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Monday, March 31th 2008:
Today, the French architect Jean Nouvel was awarded the Pritzker Prize; architecture's highest honor. Mr Nouvel is known for his work in Europe including the critically acclaimed Arab World Institute in Paris. Mr Nouvel is also the mind behind the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Mr Nouvel joins another Pritzker Prize winner who influenced the Minneapolis architecture scene, Frank Gehry. Frank Gehry won the prize in 1989, and designed the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art on the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities campus in 1993.
Monday, February 11th 2008:
On February 14th 2008 I will host a one-hour presentation as part of the Computational Neuroscience luncheons at the U of M. During my talk, I will speak about poker playing artificial agents, human decision making under incentives (financial and otherwise), and finally gambling addiction. The presentation will take place at 4-101 Hasselmo Hall from noon to 1pm.
Sunday, February 10th 2008:
Today, I noticed an interesting fact about this year's Los Angeles Lakers team. All of their guards (even some forwards) shot above their three-point shooting career averages. This intrigued me as a researcher and a basketball fan. I had to ask, what caused such an improvement in a year where the Lakers did not make any meaningful off-season acquisitions and spent earlier parts of the season wondering if their star player, Kobe Bryant, would be traded? Click here to read the full story
Tuesday, February 5th 2008:
Today, Nobel Prize winner Joshua Lederberg died in his home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Dr. Lederberg won the Nobel Prize of Physiology in 1958, he was 33 years old. Although he received the prestigious prize for pioneering the field of molecular biology, Dr. Lederberg published extensively in the field of Artificial Intelligence and had a weekly column in the Washington Post "Science and Man." Dr. Lederberg was an advisor for a total of nine White House administrations and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, the United States' highest civilian honor. Dr. Lederberg's truly interdisciplinary career as well as his conventional wisdom-defying vision is a continuous inspiration of mine.
For more on Dr. Lederberg's legacy please visit: The U.S. National Library of Medicine website
Monday, December 31st 2007:
I have recently returned from Saudi Arabia where I completed Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca.) Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of the Islamic faith. It is only obligatory upon those who are physically and financially apt to make the journey. I am in the process of looking for publishers (or literary agents) to publish my adventures in Saudi Arabia.
Friday, November 30th 2007:
On December 7th, 2007, the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities will host a meeting to discuss on-campus late night safety issues. I would like to invite all graduate and professional students to visit during my office hours or email me to express any safety concerns they might have.
Tuesday, November 20th 2007:
My office hours for the remainder of the fall semester are:
Time: Fridays 11am-12pm
Location: Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Office - Coffman Memorial Union Room 234
All graduate and professional students are welcome to discuss any issues they might have.
Wednesday, November 14th 2007:
I was recently elected Vice President for Graduate and Professional Student Affairs. My agenda for this academic year is (1) To ensure all student safety issues are addressed and solved; (2) Ensure that we provide a diverse, nurturing, and productive environment for all graduate and professional students; and (3) Provide affordable books for students by negotiating deals with various departments and book publishers.
Tuesday, October 23rd 2007:
I recently passed the Written Preliminary Examinations (WPEs) in Artificial Intelligence, Database Management Systems, and Visualization. I would like to thank all faculty, staff members and peers who assisted me in completing the first milestone of my doctoral studies. Thank you.
Wednesday, September 26th 2007:
On Tuesday, October 2nd, Al-Madinah Cultural Center at The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is organizing its annual Fast-A-Thon to raise funds for the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA). This is how it works: On October 2nd, non-Muslims are invited to fast for one day (abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sundown.) For every non-Muslims who fasts, a business partner will donate up to $1 to ARAHA(www.araha.org). At sundown on October 2nd, all participating students are invited to join us for Iftar (breaking fast) in the Great Hall (Coffman Student Union). This is a great opportunity to help promote social dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims as well as contributing to fighting famine, poverty and illiteracy in areas such as Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.
For more information on Fast-A-Thon, please see the following letter or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you at the event!
Friday, June 22nd 2007:
According to The New York Times, Rick Hilton, Paris Hilton's father said that ABC's $100,000 was "not even in the same galaxy" as a competitor's bid to interview Paris Hilton when she gets out of prison. The Times article later stated the "competitor" was NBC who made a six-figure bid to win the rights to interview the future ex-convict. I wonder how much a "six-figure" sum means to the hotel mogul family. I'm sure it would mean a lot (and probably save many lives) in impoverished Somalia or Liberia. It's good to see that we have our priorities straight: war over education and health insurance, TV interviews over internation aid.
Thursday, June 7th 2007:
In an article published today in Nature, scientists at Kyoto University were able to reprogram skin cells of a mouse to the embryonic state by injecting four genes identified by Dr. Yamanaka, the group's lead researcher. Such an approach would sidestep the ethical arguments that stem-cell research has faced since 1998. Stem cells are used in regenerative medicine, where a patient's cells are converted into specialized cells to replace damaged or lost tissue (heart, liver, kidney, neurons...etc.) due to injury or disease.
Reference Okita, K., Ichisaka, T. & Yamanaka, S. Nature doi:10.1038/nature05934 (2007).
Wednesday, May 23rd 2007:
I recently joined the Department of Imaging and Radiology Systems at the Mayo Clinic.
I will be using a different email during regular business hours. If you need an immediate response, please email me at:
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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.