What could be more appropriate than to teach religion and politics in the University of Virginia’s Rotunda, a building designed by the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom?

UVA founder Thomas Jefferson’s iconic Rotunda returned to classroom duty Tuesday, the first day of the new academic year, after being closed for two years for renovations. A central aim of the work was to return student activity to the Rotunda, and part of that is opening instructional space in the Lower West Oval Room and two classrooms in the southeast wing of the building.

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Listening to University of Virginia sociologist Rae Blumberg is like taking a whirlwind trip in space and time – traveling through dozens of countries from present-day to thousands of years ago. Her interests in women’s roles and economic development have taken her to 47 countries, including a risky visit to Afghanistan in 2011 where she said taxi drivers probably saved her life more than once.

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Editor’s note: As the University of Virginia welcomes a wave of new faculty members as part of a generational change, UVA Today is embarking upon an occasional series introducing them to the community.

Aditya Bamzai, who recently argued high-profile national security cases for the U.S. Department of Justice in the federal courts of appeals, has joined the University of Virginia School of Law faculty as an associate professor of law.

In addition to national security law, his expertise and interests include administrative law, federal courts and civil procedure.

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Robert Kelly has a time machine.

Kelly, AT&T Professor of Engineering in the University of Virginia’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is able to launch pieces of metal into the future, accelerating their aging through corrosion, the degradation of materials.

He did this recently for Rolls-Royce, subjecting small, curved, ceramic-coated jet engine compressor blades to an aggressive salt spray test that accelerates the damage processes they would face in an airplane turbine.

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BARCELONA, Spain — On a cloudless afternoon off the Spanish coast, University of Virginia men’s basketball players showed they can shine in the water, too. One after another, from the catamaran carrying the UVA traveling party, they jumped or dove into the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.

Several Cavaliers are novice swimmers, but they were not allowed to miss out on the fun. They put on life vests, and their teammates provided assistance in the water as needed. Aboard the boat, assistant coach Brad Soderberg smiled as he watched the proceedings.

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UVA Today recently featured a new University of Virginia partner study about the massive lack of in-home health care for elderly American patients. The news touched off a lot of media interest and we heard from two 2014 UVA alums who are tackling the problem head-on in Malaysia.

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Seated on the Lawn facing the University of Virginia’s newly renovated Rotunda, the Class of 2020 joined together for the very first time at Sunday’s Opening Convocation and Honor Induction.

UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan welcomed the first-year and transfer students in attendance and spoke to them about the age-old traditions they would become familiar with as well as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities they will be a part of throughout their time at the University.

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As fans around the world have marveled at the athletic feats performed in the 2016 Summer Olympics, University of Virginia biomedical engineer Silvia Blemker and her research team are investigating how differences in musculature can help lead to Olympic gold.

In her latest academic publication, “Adding Muscle Where You Need It: Non-Uniform Hypertrophy Patterns in Elite Sprinters,” published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, Blemker analyzes the size differences between the muscles of elite sprinters and non-sprinters.

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Members of the University of Virginia’s Class of 2020 arrive on Grounds this weekend to settle in and officially embark upon their journeys as Wahoos.  

Streets will be packed with thousands of first-year students who will move into dorm rooms, meet classmates and wave farewell to their families before spending their first few nights in their new homes.

Along with all the excitement and energy that will be felt on Grounds comes a host of activities that will kick off the fall semester, which begins with Tuesday’s first day of classes.

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In the last two decades, drug overdoses have slowly overtaken motor vehicle fatalities as the leading cause of death in the United States. In Virginia alone, the Office of the Attorney General estimates that more than 900 residents died from overdoses of heroin or prescription drugs in 2015.

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Good teaching is good teaching, regardless of whether the classroom is in the U.S., Ecuador or Kyrgyzstan, a research assistant professor in the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education is finding.

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Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered a flaw in the armor of the most aggressive form of lung cancer, a weakness that doctors may be able to exploit to slow or even stop the disease. Remarkably, this vulnerability stems from the very aggressiveness that makes the cancer so deadly.

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For a decade, University of Virginia alumna Tina Paikeday has been fighting for diversity and inclusion among the historically whitewashed tech companies of Silicon Valley. Fellow alumnus Mauricio Velásquez has been doing the same in the marbled halls of the federal government, working with clients including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Postal Service.

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The saying goes that “what is old is new again.” Many elderly Americans are hoping that proves true.

According to Forbes Magazine, house calls made up 40 percent of U.S doctors’ patient encounters in the 1940s before that figure started to drop off in the 1960s.

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Among the University of Virginia men’s basketball players sampling the sights, sounds and cuisine of this country, there is one college graduate – and he has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

That would be Devon Hall, who in May walked the Lawn with his brother, Mark, a member of Virginia’s football team.

“It was amazing,” Devon said of graduation day at the University. “We were walking, and we saw our parents right beside each other, and it was amazing.”

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On his 23rd birthday, in front of nearly 84,000 fans in Birmingham, Alabama, Claudio Reyna stunned world power Argentina with a goal that put the United States ahead 1-0 barely 30 seconds into their match at historic Legion Field.

It was July 20, 1996, and this was the start of the men’s soccer tournament in the Summer Olympics, based that year in Atlanta.

Reyna, a University of Virginia alumnus, is of Argentine descent, and “that was an amazing experience I’ll never forget,” he recalled in a recent interview.

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In May, thousands of University of Virginia students shared a collective sigh of relief as they turned in their final exams of the spring semester, signaling the official beginning of summer break.

For many, the next three months were dedicated to family vacations, returning to a summer job and a mental recharge. But in the spirit of continual learning, they also were busy taking summer classes, volunteering for nonprofits, completing internships and traveling abroad.

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University of Virginia athletes aren’t the only ones getting in on the games in Rio this summer. Third-year Alexandra D’Elia has been in Brazil for weeks helping with NBC’s live coverage of the Olympics as a runner for the “Today” show.

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