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David Bricker
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Friday, April 28, 2006

Indiana Science Monthly flag

Vol. 3, no. 7
April 28, 2006

Indiana Science Monthly is a selection of recent news stories about Indiana University scientists and their research. Comments or questions about this newsletter may be directed to David Bricker, Office of Media Relations (812-856-9035 or

March science news:
* New hominid find may be a missing link
* The evolutionary utility of sex
* The naming of plants isn't a difficult matter

* Deadline for AAAS symposia proposals is May 8
* Exactly how great is Research & Creative Activity magazine? Tell OVPR what you think

March science news

"Richard DiMarchi Wins Esselen Award" (CHEMISTRY)
Chemical & Engineering News
Vol. 84, no. 13
March 27, 2006

EXCERPT: Richard D. DiMarchi, a professor and Gill Distinguished Chair in Biomolecular Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington, and chairman of Ambrx Inc., is the recipient of the 20th Gustavus John Esselen Award.

* IUB chemist DiMarchi won the award for his efforts in the discovery and development of protein-based drugs, as well as his positive representation of chemistry as a profession.


"Ethiopian skull may be a missing link" (ANTHROPOLOGY)
March 25, 2006

EXCERPT: A hominid skull discovered in Ethiopia could fill the gap in the search for the origins of the human race, a scientist says... The cranium found near the city of Gawis, 500 km south-east of the capital Addis Ababa, is estimated to be 200,000 to 500,000 years old.

* IUB anthropology Research Scientist Sileshi Semaw is leading the project that unearthed the new fossils. Semaw told Reuters, "It opens a window into an intriguing and important period in the development of modern humans."

Stone Age Institute press release:


"Some are exercised over chocolate milk study" (MEDICINE/HEALTH)
Los Angeles Times
March 23, 2006

EXCERPT: One little milk study and everyone's having a cow... For decades, biochemists and physiologists in the dog-eat-dog world of sports drink technology have struggled to find the perfect elixir -- the right balance of carbohydrates, electrolytes, protein and fluid to keep athletes in peak form after various types of exercise.

* In 2004, IU HPER kinesiologist Joel Stager presented evidence that chocolate milk is approximately as effective as commercial sports drinks in replacing the body's electrolytes after a strenuous workout. An American milk industry group promptly issued a press release declaring chocolate milk the superior after-workout drink, a claim Stager says is not supported by evidence.

IU news tip:


"Reality Botany: Data ease doubts about plant species" (BIOLOGY)
Science News
Vol. 169, no. 12
March 25, 2006

EXCERPT: Despite the doubts of some botanists, plant species aren't just some arbitrary human classification scheme, says a team of evolutionary biologists. What's more, plants don't deserve their reputation of being outrageously promiscuous, breeding across species boundaries, because some animals can do so even more freely.

* A comprehensive Nature study of animal and plant species by IUB biologists Loren Rieseberg, Troy Wood, and Eric Baack shows plants are not a categorization nightmare, as some botanists believe. The scientists even showed animal hybrids (offspring of different species) are more likely than plant hybrids to be fertile. Put another way: animal hybrids are less likely than plant hybrids to be an evolutionary dead-end.
(Access requires a subscription)

IU press release:


"Otherworldly reproduction" (BIOLOGY)
Philadelphia Inquirer/KRT News Service
March 16, 2006

EXCERPT: ... The first living things on Earth almost certainly didn't have sex as we know it. They just divided in two. A small number of plants, insects, fish and even some lizards reproduce by cloning themselves, showing sex isn't absolutely necessary... The prevalence of sex poses a long-standing puzzle -- but two papers published just last month go far toward solving it.

* Indiana University Bloomington biologists Michael Lynch and Susanne Paland published a paper in the journal Science demonstrating strong selective advantages conferred by sexual reproduction among sexual and asexual strains of the water flea, Daphnia pulex.

A Discover magazine Web exclusive is here:

IU press release:


"Newton's Papers" (HISTORY OF SCIENCE)
The Material World (BBC Radio 4)
March 2, 2006

EXCERPT: Isaac Newton is revered for his scientific theories. Theology and alchemy are not the subjects that spring to mind when you think of his work. But Newton wrote a lot about them and two pioneering projects are making these texts available to a wide audience.

* Admirers of Sir Isaac Newton include IUB science historian William Newman, who with colleagues around the world is working to improve public access to Newton's personal and scientific communications. Via the Internet, of course.



Deadline for AAAS symposia proposals is May 8
Reminder: The AAAS annual meeting (Feb. 2007, San Francisco) is by far the largest scientific meeting in the world. It also attracts a large corps of science journalists. Indiana University researchers have experienced much sucess in using the meeting as a platform to share their work with the general public. IU and its schools and departments have improved their visibility with science reporters from all over the world simply by giving one-hour talks at the meeting. If one of the hot science topics in 2005 or 2006 happens to be in your field, please consider organizing a symposium around that topic. The deadline for symposium proposals is May 8. See the AAAS Annual Meeting main Web site for more information:

Exactly how great is Research & Creative Activity magazine? Tell OVPR what you think
Lauren Bryant, editor of OVPR's Research & Creative Activity, would like to know what you like about her magazine, and what you think is missing. She asks that you take a few minutes to fill out a survey:


* * * * Do you have an important and/or interesting paper in press? A major event or presentation coming up? Please contact IU Office of Media Relations science writers David Bricker at 812-856-9035,, or Hal Kibbey at 812-855-0074,

Indiana Science Monthly is produced for internal use only. If you have received this eMail in error, or do not wish not to receive this monthly eMail, or if you have a news item for the next edition of ISM, please contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035,