B UL L E T IN
4 Remembering HMC’s First First Lady
18 A Model Approach
22 Engineering Better Solutions
24 Hungr y Worms, Sterile Bees and Human Health
Margaux Hujoel ’16
Harvey Mudd College
Spring Color What better way to welcome the spring season than with food, drink—and color? Mitul Verma ’14 and other members of West Dorm shared with the campus community the Indian tradition of the Holi Festival, commemorated each March by Hindus worldwide. Celebrants throw, smear and splash colorful powder on each other so that all participants become one in a vivid expression of solidarity. Joining in the fun are Shanel Wu ’16, Ayyappa Vemulkar ’13 and Vijay Ramakrishnan ’14.
Spring 2013 Volume 11, No. 2 The HMC Bulletin is produced three times per year by the Office of Communications and Marketing
The Evolution Before Our Eyes
he field of biology is a study of every aspect of living things, including their origin, evolution, structure, function and growth. Biology also is a study of relationships between living things and their environment. I like to think of Harvey Mudd College as a living thing that can be viewed through the lens of the biological sciences, the theme of this issue of the HMC Bulletin. Origin. When Bill Purves joined the College in 1977 as the first professor of biology (Page 10), he faced a great many challenges: there was very little space for the fledgling program, no laboratories and few students. Over the next 11 years, he would overcome many challenges to see not only the founding of the department and the hiring of its first faculty members, but also the addition of biology as a requirement in the HMC curriculum. His was an extraordinary effort that provides a telling example of how the College has evolved to meet changes in technology and STEM education. Evolution. It is fitting that on the 35th anniversary of HMC’s Department of Biology and 20th anniversary of the biology major, we take a deeper look at the program. Today’s biologists are using computational tools to provide fresh insights into solving problems (Page 18), engineers are making important contributions to biology (Page 22) and research into insect behavior is yielding new and potentially life-altering information (Page 24). The College’s focus on computational biology has united mathematics and science to provide new ways to address complex problems (Page 7). The study of biology continues to evolve at HMC on pace with the latest developments in the field. Structure, Function. Our evolving academic programs and uniquely talented students require the College to find ways to meet changing needs. This fall, we look forward to opening the new teaching and learning building, which will provide new classroom spaces to help alleviate some of the challenges in offering additional course sections while providing new instructional technology (Page 6). We look forward to hosting a community-wide celebration for the building’s opening this fall and hope you will make plans to join us Saturday, Sept. 28. Growth (of reputation). Our dynamic programs, innovative new spaces and accomplished faculty and students are bringing unprecedented, positive recognition to HMC. We think—and many of you have agreed—that more people should know about Harvey Mudd College and what it has to offer. That’s why the College community has been engaged in discussions over the past six months about how to update and refocus our communications and marketing efforts. I want to thank the more than 150 members of our community who participated in the focus groups and phone interviews for this project. Relationships. I would be remiss without pausing to reflect on the loss of a wonderful friend who died earlier this year: Jean Platt, wife of founding president Joseph Platt (Page 4). She was a remarkable woman who experienced firsthand the birth of HMC and helped to shape it into the extraordinary College it is today. Jean and Joe paved the way for me, and I join family, friends and admirers in expressing infinite gratitude to this remarkable, one-of-a-kind couple.
Maria Klawe President, Harvey Mudd College
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Vice President for College Advancement Dan Macaluso Assistant Vice President of Communications and Marketing Timothy L. Hussey, APR Director of Communications, Senior Editor Stephanie L. Graham Art Director Janice Gilson Graphic Design Susan Landesmann Contributing Writers Richard Chapman, Linley Hall ’01, Shari Roan, Tamara Savage ’15, Jean Strauss, Koren Wetmore Proofreader Kelly Lauer Contributing Photographers Keenan Gilson, Global Photo, Margaux Hujoel ’16, Ji Su Lee ’15, Shia Levitt, Kevin Mapp, Cheryl Ogden The Harvey Mudd College Magazine (SSN 0276-0797) is published by Harvey Mudd College, Office of Communications, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711 www.hmc.edu Nonprofit Organization Postage Paid at Claremont, CA 91711 Postmaster: Send address changes to Micki Brose, Harvey Mudd College, Advancement Services, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711 Copyright © 2013 Harvey Mudd College. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in the HMC Bulletin are those of the individual authors and subjects and do not necessarily reflect the views of the College administration, faculty or students. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the express written consent of the editor.
Find the Bulletin online at www.hmc.edu/hmcmagazine The Harvey Mudd College Bulletin staff welcomes your input: firstname.lastname@example.org or HMC Bulletin Harvey Mudd College 301 Platt Boulevard Claremont, CA 91711
Inside back cover Join HMC and the Groody as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Department of Biology and the 20th anniversary of the biology major. Find all the groodies in this issue by June 30, and win a prize!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
18 A Model Approach Computational tools help scientists solve problems and wrangle big data.
4 Campus Current Remembering Jean Platt; Community Connections; Commencement speaker; Sojourner Truth Lecturer; Teaching and learning building; Mathematical and computational biology major; New Environmental Analysis emphasis Faculty News Staff News
22 Engineering Better Solutions Interdisciplinary teams explore cutting-edge bioengineering research.
27 Mudderings Australia trip; Outstanding Alumni; Upcoming Events; Family Weekend; Summer Send-offs; Manage Your Subscription
24 Biology of Behavior Researchers are studying the behaviors of worms, bees and other insects and the link to human disease.
32 Class Notes Alumni Profiles: John Harrell ’69, Ken Solomon ’67 and Barbara (Simmons) Hardwick ’92
This magazine was printed in the USA by an FSC-certified printer that emits 0% VOC emissions, using 30% postconsumer recycled paper and soy-based inks. By sustainably printing in this method, we have saved… 6.087 lbs. of wood, which is equivalent to 20 trees that supply enough oxygen for 10 people annually. 8,889 gallons of water, which is enough water for 516 eight-minute showers. 6 million BTUs of energy, which is enough energy to power the average household for 25 days.
Student Resear ch
1,846 lbs. of emissions, which is the amount of carbon consumed by 21 tree seedlings grown for 10 years. 540 lbs. of solid waste, which would fill 117 garbage cans.
Cover illustration by Dung Hoang Find the Bulletin online at www.hmc.edu/hmcmagazine
First Lady to First Lady REMEMBERING JEAN FERGUSON PLATT, 1922–2013
Jean Ferguson Platt, founding first lady of Harvey Mudd College, died on Feb. 18 at the age of 91. She was deeply involved in the founding of HMC, helping to establish the College in the 1950s and supporting its mission in the decades that followed. After leaving HMC in 1976, Joe and Jean Platt devoted five years to Claremont Graduate University as president and first lady. Among the memories shared about Jean Platt on the memorial website are these words by former First Lady Jean Strauss, wife of Jon Strauss. Jon served as HMC president from 1997 to 2006. Jean is a documentary filmmaker and author. When I heard the news about Jean, my first thoughts were of Joe. Ten months ago, it was the other way around. I have never been able to separate my thoughts about them. When I think of Jean, I think of Joe, and vice-a-versa. They were that kind of couple. It seems impossible, however, that they are both gone, because they were so engaged, so ‘here,’ so ever present. Jean was my role model, my mentor, my friend. I have missed her enormously in the years since we left HMC. She not only set the bar high for all first spouses of Mudd—she set it high for any presidential spouse anywhere. I can’t think of another first lady who accomplished as much as Jean. She helped build a campus from a pile of Claremont potatoes and then stayed around to help it thrive. She hosted countless events and attended anything where she could be of help. During the nearly 10 years Jon and I were at Mudd, Jean attended almost every Saddlerock, every ARCS, every commencement. She didn’t do this to get a free meal. She did this because she knew it mattered. She knew it made a difference. One of the last events where I spent some time with Jean was the 50th anniversary of HMC in 2006. It was not lost on me then (or now) that she was also on hand when the College opened its doors for the first time. It is impossible to quantify how much her steadfast dedication to Harvey Mudd played a role in the amazing trajectory of the institution. Obviously, many key people helped the College plant strong roots back in the late ’50s and early ’60s, from faculty and staff who dedicated their lives to the mission, to the students who chose Mudd’s unique program and who would define what a Mudder could be. Joe Platt stands above them all, as the thoughtful and joyful leader who set the whole Möbius strip in motion, with a guitar in one hand, and a heavy dose of wisdom and imagi-
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Jean and Joe Platt
nation in the other. But he could never have done it without Jean. She was not only his chief confidante and wise counsel, she was his best friend. Together, they mutually chose to nurture the College and its people for the rest of their lives. Jean was so many things to so many people. In addition to being the wife of a college president, she was a mathematician, a researcher, a gardener, a silversmith, a trustee, a mother, a grandmother. Ann and Beth and their incredible families are a testament to a great gene pool and parents who had a zest for fun and hard work. Jean could be intimidating, because she set such a high standard for herself and others. She was also incredibly kind and thoughtful. She was a pioneer who never sought the limelight, but deserved so many accolades. If I mourn today, it is because those of us who had the privilege of knowing Jean and Joe, know what those who follow will be missing. A new generation of Mudders will never know what scientific rock stars Harvey Mudd College’s founders were. Those of us who are old enough, and lucky enough, know what’s been lost, as we cherish the memories of these two remarkable human beings. Many people make up the wonderful Mudd constellation—but no stars will ever shine brighter than those of Joe and Jean. Godspeed. What wonderful inspirations. What treasures! –Jean Strauss Visit the Jean Platt Memorial Website at http://bit.ly/12JBLKl
Mathematics is Focus of Two Grants
Community Connections HOMEWORK HOTLINE AND UPWARD BOUND IMPACT THE NEXT GENERATION
HMC Homework Hotline, launched in 2010 in conjunction with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, helped 2,478 students last fall, representing a 21 percent increase in the number of fourth- through 12th-graders successfully coached through the free, over-the-phone, math- and science-tutoring program. Much of the program’s success can be traced to its tutors and local school district partners. “Our tutors create a safe and welcoming learning environment where student callers feel comfortable tackling the challenge of solving difficult mathematics and science homework questions,” said Gabriela Gamiz, director of community engagement. “Our educators help us get our program information to students and families and keep us in mind for events where program information can be provided.” This spring, all tutors received National Tutoring Association basic-level training, further boosting their skills. Their aim is to collaborate with callers on solving one homework question and then encouraging them to solve similar problems on their own, inviting them to call back if needed. The team of 36 tutors included 11 seniors, who served as tutors from the hotline’s inception: Eric Anderson, Michael Brill, Johnathan Chai, Moriah Gelder, Richard Hsieh, Matthew Kweon, Kevin Leyden, Laura Maguire, Carola Purser, Richard Sayanagi and Emma Van Burns.
HMC’s Upward Bound program surpassed its goals for the 2011–2012 academic year, continuing on a successful course and aiming for even greater achievements. The federally funded program helps low-income and potential first-generation college students improve their chances of getting into and graduating from a post-secondary institution. Ninety percent of the high school seniors who participated in the program last year are enrolled in college today, with the majority attending a four-year institution. Ninety-two of the 128 participants improved their grade point average, representing a 33 percent increase over last year’s program results. “It’s an accomplishment we share as a team,” said Angie Covarrubias Aguilar, HMC Upward Bound program director. “We have an incredibly strong program made up of wonderful students, parents, alumni, mentors, faculty and staff who have dedicated an enormous amount of time to the success of our students and our program.” HMC’s Upward Bound program was recently granted more than $3.25 million in federal funds to support its next five years of operation. The award also boosts the program’s objectives: Increase participation to 145 students annually, and show that 60 percent completed a degree within six years after high school graduation.
