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Volume 56, Number 21    February 2, 2009         

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How planets are born
A Jan. 27 MSNBC story featured research on planet formation by Assistant Professor of Astronomy Joseph Barranco. Using 3-D models, Barranco has challenged commonly held beliefs on the way planets form. He modeled how gas layers flow at different speeds over and beneath dust layers, which creates turbulence. "What we found is that, like wind blowing over water on a pond, you get ripples," Barranco said. "It's an incredibly challenging field," he added. "We can't observe planetary formation, but we know that planets form because we're standing on one."

Closing shop
In a Jan. 23 New York Times article, Assistant Professor of Journalism Cristina Azocar commented on the potential closing of The Ming Pao Daily News, a Chinese language newspaper. Azocar noted the importance of ethnic media outlets -- particularly to immigrant populations. "People don't necessarily see themselves reflected in the mainstream media, so different cultural populations were turning to the ethnic media more and more," she said.

Educating the educators
In a Dec. 18 Inside Higher Education article, Assistant Professor of Biology Kimberly Tanner discussed research on science education. Tanner, along with four researchers from the California State University system and one from Purdue University found that a greater commitment by science faculty to focus on science education could drive education reform at universities and K-12 schools. Tanner said it's important to retain science education faculty in universities. "It's nice to see that there are people who are filling these roles in departments," she said. "Still we need to sponsor more formal training pathways to help expand and build their knowledge base." 

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

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Last modified Feb. 2, 2009 by University Communications.