Around the college
 New faculty
 Grants awarded through Division...
 A note from the chair


CLAS notes
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073682/00138
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Title: CLAS notes the monthly news publication of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida -- College of Arts and Sciences
Publisher: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Creation Date: March 2000
Frequency: monthly
Subjects / Keywords: Education, humanistic -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
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serial   ( sobekcm )
General Note: Subtitle varies; some numbers issued without subtitle.
General Note: Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 11 (Nov. 1988); title from caption.
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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
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oclc - 28575488
notis - AJN0714
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Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Around the college
        Page 2
        Page 3
    New faculty
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Grants awarded through Division of Sponsored Research
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    A note from the chair
        Page 12
Full Text

On the Laming of Ducks

After Tom Osborne announced his
impending departure as football coach
at Nebraska, he was asked whether his
influence had waned. "Well," he said,
"when I blow the whistle, the players
still come." This is hardly a good anal-
ogy for faculty and department chairs,
who don't respond particularly well to
whistles. Nor would we want them to.
As I move into the last few months of
my tenure as dean, I have not noticed
any measurable change in how people
interact with me. The phone still rings a
lot. My e-mail seems heavier than ever.
In short, there is no real sense yet of
being bypassed and neglected by those
with problems to be solved. Actually, I
wouldn't feel entirely hurt to miss some
portion of this action. Lame duck status
could be greatly undervalued.
People do tell me from time to time
that they assume things are beginning
to slow down for me. Well, not exactly.
What is sometimes overlooked is that
the Spring Semester in CLAS is an ex-
citing, non-stop blur of activities. And
I am very pleased to be a part of all this.
At the same time, I am looking forward
to the upcoming sabbatical year to catch
up on a serious backlog of chemistry
manuscripts, book chapters, and unread
While my daily routine of the dean-
ship remains essentially intact, I have
detected a few subtle signs of my au-
thority being eroded. For example, you
worry that people are trying to tell you
* when your secretary commandeers
your reserved parking space
* when your admin occasionally forgets
your name
* when your budget officer replaces
See Musings, page 12

March 2000


Vol. 14 The University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences No. 3

Pushing the Envelope

CLAS botanist considered "Godmother" of genetics subfield

Though it wasn't until graduate
school that CLAS botanist Alice
Harmon got "hooked on plants,"
her cutting edge work here at UF is con-
tributing significantly to the burgeoning
field of plant genetics. Harmon always
excelled in science, a fact she attributes
to her parents, teachers, and "Mr. Wiz-
zard" on television. Growing up some-
what isolated on Hutchison Island (a
barrier island off Florida's Atlantic coast)
didn't hurt either. '"The lack of many
playmates meant there was ample time to
develop my curiosity," she says.
A chemistry major as an undergradu-
ate at the University of Florida, Harmon
left the state in 1970, degree in hand, to
spend most of the next decade working in
California, South Carolina and Georgia,
where she held positions in research and
worked for the EPA. Upon returning to
school to study biochemistry at the Uni-
versity of Georgia in the 1980s, however,
she was introduced to the subject that
would become her life's work: cal-
cium binding proteins and plant protein
"As specialized enzymes, protein kinases
are biological molecules that trigger
chemical reactions," Harmon explains.
'"They are part of the control network of
cells and help regulate cellular chemi-
cal pathways so that each cell is doing
the appropriate thing at the appropriate
Protein kinases are components of
"stimulus/response pathways," which are
networks of biological molecules that
interact with each other in a specified
sequence. When an external stimulus is
present, such as light or an environmental
stress (cold, heat, drought, pathogens),
that signal is perceived by the molecular
machinery of cells and converted into
chemical messages that initiate the mo-
lecular interactions of the pathway.

Alice Harmon

The protein kinases' specific job dur-
ing this process is to use the ubiquitous
energy-rich compound ATP to transfer
a phosphate group to proteins. This
phosphorylationn" changes the activity of
the protein, which in turn contributes to a
change in the cell's physiology, enabling
the cell (and the organism as a whole)
to respond appropriately to the original
Harmon is especially interested in protein
kinases that are activated by the chemi-
cal messenger calcium. In fact, as a post
doctoral researcher, Harmon and graduate
student Cindy Putnam-Evans were the
first to purify and characterize a member
of the calcium-dependent protein kinase
(CDPK) family, a feat which CLAS
Botany chair George Bowes calls "a
major step forward in understanding how
communication and signaling processes
operate in plants." Harmon's pioneering
efforts and extensive current research in
this field have earned her the title "God-
mother of CDPK," says Bowes.
"Almost every stimulus that affects plant
growth, development, and physiology
See Harmon, page 8

This month's focus: Botany

Around the College


Maxine L. Margolis was an invited participant in the conference,
Luso-Brazilian Strategies for the Teaching of Portuguese Language and
Culture in the United States, held in Rio de Janeiro in December 1999.

Irma McClaurin recently completed two policy papers for the Depart-
ment of Women in Belize on Domestic Violence, and her manuscript,
"Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Praxis, Politics and Poetics,"
will be published by Rutgers University later this year. In November,
she gave invited talks at Spelman and Emory Colleges in Atlanta. Mc-
Claurin was also awarded the David C. Gallup Fellowship in American
Literature from the Beinecke Rare Book Library, Yale University,
where, in May, she will begin conducting research for her latest project:
"Zora Neale Hurston and Anthropology, Challenging the Old, Forging
the New."

Susan Hegeman's Patterns for America was included in CHOICE's
list of outstanding academic books for 1999. At the last MLA, Susan
gave a paper on "Culture and Anthropomorphism," and organized and
chaired a session on "Clifford Geertz and Literary Studies," in which
Geertz himself served as a respondent. She has just been appointed to
the MLA Delegate Assembly.

Mark A. Reid's "New Wave Black Cinema in the 1990s" is included in
FILM GENRE 2000: New Critical Essays, (SUNY Press, 2000).