Carl Wieman, Nobel Laureate and outspoken advocate for improving science education, delivered the keynote address at HMC’s 55th Commencement ceremony May 19. Wieman, who received the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of the first Carl Wieman Bose–Einstein condensation, has research interests in both atomic physics and the quantitative study of undergraduate science education. He founded the Science Education Initiative at the University of Colorado and the
Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia. The two centers work to improve teaching in large, research-intensive science departments by creating and testing innovative teaching methods and technologies. He also launched the Physics Education Technology Project (PhET), a group that uses online interactive simulations for teaching about natural-world phenomena. Students and teachers worldwide run PhET’s simulations. In 2010, Wieman was appointed associate director for science in the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. For two years, he helped drive the White House’s effort to improve science and math education. VIDEO
UBC OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Commencement Speaker Aims to Transform Science Education
Wieman at Commencement, www.youtube.com/harveymuddcollege
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The Truth About Breast Cancer Disparity SOJOURNER TRUTH LECTURER ADVOCATES KNOWLEDGE SHARING Lack of knowledge about breast cancer affects everyone, not just women. In fact, what we don’t know is hurting us, said physician and scientist Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, who delivered the 27th annual Sojourner Truth Lecture Feb. 28 on campus. Olopade, the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics and associate dean of Global Health at the University of Chicago, directs the university’s Cancer Risk Clinic. Her research focuses on the genetic, social and environmental factors of breast cancer and the knowledge disparity gap that can hinder its treatment. When she began her research, Olopade had assumed women would embrace risk-assessment tests and drugs that could prevent them from developing breast cancer. She soon discovered, however, that unless at-risk patients were wellinformed, they did not see the need for preventive care until it was too late. Paradoxically, the more advances made in medicine and technology, the wider the disparity gap grows. Breast cancer mortality rates in white women have been decreasing since the 1990s, when more funding became available for breast cancer and women’s health research, but the mortality rate for black women has remained constant. In an income disparity and breast cancer mortality study done in Chicago, Olopade found that lower income cor-
responds to higher mortality rates. She showed a map of household incomes beside a map of breast cancer mortality, and the boundaries of poorer neighborhoods and high breast cancer mortality closely matched. Access to care is also an issue. Doctors who treat breast cancer live in the upper- Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade class neighborhoods, so people in poorer neighborhoods must travel to get treatment. In another study, she noticed that the people with the best knowledge and the funds needed to access the best care had the best outcomes. Olopade stressed the importance of risk assessment and personalized treatment. Women from high-risk populations or with a family history of breast cancer should be vigilant about mammograms and self-exams. She encouraged women to talk to their doctors about their mammogram results, since mammography is ineffective at detecting the fast-growing, deadliest cancers. For these, patients need MRIs. “We need to get treatments, drugs and knowledge to the entire population to share and democratize knowledge if we are to eradicate breast cancer and close the knowledge disparity gap,” she said. –Tamara Savage ’15
New Building to Feature Latest Multimedia Learning Tools Transformation continues throughout the new teaching and learning building, which received a generous grant from the Ahmanson Foundation in November. Metal, “wart”-colored tiles now grace the exterior, blending the structure beautifully with the rest of the HMC campus. When the building officially opens in July 2013, its classrooms will boast multimedia tools to enhance learning and instruction. All classrooms will have LCD screens or video projection capabilities, including control systems that will allow faculty and students to project from multiple devices, including laptops and DVD players. “There also will be three technology-rich classrooms where we will install interactive whiteboards and lecture capture systems,” said Elizabeth Hodas, director of educational technology and media services. “The lecture capture system will support faculty in
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implementing new pedagogy, such as the ‘flipped classroom,’ where students view lectures online outside of class so that they can focus on more interactive activities during class time.”
BY THE NUMBERS
69,977square feet of floor space 19,763metal shingles 8,523cubic yards of concrete (building and site) 86percent of construction waste recycled 45feet of the building above ground (grade) level
Mathematics is Focus of Two Grants
Major Mutualism BIOLOGY CONVERGES WITH COMPUTER SCIENCE, MATHEMATICS The century of biology has begun, and HMC students are poised to participate. HMC’s newest major, mathematical and computational biology, reflects the fact that mathematical and computational methods are vital to many areas of contemporary biological research. Genomics, molecular modeling, structural biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, neurobiology and systems biology are areas that rely on well-trained professionals who have a strong multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary foundation. Biology is providing new challenges that can drive the development of novel mathematical and computational methods. “This major is a natural fit for HMC and the kind of students that we have,” said Eliot Bush, assistant professor of biology and co-instructor of the course Introduction to Biology and Computer Science (see Page 16). “Harvey Mudd students like the technical stuff—programming, computer science and problem solving—so computational biology is a natural way to do biology here. The number of students we see in the major reflects that.” There are 24 mathematical and computational biology majors who conduct lab or computational research. Current projects include studying the behavior of bees (see Page 24) and work on Jane, a software tool for the cophylogeny reconstruction problem. Students benefit from dual advisors—one from the biology department and one advisor from either the mathematics or computer science departments. HMC biology first teamed with mathematics in 2006 to create the joint major mathematical biology. The program was expanded and, in 2010, became the mathematical and computational biology major, which is jointly administered by the biology, mathematics and computer science departments. Mudders may also select a joint major in chemistry and biology.
New Environmental Analysis Emphasis For students who want to explore their major from an environmental perspective, HMC now offers an Emphasis in Environmental Analysis. “What the world needs are really sophisticated, welleducated individuals in the sciences who are interested in applying their skills to global environmental issues,” said physics Professor Richard Haskell, director of the HMC Center for Environmental Studies. “We decided the best thing for the students, the College and the global community is to keep students in their respective majors and provide some structure for those interested in environmental careers to pursue that interest and have it reflected on their transcript.” Those who pursue the emphasis take six courses beyond the College Core curriculum in a structured program of study that includes at least two courses in science, engineering or mathematics and at least three from recognized disciplines within humanities, social sciences and the arts. If their research experience—summer, yearlong or Clinic—has a substantial environmental analysis component, students can seek approval to count it as one course of the required sixcourse total. Twenty-one students have declared their intent to pursue the emphasis. “I chose to pursue the emphasis because I’m interested in exploring environmentalism from both scientific and liberal arts perspectives,” said joint computer science and math major Priya Donti ’15. Those who meet the requirements for the Emphasis in Environmental Analysis receive a certificate from the HMC Center for Environmental Studies.
Kudos to Clinic HMC’s Engineering Clinic Program is featured as one of 29 exemplary engineering programs in a report released Nov. 13 by the National Academy of Engineering. HMC’s Engineering Clinic appears in the article “Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education,” which showcases programs that effectively incorporate real-world experience into their curriculum and highlights best practices for other schools to emulate. The Clinic Program is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013. Watch for a special issue of the HMC Bulletin this summer.
“In particular, I’m excited to explore environmental issues within and outside the context of my major.” –Donti ’15
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The Sundance Experience MAYERI’S FILM HERALDED AS “STUNNING” AND “NONTRADITIONAL”
How did your film get selected for the Sundance Festival? Last year, I produced a two-channel video installation, “Primate Cinema: Apes as Family.” It is a drama I created to entertain chimpanzees on one channel, with the chimps’ reaction to its premiere at the Edinburgh Zoo displayed on the other. I was asked to submit this work to Sundance’s New Frontiers category, which is a wonderful new media/video installation section of the festival organized by filmmaker and festival programmer Shari Frilot. Over the summer, I re-edited the video as a short, single-channel film. I submitted it to the festival the
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Rachel Mayeri with the cast and crew of Primate Cinema: Apes as Family
same way most people do: paying a fee and sending in an application. There were more than 8,000 films submitted, so it was an honor to be selected. What was it like attending the festival? It was my first time at Sundance, and it was as much fun as people say it is. Everyone is there—agents, publicists, producers, directors and actors. You can have interesting conversations waiting in line for film tickets. My favorite event was a brunch at the Sundance Institute to which all of the directors were invited. I had a great time chatting with director Bob Berger. His film, Charlie Victor Romeo, is a series of reenactments of how airplane crews reacted during famous historical accidents on airplanes. How did the audience respond to your film? It’s interesting to see how people react to a film made for a different species. People are really surprised to see chimpanzees watching television. The audience laughed when the chimps inspected the TV and was amazed when the chimps mimicked what they saw on screen. People don’t know that chimps watch television as a form of enrichment in captivity. When they find out, they want to know what genres the chimps liked to watch the most. In my unscientific research, chimps seemed most interested in watching other chimps’ “display behavior,” that is, when chimps make themselves big, loud and impressive. It’s natural theater. VIDEO
A premier showcase for independent films, the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January proved the perfect platform for media studies Professor Rachel Mayeri to deliver an artful taste of science. Her experimental film, Primate Cinema: Apes as Family, was one of 65 works chosen from a record 8,102 submissions in the festival’s New Frontier Short Films category. The film garnered praise from critics, including a Los Angeles Times review that described it as “stunning,” “nontraditional” and “one of the festival’s more intriguing entries.” An 11-minute remix of an earlier Mayeri film—which captured chimpanzees’ reactions while watching a movie of human actors posing as chimps—Primate Cinema dances on the edge of science and art. In fact, the film enjoyed a weeklong screening in February as part of “Science on Screen” at the Cinefamily theater in Los Angeles. Mayeri wrote and directed the drama portion of the project with seven actors dressed as chimpanzees. It depicts the tale of a young female chimp that befriends a group of outsiders. Mayeri filmed the chimps’ reactions during a yearlong project at the Edinburgh Zoo, in which chimpanzees watched the drama on a television screen placed in their enclosure. She worked with comparative psychologist Sarah-Jane Vick to observe the chimps’ responses and explore issues of cognition and communication in research primates. The original, 22-minute Primate Cinema premiered as an art installation at the 2011 Abandon Normal Devices Festival in Liverpool, which celebrates new cinema, digital culture and art. It was later displayed at The Arts Catalyst in London, the Nottingham Center for Contemporary Art and the Arts Electronica in Linz, where it won a prize for a work in progress. Mayeri recently shared her Sundance Festival experience with the Bulletin:
Primate Cinema preview: View “Primate Cinema: Apeshttp://bit.ly/ZHbuLX as Family” trailer at https://vimeo.com/57159070
Mathematics is Focus of Two Grants
Faculty Updates RESEARCH, AWARDS, ACTIVITIES
Brain Trust Lisette de Pillis, Norman F. Sprague Jr. Professor of Mathematics and the Life Sciences is one of the key participants of the Brain Tumor Ecology Collaborative, a three-year project that recently was awarded funding through the James S. McDonnell Foundation. Washington University in St. Louis (lead institution), Columbia Lisette de Pillis University, University of California at San Diego and Harvey Mudd College are partnering for the project. De Pillis will work with fellow researchers who will pool their expertise to better understand tumors that start in the brain or spine, also known as gliomas.
Grandma Got STEM You may have heard the expression, “That’s so easy, my grandmother could understand it.” Associate Professor of Mathematics Rachel Levy would like to counter the implication that grannies (gender + maternity + age) might not easily pick up on technical/theoretical ideas. Her blog Grandma Got STEM (http://bit.ly/10MQ0si) is a vehicle for collecting stories and remembrances about women who have made an impact in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related fields. Submissions come from the women themselves and the people who know them. In the first month, the blog attracted readers from more than 50 countries. The project welcomes submissions representing perspectives from all over the world. Levy is also the recently appointed editor-in-chief of SIURO, an online publication devoted to undergraduate research in applied and computational mathematics.
