Gretchen Ritter, PhD

Alumni and Donor News from the Arts and Sciences

October 2019


Dear Arts and Sciences Alumni and Friends,

I am so pleased to join the College of Arts and Sciences faculty as your executive dean and vice provost. I am a brand-new Buckeye as of August 1, which makes this my freshman year at Ohio State. Just like our 3,400 new first-year Arts and Sciences students, I start the academic year with a sense of excitement and wonder as I settle into my new home.

Before coming to Ohio State, I served as arts and sciences dean and professor of government at Cornell University. Like Ohio State, Cornell is a land-grant institution committed to improving the lives of citizens through teaching, research and public service. These values are what brought me to Ohio’s flagship public university — an institution making a big difference in an important state.

In my first weeks on the job, I have met many of our world-class faculty, caring staff, inquisitive students, and passionate alumni and friends. Earlier this month, I had the honor of participating in the dedication of Modern Head and celebration of our new Roy Lichtenstein Foundation endowed chairs, Carmen Winant and Jody Patterson. As a great fan of the arts broadly, I am very excited about these investments in our college as well as the connections our Arts District will create on campus and within the broader Columbus community.

This year, Ohio State marks 150 years since its founding in 1870. As we celebrate our sesquicentennial and the public launch of the Time and Change campaign, we are reminded that the arts and sciences have been at the core of Ohio State from the very beginning. An arts and sciences education equips our students to be better citizens by sparking creativity and curiosity. It provides the imagination for creating our future, and it champions the potential of our students, scholars and community. Looking ahead to the next 150 years, we know that what Ohio State does matters — and in today’s complex and ever-evolving global landscape, an arts and sciences education matters now more than ever.


Gretchen Ritter
Executive Dean and Vice Provost
Professor of Political Science

In this Issue

Modern Head sculpture dedicated, new Lichtenstein chairs installed

Modern Head dedication Sept. 11

Earlier this month, Ohio State President Michael V. Drake led a celebratory dedication of the Modern Head sculpture following a formal installation of the two recently named Roy Lichtenstein endowed chairs: Carmen Winant, Roy Lichtenstein Endowed Chair of Studio Art, and Jody Patterson, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Endowed Chair of Art History. 

In 2017, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation announced a $6 million gift to the university to permanantly endow the named chairs. Modern Head, a brushed stainless steel, 31-foot-high sculpture designed by the late artist and Ohio State alumnus Roy Lichtenstein — is a continuation of that gift. Winant was selected as the inaugural Roy Lichtenstein Chair of Studio Art in July 2018, and Patterson was named the first Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Endowed Chair of Art History in August. 

From left: Carmen Winant, Jody Patterson, Arts and Sciences Executive Dean and Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter and Ohio State President Michael V. Drake

Carmen Winant and Jody Patterson were formally welcomed as the Roy Lichtenstein Endowed Chair of Studio Art and the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Endowed Chair of Art History, respectively, during a ceremony on Sept. 11. From left: Winant, Patterson, Arts and Sciences Executive Dean and Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter and Ohio State President Michael V. Drake.

Since May, Modern Head has towered over the public walkways of the North Academic Corridor in between Smith and McPherson Laboratories. Fabrication for the sculpture was funded by the Ohio Percent for Art Program.

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake speaks at the dedication on Sept. 11

“Public art has the profound ability to spark the imagination and to encourage people to pay attention, considering more carefully the environment they occupy,” President Drake said at the dedication of the sculpture, which also included remarks from Ohio Arts Council Director Donna Collins and Executive Director of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Jack Cowart.

Drake noted that Modern Head may have its roots in art history, but it points to the university’s future, with the sculpture facing the direction of Ohio State's emerging arts district.

“We hope it’s set to engage students and visitors for many years to come,” Cowart said. “By this, we not only honor Roy, but also the best ambitions of The Ohio State University.”

Dozens of students, faculty and staff lined the area between Smith and McPherson laboratories to learn more about the sculpture and the artist

Dozens of students, faculty and staff lined the area between Smith and McPherson laboratories to learn more about the sculpture and the artist.

From left: Roy Lichtenstein Endowed Chair of Studio Art Carmen Winant, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Endowed Chair of Art History Jody Patterson

From left: Roy Lichtenstein Endowed Chair of Studio Art Carmen Winant, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Endowed Chair of Art History Jody Patterson.

School of Music students perform at the Modern Head dedication Sept. 11

Modern Head dedication Sept. 11

All images of Modern Head: H.C. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, 2018, all rights reserved 

NSF awards $27M to infrastructure projects led by Arts and Sciences faculty

More than $27 million from the National Science Foundation will fund two new facilities at Ohio State led by faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Department of Physics:

  • The National Gateway Ultrahigh Field NMR Center ($17.577 million)
  • The National Extreme Ultrafast Science Facility (NEXUS) within the Institute for Optical Science ($9.5 million)

The facilities, which will be open to scientists everywhere, are a product of NSF’s program addressing the need for mid-scale research infrastructure that gives more scientists access to state-of-the-art technology — one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas. Ohio State received two of only nine of these awards announced by NSF.

