vol. cxlvi, no. 39
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Japan study U. looks to industry for sponsored research support NIH research grants abroad canceled By Mark Raymond Senior Staff Writer
By Shefali Luthra Senior Staff Writer
The University will not allow students to study abroad in Japan this spring, Kendall Brostuen, associate dean of the College and director of international programs, wrote last night in an email to The Herald. The six students who would have studied in Japan will be offered spots at Dartmouth for its spring quarter. The University felt “genuine regret” about suspending the program, Brostuen wrote, but “with the unpredictability of the circumstances” — caused by the recent tsunamiand ensuing nuclear crisis in the country — “suspension of the term is the most prudent course of action.” Because Dartmouth operates on the quarter system, students will be able to transition into Dartmouth’s spring term, which begins March 28. Brostuen wrote that students who complete a Brown independent study program as well as the quarter at Dartmouth can count the combination as a semester of credit. Jack Boeglin ’12, one of the students who was planning to go to Japan, said he is leaning toward taking the quarter at Dartmouth, though he still has to consider factors such as the dates, his options for the summer and the costs before he commits. Boeglin learned of the University’s decision yesterday through a phone call from Ned Quigley, associate director of international programs. Quigley could not be reached for comment late last night. continued on page 5
As stimulus funds run dry and federal agencies tighten their budgets, the University plans to increasingly turn to corporate-sponsored research. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulus offered increased funding through federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, but elevated funding levels provided only a brief respite from ongoing financial strain. Federal agencies are all expected to have “flat budgets” in the near future, and the short-term surge in funds is nearing its end, said Clyde Briant, vice president for research. “In order to expand research opportunities, universities everywhere are looking for new sources of funding, and certainly industry is one possibility,” he said. Facing scarce funds from the public sector, the University will “expand corporate support of research, including the possibility of a corpo-
rate associates program in the newly established School of Engineering,” according to the October update of the Plan for Academic Enrichment. Rod Clifton, interim dean of engineering, said the University and industry alike benefit from the partnerships that emerge from corporatesponsored research. “As we expand our research capability, we become more attractive for industry,” he said. “It is certainly in the spirit of academic enrichment.” The University wants to contribute to knowledge growth rather than focus solely on teaching, he added. He pointed to the University’s current partnership with General Motors, which is researching methods to manufacture lightweight cars. “They come here and spend some time, we go there and spend some time,” he said. “It is a good example of truly industrial collaborative research.” Corporate partnerships will help make up for the decrease in federal research funding, said Ed Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences.
Gili Kliger / Herald Research grants from the National Institutes of Health have become increasingly competitive in the past ten years, as the agency’s funding has been steady or declining. In 2010, just 21 percent of grant proposals reviewed were approved. Data does not include awards made under the 2009 stimulus package, which provided a temporary uptick in funding levels. Data from the NIH Data Book.
“We had a huge boost from stimulus funding, but that is going to go away,” he said. “Funding from the NIH will decrease, especially with the Republican congress.”
By Rebecca Ballhaus City & State Editor
During finals season, throngs of bleary-eyed students flock to the libraries and do not emerge for what seems like eons. People stare angrily at textbooks, willing themselves to absorb the information — and praying to just get a good grade in that class. Now imagine a world devoid of report cards, transcripts and the frantic checking of Banner during vacation to see if dawdling professors have updated the site. Imagine taking all classes Satisfactory/No
Credit. Jake Heimark ’11, a fifth-year student pursuing a joint bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in human biology and economics, did just that. “In my senior year of high school, I was trying to decide which school to go to,” Heimark said. “When I visited Brown, I saw a unique opportunity to pursue an education that was self-designed and self-motivated.” Heimark asked his parents — who also attended Brown — if they would be okay with him taking all his classes S/NC. When they assented, he applied early decision.
“My parents … had always emphasized that high achievement and good grades can go together but don’t always,” Heimark said. “What removing grades from the equation does is it forces the student to focus more on learning and education.” He credited his fellow students with creating an environment where his learning style has flourished. Heimark emphasized that not taking his classes for grades has not made his college experience less stressful despite many students’ assumptions. “I crammed for orgo
Anna Gaissert / Herald
Professors discussed the effects of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in MacMillan 115 yesterday.
is relatively flat up to the mountain ranges about 10 miles in, he said, so there are no high mountains or cliffs to stop the waves of the tsunami, and it “doesn’t take much” to get past the coast. The panelists said Japan had some of the most effective preventive measures in place, but the force of the
March 11 earthquake — which had one of the highest magnitudes on the Richter scale in history — was devastating. Japan had built sea barriers to protect against tsunamis, one of which — the deepest breakwater in the world — was completed in 2009. But “the amount of concrete and
continued on page 2
continued on page 4
Grad school is a bit like ‘Friday,’ and other musings
Are we more motivated by Diddy than duty?
