Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Calorie Discovered, Quantified at Wesleyan

A feature in The Hartford Courant details how Wesleyan Professor of Chemistry Wilbur Olin Atwater developed the respiration calorimeter in 1896, an innovation that led to his quantification of the calorie and all that followed that discovery. Atwater’s work verified, among other things, that humans are subject to the law of thermodynamics, something that was disputed by scientists in the late 1800s until his experiments yielded definitive proof.

Striegel: Male Eating Disorders Real, Overlooked

A Boston Globe feature cites a recent study by Ruth Striegel, Walter A. Crowell Professor of Social Sciences, Professor of Psychology, as proof that eating disorders among men not only exist, they are wide-spread and merit more inquiry. Striegel recently published a study looking at more that 45,000 men and women and found that binge-eating was nearly as prevalent among men as women. The study has drawn international attention and will likely spur more inquiry and a reassessment of treatment assumptions and strategies for eating disorders in general.

Khan ’12 Brings “Brighter Dawns” to Bangladesh

ABC News 7 in Chicago has a feature on Tasmiha Khan ’12, who, with her sister, founded the non-profit organization Brighter Dawns after a family vacation to Bangladesh. Khan and her sister were horrified at the lack of access to fresh water and sanitation in parts of the country, particularly in Ward 12, a slum in Khalishpur. They are working on a $15,000 budget to create 10 wells and 30 latrines in Ward 12 by the end of the year. Khan’s efforts with Brighter Dawns was also featured in a number of Wesleyan Connection stories which can be found here, here, here and here.

Basinger: DeCaprio’s “Incredible Talent,” Risky Roles

Commenting in The New York Times about Leonardo DiCaprio’s star turn in the upcoming film “J. Edgar,” Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, says that DiCaprio is an actor who has proven he can take risks with role choices and be successful. While this has often translated into a decline in popularity – and ultimately the careers – of other Hollywood stars, Basinger believes DiCaprio’s talent transcends his “out-of-the-box” roles.

Storm Update, Wednesday 6:30 pm

Storm Update, Wednesday 6:30 pm (excerpted from President Roth’s Blog)

Life at Wesleyan is returning to normal, but the aftermath of the storm is still very much with us, including lack of power and heat for a significant number of students on campus – and for many faculty and staff in the region. Connecticut Light and Power states on its website that power will be restored to all of Middletown by the end of the day Sunday; we’ve been told that power along Church and High streets may be restored as early as tomorrow.

As indicated yesterday, we are making alternative sleeping quarters available for these students who need them. Those who want to bunk with friends in the residence halls are encouraged to do so. Those who would like the university to find them a place to sleep until power is restored should contact Residential Life at: 860 685-3550. We will use common spaces and lounges in our residence halls and will open other venues as needed.

The Science Library will be open 24 hours today and tomorrow for students, faculty, and staff needing a warm place to work.(The Science Library returns to its regular hours on Friday.) The Freeman Athletic Center is now open to Wes faculty, staff, and students in need of a hot shower.

Some Wes students have had the good idea of asking what else we can do for employees who need a helping hand during this crisis. Much of this is already being done informally and effectively, but if faculty or staff have particular requests, they can address them to Human Resources. We will do our best to be helpful.

Classes resumed today, and attendance was very good. To all the faculty, staff, and students who have pitched in to help in many ways, and to the many others who have provided us with essential support services — thank you!

Rare October Snow Storm Cripples Campus, State

Branches down. (Photos by Kaylin Berger '13)

An unprecedented October snow storm wreaked havoc on Wesleyan’s campus and throughout Connecticut Oct. 30. The university was among the more than 800,000 electrical utility customers who lost power. Electricity was restored to the central campus area on Nov. 1, but many program and wood-framed student houses that are supplied by electrical grids in Middletown remained without power.

With the restoration of power to the core of the Wesleyan campus, the university re-opened and resumed classes on Nov. 2.

