Posts Tagged ‘University of Colorado’


Donald Cooper with scientific colleagues.


Donald Cooper mug shot.

A former University of Colorado professor has been arrested on suspicion of creating a company to sell marked-up lab equipment to the Boulder campus in what prosecutors call a theft “scheme.”

Donald Cooper, 44, was arrested at his home in Boulder on Tuesday afternoon, according to Boulder County District Attorney’s Office officials. It was unclear late Tuesday if Cooper had posted bond, which was set at $5,000.

He is facing a felony charge of theft between $20,000 and $100,000. Prosecutors allege that he created Boulder Science Resource to buy lasers and other lab equipment that he marked up 300 percent and then resold to his university laboratory, according to an arrest affidavit.

The arrangement also benefitted the professor’s father, who received a salary and a car from Boulder Science Resource, according to the arrest affidavit.

In total, CU paid Boulder Science Resource $97,554.03 between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2013, according to the affidavit.

According to CU’s calculations, Cooper’s markups cost the university $65,036.

Cooper resigned in July 2014 as part of a settlement deal with the university, which had begun the process of firing him on suspicion of fiscal misconduct. He had been director of the molecular neurogenetics and optophysiology laboratory in CU’s Institute for Behavioral Genetics, where he was a tenured associate professor.

After he learned about the university’s internal investigation, Cooper filed a notice of claim in September 2013 seeking $20 million in damages. Any person who wishes to sue a state entity must first file a notice of claim.

Cooper’s attorney Seth Benezra wrote in the notice of claim that Gary Cooper, the professor’s father, was the sole owner of Boulder Science Resource. He also wrote that the company sold CU equipment “at prices that were greatly discounted.”

Donald Cooper also complained that CU investigators had obtained an email about his father’s “alleged mental impairment,” according to the notice of claim.

“(The investigator’s) theory is that Gary Cooper lacks the mental capacity to run (Boulder Science Resource) and so Dr. Cooper must really be in charge,” Benezra wrote. “This assertion was pure speculation based on entirely private information and was rebutted by Dr. Cooper in multiple meetings with investigators.”

Benezra did not return messages from the Daily Camera on Tuesday. It’s unclear who is representing Cooper in the criminal case.

Though Cooper claims that his father was in charge of the company, prosecutors assert that the professor “employed a scheme” to deceive the university for his own gain, according to the affidavit.

“It is alleged that (Boulder Science Resource) was created to defraud the University of Colorado Boulder by acting as a middleman to generate income to employ Gary and to provide personal benefit for Cooper,” wrote Alisha Baurer, an investigator in the District Attorney’s Office.

‘Fake business’

CU was tipped off about Boulder Science Resource by another employee in Cooper’s department, who told investigators that he heard about the arrangement from Cooper’s ex-wife, according to the arrest affidavit.

The ex-wife told the CU employee that Cooper had created a “fake business” using “dirty money” from grants and start-up funds, according to the affidavit.

The financial manager for Cooper’s department told investigators that he never mentioned that his dad owned Boulder Science Resource, and said Cooper only referred to “Gary” by his first name, according to the affidavit.

The DA’s Office determined that Gary Cooper received $23,785.80 from Boulder Science Resource in the form of a salary and a car. They also found that $31,974.89 was paid from the company’s accounts to Donald Cooper’s personal credit card and that $14,733.54 was paid to his personal PayPal account from the business, according to the affidavit.

CU’s internal audit found that Boulder Science Resource had no customers other than the university and Mobile Assay, a company founded by Donald Cooper based on a technology he developed at the university.

Some of the money CU paid to Boulder Science Resource came from federal grants, including $7,220 from the National Institutes of Health and $15,288 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, according to the internal audit report.

CU’s investigation found that although Cooper claimed his father purchased the lab equipment for Boulder Science Resource, the professor used his university email account to negotiate with the manufacturers.

“It is internal audit’s conclusion that the forgoing acts/failures to act were done with intent to gain an unauthorized benefit,” according to the audit report.

Boulder Science Resource was dissolved in December 2013, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Settlement terms

Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Patrick O’Rourke, CU’s chief legal officer, said the university was aware of Cooper’s arrest and will cooperate with prosecutors.

CU settled with Cooper last summer after initiating termination proceedings. In exchange for his resignation, the university agreed to provide the professor with a letter of reference “acknowledging his significant achievement in creating a neuroscience undergraduate program,” according to the settlement document.

CU also paid $20,000 to partially reimburse Cooper’s attorney and forgave an $80,000 home loan. CU provides down payment-assistance loans to some faculty members.