Students reactivate Kappa Alpha Psi frat
By Leah Bromberg Contributing Writer
money poured into this project … was essentially proved pointless” as the waves swept over the wall, Smith said. Though the barriers were constructed to withstand the significant height of tsunamis, the amount of water and sheer force of the tsunami were enough to overcome the walls. Smith briefly spoke about the casualties, though he said he did not want to appear “callous” in defining the tragedy of this event in terms of numbers. To offer a “sobering sense of the dimensions of this disaster,” Smith said the population of the United States is two and a half times that of Japan, and Hurricane Katrina caused 1,800 casualties, compared to an estimate by the Japanese government Monday that the tsunami
continued on page 3
Academented Opinions, 7
to drum up more space
The Coalition of Bands at Brown is hoping to increase funds and equipment to better accommodate independent musicians on campus. There is currently only one available drum set on campus — in a small, windowless room in T.F. Green Hall, where broken drum heads, splintered drumsticks, rotting batteries, old earplugs, pedals and broken stools litter the floor. There is no cleaning staff, and the room is often overbooked. But the room is the only sufficiently equipped venue on campus for independent musicians to practice. The Underground in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center recently tightened its rules for booking the room — only musicians sponsored by a student group can practice there. The smaller rooms in the Steinert Practice Center are more suitable for solo pianists and classical musicians. Student bands hoped the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, with its mission and design conducive to musical collaboration, would provide practice space, said Sam Rosenfeld ’12, a Herald editorial cartoonist, former member of the coalition and co-founder of
Campus news, 8
By Claire schlessinger Contributing Writer
news...................2-5 editorial.............6 Opinions.............7
continued on page 4
Off the mark: ditching grades for S/NC Bands hope
Panelists offer perspective on earthquake and effects A panel of four professors with expertise relating to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami met yesterday evening to ask how a country should preemptively prepare for an event that may or may not happen — but could have a catastrophic effect. In front of a half-full MacMillan 115, the professors gave an account of the science behind the recent disaster and how the question of “money versus likelihood” affected preventive measures in Japan. Kerry Smith, associate professor of history and East Asian studies, outlined the geography of Japan, stressing its extensive coastline, to explain why the effects of the tsunami were so devastating. The shoreline
Sponsored funding is a crucial part of the University’s research efforts, Wing said. “It’s a very important
t o d ay
39 / 32
39 / 28
2 Campus News calendar Today
8 p.m. “Governing through the Non-
Licki Ucrog “Valencrimez,”
Governmental,” Watson Institute
T.F. Green Hall 205
8 p.m. UCS General Body Meeting,
“Afghanistan: Defying Silence,”
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL LUNCH
Buffalo Wings, Spicy Wings, Chinese Chicken Wings, Polynesian Wings, Vegan Nuggets, M&M Cookies
Saturday Night Jambalaya, Spinach Strudel, Mixed Vegetables, Italian Marinated Chicken, M&M Cookies
DINNER BBQ Chicken, Mac and Cheese, Collard Greens, Spinach Strudel, Steak Teriyaki, Peach Cobbler
Roast Turkey with Gravy, Shells with Broccoli, Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Fudge Bars
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Profs discuss science behind quake continued from page 1 resulted in 8,800 deaths and over 12,000 missing. Terry Tullis, professor emeritus of geological sciences, addressed the technical aspects of the earthquake and Karen Fischer, professor of geological sciences, explained the tsunami. Tullis and Fischer said when the earthquake occurred deep underwater 120 kilometers offshore, the stress accumulation built up, pushing up on the ocean water and moving it upward and outward. Though the waves started off only one meter high, they were very long. The movement of the water approaching the shore compressed the waves, increasing amplitude and speed, and decreasing length.
Fischer said though a warning was issued just three minutes after the earthquake, it took only 15 minutes for the tsunami to reach land, leaving a mere 12 minutes for people in the most vulnerable areas to reach safety. She showed a CNN video of the water washing away all structures in its way. An audience member asked the geologists what good their work was if, despite being so prepared, Japan was still unable to protect the population. Being adequately prepared is a question of “how much money you’re willing to spend and whether you can politically convince people if you should prepare for an unlikely event,” Tullis said. In Japan, it is obvious to everyone that they are sitting on a “plate” and the “national psyche is much more willing to put resources
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into” preparation than, for example, people designing building codes in Haiti, Tullis said. George Seidel, professor emeritus of physics, gave the technical details of nuclear reactors and what happened to the Fukushima power plant. “The consequences of the disaster of the reactors are very serious,” he said, but “on the scale of things, this is minimal” compared to the earthquake and tsunami. The reactors affect a few workers whose lives will be potentially shortened, but that number is smaller than the number affected by the natural disasters. Seidel also discussed how the coverage is being handled by the media — of the five articles he saw on the Japanese disaster in Tuesday’s New York Times, five dealt with the nuclear reactors and only one discussed the actual geological disaster. Smith asked the audience if they knew people in Japan who had been in contact with them about how the disaster is affecting their lives. One student whose parents and brother live in Japan said there is a discrepancy in reactions to the earthquake between people in Japan who read international media who are very concerned, and those who read only Japanese newspapers, who are calmer. Smith said he thought the Japanese are probably underreacting the Western media is probably overreacting and the truth is probably somewhere in between.
