Faculty

Peters’ Fellowship Appointment Focuses on Terrorism

Anne Peters, assistant professor of government. (Photo by Claire Seo-In Choi)

Anne Mariel Peters, assistant professor of government, has been selected as a 2010-2011 Academic Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C. As an FDD fellow, Peters will participate in an intensive course on terrorism and counterterrorism at the University of Tel Aviv from May 30 to June 9. The course examines terrorism from a variety of political, academic, and law enforcement perspectives. It also includes site visits to Israeli security installations and border zones, as well as meetings with Israeli, Jordanian, Turkish and Indian officials.

Peters’ expertise is in the political economies of the Middle East. She is interested in how international resource transfers, such as foreign aid, natural resource revenues, and worker remittances, affect the strength of state institutions, the pace and scope of economic reforms, and authoritarian durability. Her book manuscript, titled Special Relationships, Dollars, and Development, considers how the size and composition of authoritarian regime coalitions in Egypt, Jordan, South Korea, and Taiwan determined whether or not US foreign aid was used for long-term economic development or short-term patronage.

Although her courses substantially address Middle Eastern political economies, Peters aims to provide students with broad exposure to other key issues in the region. This includes units on violent and nonviolent social movements, terrorism, and counterterrorism.

“When I teach courses on the comparative politics

Swinehart on Munson’s Debut ‘November Criminals’

In The Chicago Tribune, Kirk Swinehart, assistant professor of history, reviews November Criminals, the anticipated debut novel by Sam Munson. The book is told from the perspective of Addison Schacht, an intelligent high school senior who is “a motherless crackerjack Latin student and smalltime pot dealer from ‘a tree-heavy upper-middle-class neighborhood in Washington, D.C.’ ” By the way, Schacht also wants to go to college and is working on his application essay, which focuses on the question: “What are your best and worst qualities?.” Munson takes the set-up and creates, according to Swinehart, “one of the funniest, most heartfelt novels in recent memory—a book every bit as worthy of Mark Twain and J. D. Salinger—about the goodwill and decency that sometimes shrouds itself in adolescent vulgarity and swagger.”

Striegel-Moore Study Offers Solution for Binge Eaters

A piece in USA Today reports on a new study by Ruth Striegel-Moore, Walter A. Crowell Professor of the Social Sciences, professor of psychology, that produced a self-directed, easy-to-follow, 12-week method to eliminate binge eating. The study, which Striegel-Moore conducted with researchers from Kaiser Permanente and Rutgers University, offered binge eating sufferers a treatment method that was so successful 64% of  the participants reported they were still not binge eating a year later.

Potter Discusses ‘Intimate Partner Violence’

In an OpEd for The Hartford Courant, Professor of History, Professor of American Studies Claire Potter discusses the often unreported crime of intimate partner violence and how recognition of these incidents has at least increased over the last few decades. While awareness of these incidents as crimes has increased since the 1970s, when Potter was first exposed to it, the patterns and incidents themselves remain entrenched.

Potter’s OpEd is part of an on-going dialogue by The Courant on domestic violence. She will be a panelist at a forum in Beckham Hall at 6 p.m., April 27 co- sponsored by Wesleyan University, The Courant and Fox 61 News titled: “The Person You Think You Know: Signs and Solutions of Campus Violence.”

Dupuy: Haiti Must Create Food Independence

In a report on NPR’s MarketPlace, Alex Dupuy, Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor of Sociology, comments on a United Nations plan to raise and distribute $4 billion of relief funds for Haiti. Dupuy has criticized the Haitian government in the past for settling into a culture of aid instead of trying to build sustainable infrastructure and industry from within. In the report, Dupuy supports the U.N.’s plan to decentralize economic activity, but with caveats that extend to the garment industry and food production.

Basinger: Get Ready for More 3-D Movies

In a Hartford Courant story, Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies, says that with the success of Avatar, the film industry will be releasing more 3-D movies in the coming months and theaters are getting ready by installing 3-D projection equipment.

Roth on Richard Reeves ‘Daring Young Men’

In The San Francisco Chronicle, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth reviews Daring Young Men: The Triumph of the Berlin Airlift, June 1948-May 1949, a new book by Richard Reeves. The book details one of the seminal moments of the early Cold War chess match between The United States and The Soviet Union as Stalin sought to starve the Western sectors of Berlin into submission. The U.S. responded with an improbable plan to fly into Berlin everything the city’s residents needed to survive. Roth states: “Today, when the United States struggles with two wars only grudgingly supported by some of its citizens, Reeves’ account is a welcome reminder of the importance of a military willing to take risks to preserve freedom. ‘Daring Young Men’ brings to life a moment when altruism, guts and know-how inspired our country and saved a city.”