Evolution and Christianity Equipped with a grant from The BioLogos Foundation, chemistry Professor David Vosburg hopes to spark healthy dialogue on evolution and Christian faith. Vosburg’s project, “Catalyzing Compatibility of Evolution and Christian Faith on Secular Campuses: Curricular Resources for Student Groups,” was awarded $80,772 through the foundation’s Evolution & Christian Faith grant program. The BioLogos Foundation was established by Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project and current director of the National Institutes of Health, to
promote discourse on the relationship between science and religion and to emphasize their compatibility. Vosburg will develop materials that Christian student groups and churches can use to explore and discuss evolution, creation and Christianity.
Underwater Exploration Engineering Professor Chris Clark is working with marine archeologist Dr. Timmy Gambin from the University of Malta, who studies ancient water supply. Clark, four HMC students and a team from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo spent their spring break using underwater robots to explore ancient water systems and marine caves in Malta and Sicily. The students investigated previously unexplored underwater sites, including ancient cisterns—water storage systems located beneath castles, fortresses and churches. The team deployed a small underwater robot equipped with a 2-D scanning sonar device to view the structures and collect measurement ranges. The data will be used to create maps of the underground water systems.
One-task-at-a-time computing Computer science professors Chris Stone and Melissa O’Neill have been awarded a three-year, $375,395 National Science Foundation grant to support undergraduate computer science research in concurrency, which involves the development of a simpler programming model for multicore processors. “These processors, with many computers on a single chip, are increasingly common even in inexpensive computers and cell phones,” said Stone. “To take advantage of their power and speed, programmers divide problems into many small pieces that can be solved simultaneously. Unfortunately, coordination between these tasks is notoriously tricky and error-prone.” Stone and O’Neill’s project “Observationally Cooperative Multithreading” (OCM) lets programmers pretend that all their tasks execute one at a time, taking turns. The result is improved program speed and resource utilization, with a one-task-at-a-time mental model that is simple enough for beginning programmers to understand. Over the next three years, 18 students will help design, develop and evaluate practical OCM implementations using techniques such as transactional memory and lock interference.
Teaching Excellence Mathematics Professor Francis Su won the 2013 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics. Given by the Mathematical Association of continued on Page 10
Harvey Mudd College
In the Beginning, There was Bill 35 YEARS AGO, BILL PURVES LAUNCHED THE HMC BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT When A.J. Shaka ’80 was thinking about applying to become a Rhodes Scholar, he turned to his then teacher and mentor for advice. Bill Purves, who had taught Shaka biology and mentored him during his senior-year research project, was ready to go to bat for his student. “He was very important in encouraging me to apply for the Rhodes,” says Shaka, now a professor of chemistry at University of California, Irvine. “He wrote a letter for me that the Rhodes committee brought up during the interview. Whatever he said—I don’t know what it was—it seemed pretty important to the committee.” Although Purves was instrumental in launching the biology program—becoming its founding member and helping raise funds for the program—he is perhaps best remembered as a man who loved to teach. Purves’ favorite memories of his early years at Harvey Mudd center around his efforts to capture his students’ imagination and to illustrate concepts by novel stories. “How might I explain the direction in which an RNA molecule grows? Aha! I’ll make up a story about ‘Dimitrios the one-armed line dancer.’” “Some of my students, after taking the course, sort of hung out with me and talked and talked,” Purves recalls. “They were all bright, these kids. They were Harvey Mudd students.” The deeply-felt responsibility of educating brilliant, young minds guided Purves throughout his career as a scientist and educator. He was in the right place when plans for a biology department took shape in the late 1980s. A plant physiologist, Purves majored in biology at Caltech
Bill Purves is co-author of the popular textbook Life: The Science of Biology.
before earning a master’s degree and doctorate from Yale University. He taught biology, biochemistry and botany at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for 12 years, eventually becoming chair of the biology department, before taking over a group of biological sciences departments at the University of Connecticut in 1973. In 1977, he moved to HMC. When asked why the head of a group of departments at a big research university would leave for a position as the only biologist at a small engineering school, he replied that he was strongly attracted by the promise of teaching some of the best undergraduates in the world at a very fine college. He busied himself researching plant growth hormones, teaching biology and eventually recruiting faculty for a new biology department. Purves’ first new colleague, the neurobiologist
Faculty News, continued from Page 9
America, the award honors college or university professors who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful and whose teaching has had influence beyond their own institutions. It is the MAA’s highest teaching honor. Past recipients include Art Benjamin (2000) and Matthew DeLong (2012) of Taylor University, who is spending a sabbatical year at HMC.
AMS Fellows The American Mathematical Society named its inaugural class of AMS Fellows, and it included President Maria Klawe, professors Nicholas Pippenger and Art Benjamin and alumni Peter Loeb ’59, George McNulty ’67 and Jerrold Tunnell ’72.
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Klawe has made significant contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science. Pippenger’s interests center in discrete mathematics and probability and extend into communication theory and theoretical computer science. Benjamin is an award-winning teacher, author and mathemagican. Loeb is professor of mathematics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, McNulty is professor of mathematics at the University of South Carolina and Tunnel is associate professor of mathematics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The AMS Fellows program recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the mathematics field.
T.J. Mueller, was hired in 1981. Mueller and Purves soldiered alone for most of the decade until the College decided to approve a biology department and major. “I felt the College really needed somebody in molecular biology,” Purves says. “We hired Nancy Hamlett for that. And T.J. and I felt very strongly that we needed an evolutionary biologist/ ecologist—and that was Catherine McFadden. And then I also felt a need to have somebody who you could call a cell biologist, and we hired Jim Manser. We rounded out the initial department when we hired Steve Adolph, a behavioral ecologist.” Purves taught several biology classes himself. “He was very approachable,” Shaka says. “He had a very keen ability to sense whether or not you actually understood what it was he was teaching. He had a sixth sense about that.” Purves had firm beliefs about how students learned and was very interested in writing a biology textbook that would support his strategy. He had known New England publisher Andy Sinauer since the early 1960s, first serving as a reviewer of developing textbooks. Sinauer encouraged Purves to tackle a book himself—an introductory biology course meant for both biology majors and nonmajors. Working alone, Purves started on the book while at the University of Connecticut, but took the work with him to his new position at Harvey Mudd College. “I was working at night and on campus all day and writing. One night I was in my office at Harvey Mudd and a student, Mike Ross ’86, comes through the door—this was about 1 a.m. I heard this, ‘Whoa! What a stud!’ “It was because I type really fast,” he says with a laugh. “That was how I lived in those times!” He eventually collaborated with a second scientist-academic to produce the first two editions of the book. His last edition was the eighth, by which time he had three more coauthors. Purves recommended that his students use his book in his introductory class, but he didn’t think it right to get royalties from them. He returned the amount of the royalty to all students who bought an unused copy of the current book. Purves left HMC in 1995. “I think I was 61 or 60 when I retired, and I had just come out of having cancer, which is long gone,” he says. “I’d loved working with the students there, and I couldn’t get enough of them, but I really needed to move on.” He turned to his passion—how students learn—and helped start a company that created educational software on CD-ROMs.
Bill Purves and Anne Marie Stomp, then a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Connecticut, set up and taught the first HMC biology laboratory.
He also collaborated with Roger Schank, a long-time colleague, on ventures to replace current schooling with truly effective and stimulating courses. The work “concerns what’s wrong with teaching and learning now, and what it should be,” Purves explains. “Accretion of knowledge is not the point. What people should really be learning is how to reason—and then using that skill.” –Shari Roan
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New Position to Bolster Community Engagement GAMIZ TO ALIGN HMC MISSION WITH COMMUNITY NEEDS A generous grant from The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation will allow Harvey Mudd College to bolster its engagement with local and global communities. The $150,000, two-year grant will fund the creation of a director of community engagement position in the Dean of Students office. The director will develop community partnerships, support student-led, community-outreach efforts and assist faculty whose courses have a community-based learning component. “Our students and faculty have an interest in and are already doing a lot of community outreach, but they have a real need for logistical support and someone to establish and maintain relationships with community partners,” said Dean of Students Maggie Browning. “The idea is to pull together all the existing efforts under one rubric and provide that support. The key was getting dedicated staff.” The College selected HMC Homework Hotline Administrator Gabriela Gamiz to fill the new position. The hotline will continue to provide free, over-the-phone tutoring under her leadership. By combining funds from Parsons and the grant that established the Homework Hotline, Gamiz will be able to hire an assistant director to help with community engagement programs. Gamiz brings to the position a wealth of experience working with area K-12 schools and an understanding of the HMC community. She served as the first administrator of the HMC Homework Hotline (see Page 5). She previously served as the associate director and then director of the HMC Upward Bound program’s Math and Science Center. Prior to HMC, Gamiz was the project director for a Title V grant to develop Hispanic-serving institutions in the Riverside Community College District, where she also served as an adjunct professor of education. “My main aspiration is to work closely with the HMC community to align our efforts and direction with the College’s mission statement and our local and global communities’ needs,” said Gamiz. In her new role, she will advise and support engagement activities such as Science Bus, on-campus tutoring, Homework Hotline and the Don and Dorothy Strauss Internship for Social Understanding. She will also support faculty programs such as MyCS, Games Network and Pathway to Computer Science with the Pomona Unified School District. Her strategic goals include providing support to existing student and faculty community engagement, developing new
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opportunities for engagement and working with the other undergraduate Claremont colleges and HMC’s institutional research staff to design, initiate and evaluate engagement efforts and assess their impact. Other Recent Appointments Cross-cultural psychology expert Qutayba “Q” Abdullatif is the associate dean for student health and wellness. He previously served as a consultant to the dean of students and as a visiting professor of psychology at Scripps College. Prior to Scripps, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Counseling and Psychological Services program at the University of California, San Diego. At Scripps and UCSD, Abdullatif created educational programs and coordinated peer mentor groups focused on stress management, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and social skills. His research focuses on college student mental health and adjustment, public speaking anxiety, mentoring and retention. He has more than a decade of experience counseling college students and holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of South Florida. Last September, Timothy L. Hussey, APR, was named assistant vice president of communications and marketing. He comes to HMC from Emory University, where he was the senior director of marketing and communications for the School of Law. Hussey brings 20 years of nonprofit experience as a marketing, communications, public relations and media relations professional, primarily within higher education (Troy University, Georgia State University, Southern Polytechnic State University, Agnes Scott College and Emory). Hussey oversees HMC’s seven-member communications and marketing team.
Scholarships Support International Understanding STUDENTS TRAVEL TO RUSSIA AND BOTSWANA David Lingenbrink ’14 was awarded a $9,000 scholarship from the American Mathematical Society to study mathematics at the Independent University of Moscow. The math major is the first Mudder to receive the prestigious scholarship to attend the Russian university’s semester-long Math in Moscow program. “I am very excited to learn mathematics from what I hear to be an entirely different school of thought,” said Lingenbrink before his trip this spring. “In addition, the thought of traveling to a country that was off limits only 20 years ago is pretty cool.” A small, elite institution focused primarily on mathematics, IUM was founded in 1991 by a group of well-known Russian research mathematicians, who now comprise the university’s academic council. Its Math in Moscow program was created in 2001 to provide foreign students (primarily from the United States, Canada and Europe) with a program in the Russian tradition, which emphasizes problem solving rather than memorizing theorems. The program’s instructors are internationally recognized research mathematicians, and all instruction is in English. Lingenbrink lived in a student hostel in Moscow and traveled by train to the university. His academic schedule consisted of three courses—Basic Representation Theory, Algebraic Geometry and Algebraic Number Theory—plus a class in Russian to supplement what he’s already gleaned from his Russian 1 course. He also was able to explore Moscow and the surrounding area.
ing a different region and socioeconomic class—village, small town and city. In January and February, she lived with a family in the rural village of Manyana. Then she spent a month with a host family in Lobatse, Botswana’s first established town. She spent the remainder of the semester in the capital city of Gaborone. “I really enjoy this aspect of the program,” she said. “To really understand a culture, you need to understand what everyday life is like. My host family in Manyana taught me how to cook Setswana food, how to wash my clothes by hand and how to speak the Setswana language. I was also able to observe gender roles in Setswana society and the role of religion in different families.” In addition to learning Setswana, Gao took a course about Botswana’s history and socio-cultural issues. For her independent study project, she plans to pursue research on the social aspects of HIV/AIDS. Her inspiration sprang from taking the course, HIV/AIDS: Science, Society and Service, taught by chemistry and biology Professor Karl Haushalter. Gao hopes to connect what she learned in the classroom with the reality of the AIDS epidemic in Botswana. In particular, she aims to learn more about the country’s health care system, the impact of HIV/AIDS on its citizens and current research underway there. In Lobatse, she interned with Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership, a collaborative research and training program between the Botswana government and the Harvard AIDS Initiative. The work included a project focused on how to improve the health of infants who have HIV-positive mothers but are not HIV-positive themselves.
