Two New Books from David Swanson
Sociology professor David A. Swanson has published two books in recent months. “Learning Statistics: A Manual for Sociology Students” (Cognella, 2012) addresses major concepts in classical statistics and helps prepare students for real-world applications.

“Consumer Demographics and Behaviour” (Springer, 2011), co-authored with Jo. M. Martins and Farhat Yusuf of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, focuses on populations and segment groups that influence market size for different types of commodities.

Susan Ossman’s London Exhibition
Anthropology professor Susan Ossman has organized an exhibition, “The Fabric of Fieldwork,” with London-based visual artist WESSIELING that opened April 13 at the Brunei Gallery in London.

The exhibition of paintings, sculpture and installations are inspired by the ongoing ethnographic research of Ossman in North Africa and WESSIELING in East Asia. The two investigate issues of visibility, femininity and women’s work, including their own field-weaving as artists and ethnographers, Ossman said. The exhibition continues through June 23.

Sloan Center Receives Seed Grant to Study “Gamification” of Marketing
Donna Hoffman and Tom Novak, marketing professors and co-directors of the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing at UCR, have received a $10,000 seed grant to explore a field they are calling the gamification of marketing.

Gamification, which involves the addition of game-play elements into marketing programs, consumer products and online applications to increase consumer engagement and support marketing strategies, is seeping into marketing, but its effects are unknown.

“This has the potential to get pretty out of control,” said Hoffman, the Albert O. Steffey Professor of Marketing. “Marketers are starting to treat customers like monkeys. They are dangling large bananas. You walk in a store: ‘Here’s your banana. Now buy something.’ It’s important to step back and study the implications of this.”

Hoffman and Novak, who have done pioneering research in social media, online consumer behavior and digital marketing trends, will be aided with the seed grant from the Marketing Science Institute’s Idea Challenge competition.

Vivian-Lee Nyitray to Teach in Europe
As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the UC Education Abroad Program, professor Vivian-Lee Nyitray will lead UC students on a summer program course in “Religion, Secularism & Civil Societies in Europe & the U.S.” that will include visits to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Berlin and Washington, D.C.

Nyitray, chair of the Department of Religious Studies, said the idea for the four-week course came from her experiences teaching undergraduate students who didn’t realize the role that religion plays in their day-to-day lives. It is one of five faculty-led programs offered by the Education Abroad Program this summer. Nyitray, who has taught at UCR since 1991, served two stints as the UC resident study center director in the Netherlands and has been a faculty consultant to the Education Abroad Program since 2009.

Paper Gives Insight Into Novel Phases of Matter
Atomtronics is a relatively new science devoted to creating artificial tailored materials consisting of neutral atoms held in an array with laser beams, or atoms moving along a desired track under electric or magnetic influence. Shan-Wen Tsai, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, does research in this new field and is a coauthor on a study to be published in Physical Review Letters that shows how a simple “joystick” consisting of an adjustable magnetic field can create several new phases of atomtronic matter, several of them never seen before.

“In atomtronics, the forces among the atoms can be controlled,” Tsai said. “The atoms can be induced to interact via a force that can be dialed up or down.”

The research team was led by scientists at George Mason University and included researchers from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland. Tsai’s contribution to the research project was supported by a National Science Foundation CAREER award.