot be accounted for based on physical matter alone, and that galaxy clusters also have been observed moving faster than would be accounted for by ordinary matter.

Randall said the proof of the existence of dark matter is “simply the existence of galaxies in the lifetime of the universe.”

While dark matter exists, Randall said we do not know on a fundamental level what it is.

“We don’t know if it is made up of elementary particles. We don’t know its mass,” she said. “We don’t know if it has any interactions with any other matter other than with gravity, or if it interacts with itself. Is it a single particle or multiple particles?”

These are the questions that Randall said scientists are interested in answering through various models, or new ways of thinking, and testing the possibilities.

Randall concluded her talk by telling the audience about the four major lessons she has learned while conducting the research for her latest book: that dark matter, and the fundamental things that seem so abstract, are really critical and have amazing connections; that many fields of science are involved in figuring out extinction events; how recent our understanding is of particles and much of our science; and how important it is to acknowledge the rate of change occurring around us.

The 2019-20 Voyages of Discovery Series will feature Soledad O’Brien, American broadcast journalist on Sept. 18; Dr. R.K.M. Jayanty, 2017 recipient of the North Carolina Medal for Science on Nov. 7; Rick Steves, travel writer, television personality and activist on Feb. 20; and Libby Riddles, sled dog racer and the Iditarod’s first woman champion on March 26. More information about the upcoming season will be posted this summer at www.ecu.edu/voyages .

College of Nursing inducts eight into Hall of Fame

The ECU College of Nursing inducted eight new members to its Hall of Fame and honored its newest Distinguished Alumni Award winner during a ceremony in March at the Hilton Greenville.

The Hall of Fame , which honors outstanding contributors to nursing in education, administration, research and practice, has raised $125,000 for merit-based student nursing scholarships since 2011. This year’s event raised nearly $9,000 in scholarship funds.

This year’s inductees to the Hall of Fame have served in leadership roles for major medical centers, national health care non-profit organizations, higher education and the military.

The 2019 inductees join 111 other Hall of Fame members. Each receives a flame-shaped award that mirrors the flame featured in the College of Nursing pin, representing a vibrant life.

Two of this year’s Hall of Fame scholarship recipients — nurse anesthesia student in the master’s program Ruth DiMont and Ph.D. student Amy Campbell — also attended the event and spoke about how receiving the scholarship funds has impacted their lives.

This year’s Hall of Fame class:

■ Kimberly Hardy of Greenville

■ Janet Tillman of Cape Carteret

■ Laurel Molloy of Kinston

■ Martha Raile Alligood of Winterville

■ Sharon Isenhour Sarvey of Wilson and Goldsboro

■ Kimberly Crickmore Osborne of Greenville

■ Janet Moye of Winterville

■ Elsie Spencer of Morehead City

Two previous inductees who were unable to attend their ceremonies were also recognized at this year’s event — Caroll Hallisey, inducted in 2014, and Ann King, inducted in 2016.

The college also recognized the recipient of its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award, Sue Collier.

Collier received her bachelor of science in nursing and master of science in nursing from ECU. She serves as senior vice president for the N.C. Healthcare Foundation, which represents 130 hospitals and has been a leader in health care for more than 35 years.

Her career began at Pitt County Memorial Hospital (now Vidant) as a staff nurse, working her way up to eventually guide Vidant’s Health’s first Corporate Planning division as a member of the corporate executive staff. Collier was inducted as an inaugural member of the College of Nursing Hall of Fame and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society.

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