“To fully understand the impact of my work…” Eva Gao ’14 received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this spring in Botswana. The $3,000 award helped defray the costs associated with Gao’s participation in the Pitzer Botswana Study Abroad Program, which offers a cross-cultural learning experience organized around language training, field projects and a core course on Botswana and regional development. “To fully understand the impact of my work, I need to understand how people from different cultures interact with disease and medicine,” said Gao, a joint chemistry and biology major who hopes to pursue a medical career. “Medical research is not just about science. There are many social, political and economic considerations that come into play.” While in Botswana, Gao had the opportunity David Lingenbrink ’14 studied at Independent University of Moscow. Eva Gao ’14 is shown with the family who hosted her in the village of Manyana, Botswana. to stay with three host families, each represent-
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Far From Routine WATSON FELLOWSHIPS PROVIDE REMARKABLE GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES picture of special needs inclusion,” said Groshong. “I really hope to be a part of these people’s lives, experiencing their triumphs, learning about the difficulties they face and exploring what resources are available that provide meaningful, significant opportunities.” She also hopes to learn how advocates interact with their governments and what existing policies affect the lives of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. After her fellowship year, Groshong plans to study technology and policy at MIT. Zubke will explore how to position solar power to compete successfully with fossil fuels as a key energy source. His project, “Chasing the Sun: Solar Power Across Cultures,” will take him to Germany, Spain, Australia, China and India. “Each country’s solar industry offers a unique Engineering major Hannah Groshong ’13 and physics major Dustin Zubke ’13 will travel the world. perspective,” said Zubke. “I want to synthesize the Watching her younger sister, Bailey, who has Down Syndrome, best practices from each into a model solar industry that I can strive to create in the market where I decide to work.” interact with others gave Hannah Groshong ’13 an appreciaZubke will speak with past and present solar energy tion for the joy, simplicity and honesty that Bailey, and others customers, along with people in industry and in government, like her, bring to life. It also inspired Groshong to reach out. to examine the challenges inhibiting the growth of solar In high school, she volunteered each summer with Lose the power. He also aims to discover ways to meet and overcome Training Wheels, helping to teach kids with disabilities how those challenges. to ride a bike. At Harvey Mudd College she served as a mentor The physics major hopes to draw upon the skills and and dorm proctor. Now, with the help of a Watson Fellowship, experience he gained working with physics Professor Richard the engineering major will study how different societies Haskell, director of HMC’s Center for Environmental Studies, support individuals with special needs. on the research project, “Irrigating The Claremont Colleges Groshong and fellow classmate Dustin Zubke ’13 were with Reclaimed Water.” That project secured funding to two of only 40 students—from a pool of 700 candidates—to do a feasibility study for a water reclamation system that may receive 2012–2013 Thomas J. Watson Fellowships. The fellowreduce The Claremont Colleges’ water consumption by ship provides a $25,000 grant to fund a year of independent 42 percent (see Page 16). study and travel abroad. After his fellowship year, Zubke plans to work in the solar The awards mark the fourth time that HMC has had two industry, potentially with a global firm. Watson winners chosen in a single year. The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship program offers college “The Watson Fellowship is well aligned with our College graduates a year of independent, purposeful exploration and mission,” said Dean of Faculty Jeff Groves. “It’s travel outside of the United States to enhance their capacity wonderful to know that Hannah and Dustin will have the for resourcefulness, imagination, openness and leadership and opportunity to pursue their interests and understand more to foster their humane and effective participation in the world fully the impact of their work on the world.” community. Twenty-nine HMC students have received the Groshong’s project, “A New Routine: Exploring the Transition into Adulthood for Individuals with Special Needs,” award. will include travel to Germany, Japan and Jordan. “I chose those countries to ensure a diverse set of experiences. Their cultural and economic differences will add richly to the
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Cheering Section HMC athletes and CMS sports
A Mudder’s Life Bo Lee ’13, a mathematical and computational biology major, spent this spring semester studying at the University of Salamanca and becoming fluent in Spanish. A swimmer and cross-country athlete in high school, Lee first tried dance as a college student and hasn’t looked back (except when it’s part of the choreography!). Here he shares a typical Wednesday from fall semester. 6:30 a.m. Wake up, get ready for dance 7 a.m. Ballroom dance rehearsal 9 a.m. Go to class: Evolution, Digital Computing and Molecular Biology 12:15 p.m. Teach professors Cha-Cha for Dancing With The Claremont Stars 1:15 p.m. Make lunch, finish homework for Stochastic Processes 2:45 p.m. Go to class: Stochastic Processes 4 p.m. Get out of class, read for Evolution 6 p.m. Dinner at the Hoch 7 p.m. Social Dance class 8 p.m. Go to Bio labs, prepare for Thursday’s experiments 9 p.m. Go to Engineering labs, start Digital Computing homework 11 p.m. Return to the dorms, hang out with the frosh in the lounge, work on Evolution homework Midnight Go to bed
Cross-Country Both the women’s and men’s cross-country teams had their best-ever finishes at the NCAA Championships with the Athenas finishing in third place and the Stags earning 11th place. Both teams also captured SCIAC and regional titles. For the Athenas, seven were named All-SCIAC, including five on the first team. Senior Kate Crawford earned second team honors. The Stags had eight runners earn All-SCIAC, including five first-teamers. Senior Rafer Dannenhauer earned SCIAC Runner of the Year honors and was also named to the first team along with first-year Zorg Loustalet, senior Brian Sutter (CMC), sophomore Justin Jones and senior Bennett Naden, while first-year Jacob Higle-Ralbovsky was one of those named to the second team. The men’s and women’s cross-country teams, along with 10 athletes, earned All-Academic honors from the United States Track & Field/Cross-Country Coaches Association. To qualify for the All-Academic award, all members of the team must average a cumulative GPA of 3.10 or better, and individuals must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or better and have earned All-Region honors (top 35). The men had four individuals who qualified, including Dannenhauer and Naden. At the Occidental Invitational on May 4, two runners broke the 10-year-old CMS record in the 5,000 meters. Dannenhauer ran 14:21.74 to establish the new record and Brian Sutter CMC ’13 also ran under the old record of 14:28.5 with a time of 14:24.88. Dannehauer’s time is second best in SCIAC history and currently sixth fastest in the nation, while Sutter’s is fifth in SCIAC history and currently eighth nationally. Women’s Soccer After an 8-8-4 season in 2011, the Athenas added three games to the win column in 2012 to finish with an 11-8-1 record and earn a SCIAC Tournament berth yet again. The team’s season came to an end with a tough loss on penalty kicks in the tournament semifinals on the road to Chapman University in what was a 0-0 tie after two overtimes. Three women’s soccer players were named All-SCIAC first team, one of whom was defender Sara Tweedy ’14.
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Reclaiming Water CLAREMONT COLLEGES COULD SAVE MILLIONS Undergraduate research at Harvey Mudd College has helped The Claremont Colleges secure $250,000 to study the feasibility of building a micro-water-recycling facility. The money will fund an engineering study and a one-year business case to assess the construction and operating costs of a micro-water-treatment plant that would allow the colleges to capture, store and re-use wastewater for landscaping needs. The California Water Foundation awarded half of the funds, and the Claremont University Consortium will provide the remainder. Funding and approval for the study was based upon recommendations from the research project, “Irrigating The Claremont Colleges with Reclaimed Water,” conducted by Dustin Zubke ’13. “Funding was a big hurdle for the engineering study. Even though the water reclamation system seemed very appealing, commissioning the study was still expensive,” Zubke said. “Receiving the grant from the California Water Foundation boosted the engineering study from a good idea to a no-brainer.” Zubke worked with physics Professor Richard Haskell, director of HMC’s Center for Environmental Studies and did the bulk of his research in the summer of 2011. Supported by a research award from the center, he did a cost-benefit analysis for a proposed water reclamation system that would reclaim the 5-C’s wastewater. His analysis showed that if a reclamation plant captured and treated the 310,000 gallons of wastewater the colleges generate daily, it could supply 72 percent of the campuses’ landscape water needs. When combined with the appropriate landscaping, it could meet 100 percent of the need. Zubke’s project was the latest in a series of studies by students, faculty and facilities staff dating back to 2007. In 2009, Sustainable Claremont, a local nonprofit, extended the study to the Claremont community and drew input from area water and sanitation representatives. Among them was Richard Atwater, executive director of the Southern California Water Committee. “When the California Water Foundation was established, Rich [Atwater] was asked to head the grants program for water reclamation,” said Haskell. “He immediately thought of our proposed water reclamation project at the colleges, and we were delighted to express interest in the CWF grant program.” Haskell, Zubke and Tim Morrison, CUC vice-president of facilities management and planning, drafted and submitted a grant proposal requesting funding for the feasibility study. According to Zubke’s findings, the facility could pay for itself within 12 years and, depending on future water rate increases, save the colleges up to $28 million over 20 years.
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Course description: Introduces fundamental concepts from the Core course Computer Science 5 using biology as the context for those computational ideas. Students see connections between disciplines and write computer programs to explore biological phenomena. Biology topics include biochemistry basics, population genetics, molecular evolution, metabolism and phylogenetics. Computer science material includes basic data types and control structures, dynamic programming and an introduction to automata and computability. Assignments/Activities: Students write a gene finder for their first major project. Other assignments include implementing algorithms for alignment, phylogenetic reconstruction and RNA folding, as well as building models of population genetics and evolution. Faculty says: “Computation has become an invaluable tool in biology, and many new discoveries are being made using computational methods. It’s wonderful to demonstrate these ideas to first-year students and to provide them with tools to make their own discoveries. Eliot and I learn from one another, and I think the students can see that we enjoy interacting with one another and with them.” –Ran Libeskind-Hadas, R. Michael Shanahan Professor of Computer Science Student says: “The material is very exciting and relevant. Computation has become an invaluable tool in biology and many new discoveries are being made using computational methods.” –Suzy Beeler ’15 Only at Mudd: “I think the biology really gets into the bones of the material a lot more than it would in a typical computer science course. That’s possible because HMC is such a small place, and we can devote a lot of time and have many interactions. The creativity that results would be harder to achieve at other places, especially bigger institutions.” –Eliot Bush, assistant professor of biology
Innovating Layer By Layer ENGINEERING MAJORS CREATE 3-D MARKETPLACE A conversation, an idea, research, a concept, a plan: each step builds upon the other until a startup begins to form. Engineering majors and seniors Jonathan Schwartz and Max Friefeld spent the past year working through these steps to create Layer By Layer, an online marketplace for the buying, selling and sharing of printable, 3-D designs. The new venture provides ready-to-print products to the growing market of consumers with 3-D printers. “We are like the iTunes App Store for 3-D printing,” said Friefeld. “We connect designers with consumers.” Their idea has led to national recognition and $100,000 in seed capital. Schwartz and Friefeld have contacted more than 80 designers to help build their initial product base. Their website (www.layerbylayer.com) is currently in its beta phase, with designers testing the platform. In February, Layer By Layer was named to the Kairos 50, an annual list of the Top 50 innovative companies founded by undergraduates. The designation allowed Schwartz and Friefeld to travel to the Kairos Global Summit in New York, where they presented their venture to a distinguished crowd of business leaders, investors and media representatives. “Max and I demoed our product and pitched our company for a grueling four straight hours. It was exhausting, exhilarating and, overall, a great experience,” said Schwartz. “We got to meet many of the biggest players in the 3-D printing industry from innovative companies such as Autodesk and Stratasys.” Inspiration for the development of their software application and online marketplace arose from the students’ mutual history of using 3-D printers to produce custom parts for personal and academic projects. The basic concept for Layer By Layer emerged during a study session for an engineering final, when the two discussed interesting, new technologies, especially the opportunities available in 3-D printing. After developing their business concept, the two left internship opportunities to pursue their idea, and they spent the summer of 2012 learning about the 3-D printing industry. Next, they created their business plan with the help of economics Professor Gary Evans and recruited Oliver Ortlieb ’12 to help build their marketplace. Beta-testing of the site began last November and, in March, Layer By Layer tested an iPhone case 3-D design marketplace open to Harvey Mudd College students as a “proof-of-concept” project. To date, Mudders have purchased more than 50 phone cases.
