Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

July-August 2008

Letters

First Amendment, slavery's reach, energy options...

The College Pump

Five pieces of lead type turned up near Matthews Hall this year, a stop-the-presses flash from the past. They were unearthed by students and faculty of Anthropology 1130: “Archaeology of Harvard Yard.”

Treasure

The Harvard Map Collection in Pusey Library has recently become home to more than 10,000 map postcards...

In this Issue

Lawrence F. Kraft

Photograph by Fred Field

Causes and consequences of the wide—and growing—gap between rich and poor

 One of the most detailed astronomical images ever produced, this panoramic view of the Orion Nebula—just 1,500 light years from our own solar system and on the same spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy—is a composite made from many exposures over several months. Stars are born in nebulas like this one, as clouds of hydrogen gas coalesce into progressively denser and hotter clusters that eventually ignite in a fusion reaction. More than 3,000 stars appear in this image, including hundreds of young ones, allowing the systematic study of the various stages in this extraordinary process. The Hubble’s views of the nebula also enabled astronomers to see protoplanetary disks, the stuff from which planets are thought to form and, for the first time, “brown dwarfs,” failed stars that were not dense or hot enough to sustain fusion.

Image courtesy of NASA/STSci

The cosmic drama, as seen from a vantage in space: Harvard astronomers highlight important images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

A 1901 photograph of Gorky taken in his hometown, Nizhny Novgorod (known as Gorky from 1932 to 1990). Above: Gorky stands behind Lenin in a photograph from the second Communist International (Comintern) Congress, in the summer of 1920. (The background text is from Gorky’s Fragments from My Diary.)

Image courtesy of M.P. Dmitriev

Brief life of a great enigma, the Russian author and political propagandist born Alexei Maksimovich Peshkov: 1868-1936...

Mycobacteria form greasy, fatty-looking colonies. Their thick lipid coatings may play a role in allowing them to survive an onslught of antibiotics.

The fight against an ancient scourge shifts to new battlegrounds...

Letters

First Amendment, slavery's reach, energy options...

Right Now

Tools of Stasi spying: jars containing dust cloths used to capture the body scent of people the Stasi was trying to track; a deer statuette with a camera hidden inside; a Swiss-made Tessina 35-mm miniature camera.

Historian of science Kristie Macrakis has written Seduced by Secrets, a book about spying, techniques and gadgets used by the Stasi, communist East Germany's secret police...

Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner and coauthors offer a revisionist view of corporate raiders and their Gordon Gekko image after reviewing 5,000 buyouts...

One form of the Rocky Mountain monkey flower has a long trumpet suited to pollination by hummingbirds; the other is pollinated by bumblebees. Their hybrid offspring don’t do well in the wild, however, because they are not easily fertilized by the birds or the bees.

Biologist Susan Lindquist investigates how HSP90 (heat-shock protein 90), a protein chaperone, provides a molecular mechanism that may help explain punctuated equilibrium in evolution...

New England Regional

Enjoy a range of offerings in and around Harvard Square, from swing dancing on the Charles River, a stroll through the Arnold Arboretum, or a tasty picnic...

George Kinder

The promise of a more fulfilling approach to personal finance: George Kinder, author of <em>Seven Stages of Money Maturity</em>, explains how financial planning is an emotional process...

Scallops atop black sticky rice; behind, beef satay and baby greens

Tapas of distinction at Small Plates restaurant and wine bar...

John Harvard's Journal

Ana Vollmar &rsquo;08, of the veggie-loving Dudley House Co-op and Hamden, Connecticut.

At a time of war and recession, Commencement takes stock of nation, University, and graduates' lives...

Three women and seven men received honorary degrees at Commencement.

An omnium-gathering of notes and statistics, vital and otherwise...

At the ROTC ceremony, from left to right: U.S. Air Force second lieutenants Roberto A. Guerra and Michael J. Arth, U.S. Navy ensign John D. Reed, President Faust, and U.S. Army second lieutenants Jason M. Scherer and J. Danielle Williams.

President Faust and an Iraq war veteran on graduates' opportunities...

Fed chair Bernanke, J.K. Rowling, and President Faust on how to live well...

David Rockefeller

David Rockefeller gives $100 million for international and arts education...