“These awards represent the first in NSF’s agency-wide effort to support the mid-range infrastructure that will be invaluable to strengthening the U.S. scientific research enterprise,” said Jim Ulvestad, NSF chief officer for research facilities. “The funded projects include an impressive collection of new design efforts and advanced instrumentation. These projects fill gaps and provide unique research capabilities for the U.S that will engage many early-career scientists and engineers in the pursuit of groundbreaking discoveries.”

National Gateway Ultrahigh Field NMR Center

The National Gateway Ultrahigh Field NMR Center will enhance the university’s existing infrastructure and expertise in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) by hosting the most advanced NMR instrument yet in North America.

NMR is the same technology used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but instead of imaging a whole body or organ, NMR instruments look at tiny structures formed by atoms in molecules and materials. Ohio State’s shared NMR facility currently has nine such machines that are used by scientists across Ohio and beyond for research in chemistry, biochemistry and biomedicine.

1.2 GHz magnet that will be the center piece of the new National Gateway Ultrahigh Field NMR CenterThe new NMR instrument and centerpiece of the national NMR center will have an ultrahigh magnetic field of 1.2 gigahertz (current Ohio State machines have up to 850 megahertz), affording profound improvements in sensitivity and resolution, said Rafael Brüschweiler, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Ohio Research Scholar and principal investigator for the multimillion-dollar grant.

“Technology wise it’s a big leap. With these advanced capabilities, we can look at larger and more complex biological, chemical and biochemical systems than ever,” said Brüschweiler, adding that collection times for experiments will be faster on the 1.2 GHz instrument, also enabling the study of samples that are fragile and degrade over time.

The next-generation technology (manufactured by Bruker Biospin) will be integrated with the existing NMRs at the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building (CBEC), and is expected to be up and running within a few years.

“This facility will fulfill an urgent national and regional need, enabling transformative research that answers questions about biological interactions and function at the molecular level and supports the design of materials with novel properties,” Brüschweiler said. “The success of the proposal benefitted from an outpouring of support by the national NMR community and Ohio State.”

National Extreme Ultrafast Science Facility

The heart of the new National Extreme Ultrafast Science Facility (NEXUS) at Ohio State will be a one-of-a-kind ultrafast laser that delivers a kilowatt of power — roughly 200 times more powerful than a typical ultrafast laser. This will be the first such laser installed in the U.S.

Ultrafast lasers, which work by generating extremely fast light pulses, allow researchers to study how electrons move in molecules and solids at unfathomably small time scales and spatial resolutions. While most ultrafast lasers create light pulses at a repetition rate of 1,000 per second, the kilowatt laser will deliver 100,000 per second.

“It will allow you to get the same quality of data in 1/100th of the time; experiments that take us a week can now be completed in less than an hour,” said Robert Baker, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and principal investigator of the NSF NEXUS project, which will be managed by the Institute for Optical Science (IOS) and includes researchers from both the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Department of Physics.

An extreme ultraviolet spectrometer at Celeste Laboratory

One of Ohio State's current lasers, an extreme ultraviolet spectrometer, at Celeste Lab.

Scientific challenges to be addressed by the equipment include capturing and converting solar energy and mastering information transport on the atomic scale to create new quantum information technologies.

“Both of these goals require being able to control how electrons move,” Baker explained. “We’re targeting measurements that can have time resolution down to the attosecond — a billion billionth of a second — and spatial resolution down to an angstrom, which is about the size of an atom.”

Fun fact: An attosecond to a second is what a second is to roughly 14 billion years

NEXUS will be located in Celeste Laboratory. Baker and IOS Director and Physics Professor Louis DiMauro will serve as co-directors of the facility, which requires some renovation to ensure a temperature- and humidity-controlled lab space with next-to-nonexistent vibration. The laser is expected to be up and running within three years.

Ohio State was selected for NEXUS both for its proven infrastructure capabilities and its leadership in ultrafast technologies.

“Once it’s built it will be managed here, but it’s really for the benefit of the whole scientific community,” Baker said. “It is an honor, as well as a big responsibility, that the NSF has selected Ohio State to be the host site for this historic award.”

Co-PIs include Chris Jaroniec, Mark Foster, Philip Grandinetti, and Blanton Tolbert (National Gateway Ultrahigh Field NMR Center); and Lou DiMauro, Jay Gupta, Roland Kawakami and Claudia Turro (NEXUS).

ASC Eats: Fukuryu Ramen

Few culinary creations capture the crux of college life quite like ramen.

The ramen packets you can snag at the grocery store speak to most college students. They’re cheap, salty, easy to make and filling. For decades, they’ve checked off all the boxes for the hungry collegiate crowd.

But there’s a world of ramen that refuses to settle, one that shatters instant-noodle stereotypes spawned by late-night dorm room hankerings and instead embraces the meal’s origin — one that is luxurious, rich, packed with umami and true to its heritage.