Geoffrey Giles gave a keynote address at the annual meeting of the His-
tory of Education Society in Winchester, England, last December. The
conference focused on gender issues, and his talk was entitled "Through
Cigarette Cards to Manliness: Building German Character through an
Informal Curriculum."

As part of her Fulbright work, Diana Boxer taught sociolinguistics in
the first graduate program in applied linguistics in Paraguay last fall. In
August, she gave the opening plenary address entitled "Ten misconcep-
tions about second and foreign language learning" at the ParaTESOL
(Paraguay Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) annual
conference. She also visited the University of San Andres, Buenos
Aires, where she lectured on second language acquisition. In October,
she was invited to give short courses on face-to-face discourse at two
universities in Brazil.

Krishnaswami Alladi gave the Ramanujan Millennium Lecture in
Mathematics (as part of the Millennium Series of Lectures on various
subjects) at the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Madras,
India, on December 22, the birthday of the late mathematical genius
Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Alexandre Turull has been appointed as an editor of Communications
in Algebra, one of the leading international journals in the field of alge-
bra published by Marcel Dekker. This journal is a premier forum for the
exchange of ideas in all areas of algebraic research including classical
number theory.

Edouard Glissant to
Visit UF Campus

Edouard Glissant, a prominent Caribbean
writer from Martinique, will make two presenta-
tions in French:

"La Litt6rature du Tout-Monde"
Thursday, March 30, 4:30-6:00 pm
Downtown Library, 401 East University Avenue,
Room A

"Multiculturalisme et Cr6olit&"
Friday, March 31, 2:00-3:15 pm
Dean's Conference Room 2014, TUR
(especially, although not exclusively,
for a student audience)

This visit was initiated by Bernadette Cailler (Romance
Languages and Literatures) and will be co-sponsored by the
Departments of Romance Languages and Literatures, History,
English, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Humanities
Council, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the
United States, and Cailler (in memory of her husband, concert
violinist Elwyn Adams).

Math Speaker Addresses
Six Degrees of Separation

In delivering the Second
Mathematics Department Ulam
Colloquium on January 10, Profes-
sor Gilbert Strang (MIT), right,
President of the Society for Indus-
trial and Applied Mathematics,
used Graph Theory to mathemati-
cally explain the "six degrees of
separation" phenomenon.

Romance Languages and Literatures
Geraldine Nichols has been elected to a three-year term on the Execu-
tive Committee of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languag
es (ADFL), the foreign language subsidiary of the Modern Language
Association. She will be one of four members representing PhD-grant-
ing departments, serving alongside three members from BA/MA-grant-
ing departments, and one representing two-year colleges. The ADFL
publishes a journal on issues in the foreign language field, organizes
sessions and mock interviews at the MLA, and offers two summer
workshops for chairs of foreign language departments.

Around the College

CLAS Women of Achievement
On January 29, Connie Shehan (Sociology, UCET) was
presented with the Faculty Women of Achievement Award at the
2000 Women's Leadership Conference. The award recognizes
"outstanding leaders who have shown commitment and dedica-
tion to a cause; who put others before themselves; who face
challenges head on; and who are decisive and persistent."
Maria Teresa Baquero, an undergraduate with a double
major in sociology and molecular biology/biochemistry received
the UF Student Women of Achievement Award.

UF-Utrecht Faculty Exchange Deadline
The UF-Utrecht Faculty Exchange Committee invites
faculty from UF to apply for the exchange program in 2000-
2001. Faculty may teach in the fall or spring semester. A let-
ter of interest with some indication of the courses or research
that one would conduct in Utrecht should be sent to Albert
Matheny, AAC 100, P.O. Box 112015, no later than April
15th. If you have any questions about the program, you can
contact Albert at 392-1521 or matheny@polisci.ufl.edu.

CLAS Chemist Honored by Clemson
Ken Wagener (Chemistry) was inducted
into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy
of Engineering and Science at Clemson
University on February 24. The Clemson
Academy was established to recognize the
university's outstanding engineering and
science alumni and a select few extraordi-
nary faculty or supporters. Wagener, who
is the Butler Chaired Professor of Chemistry and Director of
the Center for Macromolecular Science here at UF, grew up in
the town of Clemson and graduated from the South Carolina
university with a BS in chemistry and a math minor in 1968. He
has maintained close ties with the university and the town, which
he says makes his induction an even greater honor.
\ ly grandfather, also a chemist, was a member of Clemson's
first graduating class of 1896, and I still have plenty of relatives
in the area, including my older son and his wife (both UF grads
in mechanical engineering). Additionally, Wagener's wife of 30
years, Margaret, grew up in Clemson, and one of his UF PhD
students, Dennis Smith, now teaches at Clemson.

Women's Studies
Hosts Quilt Exhibit
Momma D's Quilts are on
display until May 4 at the
Center for Women's Studies
and Gender Research offices
in 3357 Turlington. For more
information call 392-3365.

Religion Professor Presents at Smithsonian
In January, religion professor
Gwendolyn Zoharah Sim-
mons (see new faculty, page 4)
participated in the Smithsonian
Institute's "Of Songs, Peace, and
Struggle," a celebration of the
birth of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. The event was presented by
the Program in African American
Culture at the National Museum
of American History in Washing-
ton, D.C. Simmons is pictured, above, with Dr. James Forman,
the executive secretary of the Student Non-violent Coordinating
Committee (SNCC) during the thick of the Civil Rights Move-
ment. As part of her presentation, Simmons, also a SNCC mem-
ber, shared stories of her civil rights work in Mississippi and
Georgia in the mid 1960s. Simmons and the other panelists were
introduced by Dr. Bernice Reagon Johnson, founder and direc-
tor emeritus of the Program in African American Culture at the
Smithsonian, SNCC member in the 1960s and 70s, and founding
member of the world famous Sweet Honey In The Rock Singers.