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Campus News 3
Despite option, few choose to take all classes S/NC continued from page 1 tests, I stayed up late for presentations just as often as anyone else,” he said. “It’s one thing if a bad score means you get a B instead of an A. It’s another thing if you feel like you’re letting yourself down.” Rafael Juliano ’12, who is taking all his classes S/NC for the first time this semester, said he discovered a similar trend. “I don’t think the work changes at all — I’m still concerned about my homework,” he said. “I fell sick recently and stressed about getting a doctor’s note.” Juliano said he was not confident he could earn an A in every class he is taking this semester, all of which fall outside his concentration. By taking them S/NC, he said he could “focus more on learning about them and really getting to know the subject than stressing over a grade.” Heimark and Juliano’s choice is not a common one. In a random subset of 1,500 students enrolled in at least three classes this semester, only 22 students — less than 2 percent — are taking every class S/NC, according to University Registrar Robert Fitzgerald. “I would imagine that the percentage, if looking at the overall population both currently and over time, would not deviate from that relatively low figure,” he wrote in an email to The Herald. Lauren Kessler ’11.5 said taking all her classes S/NC would be “very
personally embarrassing.” “I would never show up,” she said. “If I was on a pass/fail standard, I wouldn’t be able to hold myself to a higher standard of learning. … Maybe it’s just because I don’t trust myself,” she added. “I need to be validated by the system.” Heimark said he has encountered surprise and encouragement from professors, and most have been very supportive. “My advisers were sometimes hesitant because they were worried about what would happen after college,” he said. But Heimark said his advisers accepted his choice because he “wasn’t doing it on a whim.” Heimark did not ask for course performance reports from his professors, an option many students taking classes S/NC embrace. Instead, he said he makes an effort to develop personal relationships with professors.“That’s helped as I look for stuff to do after university,” he said. Frank Altman ’75 made a similar choice during his time at Brown. Like Heimark, he was drawn to the New Curriculum and decided to take full advantage of its freedom. He concentrated in public policy, which at the time was a very small, interdisciplinary concentration. Altman asked his professors for course performance reports, which he found “much more thorough and understandable” than grades. “The worst thing I can imagine is going to Brown and treating it as
if you’re not at Brown,” Altman said. “You should take advantage of as much of what that curriculum has to offer as possible.” Job concerns often deter students from considering the S/NC option. Camille Duhamel ’13 said he feared the repercussions of such a choice. “It wouldn’t look good on my transcript with applying to jobs or to graduate school,” he said. But Altman said his lack of grades did not affect his options after graduation — he was accepted to all but one of the graduate schools he applied to. Altman took his classes for grades in graduate school and is now the CEO, president and co-founder of Community Reinvestment Fund, a national nonprofit. “I think that learning to be selfreliant, to look inside of what you can do, was a character-building experience for me,” he said. “I learned how to take risks, and that has followed me all through my career.” He added that Brown alums have a “full institutional brand” behind them that they might not get from other universities. “That’s definitely a consideration that graduate schools gave me.” Heimark said he has not had difficulty in his job search in the high-technology, biotechnology and consulting industries. “There are certain industries where being traditional is important, but there are others where it’s not,” he said. “It can be hard to get my foot in the
door, but once I’m in, it can help that I don’t really fit the mold.” Heimark said he fears students are not taking advantage of the New
Curriculum. “It’s like you have a really high-powered car, but you’re not driving it,” he said. “I would’ve felt like I was wasting my time.”
4 Campus News
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, March 23, 2011
As stimulus dries up, U. aims to increase corporate partnerships continued from page 1 part of every medical school’s profile,” he said. “We don’t have enough of it, and we are actively searching for partners.” The Alpert Medical School is partnering with the pharmaceutical industry to develop treatments for infectious diseases, Wing said. He said he hopes research will expand
into other fields. Incoming Dean of Engineering Lawrence Larson said he plans to continue to push for corporatesupported research when he arrives at Brown this summer. He said he would support a corporate associates program, in which companies pay a fee to see presentations about University research and are allowed to take the ideas for development.
A program like this is “a very common thing at most research universities” and can serve as a “pretty effective tool for highlighting the great research that the University does,” Larson said. But Clifton said he is hesitant about such a program. Though it could serve as a “possible revenue source for the University,” he said he is “not sure that is the best current
model for interacting with industry.” Most corporate research opportunities involve companies who work with technology, so the University is most likely to form industry partnerships with the School of Engineering, the Department of Computer Science and the medical school, Briant said. The University already has established partnerships with IBM and Microsoft. Public health could increasingly
be an area of focus for corporatesupported research, he said. Though the expansion of research offerings is often focused on graduate students, Briant said undergraduates will also benefit from an increased number of research opportunities. “The whole research picture at Brown involves graduate and undergraduate students,” he said. “There’s nothing that would prohibit an undergraduates from participating.”