Next up is a Kickstarter campaign—to raise funds to expand the marketplace to include other printable products—followed by participation in Y Combinator, a startup incubator focused on promising digital ventures. Y Combinator offers seed money and mentoring in exchange for a small stake—typically 6 or 7 percent—in the company. Participants spend three months in Mountain View, Calif., receiving expert business and legal counsel, along with guidance on how best to pitch their company to potential investors. Awarded $20,000, plus an $80,000 convertible note, Schwartz and Friefeld will travel to Silicon Valley to participate in Y Combinator’s summer program. “We’ll be launching and building various products, including the Layer By Layer marketplace. We hope to grow our customer base, improve upon our products and begin making revenue,” said Schwartz. “The goal is to come out of the summer with a growing number of users, ready for a larger investment from a venture capital firm.” Their Y Combinator experience will culminate in a Demo Day, where they will present their business to a large audience of investors. They will also have access to the program’s alumni network, which includes the founders of Dropbox, Reddit and Scribd.
With seed capital and national recognition, seniors Jonathan Schwartz and Max Friefeld are building a strong foundation for their 3-D printing marketplace.
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A MODEL APPROACH
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Computational tools help scientists solve problems and wrangle Big Data. Written by KOREN WETMORE Illustration by DUNG HOANG
IN THIS INTERNET AGE, most of us can relate to the concept of information overload. But that’s nothing compared to the data volume that bombards research scientists. Faced with 60 million DNA sequences or a record containing 750,000 data points, the last thing a biologist wants to do is perform an analysis using spreadsheets. Instead, today’s researcher reaches for computational and mathematical tools, producing models and scripts to process information at lightning speed. Such tools not only improve the pace at which research moves but also broaden the scope of questions scientists can ask. “If we’re looking for new photoproteins or fluorescent proteins involved in how a jellyfish makes light, we can find those easily now by sequencing an entire transcriptome of an organism,” says marine biologist Steve Haddock ’88. “Instead of saying, ‘We think it’s going to look like this, and we’re going to try and fish that gene out,’ we say, ‘What are all the genes this animal is expressing right now?’ It really allows you to think more about your science instead of your analysis.” Haddock often applies computational skills in his work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, where he studies how jellyfish and other deep-sea gelatinous creatures interact with light. His research involves describing species, building phylogenetic trees and working with the DNA sequences and chemicals the organisms use to produce light. “There’s obviously a lot of computation,” he says. “So, we’ll have a program that will do each of the steps: cleaning up the sequences, pulling out those that look like they should be used
COMPUTATIONAL AND MATHEMATICAL TOOLS IMPROVE THE PACE AT WHICH RESEARCH MOVES AND BROADEN THE SCOPE OF QUESTIONS SCIENTISTS CAN ASK.
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STEVE HADDOCK ‘88 USED COMPUTATIONAL TOOLS TO FIND THE PHOTOPROTEIN THAT HELPS THIS DEEP-SEA CTENOPHORE MAKE LIGHT.
to assemble, assembling the sequences and then doing diagnostics on the assembly.” By translating their questions into mathematical language and then encoding it into a computer program, researchers can build models to predict outcomes or identify potential causes of observed phenomena. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, uses mathematical models to determine how a disease might spread in a given population and how to potentially stop or minimize its spread. Cancer researchers use models to explore potential ways to treat or prevent various cancers. In fact, according to a study published last August in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a risk-prediction model developed at the University of Liverpool’s Cancer Research Center proved more accurate at determining a person’s lung cancer risk than assessments based upon family history or years of smoking. Harvey Mudd College mathematics Professor Lisette de Pillis, an expert in the field of tumor modeling, uses mathematical models to define variables involved in tumor growth rates and to identify the effects of the immune system and drug therapies in treating cancer patients. One day, she was asked to work with a data set from a breast cancer patient whose treatment response puzzled her physicians. “They would measure her tumor before and after each treatment, and what they expected to see was treatment, tumor shrinks, treatment again and tumor shrinks some
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more,” says de Pillis. “But what they saw was treatment, tumor shrinks, treatment again and tumor grows. The overall trend was that her tumor would shrink, but why would it grow immediately after treatment?” With her collaborators, she created a model that offered a possible explanation. By accounting for the action of the immune system, it showed that the chemotherapy might not only be damaging the tumor but also harming the immune system that kept the tumor in check so that, in some cases, the tumor was allowed to grow. “That model did not say it definitely is the immune system; it said this is one possible mechanism. To confirm that, we would have to develop some assays and check our results in the lab,” she says. A core group member of the newly formed Brain Tumor Ecology Collaborative—a joint, three-year project by Washington University, Columbia University, U.C. San Diego and HMC—de Pillis will be at the forefront of research to better understand the behavior of pediatric brain and spine tumors called gliomas. Her role will include using mathematical models to test hypotheses about what natural elements in the body might lead to the growth or the control of these tumors. “Right now, we are working to determine distinguishing features of these cancers, such as the number of mitochondria per cell or the expression of the NF1 gene, that may influence tumor formation. The collaborative wants to use models to look at the physical space in which the cells live, to see how
The multiple images at left are models of tumor shapes being studied by mathematics Professor Lisette de Pillis. The more “gluttonous” a tumor type is, the more “branchy” (papillary) the resulting tumor shape, as shown in the upper-right corner.
they interact, to discover the ecosystem networks and to develop and evaluate ways to better treat patients who have this cancer.” Even the drugs, devices and therapies developed to treat disease rely on mathematical models to help prove their safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness. “It’s called pharmacoeconomics,” says Anita (McMorrow) Brogan ’97, head of Decision Analytic Modeling in the Health Economics group at RTI Health Solutions, an independent research organization whose clients include pharmaceutical and biotech companies. “We use different types of models depending on whether we are looking at disease transmission in a population or disease progression in an individual. Once we’ve modeled the disease, the economics come in as we look at how a new intervention—a drug or a device—might impact the course of the disease, patient outcomes and costs.” Those projections are then compared with the outcomes associated with existing therapies. “A new drug might cost more up front but still save money because it helps prevent costly events from happening in the future. For example, if you have an expensive drug that cures hepatitis C, it may save money in the long-run because you avoid cases of liver disease and liver transplant,” Brogan says. One of the joys of Brogan’s career was working on models that showed how darunavir—a new drug for HIV patients— was a cost-effective treatment option in Canada. “Our analysis helped the entire country of Canada to get access to it. The
provincial governments added it to their drug lists, so patients can get it and the cost is covered.” While the advantages of using computational and mathematical tools may be apparent, their use is not actually widespread. “We need better bridges of communication and interaction between people in the clinics and the mathematicians,” de Pillis says. “When I first went to talk to the [Brain Tumor Ecology Collaborative] members in St. Louis, they assumed a mathematical model was simply a statistical analysis of data. So when I explained what we actually mean when we say ‘mathematical model,’ and presented the range of mathematical models we have developed, the doctors were excited about the idea of modeling a growing tumor as a collection of heterogeneous organisms living in their own ecological system.” When Haddock spotted fellow researchers spending hours inputting data and formulas into spreadsheets, he decided to co-author a book, Practical Computing For Biologists, to introduce them to their computational alternatives. “People hear ‘computational biology’ and automatically think of DNA and genes, yet the same skills are just as useful for someone who is an ecologist or physiologist,” he says. “You have large amounts of data to process, and being able to do that repeatedly in a way that you can document for someone else is essential to any biological science now.”
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ENGINEERING BETTER SOLUTIONS BIOENGINEERING TAKES AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH Written by LINLEY ERIN HALL ’01
THE CHILD WITH A BRAIN INJURY, THE GRANDMOTHER WITH FAILING EYESIGHT, THE ACTOR DESIRING RHINOPLASTY—all of these people may one day benefit from research conducted by HMC students who work in the lab of Elizabeth Orwin ’95, associate professor of engineering. Orwin is an alumna and engineering major who went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in biomedical engineering. She’s now sharing her extensive background in biomaterials, tissue engineering and wound healing through the Robert and Mary Jane Engman Fellowship Program, which enables students to explore cutting-edge bioengineering research. Students in Orwin’s lab include first years without discipline-specific knowledge and those with majors outside engineering and biology. “They do pick up a lot of what they need for my research in their various courses, but what they don’t know, we learn as we go,” Orwin says. “It teaches them the process you have to go through as a graduate student. These are not cookiecutter projects with one answer.” One of her four research projects focuses on a tissueengineered brain patch that facilitates healing. When a
“I PUT TOGETHER INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAMS THAT HAVE OWNERSHIP OF THE PROJECT, MENTORING AND EXPOSURE TO CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY. THIS IS NOT JUST A SUMMER RESEARCH PROJECT.” - ELIZABETH ORWIN ’95
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brain injury occurs, the body’s immune system causes additional damage because it generates inflammation as it attempts to make repairs. “We’re trying to create a brain patch that will influence the wound-healing environment while creating a space for the neurons to regrow,” Orwin says. The brain patch research takes an approach similar to that of a long-running project to recreate a damaged cornea. The cornea is the transparent layer at the front of the eye. Students are growing corneal cells in an artificial matrix and then investigating what signals they should give to the cells so that they behave as they would in a natural cornea. They examine whether the corneal cells produce the correct proteins, are transparent and have the appropriate strength. Students have brought a wide variety of perspectives to the artificial cornea project. Kacyn Fujii ’13 is interested in applying electrical engineering to biological problems and so decided to focus on improving the electrospinning process that is used to create a material that resembles the natural cornea. Demetri Monovoukas ’15 has been designing and testing a bioreactor to culture cornea cells under variable strain and light conditions. As Orwin explains, “I put together interdisciplinary teams that have ownership of the project, mentoring and exposure to cutting-edge technology. This is not just a summer research project.” The students also attend conferences, make presentations and write papers about their work. Fujii, who will study electrical engineering at Stanford University on a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, presented her work at the 2012 Biomedical Engineering Society meeting. Monovoukas presented a hand-held wound measurement device at the Massachusetts Medical Device Development New Venture Competition to 300 scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs and investors. “I was by far the youngest person at the event and gained a lot of confidence and maturity from the experience,” says Monovoukas, who developed the device as
an independent project with a grant from HMC’s Shanahan Endowed Fund. He envisions starting a medical device company and working in bioengineering “any way that I can.” Although the program is young (begun in 2001), the network of HMC bioengineers is already strong. “We’ve built a really interesting alumni community,” Orwin says. Alumni answer questions about their graduate school programs via email and interact with students at conferences and other events. Ajay Shah ’06, CEO of Cytovale, a medical diagnostics company, has blazed a trail for other bioengineering Mudders to follow. As an undergrad, he worked with Orwin on the cornea project and on two Clinic projects involving bioengineering. He later earned a Ph.D. in health sciences and technology at the Harvard Medical School/MIT joint program. While working at Massachusetts General Hospital, he hired half a dozen Mudd students or graduates as interns or full-time technicians to assist with the development of a platform to isolate rare circulating tumor cells from whole blood. “It was a very dynamic clinical environment where we were interacting not only with Ph.D.- and faculty-level bioengineers but also with biologists and clinicians,” Shah says. Later, Shah’s startup, Insight Surgical Instruments, sponsored a Clinic project on the development of a new neurosurgical device. “We had a very engaged student team that, quite frankly, surpassed expectations,” Shah says. “They were able to develop a series of prototypes that we’ve gone on to protect with international IP filings.” Shah’s enthusiasm for his fellow Mudders stems from his own experiences. “The cross-disciplinary training you get at Mudd is particularly helpful in bioengineering because, naturally, it’s a field that draws on many areas.” Orwin recruits students from all majors because it enhances the program. “These are interdisciplinary problems,” she says. “Coming at them from an interdisciplinary approach is a good thing.”