Noted Historian and Author to Visit UF as
First Gus Burns Memorial Lecturer
To commemorate long-time CLAS
history professor Gus Burns (1939-
1999), last summer Bums' friends Julian
Pleasants (History) and UF graduate J.R.
Kirkland initiated the Gus Bums Memo-
rial Fund in his honor. Their efforts, sup-
ported by the Department of History, have
generated an endowment of over $22,000,
which will fund the new Augustus M.
Bums, III Memorial Lecture Series. Dr.
Stephen Ambrose will make the series' Dr. Stephen Ambrose
first presentation on Wednesday, March
15, with a talk entitled "American Soldiers in Europe in WWII."
Ambrose will speak at 7pm in the University Auditorium.
A well-known author and historian, Ambrose has written
over 20 books including New York Times best sellers D-Day
June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II and Un-
daunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas T.. /. -i,. and
the Opening of the American West, a two-volume biography of
Dwight Eisenhower, and a three-volume biography of Richard
Nixon. Ambrose is frequently interviewed on the NBC Ni',,hlly
News, the PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer and Ni',hlline. and
among his many other TV and film projects, he acted as a his-
torical consultant for Stephen Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.
For more information about the lecture, contact Julian
Pleasants at 2-6584.

New Faculty

Cassandra Moseley

Michael Heckenberger, an
assistant professor of anthro-
pology, received his PhD in
1996 from the University
of Pittsburgh. His research
focuses on the development and
transformation of sociopolitical
systems in Amazonia, particu-
larly relating to the emergence
of complex societies in the
1000 years or so preceding
European expansion into tropi-
cal America, ca. 1492-1500,
and the transformation of these
societies in the face of colonial-
ist expansion. His co-edited
volume Histdria e cultural no
alto Xingu: visdes antropoldgi-
cas (Federal University of Rio
de Janeiro Press) is scheduled
for release in April, to corre-
spond with the quincentennial
of Pedro Cabral's "discovery"
of Brazil.

Cassandra Moseley, an as-
sistant professor in political
science, completed her PhD in
political science and environ-
mental politics at Yale Univer-
sity last year. Her dissertation
studied the rise and spread of
community-based conservation
in the Pacific Northwest. She is
also interested in collaborative
natural resource management,
forest politics, fisheries politics
and the American West. Her
current project is a comparison
of environmental conflict and
political institutions in Oregon
and British Columbia. Cassan-
dra will be teaching Introduc-
tion to Political Science, as well
as courses in political ecology
and community-based conser-

Assistant professor of religion
Gwendolyn Zoharah Sim-
mons expects to earn her PhD
from Temple University in
August of this year in Islamic
& Women's Studies. Her
dissertation, for which she
received research fellowships
in the Middle East from both
Fulbright and the American
Center of Oriental Research
(ACOR), is titled '"The Impact
of Islamic Law on Women In
Jordan, Contemporarily." Sim-
mons brings a wealth of life
experience to her new position:
among other distinctions, she is
a civil rights activist who was a
Student Non-violent Coordinat-
ing Committee (SNCC) field
secretary in the 1960s, and she
has traveled throughout the
Middle East, including Saudi
Arabia, and in China as part of
her work in women's rights and

Jonathan Williams, an as-
sistant professor of astronomy,
comes to UF from the National
Radio Astronomy Observa-
tory in Tucson, where he was
a Jansky Postdoctoral Fellow.
He earned his PhD from the
University of California-Berke-
ley in 1995, with a concentra-
tion in star formation and the
interstellar medium. Through
his research, Williams seeks
to better understand how stars,
stellar clusters, and planetary
systems form. Outside work,
his interests include basketball
and backpacking.

Judd, continued from page 5

the flowers, look at the leaves and fruits...they get a real hands-on feel for tropical flowering plant diversity.
This is one of my most enjoyable courses; I've done it fifteen times in the last twenty years. There aren't many places in the world
that a class like that can be taught, and as far as I know, ours is one of only two in the country.

Cn: What makes North Central Florida unique for botanists?
Judd: If you look at the plants around Gainesville, the flora here is often very similar to the Appalachians or even forests in southern
Michigan. And yet it is only a few miles away from typical neo-tropical plant communities in southern Florida, where you have a
West Indian floristic element. There's a wonderful variety. When I took plant taxonomy at Michigan State, we had to examine frozen
plants that gradually unthawed and turned into a pile of mush while we dissected them. Here, I try to bring all sorts of living material
into class. This is a great place to be a plant systematist.%
-John Elderkin

DNA Analysis Revolutionizes Taxonomy

An interview with botanist Walter Judd

Botany professor Walter Judd was raised in rural southern Michigan,
where he developed a keen interest in natural history. He came to UF after
receiving his PhD from Harvard in 1978, and his research primarily concerns the
systematics and evolution of flowering plants. He has twice received the CLAS
Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction and is currently the president-
elect of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists.

Cn: Plant taxonomy, or the identification
and grouping ofplants, has been under-
going rapid change. Why is this happen-
Judd: This is a very exciting time in our
field. In fact, taxonomy is actually in a
state of uproar as a result of revolutionary
advances in the way we do our work. One
of the main things I'm involved with is
called revisionary studies-we are trying
to reconstruct the history of evolutionary
events that have occurred within a particu-
lar group of organisms. In the past, when
we named and grouped plants, we relied
heavily on morphology (a plant's structural
and physical characteristics) and chemi-
cal analysis. However, with the recent
advent of cladistic analysis of DNA data,
we are now able to construct and test our
evolutionary hypotheses. As a result, plant
taxonomy, or systematics, has become
more objective and scientific.

Cn: How have cladistics and DNA
changed the way plants are named and
Judd: Cladisitic analysis and DNA in-
formation work in conjunction with each
other. Cladistics involves using shared,
derived plant characteristics as a means of
Plan ystnmaics evolutionary
To give an
example, if
two species of
plants share
the derived
n characteristic

leaves, while
a third lacks
such teeth,
we could
hypothesize that the two species with teeth
were most closely related to each other. It
sounds very straightforward, but cladistics
has only been used for about twenty years.