Independent musicians seek University support continued from page 1 Musicians@Brown, a networking site for student musicians. But there are no drum sets in the building, making it difficult for bands to take full advantage of the space. The coalition oversees the practice space in T.F. Green, rents equipment to student groups, puts on concerts featuring student bands and sends out a weekly newsletter highlighting musical events on and off campus. “I think the space is great,” said Michael Frauenhofer ’11, a member of the coalition, adding that the room has “helped the live music scene grow.” Student rock musicians face difficulties finding practice space and equipment. The coalition’s practice room provides a drum set, ampli-
fier and sound-proof walls. For $10 a semester, members can book the room for eight hours per week, Indrayudh Shome ’11, co-director of the coalition, wrote in an email to The Herald. COBAB raised the fee from $5 per semester in hopes of better funding the room. Coalition members expressed concern over the state of the room and equipment. Because of overbooking, Frauenhofer can only practice early in the morning or very late at night, he said. “The community of independent musicians here was really lacking when I got here,” Shome wrote. “There’s no dean or director with independent bands. There needs to be some level of community and awareness for it to function and grow.”
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Campus News 5
New fund to help create ‘entrepreneurial community’ continued from page 8 are invited to present their ideas to people interested in the entrepreneurial process. Peer critiques allow students to hear critical questions and suggestions and force them to see the gaps and strengths in their models, Harlam said. “What we’re in the process of creating is a true entrepreneurial community,” Beckman wrote. “The programming tied to the launch fund will bring entrepreneurs together to share their ideas — and when entrepreneurially minded people get together to do that, the results are often amazing.” Though a safe place for discussion is crucial, the fund also helps students improve their pitches — honing the ability to sell an idea, not just trying to expose its flaws — said Roger Nozaki, director of the Swearer Center. Tim Natividad ’12 plans to apply with his project, Social Exposures. The project is work in progress, he said, but involves combining mobile applications with non-profit organizations. It will solicit photo essays from a different nonprofit each month, later compiling the photo essays into a publication. The fund’s three-tiered system
makes sense, he said. Projects get the funding they need to leave the ground, and more money is available later if necessary. The application process tries to gauge the viability of each project, he said. “Can we transfer this from paper to practice? That’s the big take home question.” Hao Tran ’14, who is working with an organization called FUNDaFIELD, is also applying to the fund. FUNDaFIELD, run exclusively by students, aims to build soccer fields near primary schools in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya. The organization has built seven fields, with an eighth in a fundraising stage, Tran wrote in an email to The Herald. It has raised $140,000 since 2007. “Another goal of FUNDaFIELD is to provide children with a safe place to play and to reintegrate former child soldiers (and) victims of HIV/ AIDs … back into the community through sport,” he wrote. Tran plans to travel to Uganda this summer and hopes to receive support from the fund, he wrote. He has gained support from the Sport and Development Program at the Watson Institute for International Studies, and he has been working with Eli Wolff ’00, a visit-
Students offered spring quarter at Dartmouth continued from page 1 Boeglin said affected students he had talked to are also leaning toward enrolling for a quarter at Dartmouth. The Office of International Programs will help students transition into Dartmouth with the help of specific departments at Brown and colleagues at Dartmouth, Brostuen
wrote. “These students will continue to receive support throughout their study experience at Dartmouth and until their return to Brown for the fall semester,” he added. Boeglin said digesting the University’s decision was definitely difficult. “It’s a lot of crazy news in a very short period of time,” Boeglin said.
ing fellow in international studies. To receive the first level of funding, Tran must quantify the potential social impact of his program. The goal is to show the number of kids who have access to fields, the change in attendance and enrollment at schools, the number of students moving onto secondary school and officials’ reactions to the
program, he wrote. If he receives additional funding, Tran can investigate how FUNDaFIELD impacts communities at large. He wrote he is optimistic he will move on to the second- and thirdlevel grants and expand the initiative’s operations to South Africa and Kenya, where FUNDaFIELD has already begun its work.
