David Pesci

Gallarotti on Saudi Arabian-Iranian Relations

A report in The National details some of the recent efforts in by Saudi Arabia to negotiate better relations with its neighbor Iran and quotes Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government. Gallarotti says the methods being employed by the Saudis is a classic projection of “soft power.”

Thomas Honored with Prestigious AGU Award for Paleoceanography Research

Research Professor Ellen Thomas, pictured here in her lab on July 25, received the 2012 Maurice Ewing Medal for her contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, has been awarded the Maurice Ewing Medal by the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The medal is one of the AGU’s most prestigious awards and will be presented to Thomas during the organization’s annual meeting later this year.

According to AGU, “Jointly sponsored with the United States Navy, the Ewing Medal is named in honor of Maurice Ewing, who made significant contributions to deep-sea exploration.” It is presented each year for significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to the marine sciences.

Among Thomas’ research areas is paleoceanography. She studies microscopic fossils in ocean beds and sediments that can provide clues to life and climate as it appeared on earth tens and often hundreds of millions of years ago. She is the recipient of several National Science Foundation and Keck grants. Her research has been published in Science, Geology, Oceanography, and the International Journal of Earth Sciences, among others.

“I study microscopic fossils of organisms living on the deep-sea floor to recognize the importance of the event now called the ‘Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum’ as a geological counterpart of human-induced global warming through CO2 emissions, and the recognition that there have been multiple events of that type in the geological past,” she says. “These events are now used widely to study the long-term, ecosystem wide effects of rapid emission of carbon-compounds into the atmosphere. I also used these organisms, in combination with stable isotope and trace element analysis of their shells, to gain insight on the effects of other episodes of global change on oceanic life forms, including the asteroid impact which killed the dinosaurs, and to study the effect of human actions on our environment.”

Barsotti ’12 Signs Pro Baseball Contract

Michael Barsotti ’12

Michael Barsotti ’12, signed a contract to pitch for the minor league Joliet Slammers of the independent Frontier League. Barsotti, a government major, is Wesleyan’s all time strike-out leader. In his first appearance for Joliet he threw a scoreless inning in relief and did not allow a batter to reach base.

On July 14, he was named the M&M Bank Player of the Game for the Slammers after inducing a ground out, a fly out and a pop out while throwing just nine pitches, seven of them strikes.

Barsotti was twice named the NESCAC pitcher of the week during his Wesleyan career, including in March 2012 after throwing a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts, no walks and no earned runs allowed against Bowdoin, a team that went on to qualify for the NCAA Division III tournament.

“The entire Wesleyan baseball family is so proud of Mike,” said Wesleyan baseball coach Mark Woodworth. “This is a great accomplishment and a credit to his desire and work ethic. He was a great teammate and he improved so much over four years. This affirms that he is one of the all-time greats in Wesleyan baseball’s long and tradition-rich history.”

More on Barsotti can be found here.

Bloom ’75 Publishes Children’s Book

The New York Times reports that Amy Bloom ’75, the Kim-Frank University Writer in Residence, will publish a children’s book under the name Amy Beth Bloom titled Little Sweet Potato (Harper Collins) in August. According to The Times the story “follows the trials of a “lumpy, dumpy, bumpy” young tuber who is accidentally expelled from his garden patch and must find a new home. On his journey, he is castigated first by a bunch of xenophobic carrots, then by a menacing gang of vain eggplants.”

Barsotti ’12 Signs Pro Baseball Contract

Michael Barsotti ’12, signed a contract to pitch for the minor league Joliet Slammers of the independent Frontier League. Barsotti, a government major, is Wesleyan’s all time strike-out leader. In his first appearance for Joliet he threw a scoreless inning in relief and did not allow a batter to reach base. More on Barsotti can be found here.

Bonin Meets With European Bank Economists

John Bonin, the the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science.

In the midst of the banking crisis affecting the euro, John Bonin found himself in June offering banking advice to two countries that are members of the European Union, but have yet to join the monetary union linked by the euro.

Bonin, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science, professor of economics, gave the keynote address during the Annual Conference of the European Association for Banking and Financial History on June 7. The event was co-sponsored by National Bank of Romania in Bucharest, Romania. The address was titled “Two Decades of Foreign Banking in Emerging Europe: the Devil is in the Details.”

Romania is not yet in the European Monetary Union but its entry has been discussed during the last few years. Still it is likely linked to the European economy and Bonin’s presentation focused on the role of the six large international European banks in the Central and East European economies.

“The banking sectors of these countries have basically been taken over by these foreign banks,” Bonin says. “I traced the role of these banks in the retail credit, including mortgage, booms in the pre-financial crisis period. I then examined the differential responses across countries to the financial crisis and linked this to the structure of their banking sectors.”

Bonin shared the stage with Mugur Isarescu, the Governor of the National Bank of Romania, drawing extensive coverage from the Romanian and European news media.

Redfield, Herbst Discuss Transit of Venus on Fox 61

Bill Herbst discusses the Venus transit on Fox 61 news.

On a feature for Fox 61, Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, and Bill Herbst, chair and the John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy, discussed the transit of Venus across the Sun, and showed viewers how Wesleyan would be marking the event with public viewings from Van Vleck Observatory.

“So here we have a case, where we can see the affect of a planet on a star, close up,” Herbst said in the feature, which aired on June 5.

The next transit won’t happen intil 2017.

“It’s a very wonderful opportunity to learn something new about planets and their atmospheres and solar systems in general,” Redfield said.

Wesleyan’s 3-Year Degree Path Shows Leadership

An OpEd in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) by Fay Vincent applauded the introduction of Wesleyan’s three-year degree path. The option allows participants to save as much as $50,000 a year. The piece goes on to discuss other measures that can make universities and colleges more efficient an says in part that such “reforms have often been led by the elite schools with high academic rankings.”

A PDF of the piece can be found here.

Astronomers: Jupiter-Sized Planet Slowly Dissolving

CBS News reports that Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy and Adam Jensen, visiting assistant professor of astronomy, have observed a planet the size of Jupiter called HD 189733b, which is about 63 light years from Earth–a virtual next-door neighbor in astronomical terms, that is dissolving, albeit very, very slowly. Redfield and Jensen have documented that HD 189733b, a gas giant, is discharging significant amounts of atomic hydrogen into space. They reported on this phenomenon in a paper titled “A Detection of Ha In An Exoplanetary Exosphere,” will appear in the June 1 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

The Wesleyan Connection also ran a story about the discovery.