DNA testing, which is even newer, al-
lows us to make the same kind of analysis,
but using many, many more characteristics
from the plants. When the two methods
are used together, along with morphol-
ogy, they become very powerful tools...the
traditional plant classifications that have
been used for a hundred years or so are
being dramatically altered. We've prob-
ably learned more about the evolutionary
relationships of plants in the last ten years
than in the previous 100.

Cn: How are these new methods of clas-
sification being employed?
Judd: Some people think plant taxonomy
is long-finished with naming the earth's or-
ganisms. After all, we've been doing this
for several hundred years. But actually
less than five percent of the world's plants
have up-to-date monographs (comprehen-
sive cataloging of all available informa-
tion) with explicit evolutionary hypotheses.
And the existing names and groupings
need to be re-tested and potentially re-clas-
sified based on our new methodologies.

Cn: How do these changes affect your
Judd: Previously, if a botanist wanted to
find out which species were most closely
related to each other in terms of common
ancestry, there was no way to really test
this. But now if I make an evolutionary
hypothesis, my ideas can be tested and
verified. For example, a few years ago I
examined a small tree in the higher eleva-
tions of Puerto Rico, a particular species
called the Calycogonium squamulosum.
Looking at its morphology-its form and
structure-this tree seemed a better fit
for the genus Henriettea. So I published
a paper proposing the plant be renamed
Henriettea squamulosum. Later, another
botanist, using DNA data, tested my hy-
pothesis and also found this species to be
more closely related to Henriettea. So that
is a big change.

uuu AO I1 IIIIa I uLAnIIII aQIuuI I a U m k O Inae PiI I
with yellow flowers) with tropical botany students.

Cn: What are the practical implications
of these new plant names and groupings?
Judd: There are many kinds of implica-
tions. There's this tremendous diversity
of organisms in the world, and if we can
figure out their evolutionary relationships,
then our classifications can have great
predictive powers. Say somebody finds
a secondary chemical compound that has
medicinal value. When they find it in one
species, they don't search for further ver-
sions of it at random. They'll look in the
same family or genus. The same is true for
a plant breeder who is looking for genes
with disease resistance. So these [more
accurate] classifications matter.

Cn: What else are you working on?
Judd: One result of these rapid changes
in plant taxonomy is that there are no accu-
rate texts. A large number of plant system-
atists don't even use a text...they rely on
primary literature as hand-outs. So I and
several other botanists decided to write a
textbook, and it's just been published. It's
called Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic
Approach, and it is the first text that uses
the approach of basing the names of plants
on evolutionary (or phylogenetic) hypoth-
eses. I am also preparing for the tropical
botany class that I teach nearly every sum-
mer at Fairchild Tropical Garden and the
National Tropical Garden near Miami.

Cn: What does this course involve?
Judd: It's an intensive field and lab course
in tropical systematics. I go with twelve
students during summer B term, and we
work eight or nine hours a day. Graduate
students are surrounded by plant families
from around the world: they can dissect
See Judd, page 4

CLAS Student Named Rhodes Scholar

English major Newman Nahas v

Senior English major Newman Nahas, UF's
first Rhodes Scholar in over twenty years,
cites his background as the son of Orthodox Syr-
ian immigrants as an important catalyst for his
intellectual curiosity. "I grew up in a complicated
cultural mix, with Arabic, Christian, and American
influences," he says. "I think not being a part of
any dominant culture nurtured my interest in my

Though Nahas was raised in Miami, he can trace his
family's roots in Syria back a thousand years. The Orthodox
Christian minority there has survived a variety of political
conditions, and Nahas' interest in their circumstances led
him to the topic he will focus on while he pursues a PhD in
history at Oxford University. "There have been times in the
Middle East when Christians, Jews, and Muslims have got-
ten along relatively well-especially before the Crusades,"
he explains. "But these periods remain understudied. I'd
like to examine them and see if understanding those eras
might help us with contemporary problems."
English major and new Rhodes Scholar, Newman Nahas. Nahas says he began to seriously consider the practical
applications of such historical studies while he volunteered
as a counselor at an Orthodox summer camp in Pennsylva-
nia last summer. "There were a lot of Greek and Arab kids
there, and I realized that
many of these kids are dis-
connected from their culture
CLAS Professors Impressed with Nahas as Scholar and as Person and religion," he says. "I
"Newman has been challenged to integrate what he has inherited with what he has realized that many people
encountered in his studies, even if that means he must rearticulate his personal posi- would benefit from someone
tion. Here is where his integrity has shone through-his strongly held convictions translating the Orthodox
have in no way inhibited an openness to new ideas....Newman combines a genuine experience into the Western
humility with honest intellectual searching in a manner that is quite rare."
-Fred Gregory, History idiom, making it relevant to
their lives."
"Newman's intellect and his modesty are of a piece, as are his mind and heart. His Returning for his senior
intellectual curiosity is great, but it is no greater than his love for others." year with a clear vision
-Richard Brantley, English
of what he wanted to ac-
"When Newman joined my Arabic class, there was nothing in his comportment to complish, Nahas decided to
indicate that he was an outstanding student. I later realized that although he knew apply for the Rhodes Schol-
the answers to almost all of my questions, he would give his classmates priority to arship. The application pro-
answer and participate." cess was formidable. Nahas
-Aida Bamia, African and Asian Languages and Literatures
was required to submit eight
"Newman is an exceptional scholar. He has a deep sense of responsibility to hu- letters of recommendation,
manity and a flair for understanding people and how to reach out to them." write a study proposal, and
-Neil Sullivan, Physics and CLAS Associate Dean for Research
also write a discussion of his
principal activities. "They

