Campus News & Events

Parslow, Chenier Re-Create Ancient Roman “Pork Clock” at Wesleyan

A model of the "pork clock" sundial shows the time as 9 a.m. (Photo by Christopher Parslow. 3-D print by Christopher Chenier)

A model of the “pork clock” sundial shows the time as 9 a.m. (Photo by Christopher Parslow. 3-D print by Christopher Chenier)

The Ancient Romans relied on a curious object to tell time: a sundial in the shape of an Italian ham.

National Geographic has featured the work of Wesleyan’s Christopher Parslow to re-create this ancient “pork clock” through 3-D printing, which is helping researchers to better understand how it was used and what information it conveyed.

“It does represent a knowledge of how the sun works, and it can be used to tell time,” said Parslow, professor and chair of Classical studies, professor of archaeology, professor of art history.

The small, portable sundial—the “pocket watch of its day,” according to the article—was first excavated in the 1760s from the ruins of a grand country house in the Roman town of Herculaneum, which was destroyed by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79.

Christopher Chenier, digital design technologist and visiting assistant professor of art, printed the “pork clock” on a 3-D printer at Wesleyan.

According to the article:

After Parslow was asked about the pork clock, he was inspired to build a 3-D model. He took dozens of photos of the timepiece at its home institution, Italy’s National Archaeological Museum of Naples. A 3-D printer at his university churned out the model—in plastic rather than the original silver-coated bronze—in a matter of hours.

Like the original, Parslow’s model bears a dial, in the form of a slightly distorted grid, on one side. The vertical lines are marked for the months of the year. The horizontal lines indicate the number of hours past sunrise or before sunset.

The original clock is missing its gnomon, the part of a sundial that casts a shadow, but an 18th-century museum curator described it having one in the shape of a pig’s tail, so Parslow re-created that, too.

Parslow then experimented with the sundial outdoors. The clock is hung from a string so that the sun falls on its left side, allowing the attached pig’s tail to cast a shadow across the grid.

The user aligns the clock so that the tip of the tail’s shadow falls on the vertical line for the current month. Finally, the user counts the number of horizontal lines from the top horizontal line to the horizontal line closest to the tip of the shadow. That indicates the number of hours after sunrise or before sunset.

Yohe Brings “Rap Guide to Climate Chaos” to Campus

On Feb. 2, the Wesleyan community will be treated to a performance of “The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos,” a one-man show written and performed by Baba Brinkman on the politics, economics and science of global warming.

The performance will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall. The event is free of charge.

Gary Yohe

Gary Yohe

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, has worked with Brinkman in the past and was responsible for bringing his performance to Wesleyan. In May 2016, Brinkman invited Yohe to serve as the climate expert during an off-Broadway performance of the show at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City. Yohe spent 25 minutes on stage taking questions from the audience, which provided material for the closing raps.

Now, Yohe has sponsored the creation of a new rap, titled “Erosion,” that has been produced by Brinkman on climate change and the election of President Donald Trump. Yohe provided peer review to ensure the scientific accuracy of all climate science statements made in the rap. Watch the new rap online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEx-F-pSdXA, or below.

During the Wesleyan performance on Feb. 2, Yohe will reprise his role as the climate expert on stage and Baba will offer the world premier performance of “Erosion.”

Yohe also has used “The Rap Guide to Climate Change” in a class he taught in the fall semester, ECON 212/ ENVS 310: The Economics of Sustainable Development, Vulnerability and Resilience.

“I taught my students how to apply IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and Department of Defense standards for confidence to statements in the show. Each student was assigned to research and provide literature on two tracks, then assess where the lyrics may have overstated confidence,” Yohe explained. “I shared the students’ work with Baba, and he was very appreciative; only a few sources of concern were detected.”

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Nominate Wesleyan Professors for Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Wesleyan President Michael Roth honored James Lipton, professor of computer science; Demetrius Eudell, professor of history; and Sally Bachner, associate professor of English with Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching during the 184th Commencement Ceremony on May 22. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth honored James Lipton, professor of computer science; Demetrius Eudell, professor of history; and Sally Bachner, associate professor of English with Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching during the 184th Commencement Ceremony on May 22, 2016. Nominations are now open for 2017 recipients.

