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University of Iowa News Release


July 8, 2010

At A Glance

Engineer receives NSF grant for optimization design study

Sharif Rahman, professor in the University of Iowa College of Engineering Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and researcher in the Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD), has received a three-year, $272,286 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for studies in stochastic optimization of large-scale complex systems.

Essentially, this NSF-funded research will involve the development of a fundamental universal theory for design that can be applied to various large-scale engineering systems in the presence of uncertainty. There are uncertainties associated with the production of any large-scale product. For example, the amount of stress a material can endure before breaking down varies.

He said that potential engineering applications include the design of nano-electro-mechanical systems, vehicle design for improved durability, and fracture-resistant design for civil and aerospace applications. Beyond engineering, potential application areas include energy, finance, management, and transportation, where stochastic optimization also plays a vital role.

Rahman, who joined the UI faculty in 1995, is an international expert in the fields of computational mechanics, advanced materials, and stochastic computing. In 2007, he was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


UI Art Building West wins another architecture award

The University of Iowa Art Building West has won an Excellence in Architecture Merit Award in the new building category from the Society for College and University Planning.

This is the fifth international architecture award for the building, designed by prominent architect Stephen Holl, in collaboration with Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture of Des Moines. For the UI, Rod Lehnertz and Michael Thomas were project managers and Steve Schlote was the construction manager.

The award will be formally presented during the society's national conference on July 12 in Minneapolis.

Other recognition for the building includes an Institute Honor Award in architecture of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), an Honor Award from the Iowa chapter of the AIA and a Royal Institute of British Architects award.


Newton Road closing scheduled near Carver Hawkeye Arena

Newton Road from Highway 6 to the intersection of Elliott Drive (Carver Hawkeye Arena) will be closed starting Monday, July 12 through the following Monday, July 19 and the sidewalk will be closed for two weeks, starting today, July 8 through July 22 to allow for the excavation of the Carver Hawkeye Arena lift station project. Pedestrians and motor vehicles should follow signage.

Newton Road east of Elliott Drive (Carver Hawkeye Arena) can be accessed by using Hawkins Drive to Elliott Drive to Newton Road or from Riverside Drive.

For more information, contact University of Iowa Facilities Management at 319-335-5500.


Osher 'Taste of Iowa' trip to Cajun restaurant in Oxford is July 15

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the UI is offering a visit to Augusta Restaurant in Oxford, Iowa, on Thursday, July 15, as part of the institute's "Taste of Iowa" series. The trip will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include a meal of Cajun-inspired food freshly prepared using local produce.

Participants also will meet Augusta owners Ben and Jeri Halperin who made their way to Oxford from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The couple opened Augusta in January 2008.

The cost per person is $15, which covers transportation to and from the restaurant. Registrants will pay for their own meal selection. Participants will depart Iowa City at 11:30 a.m. from City Park (200 E. Park Road) between shelters 7 and 9.

To learn more or register, visit or contact Virginia Jorstad at 319-384-4566 or


Writers' Workshop alumnus Justin Kramon reads from debut novel July 19

Justin Kramon, an alumnus of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from his debut novel, "Finny," at 7 p.m. July 19 in Prairie Lights Books at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free event will be streamed live and then archived on the Writing University website:

"Finny" is the story of a young woman's complicated path to adulthood. Finny Short is an observant, defiant 14-year-old who can't make sense of her family's unusual habits. Her mother offers guidance appropriate for a 40-year-old socialite and her father quotes Nietzsche over pancakes.

Finny figures she's stuck with this lonely lot until she meets Earl Henckel, a boy who comes from an even stranger place than she does.

Kramon has published stories in Glimmertrain, Story Quarterly, Boulevard, Fence, TriQuarterly, "Best American Short Stories" and other venues. He teaches at Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York City and the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. Visit his website at


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