ins Rhodes, prepares for Oxford

don't ask for a r6sum6. In
fact, the application is so
open to interpretation that
simply figuring out how best
to complete
it was a real "It's very ir
challenge." to me that
After re- bears fruit.
ceiving UF's believe Gc
endorsement, how many
how many
Nahas attended
the state inter-
view in Tam- I haven't a
pa. "The first others. Tt
evening was a thing I kee
social event, it's somett
but it was drives me.
nerve-wrack- -Newman
ing. You try to
relax, but you
have to assume that how you
socialize is part of the formal
assessment," Nahas explains.
"The entire next day consists
of interviews, and any topic
is fair game. I spent a lot of
time explaining and defend-
ing my study proposal."
At the end of the day,
candidates learn whether or
not they will fly to Atlanta
the next morning for the
final interviews. "When
I learned that night that I
would be going to the dis-
trict interview, my adrena-
line was really pumping. I
didn't sleep much," Nahas
admits. "And the next thing
I know, I'm competing with
all these amazing people in
But with his extraor-
dinary credentials, Nahas
had nothing to be nervous
about. At the end of the
final interviews he was
named one of the Southeast-





ern district's four Rhodes
Scholars. Among his many
accomplishments are a 4.0
grade point average, qualifi-
cation for Phi
iportant Beta Kappa
my faith while a junior,
I don't and command
d cares of both Greek
and Arabic.
r. icn Nahas is also
recited if president of
so helped the Orthodox
s is some- Christian
Sin mind; Fellowship,
ng that founder of the
St. Romanus
ahas Choir-a
Byzantine and
Russian choral group-and a
volunteer in the "Best Bud-
dy" program, which mentors
mentally retarded children.
In the past,
Rhodes Scholars
met and bonded
while sailing
to England.
These days, they
participate in
a special pre-
liminary week-
long program
of activities in
Washington, DC,
before flying to Nahas sings
Oxford together Elizabeth's G
Gainesville ar
each September. Orthodox Arc
"I'm particularly
excited about going to the
White House and meeting
with President Clinton, who
was also a Rhodes Scholar,"
Nahas says. Bill Bradley,
William Fulbright, and Kris
Kristofferson are other no-

table Rhodes Scholars.
Cecil Rhodes, the Schol-
arship's founder, envisioned
that recipients of the Schol-
arship should in some way
dedicate their lives to public
service. Mindful of this
charge, Nahas would one
day like to act as a political
advisor on Middle Eastern
issues. "I'm not interested
in running for office, but I'd
like to help the people who
are elected," Nahas says.
"We often criticize our pub-
lic officials, but somebody
has to do this work, and I'd
like to assist them."
Concern for helping oth-
ers is central to Nahas' char-
acter. "It's very important to
me that my faith bears fruit.
I don't believe God cares
how many Nicene Creeds

reek Orthodox Church choir here in
nd is a subdeacon in the Antiochian
hdiocese of North America.

I've recited if I haven't also
helped my fellow man. This
is something I keep in mind;
it's something that drives
me." %
-John Elderkin

Rhodes Facts
The prestigious Rhodes
Scholarships-created in
1902 by the will of Cecil
Rhodes, a British phi-
lanthropist and colonial
pioneer-are the oldest
international study awards
available to American
students. Through his
bequest, Rhodes hoped to
encourage future leaders
to make positive contribu-
tions throughout the world.

* Rhodes specified the
award be based on: high
academic achievement,
integrity of character,
spirit of unselfishness,
respect for others, physi-
cal vigor, and potential

* While studying at Oxford
University in England,
Rhodes Scholars receive
all education fees and
a stipend for necessary
expenses. The an-
nual value of the award
averages approximately
$25,000, and students
may stay at Oxford for
up to three years.

* This year, 32 Americans
were chosen from 935
applicants who were en-
dorsed by 323 colleges
and universities. About
95 Rhodes Scholars are
selected worldwide each

* The University of Florida
boasts a history of 12
Rhodes Scholars,
though Newman Nahas
is the first since football
quarterback and philoso-
phy major Billy Kynes, in

Botany Department Staff

Pictured from left: Judy McGrady, clerk
typist; Debi Folks, fiscal assistant; Patri-
cia Pasden, word processor; and Paula
Rowe, program assistant. Not pictured,
Corine Arnold, office manager. Paula,
Debi, Corine and Pat hold down the fort in
Bartram 220, while Judy staffs the depart-
ment's McCarty Hall office.

Harmon, continued from page 1

is associated with changes in
cytoplasmic free calcium,"
Harmon says of her interest
in CDPKs. Similar to the
process in all protein kinases,
the chain of events for the
calcium-dependent variety
goes something like this: A
stimulus is perceived by mol-
ecules in cells, which in turn
cause release of calcium ions
into the cytoplasm of the cell.
This increase in calcium ions
activates the calcium-depen-
dent protein kinases (CDPKs).
The activated protein kinases
"phosphorylate" a set of pro-
teins, which may include other
enzymes or structural proteins.
The activity, location, or abil-
ity of the proteins to interact
with other proteins is changed
by the phosphorylation, and
this contributes to the physi-
ological response of the cell to
the stimulus.
"The hope is that understand-
ing the molecular events
that underlie the responses
to stress (environmental, not
emotional!) will be useful in
engineering plants that are
better able to grow in ar-
eas plagued by sub-optimal
growing conditions," Harmon

says. 'This should improve
crop yield and help to feed the
population, which is growing
at a rate that will soon outpace
food production."
In one of the many ways
her work dovetails with the
efforts of the new UF Genet-
ics Institute, Harmon is using
information from the Genome
Sequencing Project to aid her
study of the CDPK family.
She is particularly interested
in a plant called Arabidopsis,
since its genomic sequence,
already 75% complete, should
be finished by the end of the
year. Arabidopsis is the "plant
equivalent of the lab rat," ex-
plains Bowes. "It has a rapid
generation time, going from
seed to seed in six weeks; in
addition, mutants can be eas-
ily made, and it has a small
genome that can be relatively
easily sequenced. It is thus an
ideal plant for molecular stud-
ies. The information in the
Arabidopsis gene bank can be
used to identify similar genes
in other plants, for example,
the soybean, which is one of
the plants Harmon studies."
"I am also participating
in a multi-institution proj-

ect funded by the National
Science Foundation's Plant
Genome Project that is focus-
ing on plant protein kinases
and phosphatases [enzymes
that remove phosphate groups
from proteins]," says Har-
mon. We are creating an
electronic database for all
protein kinase and phospha-
tase genes in Arabidopsis, and
we are identifying plants in
which genes encoding these
enzymes are not functional."
Called "knock-outs" because
their functional gene (i.e.,
one that encodes a functional
protein) has been knocked out,
these plants will eventually be
made available to the research
community. "As these plants
are missing the function of
a particular protein kinase
or phosphatase, they will be
very helpful in determining in
which physiological responses
each enzyme participates," she