The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching recognizes Wesleyan faculty who have had a lasting impact on the academic and personal development of their students. Juniors, seniors, graduate students and Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) are able to nominate up to three professors for 2017 Binswanger Prizes, which will be awarded during Wesleyan’s Commencement Ceremony on May 28.

The Binswanger Prize is made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank Binswanger Sr. Hon. ’85, and underscore Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers who are responsible for the university’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education.

Current faculty who have taught at Wesleyan for at least 10 years are eligible. Previous recipients are excluded for a period of 12 years after which they become eligible once again. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee of faculty and members of the Alumni Association Executive Committee.

(Read a Q&A with 2016 Binswanger Prize recipient James Lipton online here).

The criteria for selecting the recipients is excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity and passion. Recommendations may be based on any of the types of teaching that are done at the university including, but not limited to, teaching in lecture courses, seminars, laboratories, creative and performance-based courses, research tutorials and other individual and group tutorials at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Nominate now.

Thomas Honored by Micropalaeontology Society

Ellen Thomas

Ellen Thomas holds two enlarged samples of microfossils in her lab at Wesleyan. Thomas was recently awarded a medal for her research efforts.

For her outstanding efforts in pioneering studies in micropalaeontology and natural history, The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS) awarded Wesleyan’s Ellen Thomas with the 2016 Brady Medal.

The Brady Medal is TMS’s most prestigious honor and is awarded to scientists who have had a major influence on micropalaeontology by means of a substantial body of research.

Thomas was honored for “communicating to an extremely broad audience fascinating, impactful and often thought-provoking research” and “academic encouragement of students and peers over the years with [her] generosity of time in a very busy and successful career,” noted TMS President F. John Gregory.

Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences and the University Professor in the College of Integrative Sciences, investigates the impact of changes in environment and climate on living organisms on various time scales, with the common focal point of benthic foraminifera (eukaryotic unicellular organisms). She studies their assemblages, as well as trace element and isotope composition of their shells. Foraminifera live in salt or at least brackish water, so she concentrates her research on the oceans, from the deep sea up into tidal salt marshes.

The Brady Medal is cast in bronze from original sculptures commissioned by The Micropalaeontological Society in 2007.

The Brady Medal is cast in bronze.

The Micropalaeontological Society exists “to advance the education of the public in the study of Micropalaeontology” and is operated “exclusively for scientific and educational purposes and not for profit”. It was initiated as The British Micropalaeontological Group in 1970.

The Brady Medal is named in honor of George Stewardson Brady (1832-1921) and Henry Bowman Brady (1835-1891) in recognition of their outstanding pioneering studies in micropalaeontology.

Read more about Ellen Thomas in these past News @ Wesleyan articles.

President Roth Defends Liberal Education in Op-Ed, Radio Interview

President Michael S. Roth

President Michael Roth

Following a visit to China Peking University–Shenzhen, which has decided to start an undergraduate liberal arts college, President Michael Roth reflects in an op-ed in The Washington Post on why commitment to a liberal education is more important today than ever. He contends, “This is a fragile time for liberal education, making commitment to it all the more urgent.”

Keeping in mind John Dewey, the pragmatist philosopher who visited China in 1919 to talk about education, Roth focuses on “two dangers and two possibilities.” He warns of the “danger of narrowing specialization” at a time when “we need more academics who can facilitate conversations between the sciences and the humanistic disciplines.” With an eye to the current political climate in the U.S., he cautions against the “danger of popular parochialism”:

It is especially urgent to advocate effectively for a broadly based pragmatic liberal education when confronted by ignorant authoritarians who reject inquiry in favor of fear mongering and prejudice. A broad education with a sense of history and cultural possibilities arms citizens against manipulation and allows them to see beyond allegiance to their own.

Undergraduate education – be it in China or the United States – should promote intellectual diversity in such ways that students are inspired to grapple with ideas that they never would have considered on their own. At Wesleyan University, creating more access for low-income students and military veterans has been an important part of this process.  Groups like these have been historically under-represented on our campus, but just having diverse groups is not enough. We must also devise programs to make these groups more likely to engage with one another, bursting protective bubbles of ideas that lead some campus radicals and free speech absolutists to have in common mostly a commitment to smug self-righteousness.

Roth concludes by discussing the “possibilities of open and reliable communication” among academic researchers in the sciences and humanities, and the importance of creating a “cosmopolitan” culture of openness and curiosity on campuses.

