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Editorial StaffJanuary 31, 20231min
For most people, microbes are something to be observed under a microscope, but for Raquel Bryant, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, they provide insight into the way that the world around us works. “Collective action is actually possible,” Bryant said, “This is something I learned from microbes.” Strength in numbers is something that Bryant, who studies deep time interactions between life, the ocean, and the climate, sees as an essential principle of both activism and science. Learn more about Bryant in Madeleine Dickman '23's profile, posted at the Inclusion in STEM blog.

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 23, 20236min
Thanks to her discovery of a global warming event that occurred 56 million years ago, Ellen Thomas, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Integrated Sciences, Emerita, changed the way we think about climate change. Her research started with a serendipitous discovery of severe extinction of microscopic deep-sea organisms, foraminifera. Because of her prolific and impactful research, Thomas, along with her colleague James Zachos of the University of California, Santa Cruz, was given the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the climate change category. “Both laureates think that the destructive impact of the event should be a warning to us…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 19, 20233min
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Alison O’Neil’s most recent research has drawn a direct parallel between a pesticide commonly used from the late 1940s through the late 1970s and instances of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a paper published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience on December 13. Cis-chlordane was banned in 1988 in the United States, but it can still be found in the environment. “We find that human stem-cell-derived motor neurons are more sensitive to (the pesticide) cis-chlordane than other cell types and their action potential dynamics are altered … Together, our work points to cis-chlordane as a potential sporadic…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 11, 20237min
In the face of global climate and environmental crises, Elon Musk wants to launch humanity to Mars. His fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos believes we should build artificial space pods between the Earth and the Moon to increase the resources we need for our technologically soaked lives. They were the only ones who could save humanity from a dire end, they sort of said (and, perhaps, making a tidy profit for themselves in the process.) The messianic vibes were unmistakable. The thought of this baffled Mary-Jane Rubenstein, professor of religion. “The more I learned about the contemporary state of things in…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 3, 202311min
The past year began in uncertainty due to the global pandemic and the ongoing strife happening in our country and throughout the world. However, the Wesleyan University community persevered and thrived. Faculty explored new and innovative ideas, and students grew in ways that they couldn’t have anticipated. Throughout the year the Wesleyan Connection was there to document the life of a place that is always creative, always pushing for a better and more just world. Here’s a small sampling of the stories that mattered this past year: January The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded the Carceral Connecticut Project, a multidisciplinary…

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Editorial StaffDecember 7, 20224min
Over the past century, forests across the western United States have become vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires due to climate change. Overall, forest management activities for lowering wildfire risk appear to help, but little is known about how these activities influence forest water availability and water cycling, important indicators of drought. This is the key question that Environmental Studies Professor Helen Mills Poulos and her research team at Northern Arizona University, led by Temuulen Tsagaan Sankey, will attempt to address in a new NASA-funded research project. Poulos and her research team received a $597,000 grant from NASA in November to study…

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Steve ScarpaDecember 6, 20225min
NASA’s largest telescope in space, JWST, is proving to be powerful enough to measure atmospheric chemicals on WASP-39b, a planet orbiting a star 700 light years away, and find sulfur dioxide, an element found in Earth’s ozone layer. “This is a mind-blowing demonstration of the capabilities of this telescope,” said Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield, whose research group has been receiving early information from the telescope since its launch as a member of a JWST Early Release Science team. “There is a world that is hundreds of light years away and we can tell you how much sulfur dioxide is…

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Amy AlbertDecember 5, 20226min
International Education Week (IEW) was held from November 10th through the 18th to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Wesleyan has participated in IEW since 2017-2018 through the Fries Center for Global Studies (FCGS). This year, the IEW Planning Committee included representatives from the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA), the Gordon Career Center, the Resource Center, ResLife, and the Shapiro Writing Center. The U.S. Departments of State and Education launched the initiative in 2000 to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment. Associate Director for Intercultural Learning Anita Deeg-Carlin said, "It's exciting for me…

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Steve ScarpaNovember 28, 20225min
The first time Anna Shusterman walked into a classroom of Wesleyan undergraduates teaching math games to preschoolers a decade ago, she was surprised by what she saw – happy and deep engagement all around. The students – all of them – were on to something. “They were incredible. I had no idea how good they were,” said Shusterman, professor of psychology and co-chair of the College of Education Studies. Between the joyful (and productive) little ones and the thoughtful efforts of the Wesleyan students, Shusterman realized that there was a need that could be filled. “It turned out to be…

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Steve ScarpaNovember 22, 20227min
Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Victoria Pitts-Taylor’s 2016 book The Brain’s Body: Neuroscience and Corporeal Politics has inspired a group of painters to offer their own artistic impressions of her complex ideas in a new gallery exhibit. The exhibit, called “Somatic Markings,” is on display through December 23 at the Kasmin Gallery, located at 297 Tenth Avenue in New York City. The exhibit features seven international artists employing the nude figure to grapple with issues of contemporary corporeal politics, according to the gallery’s press release. “A lot of the motivation behind the show was to push beyond a…

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Steve ScarpaOctober 17, 20223min
A new Wesleyan research project will explore the possibility that more chemical elements than previously thought could be used to help create inexpensive and renewable energy storage technologies. Associate Professor of Chemistry Michelle Personick’s lab was the recipient of a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage research into clean-energy technologies and low carbon manufacturing. Researchers at 54 universities and 11 National Laboratories received awards in late August. Platinum group elements (PGE) like platinum, palladium, and rhodium are crucial in the production of many energy storage technologies, like fuel cells and the sustainable production of liquid fuel…

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Steve ScarpaSeptember 30, 20225min
For decades, the former Davison Art Center located in the Richard Alsop IV House at 301 High Street has been a focal point for the visual arts on campus, housing an invaluable and wide-ranging print collection. With the collection's move to the Olin Library, the old building has a new artistic focus as part of a Digital Design Commons on campus supporting music, dance, theatre, and visual art. “The idea is for this to be a tech hub for the arts,” said Roger Mathew Grant, dean of the arts and humanities. “The arts are always at an intersection of the…