Archive for July, 2012
“What starts here changes the world.” We’ve used this saying for the last decade to sum up what we do and why. Now, we’ve launched a new website to give concrete examples. “What Starts Here Changes the World” — a microsite within UT’s main website — tells our story in a simple, straightforward way in four categories: Finding Solutions, Improving Health, Preparing Leaders, and Transforming Education.
I encourage you to explore the site, educate yourself about what’s happening at UT Austin, and show your pride by sharing it with your social media networks.
The site will be working in tandem with a new advertising campaign you’ll be seeing on the Texas Tribune website as we educate the state’s thought leaders on the impact The University of Texas is having on the world. Sharing good news with the public is not just a privilege but a critical duty for any publicly supported institution. This is a powerful new tool in our toolbox.
Hook ’em Horns!
Many of you have read or seen reports in recent days about an exciting breakthrough in physics — the discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson particle. The theoretical work of UT physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg 45 years ago was a crucial building block that advanced the Standard Model of physics, and last week, the New York Times asked him to describe the significance of the discovery.
But Professor Weinberg went further, and made a point we stress often — that to be a world research university means to pursue knowledge not simply for immediate gain, but to pursue it at the most basic level, both for its own sake and in the recognition that we simply don’t know where any given discovery will lead. If we focus exclusively on research thought to be “practical,” we deny future generations the chance to take seemingly esoteric findings and synthesize them into revolutionary discoveries.
As Professor Weinberg wrote: “On a longer time scale, the advance of technology will reflect the coherent picture of nature we are now assembling. At the end of the 19th century physicists in England were exploring the properties of electric currents passing through a near vacuum. Although this was pure science, it led to our knowledge of the electron, without which a large part of today’s technology would be impossible. If these physicists had limited themselves to work of obvious practical importance, they would have been studying the behavior of steam boilers.”
Dr. Weinberg’s long association with the University should make us all proud. His passion for pure science should inspire us to invest in it.
With the Olympic trials now complete, the number of Longhorn students and alumni competing at the 2012 Games in London has climbed to 21 competing across seven sports, with one Longhorn coach, Eddie Reese, among the Olympic staff as assistant men’s swimming coach. Of the Longhorns going to London:
- Seven are in women’s track and field
- Five are competing in men’s swimming
- Five are in men’s track and field
- Two are in women’s swimming
- One is in men’s diving
- One in men’s basketball
- And one is in women’s volleyball
UT being an international university, it’s not surprising that seven athletes are competing on teams other than the United States’, with two representing Mexico, and one each competing for Canada, Haiti, Jamaica, Liberia, Nigeria, and the Virgin Islands.
I’ll be watching our students and alumni with great interest and pride. And you can keep up on the latest on all of them at:
Hook ’em Horns!