Also, in an interview with WBUR public radio, Roth defended the value of a broad liberal education today, at a time when many are calling for a narrower, more instrumental education.

“On our campuses, we have an academic culture that’s pretty much tilted to the left, in which people get increasingly used to talking to other people who agree with them already… In order to have a real education that’s broad and deep and challenges your own assumptions, you’ve got to talk to people who don’t agree with you. And you have to learn how to tolerate ambiguity and disagreement, and not just learn how to defend yourself and attack all people who don’t agree with you. The current climate is one in which people are very good at yelling at each other or fabricating tweets that make someone else feel really stupid, but that’s not the same as listening to someone else who has a different point of view and learning from that person.”

Roth said that Wesleyan has taken steps in the last five years to ensure diverse viewpoints exist among its student body, its faculty and visiting speakers.

Krishnan Named Top Toronto Stage Artists to Watch

(Photo by Michael Slobodian)

Hari Krishnan (Photo by Michael Slobodian)

Associate Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan has been named one of “10 Toronto Stage Artists to Watch This Winter” by NOW Toronto magazine, which highlights his upcoming spring production, “Holy Cow(s)!” exploring cultural appropriation. It will run March 23-25 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre.

The profile of Krishnan states: “A few years ago, Krishnan heated up the local dance scene with a sizzling, eyebrow-raising piece about queerness called SKIN. Now, just in time to melt winter’s last snow comes a white-hot mixed program sending up ideas about gender, sexuality and cultural taboos. The night of solos and ensemble pieces includes works by David Brick, Seán Curran and Jay Hirabayashi. But look for Krishnan’s signature style – which mixes contemporary with Indian Bharatanatyam – to get you to say that title out loud.”

Brazilian Play on Cannibalism, Translated by Jackson, to Make American Debut

Elizabeth Jackson

Elizabeth Jackson

A Brazilian play, translated by Wesleyan’s Elizabeth Jackson, will make its American premiere at The Yale Cabaret in early February.

“The Meal: Dramatic Essays on Cannibalism” tells three stories about people consuming — and being consumed. This poetic piece by Newton Moreno, one of Brazil’s leading contemporary playwrights, was translated into English by Jackson, adjunct associate professor of Portuguese for Wesleyan’s Romance Languages and Literatures Department.

Jackson’s translation of “The Meal” first appeared in Theater, Yale’s journal of criticism, plays, and reportage (Vol. 45 No. 2, 2015). “The Meal” is one of four texts by different playwrights that Jackson translated for the journal. In addition, Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento, professor of theater, co-edited this special issue on contemporary Brazilian plays.

“The Meal” will be performed at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Feb. 2-4 at The Yale Cabaret. Tickets can be purchased online.

Hornstein Presents Papers at American Economic Association Conference

Abigail Hornstein

Abigail Hornstein

Abigail Hornstein, associate professor of economics, presented two papers at the 2017 American Economic Association meeting held Jan. 6-8 in Chicago.

In her working paper, “Words vs. Actions: International Variation in the Propensity to Honor Pledges,” Hornstein used data on contracted and utilized foreign direct investment in China to show that firms fulfill an average of 59 percent of their pledges within two years. “The propensity to fulfill contracts is lower for firms from countries with greater uncertainty avoidance, power distance and egalitarianism; and is higher if the source country is more traditional,” she explained. Prior literature has shown that these cultural characteristics are associated with higher levels of utilized foreign direct investment, while Hornstein shows that these cultural characteristics also affect the likelihood that planned corporate investments are actually made.

Her other working paper, “Board Overlaps in Mutual Fund Families” (co-authored by Elif Sisli Ciamarra of Brandeis University), is based on hand-collected data on directors at 3,948 U.S. equity mutual funds belonging to 328 fund families. Hornstein and Sisli Ciamarra used this data to document the prevalence and effects of a common board structure whereby a set of directors serves simultaneously on the boards of multiple funds within the family. Fifty-nine percent of all funds have unitary board structures where a single board serves all funds within the complex. “We find that overlapping boards generally represent 74 percent of the funds within a family, and that this overlapping board structure provides limited benefits to investors while benefiting the fund family,” she said.

