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Sooner Shorts
News and events from around OU.


Saving the Birds


While research shows that artificial lights at night contribute to health impacts like disrupted sleep in humans, it can be deadly for birds. “Urban lighting is a wicked problem for migratory birds,” says OU biology professor Jeff Kelly, who is the lead in a National Science Foundation research project to investigate ways to mitigate the risk. LED lights that illuminate buildings have caused an estimated one billion bird deaths, mostly in small migratory songbirds like the Rose-breasted Grosbeak shown at right. Kelly says he hopes the study will help more people become aware of the effects of artificial lighting on “all of us and on our environment.”

Concrete Acoustics

Anyone who has practiced guitar in their parents’ garage will tell you concrete is not known for its great acoustics—until now. Daniel Butko, associate professor in OU’s Gibbs College of Architecture, led a research project in exploring ways to manipulate the porosity of the material by creating saw-tooth panels of absorbent, lightweight aerated concrete (ADALAC). Designed for use on walls and ceilings, ADALAC panels can reflect, diffuse and absorb sound frequencies related to everyday speech at twice the performance rate of existing aerated panels. The project has earned a 2021 R+D Award from the American Institute of Architects.

Graham's Sticky Pick

OU Athletics

With all the hubbub over the new NIL rule allowing college players to profit from use of their name, image or likeness, one of the most fitting endorsements might have taken place during the OU-Nebraska game on Sept. 18. Sooner cornerback D.J. Graham executed a perfect one-handed interception thrown by NU’s Adrian Martinez. The pick earned him $1,000 from Gorilla Glue and an assortment of the company’s products. “I might just send it to my parents,” says Graham, “and tell them, ‘Hey Mom, go ahead and break something, let’s see how good this glue is.’ ” 

The Fred Jones Jr. Welcomes New Director

OU alumnus Thomas Brent Smith has returned to his alma mater as the Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. Smith has spent the past 13 years at the Denver Art Museum, where he served as director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art. In his role at the institute, he guided the museum’s acquisition of multiple important collections and curated innovative exhibitions garnering high attendance and positive critical response. Smith currently serves as president of the Museums West Consortium.



OU Institute Supports Air Force Initiatives

Efforts to sustain and modernize the U.S. Air Force have taken flight through a series of recent agreements with the University of Oklahoma. Seven research projects at OU’s Gallogly College of Engineering will be funded through a $5 million investment from the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base and the Air Force Research Laboratory. OU also signed an educational partnership agreement with the logistics complex in July. These developments are part of OU’s “Lead on, University” strategic plan, which established the new Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute to better address national challenges in aerospace, defense and global security.

College Named for Homer L. Dodge Family

Travis Caperton

The family of renowned scientist Homer L. Dodge has honored the former OU faculty member, department chair and dean with a transformational gift to the College of Arts and Sciences and its department of physics and astronomy. In appreciation, the OU Board of Regents has approved the naming of the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences. The family’s gift is allocated equally between the college and the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy (named for Dodge in 2005) and will predominantly benefit student scholarships and research fellowships.

Sooners Prevail in Historic Red River Rivalry

Copyright 2021 The Oklahoman/Bryan Terry

True freshman quarterback Caleb Williams celebrates the Sooners’ 55-48 victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl on Oct. 9.  Members of the winning team in the annual showdown earn both bragging rights and the honor of donning the golden hat, as Williams prepares to do for the first time. 

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