The fund is looking forward to its first round of applications, which will be evaluated on a rolling basis. There is a two to three week period before applications are accepted to assure ideas are not simply based on early applications. Harlam predicts that the first official review process will begin just after spring break.
comics BB & Z | Cole Pruitt, Andrew Seiden, Valerie Hsuing and Dan Ricker
Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline
Gelotology | Guillaume Riesen
6 Editorial & Letter Editorial
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, March 23, 2011
by sam rosenfeld
Old books and new technology It is easy to forget that the University Library, occupying multiple locations and offering a staggering array of books as well as computers and study spaces, had humble beginnings. Brown’s first president, James Manning, wrote in 1772, “At present we have but about two hundred and fifty volumes and those not well chosen, being such as our friends could best spare.” Today the Library offers us an enormous amount of information, be it in books, audio and visual materials or online content. But as former President Vartan Gregorian recently noted in a speech at the John Hay Library, there is a “difference between information and knowledge.” Indeed, the Library serves to provide not only information, but also the tools necessary to transform it into knowledge. It is heartening, therefore, that the library is undertaking initiatives aimed at helping students succeed in the digital age. As The Herald reported earlier this month, the Library plans to hire digital humanities and e-science librarians. The former will play “a central role in the integration of digital resources and methodologies with current teaching and research,” while the latter will assist faculty and students working with large data sets. These new hires should help the Library make it easier for students and professors to utilize digital resources. Andrew Ashton, the Library’s director of digital technologies, told the editorial page board that the Library also remains focused on developing the Center for Digital Scholarship and Brown Digital Repository, which will help students pursue new uses of technology and access even more digitized data. We are also less than a year into the debut of MoBUL, the Library’s smartphone application. This application enables users to easily search Josiah, renew books and even see if more computers are available at the Rockefeller Library or the Sciences Library. There is room for improvement — a comprehensive display of computer availability including locations like the Center for Information Technology would be nice — but even in its early stages MoBUL is a useful tool. We recognize that many students do not have smartphones, but those who do should try the application. According to Bonnie Buzzell, senior knowledge systems librarian, only about 500 people per month use MoBUL. Within days we should hear more about the Library’s effort to get students access to the New York Times’ online content after the paper establishes a pay wall. That the Library’s plan was reported only a day after the Times announced the pay wall again highlights a praiseworthy commitment to helping students take advantage of digital resources. We hope administrators and departments work with librarians to ensure that students are fully aware of the Library’s resources. Music Librarian Ned Quist told the editorial page board that the Library is working to get more resource librarians into first-year seminars, and some librarians are themselves serving as first-year advisors. But there clearly remains a lack of awareness about Library resources — just think of how many first-years arrive on campus without realizing that printing is one of the Library’s most basic services. Students have a role to play as well. Without our feedback, librarians will have a difficult time making our research easier and more effective. The new quiet spaces at the SciLi and Rock came to fruition thanks to student input. Working together, students, librarians, faculty and administrators can continue to improve our libraries, which former President Henry Wriston called “the heart of the University.” Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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le tter to the editor Herbal remedies are drugs too To the Editor: In Monday’s Herald, you ran an article (“Local apothecary supplies herbal remedies, legally,” March 21) by a student detailing her discovery and later use of herbal remedies from a local supplier. After finishing the article, I lamented at the lack of anything but token skepticism from the author’s friends. The author treated the subject with credulity, never mentioning the possible counterpoints to using herbal and alternative medicine. Not once did the author state that herbal remedies such as echinacea and St. John’s wort have proven to be ineffective or even dangerous in some cases. While the herbalist herself states that herbs “do not treat disease,” a source later in the article specifi-
cally calls the herbs “medicines.” My main objection to the author’s work is this — herbs are drugs. A substance used to alter the functioning of the body is a drug regardless of its source or character. Natural does not mean safe. The lack of regulations on herbs and herbalists leaves the door wide open for harmful and counterproductive treatment. The author implies that she will continue to use herbal medicines since they “haven’t killed me yet” — the same refrain used by smokers, alcoholics and drug addicts worldwide. Should this sort of sentiment really accompany a supposed system of healing? Tim Dingman ’11
quote of the day
“I need to be validated by the system.”
— Lauren Kessler ’11.5, on taking classes for grades See off the mark on page 1.
Corrections An article in Monday’s Herald (“Revelry, deception and arias intoxicate opera audience,” March 21) incorrectly identified the prison director as Nathan Weinberger ’13. In fact, the prison director was played by Phil Arevalo ’11. The Herald regrets the error. An article in Tuesday’s Herald (“Herald poll: students divided on ROTC’s return,” March 22) reported the margin of error for the Herald poll was 2.3 percent. In fact, it was 2.8 percent. The corrected margins of error for subsets of students are 4.4 percent for males, 3.8 percent for females, 12.9 percent for transfers, 3.0 percent for non-transfers, 6.1 percent for seniors, 3.4 percent for non-seniors, 5.6 percent for first-years and 3.4 percent for non-first-years. The Herald regrets the error.
