Here are five things to put on your Cyclone radar this week:
1) A fire broke out in the mechanical penthouse on top of Sweeney Hall last Friday morning. No one was injured, but the building — which houses ISU’s chemical and biological engineering department — sustained expensive smoke and water damage. The cause of the fire is still being determined, as the Ames Fire Department is handling the investigation.
2) Dan Shechtman, Iowa State’s first Nobel Prize winner, is eyeing another prestigious distinction: president of Israel. Keep in mind that the Israeli presidency is a separate position from that of prime minister, so responsibilities for governance are limited. Presidents serve 7-year terms and are elected via secret ballot by the Knesset — the country’s unicameral national legislature. Israeli presidents are often distinguished in other fields, not just politics — and Shechtman clearly fits that bill as a Nobel laureate.
The Times of Israel recently reported that Shechtman has secured the required 10 signatures he needs from Knesset members to be on the ballot. And a TV news poll indicates that he will be a leading contender in the June 10 election.
“I think I can change things for the better,” Shechtman told the press. “I’m doing it now as well, in many areas — mostly in education, higher education, and technological entrepreneurship. But I think I could do a lot more from a presidential position.”
Shechtman, who is an ISU professor of materials science and engineering/Ames Lab research scientist in addition to the Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011 for his 1982 discovery of quasicrystals — an achievement that was initially met with skepticism and even hostility before being confirmed, embraced, and lauded by the scientific community. Becoming president of his country would certainly bring things full circle. Stay tuned.
3) Thanks in part to a pair of top-25 finishes by the ISU men’s and women’s golf teams at their respective NCAA championships last week, Iowa State has officially entered uncharted territory when it comes to the annual conference all-sports rankings. In 2013-2014, for the first time in history, ISU finished in the top half of the league for its performance across all programs. Thirteen of ISU’s 18 sports finished in the upper division of the team standings, and women’s cross country won a third-straight Big 12 title this year. Read more about it on Steve Malchow’s Cyclone athletics blog, 2:00 Timeout.
4) Like it or lump it, reality television is here to stay. But with so many shows hitting the airwaves over the last decade, we at the Alumni Association have heard of surprisingly few Iowa State connections to the genre. Jeffrey Saad ’89 is probably the most notable example of an Iowa Stater on the reality tube. He came in second on The Next Food Network Star but went on to compete on Chopped: All-Stars and become a regular on the Food Network and its sister station, The Cooking Channel. We’ve occasionally had Iowa Staters appear on smaller, cable reality shows — in fact, we learned last month that a current ISU student dance team member appears on the upcoming season of Country Music Television’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.
But overall, not a lot of Iowa State stories have emerged from this world (Maybe Iowa State grads are “too smart and self-confident to appear on this crap,” one alum wrote on our Facebook page last week. Her words.) But regardless of your feelings about the program, Iowa State’s latest reality TV connection is on what is arguably one of the biggest reality television series ever — The Bachelorette. So, needless to say, it’s catching quite a bit of attention. Northeast Iowa farmer Chris Soules ’04 is one of the 25 bachelors vying for the affections of Andi Dorfman on this season’s show, and so far he’s made a good impression on the protagonist. Here’s some video of him on a date with Andi from ABC’s website. Whether or not he finds true love in a reality TV world, we wish him well.
5) The VISIONS Across America: Portraits of Iowa State Alumni by Jim Heemstra photography exhibition has been up in the Brunnier Art Museum for two months now, and it will remain open through Aug. 9. Whether you’ve seen it yet or not, this coming Sunday is a perfect opportunity to visit the gallery. Hear more from the artist (Jim) and the editor (Carole) at the exhibition’s public lecture. This free event starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 8 in the Brunnier. Jim and Carole will share some inspiring stories about the alumni they met while traveling across the U.S. for more than two years. They’ve received many comments about what an ambitious project it must have been, so here’s a chance to find out exactly how daunting it was — and what really went into making a crazy dream a reality.