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Posts tagged: BSU

BSU researchers working to build computer chip based on human brain function

BSU researchers are working on developing a computer chip based on the human brain, funded by a three-year National Science Foundation grant. “By mimicking the brain’s billions of interconnections and pattern recognition capabilities, we may ultimately introduce a new paradigm in speed and power, and potentially enable systems that include the ability to learn, adapt and respond to their environment,” said BSU Prof. Elisa Barney Smith, who is the principal investigator on the grant. She's working with fellow electrical and computer engineering faculty members Kris Campbell and Vishal Saxena; Cambell's Boise State lab is one of only half a dozen in the world that's capable of the project, BSU reports.  

The university says the team’s research builds on recent work from scientists who have derived mathematical algorithms to explain the electrical interaction between brain synapses and neurons; click below for BSU's full report on the research project. 

State board approves new contracts for head basketball coaches at BSU, UI

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The men's basketball coaches at Boise State and the University of Idaho have new contracts. The Idaho Board of Education on Thursday approved contracts for BSU coach Leon Rice and UI coach Don Verlin. Rice's five-year deal pays him a base salary of $482,110 next season, with 3 percent raises each year. It also includes bonuses for the team's success both on the court and in the classroom, including a $15,000 bonus if the Broncos win the Mountain West Conference tournament championship. Verlin's three-year deal has his base pay starting at $156,832 and increasing to $169,629 by the final year. He will receive $60,000 in media payments each season and is eligible for bonuses based on his team's success.

Leading Civil War scholars to converge on BSU for Oct. 25 Andrus Center conference

Leading Civil War scholars from around the nation will gather at Boise State University on Oct. 25 for a day-long conference entitled, “Why The Civil War Still Matters.” The conference is sponsored y the Andrus Center for Public Policy, the Idaho Humanities Council and the Idaho Council for History Education. Advance registration is required; the $25 registration fee, which includes lunch, will be waived for any current high school or college student.

Marc Johnson, president of the Andrus Center, said the conference marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. “If you are a Civil War buff, a student of history, or just want a better understanding of how a conflict 150 years ago shaped, and continues to shape, our history, this event should be on your calendar,” Johnson said; there's more info here.

Giant parking crunch expected at Boise State on Thursday

Boise State University is expecting more than 70,000 people on its campus Thursday, as events collide, from regular classes, to two performances of “Les Miserables” at the Morrison Center, to a 4 p.m. women's volleyball game, to the 7 p.m. football matchup against BYU. The campus has 7,700 parking spaces.

As a result, BSU is declaring Thursday to be “Give Your Car a 'Brake' Day,” encouraging alternate transportation and offering parking tips in advance of the big crunch. Click below for the university's full news release.

Kustra: Adler’s move to BSU fits university’s public affairs mission

David Adler, a longtime political science professor and constitutional scholar at Idaho State University who for the past two years has served as director of the University of Idaho's James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research, has been named the new director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University – completing an arc across of all three of the state's universities.

“With our designation by the State Board of Education as Idaho’s public affairs university, Dr. Adler’s appointment allows us to realize the full extent of our public affairs mission,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “It not only recognizes the contributions Cecil Andrus has made to his state and nation, but it also allows us to carry out our public affairs mandate with the leadership of such a distinguished teacher, author, lecturer and administrator as Dr. Adler.”

The Andrus Center, founded by former four-term Idaho governor and U.S. Interior secretary Cecil Andrus, has focused since 1995 on providing a forum for non-partisan policy discussions on major issues in Idaho and the West. With Adler's appointment, the center will expand its programming to include the Constitution, civic engagement and education, political civility and the American presidency.

The UI has temporarily named Marty Peterson, the just-retired special assistant to the president and the university's former chief lobbyist, as interim head of the McClure Center; you can read my full Sunday column here at, which also includes a look at how North Idaho GOP legislative candidates answered the state party's platform survey.

State Ed Board signs off on new five-year contract for Coach Pete at BSU

Idaho's state Board of Education has signed off on a new five-year, $11.7 million contract for Boise State football coach Chris Petersen, the Associated Press reports; the board unanimously approved the new contract at its meeting today in Moscow. Petersen's new package includes a bump in base pay each of the five years plus a series of incentives, according to the AP; they include a $250,000 annual licensing payment for use of Petersen's name and image. Earlier this year, the board approved giving Petersen a $375,000 raise for 2012. The contract is designed to keep Petersen's salary competitive and retain him as the head of the Broncos highly successful football program.

BSU opening Meridian campus

Boise State University will offer classes in Meridian starting in August, at a site formerly occupied by the University of Phoenix. Classes that BSU previously offered at Columbia High School in Nampa will be at the new Meridian site, along with graduate programs in bilingual/ESL education and literacy education; all are aimed at allowing BSU students who live in the west end of the Treasure Valley to complete some bachelor's or master's degrees without traveling to the Boise campus for classes.

