2014-2015 PDGR Abstracts


On February 26, 2014, a committee of eight UMRA members, appointed by Associate Vice President Frances Lawrenz, met to review the 14 applications for the sixth cycle of Professional Development Grants for Retirees.  The committee recommended 12 of the applications for funding. Vice President for Research, Brian Herman, announced the awards. Of the awards, one recipient was from the Duluth Campus, College of Science and Engineering, and the others were from the Twin Cities Campus, representing the fields of Statistics, Physics and Astronomy, Library, History, Mathematics, Sociology, and Halberg Chronobiology. 


Ronald E. Anderson, Emeritus Professor of Sociology; Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
A Handbook on World Suffering.  In the last round of PDGR awards, I received a grant to complete several analyses of suffering, to cover some of the costs of travel to international conferences to present papers based upon this work, and to publish the results.  The grant helped me write a book, which is now in print, and covered a few of the costs of three trips to present papers at professional meetings.  This new grant would make it possible to continue my work on world suffering and complete a second book, which will have chapters written by 40+ authors addressing a wide scope of methods, issues and perspectives on suffering.

Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., Emeritus Professor of Psychology; Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Personality “Writ Large”.  I will explore the hypothesis that the domains of personality, psychological interests, moral values, social attitudes and work vales are more closely related than is currently acknowledged.  This hypothesis is driven by the view that personality is a set of predispositions that drive individuals, who are seen as active agents, to select and create environments that are compatible with their genotypes.  This idea underlies Experience Producing Drive theory as expounded by Hayes (1962), revised by Bouchard (1997, 1996), and extended by Johnson (2010, 2013). This idea is applicable to virtually all sentient organisms (Bouchard, in press; Carere, 2013) and was called “behavioral drive” by Alan Wilson (1985). Hayes and Wilson developed their ideas entirely independently to explain the evolution of the construct of intelligence and large brains.  I believe the idea is more broadly applicable and plan to extend it to include all the domains of psychological individual differences.

Katherine Fennelly, Emeritus Professor of Public Affairs; Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Online Training on Immigration Topics.  Law enforcement officers, employers and many nonprofit staff have frequent contact with immigrants, but little, if any training in the characteristics and the particular needs of foreign-born youth and adults. Funds are requested to adapt for use with other groups an online course that the PI developed for law enforcement officers.  The bulk of the work will entail editing and incorporating videotaped interviews that were done in Minnesota, as well as filming, editing and incorporating some new interview with individuals working with immigrants in New York State.

Cathy Lee Gierke, research assistant, Halberg Chronobiology Center; Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Analysis of Rhythms using R: Introducing Chronomics Analysis Toolkit (CAT). A network of biological oscillators modulates genetic, molecular, physiological, and behavioral rhythms.  Discovering these rhythms and understanding the roles they play in organizing complex biological systems depends on ready access to flexible, robust computational tools, standardized to allow comparison of rhythms across a range of studies.  I have developed a powerful new toolkit, the Chronomics Analysis Toolkit (CAT), for analysis of biological or other time series, based on well-established methods of digital signal analysis, that can reveal the presence of rhythms, assess rhythmicity and estimate period, amplitude and phase, with associated measures of uncertainty.  In this proposal, funding is requested for introducing the software to interested audiences.  To this end, costs will be associated with further testing of CAT, publication of a paper, poster preparation for presentation at a conference, and conference expenses.

Thomas F. Jordan, Emeritus Professor of PhysicsDepartment of Physics, Swenson College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota – Duluth
Dependent Symmetries in Open Quantum Dynamics. This is a new subject.  While symmetries are important features of the complete quantum dynamics of an entire closed system, it appears that little or no attention has been given to the increased possibilities for symmetries in open quantum dynamics, where the interest is only in the dynamics for a subsystem that is just a part of a larger closed system.  Work that I am doing on this will be extended to a promising new direction that I think will provide productive student work.  In particular, we will look at the symmetries in examples of practical interest where solutions for the open dynamics have been at least partially found.  Since this is a new area of research, we have opportunities to pick low-hanging fruit.  We will keep our eyes open to see if initial results suggest unforeseen directions to explore.  Publication in a physics journal is expected.

