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Volume 56, Number 18    December 22, 2008         

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A planet is born
A Dec. 17 article in Astrobiology Magazine featured research by Assistant Professor of Astronomy Joseph Barranco on the formation of planets. Barranco's research found that turbulence plays a role in the formation of planets, which challenges prevailing theories of planet formation. Understanding how planets form is essential for finding habitable worlds beyond our solar system. "These results defy the proposed solution of how planets are formed," Barranco said. "Scientists have long been using gravitational instability theory to explain how millimeter-size particles grow to kilometer-size, but these new simulations open new avenues of investigation. Perhaps massive storms, similar to hurricanes found on the Earth or Jupiter, provide clues about how tiny dust grains clump together to become kilometer-size boulders."

Surviving layoffs
In a Dec. 14 Washington Times article, Assistant Professor of Management Mitchell Marks gave advice to employees who keep their jobs following a spate of layoffs. With unemployment lines growing longer with each passing week, employees lucky enough to survive layoffs find themselves missing one key trait – creativity. "People are much less likely to think outside the box at exactly the time when their company most needs them to do so," Marks said. He added that layoffs often affect teamwork that can help sagging bottom lines. "They will promote themselves by pointing out flaws in others' work," he said.

For more media coverage of faculty, staff, students, alumni and programs, see SF State in the News.

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Last modified Dec. 22, 2008 by University Communications.