UM Professor, Dr. Susan Murphy, is one of this year's MacArthur Foundation 'Geniuses'

This morning, Dr. Susan Murphy, the H.E. Robbins Professor of Statistics and Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Michigan, was awarded one of two dozen new MacArthur Fellows,

Dr. Murphy's current focus is on adaptive intervention, which involves developing plans to work with patients who have chronic or relapsing illnesses (such as, substance abuse or depression) where effective courses of treatment are constantly adjusted for maximum benefit.

Novelist Karen Russell is another new Fellow. The first story in her debut collection, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006) served as the basis for her much acclaimed first novel, Swamplandia (2011), set in the Everglades and narrated by 13-year-old Ava. Swamplandia was one of three finalists for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Alas, no award in that category was given last year, due to the lack of the minimum required number of votes.

These "Genius Awards", as they are affectionately known, come with no strings attached. The Fellows are free to spend the money as they wish. This year, the Geniuses received a raise. The formerly half-million dollar reward has been bumped to $625,000, paid out yearly for five years.

For a complete list of the MacArthur Foundation Fellows for the Class of 2013, check here.

Mary Stewart Adams on Diane Rehm Tuesday

Mary Stewart Adams, director of the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Michigan, will be one of four panelists on the 11:00 segment of the Diane Rehm show today. Panelists will be talking about combatting light pollution. We spoke with Stewart last year about her mission to preserve the stories of the stars and the dark skies in Michigan, and she'll be back again at AADL December 14, for an exhibit and another evening of star lore - just in time for the appearance of comet ISON.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #415 - What Would You Do in a Do-Over?

In award-winning journalist Stephen Kiernan''s gripping and poignant literary thriller - The Curiosity * * deep in the Arctic circle, Dr. Kate Philo and her exploration team is searching for marine creatures embedded in icebergs that they can reanimate, and discovery the body of a man buried deep in the ice. With great care, Kate is able to successfully reanimate their discovery back in a Boston lab.

Alternating with Kate's narrative is that of Jeremiah Rice. As he begins to regain his memories, the team learns that he was a Massachusetts judge and the last thing he remembers is falling overboard into the Arctic Ocean in 1906.

As "Subject One" of his Lazarus Project, greedy Erastus Carthage, who funded the expedition, sees it as a breakthrough in the lucrative field of cryogenics. While the clock is ticking, Jeremiah's new life is slipping away, and religious extremists are staging public protests, Kate must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the man she has come to love.

"(S)mart, heady, and irresistible", Kiernan gets every element right in this breakneck, entertaining, and thought-provoking tale about time, mortality, the ethics of science, and the meaning of life. The film rights were instantly sold."

Readers interested in the fantastic multiple realities would enjoy the latest from Andrew Sean Greer - The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells * , a rapturously romantic story of a woman who finds herself transported to the other lives she might have lived.

After a series of personal tragedies, Greta Wells undergoes electroshock therapy for severe depression, only to finds herself repeatedly sent to 1918, 1941, and back to the present.

Whisked from the gas-lit streets and horse-drawn carriages of the West Village to a martini-fueled lunch at the Oak Room, in these other worlds, Greta is united with love ones and those who would eventually betray her.

"In this spellbinding novel,...each reality has its own losses, its own rewards; each extracts a different price. Which life will she choose as she wrestles with the unpredictability of love and the consequences of even her most carefully considered choices?"

* = starred review
* * = starred reviews

Make a Cast Fossil

Monday, July 8 | 2-3pm | Downtown MPR | Grades K-5

'Rock' out with us and make your own cast fossil out of clay and plaster of paris while exploring a process that has created fossils in sedimentary rock for billions of years.

Fossils in the earth can be formed out of plants, or invertebrates like mollusks and arthropods, or vertebrates like dinosaurs and woolly mammoths. Fossils are found in different forms too. Sometimes they are turned to stone or preserved in amber, and other times they leave an imprint in the earth that is filled in by different minerals, forming a cast. We will replicate the process of creating cast fossils.

You're welcome to bring a small, hard item that can fit in the palm of your hand -- for example, a dinosaur toy or a sea shell -- or you can use the objects the library provides. Looking for more information on fossils? Check out these great books and videos from the AADL collection.

Today: Race to Space: Planetary Rovers

Thursday July 18 | 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm | Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room | Grades 6 -12

Ever wanted to build your own robot? Unleash your inner mad scientist Thursday, July 18th at 1 pm, and build the bot of your your dreams using LEGO NXT! Then, after you tweak your robot, test your creation against the other robots in competition!

Participation in "Race to Space" events includes codes for Summer Game space badges if you attend the entire event.

Rubber Band Cars

Friday July 26 | 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm | Malletts Creek Branch | K - 5

Use rubber bands, cardboard, CDs and more to create your own rubber-band-powered car. You can also check out these books about recycling everyday objects into cool new projects.

This event is for grades K - 5.

Roller Coaster Engineering Challenge!

Stop by the Downtown Library's Multi-Purpose Room on Thursday July 25 at 2:00pm and build your very own rollercoaster! Experiment, build, and see if you're the one who can keep the marble in motion the longest!

This event runs from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm and is for grades K-5.

Build a Better Bubble!

Friday, July 5 | 2 - 3 pm | Downtown Multi-Purpose Room | K - 5

Wondering which bubble solution makes the biggest bubble? Curious about how different bubble wands will work? Then come to our program where you will get a chance to experiment with different bubble solutions and wands to figure out how to build the very best bubble.

This program is for K - 5.

You can also check out these books for more bubble fun.

Make Your Own JunkBot Buggies

Sunday July 7 | 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm | Downtown Multi-Purpose Room | Grade 6 – Adult

Drop in and build an LED JunkBot out of scrap electronic parts and learn about electrical circuits in this SciTech workshop.

The activity will take about 30 minutes, and you can take your project home!

Smell and Tell: Stories of Anosmia

Saturday June 8, 2013: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Sensory loss is visible in the blind and the deaf, but what about people who lose their sense of smell?

Michelle Krell Kydd, editor of Glass Petal Smoke (http://glasspetalsmoke.blogspot.com), spent time talking to congenital and acquired anosmics to get a better understanding of how the absence of the sense of smell has affected their lives. What she's learned will inspire you to pay attention to a sense that is closely linked to memory.

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