Monthly Archives: April 2011

Starr’s Study Helps Manufacturers of New Materials

The renowned science site RedOrbit reports on a major advance in materials science by Francis Starr, associate professor of physics, and collaborator Jack Douglas of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The two researchers have created a computer model that solves a long-standing problem in materials science: how temperature affects the flow of glass-forming materials. These materials include such items as battery acid, plastic containers and windowpanes, among. According to information provide by NIST, “application of the findings could help manufacturers improve the design of such materials from the ground up.”

Slotkin Adds Perspective to WWI Medal of Honor Case

Commenting in a recent issue of The Kansas City Star, Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, emeritus, discussed a pending Medal of Honor case from World War I that involves an African American soldier named Henry Johnson. Johnson was part of a segregated American unit “loaned” to the French during the war.

Mukerji Awarded REU Grant for Holliday Junctions Research

Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics division, received a grant for $6,750 from the National Sciences Foundation. The grant is part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates, which provides funding for faculty to work with an undergraduate student. The award is supporting research on “Structure and Function of Holliday Junctions Complexed with Proteins Probed by Flourescence and UV Raman Spectroscopic Methods.”

Atkins Memorial Trust Supports GSAC

The Green Street Arts Center received a grant for $3,000 from the Bank of America Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund in 2011.  The one-year grant provided funding for scholarships to the afterschool arts and sciences program.

CFA Receives Support for “Chunky Move”

Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts received a grant worth $5,000 from the New England Foundation of the Arts on April 20, 2011. The grant supported the National Dance Project “Chunky Move” in 2012.

Roth: Universities Must Ensure Quality and Equality

In an opinion piece for a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discusses how colleges and universities, like secondary schools, must reverse the trends of limiting access to intellectual and social opportunities for all their students, regardless of economic background. Roth says that specialization has received too much emphasis and that “many people have pointed out that higher education itself is beset by problems that undermine its ability to provide students with this flexible, pragmatic framework for lifelong learning. Take, for example, the powerful, long-term trends toward specialization in university culture, trends that have a decidedly negative impact on undergraduate education…At many colleges, this has led to a fragmentation of intellectual life, with powerful departments defending their own interests without regard to the welfare of the institution as a whole.”

Symposium on Great Apes Draws Attention

A story in The Hartford Courant focuses on the Second Annual Lauren B. Dachs Chair in Science and Society Symposium, which this is year is titled “Protecting Great Apes: How Science and Ethics Contribute to Conservation.” The day-long symposium coincides with Earth Day and examines the science, conservation, and ethics surrounding the treatment of great apes, both in captivity and in the wild. The conference was organized by Lori Gruen, chair and associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of environmental studies, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies. Gruen is also teaching a course this semester titled “Primate Encounters” and has published a book Animals and Ethics.

Chenoweth: Nonviolent Uprisings Succeed Often

Writing for a recent issue of Sojourners, Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor of government, discusses how nonviolent uprisings, even in oppressive countries, succeed much more often that commonly thought. Chenoweth bases this assertion on exhaustive analysis of the success rates nonviolent uprisings versus armed uprisings from the early 1900s to present day.

Douglas J. Bennet ’59 Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Former Wesleyan President Douglas J. Bennet '59.

Former Wesleyan President Douglas J. Bennet ’59 has been named a 2011 member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).

As one of 212 new AAAS members, Bennet joins one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies and leading centers for independent policy research.

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Leslie Berlowitz, Academy President and William T. Golden Chair. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity – and responsibility – to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

After earning a B.A. from Wesleyan, Bennet received a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He is also the son of a Wesleyan alumnus and the father of two Wesleyan alumni.

Active in government service, Bennet was assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs when elected to the Wesleyan presidency. Prior to that he was the chief executive officer and president of National Public Radio (NPR) for ten years, during which the number of listeners tripled, the number of member stations doubled, and he raised enough funds so that NPR did not have to depend totally on federal money.

Prior to his years at NPR, he had been the assistant to the economic adviser for the Agency for International Development, special assistant to U.S. Ambassador to India Chester Bowles, assistant to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, assistant to Senators Thomas F. Eagleton and Abraham Ribicoff, assistant secretary for congressional relations in the State Department, and head of the Agency for International Development.

Bennet served as Wesleyan’s president from 1995 until 2007. While president he oversaw the $281 million Wesleyan Campaign, which enabled Wesleyan to add 20 new faculty positions, create 140 new scholarships, and established six endowed professorships. Bennet also presided over more than $200 million in construction and renovation projects on campus and the creation of the Green Street Arts Center in Middletown’s north end.

More information on the award and AAAS can be found here.

Reed Q and A Focuses on Works New and Old

The Hartford Courant profiled prolific author Kit Reed, resident writer, whose new book of short stories, What Wolves Know, has recently been published. Among other things, the article investigates Reed as a writer of “speculative fiction,” a description she thinks is apt. “What I deal in, I guess, is the plausible impossible, the very real present or near future in which things are just a ‘little bit’ different.” she says. “And, I’m afraid, things often go wrong.”

Braxton Featured in “50 Great Moments in Jazz”

In the UK Guardian, Anthony Braxton, professor of music, is profiled in a series on the “50 Great Moments in Jazz.” The writer calls Braxton “one of the most implacable and prolific of jazz contrarians.” A video of a performance from 1983 is included with the post.

Lim: Budget ‘Battle’ Won’t be a Fight, Just Noise

Writing for The Faster Times, Elvin Lim says that the upcoming battles over the federal debt ceiling and the next budget will be more noise than a real fight, especially with all the politicians from the president on down eying the 2012 election.