In addition to her paper presentations, Hornstein also was elected to the executive board of the Association for Comparative Economics Studies, for a term ending in 2020.

Coach Kenny Inducted into Middletown Sports Hall of Fame

Herb Kenny coached men’s basketball at Wesleyan for 27 years. (Photo courtesy of Wesleyan University Special Collections & Archives)

Herb Kenny coached men’s basketball at Wesleyan for 27 years. (Photo courtesy of Wesleyan University Special Collections & Archives)

Former men’s head basketball coach Herb Kenny will be inducted to the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame on Jan. 26.

The Middletown Sports Hall of Fame and Museum was created to honor the numerous outstanding athletes and other sports-minded individuals, and to preserve the deep and rich history of sports in the life of the City of Middletown.

Kenny, an adjunct professor of physical education, emeritus, coached the Cardinals from 1968-1995 and ended his career with a 312-280 record.

Kenny was known for his intense coaching style and intricate offenses. To honor Kenny for his 27 years of coaching, Wesleyan annually holds a Herb Kenny Tournament.

He was president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1992-93 and last year was chairman of the NABC’s Division III committee and a member of its committee on academics. He is on the board of directors of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

A resident of Meriden, Kenny came to Wesleyan as freshman coach in 1964 after coaching basketball, baseball and football at Platt High School-Meriden. He has served on the board of directors of the Meriden Boys Club.

Kenny is a 1955 graduate of St. Bonaventure. In 1964, he received a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Connecticut.

Kenny will join Wesleyan’s Mike Whalen, director of athletics, and John Biddiscombe, the former director of athletics, on the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame roster.

The 24th Annual Middletown Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell, Conn. Tickets are $50 a person and $15 for children 12 and under. For tickets, call 860-347-6924.

Coach Kenny will be inducted into the Middletown Athletic Hall of Fame.

Coach Kenny will be inducted into the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame. (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan University Special Collections & Archives)

More than 100 Students Are Enrolled in Winter Session 2017 Courses

James Lipton, professor of computer science, teaches Introduction to Programming on Jan. 9. His class is one of seven being taught this January during Wesleyan's fourth Winter Session.

James Lipton, professor of computer science, teaches Introduction to Programming on Jan. 9. His class is one of seven being taught this January during Wesleyan’s fourth Winter Session. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

More than 100 Wesleyan students are completing a full-semester course in two weeks as part of Winter Session 2017. Now in it’s fourth year, this is the highest enrollment to date.

Winter Session is held Jan. 9-24 and classes typically meet for four hours a day for 10 days.

Courses this year include Introduction to Digital Arts, taught by Christopher Chenier; The Dark Side of the Universe, taught by Edward Moran; Homer and the Epic, taught by Andrew Szegedy-Maszak; Introduction to Programming, taught by James Lipton; U.S. Foreign Policy, taught by Douglas Foyle; Masculinity, taught by Jill Morawski; and Applied Data Analysis taught by Lisa Dierker.

The small class sizes allow students to develop close relationships with one another and faculty. Students complete reading and writing assignments before arriving on campus.

“A quieter campus, and a singular focus on just one course,

Research by Redfield, Zachary ’17 Using Hubble, Voyager Probes Widely Reported

Astronomy student Julia Zachary '17 presented research at a press conference at the American Astronomical Society's 229th annual meeting on Jan. 6. (Photo by © CorporateEventImages/Todd Buchanan 2017)

Astronomy student Julia Zachary ’17 presented research at a press conference at the American Astronomical Society’s 229th annual meeting on Jan. 6. (Photo by © CorporateEventImages/Todd Buchanan)

Wesleyan Associate Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield and astronomy student Julia Zachary ’17 recently reported at the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society on their research using data from the Hubble Space Telescope combined with two Voyager spacecraft probes, both very long-lived and successful NASA missions. The findings were shared in dozens of news outlets from the U.S. to India to Afghanistan.

According to Nature.com, “The work is a rare marriage of two of the most famous space missions — and an unprecedented glimpse at the realm between the stars.”

“If the Voyager spacecraft and the Google Street View car are going around your neighborhood taking pictures on the street, then Hubble is providing the overview, the road map for the Voyagers on their trip through interstellar space,” Zachary said at a press conference held Jan. 6.

