Monthly Archives: January 2012

Seth Redfield Part of NASA’s IBEX Press Conference

Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, participated in NASA’s press conference that will detail the most recent findings from its IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) mission on Jan. 31.

According to NASA mission samples and examines “material from outside our solar system and the interstellar boundary region that surrounds our home in space.” Redfield’s research focuses on the interstellar boundary and interstellar dust clouds, known as local interstellar medium. NASA officials asked him to present at the press event as an independent researcher who is not directly involved in the mission. NASA’s full release on the event can be found here.

Wesleyan’s Israeli Film Festival Featured

The Hartford Courant has an extensive profile of the 2012 Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival. The festival features FREE admission, begins on Feb. 2 and runs into March. Check the complete schedule – with trailers – here.

The Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival is organized by Dalit Katz, adjunct assistant professor of religion and Israel Studies and cultural coordinator of Israeli events at Wesleyan University. It is sponsored by the Ring Family, Jewish and Israel Studies and co- sponsored by the Film Studies Department.

Fraud in Science Research Creates Ripple Effect

In a recent article in The Hartford Courant, Laura Stark, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of sociology, assistant professor of environmental studies, discusses the case of a researcher who had falsified data on a famous study and the wide-ranging implications of his actions on his students and others. Stark is also the author of Behind Closed Doors: IRBs and the Makings of Ethical Research, which is published by The University of Chicago Press.

Campus Emergency Response Team Welcomes 17 New Members (with VIDEO)

Wesleyan's Campus-CERT team welcomed 17 new members. They are, front row, from left: Kim Krueger, general maintenance mechanic; Doug Brown of the City of Middletown; David Leipziger Teva, director of religious and spiritual life and University Jewish Chaplain; Octavio Flores-Cuadra, adjunct professor of romance languages and literatures; Stacey Phelps, assistant director of Residential Life; Liliana Carrasquillo, area coordinator for Residential Life; Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature; and back row, from left: Brian Stewart, chair and associate professor of physics; Doug Allen, assistant to the facilities manager in the Department of Chemistry; Erhard Konerding, documents librarian; Linda Hurteau, library assistant; John Snyder '12; Daniel LaBonte, area coordinator in Residential Life; Krystal-Gayle O'Neill, area coordinator in Residential Life; Noel Garrett, dean for the Class of 2015; and John Maher, residential operations coordinator. Scott Backer, assistant director of student life, is not pictured.

“Her name is Sally. She’s bleeding. She’s stuck under a concrete slab and she can’t move her leg,” says Krystal-Gayle O’Neill, area coordinator in Residential Life as she examines a woman trapped under explosion debris.

“Let’s get some cribbing material,” suggests Doug Allen, assistant to the facilities manager in the Department of Chemistry.

Noel Garrett, dean for the Class of 2015, works to stabilize a victim, played by Joyce Walter, director of the University Health Center.

Noel Garrett, dean for the Class of 2015, inserts wood blocks, one at a time, underneath a concrete slab, hoping to stabilize the heavy obstruction.

“Sally, if it hurts let me know,” he says. “We’re going to get you out of here.”

For 15 minutes, the Wesleyan employees worked together and finally rescued Sally from a mock emergency situation. As members of Wesleyan’s Community Emergency Response Team, the employees learn to assist first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize volunteers at a disaster site and improve the safety of the Wesleyan community.

On Jan. 4-6, 12 Wesleyan staff members, three Wesleyan faculty, one student and one Middletown resident participated in 20-hour CERT training. The program included many hands-on activities, including fire extinguishing, locating a victim in the dark, CPR, dressing a wound and extricating a victim from a disaster area.

The program, which is supported by a grant

Birds Seek Caterpillars on Nutritious Trees, Says Biology Researchers

Christian Skorik photographed this black-capped chickadee munching on a caterpillar during his group's study.

A word of caution to the caterpillar munching on that delicious, nutritious black cherry tree: watch out for hungry birds.

Michael Singer, associate professor of biology, is the lead author of a new study published in The American Naturalist on the effect of a caterpillar’s choice of feeding spot on its chances of becoming bird food. The article found that on balance, nutritious trees, like black cherry, can increase by 90 percent a caterpillar’s risk of being taken by foraging birds. According to the article, this effect is seen because the most nutritious tree species harbor the greatest number of caterpillars, offering up the easiest pickings for birds. Unfortunately for caterpillars, feeding on less crowded, nutritionally poor trees, like American beech, also carries risk by slowing down a caterpillar’s growth and prolonging its exposure to bird predation.

The article was co-authored by two former Wesleyan students—Tim Farkas ’08, MA ’10 and Christian Skorik ’09, MA ’10—and researchers at the University of California at Irvine. Numerous undergraduates in the Hughes summer research program assisted with the field experiment in Connecticut forests over a period of two years.

Schorr to Exhibit Apothecary Bottle Paintings at Davison Art Center

Old Flames - Handle with Care (2010) by David Schorr.

The most recent work by Professor of Art David Schorr will be shown in February and March 2012 in the exhibition APOTHECARY (storehouse) at Davison Art Center. The show features more than 75 paintings of antique apothecary bottles that have been meticulously executed by Schorr in gouache and silverpoint on luxurious, colored Fabriano Roma papers.

The exhibit opens at noon, Feb. 3. Schorr will speak at 5:30 p.m. and the gallery will be open until 7 p.m. that day. Schorr also will speak at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Center for the Arts Hall.

A 160-page full-color catalog accompanies the exhibition.

