Calling Dr. Brilliant

Dr Larry Brilliant gives polio drops to baby

When this seasoned epidemiologist launched his unconventional career in 1969, he fit the bill as the ‘hippie doctor’ with a penchant for Ram Dass and Wavy Gravy. Since then, this aptly named frontline worker has won public health victories over smallpox, blindness, Ebola, and COVID-19. Next? Monkeypox.

  1. Cell phones as classroom computers

    Educational software for cell phones, a suite of tools developed at the University of Michigan, is being used to turn smart phones into personal computers for students in two Texas classrooms. (watch) En Espanol

  2. 'USA Learns' helps immigrants learn English

    A new Web site that teaches English to Spanish-speaking immigrants has attracted more than 500,000 visitors in its first three months of operation. (watch)

  3. Violent media numb viewers to the pain of others

    Violent video games and movies make people numb to the pain and suffering of others, says a study co-authored by U-M’s Brad Bushman. “People exposed to media violence are less helpful to others in need because they are ‘comfortably numb’ to the pain and suffering of others,” he says. En Espanol

    Podcast: Researcher Brad Bushman describes his findings (listen)

  4. Scientist models the mysterious travels of greenhouse gas

    The global travel logs of greenhouse gases are based on atmospheric sampling locations sprinkled over the Earth and short towers that measure the uptake or release of carbon from a small patch of forest. But those measurements don’t agree with current computer models of how plants and soils behave. A University of Michigan researcher is developing a unique way to reconcile these crucial data.

  5. Guilty pleasure? Don't worry about it

    Most people seem to need a justification for making an indulgent or luxurious purchase. But new U-M research finds that, with or without a reason, people tend to enjoy that guilty pleasure…well, without guilt. The take-away? Indulging yourself may or may not be healthy, but if you’re going to do it, don’t worry about finding a justification. Just enjoy.

  6. The Latin Tinge

    Professor seeks to unify themes from different perspectives, which he hopes will “generate new ways of thinking about things.”

Watershed moments

Let’s raise a cool glass to U-M’s civil and environmental engineers who are creating a remote, real-time network of water sensors on the streams and rivers of Macomb County. The network allows local NGOs, government officials, river users, and decision-makers to observe and adapt to changes in flow dynamics across seasons, conditions, and long-term climate changes. Images are by Marcin Szczepanski, College of Engineering.

  • Diagnosis

    Students and faculty in U-M’s Digital Water Lab at the College of Engineering (COE) are collaborating with experts in the Center for Social Solutions (CSS) in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts to measure and better understand flooding in vulnerable communities.

     

     

    Engineers on bridge
  • Installation

    American businesses are expected to lose $50 billion in output in 2022 alone due to flooding, says COE’s Branko Kerkez, Arthur F. Thurnau associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Flooding creates more damage than earthquakes and forest fires put together, he says.

     

    Experts install sensors on bridge
  • Timing is everything

    When installed throughout a watershed, these cost-effective devices will provide researchers with greater situational awareness of a flooding event in real time.

     

    Setting up sensor on bridge
  • Response and recovery

    The partnership with COE’s Kerkez and his team emphasizes the connection between data and humans, says Julie Arbit, research associate in the Center for Social Solutions (CSS).

    “We’re looking at the response and recovery phases of disasters: Who is flooded at this moment, what resources do they need, and how much damage has been incurred?”

    Measurements at the bridge
  • Making sense

    Addressing social inequity is a large motivator for the kind of engineering work Kerkez does. The collaboration with Arbit and CSS is ideal, he says.

    “Rather than just us as engineers focusing on flooding and saying, ‘Hey we have interesting solutions,’ we actually can work with somebody who understands how the community functions and what their priorities are so that the solutions we build actually make sense.”

  • Scaling up

    Researchers are evaluating “a ton of different variables and exploring a lot of different datasets,” to create a scalable methodology for application elsewhere, says CSS’ Arbit.

    “When you are able to evaluate on a very small scale how vulnerable or how resilient households are, you can make sure that equity is built into new policies, not just equality,” she says.

    Bridge