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Jeff HarderJanuary 31, 20237min
Poet, author, activist, and educator Mahogany L. Browne is having a moment. The stage adaptation of her acclaimed young adult novel Chlorine Sky premieres this month at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. She’s finishing up a “poetic orchestral” performance she expects to unveil this spring at Wesleyan, where she’s deep into a stint with the inaugural group of Shapiro-Silverberg Distinguished Writers in Residence. And earlier this week, Chrome Valley—the latest collection of verse from Browne, the first-ever poet-in-residence at New York’s Lincoln Center—was published by W.W. Norton & Company. Here, Browne offers insights into her work, creative process, and bringing a sense…

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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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Editorial StaffJanuary 30, 20233min
The Center for Religion and the Human at IU Bloomington announces Professor of Religion and Science in Society Mary-Jane Rubenstein’s Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse (Colombia University Press, 2014) as winner of the third annual Iris Book Award. Jurors for the Iris Book Award praised Worlds Without End as “a delightful tour of a topic that was once esoteric, but now is hovering on the edges of science fact: that we do not exist in a universe, but rather in a multiverse,” and called the book “a fascinating and entertaining exploration of the history of an idea that just…

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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 12, 20236min
Deep philosophical ideas aren’t the only things Hedding Professor of Moral Science Joseph T. Rouse has been dueling with as of late. Rouse has been training for the United States Veteran Fencing team, a team comprised of fencers over the age of 70. His first national qualifier this season will take place in January at the North American Cup in Louisville, Kentucky. His first bout a year ago against the current world champion in his age group ended in a loss, but Rouse thinks he's got more than a fighting chance, having beaten his opponent the last two times they…

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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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Steve ScarpaJanuary 3, 20238min
Are you already able to sing Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ‘15’s Hamilton word for word? Have you already binged Bradley Whitford ’81, Hon. ’20 in “The West Wing” and “A Handmaid’s Tale"? Have you read all of Amy Bloom’s books? So now where do you go next to get your Wesleyan creative fix? As winter curls around us, Wes grads and faculty have conjured a new batch of books, music, performances, and television shows to delight and challenge us as we get cozy over the chilly months. Here’s just a small sampling: “From Scratch” Tembe Locke ’92’s powerful memoir From…

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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 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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Jeff HarderNovember 22, 20225min
Forget the Christmas ham and the Fourth of July hot dog: there’s no ordinary-meal-turned-American-holiday-icon quite like the Thanksgiving turkey. In addition to adorning parade floats and being rendered via crayons and children’s splayed hands, turkey is expected to be at the center of the table for 85 percent of Thanksgiving celebrations this year. But turkey wasn’t the main course when the Wampanoags and Pilgrims convened for their legendary feast in 1621. In fact, it’s unclear whether it was on the menu at all: many experts believe fowl like duck, goose, or passenger pigeons were likelier complements to a feast that…