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Yale and India’s Ashoka University expand collaboration


Washington: Ivy League research institution Yale University and New Delhi based non-profit Ashoka University are expanding their ongoing collaboration to jointly develop opportunities through faculty-initiated and faculty-directed teaching and research activities.

A Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming the long-standing collaboration
between New Heaven, Connecticut based Yale and Ashoka was signed in New Delhi this week by visiting Yale University President Peter Salovey and Ashoka Vice Chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee.

The announcement acknowledges a relationship between the universities built over the past five years grounded in research, teaching, and mentorship, according to a media release.

During this time, Yale and Ashoka faculty, administrators, and alumni have engaged in a wide range of initiatives where Yale has contributed to advising and shaping Ashoka’s curriculum and infrastructure in admissions, development, student affairs and faculty affairs.

As part of the framework, an existing Yale-Ashoka faculty committee will work to strengthen this relationship and explore opportunities for visiting faculty, visiting students, and joint research and publications.

Yale and Ashoka will also explore innovative opportunities for student experiences in India and develop new models for research and teaching on the liberal arts and sciences within India.

Salovey applauded Ashoka’s founders and its new administration for rethinking and reimagining “the possibilities for higher education in India, in collaboration with Yale and others around the world.”

Mukherjee said: “We look forward to working together and to being enriched by the long years of experience that Yale brings in the field of research and teaching in the liberal arts.”

The Yale linkages to Ashoka have been a vital element of Yale’s engagement with India through its Yale India Initiative, the Yale South Asian Studies Council, and other research and teaching activities.

Ashoka faculty and students have often welcomed Yale faculty as visiting lecturers and guest speakers, and Yale and Ashoka have collaborated on joint conferences and programmes.

Yale administrators have also met with Ashoka leadership during their visits to New Haven to advise on best practices in a range of areas of academic administration.

Ashoka and Yale were among the collaborators on two international conferences in 2013 and 2015, in Bangalore and in New Delhi, on the future of liberal arts education in India.

Looking ahead, Yale and Ashoka faculty are in discussion on visiting appointments for Yale faculty and hosting Yale Summer Session course and Yale courses and study trips at Ashoka.

They are also planning conferences and workshops such as the Yale Modern South Asia Workshop at Ashoka; and supporting the recruitment of Ashoka faculty from Yale’s PhD students.


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India-origin Researcher Madhusudhan Venkadesan part of the team that decoded Science behind Perfect Throw

Researchers mainly focused on the physics behind releasing a projectile with the human arm in a series of calculations and concluded that the best strategy is nothing but a slow underarm throw

How to throw a baseball, wikimedia

New York, April 27, 2017: The best strategy for the perfect throw – be it a dart, a basketball or even a crumpled piece of paper has been mathematically calculated by a team scientists, including one of Indian origin.

Researchers mainly focused on the physics behind releasing a projectile with the human arm in a series of calculations and concluded that the best strategy for getting a piece of paper into a nearby bin is nothing but a slow underarm throw.

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Faster throws tend to have less accuracy; the researchers from the Yale University in the US have pointed out. The reason behind this is that the ball travels in a nearly straight line, so any errors in the angle at which the object is released tend to be amplified.

According to Madhusudhan Venkadesan, assistant professor at Yale, “What we find is that almost the slowest arc is often the most accurate. We have compared these calculations to published data of people throwing into wastebaskets, we have compared it to a study in dart throwing.”

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According to PTI report, the researchers also mentioned that in sports like basketball or darts, the strategy is dependent on conditions and the trade-off needed between speed and accuracy.

For example, experienced darts players throw overarm at about 5.5 metres per second and optimally release the dart 17 to 37 degrees before the arm becomes vertical. On the cricket pitch, it is more likely that the fielders will strike the wicket with a fast underarm throw.

This study was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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New hormone test may distinguish schizophrenia, depression

A hormone-based test has been devoloped by US researchers that can distinguish between the non-specific and mild symptoms of depression and schizophrenia

mental illnesses, wikimedia

New York, March 14, 2017:  US researchers have developed a new hormone-based test that can better distinguish between the symptoms of depression and schizophrenia.

Depression is thought to affect over 300 million people worldwide and schizophrenia affects as many as 51 million people.
Clinically, it is difficult to distinguish between these two diseases in their early phases, because symptoms are non-specific and relatively mild.

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In the study, led by researchers from Yale University in Connecticut, US, the researchers infused patients with a high concentration salt solution to induce the release of the hormone arginine-vasopressin (AVP), and then measured the level of the hormone in their blood.

The results, reported in Experimental Physiology, revealed that AVP release can distinguish schizophrenia from depression.

Depressed patients showed an increased release of the hormone, while patients with schizophrenia showed a decreased response.

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Further, the novel method will help identify people whose depression or schizophrenia involves signalling via a receptor called NMDAR, and differentiate between the two diseases.

In patients with schizophrenia the NMDA receptor signalling may be decreased, while it might be high in those with depression.

This hormone test may be a simple way to distinguish and identify patients with NMDA receptor malfunction in each disorder, the researchers said.

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“This is the first objective, physiological marker for two major psychiatric disorders that, once fully developed into a clinical test, can allow for earlier and more accurate diagnosis, and selection of more appropriate medications for patients,” said Handan Gunduz-Bruce from Yale University.

Distinguishing this specific form of these diseases could allow for earlier and more accurate diagnoses as well as more targeted treatment, Gunduz-Bruce added. (IANS)

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Yale University to rename Calhoun College amid controversy over Slavery

Calhoun College, one of the residential colleges under Yale University, will be renamed to honor Yale alumni Grace Murray Hooper

Yale University, Wikimedia

Washington, Feb 12, 2017: Yale University will rename one of its residential colleges, replacing the name of an alumnus remembered as an advocate of slavery with that of an alumna who was a pioneering mathematician and computer scientist, the media reported.

Calhoun College will be renamed to honour Grace Murray Hopper, who helped transform the way people use technology, the BBC reported.

Hopper earned Yale degrees in the 1930s and became a US Navy rear admiral.

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The Ivy League university on Saturday said the move ends the controversy over the former politician and defender of slavery John C. Calhoun, whose legacy led to campus protests in 2015.

Calhoun, a member of the Yale class of 1804, was a senator from South Carolina and a leading voice for those opposed to abolishing slavery. He served as Vice-President from 1825 to 1832.

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“The minute that the announcement came out, people stuck their heads out of the window and yelled ‘Wahoo!'” Julia Adams, a sociology professor who is head of the just-renamed Grace Murray Hopper College, said on Saturday.

The decision to rename Calhoun College reverses one made last year, when Yale President Peter Salovey said he did not want to erase history, but confront it and learn from it, The Washington Post reported.

By the beginning of the next academic year, the name of alumna Grace Murray Hopper will be added to the building, and the residential college will be known by that name.

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Students’ T-shirts will have the Hopper name.

However, the university will not chisel off the “Calhoun” or remove other traces of the name on campus. (IANS)