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The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Building a Brown community By Mike Johnson Opinions Columnist In a recent discussion section of my history course, the teaching assistant asked the class if we thought that there would ever be a community or political entity that would put an end to the strife that grips our world today. The argument ran that if there was no defined “other,” then there would be no need to blow oneself up in a market square, to hijack a plane or to occupy a distant nation. The sense of the “other” is distinctly confrontational, as any literature class at Brown will demonstrate. If we could end the cycle of oppression-rebellion-oppression, the world’s ills may fall by the wayside over time. The class came up with only two situations in which the people of the world would set aside their deep-seated prejudices and conflicts in the interest of the common good of the planet and of one’s fellow humans — alien invasion of Earth and global capitalism. Only the fear of imminent death at the six hand-flippers of the legions of Zarquon could make the people of this planet stop stealing cars, firing rocket-propelled grenades and questioning the role of unions. Then the TA brought the issue home for us — was there even a community at Brown? Was there any sort of cause or
commonality that brings to bear the power of the incredible campus diversity that the Admission Office touts at every turn? The students sitting in a circle on the Main Green could only look at each other in futile thought. “Spring Weekend,” one student muttered under his breath. To laughter, another offered, “Fish Co. going under.” It was a little disheartening to see myself and my classmates flounder in the face
qualities and, for American students, a government-promoted atmosphere of paranoia led to the creation of a cohesive group. Students watched other students dying on TV and felt for them, rather than disregarding them as the fringe that was foolish enough to act. They saw the fear gripping the nation and reversed it, believing that governments should fear their people, not vice versa.
When I see the Brown campus, I see a campus without a purpose.
of such an simple question. Why are we all here? Not in the philosophical nature of the question, but why are we all at Brown? Are we here to make sure Nike sweatshirts are tossed out of the bookstore? Are we here to throw a ladder up against the ivory tower of the Corporation? Are we here to drink on Wednesday and talk about drinking on Thursday? When I see the Brown campus, I see a campus without a purpose. In 1968, students around the entire world rose up against what they saw as the oppression and imperialism of the self-proclaimed “greatest generation.” Engagement in a foreign war that had no redeeming
We have no such unifying mentality. When we walk past the protesters on the Main Green, they are the fringe. While we support their right to protest, as long as it is in a safe and non-threatening manner, there is no pledge of solidarity behind a common purpose. We are a generation without motivation. The year 2008 showed a glimpse of the power of our generation, when we rejected the politics of fear and of the old guard and dared to hope for a brighter future. But where is that generation now? Fragmented and splintered until the greatest issue on campus is whether or not Diddy will be better than Snoop Dogg.
The lack of a cohesive and definable community on campus is one of the only criticisms that I have of my Brown experience. This is a wonderful University, filled with vibrant and brilliant students who have both the power and will to change the world around us. There are countless student agencies that provide charity and compassion to frequently ignored groups around the globe. We have the duty to build in Providence a new identity, one that will last beyond Wickenden Street and past graduation into our custodianship of this wide world. There are serious problems facing our nation. How will we deal with the violent revolt in Libya? How will we treat the new self-determined regimes in other Middle Eastern nations — with suspicion or with open arms as we welcome them to the family of democracy? How will we respond to the looming economic and humanitarian crisis in Japan? Will we allow our governments to continue to infringe upon rights that took decades to secure? This May, Brown will thrust into the uncertain world outside the Van Wickle Gates another 2,000 students that will have to come up with the answers to these questions. It remains to be seen whether or not the only unifying principle among them is the Latin on their diplomas.
Mike Johnson ’11 is just fine with the great Zarquon’s benevolent rule.
Grad school: (pros and) cons By stephen wicken Opinions Columnist This, dear reader, is the column I have been putting off since I first started writing for The Herald. Cynical, pessimistic and darkly sexual as I might often appear, I don’t want to waste time and space grumbling about the plight of the graduate student. I myself am approaching the end of my seventh year of graduate school and my fifth at Brown. In that time, I have, among other things, studied some fascinating topics, met some brilliant people, made some wonderful friends and even had the occasional free lunch. Much, much more importantly, I met my wife on the steps of Sharpe House on our very first day. For this alone, I would do the last seven years all over again, though on replaying that particular day, I might not choose the same shirt that has had her mocking me for years. On the other hand, I don’t think that I could, in good conscience, recommend graduate school, especially a doctoral program, especially in the humanities, to another soul. The prevailing culture of graduate school, if not always the experience itself, is one of misery and deprivation. Most grad students genuinely believe that theirs is a particularly difficult existence. I myself have been guilty of this. My theory is that this is partly due to the discrepancy between high seriousness and low stakes. One spends a lot of time racking
one’s brains about serious questions without anyone particularly caring about the answers. One can devote anywhere from two years to a decade on a dissertation, pouring all one’s intellectual energy into the project, for the reading pleasure of exactly three people, two of whom will only pretend to read it. Sadder still is the way in which the horrible process of academic professionalization encourages grad students to define themselves by their work. Confer-
Not only is graduate school the social and emotional equivalent of sitting through Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video for five to 10 years, but it is also a financial mistake worthy of a National Football League player. But in this case, there are neither lucrative contracts nor opportunities to go clubbing with an automatic weapon in your trousers. At best, you will spend your 20s earning a meager salary — at worst, you will emerge from grad school in significant debt. For a long
One can devote anywhere from two years to a decade on a dissertation, pouring all one’s intellectual energy into the project, for the reading pleasure of exactly three people, two of whom will only pretend to read it.