Within that world lives Fukuryu Ramen, an eatery that both pays homage to and puts a contemporary spin on ramen’s traditional Japanese roots. With establishments in Upper Arlington and Dublin, Fukuryu Ramen and its owner, ASC alumnus Jeff Tsao, now sit squarely within Columbus’ burgeoning food scene.

“There’s a push toward authenticity and big flavors, and that’s where we play,” said Tsao, who earned a BA in psychology in 1999. “It’s really great how many different facets of food there are in Columbus, and it’s a lot of fun being in this business.”

Fukuryu Ramen patrons can choose from traditional ramen dishes such as tonkatsu, miso or shoyu to more modern ramen bowls like the Red Dragon Ramen or the Junk Ramen

Fukuryu Ramen patrons can choose from traditional ramen dishes such as tonkatsu, miso or shoyu to more modern ramen bowls like the Red Dragon Ramen or the Junk Ramen.

Patrons sit in front of a dragon mural inside Fukuryu RamenFukuryu Ramen sign outsideTsao began his journey at Ohio State on a premed track, establishing a science background that has helped him succeed in the restaurant business. He eventually switched his path to psychology, a degree he continues to draw from.

“Restaurant work is very much people work,” Tsao said. “Knowing what can help someone make better decisions or help them navigate potential issues is really helpful. The science base helps us with a lot of the formulations that we do, coming up with new products and launching them faster. Marketing is very psychology based.”

Tsao was 3 years old when he moved from California to Columbus after his father became general manager at the legendary Kahiki Supper Club, a former Tiki-style restaurant. Tsao started working at Kahiki when he was 13 before going to school at Ohio State. After Tsao graduated, he studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, where he earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts.

Tsao started working at the Four Seasons restaurant in Boston and helped open one in San Francisco before returning to work for his parents and Kahiki, which had transitioned into frozen foods. This led to Tsao opening the first Fukuryu Ramen in Melbourne, Australia.

“It was an experiment to establish Fukuryu Ramen and test out the recipes and do everything in Australia,” he said. “Then we brought the whole concept back here.”

In 2016, Tsao returned stateside to start Fukuryu Ramen on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington. Two years later, he opened a second location in Dublin’s Bridge Park district.

Fukuryu is rife with different ramen styles. Some are traditional, like the signature tonkotsu, shoyu or miso varieties. Others are more modern, like the popular, spicy red dragon or the lightly spiced tam tam. Fukuryu also offers rice bowls, salads, gyoza, edamame and baos, a steamed bun filled with items such as spicy chicken, pork belly or tofu. Each recipe on the menu is crafted to yield as much flavor from its ingredients as possible.

“The bone broths are cooked for hours and hours and hours to extract the collagen and proteins from the bones,” Tsao said. “That helps us create a very creamy, rich, full-bodied broth for the soup.”

Whether you’ve got a bowl of noodles on your desk while you cram for a test or you’re sitting down for a meal at Fukuryu, ramen is a staple that spans generations, styles, countries and residence halls. Tsao’s education has helped bring his own take on the dish to Columbus, and it will aid him in taking the next step in the culinary world — whatever that may be.

Ramen is kind of trendy now,” he said. “I do believe it’s going to stick around for a while, but at the same time, we need to make sure we’re planning for our future and exploring what’s next for ourselves.”

Check out other Columbus restaurants with Arts and Sciences alumni at the helm in Episodes 1 and 2 of of ASC Eats featuring Brassica and Sweet Carrot

Pay forward with the ASC Center for Career and Professional Success

The College of Arts and Sciences Center for Career and Professional Success empowers the next generation of leaders and helps students achieve a lifetime of opportunity. College alumni can help Career Success meet this goal in various ways — many only requiring an hour or two of your time. A brief commitment can result in a major impact on a student’s career development, and you will be inspired by the students you’ll meet. Hear more from alumni who’ve been involved in Career Success programming. If you have a passion for helping the next generation, you can learn more about engagement opportunities on the Career Success website.


Joshua Jay: "Rediscovering Discoverie: Making Magic's Oldest Ideas New Again"
Oct. 11, 6:30 p.m.
Ohio Union U.S. Bank Conference Theatre, 1739 N. High Street

SCIENCE SUNDAYS: The Mathematics of Partisan Gerrymandering
Oct. 13, 3 to 5 p.m.
Ohio Union U.S. Bank Conference Theatre, 1739 N. High Street

Join fellow Buckeyes for a day of play at Mapleside Family Farms
Oct. 20, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Mapleside Family Farms, Brunswick, OH 

42nd Annual Adolph E. Waller Memorial Lecture welcomes Pamela Ronald
Oct. 22–23, Various
200 Campbell Hall and 355 Jennings Hall

Bonnets: How Ladies of Good Breeding Are Induced to Murder
Oct. 24–Nov. 3, Various
Roy Bowen Theatre, 1849 Cannon Drive