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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 27, 2012

At A Glance

UI researcher receives NASA grant to advance X-ray astronomy

Astronomers may one day be able to observe the material connecting galaxies across the universe, thanks to University of Iowa researcher Randall McEntaffer, who is developing technologies to advance the field of X-ray astronomy.

McEntaffer and his UI colleagues are leading an international team studying a novel type of X-ray spectrograph designed for astrophysical research, and he recently won a two-year, $1 million NASA grant to improve the instruments to be carried aboard future space telescopes.

The work is especially needed because current space telescopes are growing old. Earth-orbiting X-ray observatories, including Chandra and XMM-Newton, have served astronomers for well over a decade. However, there are no identified successors, leaving future X-ray astronomy at risk. NASA is currently exploring options for suitable replacements with requirements geared toward achieving key science objectives, according to McEntaffer, assistant professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The immediate goal is to develop technology in preparation for a new X-ray observatory mission in the coming decade. The long-range goal is to make observations of many exciting phenomena, including the environments around black holes and the detection of most of the ordinary matter in the universe.


UNI surpasses fundraising goal in inaugural Dance Marathon

University of Northern Iowa students shattered this year’s goal of $14,000 by raising $56,473.01 for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in their inaugural Dance Marathon on Feb. 25 on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls.

Brenna Bush, co-executive director for UNI Dance Marathon, said she was proud of the students and the executive members for their effort. This year’s total puts UNI Dance Marathon among the top two schools for fundraising totals for first-year dance marathons across the country. There are currently 170 collegiate dance marathons nationwide.

More than 700 students, volunteers and families danced 12 hours, without sitting or caffeine, in Maucker Union. The event, 15 months in the planning, was led by 14 student leaders and two advisors and featured music, entertainment, food and fun.

All money benefits UI Children’s Hospital in Iowa City through Children’s Miracle Network. The experience helps college students learn at a young age the power of giving back to the communities in which they live.

To learn more about UNI Dance Marathon or to make a donation, visit


BTN program showcases UI virtual soldier

Tuesday’s episode of “Impact the World”—a Big Ten Network program dedicated to university breakthroughs—turns its focus on the University of Iowa Virtual Soldier Research (VSR) program, which is helping scientists and military planners understand life on the battlefield.

The show premieres Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 9:30 p.m. central time, with additional broadcasts scheduled for 10 p.m. March 1, 3 p.m. March 2, and 10:30 a.m. March 4. It’s the concluding episode in an eight-part original series hosted by actor Dennis Haysbert.

VSR last year received an $8.6 million U.S. Navy contract to evaluate how equipment loads affect mobility and physical stress. Researchers hope to determine how much weight soldiers can carry on missions without compromising their safety.

The research utilizes the SANTOS™ digital human modeling and simulation environment, which features a computerized avatar that duplicates human anatomy and realistically responds to environmental stimuli.

In development since 2003, SANTOS™ has leveraged more than $23 million in research support by the U.S. Department of Defense and industry partners. It’s also led to the launch of Santos Human Inc., a spin-off company that commercializes related software.


SNL alum Finesse Mitchell brings stand-up to the IMU on March 2

Saturday Night Live alum Finesse Mitchell will perform at 10 p.m. Friday, March 2 in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union as part of the Campus Activity Board’s spring Friday Night Comedy Series.

Mitchell spent three seasons on SNL in the midst of a stand-up comedy career that has earned him national notoriety. He’s been a featured comedian on a variety of late-night talk shows, from E!’s “Chelsea Lately” to “The Late Show with Conan O’Brien.”

He’s also the author of Your Girlfriends Only Know So Much, a humorous dating advice manual.

Tickets are available at the Iowa Memorial Union Box Office for $5. Tickets also may be purchased at the door for $7. For more information visit or call 319-335-3041.


Accounting oversight board member to deliver McGladrey lecture at UI

Jay Hanson, a member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), will discuss what his board does and how it helps the economy when he speaks at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business on Monday, March 5.

Hanson will deliver the McGladrey Institute for Accounting Education and Research annual lecture at 6 p.m. in room W10 of the Pappajohn Business Building.

Hanson was appointed to the PCAOB by the Securities and Exchange Commission in January 2011. The board oversees the audits of public companies in order to protect the interests of investors in the preparation of informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. The PCAOB also oversees the audits of broker-dealers, including compliance reports filed pursuant to federal securities laws, to promote investor protection.

More information about the board can be found at


University and Concert Bands will share March 5 concert

The University and Concert Bands of the University of Iowa School of Music will share a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 5, in the Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial.

The University Band, with conductor Ernest Jennings and guest conductors Carter Biggers and Oliver Molina (all UI graduate students), will perform “Masque” by W. Francis McBeth, Dance Variations on a Theme from Rodolynji by James Sudduth, “In This Moment” by Aaron Perrine, “Foundry” by John Mackey, and the “Gallant 7th March” by John Philip Sousa.

The Concert Band, conducted by Hawkeye Marching Band director Kevin Kastens and guest student conductors Steven Riley and Marc Decker, will play the "Dedication Overture" by Vittorio Giannini, "Nimrod" from "Enigma" Variations by Alfred Reed, the Iowa March by Edwin Franko Goldman, "Kaddish" by W. Francis McBeth, and "Raise the Roof" by Michael Daugherty, featuring timpanist Oliver Molina.

The Concert Band is filled by audition, while the University Band is open to all interested UI students.

Read a biography of Kastens at


Photos for At A Glance items, if available, may be found at

Campus events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar:

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in a program, please contact the sponsoring department in advance.