Brown University

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Humans have been harnessing energy from rivers for thousands of years. Think water wheels from Ancient Greece and modern hydropower plants, like the Hoover Dam. Brown University engineers have a new take on a hydropower device that could harness enough energy to power communities in remote locations or along fast-flowing rivers.

Courtesy of Brown University

Brown University researchers studying contaminated sites around the state have gotten a $10.8 million dollar boost from the federal government to continue their work for the next five years.

Brown University has revoked an honorary degree awarded to the comedian Bill Cosby in the wake of allegations he drugged and sexually assaulted a series of women, allegations Cosby has repeatedly denied.

Brown President Christina Paxson, in an email to the campus community, explained the reason for the action, taken by the university's Board of Fellows.  

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A $12.5 million dollar donation from toy maker Hasbro’s founding family will help launch a new institute at Brown University to study children’s health. The collaboration with local hospitals will focus on new approaches to kids’ most urgent health problems.

The early focus of the new institute will be to dig deeper into the drivers behind asthma, autism, and obesity. Hasbro Children’s Hospital pediatrician-in-chief Dr. Phyllis Dennery will help lead the effort.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A Brown University psychiatrist plans to test an intervention to prevent suicide among hundreds of Rhode Island inmates. 

Brown and Michigan State Universities are sharing a $6.8 million dollar federal grant to test the idea that developing a safety plan with an inmate before leaving jail can reduce the risk of suicide. Brown psychiatrist Lauren Weinstock says people behind bars are already more likely to struggle with mental illness or substance abuse.


At Brown University, a campus-wide survey shows one in four female undergraduates said they had experienced some type of unwanted sexual contact. Further, the survey found ten percent of female undergraduate students had experienced attempted rape. For female graduate students, that number was eight percent.

In a statement Brown's President Christina Paxson said, “[t]he results of the survey establish a clear baseline against which we can assess ourselves going forward."

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Changes to diet and exercise can have a big impact on health. But sticking with a new regimen can be tough. Scientists are wondering whether a practice called mindfulness can help. Now a team of Brown University researchers has won a multi-million dollar federal grant to find out.

Rhode Island Public Health Institute

A new initiative of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute at Brown University aims to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into low income neighborhoods. 


Brown University has adopted a new single policy on sexual assault. The policy was recommended by a task force last year.

That task force was formed after a student alleged that she was sexually assaulted at a Brown fraternity party, in 2014. The new policy streamlines the complaint process for people reporting alleged instances of sexual assault.

One notable change is the use of trained investigators when examining these claims. The investigators are expected to interview students, witnesses, and responders when preparing reports to resolve complaints.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The potential cost of buying Brown University-owned land for a PawSox stadium is raising questions about the feasibility of the project, a team spokeswoman said Thursday.

PawSox spokeswoman Patti Doyle said the team still hopes to reach a renegotiated agreement to build a 10,000-seat ballpark on part of the former I-195 land in Providence.

But Doyle acknowledged that the cost of buying the part of the land owned by Brown -- expected to top $10 million -- is leading to questions of "Is this still workable? Is this something we can come to terms with?"

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Students head to classrooms this week in the annual back-to-school ritual. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this should be the year our public schools embrace teaching history and civics.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Art and medicine have long been intertwined - from the earliest depictions of human anatomy to modern art therapy. A new art exhibit (“Interstice: Memory, Mind, and Alzheimer's Disease," open through September 9 in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University) takes that relationship in a new direction. A neuroscientist and artist teamed up with fellow artists to explore what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Researchers are warning residents to drink plenty of water and keep to the shade on hot summer days like today. A study from Brown University and the Rhode Island Department of Health finds that hot temperatures affect people of all ages, not just children and seniors.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave speak with Kelly Ramirez, the CEO of the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, a local business-incubator, for socially minded businesses. The group just won a national competition for their work with start-ups. Since its inception five years ago, the group has worked with 65 business. SE Greenhouse recently partnered with Brown University.


When to listen:

Ian Donnis

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung’s response to a police controversy could damage his political prospects, according to Brown University political science professor Wendy Schiller. Schiller said it will take time for the fallout to settle from a state police report, which alleges the mayor interfered in the Cranston Police Department.

Mayor Fung has declined, at least for now, to release the report, pointing to confidentiality issues. Schiller said that could be a mistake.