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Steve Kawaler, professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and student Miles Lucas (
Steve Kawaler, professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and student Miles Lucas ('19 physics) contributed to a body of data that was instrumental in the discovery of a new planet (Illustration by Gabriel Perez Diaz, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias).

LAS News

News and information from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Keep up with the college on our news site:

Computer science team creates innovative mathematical model

Borzoo Bonakdarpour, assistant professor of computer science, predicts that fleets of drones are on the horizon—and that they will require sophisticated automation. In response, Bonakdarpour and his colleagues developed a mathematical model that will help drone fleet operators improve efficiency and maintain security, as the drones communicate with each other and respond to weather events, crashes or other unexpected events.

Want to improve your mood? Try a little kindness

Psychology department researchers Douglas Gentile, Dawn Sweet and Lanmiao He conducted a study that examines happiness. Published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, their research findings suggest that practicing loving kindness can improve happiness; whereas comparing ourselves to others may produce the opposite effect. The data also showed that wishing others well may lift our spirits.

Professor and student contribute to out-of-this-world discovery

Steven Kawaler, professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and Miles Lucas ('19 physics) were among the researchers who contributed data and analysis to NASA's new TESS Mission. This ongoing research from the Tess Mission led to the recent discovery of a new planet. Described as a "hot Saturn," the planet is also very close to its star and similar in size to Saturn.

LAS Students Earn Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Two students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences received a Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. Recipients include Jacqueline Blaum ('20 physics and computer science); and Matthew Ryan ('20 chemistry). The one-year scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500.

Assistant professor of journalism honored with Cassling Innovation Award

Dara Wald was selected as the 2019 Cassling Innovation Award winner. An assistant professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Wald was selected for the award due to her extensive collaboration with faculty and students across many disciplines, as well as her innovative approaches to research and education. The award was established by Dr. Randal S. and Lori S. Cassling to facilitate new directions in faculty research, especially interdisciplinary research and scholarship.

Sociology professors dig deep into 2016 Iowa voter behavior

Iowa had more counties flip from Democrat to Republican, during the 2016 election than any state. Iowa State sociology professors Ann Oberhauser, Daniel Krier and Abdi Kusow researched and analyzed county-level data. Their findings? White, rural voters without a college education were more likely to switch to Republican. Their work is published in The Sociological Quarterly.

Chemistry professor honored with 2019 Trapp Innovation Award

Chemistry Professor Yan Zhao received the 2019 Trapp Innovation Award for his inventive research which fosters the development of nanoparticles that can recognize carbohydrates, proteins, drugs and peptides. The award honors a faculty member who is pursuing new or unique research in the fields of chemistry or the physical sciences. Zhao will use the award funds to hire an additional graduate student.