Our desire is to complement and support the courses being offered at College of Western Idaho in Nampa and ease the transition for students who transfer to a four-year program at Boise State,” said Peter Risse, associate dean for BSU’s Division of Extended Studies. “The new site is ideal with easy access off the interstate and Eagle Road.” It's located at 2950 Magic View Lane, Suite 188, in Meridian; there's more info here.

Blue-and-orange purchases add another $700K to BSU scholarship funds

The continued popularity of blue-and-orange Boise State Broncos gear will result in $700,000 for scholarships to BSU this year, the university announced today. “It's been growing,” said Mike Reed, BSU bookstore director, with the biggest jump coming in 2007 when Boise State's football wowed the nation at the Fiesta Bowl. That year, merchandise sales from the bookstore and “Bronco Shops” around the area resulted in a record $800,000 for scholarships; it's been in the $600,000 to $700,000 range ever since, Reed said, up from just a couple hundred thousand in the late '90s.

The bookstore and its affiliates return a portion of all profits to the university each year for scholarships. This year's payment will support a freshman-retention scholarship program for BSU students entering their sophomore year in the fall, and two other scholarship programs, for Idaho high school students and for high-achieving students.

BSU gets its biggest gift ever: $13M from Micron for new Ph.D program

Boise State University is receiving the largest charitable gift in the university's nearly 80-year history: A $13 million donation from Micron Technology to the College of Engineering to start a Ph.D program in materials science and engineering. Steve Appleton, Micron CEO, said, “A doctorate program focused on materials science and engineering will strengthen Boise State’s ability to develop breakthrough technologies and help create the associated broad-based economic and societal benefits.” BSU President Bob Kustra said, “This landmark gift will position Boise State’s materials science program as one of the top research engines in the region and we are grateful for Micron’s continued support.” You can read the university's full announcement here.

BSU sets enrollment record

Boise State University has set an all-time record with its enrollment this year of 19,993 students, up 5.6 percent from last fall. At the same time, the number of new student applications is up 16 percent. BSU’s enrollment has grown 21 percent since 2000 and 48 percent since 1990; there’s more info here.

Broncos, Vandals talk…

Here’s a news item from the AP: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Athletic officials from Boise State and Idaho are talking about options for keeping the rivalry alive after the Broncos switch conferences. Boise State is moving from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference next season. The change could spell the end of a gridiron rivalry the Broncos have dominated in the last decade. But leaders from the two schools are at least talking about future matchups. Vandal Athletic Director Rob Spear said he was contacted last week by Bronco Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier. Spear says Bleymaier is working on a proposal to schedule games beyond 2011. For now, the Broncos and Vandals are slated to meet one more time — in Moscow Nov. 12.

International Basque seminar coming to BSU

An international academic seminar on Basque immigration will be held at Boise State University July 28-30, at the height of the once-every-five-years “Jaialdi” celebration of Basque culture. The seminar, held in a different European or U.S. location each year, will include scholars from the U.S., Japan, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Spain, France, Italy, Iceland and the Madeira Islands, and presentations will cover everything from the status of the Basque language in America to the origin of Basque surnames.

The symposium is entitled “Euskal Herria Mugaz Gaindi,” or “Basque Country Beyond Borders.” “It is an honor, but quite appropriate, for Boise State to host such a gathering of the world’s leading Basque scholars,” said Alberto Santana, director of BSU’s Basque Studies Program. Boise State has the largest Basque studies program in the world outside the Basque country.

The Jaialdi festival is scheduled for July 27 to Aug. 1, and several popular downtown Boise hotels already are sold out. The event draws thousands of attendees from around the world; there’s more info here.

Setting rivalry aside - temporarily

Boise State University and the University of Idaho will meet on the football field this Saturday amid all the usual rivalry, but a day earlier, the presidents of the two universities say they’ll set rivalry aside to talk research. UI President Duane Nellis and BSU President Bob Kustra are scheduled to meet with faculty researchers on Friday for discussion and lunch, joined by state Board of Education members, focusing on collaborative research work between the schools on water and energy issues. Those collaborative efforts include work by the Center for Advance Energy Studies, the Idaho Network for Biomedical Research Excellence, the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research in Idaho, according to the schools.

The research discussion will take place at the Stueckle Sky Center, which, of course, is at Bronco Stadium - the same place the two schools will clash on the field a day later.

BSU prof wins grant for novel new scanning microscope

A BSU associate professor of physics, Byung Kim, has been awarded a three-year, $240,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his novel scanning probe microscope. “It will be the first instrument of its kind in the world,” said Kim. The Korean-born BSU professor has been working on the concept for five years, and recently published a paper about his work in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

The instrument is called a “cantilever based optical interfacial force microscope,” or COIFM. It’s a radically new twist on interfacial force microscopes that were invented in the 1990s.

“The original tool is innovative, but it is limited to measuring the interaction of a huge number of molecules,” Kim explained. “COIFM’s single molecular measurements will provide a better understanding of intermolecular interactions, which could lead to the development of drugs and other biomedical applications.” The BSU prof has involved undergraduate student researchers in his work.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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