Had the university continued the termination process, which is lengthy, Cooper would have continued to receive his full salary of $89,743 and all benefits during the proceedings.

O’Rourke said the university instead opted to accept Cooper’s resignation and saved money with the settlement.

http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-news/ci_28056525/former-cu-boulder-professor-arrested-theft-case

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World Cup soccer players with higher facial-width-to-height ratios are more likely to commit fouls, score goals and make assists, according to a study by a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The structure of a soccer player’s face can predict his performance on the field—including his likelihood of scoring goals, making assists and committing fouls—according to a study led by a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The scientists studied the facial-width-to-height ratio (FHWR) of about 1,000 players from 32 countries who competed in the 2010 World Cup. The results, published in the journal Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, showed that midfielders, who play both offense and defense, and forwards, who lead the offense, with higher FWHRs were more likely to commit fouls. Forwards with higher FWHRs also were more likely to score goals or make assists.

“Previous research into facial structure of athletes has been primarily in the United States and Canada,” said Keith Welker, a postdoctoral researcher in CU-Boulder Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the lead author of the paper. “No one had really looked at how facial-width-to-height ratio is associated with athletic performance by comparing people from across the world.”

FWHR is the distance between the cheekbones divided by the distance between the mid-brow and the upper lip. Past studies have shown that a high FWHR is associated with more aggressive behavior, with both positive and negative results. For example, high FWHR correlates with greater antisocial and unethical behavior, but it also correlates with greater success among CEOs and achievement drive among U.S. presidents. However, some previous research has failed to find a correlation between FWHR and aggressive behavior in certain populations.

The new study adds weight to the argument that FWHR does correlate with aggression. Welker and his colleagues chose to look at the 2010 World Cup because of the quality and quantity of the data available. “There are a lot of athletic data out there,” Welker said. “We were exploring contexts to look at aggressive behavior and found that the World Cup, which quantifies goals, fouls and assists, provides a multinational way of addressing whether facial structure produces this aggressive behavior and performance.”

Scientists have several ideas about how FWHR might be associated with aggression. One possibility is that it’s related to testosterone exposure earlier in life. Testosterone during puberty can affect a variety of physical traits, including bone density, muscle growth and cranial shape, Welker said.

Co-authors of the study were Stefan Goetz, Shyneth Galicia and Jordan Liphardt of Wayne State University in Michigan and Justin Carré of Nipissing University in Ontario, Canada. –

See more at: http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2014/11/11/facial-structure-predicts-goals-fouls-among-world-cup-soccer-players#sthash.mAvOP9oO.dpuf

By Jason Samenow

On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere. These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years.

“If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA.

Fortunately, the blast site of the CMEs was not directed at Earth. Had this event occurred a week earlier when the point of eruption was Earth-facing, a potentially disastrous outcome would have unfolded.

“I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did,” Baker tells NASA. “If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire.”

A CME double whammy of this potency striking Earth would likely cripple satellite communications and could severely damage the power grid. NASA offers this sobering assessment:

Analysts believe that a direct hit … could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps.

According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair.

CWG’s Steve Tracton put it this way in his frightening overview of the risks of a severe solar storm: “The consequences could be devastating for commerce, transportation, agriculture and food stocks, fuel and water supplies, human health and medical facilities, national security, and daily life in general.”

Solar physicists compare the 2012 storm to the so-called Carrington solar storm of September 1859, named after English astronomer Richard Carrington who documented the event.

“In my view the July 2012 storm was in all respects at least as strong as the 1859 Carrington event,” Baker tells NASA. “The only difference is, it missed.”

During the Carrington event, the northern lights were seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii according to historical accounts. The solar eruption “caused global telegraph lines to spark, setting fire to some telegraph offices,” NASA notes.

NASA says the July 2012 storm was particularly intense because a CME had traveled along the same path just days before the July 23 double whammy – clearing the way for maximum effect, like a snowplow.

“This double-CME traveled through a region of space that had been cleared out by yet another CME four days earlier,” NASA says. ” As a result, the storm clouds were not decelerated as much as usual by their transit through the interplanetary medium.”

NASA’s online article about the science of this solar storm is well-worth the read. Perhaps the scariest finding reported in the article is this: There is a 12 percent chance of a Carrington-type event on Earth in the next 10 years according to Pete Riley of Predictive Science Inc.

“Initially, I was quite surprised that the odds were so high, but the statistics appear to be correct,” Riley tells NASA. “It is a sobering figure.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/07/23/how-a-solar-storm-nearly-destroyed-life-as-we-know-it-two-years-ago/