Harmon also hopes to discover
more about the evolutionary
significance of calcium-de-
pendent protein kinases, since
they are found only in plants,
green algae, paramecium, and
in group of parasitic protozoa
(including Plasmodium falci-
parum, the causative agent of
malaria). "The first question
we'd like to answer is: When
did CDPKs arise?" Harmon
says. "Did an ancestor com-
mon to all these organisms
have CDPKs, and then plants
and fungi lose them later in
evolution? Or did CDPKs
arise after ancestors of plants,
green algae, and the parasitic
protozoa split from the ances-
tors of animals and yeast?" A
Godmother's work is never
done. %
-Jane Gibson

In the fall of 1999, Harmon was the recipient of a one-semester
sabbatical award from UF to undertake collaborative "multi-institu-
tional" research at UC San Diego and Scripps. She has subse-
quently received a very competitive NSF POWRE grant (Profes-
sional Opportunities for Women in Research) to continue the
sabbatical this spring and summer at the University of Wisconsin,
another of the institutions involved in the collaborative project on
CDPK in plants.



(through the Division of Sponsored Research)

Dept. Agency

Award Title

Corporate ...............$226,152

Lieberman, L.
Colgate, S.
Katritzky, A.
Katritzky, A.
Katritzky, A.
Katritzky, A.
Katritzky, A.
Katritzky, A.
Reynolds, J.
Schanze, K.
Tanner, D.


FL Clinical Practice Assn
Saga Petroleum
Abbott Laboratories
Multiple Companies
Multiple Companies
Multiple Companies
Multiple Companies
Multiple Companies
Xerox Corporation
Aerochem Inc
Teracomm Research Inc

Federal..................... 781,101

Bums, A.
Dermott, S.
Elston, R.

Hamann, F
Bowes, G.
Harmon, A.
Dolbier, W.

Hanrahan, R.
Hudlicky, T.

Reynolds, J.

Scott, M.

Winefordner, J.
Yost, R.

Zerner, M.
Andraka, B.
Williams, P
Kenney, M.
Brockmann, H.










US Navy


Boinski, S. ANT Leakey Foundation

Thiele, L.
Emmel, T.

POL UF Foundation
ZOO Natl Fish & Wildlife Fdtn

Buns, A. ANT Chr Michelsen Institute
Bowes, G. BOT Multiple Individuals
Bowes, G. BOT Multiple Individuals
Scicchitano, M. POL FL Dental Association
Emmel, T. ZOO Assn for Tropical Lepidoptera

3,750 Center for Research on Women's Health.
89,891 Down-hole multiphase flow metering.
4,230 Chemical sample collection.
6,240 Software research support.
5,000 Software research support.
6,000 Miles compound contract.
14,015 Miles compound contract.
500 Miles compound contract.
15,000 Miscellaneous donors.
71,526 Advanced pressure and temperature sensitive paints.
10,000 Effect of transport current on the infrared properties of superconductors.

4,000 Graduate research fellowship program-cost of education allowance.
80,750 Dynamics of Solar System dust.
92,456 Gemini shortened cycle near infrared multi-object spectrograph con-
ceptual design study.
31,050 Chemical evolution of QSOS and their host galaxies.
2,000 Graduate research fellowship program-cost of education allowance.
30,345 Functional genomics of plant phosphorylation.
110,000 Structure-reactivity relationships in fluorinated and charged radical
1,000 Gas phase hydrogen-halogen systems.
180,000 Biocatlaytic conversion of aromatic waste into useful compounds
amaryllidaceae alkaloids and oligo inositols.
50,000 Redox switchable conducting polymers for interdigital electrode
82,000 Career: tripodal aryloxide ligands: from molecular receptors to or-
ganometallic catalyst.
1,000 Advanced measurements & characterization.
30,000 Analysis of human and host animal emanations for the presence of
attractrants to hematophagous dipters.
20,000 Media effect in molecular structure & spectroscopy.
40,000 Non-fermi-liquids and magnetism of heavy fermions.
22,500 Outsmarting the state: a case study of the Colombian narcotics.
dilemma & the learning capacity of drug trafficking enterprises.
4,000 Graduate research fellowship program-cost of education allowance.

18,000 Object manipulation and tool use among brown capuchins in Suri-
3,182 Dissertation fellowships.
15,000 Corridor establishment for an endangered south Florida butterfly.

13,100 Dissertation fellowship for Gebre Yntiso.
1,000 Miscellaneous donors.
767 Miscellaneous donors.
16,000 A study of Florida residents' attitudes about dental specialists.
35,000 Unrestricted donation.

