Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

January-February 2009


Communications from our readers

The College Pump

A restorer of lost landscapes works to replicate FDR’s suite of rooms as it looked in 1900.

A restoration is in progress of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s undergraduate rooms at Harvard, and Ralph Nader sets a speech-making Guinness World Record.


The late Stuart Cary Welch was a connoisseur of lovers’ picnics and the world of Persian and Indian art.

In this Issue

In the fight against terrorists, habeas corpus has played a key role in efforts to balance civil liberties against national security.

How the first female Cabinet member helped shape the New Deal

Bioengineering--at the intersection of biology, medical science, and engineering--is where scientists Joseph Vacanti, Pamela Silver, Kit Parker, David Mooney, Joanna Aizenberg, and Radhika Nagpal are defining a new field.

Henry James Sr. poses with his son Henry Jr. at Mathew Brady’s studio in New York City, 1854.

Art historian Robin Kelsey examines photographs of all kinds to reveal what they say about human history, society, and culture.

Right Now

This image shows small brown-fat cells—which burn energy as heat—interspersed among larger white-fat cells, which store energy. The former are stained brown here; their natural color, which results from the density of mitochondria, would not be visible in this thin cross-section of tissue. (The blue staining marks cell nuclei.)

Harvard Medical School’s Bruce Spiegelman studies brown fat, a little-known type of tissue with health-promoting potential.

Skeptical of both defined-benefit and defined-contribution retirement plans, Harvard Business School professor Robert Merton proposes a hybrid, SmartNest, to overcome the shortcomings of each.

In The Cure Within, historian of science Anne Harrington explores the medical history of the mind-body connection.

Ralph Mitchell

McKay professor of applied biology Ralph Mitchell and postdoctoral fellow Nick Konkol work with preservation librarians to develop a test that can detect damaging mold in books before it becomes visible.

New England Regional

Boston Ballet dancers perform from the <em>Black and White</em> program

Things to do, see, and hear, in and around campus

A look at the world of dating for those over 45

Highland Kitchen blends into the neighborhood, but stands out for its cooking.

Highland Kitchen, a Southern-inspired restaurant-bar, satisfyingly fills a Somerville niche.

John Harvard's Journal

AL GORE &rsquo;69, LL.D. &rsquo;94, filled Tercentenary Theatre on October 22 when he spoke about sustainability. Noting that the impressive turnout on a raw fall day&mdash;free soup, cider, and apple crisp notwithstanding&mdash;indicated &ldquo;deep and broad commitment to addressing this issue,&rdquo; Gore said, &ldquo;There is an African proverb that says, &lsquo;If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.&rsquo; We have to go far, quickly.&rdquo;

With a public appearance and speech in Tercentenary Theatre, Nobel Prize-winning environmental activist Al Gore ’69, LL.D. ’94, helped launch Harvard’s commitment to sustainability.

An update on the University’s initial responses to the worsening economic climate

(Sidebar) The shrinking Harvard endowment affects the University's different schools differently.

The Chiara String Quartet are Harvard's current Blodgett Artists-in-Residence.

Charles S. Maier

Harvard College rolls out the new general education curriculum for undergraduates.

Emily Rauh Pulitzer

Art historian and former museum curator Emily Rauh Pulitzer gives the Harvard Art Museum 31 important works of modern and contemporary art and $45 million, enhancing a tradition she shared with her late husband, Joseph Pulitzer Jr

Happenings at Harvard in Januarys and Februarys past

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, his wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and President Drew Faust. Members of the Kuumba Singers appear in the rear.

In a special Harvard convocation, Senator Edward M. Kennedy receives an honorary degree.

As the Business School trains leaders, Drew Faust asked, how can Harvard best determine &ldquo;the sort of differences they will make?&rdquo;

In speeches at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, President Drew Faust outlines her vision of professional education, service, and responsibility.

Mark R. Warner

Harvardians in the 111th Congress

Rosa Estrella Ortega Roa has big plans for the unit where she lives with her two-year-old grandson. Although the walls and ceiling of her kitchen are still unfinished... [click the images below for more]

An innovative housing initiative with deep Harvard ties lets families in Chile who once lived illegally become homeowners.

Thomas Kane

Two new education centers, run by Roland Fryer and Thomas Kane, and an existing center, run by Paul Peterson, bring Harvard’s analytic resources to bear on public education issues: student achievement, teacher recruitment, and school choice.

News of the University and the Harvard community

Undergraduate columnist Christian Flow ponders the strange social science of mingling.

Sophomore Meryl Federman and senior Adam N. Hallowell keep themselves busy during a break in the action at Brown University&rsquo;s early fall tournament.

Quiz Bowl’s quirky intellectualism and hard-driving competitiveness energize a strong Harvard team.

HOT PURSUIT: Defenders Schultz (52), Curtis (91), and Barnes (25) closing in on Yale back Mike McLeod.

Defensive prowess helps the football team to a share of the Ivy crown.

Soccer and basketball updates


Alex MacLean with tools of his trade: a new fuel-efficient plane and his camera

Aerial photographer Alex MacLean documents the effects of the American lifestyle on the American landscape.

Michelangelo&rsquo;s studies for the vestibule stairs, Casa Buonarroti, Florence.

In this excerpt from her new book, <em>Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture,</em> Cammy Brothers discusses how the artist demonstrated the possibility for architecture to be a vehicle for the imagination equal to painting or sculpture.

Sara Houghteling

Sara Houghteling’s first novel, <em>Pictures at an Exhibition,</em> tells the story of a young man who searches post-war Paris for both his lost love and his father’s stolen art collection.

<em>Real</em> barbecuing, the old- fashioned way, at Braswell Plantation, 1944

An editorial sampling of recent books with Harvard connections

Factory girls in their dormitory, Guangdong Province

Pan Tianshu reviews Leslie Chang's new book <em>Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China</em>

A correspondence corner for not-so-famous lost words


Gross with street worker Dimky Edouard at an informal session with gang members

Through his work at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, Teny Gross is keeping kids alive.

Anthony Woods

Anthony C. Woods has initiated his own dismissal from the U.S. Army under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Teresa Clarke

Teresa Clarke helps talented but low-income South African children through the Student Sponsorship Programme.

Nora Schultz set out to create quick <em>and</em> wholesome desserts.

With her Naturally Nora cake and frosting mixes, Nora Schultz aims to provide quick and wholesome desserts.

News from Shared Interest Groups

Historian and novelist Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski blends sixteenth-century history with fantasy in <em>The Cabinet of Wonders,</em> a new novel for young adults.

Farewell to Walter Seward, Harvard's longest-lived alumnus

A sampling of forthcoming Harvard Club events around the country