In this rendering of Renzo Piano’s plan for renovating the Fogg Art Museum, the study centers are visible on the fifth and sixth floors. Also shown are the museum’s two entrances: the existing one from Quincy Street on the left, and a new entryway from Prescott Street on the right.

Student study centers in the renovated Fogg Museum...

Joanna Aizenberg

A bioengineer learns from sponges...

Speaking on behalf of the department he chairs, James Engell moved that it shed its current title (English and American literature and language) in favor of a streamlined one (English).

University leaders in various forums outlined Harvard priorities and impending business concerning Allston, a new science initiative, and the University&rsquo;s international aims.

On April 15, vice president for finance Elizabeth Mora, Harvard&rsquo;s chief financial officer, &ldquo;announced her intention to step down&rdquo; as of mid May.

President Drew Faust on April 28 appointed Higgins professor of natural sciences Barbara J. Grosz to the deanship of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS).

Barry Bloom

When Barry Bloom looks around at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), he sees an institution that is more internationally engaged, more generous to its students, and home to more prizewinning researchers than when he arrived 10 years ago.

The rising value of endowments belonging to private institutions of higher education is attracting critical political attention&mdash;a special challenge for Harvard, whose $34.9-billion endowment is much the largest.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), in planning a major renovation of the 12 undergraduate residential Houses, has appointed a House Program Planning...

Headlines from Harvard history

During spring faculty meetings, dean Michael D. Smith explained his approach to leading the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), with important implications for the growth of professorial ranks.

Jeremy R. Knowles

Reflecting on the service of Jeremy R. Knowles, two-time dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

President Drew Faust on April 24 appointed a University steering committee to explore improvements to Harvard&rsquo;s Cambridge campus, with the aim...

Short takes on recent news

Montage

Critic Alex Ross keeps "classical" music current...

Harvard professor Lewis Lockwood and the Julliard String Quartet have collaborated on <em>Inside Beethoven's Quartets: History, Performance, Interpretation</em>...

Mary Jo Salter keeps her own (and others') poetry alive...

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words...

Mother and son, and creator: Eisa Davis with Daniel Breaker, The Youth, and rock musician Stew, who is <em>Passing Strange's </em>Narrator.

Performer Eisa Davis, now starring on Broadway in <em>Passing Strange</em>, stays open to her many artistic passions, including playwriting (<em>Bulrusher, Angela's Mixtape</em>) and singing (her devut album is <em>Something Else</em>)...

Recent books with Harvard connections...

Herschenfeld as Butt, a mechanical bird, in Charles Wuorinen's <em>Haroun</em> and the <em>Sea of Stories</em>.

Operatic bass Ethan Herschenfeld sings around the world, but also enjoys acting on TV (<em>Damages</em>)...

Alumni

Men of the College class of 1951 share lessons learned while doing their duty.

The marshals of the College class of 2008 gathered with classmates for the Baccalaureate service on Tuesday, June 3.

The names of the newly elected members of the Board of Overseers and directors of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) were announced at the association&rsquo;s annual meeting.

Three people received the Harvard Medal for outstanding service, and were publicly honored by President Drew Faust.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal, first awarded in 1989 on the occasion of the school&rsquo;s hundredth anniversary, honors alumni who have made contributions to society that emerged from their graduate study at Harvard.

Four seniors have won Harvard Cambridge scholarships to study at Cambridge University during the 2008-2009 academic year.

Why is it, University Treasurer James F. Rothenberg &rsquo;68, M.B.A. &rsquo;70, asked his Tercentenary Theatre audience on Thursday afternoon...

Two 99-year-olds—Frances Pass Addelson ’30, of Brookline, Massachusetts, and George Barner ’29, Ed ’32, L ’33, of Kennebunk, Maine—the oldest...

&ldquo;From the Closet to a Place at the Table: Celebrating 25 Years of the Harvard Gay &amp; Lesbian Caucus&rdquo; is the first-ever all-school...

The College Pump

Five pieces of lead type turned up near Matthews Hall this year, a stop-the-presses flash from the past. They were unearthed by students and faculty of Anthropology 1130: &ldquo;Archaeology of Harvard Yard.&rdquo;

Treasure

The Harvard Map Collection in Pusey Library has recently become home to more than 10,000 map postcards...