The magazine for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at
Iowa State University

LAS news

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

Computer scientists launch data-science infrastructure to advance COVID-19 research

A team of computer-science researchers has developed a data-science infrastructure that will improve research efficiencies for scientists studying COVID-19. The platform allows researchers to study 44,000 papers related to coronaviruses—nearly 60 years of published research. Hridesh Rajan, interim chair of the Department of Computer Science and Kingland Professor of Data Science, is spearheading this project.

Research from the Department of Sociology delves into rural Iowa leadership styles

A new report from Dave Peters, associate professor in the Department of Sociology, reveals why municipal leadership style matters in Iowa’s small towns. The report shows how communities that buy into a “shared leadership” model tend to experience a range of benefits that other similarly sized communities don’t.

Iowa State faculty get creative as courses move online for remainder of spring semester

Iowa State faculty, including Steve Butler, associate professor and Barbara J. Janson Professor of mathematics, are using new approaches and innovative teaching tools after shifting to online instruction for the remainder of the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Calculus lectures are being viewed via YouTube videos and 3D printers enable students to create at home. More than 6,000 Iowa State courses have been successfully transitioned to online instruction.

Geologists determine early Earth was a ‘water world’ by studying exposed ocean crust

A team of geologists—including Benjamin Johnson, assistant professor of geological and atmospheric sciences—studied an exposed section of 3.2-billion-year-old ocean crust in Australia. The researchers used the rock data to build a quantitative, inverse model of ancient seawater. The model indicates that the early Earth could have been a "water world" with submerged continents. The findings were published online by the journal Nature Geoscience.

LAS Student Earns Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Madeline Farringer ('21 biochemistry) received a Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. The $7,500 scholarship covers the cost of room and board, as well as tuition, fees and books.

Paul Canfield of ISU, Ames Laboratory elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Paul Canfield, a Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Robert Allen Wright Professor of Physics and Astronomy, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Canfield is a condensed matter physicist who designs and discovers new materials and properties. He’s also a senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. He’ll be formally recognized during ceremonies scheduled for October.