December 1999 Total: $1,109,302

Welcome to the Homogeocene

Loss of diversity signals end of epoch
by botanist Jack Putz

f my goal was to attract
public attention to the
problem, I suppose it was
a tactical error to declare the
end of the Pleistocene and the
commencement of the Homo-
geocene right at the end of a
Roman millennium. Now that
we have recovered from Y2K
fever and people are adjusting
to the fact that they are now rel-
icts of the past century, perhaps
they will recognize that they
are also relicts of a now past
epoch. Perhaps not. I do not
claim any expertise in assessing
public opinion.
Regardless of the temporary
lack of attention to the procla-
mation of the Homogeocene,
it seems important that more
people recognize that dur-
ing the past century our own
species has managed to effect
changes on our planet that can
only be compared to ear-
lier impacts of giant asteroids,
continental collisions, and
free radicals of oxygen. And
perhaps some people will find
it interesting that when the
Pleistocene began some two
million years ago, our species

population explosion and the
explosive growth of human
technology, transitions between
geological eons, eras, periods,
and epochs were caused by
global events such as the onset
of widespread glaciation, giant
asteroid-induced plant and ani-
mal extinctions, or the breakup
and reassembly of continents.
Only one species, our own, has
the dubious distinction of hav-
ing wrought so much change
on the earth as to warrant the
naming of a new epoch. And
we did it fast! And we did it
with our internal combustion
engines, guns, dams, agricul-
tural clearings, toxins, suburbs,
and invasive exotic species.
Why is the new epoch being
called (at least by me, mem-
bers of my immediate family,
and some friends when I am
present) the Homogeocene?
Etymologically, this epithet is
based on the Greek homogenes,
which means "of the same
kind," as in homogenized milk.
I tried the Borocene from the
root word "boring," as in too
much of the same, dull, tedious,
and tiresome, but it didn't

Plant Natives Celebrate Diversity

Putz's Homogeocene bumper sticker.

didn't exist. To the extent that
we were present in one form
or another, we were having to
deal with (or more likely trying
to avoid) our australopithecine-
cousins, not to mention mam-
moths, saber-toothed tigers, and
the now more familiar lions
and rhinoceri of our ancestral
African home.
Prior to the recent human

sound as scientific. Whether
it's the Borocene or the pre-
ferred, Homogeocene, the key
feature of this new epoch is
lack of diversity.
As a professional biologist,
my main gripe about our hav-
ing driven the planet into the
Homogeocene is the extinction
of so many species of plants,
mammals, birds, insects, etc.

Biology is
the study
of life and
every day
there is less
life to study.
More cor-
rectly, every
day there is
more life of
a few kinds
Botanist Jack F
(people, cats,
rats, crop
clones, and
cockroaches) and a lot fewer
of many other kinds. At the
current rates of deforestation,
human population growth,
global warming, and toxin pro-
duction, probably only half of
the species present at the end of
the last century will still exist
at the end of this century. This
tragedy is unparalleled in the
history of our planet not in the
number of extinctions, but in
their rapidity and mono-specific
causal agent.
A ground-swell of support from
environmentalists is surely
imminent, and I expect to be
soon joined in my "Halt the
Homogeocene" campaign by
humanists concerned about
losses of cultural and linguistic
diversity. We shall be odd bed-
fellows, but human diversity
is disappearing at rates only
comparable to the rates of loss
of biological diversity. For ex-
ample, linguists have predicted
that fully half of the world's
languages will completely
disappear by the year 2050!
Toppling of the Tower of Babel
might seem like a blessing, but
so much cultural diversity is
lost when a language disap-
pears that loss of even a single
native tongue should concern
us all.
As was probably the case dur-

itz, with field as
Juan Antonio.

ing past transitions between
epochs, the onset of the Homo-
geocene is itself not particularly
homogeneous. It came earlier
to Europe than it did to the
Americas, earlier in New Jersey
than in New Caledonia, and
has yet to wend its way into
some parts of the Amazon and
Antarctica. Even within the
most Homogeocenic of places,
there are enclaves of biological
and cultural diversity like that
of the Pleistocene.
Another difference between
the current epochal transition
and previous ones is us, the
culprits but also the potential
protectors of diversity. Much
of what has to be done to avoid
sinking deeper into the morass
of the Homogeocene is well
known-more nature reserves,
fewer people, smaller lawns,
bells on cats, more recycling-
we've heard it all before. There
are even ways to restore bits
of the Pleistocene in areas that
have long since succumbed to
the monotony of the Homogeo-
cene. If each of us commits
to minimizing our impacts on
the planet, we will be able to
celebrate diversity of all sorts

No Evidence for Homogeocene

Professor Putz going overboard says geology senior Ryan Bitely

While I applaud my
professor's ar-
ticle on the Homogeocene
as a wake-up call to all of us
about the changing state of
the world, as a student (under-
graduate) of geology, I worry
that he has made too bold a
suggestion without sufficient
evidence. Although current
rates of extinction,
global disequilibria,
and general bio- Altf
logic chaos are truly tior
alarming, one just ge
does not proclaim
the end of the Holo- ala,
cene without having claim
satisfied a series of wit)
criteria. (Note: Dr. of c
Putz seems to be
epochally chal-
lenged-the Pleisto-
cene ended with the
last continental glacial retreat
some 10,000 years ago.) The
protocol for demarcating the
transitions among geological
eras, periods, and epochs are
explained in the North Ameri-
can Stratigraphic Code (into
which I admit to having only
made short inroads).
Many people would agree
that something is terribly
wrong with the world these
days. Here in Florida, South
American fire ants are wreaking
havoc, along with Africanized
bees, Australian pines, Asian
air potatoes, and retroviruses
of unknown origin. Change
is natural, but the changes we
are witnessing are occurring
at uncomfortable rates and, if
an ii ini. seem to be increas-
ing in speed and intensity. Our
justifiable concerns notwith-
standing, are these changes as
substantial as the ones used
to demarcate the transitions
between previous geologic

time intervals? The history of
the Earth has been long and tu-
multuous. Over the more than
one billion years of life on our
planet, tragic episodes of vast
global mortality have rocked
the balance of nature. Life
has continually adapted to and
capitalized upon these changes.
The Paleozoic-Mesozoic
boundary 250 million years

hough current rates of extir
, global disequilibria, and
ieral biologic chaos are tru
rming, one just does not pr
im the end of the Holocene
hout having satisfied a seri
criteria .