Greenwood Finds Water in Moon Rocks

Jim Greenwood, research assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, holds a slide with a moon rock sample that contains water. The water was found in the mineral apatite, which he and his team were able to identify in the sample. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett Drake)
Jim Greenwood, research assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, holds a slide with a moon rock sample that contains water. The water was found in the mineral apatite, which he and his team were able to identify in the sample. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

Soon after the Apollo spaceflights to the moon, experts examined the rocks brought back by the astronauts and declared with certainty that the moon was a dry, waterless place.

Forty years later, James Greenwood begs to differ. Not only does he have proof, his findings strongly suggest that some of the lunar water he found is not indigenous to the moon or earth but appears to have originated from somewhere else in space.

Greenwood, research associate professor, visiting assistant professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, pioneered a new method of analyzing the rocks using a combination of light, electron and ion-beam microscopes. He and his international team of planetary geologists and geochemists, announced their findings at the 41st Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, in March.

It was a discovery almost didn’t happen, however. In fact, the only reason Greenwood found proof of water on the moon was because he was looking at a rock from Mars.

“I was in a lab at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, using an ion microscope to measure water in Martian meteorites,” Greenwood, who is a planetary geochemist, says. “We had pioneered this new technique to use two-dimensional ion imaging and were looking at this mineral in the meteorites called ‘apatite,’ which is a common phosphate mineral and holds water. Our analyses had been very good, probably better than ever before. So I thought, ‘What if we used this technique on moon rocks?’”

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Greenwood thought of moon rocks because a 2008 study from Brown University had found possible evidence of water in volcanic moon rocks. However, the study had been problematic and its results disputed. Still, Greenwood was intrigued that the possibility of water in the lunar rock samples had not been thoroughly vetted.

“The rocks were all declared devoid of water when they were first analyzed 40 years ago,” he said. “But I thought our new technique held some promise.”

Greenwood’s technique and the advanced instruments he gained access to, made it possible for him and the other scientists on his team to analyze the sample’s chemical composition over areas as small as 5 x 5 microns.

“In the past, they had actually ground up the analyzed samples. This created conditions that put the chemical analysis out of context,” he says. “Our method let us look at the samples as they are, in situ.”

The hardest part was getting permission to examine a sample. Less than 900 rocks were brought back from all the Apollo missions combined. Access is strictly limited.

It took several months, but Greenwood was able to get a few samples to analyze. The first were from the lunar highlands, which he thought might hold promise. But no water-holding apatite was found. Then he gained access to a sliver of rock brought back from the southwestern edge of the Mare Tranquillitatis – the “Sea of Tranquility” – where Apollo 11 had set down in 1969.

“So there we were in the lab at about 3 a.m. and the first sample we looked at, boom, there it was. Water. At first we couldn’t believe it. But we double-checked and we were just blown away. It was clearly there.”

The apatite, which is the same mineral that teeth are made of, was rife with water molecules. However, as Greenwood and his colleagues continued to analyze the samples they found that the water contained in the rocks was not from the earth or the moon.

“It was consistent in the water that comes from comets,” Greenwood says.

How could he tell? Water molecules found on earth – and those indigenous to the moon, since it was once part of the earth – contain a specific ratio of hydrogen to deuterium, which scientists use as a standard. The water Greenwood has found in some of the lunar samples has nearly twice the deuterium.

“The only things that falls into this range with any consistency are comets,” Greenwood says.

He adds that comets have long been known to hold frozen water and that perhaps as much as 10% of the earth’s water had come from comets, as well.

Microscopic water in minerals inside moon rocks is a tremendous find, but in a practical sense it does not open the door to, say, astronauts extracting this water to use on a lunar base or colony. Greenwood says that process would be too expensive and energy-exclusive with current methods. However, his discovery does open up another possibility.

“The level of water we found in the samples are consistent with the amount of water one would find from the mantle in the earth,” he says. “So there may be a reservoir of water within the mantle of the moon. Somewhat like groundwater here on earth.”

How far within the mantle, how deep below the surface is another challenge for another completely different type of study.

But Greenwood and his team have confirmed what many people have wondered for centuries, perhaps millennia. There is water on the moon.