Krauss honored at international festival of science documentaries


April 21, 2014

Arizona State University professor Lawrence Krauss was honored at the Academia Film Olomouc, near Prague, for his contributions to public understanding of science, and for his work in increasing awareness of science in society. The Academia Film Olomouc award for Outstanding Communication of Science was presented at a special ceremony on April 19, in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

Academia Film Olomouc (AFO) is an international festival of science documentary films, the largest such festival in Europe, held annually under the patronage of the Palacky University in Olomouc. The festival features science and educational films from the fields of the humanities, natural and social sciences, educational programs of both domestic and foreign television productions, and current science, artistic and technological progress. Lawrence Krauss speaking at the Origins Great Debate in 2014 Download Full Image

“It is surprising and humbling to be recognized like this in such a distant and beautiful country,” Krauss said. “It is very heartwarming to feel one’s work has had some global impact, but more importantly, it vividly demonstrates that science is truly a global human activity which can be enjoyed across cultures, languages and religions, and provides a universal language that can bring people together.

“This wonderful award emboldens me to continue to reach out, both with my scientific research and my efforts to encourage the use of science and reason to help inspire young people and also guide public policy,” he added. “It was also wonderful to see the reaction to our new film, 'The Unbelievers,' which was screened to a sell-out crowd at the festival.”

Krauss is being recognized by AFO “because of his wide involvement in the popularization and communication of science,” said Jakub Rális, program manager for Academia Film Olomouc. “He has devoted a lot of energy to communicating physics and the social importance of science and critical thinking in general.” He was also cited for “his work in cross-topic issues where science meets popular culture, art and humanities.”

Krauss is internationally known for his work in theoretical physics, including his prescient predictions of the existence of dark energy and also of gravitational waves from the early universe, both of which have helped push forward the frontiers of cosmology. He is also a well-known author and science communicator. In addition to being a Foundation Professor at Arizona State University, Krauss is the director of the Origins Project, which explores key questions about our origins, who we are and where we came from, and then holds open forums to encourage public participation.

Krauss is the only physicist to receive major awards from all three U.S. physics societies: the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics and the American Association of Physics Teachers. He was given the 2012 Public Service Award from the National Science Board for his efforts in communicating science to general audiences.

Krauss has authored more than 300 scientific publications and nine books, including his most recent best-seller, “A Universe from Nothing,” which offers provocative, revelatory answers to the most basic philosophical questions of existence. It was on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction within a week of its release.

Krauss also wrote the international best-seller “The Physics of Star Trek,” an entertaining and eye-opening tour of the Star Trek universe, and “Beyond Star Trek,” which addressed recent exciting discoveries in physics and astronomy, and takes a look how the laws of physics relate to notions from popular culture. A book on physicist Richard Feynman, “Quantum Man,” was awarded the 2011 Book of the Year by Physics World magazine in the UK.

Krauss has been a frequent commentator and columnist for newspapers such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has written regular columns for New Scientist and Scientific American, and appears routinely on radio and television.

He continues to be a leader in his field as he serves as a co-chair of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on the board of directors of the Federation of American Scientists and is one of the founders of ScienceDebate2012.

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ASU named one of nation's most sustainable colleges


April 21, 2014

Arizona State University has been named one of the nation’s most sustainable colleges for the fifth consecutive year in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges. The annual guidebook measures the commitment to environment and sustainability by four-year colleges across the United States.

In this year’s green rating, ASU was commended for its: volunteers harvesting oranges on the ASU campus Download Full Image

• generation of more than 23 megawatts of solar power for university use through 81 solar panel installations across its four campuses

• commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

• investments in energy conservation projects that pay for themselves in utility savings

• encouragment of energy efficient, LEED-certified construction on its various campuses

Statistics cited are from the time of review. Updated information is available at the ASU Solar website.

The report also lauded ASU’s Campus Harvest program. Fruit, nuts and herbs grown on university campuses are used in cafeteria food or sold at various campus farmers markets. In addition, four of ASU’s dining halls have adopted a zero-waste philosophy. More than 30 tons of food scraps are diverted away from the landfill into compost operations every month.

To encourage transportation alternatives, ASU has implemented the subsidized U-Pass program, which offers unlimited rides on area buses and light rail. A university bicycle co-op also offers maintenance and parts and accessories at a discounted cost.

The Princeton Review's Green Rating criteria cover three areas:

1. whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable

2. how well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges

3. the school's overall commitment to environmental issues

The institutional survey for the Princeton rating included questions on energy use, recycling, food, buildings and transportation, as well as academic offerings and action plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rob Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review, noted that his company's recent survey findings indicated significant interest among college applicants in attending "green" colleges.

"Among 10,116 college applicants who participated in our 2014 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' 61 percent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school," he said.

The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges is published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)'s Center for Green Schools and is the only free, comprehensive guide that focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and to sustainability. The guide is available online at: http://www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.

Media projects manager, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development