Top image: Nose models of varying stiffnesses are used to calibrate a nasal tip cartilage testing device. Elizabeth Orwin ’95 (center), shown with Vincent Pai ’12 and Hannah Troisi ’11, considers students in her lab to be colleagues. “I want them to feel creative and in charge of their own projects,” she says. Using his engineering skills to solve biological problems, Demetri Monovoukas ’15 developed an independent project: a hand-held wound measurement device that will aid in the treatment of pressure ulcers. This June, Kacyn Fujii ’13 will begin research, funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, with Stanford Professor Kwabena Boahen, who links electronics and computer science with neurobiology and medicine.
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HUNGRY WORMS, STERILE BEES AND HUMAN HEALTH STUDYING THE BEHAVIOR OF WORMS AND BEES YIELDS CLUES TO HUMAN DISEASE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT.
Written by RICHARD CHAPMAN
IN THE WORLD OF NEUROSCIENCE, when the worm turns, researchers at Harvey Mudd College take notice. Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny nematode squiggling before a meal on a laboratory dish, provides biology Professor Elizabeth Glater and her student researchers valuable clues to how genes, neurons and chemical scents interact. What they learn may aid understanding of the brain and perhaps lead to new ideas about how to treat inherited neurological and psychiatric disorders. Glater’s compatriots in the biology of behavior are biology professors Rob Drewell and Eliot Bush, whose world doesn’t turn on worms, but on bees—honeybees in particular. The insect’s intriguing reproductive system is yielding tantalizing clues to cellular and genetic effects that also occur in many human cancers. Glater, Drewell, Bush and a crew of enthusiastic HMC students are using labs in the Olin Science Center for important research into the vast, undiscovered territory of behavioral biology. They’re cultivating worms, probing honeybee eggs, testing bee sperm and making sense of billions of bits of data to help determine how molecular biology drives behavior. Their goal? Use what they learn about biological systems that work to understand systems that don’t. “We study the nematode because it has a simple neural system,” Glater says, adding that C. elegans has about a 40 percent similarity to human genes. “And we can apply what we learn to the human brain. Simpler systems give us a place to start.” Of course, that can be a little messy. Handling families of worms barely a millimeter long is intricate and tedious for students who make solutions, cultivate and maintain the worms and keep the lab running. Brian Conroy ’13, a mathematical biology major, finds working with nematodes intriguing. The work is teaching him how the neurological system of a worm helps it decide where to slither and what to eat.
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“WE’RE CONVINCED THAT GENETIC CHANGES HAVE CLEAR EFFECTS ON BEHAVIOR, BUT WE DON’T HAVE ALL THE PIECES FILLED IN.” - ELIZABETH GLATER
Using the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, biology Professor Elizabeth Glater studies how genes evolve and the biological mechanisms by which the nervous system produces behavior.
“The answer to behavioral disorders lies in the neurons,” he In Drewell’s lab, understanding genetic behavior means thinking about honeybees and what he calls their reproductive says. “The work isn’t always cool. But if you bear with it, you “tug-of-war.” The males, called drones, want offspring that get cool results.” Conroy likes to remind himself that Gregor are reproductively active, he explains. But the queen wants Mendel, the father of modern genetics, started out studying her daughters to be sterile so there are no new queens until pea pods. the hive is ready to split. The Drewell lab hypothesizes that Maria Morabe ’13, also a mathematical biology major, says through a simple chemical modification, called DNA methylathe project has enhanced her passion for biology. “It’s made tion, the ruling queen unconsciously switches off a few of the me want to do more research in the future. The pure fun of genes in her DNA and that of her offspring so that no new learning about other organisms is what I like.” This learning involves watching, imaging and monitoring queens are born. how genetically mutated worms use their neural systems to It all seems a little Shakespearean, perhaps, but to Bush, sense food, choose which bacterial dinner they prefer, wriggle who is handling the billions of computations the molecular over to the meal, hang out and eat—the full dining experience. genetic research generated, it’s thoroughly modern, especially Summer research students Rachel Macfarlane ’15 and Melissa how methylation in honeybee reproduction might be linked to Chambers POM ’15 presented their findings on the neural methylation observed in human cancer cells. basis of food choice behavior at the Society for Neuroscience “In a large number of human cancers, a causative component of the cancer is a radical change in DNA methylation and Undergraduate Poster Session in October 2012. the DNA of the cells,” Drewell says. “So anything we can do “By understanding the neural circuitry of this relatively to understand DNA methylation can have an impact on husimple choice, we can build up our understanding to situaman health and the potential treatment of disease.” tions of more complexity,” Glater says. Using worms that are That understanding requires a laborious examination of genetically mutated helps her clarify the links between genes complex data. In a collaborative effort with the laboratory of and behavior. Ben Oldroyd at the University of Sydney in Australia, genomic But there’s a lot yet to understand, she cautions. “We’re DNA from bee eggs and sperm was sent to China’s Beijing convinced that genetic changes have clear effects on behavior, Genomics Institute for high-throughput sequencing, and a but we don’t have all the pieces filled in.”
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“MANY BIOLOGISTS EVENTUALLY WILL BE COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGISTS. AND THAT’S HOW WE TRAIN OUR STUDENTS.” - ROBERT DREWELL
Biology Professor Robert Drewell helps project leader Sherry Zhang ’15 catch honeybees from which they will collect the sperm and egg samples needed for high-throughput sequencing. Tobin Ivy ’13, project leader, examines data in order to help determine the function of various honeybee genes.
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data set containing 300 million DNA sequences was returned for computational analysis, which allows HMC researchers to pinpoint where methylation occurs in the sperm and egg. Analyzing data wasn’t as big a part of biology 10 or 15 years ago, Bush points out. But today, for many scientists, it’s a necessity. “Many biologists eventually will be computational biologists,” Bush says. “And that’s how we train our students.” Suzy Beeler ’15, a mathematical and computational biology major, spent the summer of her first year and this past fall semester getting the samples needed for sequencing. She is now working on the computational analysis of the samples. “I really enjoy the fact that this project incorporates both lab work and coding work; it allows me to see both sides of computational biology.” Beeler is working with fellow Mudders Garrett Wong ’14, Lauren Shull ’14, and project leaders Tobin Ivy ’13 and Sherry Zhang ’15, who have worked on the research for the last two years. The HMC team is collaborating with the researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia with whom they exchange bees and divvy up the data. Together, the researchers have found a significant difference in methylation patterns in about 300 of the genes. Their next steps are to characterize the differences between egg and sperm, study the methylation marks and determine the function of the various genes by performing experiments on live bees and wasps. Zhang says, “I have always been interested in molecular biology, and this project piques my interest, especially the idea of genomic imprinting, the conflict of interest between parents and how that might be translated to DNA markers of their kin.” This research plays into the strengths of Mudders, who are well suited to the challenging computational and mathematical tasks, says Drewell. So far, the teams’ work has led to a research paper, “Kin conflict in insect societies: a new epigenetic perspective,” published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and another article will soon be published. “It’s very cool that we get to understand how bees use DNA methylation,” says Drewell. “But the overarching goal is that we can make an impact in terms of human health and potential treatment for diseases like cancer.”
MUDDERINGS Alumni and Family News and Events
RANDY SPANGLER ’92
Alumni Association Down Under
The HMC group at Sydney Harbor; Ann Mason views the solar eclipse; Christa and David Ruiz ’92 at Millaa Millaa Falls; Celeste and Randy Spangler ’92 near the Sydney Opera House; clown fish and turtles at the Great Barrier Reef. The Rainbow Lorikeet and green tree frog were some of the wildlife on display at Daintree National Park.
It’s a rare travel adventure that includes a solar eclipse, but 23 fortunate individuals experienced that and more during their November 2012 trip. Alumni, their guests, HMC staff and faculty journeyed to Australia, where Professor of Physics Greg Lyzenga ’75 served as their tour guide. The 10-day adventure included stays in Sydney and Cairns, excursions to experience wine tasting in the Hunter Valley, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, aboriginal culture in a tribal rainforest, crocodiles in the wild at Daintree National Park and a traditional, working cattle station in the Australian outback. Although eclipse day proved a bit overcast, the clouds conveniently parted just before totality to afford the group a full view of the solar eclipse. Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt (2011, physics) provided his insight on the event during a private presentation. The travelers also were treated to the newly released James Bond film Skyfall at a private screening arranged by HMC trustee and film producer Michael Wilson ’63.
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MUDDERINGS Outstanding Alumni Honorees 2013 Outstanding Alumni Awards are given by the Alumni Association Board of Governors to those who have made significant contributions to science and society. Talks given during Alumni Weekend by Paula Diehr ’63, P90, Henry Kapteyn ’83 and Michale Sailor ’83 can be viewed on HMC’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/harveymuddcollege.
Paula Diehr ’63, P90 HEALTH SERVICES EDUCATOR AND ADVOCATE
Diehr is a champion of health services research, using statistical methods to draw out meaningful data. An educator and researcher, she has tackled diverse subjects such as the statistical diagnosis of headaches, methodologies for analyzing medical costs and health issues experienced by older adults. In 1970, Diehr joined the faculty at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she spent her entire career. As professor of biostatistics and health services, she taught, sponsored and mentored doctoral and master’s degree students. As professor emerita, she focuses on issues surrounding aging and longevity. She is the author of more than 200 papers and a fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Association for Health Services Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her son, Michael Diehr ’90, is also an HMC graduate.
Henry Kapteyn ’83 LASER INNOVATOR AND ENTREPRENEUR
Kapteyn is best known for his research in femtosecond lasers. With his wife, Margaret, he created a tabletop X-ray laser and applied it to pioneering studies of material behavior. He is a founding member of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology and co-founder of KMLabs, a successful laser company. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His awards include the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology (2009), the R.W. Wood Prize (2010), the Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (2010) and the Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics (2012). He was named a member of the National Academy of Sciences this year. In 1999, he joined the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is professor of physics.