ence rooms and seminars resound with the sound of socially inept people introducing themselves by their subjects. In one of the most heinous crimes against humor since the last time Dane Cook opened his inexplicably large mouth, I once heard a political scientist respond to a colleague’s remark with, “You would say that — you’re a comparativist!” The seminar room exploded with laughter, making me drop the free sandwich I was there for. You want no part of this.
time, this was the model for law and medical students — borrow and scrape now to earn astounding amounts later. Now even law schools are telling prospective students that now is not a good time to apply. Let me reiterate — lawyers are telling impressionable people not to spend money they don’t have. It’s serious stuff — and what’s the deal with airline food? Most importantly, the academic job market is a mess of epic proportions. Qualified candidates outnumber full-
time professorial jobs like moronic YouTube comments outnumber everything else in the universe. The chances of getting a real academic job in the humanities are now just short of the odds of spending a night in Seaside Heights, N.J. without contracting herpes. Instead, those wanting to pursue a career in teaching and writing have to juggle multiple adjuncting jobs, rushing between campuses desperately, hoping against hope that they might one day soon find half an hour in which to plan how they might eventually find a whole week in which to do their own research. Worse still, getting by on these class-byclass appointments for too long essentially invalidates scholars in the eyes of potential longer-term employers. After all, why buy the milk when you can get the desperate and socially inept cow for free? As I mentioned above, I don’t mean to suggest that every second of graduate school is a waking nightmare. It’s not. But the way in which academic work expands to fill all the time available to it tends to make one feel guilty even when doing other things. It’s hard enough to have fun in the nuclear bunker atmosphere of the Grad Center Bar without miring oneself in self-condemnation. That’s what Narragansett is for. Oh, bugger it, what do I care what you do with your 20s? Stephen Wicken GS, a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the history department, firmly believes that there is such a thing as a free lunch but that there are only three or four of them out there, some of them guarded by political scientists.
Daily Herald Campus News the Brown
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
New fund targets student start-ups
Students reestablish historically black frat By Samier Saeed Contributing Writer
Two students have reactivated the Brown chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. this year. The historically black fraternity was deactivated in 2003 — when its last member graduated — but has been revived by Raymond Jackson ’12 and Marc Howland ’11. Because there were no Kappa Alpha Psi brothers on campus, the pair sought out members of KAPsi at other Providence schools, including Johnson and Wales University, who helped them go through the process of receiving recognition from the fraternity as a chapter. “Part of our fraternity’s focus is achievement, and that’s what attracted both of us to our fraternity,” Jackson said. Both have personal connections to KAPsi — Jackson counts his father, uncle and several cousins among fraternity members. Howland is from Cleveland, “where Carl Stokes was the first black mayor of a major U.S. city. … He almost adopted my sister before my family did, and he saw himself as almost a godfather to my sister,” Howland said. “In the course of my life he has always influenced me, and he’s sort of been another father figure to me. And I actually found out in college that he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.” Despite the fraternity’s primarily black membership, it has never
denied a person initiation on the basis of race or religion, Howland said. Jackson said the fraternity has a history both on campus and nationally. In the 1980s and 1990s, Brown’s race-based fraternities were heavily involved in campus life, particularly through the Third World Center, he said. Kappa Alpha Psi was founded in 1911 at the University of Indiana, at a time and place when blacks were facing significant discrimination. In the 1930s, the fraternity came together with eight other black fraternities and sororities to form the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Though the context in which the fraternity now operates is in many ways different from the one in which the National Pan-Hellenic Council formed, Jackson said the body is still important to KAPsi’s activities. “Our chapter is never going to have enough members to fill a dorm. … If we wanted to do a project, we would do it through the National Pan-Hellenic Council,” which can provide resources beyond those available to the Brown chapter, he said. While current undergraduates may not be familiar with race-based fraternities, the religion-based Wriston Quadrangle fixture Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity, is well-known on campus. “AEPi National is funded by Jewish philanthropists, and they want us to be 100 percent Jewish. But we do not pursue a 100 percent
By Hannah LoewenTheil Contributing Writer
Evan Thomas / Herald
Unlike other fraternities, Kappa Alpha Psi does not have enough members to fill a dormitory.
Jewish rate — we do not turn down guys because they aren’t Jewish,” said Daniel Rome ’13, a brother of the fraternity. Still, the fraternity is based on Jewish values, which AEPi upholds in part by hosting events such as Hillel’s Purim party, a Passover Seder and Shabbat dinners. “As it happens,” Rome said, “most of the guys who show up to rush happen to be Jewish.” But it is hard to say much about most of the guys who show up for KAPsi. At the moment, KAPsi’s Brown chapter consists solely of Howland and Jackson, and they are not actively advertising or recruiting. “If they’ve done their research, and they want to be a part of it, they’re going to come to us and
they’re going to talk to us about it,” Jackson said. “Quality over quantity,” Howland added. “Our fraternity will stay true to (its) objectives and is not going to sacrifice its ideals and its values to allow people to come into the organization who aren’t true to those objectives.” The brothers of both AEPi and KAPsi said choosing a fraternity was a personal choice. “I met two of the founders at Brown, and they started it because they wanted an AEPi — they didn’t want to join Sigma (Chi), they didn’t want to join (Delta Tau), they wanted a Jewish fraternity,” Rome said. “It’s whatever makes you feel comfortable.”
