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By Jacob McConnico
336.758.5237
November 9, 2005

NANOTECH CENTER MAKES FLEXIBLE SOLAR CELL BREAKTHROUGH — At a time when oil prices are reaching record highs and people are bracing for winter heating bills, researchers at Wake Forest University's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials have made significant strides in improving the efficiency of organic or flexible solar cells, a new source of alternative energy that could hit the marketplace in the next five years. Traditional silicon solar panels are heavy and bulky and convert about 20 percent of the light that hits them into useful electrical power. For years, researchers have worked to create organic solar cells that can be wrapped around surfaces, rolled up or even painted onto structures. The best scientists have been able to develop is about 3 percent efficiency. Researchers at Wake Forest, with the help of researchers at New Mexico State University, have achieved an efficiency rate for organic solar cells of almost 6 percent. In order to be considered a viable technology, the solar cells must be able to convert about 10 percent of the energy in sunlight to electricity. David Carroll, director of the nanotechnology center at Wake Forest says the center could reach 10 percent by October 2006. Flexible, organic solar cells offer several possibilities for military, recreational and commercial use.

Contact: Jake McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

COMMUNICATION PROFESSOR TAKES SERIOUS LOOK AT SITCOMS — "The Sitcom Reader: America Viewed and Skewed," published in October by State University of New York Press, is one of the first books to take a serious look at the situation comedy or sitcom, one of the oldest , most popular forms of television programming. Edited by Mary Dalton, Wake Forest University assistant professor of communication, and Laura Linder, Marist College associate professor of media arts, the book is a collection of critical essays examining the ways sitcoms depict and influence American culture. Dalton said because the sitcom has enjoyed such popularity and longevity since it debuted on radio in the 1920s, the genre has become a barometer of American culture and warrants academic study. Shows discussed in the book include classics such as "I Love Lucy" and "The Andy Griffith Show," as well as contemporary hits such as "Sex and the City" and "Southpark." "The Sitcom Reader" is available on the Web at http://www.sunypress.edu.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

ALITO CONFIRMATION HEARINGS WILL FOCUS ON ROLE OF COURTS — Although much of the discussion of President Bush's nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court will focus on how the nominee might rule on particular issues such as abortion, the pledge of allegiance, and affirmative action, the confirmation battle also promises to present the public with an even more important debate about the role of courts in a democratic society, and in a way last seen during the battle over Robert Bork's unsuccessful nomination in 1987, says John Dinan, Zachary T. Smith Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest. "Alito is a judicial conservative, and therefore believes that decisions about controversial issues should be made by the people and their elected representatives, not by unelected judges, and by all accounts, Alito is prepared to vigorously defend this position in his confirmation hearings against Democratic senators and liberal interest groups who hold a quite different view," Dinan said. Dinan, author of "Keeping the People's Liberties: Legislators, Citizens, and Judges as Guardians of Rights," is available for comment on the Alito nomination and upcoming confirmation hearings at which the proper role of judges in a democratic society will likely be the dominant issue.

Contact: Jake McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

CAPTIVATED BY THE SOUNDS OF SHAKUHACHI — Grand Master performer James Nyoraku Schlefer will present a shakuhachi (traditional Japanese bamboo flute) concert at Wake Forest at 11 a.m. Nov. 10 in Brendle Recital Hall. The concert will feature some of the centuries-old, haunting music of Buddhist monks. Schlefer will also give a lecture/demonstration titled "Music and Zen: Enlightenment in a Single Sound" at 9:30 a.m. in Brendle Recital Hall. The lecture will focus on the instrument's relationship to Zen Buddhism. Both events are free and open to the public.

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

VETERANS DAY CEREMONY HONORS SERVICEMEN/WOMEN — Wake Forest and the Wake Forest Army ROTC program will honor those who have served the United States through military service at a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 11. The event will be held at the flag pole in Perritt Plaza located between Benson University Center and Reynolda Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

'AMERICAN BEAUTY,' 'BIG FISH' PRODUCER TO VISIT WAKE FOREST — The Wake Forest film studies program, in conjunction with the School of Filmmaking at the North Carolina School of the Arts, will host an event featuring Hollywood film producer Bruce Cohen at 1 p.m. Nov. 13 in Wake Forest's Carswell Hall, Annenberg Forum, Room 111. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a screening of "Big Fish," a 2003 film starring Ewan McGregor for which Cohen was the producer. After the screening, Cohen will participate in an audience question-and-answer session. Cohen is best known for his work as producer of the 1999 film "American Beauty," which won an Oscar for best picture. "Big Fish" will be screened at Wake Forest in 35mm film. "This gives us a special chance to show the film in the crisp, enlarged format it was meant to be seen in," said Peter Brunette, Reynolds Professor of Film Studies and director of the film studies program at Wake Forest. The event is the second product of a new collaboration between Wake Forest's film studies program and the school of filmmaking at the North Carolina School of the Arts. For more information about Cohen's visit to Wake Forest, call (336) 758-5310.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

WFU COMMEMORATES 'KRISTALLNACHT' — On Nov. 9, 1938, a nationwide pogrom was held in Germany and Austria. Called Kristallnacht or "The Night of Broken Glass," the event is often considered the beginning of the Holocaust. To commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Wake Forest Music Department will present a concert of poetry and music at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 in Brendle Recital Hall in Scales Fine Arts Center. The program will feature guests and musicians, including Barbara Thiede from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Andrew Ettin, rabbi and professor of English at Wake Forest; and Louis Goldstein, pianist and professor of music at Wake Forest. The concert is free and open to the public.

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

BANSURI FLUTES, TABLA, RUBAB AND 'RADIO KABOUL' — Festival songs, ragas (classical Hindustani songs), and the airy melodies of Tajik minstrels will be among the music performed by the award-winning Afghan group "Radio Kaboul: Ustad Mahwash & Friends" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in Brendle Recital Hall in Wake Forest's Scales Fine Arts Center. A pre-performance screening of the film "Afghanistan: The Lost Truth" will also be held at 6:30 p.m. in Scales Fine Arts Center, Room 208, adjacent to Brendle Recital Hall. Radio Kaboul was founded to help maintain the richness of Afghan culture. The concert will feature renowned vocalist Ustad Farida Mahwash and five musicians performing on ethnic instruments. Admission to the screening is free. Tickets for the concert are $18 for adults; $14 for senior citizens and non-WFU students; and $5 for children under 12. They are available through the Theatre Box Office at 336-758-5295.

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

TIBETAN MONKS TO CREATE MANDALA AT WFU — Four Buddhist monks from the Sera Jey Monastery in India will create a sand mandala at Wake Forest Nov. 15-17 in the third floor atrium of Benson University Center. A mandala is a symbolic, circular graphic representation of a Buddhist deity's realm of existence and serves as a focus for meditative practice. The event is part of the Shiwa Tour of Peace and Healing, a cultural tour highlighting the practices and methods of Tibetan monks. The monks will perform an opening consecration ceremony at 10 a.m. Nov. 15 then work on the mandala between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily for three days. The event will conclude with a dismantling ceremony at 3 p.m. Nov. 17. Admission is free and open to the public.

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.


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