Faculty

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?’”

YouTube Preview Image

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.

Columnist: Vodou’s a Religion that Deserves Respect

In a column regarding religions and journalism in USA Today, writer Rod Dreher exhorts other journalists to consider and write about Vodou with the same respect as mainstream religions, citing the work of Elizabeth McAlister, associate professor of religion, associate professor of American Studies, associate professor of African American Studies. Dreher references this specific piece that McAlister wrote for the Social Science Research Council.

Dupuy: Aid to Haiti Absolves State of Responsibilities

Alex Dupuy, Class of 1958 Distinguish Professor of Sociology, discusses for CNN the ‘vicious cycle’ that has gripped Haiti: the country’s dependency on foreign and charitable aid has become so pronounced over the years that it has restrained the Haitian government from facing up to long-term solutions to basic problems. Because so much of the Haitian economy – and in a post-disaster situation, the current rebuilding – is shaped by foreign and NGO aid-driven agendas, educated Haitianoften decide to leave the county for better economic conditions rather than to work for the government or Haitian-owned and based businesses.

Dupuy has been invited by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to a conference on March 24 at their Paris headquarters titled: “Refonder le tissue social, culturel, et intellectuel d’Haiti” (Rebuilding the Social, Cultural, and Intellectual Fabric of Haiti). The conference is a preparation for another conference between the Haitian government and their major international aid donors that will be held a week later in New York City.

Greenwood: Lunar Water May Have Come from Comets

CBS News, and National Geographic among others, report on a presentation by James Greenwood, research associate professor, visiting assistant professor, earth and environmental sciences, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas where he outlined two stunning scenarios: 1) Water is present in the moon rocks that were collected by the Apollo astronauts; 2) The water did not come from the earth; it may, in fact, have come from comets. Greenwood’s research, using a new technique he pioneered, yielded both bits of information. His study is currently under review by Science. Greenwood’s findings have also been reported in Discover Magazine, The Houston Press New Scientist, Fox News and MSNBC via Space.com, and AOL News,

Swinehart on Adams’ ‘The Room and the Chair’

In The Chicago Tribune, Kirk D. Swinehart, assistant professor of history, reviews The Room and the Chair, the second novel by Lorraine Adams, a Pulitzer-winning former journalist for The Washington Post. Swinehart calls The Room and the Chair a “a fiercely intelligent political thriller set, by turns, in Washington, Iraq, Dubai, and Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.” The novel builds on the momentum of Adams’ first book, Harbor, with a new story of political and international intrigue that resonates deeply with current events and fears.

Milroy on Philadelphia’s Rockland Mansion

In a recent issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Elizabeth Milroy, interim co-chair and professor of art and art history, professor of American studies, commented on Fairmount Park’s Rockland Mansion, a historic, but until recently little-noticed, landmark in the city. Milroy will be presenting a talk at the Rockland Mansion on March 13 (for more information call 215-235-2345).

Daniel Long on the Earthquake in Chile

Daniel Long, assistant professor of sociology, spoke to Channel 8 about the earthquake in Chile and his family in the country. Long said that while the loss of life and damage is substantial, the country has dramatically improved its preparedness and infrastructure for such an event since a large quake struck the South American nation in 1960.