Harvey B. Keynes, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics; School of Mathematics, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Addressing Gender Issues in Programs for Highly Talented K-12 Mathematics Students. The University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program (UMTYMP) has provided advanced K-12 and collegiate mathematics opportunities for 33 years.  While reasonably successful efforts have taken place to increase and maintain gender balance for the participants, a recent study of our entrance exam has suggested some promising additional ways to encourage retesting of nearly qualifying students.  This grant will support a pilot implementation of these suggested approaches and carefully document any changes.  The implementation would involve two mathematics post-docs, two UROP students and nine current UMTYMP peer mentor students in providing several different types of gender impact.  To measure specific gender differences, a small parallel program involving a demographically matched male cohort will be provided.  The results will be included in future publications about UMTYMP and also presented at the Joint Mathematics meeting in January 2015.

Kathleen O’Brien, Former Vice President of University Services; University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Women in Minnesota Local Government, 1970-2000. The last decades of the 20th Century experienced a dramatic increase in the number of women serving as elected and appointed officials in local government.  To date limited scholarly effort has studied women’s entry into local government. As many of these women are advancing in age, it is a critical time to capture the historical record of their personal experiences and impact on Minnesota’s politics and government.  This project will document women’s participation in politics and government from 1070 to 2000 by researching the related academic literature, newspapers, manuscripts and organizational records and interviewing women and men from throughout Minnesota, across political and personal backgrounds.  It will enrich the scholarly record for historians and social scientists and encourage women to share their life experiences and personal papers with archival institutions.  The study of women in Minnesota local politics and government will provide a prototype of this change that occurred across the nation.

Carla Rahn Phillips, Emeritus Professor of History; Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Who Owns the Fish in the Sea? Private Control of Spain’s Southwestern Tuna Fisheries, 14th-16th Centuries.  My research project aims to examine the environmental impact of private control of the tuna fisheries in southwestern Spain, which date from Phoenician times and continues today. In the late Middle Ages, successive kings of Castile granted the dukes of Medina Sidonia a monopoly of all tuna fishing from the Portuguese border to the Strait of Gibraltar.  Because of the well-known connection between the ducal fortunes and the fisheries, the dukes earned the wry nickname, “The Tuna Kings.” My preliminary research suggests that the efforts of the ducal house to defend their rights may have had the unintended consequence of protecting tuna stocks against overfishing in times of population growth. Further research in the ducal archive in Sanlucar de Barrameda will allow me to test that hypothesis.

William D. Phillips, Jr., Emeritus Professor of History; Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Encounters within Europe: The Ethnographic Observations of Foreign Travelers in Iberia in the 15th and 16th Centuries.  The theme of encounters between peoples of different geographic locations, cultures, languages, and religions has developed greatly in recent historical studies. My work concentrates on the travel narratives of Central Europeans who visited the Iberian Peninsula in the second half of the 15th Century. The Swabian Georg von Ehingen, a knight errant, traveled to Castile and Portugal to fight the Muslims in Iberia and North Africa.  The Bohemian Leo von Rozmital led a diplomatic tour to Iberia in 1465-67.  Two of his companions left accounts, Grabriel Tetzel and Vaclav Schaseck.  Nicholas of Popielovo, a Polish pilgrim, made a short visit to Santiago de Compostela in 1484. Finally, the German Hieronymus Munzer made an extensive tour of Iberia in 1494-95.  Their varied accounts provide significant ethnographic observations ranging from comments on Muslim-influenced clothing and interior decoration favored by Iberian Christians to detailed descriptions of the traffic and sale of slaves.

Herbert G. Scherer, Emeritus Associate Professor and Art Librarian; Humanities & Social Science Libraries Collection Development, Wilson Library, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Conversion of Historic Movie Poster Glass Slides to Digital Format. I have a personal collection of 250 glass slides of movie posters of the 1930s and 1940s.  I propose to convert these images to digital form and enter them in the Digital Content Library, College of Liberal Arts.  This would provide researchers with unique visual material.  It might provide me with some illustrations for my book in progress, Marquee on Main Street: Movie Theaters in American Life in the 1930s.

Roger H. Stuewer, Emeritus Professor of History of Science and Technology; School of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Application for Supplemental Travel Expenses.  I request financial support to supplement the travel expenses that will be paid by the American Association of Physics Teachers to attend the AAPT 2014 Summer and 2015 Winter meetings as a member of the AAPT Publications Committee, as Editor of the Resource Letters of the American Journal of Physics, and of the AAPT Committee on the History and Philosophy of Physics and AAPT Committee on the Interests of Senior Physicists.

William D. Sudderth, Emeritus Professor of Statistics; School of Statistics, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Finitely Additive Stochastic Dynamic Programming.  This proposal requests funds to attend a conference, “Mathematical Aspects of Game Theory and Applications,” in Roscoff, France from June 30, 2014 to July 4, 2014.  I have been invited to present a paper at the conference.