Olivia DrakeJanuary 25, 20223min
David Morgan, professor of history, emeritus, passed away on Jan. 20 at the age of 83. Morgan received his BA from Haverford College and his DPhil from Oxford University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1966 and taught history for 37 years until his retirement in 2003. During those years he served numerous terms as the chair of history and chair of the College of Social Studies (CSS), and he served one term as dean of the social sciences. “My first memories of David Morgan are of classical music and opera pouring out of his office, with the door open, much…

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Olivia DrakeJanuary 24, 202214min
  It is not every day that an academic history book inspires a film by one of the world’s leading directors, especially when its author is former provost and professor emerita of history, Judith C. Brown. Brown’s widely-praised book, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy (Oxford University Press, 1986) was recently adapted into a film, Benedetta (2021). The book tells the story of Benedetta Carlini (1590-1661), an abbess in Tuscany, who was imprisoned for claiming false visions and for allegedly having sexual relations with one of her nuns, Sister Bartolomea. Benedetta’s story remained undiscovered until Brown,…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 11, 20226min
Using high-resolution data obtained from the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, Wesleyan University Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield can show the conditions the Sun encountered traveling through space over the past 5 million years. Redfield will present his findings Jan. 12, 2022 as part of a press conference associated with the American Astronomical Society’s previously planned annual conference. This work was a close collaboration of Redfield with Hunter Vannier ’20, and a major component of Vannier's senior thesis. Vannier is now a PhD student at Purdue University working on lunar mineralogy. By focusing on eight paths, each of…

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Editorial StaffJanuary 10, 20224min
Gertrude Hughes, professor of English, emerita, died on Jan. 5 at the age of 85. Hughes received her BA from Mount Holyoke College, her MAT from Wesleyan University, and her Ph.D from Yale University. She returned to Wesleyan as an assistant professor of English in 1976 and remained until her retirement in 2006. “Gertrude was a remarkable woman, a valued colleague, and a treasured friend,” recalled Bill Stowe, Benjamin Waite Professor of the English Language, Emeritus. “She began her academic career later than most, completing her Yale PhD under the formidable Harold Bloom while raising four children. Her book on…

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Rachel Wachman '24January 5, 20225min
When not teaching classes on agriculture, sustainability, and the environment, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies Rosemary Ostfeld ’10, MA ’12 can be found working on her sustainable food and farming startup Healthy PlanEat. Healthy PlanEat, based in Lyme, Conn., allows farmers who grow food in sustainable ways to sell their crops directly to both individuals and wholesale customers using an app and aims to increase access to healthy, local, and sustainably grown food. In November, Healthy PlanEat received a $52,000 grant through the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 3, 20226min
A recent Wesleyan study showed that seeking out social media for emotional succor during COVID-19 did not improve emotional well-being among emerging adult college students. The study, conducted by Royette Dubar, assistant professor of psychology; Nicole Watkins, postdoctoral fellow in psychology; and psychology major Grant Hill '20, MA '21 asked more than 600 emerging adults in college (18-to-29-year-olds) across the U.S. to complete two online surveys over a five-month period at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “COVID has had significant implications for how we interact with other people and how we think about our well-being. What we are trying to understand…

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Editorial StaffDecember 1, 20213min
Alvin Lucier, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, died on Dec. 1 at the age of 90. Lucier received his BA from Yale University and his MFA from Brandeis University. He joined the Wesleyan faculty as a visiting professor in 1968 and as an associate professor in 1972. He taught here for 43 years before retiring in 2011. A pioneering composer, Lucier was at the forefront of American avant-garde music. He lectured and performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. In 1994 Wesleyan celebrated his career with a five-day multimedia festival, Alvin Lucier: Collaborations, which included new work…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 19, 20218min
While it's considered acceptable, or even expected, for women to cover fine lines and wrinkles with makeup, creams, injectables, or undergo cosmetic procedures like facelifts as they age, the idea of altering skin tone—especially for Black and brown people who are the most likely to face colorism—is a newer, and oddly popular, skincare craze. "For [some] Black people it’s not about whether our skin is dewy, glowing, or glassy, or whether we're trying to conceal acne scars or minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It’s about whether we're trying to appear closer to white," said Robyn Autry, associate…

Rachel Wachman '24November 1, 20211min
Reinhold Blumel, Charlotte Augusta Ayres Professor of Physics, recently co-authored a paper in Nature called “Power-optimal, stabilized entangling gate between trapped-ion qubits.” Yunseong Nam, one of the other co-authors, worked with Blumel as a graduate student. Blumel’s contributions to this paper stem from his connections to IonQ, a technology company for quantum computing. Nam is now the company’s chief theorist.

Rachel Wachman '24November 1, 20214min
Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Raquel Bryant and Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Teresita Padilla-Benavides are two women in STEM whose work has recently been highlighted in national science journals. Bryant, who will join the Wesleyan faculty in July 2022, co-wrote a paper titled “Microfossil and geochemical records reveal high-productivity paleoenvironments in the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2” that will be in the December volume of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Her work has also been featured as a Research Highlight in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment. Padilla-Benavides recently co-wrote an article titled “The…

Olivia DrakeNovember 1, 20211min
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Helen Poulos recently co-authored three new papers: “Wildfire and topography drive woody plant diversity in a Sky Island mountain range in the Southwest USA,” published in Ecology and Evolution on Oct. 5. “Choked out: Battling invasive giant cane along the Rio Grande/ Bravo Borderlands,” published in River Research and Applications on Sept. 20. And “Mixed-severity wildfire as a driver of vegetation change in an Arizona Madrean Sky Island System, USA,” written alongside Michael Freiburger ’21 and published in Fire on Oct. 20. Poulos’s research focuses on plant distribution patterns as a result of the…

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Steve ScarpaOctober 29, 20212min
News media, advertising, and other messaging can be important tools in promoting a healthy and equitable society. The COVID-19 pandemic shows just how catastrophic the consequences can be when a communication crisis is added to a health crisis. Wesleyan’s Erika Franklin Fowler, Steven Moore and Laura Baum are launching the Collaborative on Media & Messaging for Health and Social Policy (COMM) to help. In summarizing their research—including more than a decade’s worth of health-related advertising and news coverage on childhood vaccinations, the Affordable Care Act, education, paid leave, and health equity—they find some broad takeaways. For example, according to COMM,…