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K-State mathematics professor Louis Crane won first place in an essay contest sponsored by the Foundational Questions Institute for his proposal to make small artificial black holes and use them to make power plants and starships.

In the essay "Stardrives and Spinoza," Crane argues that because it is widely believed that every black hole produces a new baby universe on the other side of its singularity, this technology will involve future humanity in the creation process of universes.

"The changes in our economic life and understanding of our role in the cosmos would be so profound as to have a 'spiritual' aspect," Crane wrote in the essay.

The contest came with a $10,000 award for first prize. The essays addressed the question "What is ultimately possible in physics?"

The Foundational Questions Institute's goal is to catalyze, support and disseminate research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly those unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.


Elliott PujolK-State art professor Elliott Pujol will receive a 2010 Governor's Arts Award for his work as a master metalsmith and Kansas artist.

The Governor's Arts Awards are given annually to recognize distinguished Kansas artists, patrons and arts educators. Pujol will be recognized at a reception and awards ceremony from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 11, in the Washburn Room at Washburn University's Memorial Union.

"Elliott Pujol is such a respected artist internationally -- it's great to have his work also honored in his home state," said Gerry Craig, head of K-State's department of art. "His technical skill, intellectual acuity and expertise within the history of the discipline are peerless. He is also a terrific teacher and wonderful colleague, and we are delighted he is being recognized."

Pujol earned his master of fine arts degree in 1971 from Southern Illinois University. The same year, the National Endowment for the Arts and Penland School of Crafts selected him as one of the 50 outstanding craftsmen in the United States. Pujol also was chosen by the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis as a master metalsmith in 2005, which included a one-person retrospective of his work. Pujol joined K-State in 1973 and was promoted to full professor in 1983.

His work is comprised primarily of vessels, including a copper-covered 1960 Dodge truck that K-State's Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art featured on its rooftop gallery in 2008.

Pujol has worked in a variety of metals, but said he favors copper because to its workability.

"It seems to take texture and color better, so I can more easily create the surface I want while I'm working with it," he said. Some of Pujol's work can be viewed online at:

Pujol is one of six people or organizations receiving the 2010 Governor's Arts Award. An expert panel made up of members of the Kansas Arts Commission, a representative from the governor's office and arts professionals select the winners from submitted nominations.

The Kansas Arts Commission is a state agency dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts in Kansas. Its mission is to provide opportunities for the people of Kansas to experience, celebrate and value the arts throughout their lives. More information on the commission is available


Ruth DyerRuth Dyer has been appointed senior vice provost at K-State. She served as K-State's interim provost and vice president for academic affairs from June 15, 2009, when Duane Nellis left K-State to become president at the University of Idaho, until the appointment of April Mason as K-State's provost and senior vice president in December.

"Ruth Dyer is a hard working and extremely effective administrator at K-State," Mason said. "With many challenges facing the university it will be an advantage to K-State to have Dr. Dyer in this post."

As a K-State associate provost since 2004, Dyer has overseen K-State's offices of planning and analysis, assessment and summer school. She also coordinates the university's mentoring program for women and minorities in the sciences and engineering, and coordinates academic initiatives with the Kansas Board of Regents. Before being promoted to associate provost, Dyer served as assistant provost from 2000-2004.

In addition, Dyer is a professor in K-State's department of electrical and computer engineering. She was promoted to full professor in 1997.

As an investigator for university wide research projects, Dyer has been involved in numerous ongoing grants and proposals for engagement and outreach totaling nearly $5 million. Since 2000, she also has managed the expansion and maintenance of K-State's many technology classrooms.

She is a Fellow of the IEEE, formerly known as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and has been a member since 1986. The grade of Fellow recognizes unusual distinction in the profession and is conferred by the IEEE board of directors upon senior members who have demonstrated an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest.

Dyer also was one of seven individuals from across the nation to be named a Fellow of the Association of Women in Sciences in 2006. She has been honored several times for her excellence in teaching and received K-State's Entrepreneurship Support Award in 2009. She was an American Council on Education -- ACE -- Fellow in 2003-2004 and served during that year at The Ohio State University.

Dyer earned her doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1980. Her bachelor's and master's degrees in biochemistry are from K-State. She joined K-State in 1983.