The bottles in these paintings float curiously in space, a mysterious, bright light glistening on their curves and bevels, sometimes shimmering through but not revealing their contents. Some of the objects seem empty. The bottles are meant to contain not chemicals and unguents but stuff such as Bad Intentions, Furtive Glances, Old Flames, Lazy Afternoons,

Millett Visiting Writer Edwidge Danticat to Speak Feb. 8

Edwidge Danticat is the 2012 Millett VIsiting Writer. (Photo courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation)

MacArthur Fellow and award-winning author Edwidge Danticat will deliver a reading at 8 p.m. Feb. 8 in Memorial Chapel. Danticat, a Haitian-American writer, is the 2012 Fred B. Millett Visiting Writer.

Danticat, a 2011 recipient of the Langston Hughes medal, is the author of Breath, Eyes, Memory (an Oprah Book Club selection), the story collection Krik? Krak! (a National Book Award finalist), The Farming of Bones (an American Book Award winner), and the novel-in-stories, The Dew Breaker. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Create Dangerously, her most recent book, is a collection of essays.

She also is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States and Haiti Noir.

Danticat received a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.F.A. from Brown University. She worked as a visiting professor of creative writing at New York University and the University of Miami.

“I am absolutely thrilled that we are finally able to bring Edwidge to Wesleyan especially in this particular manner as the Fred B. Millet visiting writer— given Millet’s defense of free speech,” says Gina Athena Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of African-American Studies, director of Center for African-American Studies. “Besides her numerous accomplishments and personal lost, she continues to work tirelessly exercising such graceful restraint in her work as she gives voice to experiences that are often erased. Since the 2010 earthquake, she remains a devoted soldier in Haiti’s non-ending battle for humanity.”

The Millett Visiting Writer event is held annually in honor of the late Fred Millett, professor of English, emeritus. Cynthia and George Willauer ’57 are two of the initial donors.

The English Department, African American Studies, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and Academic Affairs are co-sponsoring the event.

Danticat’s visit is part of the Spring 2012 Writing at Wesleyan Russell House Series on Prose and Poetry.  To view the upcoming speakers, see:

5 Questions With . . . Joe Siry on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Religious Architecture

Joe Siry, professor of art.

This issue, we ask 5 Questions of Joseph Siry, chair and professor of art and art history. Professor Siry teaches classes about modern and American architectural and urban history. His book, Beth Sholom Synagogue: Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern Religious Architecture, was published by the University of Chicago Press in December 2011.

Q: In your newly-published book, you provide an in-depth look at architect/designer Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Penn., which was constructed in 1959 and is considered one of his greatest masterpieces. What prompted you to write a book about this structure in particular?

A: I first saw Beth Sholom in 1980 and was hugely impressed with its main auditorium as a space for worship. Its design and construction toward the end of Wright’s long life was formally and technically unprecedented. It also represented a culmination of his involvement with religious architecture, so the book includes chapters on a number of his earlier related church and theater designs, going back to his original participation in the design of Chicago synagogues in the 1880s.

Q: The synagogue was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007. What makes this building unique and how does it compare or contrast to other Frank Lloyd Wright designs?

A: Beth Sholom is unique in its tetrahedral steel structure that creates a large main auditorium whose dome is almost entirely of translucent glass.  Wright had experimented with such an idea in earlier unbuilt projects, but Beth Sholom was his only synagogue and the largest free span that he ever realized, yet its seats on floors sloping toward the frontal platform create a communal space that developed from his earlier buildings for assembly.

Q: When did you begin writing this book, and how did you research the synagogue’s background? Also, who would find this book valuable?

A: I began research and writing for this book in 2003, and worked with materials in the synagogue’s archive, in Wright’s archive, and those of churches that he designed in Lakeland, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri,

Wesleyan Co-Sponsors Inaugural New Years Eve Event in Middletown

The City of Middletown hosted its first Middnight On Main New Year’s Celebration on Dec. 31. The event, which was co-sponsored by Wesleyan, drew more than 10,000 midnight revelers of all ages from the Middletown community and surrounding region. Food, fun, live performance art, and fireworks created bright memories for all. The event also included a jazz piano performance by Wesleyan’s Jazz Ensemble coach Noah Baerman and a performance by SteveSongs’ Steve Roslonek ’93. Middnight on Main is featured in the video below:

Tour Wesleyan’s Campus on Google Maps

Take a stroll through Wesleyan's Center for the Arts on Google Maps' "Street View."

Prospective students from around the globe who are eager to explore Wesleyan’s 340-acre campus can now do so from the comfort of their homes, thanks to a new partnership with Google.

Foss Hill, as seen on Google Maps.

Over the past few months, Google Maps has released new imagery of university campuses, including Wesleyan’s, in its “Street View” collections. Google describes its expanding collection as an “ongoing effort to create a virtual mirror of the world.”

According to a Jan. 11 Los Angeles Times story featuring Google’s virtual campus tours, “Google announced it has more than tripled the number of university partners that participate in its Street View Program, allowing parents and students to imagine strolling along the Charles River at Boston University or enjoying the sunshine at Wesleyan University’s Foss Hill, right on the computer.” Google’s updated list includes 27 universities in the U.S., 40 in Japan, two in Canada, two in Denmark, 10 in Great Britain and 11 in Taiwan, according to the Times story.

De Boer Curates “New Haven’s Sentinels” Exhibit

Jelle de Boer

In the 19th century, the guardian hills of New Haven known as East and West Rock, attracted much attention from poets, painters and scientists. More than two dozen painters sought to capture the magic of the Rocks and the views they allowed of the city.

Jelle de Boer, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, emeritus, has combined these artists’ works for a current exhibit at the New Haven Museum. De Boer is the author of Stories in Stone: How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture.

“New Haven’s Sentinels: The Art and Science of East and West Rock” opened Jan. 12. The New Haven Register features an article on the exhibit, online here.

The painters’ combined output is classic American, little influenced by European styles, and represents an imaginative body of work with considerable depth.