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Hurry to Sign Up for Free for UPS 5K Run Benefitting the United Way

The University of Miami is once again sponsoring the UPS 5K Run, and the first 30 people to sign up for the UM team will have their $30 registration fee waived. Be among the first 1,500 to sign up, and you’ll get a free t-shirt. The race, which benefits United Way of Miami-Dade, will start at 7:30 a.m. from Coral Gables City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way, on Saturday, September 6. Help make greater Miami a more educated, prosperous, and healthy community by registering for the University of Miami team today. To register:

  • Visit www.ups5k.com, and click the “Individual registration” button.
  • Click the General Public tab and fill out your contact information.
  • Click the I’m Ready to Pay tab, and enter UM30 in the discount code section. If you are eligible for free registration you will be automatically registered.

 

 

 

 

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Network and Complexity Scientists Paint Big Picture of Cultural History

By Marie Diaz-Guma
and Annette Gallagher
UM News

 

The visualization of birth-death network dynamics offers a meta-narrative of cultural history: Europe 0-2012 CE. [Final still of Movie S1 in Schich et al.] Copyright: Ma

The visualization of birth-death network dynamics offers a meta-narrative of cultural history of Europe from 0 to 2012 CE. Copyright: Maximilian Schich & Mauro Martino, 2014

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 31, 2014)—Quantifying and transforming the history of culture into visual representation isn’t easy. There are thousands of individual stories, across thousands of years, to consider, and some historical conditions are nearly impossible to measure.

Addressing this challenge, Maximilian Schich, associate professor of arts and technology at the University of Texas at Dallas, assembled a team of network and complexity scientists, including University of Miami physicist Chaoming Song, to create and quantify a big picture of European and North American cultural history.

Schich and his fellow researchers reconstructed the migration and mobility patterns of more than 150,000 notable individuals over a time span of 2,000 years. By connecting the birth and death locations of each individual and drawing and animating lines between the two locations, Schich and his team have made progress in our understanding of large-scale cultural dynamics.

Their research is detailed in the article “Historical Patterns in Cultural History,” published August 1 in the journal Science. Another eminent journal, Nature, produced a video about the findings.

Song, an assistant professor in UM’s Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a co-author of the study. A statistical physicist, Song’s research lies in the intersection of statistical physics, network science, biological science, and computational social science, broadly exploring patterns behind petabytes of data. Song’s role in the project was primarily data analysis and model development.

“My research approach is mainly based on statistical physics, a sub-branch of physics that helps to understand the connections between macroscopic phenomena and microscopic details,” Song said.

“The study draws a surprisingly comprehensive picture of European and North American cultural interaction that can’t be otherwise achieved without consulting vast amounts of literature or combing discrete datasets,” Schich said. “This study functions like a macro-scope, where quantitative and qualitative inquiries complement each other.”

Schich and his colleagues collected the birth and death data from three databases to track migration networks within and out of Europe and North America, revealing a pattern of geographical birth sources and death attractors.

“The resulting network of locations provides a macroscopic perspective of cultural history, which helps us retrace cultural narratives of Europe and North America using large-scale visualization and quantitative dynamical tools, and to derive historical trends of cultural centers beyond the scope of specific events or narrow time intervals,” says Song.

Other findings show that despite the dependence of the arts on money, cultural centers and economic centers do not always coincide, and that the population size of a location does not necessarily point to its cultural attractiveness. In addition, the median physical distance between birth and death locations changed very little, on average, between the 14th and 21st centuries, from about 214 kilometers (133 miles) to about 382 km (237 miles), respectively.

The topic of art and cultural history is an uncommon topic for papers in journals such as Science.

“A large amount of multidisciplinary expertise was necessary to arrive at the results we found,” Schich said. “The paper relies on the fields of art history, complex networks, complexity science, computational sociology, human mobility, information design, physics, and some inspiration from systems biology.”

“There is an increasing realization that systems across different disciplines often share similar structural and dynamic properties,” said Song. “Such similarities offer new perspectives and unique opportunities for physicists to apply their methodologies on a much broader set of phenomena.”

Researchers involved in the study came from the groups of Dirk Helbing at the ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Albert-László Barabási at Northeastern University. Current affiliations of the team include the following institutions: Central European University in Budapest; Harvard Medical School; IBM Research; Indiana University; Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich; and the University of Miami. Data was collected from Freebase.com, the Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, the Getty Union List of Artist Names, and the Winckelmann Corpus.

The research was funded by the German Research Foundation, the European Research Council, and UT Dallas.

 

 

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Great Sports Legends Dinner to Honor Famous Athletes and Raise Funds for Spinal Cord Injury Research

Special to UM News

Champion Olympic sprinter and bobsledder Lauryn Williams, seen here at the University of Miami’s Black Alumni Society and Woodson Williams Marshall Association 2014 Scholarship Reception last March, will be honored with a group of other famous athletes at the 29th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner.

Champion Olympic sprinter and bobsledder Lauryn Williams, seen here at the University of Miami’s Black Alumni Society and Woodson Williams Marshall Association 2014 Scholarship Reception last March, will be honored with a group of other famous athletes at the 29th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner.

NEW YORK, N.Y. (July 31, 2014) –Olympic champion and University of Miami alumna Lauryn Williams, who became only the fifth person in history to medal at both the Summer and Winter Games when she captured silver at Sochi last February, is among an all-star lineup of famous athletes who will be honored September 29 at the annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at New York’s Waldorf Astoria.

NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon, two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Cowher, NFL Hall of Famer and former Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Warren Sapp, and decorated Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton will also be honored. Read the full story

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Places & Spaces Will Change How People See the World

By Annette Gallagher
UM News

Hurricanes.Places.Spaces

Created by cartographer and designer John Nelson, this map visualizes more than 160 years of recorded tropical storms and hurricanes by their paths and intensities, sourced from NOAA archives made available to the public.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 4, 2014) — Who really matters in the world? Where do people who hold U.S.  patents really live? Where and how intense have hurricanes been since 1851? How did science fiction come to be? What are the “battle lines” between the left and right sides of the political spectrum? How are verses of the Bible related to one another? Answers to complex questions like these are beautifully visualized in Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, exhibiting at the University of Miami beginning September 4. Read the full story

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New Study Confirms Water Vapor as Global Warming Amplifier

Special to UM News

Color enhanced satellite image of upper tropospheric water vapor. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Color enhanced satellite image of upper tropospheric water vapor. Photo courtesy of NASA.

MIAMI, Fla. (July 28, 2014)—A new study from scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and colleagues confirms rising levels of water vapor in the upper troposphere—a key amplifier of global warming—will intensify the impact of climate change over the next decades.

“The study is the first to confirm that human activities have increased water vapor in the upper troposphere,” said Brian Soden, professor of atmospheric sciences and co-author of the study. Read the full story

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