ago, for example, was marked
by one such catastrophe, with
up to 95% of known species
becoming extinct. A similarly
devastating period of extinc-
tion, apparently wrought by
several global changes possibly
including the earth's collision
with a giant asteroid, marked
the end of the Mesozoic (and
the dinosaurs) some 70 million
years ago. If such deluges of
death were to occur today, they
would certainly include humans
in their roll calls. To give
credit to Professor Putz, our
knowledge of mass extinctions
suggests that most occurred
over periods of millions of
years, whereas the devastat-
ing loss of diversity to which
he has drawn our attention is
unfolding over only few paltry
centuries. There is certainly
merit to his proclamation.
Now to the problems with the
professor's contention that the
Holocene has ended and what

he calls the Homogeocene has
begun. I am not yet an expert
on the formal protocols for de-
marcating geological time pe-
riods, but I know that the rock
record is incomplete and that
fossilization is a state achieved
by few organisms. Fossils and
rocks are used in the division
of the world's history into
geological time intervals. But
fossils of soft-bod-
ied terrestrial organ-
7c- isms (without shells
or other preservable
features), like the
ones being driven
tO- to extinction daily,
have always been
es under-represented
in the fossil record.
Hard-shelled marine
organisms are
more often fossil-
ized, but it is not so
clear to me that we are driving
many of them to extinction. In
proclaiming the beginning of
the Homogeocene,
is my professor
showing his bias as
a soft-bodied ter-
restrial organism?
Professor Putz's
opinion leaves
this geologist
with many ques-
tions: Can the rock
record substantiate
the beginning of
the Homogeocene?
What geologic
event accompa-
nied the supposed
mass extinctions
of the last few
centuries? There
is little geologic
if any, supporting
the delineation of
a new epoch. Can
Prof r Geolo
Professor Putz

show convincing evidence of
this major transition? I don't
think so. More data on past
mass extinctions and back-
ground extinction rates are
needed so that we can evaluate
present-day homogenization
from a rock-solid paleontologi-
cal perspective.%

Ryan Bitely is a geology
major from Pace, Florida who
is an Eagle Scout, a Florida
Academic Undergraduate
Scholarship recipient, and vice
president of the Geology Club.
As a University Scholar-men-
tored by Ellen Martin (Geol-
ogy)-Bitely is c. -, ht. iii..
research on low temperature

gy senior Ryan Bitely posed with
Turlington's" rock."

Musings, continued from page 1

your Mac with a PC
* when your provost addresses your
mail as "Dear Occupant"
* when your password to CLAS ac-
counts no longer works
* when your key to the CLAS execu-
tive washroom is recalled
* when your subscription to Deans
Today is cancelled
* when your CLAS stock options are
* when your Nike shoe contract is not
* and when your name on the door is
now written on masking tape
These are probably all just simple
coincidences, but they do give a body
In spite of this growing paranoia, I
still relish my job as dean, as I have for
the past 12 years. How could one not
enjoy being part of this terrific College,
where so much is happening. In these
remaining months, we have critical
hires to complete, new academic pro-
grams to finalize, building renovations
to solidify, and a great deal of fund
raising to pursue.
I would like for you to know that I
am not relaxing my efforts (aside from
the recent bout with pneumonia) on
behalf of CLAS. Too much of impor-
tance is out there calling for attention,
and I count it an honor to have this
opportunity to complete a number of
projects. There is clearly no time to
waste (quack, quack).

Will Harrison,

A Note From the Chair

George Bowes, Botany

As in other departments, Botany is facing a 30% turn-
over as senior faculty retire. This represents a substan-
tial loss of experience, but it also provides an opportu-
nity to project a new vision for the future. Two areas
ripe for enhancement are tropical ecology/systematics
and plant molecular studies. The University of Florida
and the department have substantial strengths in both,
with individuals whose academic programs can rightly
be described as international in scope and reputation.
However, botany in our department is not just an aca-
demic exercise, it also addresses real-world concerns
and controversies, as the accompanying article by one
of our plant ecologists, Jack Putz, demonstrates. Thus
we have faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate
students investigating topics such as tropical forests
and their conservation, the response of crop and native species to global climate change,
plant biodiversity, and the detrimental effects of inva-
sive plants on natural ecosystems.
Botany faculty are To give an example closer to home, the US, and
no strangers to particularly Florida, is experiencing costly problems
with ornamental plants that escape and threaten na-
problems facing tive ecosystems such as lakes, Paynes Prairie and the
our campus, nation Everglades. Kaoru Kitajima is collaborating in research
and world; in fact on Ardisia crenata, a plant that is invading hardwood
hammocks and state parks. Even closer to home, Walter
we thrive on them, Judd has documented a startling loss of biodiversity on
which, unfortunately, our own campus during the recent building-boom. All
is more than can be departments, and especially Botany, need more space,
so new construction is positive. Unfortunately, many
said for some plant native plants -rare and even federally endangered--
species. have in ignorance been destroyed, and replaced by
Home Depot-type ornamentals. Other significant plant
populations on campus are in imminent danger. With a
little forethought this situation could easily be avoided.
Three Botany faculty are in UF's Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, and
here, too, controversy cannot be avoided. Fear, largely based on misinformation and
poor science, has been whipped up in Europe over GM (genetically modified) foods,
and is impacting us. A safe food supply is of paramount importance, and environmental
impacts must be minimized. But the fact is, humans have been genetically modifying
plants for thousands of years, but using less precise techniques. As a result, most of the
plants we use as food are very different from their wild ancestors, and far from "natural."
Critics in more affluent nations often overlook the potential advantages to developing

countries of, for example, GM-rice with
increased vitamin A that could reduce
blindness, and enriched cereals that could
lessen protein-deficiency disease.
Thus, Botany faculty are no strangers
to problems facing our campus, nation
and world; in fact we thrive on them,
which, unfortunately, is more than can be
said for some plant species. For more on
what the Botany Department and faculty
are up to, visit us at our home page botany.ufl.edu>.k


CLASnotes is published monthly by the College
of LiberalArts and Sciences to inform faculty and
staff of current research and events.

Contr. Editor:
Copy Editor:

Will Harrison
M. Jane Gibson
John Elderkin
Jane Dominguez
Bill Hardwig