Astronomers have used instruments such as Hubble to obtain indirect measurements of the material in interstellar space. But the Voyager probes are giving them a direct taste of this mysterious environment, sending back data on the electron density of their surroundings. “As an astronomer, I’m not used to having measurements from the place I’m observing,” Redfield said.

SpaceDaily.com reports: “A preliminary analysis of the Hubble observations reveals a rich, complex interstellar ecology, containing multiple clouds of hydrogen laced with other elements. Hubble data, combined with the Voyagers, have also provided new insights into how our sun travels through interstellar space.”

“This is a great opportunity to compare data from in situ measurements of the space environment by the Voyager spacecraft and telescopic measurements by Hubble,” said study leader Seth Redfield of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

“The Voyagers are sampling tiny regions as they plow through space at roughly 38,000 miles per hour. But we have no idea if these small areas are typical or rare. The Hubble observations give us a broader view because the telescope is looking along a longer and wider path. So Hubble gives context to what each Voyager is passing through.”

Read more at Astronomy.comThe Indian ExpressEarthSky.org and International Business Times. See photos of Zachary at the press conference on the American Astronomical Society’s website. A press release can be found on HubbleSite.

Redfield also is associate professor of integrative sciences.

Stone ’17 Ends Wesleyan Football Career; Takes Advantage of Athletics Advantage Program

Jordan Stone '17

Jordan Stone ’17

Student-athlete Jordan Stone ’17 not only ended the Cardinal football season as tri-captain of the team, he also scored a professional career thanks to Wesleyan’s Athletic Advantage Program (A+).

Head Coach Dan DiCenzo says he was not surprised with the decision his team made to elect Stone as a captain. “Jordan is a special kid and has a presence about him. He works hard and leads by example. He is everything we are looking for in a student athlete.”

A 255-pound, 6’4″ athlete, Stone was named 1st Team All NESCAC in 2015 and 2016 and contributed to the team’s defense being in the top 10 nationally. He ended his Wesleyan football career with 81 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, five breakups and three blocks. The Cardinals ended their season with a 6-2 overall record and claimed the Little Three title,

Stone, who began playing football at the age of 8 in his hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y., says he chose to play football at Wesleyan for many reasons, including the education it would provide him along with “the extensive alumni base that is willing to help you prepare for your future.”

Jordan Stone '17 and Jaylen Berry '18 participated in the Athletic Department's alumni mentoring program.

Jordan Stone ’17 and Jaylen Berry ’18 participated in the Athletic Advantage Program. After graduating, Stone will work for Endurance Specialty Holdings, Ltd. full-time.

Through the A+ Program, which combines individual training, mentoring, internships, career coaching, job shadowing and community service opportunities for student-athletes, Stone was able to spend the past two summers interning at Endurance Specialty Holdings, Ltd., a position which he found through alumnus Jack Kuhn ’86, whose son Matt also was on the team. Stone noted his time at Endurance has not only prepared him for post-Wesleyan life, but it has also benefited him on the field.

“In terms of preparation and attention to detail, those are two big things that I have brought over from the internship to the football field,” he said. “If there was a meeting and you weren’t prepared, you’d be lost. You need to know every detail, and that’s the same for football.” He continued: “When you are on the field, you need to pay attention to every detail; you need to be able to pick up on your opponent’s tendencies and capitalize on them. No detail is too small.”

Director of Athletics Michael Whalen says that Stone has shown tremendous growth over his time as a Cardinal and ended his football career gaining more confidence in his abilities.

“He had a commitment and passion to play. He loved to play. He’s always been focused on getting better, and was never complacent, and that’s not just on the football field, that’s in every phase of his life,” Whalen said.

Jordan Stone '17.

Jordan Stone ’17.

Like many student-athletes who complete their final sports season, Stone says he has accepted that he will no longer play on another team, but he is planning to volunteer some of his free time to his pop warner team, The Queens Falcons.

“It will be a great opportunity to give back to the program that introduced me to the game, and a chance to share my experiences among the young kids who have aspirations of playing college football,” he says.

After graduating, Stone will return to Endurance Specialty Holdings as a full-time underwriting trainee. “I am looking forward to engaging into this next chapter in my life,” he says.

For more information on athletics alumni mentoring, see this website.

(Lauren Dellipoali, athletic communication intern, and Olivia Drake, editor of The Wesleyan Connection, contributed to this article.)