“By resuming classes we aim to return to the normal rhythms of our educational mission,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth in an all-campus e-mail on Nov. 1. “We are aware, of course, that this return to academic work may be challenging for students who are seeking alternative living arrangements

2,500 Expected to Attend Homecoming/Family Weekend Nov. 4-6

Wesleyan will play Williams College during the Homecoming football game Nov. 5. Tailgating begins at noon.

All Wesleyan students, alumni, parents, families, faculty and staff are invited to Homecoming/Family Weekend Nov. 4-6.

This year, campus guests can participate in an array of academic, cultural and athletic events. Students’ families gain a sense of the undergraduate experience by sitting in on regularly scheduled classes, attending WESeminars, and by meeting faculty and administrators in both academic and social settings. Alumni can reconnect with Wesleyan and with each other at a host of special seminars and social gatherings.

“We welcome all members of the Wesleyan community to take advantage of the rich schedule,” says Makaela Kingsley ’98, associate director of events. “From lectures on social media and the Peace Corps, to improve comedy and a cappella, to athletic contests and celebrations, there’s something for everyone.”

Key events this year include tailgating during the homecoming football game against Williams College; a celebration of Alvin Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus; a Randy Newman P’14 benefit concert; a Homecoming Day Lunch, Fall Harvest Brunch and All-College Dinner; an Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony; Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Ribbon Cutting; the 19th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, and Where on Earth are We Going? Symposium.

Striegel Study Will Change Binge Eating “Facts”

Ruth Striegel is the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, professor of psychology.

Like all eating disorders, binge eating only affects women and teenaged girls, right?


An extensive new study that examined the eating habits of 21,743 men found that binge eating affected 1,630 of them. The rate, while slightly less than the number of women in the same study who experienced binge eating, reveals that this behavior is not limited to female populations. The results argue strongly for including men in future studies and treatment strategies.

Published in the Sept. 2011 issue of International Journal of Eating Disorders, the study, titled “Why Men Should be Included in Research on Binge Eating: Results from a Comparison of Psychosocial Impairment in Men and Women” was led by Ruth Striegel, Walter A. Crowell Professor of Social Sciences, professor of Psychology, and renowned eating disorder researcher.

Striegel and her team found that the health and medical implications of binge eating are just as damaging to men affected by this disorder as they are to women.

“Binge eating is closely linked to obesity and excessive

Varekamp, Ostfeld Present Papers at National Conference

Professor Johan Varekamp and former graduate student Tristan Kading studied how a volcano eruption in 2000 affected the chemical makeup of Lake Caviahue in Argentina. Varekamp presented the study at a recent Geological Society of America meeting.

Professor Johan Varekamp made two presentations on a chemically-altered lake and urban pollution during a recent Geological Society of America meeting. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Six Wesleyan researchers, including a graduate student, were authors or co-authors of papers chosen for presentation at this year’s annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Minneapolis, Minn., Oct. 9-12. It is the largest annual meeting of the preeminent scientific association in the geologic and earth science fields.

Johan Varekamp, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Sciences, professor of earth and environmental sciences, presented two papers. The first, “Wethersfield Cove, Hartford, Conn. – A 300 Year Urban Pollution Record,” detailed a study of the sedimentary record of the cove, which revealed unusually high levels of Mercury. The cove, which had been surround by economic activity since colonial times, showed sedimentary mercury levels as high as 3,000 parts per billion.

The study has become the subject of a front-page feature in The Hartford Courant featuring Varekamp and three graduate students from his Graduate of Liberal Studies (GLSP) class, Kristen Amore, Julia Rowny and Luis Rodriguez, assistant store manager at Cardinal Technologies, who joined Varekamp to do ongoing samplings of the cove.

Varekamp also was asked to present his paper, Lake Caviahue (Argentina) Nearing Schwertmannite Saturation, which charted the chemistry-altering changes in the lake since the eruption of the Copahue volcano in 2000.

The paper was co-authored by Varekamp’s former graduate student Tristan Kading MA ’10, who is now a Ph.D. candidate at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Kading did much of his master’s study on Lake Caviahue.

The volcano’s runoff into Lake Caviahue has raised the lake’s acidity over the last 11 years creating a near saturation of the mineral schwertmannite, which has given the water a yellow-brown color.