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Malcolm Lewis ’67 LEED PIONEER, DEVOTED HMC ALUMNUS
Lewis was presented with the HMC Outstanding Alumni Award on Oct. 1, 2012, shortly before he died of cancer. The first alumnus elected to the HMC Board of Trustees (1973), he served on the board for 39 years. In 2012, he became the first alumnus to serve as its chair. Lewis founded Constructive Technologies Group Inc., a consulting firm that helps owners and designers optimize the performance of new and existing buildings. Involved in the development of the LEED green-building rating system, Lewis was the driving force behind the LEED certification of Sontag Residence Hall, Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons and the new teaching and learning building. He and his wife, Cindy, established the Patton and Claire Lewis Fellowship program, which provides opportunities for students to be mentored by professional engineers in academia and industry, while gaining practical experience.
Michael Sailor ’83 GLOBAL AUTHORITY ON POROUS SILICON
Sailor is a global authority on porous silicon who has invented many porous silicon-based technologies. He invented the interferometric sensor, which spurred a worldwide chemical and biological sensor research effort. He also developed “Smart Dust,” multifunctional nanostructured photonic crystal particles that can be used as chemical sensors; the Reflective Interferometric Fourier Transform Spectroscopy technique; and the method to prepare porous silicon nanoparticles, including demonstrating their use as tumor-imaging agents. He has served as scientific advisor to several startups and has won two “Best of What’s New” awards from Popular Science. In 1990, he joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, where he is professor of chemistry and biochemistry and the Leslie Orgel Scholar in Inorganic Chemistry. He holds affiliate appointments in the university’s Departments of Bioengineering and Nanoengineering and in the Materials Science and Engineering Program.
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MUDDERINGS Alumni and Family News and Events
Upcoming Events The latest information is available at hmc.edu/alumni or hmc.edu/parents. Summer Send-offs June–July 2013
175th Meeting, Alumni Association Board of Governors June 22 Reception eSolar Sun Tower Tour June 28, Lancaster, Calif. Lunch and Talk with Professor Ran Libeskind-Hadas June 29, Los Angeles Lord of the Rings, Two Towers Accompanied by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Aug. 16, Chicago
Incoming students and their parents can meet other HMC families and alumni who live nearby during the annual Summer Send-Off gatherings, which help welcome new families into the HMC community. Events are held throughout the summer, from late June to early August; watch your mail and email for more information. If you are interested in hosting a gathering to meet Class of 2017 students and their families in your area, please contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at email@example.com.
Save These 2014 Dates Family Weekend Feb. 7–8, 2014 Alumni Weekend May 2–4, 2014
Manage Your Magazine Subscription Are you receiving the e-newsletter? Harvey Mudd College News Briefs, e-newsletters for alumni and parents, are sent monthly during the school year. It’s your best source for current College-related news and events. If you would like to receive future e-newsletters, please subscribe by completing the form at http://bit.ly/12iGSv3 (for alumni) or http://bit.ly/11Vubrw (for parents).
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The HMC Bulletin is mailed three times yearly, during fall/ winter, spring and summer. If you would like to help the College save postage and prefer reading the magazine online, we welcome your request to receive a digital copy only. You will be notified by email each issue. Please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage recycling of past issues by sharing your print or electronic copy with others. Find current and past issues of the HMC Bulletin at www.bulletin.hmc.edu.
Families Create More Than Memories Hugging, dancing, building bridges and more hugging all made Family Weekend a memorable time for the more than 340 parents and family members who attended Feb. 1 and 2. In addition to visiting with their students, participants learned more about the College, met members of the campus community and enjoyed fun, customized events.
Clockwise from left: Aseem Sharma P16, Mitali Sharma and Sangeeta Khanna P16; the Dwelle family: Scott, Judy, Kaitlyn ’15 and Ken; Michaela Kilday P13 and Kim Kilday ’13; Ben Gross ’13, Joanne Mark GP13, Leslie Mark P13; winners of the bridge-building contest; guests learn to cha cha; teaching and learning building tour; President Klawe greets parents during her state of the College address; Juanita Holland P15, Tyler Holland-Ashford ’15, Ron Ashford P15; parents respond enthusiastically during an information session. Below, center: Peter Saeta, chair of the Department of Physics, describes the department’s latest projects.
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CLASS NOTES 1963
REUNION YEAR Skyfall was named the Outstanding British Film at the British Academy Film Awards. HMC Trustee Michael G. Wilson produces the Bond film series along with his half-sister Barbara Broccoli. “This is a great honor,” said Michael Wilson. “It’s the first time Bond has been recognized in this way.” Skyfall, the highest-grossing film of all time at the U.K. box office, also received an Original Music award.
Arunas Rudvalis retired at the end of fall 2012 after teaching math at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for 40 years.
George McNulty, professor of mathematics at the University of South Carolina, was named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. He, two other alumni and HMC faculty members Art Benjamin and Nicholas Pippenger, and President Maria Klawe became members of this inaugural group during a ceremony at the AMS Joint Mathematics Meetings in January. Fellow alumni were Peter Loeb ’59, professor of mathematics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Jerrold Tunnell ’72, associate professor of mathematics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
REUNION YEAR Frank Greitzer retired from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he had served as chief scientist for cognitive informatics, leading R&D in applied cognitive science/mathematical modeling for enhanced decision making, information processing and training. In June, he established a consulting arm, PsyberAnalytix LLC, which will focus on similar R&D topics for clients in government, academia and industry. He says, “One of the main applications of this research is in the field of counterintelligence, particularly combating the insider threat (see www. PsyberAnalytix.com). Frank and his wife, Sue, who celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on a Panama Canal cruise, welcomed their second grandson on June 1, 2012, the first day of Frank’s retirement.
Corinne Morse recently retired from the National Center for Atmospheric Research after 22 years; she will remain as a consultant. She spent 15 years working on the Juneau Airport Wind System (JAWS) in Alaska. The system provides information pilots can use to identify potentially turbulent zones within the airspace of the mountainous and often windy airport. It uses a network of wind-measuring instruments and computational formulas to indicate when and where atmospheric conditions are interacting with the local terrain to produce turbulence.
Information in Class Notes is compiled from HMC academic department news, previously published items in print and online media outlets, as well as items submitted by individual alumni via email and through the form at http://bit.ly/12iGSv3. Send news for the summer issue by June 30.
In Alaska’s capital city, JAWS enables the airport to maximize operations while maintaining safety by identifying corridors of smooth air for safe take-offs and landings. Cory is married to David E. Beeman Jr., a former physics faculty member who taught at HMC for 21 years. Dave is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is a member of the neuroscience graduate faculty.
Andrew Lees works in India and China making affordable vaccines. Both of his children are in college, leaving Andy and his wife, Julie, with a mostly empty nest.
Jim Bean, an HMC Trustee, will return to a faculty position in the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon after having served as senior vice president and provost since 2008. He will be working on special projects for the president involving governance and expanding externally funded research. Prior to Oregon, he spent 24 years at the University of Michigan, where his appointments included serving as the Ford Motor Company co-director of the Tauber Manufacturing Institute, associate dean for graduate education and international programs in the College of Engineering and associate dean for academic affairs. From 2004–2008 he served as dean of the Lundquist College of Business.
Tabor Communications Inc., an international media, advertising and communications company, appointed Richard L. Brandt as managing editor for HPCwire (www.hpcwire.com), a news and information resource covering the latest global advancements in high-performance, computational and data-intensive computing. Richard writes about science, technology, business and environmental issues. He was editor-in-chief of Upside magazine for five years and was a technology correspondent for BusinessWeek for 14 years. He’s received a National Magazine Award, Atlantic Monthly Award and a Maggie Award, among others.
REUNION YEAR Elizabeth (Betty) Johnson, organizational capability manager, Earth sciences, for the Chevron Energy Technology Company, presented a career seminar at HMC in February. She discussed the opportunities available in exploration geophysics, the academic preparation necessary and ways to be successful in the industry. Betty is the former national president of the Association for Women Geoscientists and has been active in the Society of Exploration Geophysics and the American Geophysical Union. She is a past member of the HMC Alumni Board of Governors. continued on Page 34
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ALUMNI PROFILE MUDD POETS SOCIETY Written by KOREN WETMORE
orty-two years had passed since John Harrell ’69 had seen the name, but could it really be the North Dormer he recalled from his years at Harvey Mudd College? In 2010, Ken Solomon ’67 joined the California State Poetry Society (CSPS), where Harrell was serving as treasurer and acting president. Yet, it wasn’t until Solomon volunteered a year later to be monthly poetry contest chair that his name flashed on Harrell’s radar. Harrell fired off an email asking Solomon if he was, indeed, a Mudder. Solomon replied, “Wow, one doesn’t run across vintage Mudders every day, rarer still to find their paths crossing in the poetry world. Yes, I am that Ken Solomon.” Solomon’s reply included a poem, “Shannon, π and Hope.” The two men now serve together as board members for the CSPS, the official representative of California poets to the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Harrell composed his first poems in 1964, while an American Field Service exchange student in Germany. Two years later, during his sophomore year at HMC, he became a published poet. “That got the attention of two literature professors—George Wickes and Ben Saltman. They met with me, and we set up a program between Mudd and Pomona for me to complete an equivalent B.A. in 20th Century American Literature while I finished my B.S. in mathematics,” says Harrell. “They were very generous in their praise of my writing skills. The memory has kept me involved with writing ever since.” For Solomon, the muse struck later but arose, as it had with Harrell, on foreign soil. As an agricultural engineer, Solomon often traveled abroad. Poetry, he soon discovered, proved the perfect vessel to describe the places he visited. “I began writing poetry to capture the sounds and smells of foreign markets, the colors and textures of new crops and the remarkable characters that peopled my agricultural adventures,” he says. Former HMC English Professor George Wickes also influenced Solomon, who fondly recalls Wickes reading Chaucer’s works aloud— in the Old English dialect—so students could hear and appreciate the rhythm of the language. “I remember being wonderfully impressed with the melodious, flowing sounds,” Solomon says. “Though I didn’t pursue poetry till decades later, my memory of him reading Chaucer has resurfaced many times as I work on poems of my own.” Harrell and Solomon hope to inspire the next generation of poets. They envision the poetry society’s sponsorship of high school and
Reprinted with permission from Tiger’s Eye: A Journal of Poetry, Spring-Summer 2010
college poetry contests and conferences, each designed to promote awareness and the “doing” of poetry among young people. “Good art—good poetry—doesn’t spring fully formed like Diana from the mind of Zeus, but is the result of shaping and reshaping so the richness of English is honored and the voice of the poet rings true,” says Harrell. “Developing the maturity needed to offer and accept constructive criticism takes time, and young people should be exposed to the collegiality, the support and the gentle discipline of the forums we can offer.” Mudders young and vintage can learn more about the CSPS by visiting http://CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety.org.
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CLASS NOTES continued from Page 32
Jennifer (Salem) Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, New Zealand, was featured on the BioSpectrum Asia website during International Women’s Week in March. In the article, “I like to work on things people say can’t be done,” Jennifer describes her childhood in Colombia, her U.S. schooling, her 23-year career at UOP and her work at LanzaTech, where she and her team are working to “democratize energy supplies, providing a way for millions of people to not only decrease their reliance on imported sources of fuels and energy, but actually enable a greater number of people to access a previously unobtainable standard of living.” Read more at http://tinyurl.com/bm5lrs5.
REUNION YEAR Fred Streitz P13 presented the HMC Physics Colloquium, “Opening Frontiers with Extreme Capability Computing,” March 12. He discussed his work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which involves the development of software to enable large-scale simulations—some involving the molecular dynamics of more than 60 billion atoms—on supercomputers such as IBM’s Blue Gene/L and Blue Gene/Q. He presented the challenges and successes experienced while developing applications to model fluid instability, the solidification of molten metal and the electrophysiology of a human heart.
