Professor makes movie debut in science film

February 22, 2008

Rustum Roy, a research professor in ASU’s School of Materials, is featured in a new documentary film that explores claims of revolutionary advances in the scientific understanding of the most essential material for life – water.

The School of Materials is jointly administered by the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Download Full Image

The film is set for its United States debut on Feb. 22 at the Harkins Valley Art movie theater in Tempe.

Titled simply Water, the documentary examines new discoveries by researchers around the world on the physical and metaphysical aspects of water. Experts in diverse fields explain not only the biological, environmental, climatological and agricultural importance of water, but its connection to social behavior, politics, religion and medicine.

The documentary by Russian filmmaker Saida Medvedeva is being distributed by Intention Media, a company led by filmmaker Betsy Chasse, a co-creator of What the Bleep Do We Know?! – one of the most popular feature-film documentaries of recent years.
Water has already debuted in Europe, where it has won various awards for best documentary, best popular science film, producing and cinematography.

Roy, a materials scientist, talks about his research in the documentary, discussing his many years of work to characterize the “structure” of water and the ability to change its structure for use in various ways, such as adapting it for development of medicines.

Roy is the founding director of Penn State University’s Materials Research Laboratory. In addition to his post at Penn State, he has held joint appointments at ASU and the University of Arizona for the past several years.

He is a member of national science and engineering academies in the United States, Japan, Russia, Sweden and India.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Supreme Court justice illuminates U.S. Constitution

February 22, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer detailed his vision of the United States Constitution and a citizen’s role in making it work in his speech, “Our Democratic Constitution,” delivered Feb. 12 to more than 700 people at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Breyer made his remarks at the 12th annual Willard H. Pedrick Lecture.

Retired U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor introduced Breyer as her colleague, friend and a great judge. Download Full Image

Breyer said he was very nervous when he joined the Supreme Court and was told, “Just follow Sandra Day O’Connor around and you’ll learn.”

Breyer and O’Connor have worked together to encourage teaching high school students about government and the Constitution.

Breyer says the essence of the Constitution is a certain kind of democracy, which protects human liberties, divides power so that no one becomes too powerful, assures a degree of equality and insists upon a rule of law.

Under this document, Breyer says, it’s not the job of the Supreme Court to tell people what to do, but to “patrol the rails, the boundaries, the frontiers” of a democratic space, in which individuals fight, argue and discuss issues to decide what kind of country they want.

Breyer analyzed the issue of campaign finance legislation, which limits the dollar amount an individual can contribute to a candidate.

The Constitution says Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. One side argues that limiting contributions limits an individual’s ability to express his views through the candidate he supports. The other side argues that if the very wealthy trump the less wealthy who cannot afford to contribute as much, then their views are drowned out; the enabling of one to some degree disenables the other, he says.

“We have arguments related to free speech on both sides,” Breyer says. “Now what do we do? Ah, I wish I could tell you. I can say what we did do. What we did do was say this matter is up to the Legislature, as long as they are trying to perfect, to create a better public discussion.

But it will require supervision.

“The Constitution creates a democratic space, creates democratic institutions, because it assumes that you will go out there and fill them, go out there and participate,” he says. “It creates the opportunity to say what kind of city, town, state, nation you want, because it expects that you will seize that opportunity and do it.”

The Willard H. Pedrick Lecture was established in 1997 by the Pedrick family in memory of the founding dean of the College of Law. The annual lecture brings to the law school outstanding legal scholars, jurists or practitioners to enrich the intellectual life of the college and the community.

Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications