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Health & science briefs

Nicholas School buys energy certificates

As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship, the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University has purchased $19,718 of renewable energy certificates to offset its use of electricity generated from fossil fuels.

“Buying these certificates is a way of putting our money where our mouth is,” William Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School, said in a statement. “It ensures that the energy our school takes from the national power grid to run classrooms, labs and offices is being replaced with an equivalent amount of clean, renewable energy.”

The school bought the certificates this summer from Gray County Wind Farm, the largest wind farm in Kansas.

Renewable energy certificates are credits that individuals, institutions or businesses can buy to compensate for the amount of nonrenewable, greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels they burn in their vehicles, homes, offices or other facilities.

 

Distinguished professor honored with conference

Duke’s most decorated scientist-explorer, primatologist Elwyn Simons, will be honored at a Sept. 16 and 17 conference commemorating his life and work, on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

Simons, who is James B. Duke Professor of biological anthropology and anatomy, is renowned for more than four decades of expeditions in which he discovered many new primate species. Such studies revealed unprecedented details about the era marking the evolution of the first anthropoid ancestor of monkeys, apes and humans. Independently or with coauthors he has published over 320 papers and books.

Currently he is working on several papers about new discoveries in Egypt, and a book-length memoir of his life in science.

Duke community plans to celebrate Einstein’s life

Beginning Monday, Sept. 5, Duke professors of mathematics and physics will devote a week to explaining Albert Einstein’s discoveries, their relevance to everyday life and their place in contemporary science. Duke’s “Einstein Week”—a series of talks, informal discussions and a student competition— comes 100 years after the scientist’s famous burst of publications in 1905.

“The originality, depth and natural beauty of Einstein's Relativity Theory are an intellectual tour de force,” said Arlie Petters, organizer of Einstein Week and a Duke professor of mathematics and physics. “The talks will explore the geometry and physics of relativity, as well as anecdotes and facts in the history of the subject.”

In a contest Saturday, Sept. 10, in 120 Physics Building, undergraduate students will grapple with problems involving Einstein’s Relativity Theory. The winner will receive $1,000, second place $500 and third $250.

"Einstein Week" is part of a larger semester-long series of events at Duke, which, in turn, is part of "World Year of Physics 2005." World Year of Physics 2005 is a United Nations endorsed international celebration of physics, highlighting the vitality of the discipline and its importance in the coming millennium.

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