REUNION YEAR Louis Rossi and members of his swarm dynamics group at the University of Delaware and colleagues at the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have published the first quantitative evidence of information cascades in swarms. Their article, “Quantifying and Tracing Information Cascades in Swarms,” appeared in PLOS One and can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/cwncdj8.
Claremont Entertainment & Media (CEM) partnered with the Los Angeles Professional Chapter of SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) to offer a private screening of Oz: The Great and Powerful at Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. Participants viewed the film then enjoyed a discussion focusing on the development of the graphics and the film’s visual effects with Scott Stokdyk, Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor. Scott, a three-time Oscar nominee, has worked with director Sam Raimi on all three of the Spider-Man movies, and won the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for his groundbreaking work on Spider-Man 2.
Greg Harr formed his own nonprofit company, Solar for All Inc., and will soon complete his first project: solar panels for an affordable housing development in Portland, Ore.
Nick Melosh received tenure as a professor of material science at Stanford University. He says HMC played a big role in his success.
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Andrew Ross teaches mathematics and “sneaks in some operations research” when he can at Eastern Michigan University. He writes: “We have three kids now, and I was just thinking the other day that by the Intermediate Value Theorem, at some point we had e (2.71828…) kids, if you pro-rate a kid during the nine months of pregnancy to make it a continuous function—though, there may be ethical objections to this.”
REUNION YEAR Brian Johnson moved from Manhattan to Portland, Ore., in 2009 to be with Marissa Anderson SCR ’03. He has been getting fit, hacking and living the dream of the 1990s.
Christian Jones serves as a surgical critical care fellow at The Ohio State University Medical Center and is in the process of becoming a trauma surgeon. Neil Martinsen-Burrell was tenured as an associate professor of mathematics at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He enjoys teaching mostly statistics despite being an applied mathematician at heart.
Jake Kimball (né Walker), his wife, Katie, and son, Barlow, launched Twin Cities Trapeze Center (TC2), an indoor flying trapeze school in St. Paul, Minn. Jake and Katie teach adults and kids yearround. Barlow, at 11 months old, is already flying through the air with the greatest of ease with his parents.
Chris Hanusa won the Mathematical Association of America’s Metro New York section 2012 Distinguished Teaching Award. He teaches at Queens College in Flushing, N.Y. Marco Latini works for the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Palmdale, Calif. He worked previously with the Center for Naval Analyses on a two-year assignment at the Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine out of China Lake, Calif. He writes: “I am glad to be back in California and to live here on a more regular basis. In fact, I love the outdoors and backpacking.” Jill Sohm and Adi Drost welcomed a baby boy, Simon Alexander Sohm Drost, on Jill’s birthday. Adi is working as a test engineer, while Jill is enjoying teaching biology courses at local colleges. They recently moved into their first house.
REUNION YEAR Adam Bliss retired after seven years of working at Google and moved to Bangkok. He writes: “Here I enjoy a life of leisure and fill my hours by tinkering with the lambda calculus and writing computer-verifiable formal proofs from the Peano axioms.” continued on Page 36
BIOLOGY PIONEER Written by SHARI ROAN
s a bright, science-loving high school student, Barbara Simmons was eyeing Caltech and MIT for college. But it only took one visit to Harvey Mudd College to persuade her to enroll in the small school just a few hours north of her home in San Diego. It was the first of three important decisions Simmons —now Barbara Hardwick ’92—made during her college years, each of them turning out to be fortuitous choices. Her second decision was to major in biology, allowing her to become the first graduate, in 1992, of the Barbara (Simmons) Hardwick ’92 was the first graduate of HMC’s Department of Biology. newly formed biology department. Her third savvy choice has to do with her last name, Hardwick. During her first year, she met fellow “North Dormer” James Hardwick. The two married in 1993. “He was a year older than me and also a biology major,” Hardwick that tight-knit feeling of community was still apparent. The biggest says. “But he graduated before there was a biology program, so he got change, Hardwick says with a laugh, is how many more female students his bio major as an independent-study student,” taking his required are on campus. Back in her day, far fewer women were pursuing biology classes at neighboring schools. degrees in math and science, but Hardwick says she never felt like a Hardwick takes pride in being HMC’s first biology graduate educated minority. “I actually felt like it is one of the more equitable environments within the school’s halls. But she’s more impressed by the totality of her I’ve been in.” experience in college. There were plenty of opportunities after graduation, too. Hardwick “The thing I reflect back on is that college was one of the most earned a master’s degree in biology at University of California, San intellectually challenging and interesting times in my life,” Hardwick says. Diego, intending to pursue scientific research. She realized she wasn’t “I think what strikes me now as unique and special is the cooperative cut out for the slow pace of progress and solitude of the work. Having atmosphere. There was no competitiveness among the students. The enjoyed her roles as social chair and dorm president at HMC —Hardwick challenge was external. The challenge was the material.” wanted a career that was more interactive and a bit faster paced. Hardwick entered Harvey Mudd intending to major in chemistry. But That led her to the MIT Sloan School of Management where she earned the time spent taking Core classes during her first two years of college an MBA studying marketing and new product development. was illuminating. She found herself intrigued with biology. She was hired by Pfizer in 1999 and has worked there since. Today, “Bill Purves —his class and the conversations I had with him—got Hardwick is senior director in global commercial development in the me excited about biology,” she recalls. “Nancy Hamlett taught a class in company’s neuroscience group and lives in Princeton Junction, N.J. molecular biology, and I got interested in that.” She and James have two children, Alison, 10, and Adam, 7. Hardwick recalls a burgeoning biology program that immediately Her job at Pfizer involves collaborating with the research and drew packed classes with instructors eager to advance their students’ development department to help develop new compounds. Although she educations and careers. Because the program was new, faculty doesn’t don a lab coat or spend her day hunched over a microscope, that members probed the students for feedback on how to strengthen and biology degree sure comes in handy, Hardwick says. build the program, she says. “I really enjoy this role,” she says, “because I’m close to the science, Hardwick remains close friends with many of her former classmates. but I’m not actually doing the scientific research.” When she returned to the campus last year for her 20-year class reunion,
Harvey Mudd College
CLASS NOTES continued from Page 34
Nate Eldredge developed Mathgen, a program that randomly generates professional-looking mathematics papers complete with theorems, proofs, equations, discussion and references. It is modeled after SCIgen, which generates random computer science papers. Nate, a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University submitted the Mathgen-produced paper, “Independent, Negative, Canonically Turing Arrows of Equations and Problems in Applied Formal PDE,” and, much to his delight, it was provisionally accepted by the journal Advances in Pure Mathematics. To generate your own “research” paper, visit http://thatsmathematics.com/ mathgen/. Galway O’Mahony and his wife, Cassie, recently celebrated the birth of their first child, Logan Keane O’Mahony. Logan was born a healthy 7 lbs., 2 oz. Jeremy Rouse is an assistant mathematics professor at Wake Forest University. He spent some time in Atlanta where he worked with another number theorist.
Lindsay Crowl Erickson is a staff member in the thermal fluids group at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif. She and her husband welcomed their first baby into the world Jan. 14, 2012.
Jeffrey Hellrung earned his doctorate in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles in June 2011. His dissertation was titled, “On Embedded Methods for Crack Propagation, Virtual Surgery, Shattered Objects in Computer Animation, and Elliptic Partial Differential Equations.” In July, he took a postdoctoral position with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., then joined Google in December as a software engineer at the company’s office in Venice Beach, Calif. Carl Yerger is an assistant professor of mathematics at Davidson College in North Carolina. He continues to do research in structural graph theory and graph pebbling. He took a trip to visit collaborator Kenichi Kawarabayashi in Tokyo last summer to work on a new project related to Steinberg’s conjecture. Yerger, along with a student, also has submitted a project related to college basketball. He and another professor coordinate the Charlotte Math Club, an enrichment program for talented middle- and high-school math students in the Charlotte area.
Sean Fogarty married Sarah Rodenburg in October 2012, and they both changed their names to Fogenburg. Sean earned his Ph.D. and is working on a postdoc at Princeton University.
Nathan Chenette earned his Ph.D. in algorithms, combinatorics and optimization from Georgia Tech in August 2012. He is a visiting assistant mathematics professor at Clemson University, where his wife, Heather (Schalliol) Chenette, is working on her Ph.D. in chemical engineering and where Matt Macauley ’03 works as assistant professor of mathematics.
Harvey Mudd College
Kristen Huff is a transportation planner in Los Angeles. She does spatial analyses and collects and analyzes bicycle and pedestrian count data. She writes: “The more ‘mathy’ my work is, the happier I am.” Eugene Quan works at a quantitative trading firm called Headlands Technologies in his hometown of San Francisco.
REUNION YEAR Parousia Rockstroh is pursuing his doctorate at Cambridge University where he received a Cambridge Trust Scholarship. He completed his master’s at Simon Fraser University in 2011, and in spring 2012, was a visiting research scholar at Oxford University, working with faculty on mathematics and numerical analysis. His research interests are in geometric analysis and PDEs with a focus on applying techniques within these fields to image processing and computing on surfaces. Sam Sobelman has been writing music for and performing in a folk-pop band called Lipstick Lumberjack (facebook.com/LipstickLumberjack). He says, “We recently put out our debut EP! We are also attempting to release a new digital single every month of 2013, leading up to the release of a brand-spankin’ new, full-length album in the second half of the year.” The EP and singles can be downloaded for free at lipsticklumberjack.bandcamp.com. Will Tipton is a graduate student at Cornell University and has written a book, Expert Heads up No Limit Hold’em. He writes: “My approach is very game theory oriented. The challenge was to make it accessible and as valuable as possible to the average poker player while not waving my hands too much. Many of the results are original and were made possible through significant computation. View the book at www.dandbpoker.com/product/expert-heads-up-no-limit-holdem-volume-1.
Josh Swanson is pursuing his doctorate in mathematics at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Mathematics alumnae Lindsay Hall and Andrea Levy ’11 are featured in Careers in Applied Mathematics, published by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The Mudders were among the 18 professionals featured who represent the diverse careers available to mathematicians. “If you broaden your perspective on what you can do with your interests and passions, you might find yourself in a career that you never imagined—but end up loving,” said Hall, a software engineer at Google Inc., who works on the Google Docs team. Levy, a research analyst for the public policy research firm Acumen, LLC, shared how her work employs creative problem-solving skills that remind her of the logic puzzles she enjoyed as a child. “The applications of math are broad enough that you should be able to find an overlap between math and another one of your interests,” she said.
F IN D M E
A Short History of the Groody Groodies were introduced at HMC by Bill Purves, founder of the Department of Biology. He got the idea from colleague Burton Guttman, who featured “groodies” (so named by Guttman’s daughter) in the book, Biological Principles. HMC’s Biology 52 homework book from 1980 is subtitled “Tales of Groodies, Raging Elephants and Noble Cucumbers.” These days, students might be asked to align sequences between the eastern and western Groody. In Biology 109 (Evolutionary Biology), students study the phylogenetic relationships of different species of Groodies that have evolved a variety of characteristics, including preferring to mate in various brands of beer. There are also Linde and Atwood Groodies. Thanks to Dave Gonda ’79 for the original HMC Groody illustration, above.
Groody Hunt In celebration of the biology department’s 35th anniversary (1977) and the 20th anniversary of the biology major, we’ve hidden Groodies throughout this issue of the HMC Bulletin. By June 30, tell us how many you find (send answers to email@example.com). During July, we’ll select randomly from the correct answers/closest guesses. Two winners will receive a Groody T-shirt. Grood luck!
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The Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Team, a popular pastime for Mudders, provides entertainment “Gangnam Style” during Family Weekend. For more scenes from the eventful weekend, see Page 31.