NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Recognition & Honors

Albert Cheng (Computer Science) has been appointed an associate editor of an Association for Computing Machinery journal, ACM Computing Surveys. The journal’s comprehensive, readable surveys and tutorial papers give guided tours through the literature and explain topics to those who seek to learn the basics of areas outside their specialties in an accessible way. The journal provides an excellent way for researchers and professionals to develop perspectives on, and identify trends in complex technologies.

Zhifeng Ren (Physics, TcSUH) leads the academic journal Materials Today Physics as its editor-in-chief. Just three years after its launch, the journal earned an impact factor putting it in the top 2% of all scientific journals. Materials Today Physics earned an impact factor of 10.443, the first year it was eligible for the rating. According to SCIJournal.org, an impact factor of 10 or higher is considered “excellent.” Fewer than 2% of scientific journals reach that benchmark, the organization reported; physics and astronomy journals have an average impact factor of 2.9.

Arthur Weglein (Physics) has been invited to serve as the closing speaker for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists/Dhahran Geophysical Society workshop, “Challenges & New Advances in Velocity Model Building,” scheduled March 9-11, 2021, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
    Seismic Imaging and Inversion: Application of Linear Inverse Theory, published in 2012 and co-authored by Robert H. Stolt of ConocoPhillips (retired) and Weglein, will be published in Chinese. Cambridge University Press, in collaboration with the Chinese publisher, Petroleum Industry Press, will publish the translation for sale in China. The text is the first of a two-volume graduate textbook in seismic physics.

Julia Wellner (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was elected as a fellow of the Geological Society of America. She is one of 48 Fellows elected in 2020. According to the GSA, election as a Fellow is an honor “bestowed on the best of our profession.” Wellner was recognized for her leadership in Antarctic research. She is making significant contributions to the fields of glacial geology, marine geology, sedimentology, and stratigraphy and has been Chief Scientist and Co-Chief Scientist on ocean expeditions to the Antarctic.

Key Publication

Alan Brandon (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) and Ph.D. student Nan Sun (first author) reported in Science Advances new evidence of the cause of earth’s dramatic cooling experienced about 13,000 years ago. Several theories existed with the leading explanation being a so-called extraterrestrial event, a massive object slamming into earth from space or bursting in the atmosphere. The researchers’ findings revealed another, more likely explanation — the eruption of a volcano on what is now the European continent, upending thinking about an event that shaped future evolution. The team, including researchers from Baylor University and Texas A&M University, relied upon isotope analysis of sediment collected from Hall’s Cave, located in the Texas Hill Country, to determine the new explanation.