ASU celebrates grand opening of new Barrett campus

October 15, 2009

The strongest testimony for the quality of Barrett, the Honors College, came from a student at the Oct. 15 grand opening of the new Barrett campus at Arizona State University.

Joe Canarie, now an ASU junior, said he had been accepted at Johns Hopkins and the University of Chicago, but changed his mind when he visited Barrett as a high school student from South Portland, Maine. Download Full Image

“I was very skeptical, coming from a high school where private college was the only option,” said Canarie, who is a biological sciences and global health major. “What I found was a group of students just as passionate and intelligent and engaged as any I had encountered elsewhere.

“They stayed up all night having philosophical conversations, they double majored in theater and neuroscience, they spent time tutoring local elementary school kids. Yet I found ASU was different, because the faculty and staff take students’ ideas so seriously.

“I felt I’d be valued here, and this is what makes Barrett unique. I discovered that getting a high-quality education doesn’t require wrapping yourself in ivy and mortgaging the house.”

Canarie said the idea for the Sustainability House at Barrett came from students, who approached deans with their desire to design a community where they could practice the values of sustainable living in their everyday lives. Today Canarie lives in SHAB with 200 other students, with low-consumption plumbing fixtures, enhanced energy monitoring, recycled gray water, a green roof and an organic garden.

Several hundred people came to celebrate the opening of the new $130 million seven-building campus that features housing, classrooms, faculty offices, a fitness center, computer lounge and dining hall with covered terrace and garden. They took tours and enjoyed the beauty of the spacious Grand Court, a central courtyard with performance spaces and an outdoor fireplace.

About 1,700 students moved into the new nine-acre complex before school started Aug. 25. It is the nation’s first comprehensive four-year residential honors college at a public university.

Craig and Barbara Barrett, who endowed the honors college with a $10 million gift in 2000, were thrilled by their tour of the new campus and impressed by the students they met. In a conversation after the ceremony, they related how the gift came about.

Both of the Barretts had been strong supporters of ASU, serving on numerous committees, she as an alumna. They were washing dishes after dinner at the home of their friends Elva and Lattie Coor, who was then the ASU president. They casually mentioned they’d decided to make a gift to the university, and when they mentioned the amount, the Coors had to sit down. Soon all four were in tears.

“The honors college at that time was young, and it was short on resources, with not much of a donor base,” said Craig. “We felt it needed additional financial support. Seeing what has grown from that initial seed is magnificent. The new campus is a phenomenal environment for learning.

“Barbara and I both went to school on scholarship, and have had the advantage of a good education. We recognize a good education is the key to a lifetime. To be able to give something back is absolutely necessary and appropriate. It’s the most important thing our generation can give to the following generation, the opportunity for a quality education.”

The new campus was funded by American Campus Communities, one of the largest owners, managers and developers of high quality student housing properties in the United States. Bill Bayless, American Campus CEO, said he had never seen a campus take shape so quickly, and in the midst of a recession.

“The ability of ASU to provide a living learning environment of this caliber to its students is a testament to the vision and resourcefulness of ASU President Michael Crow, and we are honored to support his mission,” he said. “We do business in more than 40 states, and nowhere have we seen an institution that can turn vision into action into reality as we have seen here at ASU.”

Nobel laureate Giacconi: Astronomical discoveries require new physics

October 15, 2009

In 1609 Galileo turned the eyes of science to the frontier of space. Now, 400 years after the discovery of the telescope, Nobel laureate Riccardo Giacconi of Johns Hopkins University looks to detail a new period of heroic astronomical discoveries, comparable in impact on human understanding of the universe to those made by the "father of modern science" himself.

Giacconi shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002 for his pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources. He will deliver a public lecture titled "A New Revolution in Astronomy 400 years after Galileo" at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at Arizona State University. The lecture is a part of the Distinguished Lecturer Series presented by ASU's Physics">">Physics Department in the College">">College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It will be held in the Bateman Physical Sciences F Wing, Room 173, on ASU's Tempe campus. A reception precedes the lecture at 7 p.m. Download Full Image

"We live in a new heroic period of astronomical discoveries comparable for its impact on human understanding of the universe to that which occurred from Copernicus to Newton," said Giacconi. "New observatories in space and on the ground have opened up the study of the entire range of wavelengths emitted by celestial bodies reaching Earth from the farthest reaches of the cosmos.

"These studies have revealed the crucial role played by explosive events in the formation and development of the structures we now see. They also reveal the prevalence of unknown forms of matter and energy in our universe, where normal matter made of nucleons provides only 3 percent of the total," he said.

"These discoveries require new physics, just as it happened 400 years ago."

This Distinguished Lecture Series has brought internationally recognized scientists to the university campus to engage with students, faculty and community in many of the most exciting advances in science, according to Professor Robert Nemanich, chair of the ASU Physics Department.

"In the last few years, our perspective on the nature of the universe has been turned upside down as observations from new telescopes have forced a complete rethinking of the form of matter and energy in the universe. Professor and Nobel laureate Riccardo Giacconi has led many of the most significant observational research programs that have challenged and ultimately drastically changed our understanding," Nemanich said.

Giacconi is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Astronomical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He started a group to do space science, proposed the first X-ray telescopes, and designed and built X-ray instruments for rocket flights to search for X-ray stars. In 1962, his group flew a rocket that discovered the first X-ray emitting star (Sco X-1). This discovery dawned a new age in X-ray astronomy, and led to the X-ray satellites UHURU, "Einstein" and Chandra.

Giacconi received a doctorate in physics from the University of Milan, Italy. In 1982 he became the founding director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. There he applied the techniques developed for the Einstein satellite to create the data reduction and archiving systems for the Hubble Telescope.

In 2008 Giacconi received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Inventors Hall of Fame in recognition for half a century's worth of unmatched contributions to observational capabilities in the modern world.

In addition to the public lecture, Giacconi will deliver a colloquium at 3:15 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Bateman Physical Sciences F Wing, Room 101. The title of his talk is "X-Ray Astronomy 2009."

The lecture and the colloquium are free and open to the public; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information call 480-965-3561 or visit the department's Web site,">"> For online maps of the Tempe campus and parking facilities visit">">

Written by Dan Moore ( for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Carol Hughes,