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University of Iowa News Release


July 21, 2009

At A Glance

'Planet Earth' movie series continues Aug. 2 at Museum of Natural History

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History's Movies@MNH series continues on Sunday, August 2 with a free, public showing of the episode "Freshwater" from the Discovery Channel's 2006 award-winning documentary series, "Planet Earth."  The screening will take place at 2 p.m. in the Biosphere Discovery Hub, located on the third floor of Macbride Hall on the UI Pentacrest.

"Freshwater" follows rivers as they course from mountain to sea, nourishing unique and dramatic wildlife. The 50-minute episode explores the world's deepest lake inhabited by the only species of freshwater seal, gives a stunning look at the world's highest waterfall and offers a unique perspective on the secret lives teeming in the planet's purest waters.

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History features three permanent galleries exploring natural history and emerging environmental research in Iowa and beyond. For more information call 319-335-0606 or visit

UI engineer receives $277,000 NSF grant for polymer research

C. Allan Guymon, associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, has received a three-year, $277,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for polymer research.

The grant builds upon a similar NSF grant he received in 2006 and involves polymers formed using light, such as those used in dental fillings, plastics and paints.

Guymon said that the nanometer-sized polymers are formed using large amounts of soap in water -- formally called lyotropic liquid crystals -- and that light determines the speed of polymer formation, a critical factor in developing nanotechnology structures.

He added that his research might also have medical applications because nanostructured polymers prepared using lyotropic liquid crystals have shown their ability to change the growth and development of tissue in the body.

Additionally, in recent years, Guymon has taught about the importance of polymers at both Iowa City West High School and Clear Creek Amana High School to over 40 chemistry classes. The grant will also help in incorporating the importance of nanotechnology as part of this ongoing collaboration.

UI alumna Gish Jen is selected for Academy of Arts and Sciences

Fiction writer Gish Jen, an alumna of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, is one of the 2009 inductees into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The 2009 fellows include Civil War historian James McPherson, novelist Thomas Pynchon, dancer/choreographers Edward Villela and Bill T. Jones, NPR journalist Susan Stamberg, actors Dustin Hoffman and James Earl Jones, and singers Marilyn Horne and Emmy Lou Harris.

Jen is the author of "The Love Wife," "Typical American," "Mona in the Promised Land" and "Who's Irish?"

Among the many UI-connected fellows in the academy membership are Dr. Francois Abboud, writer James Alan McPherson, muscular dystrophy expert Kevin Campbell, emeritus political science professor and dean Gerhard Loewenberg, psychiatrist Dr. Nancy Andreason, microbiologist E. Peter Greenberg, law professor Herbert Hovenkamp, Dr. Michael Welch, space physicist Donald Gurnett, historian Linda Kerber, neurologists Antonio and Hanna Damasio, poet Jorie Graham, and former UI presidents Willard Boyd, Mary Sue Coleman and Hunter Rawlings.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The academy's elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.


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