BCA Spring Weekend Electron tracking yields prize for physics professor ticket policy Spring Weekend tickets will go on sale the week after spring break on Brown Marketplace. One thousand tickets for each concert will be released to members of the Brown community each day April 6-8 on Brown Marketplace at 8 a.m. There will be an initial limit of one ticket per Brown identification. Ticket distribution Tickets will be distributed using Brown Concert Agency’s new electronic ticketing system. Print-at-home tickets will be sent to the email addresses provided in the ticket orders. Emails will not be sent automatically after purchases, but in batches at the
end of the day. Weather call If weather permits BCA to hold the concerts on the Main Green, additional tickets will go on sale at 1 p.m. April 13. Hope and Slater Residents of Hope College and Slater Hall will receive free tickets if the concert is held on the Main Green. After BCA makes the weather call, residents who have not bought tickets can request free tickets, and residents who have already bought tickets can request a refund. No tickets will be sold to the general public.
By Emily Rosen Staff Writer
Professor of Physics Humphrey Maris will receive the 2011 Fritz London Memorial Prize at the 26th International Conference on Low Temperature Physics for developing a method to track the activity of a single electron in liquid helium. The prize, first awarded in 1957, is given to scientists who have made significant accomplishments in low temperature physics. Maris will travel to Beijing in August to accept the prize at the conference’s opening ceremonies. “It’s an outstanding award,” said James Valles, professor of physics and chair of the department, adding that Maris is receiving this award for “career achievement in the field.” Maris’s group began studying the motion of electrons in liquid helium about 10 years ago. Special chemical properties cause electrons in helium to form extremely small “electron bubbles,” Maris said. When sound pulses from an ultrasonic transducer are used to create a negative pressure environment, the bubbles expand
to the point where they become large enough to be imaged. As a result, their individual positions can be recorded. “Liquid helium is an amazing substance,” said Maris, adding that it is interesting to “understand electron bubbles” and how they move through liquid. Maris and his group first made a video of the motion of a single electron in 2006. “It’s interesting to be able to visualize something that is so small and yet an important part of matter,” Maris wrote in an email to The Herald. He said tracking the motion of electrons could lead to development of a “quantum computer,” which is more powerful than current computers. He is receiving the prize primarily for his video of an electron, but he has also conducted notable research in other areas during his career at Brown and other institutions. The award brings great visibility to the physics department, Valles said. Maris “has been creating results that have been turning heads for over 40 years. People always want to hear him talk,” he said.
Innovative students now have access to a new source of funding, as the University continues to increase its entrepreneurial support. The Brown Venture Launch Fund — a collaboration between the Dean of the College, the Social Innovation Initiative at the Swearer Center for Public Service and the Entrepreneurship Program — has received about six inquiries from students since its official launch March 7, according to Alan Harlam, director of social entrepreneurship. The fund provides students with capital to transform their ideas into new enterprises. Funding is allocated in three intervals — $1,500, $3,500 and $7,500. Students apply for the first level of funding and are eligible to receive more money as their idea progresses. “The Brown Venture Launch Fund is like a pipeline providing students with a platform to take the first steps. As the idea grows, students need more resources,” Harlam said. “As the idea passes through new gates, if students accomplish the task they set out to do, (the fund) will support them even more.” The fund will build on two existing programs — the Entrepreneurship Program, which holds office hours to give students advice, and the Social Innovation Initiative, which offers boot camps focused on skill-building workshops. “Nothing exists in a vacuum. (The fund) is the first step for students to act out ideas that have been developed in a host of ways,” Harlam said. The fund has enough money to allot six to eight $1,500 grants, three to four $3,500 grants and one to two $7,500 grants each year, Harlam said. But, still in its early stages, it is “flexible in the total amount of money that it will provide students.” Without the fund, Harlam said he fears that many great ideas may never come to fruition and will “sit on shelves collecting dust.” “It’s often hard as an entrepreneur to find out where to go for funding, and when you do find funding sources and the criteria are different,” Jason Beckman ’11, copresident of the Entrepreneurship Program, wrote in an email to The Herald. But the fund is “building a consistent set and aiming to make the information very accessible.” Monetary support is just one goal of the fund. It also provides student entrepreneurs with a community and a network to discuss and develop ideas, Harlam said. The Social Innovation Initiative holds peer critiques, or round table discussions, where entrepreneurs continued on page 5