Princeton University

Princeton Weekly Bulletin   April 16, 2007, Vol. 96, No. 23   prev   next   current

  • PWB logo
  • The Bulletin is published weekly during the academic year, except during University breaks and exam weeks, by the Office of Communications. Second class postage paid at Princeton. Postmaster: Send address changes to Princeton Weekly Bulletin, Office of Communications, Princeton University, 22 Chambers St., Suite 201, Princeton, NJ 08542. Permission is given to adapt, reprint or excerpt material from the Bulletin for use in other media.
  • Subscriptions. The Bulletin is distributed free to faculty, staff and students. Others may subscribe to the Bulletin for $30 for the 2006-07 academic year (half price for current Princeton parents and people over 65). Send a check to Office of Communications, Princeton University, 22 Chambers St., Suite 201, Princeton, NJ 08542.
  • Deadlines. In general, the copy deadline for each issue is the Friday 10 days in advance of the Monday cover date. The deadline for the Bulletin that covers April 30-May 6 is Friday, April 20. A complete publication schedule is available at pr/ pwb/ deadlines.html; or by calling (609) 258-3601.
  • Editor: Ruth Stevens

    Calendar editor: Shani Hilton

    Staff writers: Jennifer Greenstein Altmann, Eric Quiñones

    Contributing writers: Emily Aronson, Chad Boutin, Karin Dienst, Hilary Parker, Steven Schultz

    Photographers: Denise Applewhite, John Jameson

    Design: Maggie Westergaard

    Web edition: Mahlon Lovett

  • PU shield

Nassau notes

Nobel laureate Mather explores universe’s history

Nobel laureate John Mather will deliver a lecture titled “From the Big Bang to the Nobel Prize” at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in A-02 McDonnell Hall.

In a talk intended for a lay audience, Mather will tell the story of how the universe began, how it could have produced an Earth where sentient beings can live and how those beings are discovering their history through spaceborne instruments. A project scientist for NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite and senior project scientist for the planned James Webb Space Telescope, Mather will offer details on how COBE’s findings support the Big Bang theory and the opportunities for future discovery the Webb telescope will provide.

Mather is a senior astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology. He shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics with George Smoot for their work on COBE.

Mather’s address is the fifth annual Raymond and Beverly Sackler Lecture in Astrophysics and is sponsored by the Department of Physics. It will be preceded by tea at 4 p.m. in 218 Jadwin Hall.


“Africa’s Golden Voice” at McCarter

Singer Salif Keita (right), who is known throughout the world as “Africa’s Golden Voice” and acclaimed for his hypnotic blend of Western and African music, will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the McCarter Theatre Center. Arabic, French, Spanish and local Malian traditions all have influenced Keita’s music. His latest sound, created with his longtime guitarist partner Kante Manfila, is a return to the all-acoustic traditions of his Malian ancestors. For ticket information, contact the McCarter box office at 258-2787 or visit (photo: courtesy of the McCarter Theatre Center)

Spitzer, Frist among speakers at colloquium on politics and passion

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will speak as part of a colloquium titled “From Passion to Politics: What Moves People to Take Action?” set for Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.

The fifth annual Princeton Colloquium on Public and International Affairs will explore political, humanitarian and religious issues in seeking to understand what motivates people to move beyond cognitive awareness of a problem to take actual steps to provide assistance. The theme was triggered by keynote speaker Paul Slovic’s work on the psychological explanation for people’s failure to be moved by genocide.

Slovic, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, will deliver the first of two keynote addresses, “If I Look at the Mass I Will Never Act: Psychic Numbing and Genocide,” at 4:30 p.m. on April 20. The second address, “The Power of Collaboration in Transnational Action,” will be presented by Jody Williams, campaign ambassador of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, at 1 p.m. on April 21.

Spitzer and Frist, both Princeton alumni, will speak on “Taking Office to Take Action” at 10:30 a.m. on April 21. The discussion, one of several panels planned for the colloquium, will be moderated by fellow alumnus James Leach, a former U.S. Congressman and current visiting professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

For the full schedule of speakers and panel topics, visit

The colloquium is sponsored by the Wilson School, Office of Religious Life, Pace Center, University Center for Human Values, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Center for the Study of Democratic Politics and Woodrow Wilson Political Network.

Writing influences focus of Ford talk

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford will discuss the forces that turn writers to their vocation in a lecture at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in McCosh 50. His talk is titled “Extra-Literary Influences: The Things That Help, the Things That Hurt.”

In 1996, Ford’s “Independence Day” became the first novel to be awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. His latest novel, “The Lay of the Land,” continues the life story of Frank Bascombe, the protagonist in “Independence Day” and his earlier novel, “The Sportswriter.” “The Lay of the Land” chronicles Bascombe’s understanding of himself and the unanticipated complexities of life at late middle age.

Ford’s other works include the novels “A Piece of My Heart,” “The Ultimate Good Luck” and “Wildlife” as well as the short story collections “Rock Springs,” “Women With Men” and “A Multitude of Sins.” He has taught at Princeton, the University of Michigan and Williams College.

His talk, designated as a Spencer Trask Lecture, is part of the University Public Lecture Series.

Activities planned surrounding Earth Day

A variety of activities are being planned on campus this month surrounding the observance of Earth Day on April 22.

Shana Weber, who joined the University last summer as manager of the new Office of Sustainability, is serving as a clearinghouse for the events and has compiled a calendar that is available at

The Princeton Plasma Physics Lab has planned its Earth Day celebration for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, on the Forrestal Campus. In addition to displays, there will be an address by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa Jackson.

On Friday, April 20, an Earth Day Fair will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. on the 100 level of the Frist Campus Center. Representatives of departments, offices and organizations that participate in environmental efforts will staff tables and offer information. Dining Services and the Bent Spoon will provide samples of sustainable food. Environmentally themed movies will be featured on the big screen TV.

Other activities during the almost two-week observance will include a 5K run, an organic garden groundbreaking at Forbes College and several lectures.

Two presentations of note are: a discussion at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, in 8 Friend Center titled “Global Warming: An Ethical Dilemma?” led by Robert Socolow, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; and a lecture at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, in 101 McCormick titled “Global Warming: Irreversible Loss on an Unprecedented Scale” by Michael Oppenheimer, the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs.

Other sponsors of the events include the Princeton Environmental Institute, the Alumni Association and several student groups: Princeton Students United for a Responsible Global Environment, Greening Princeton, EcoReps and Princeton Water Watch.

For more information, contact Weber at

Author Ghosh to discuss Geniza project

Amitav Ghosh, one of the most widely known Indians writing in English today, will speak at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, in 101 McCormick Hall.

Ghosh will discuss “The Making of ‘In an Antique Land’: India, Egypt and the Cairo Geniza,” referring to his 1992 book for which he did much of his research through the Princeton Geniza Project. The Princeton project is part of a global effort to organize and catalog items from the Cairo Geniza, a repository of Jewish documents discovered in the 1890s.

“In an Antique Land,” set in Egypt and India, tells the story of a 12th-century Jewish trader and his Indian slave, whose records were discovered among the letters and other documents of the Cairo Geniza.

Ghosh’s works also include the novels “The Circle of Reason,” “The Shadow Lines,” “The Calcutta Chromosome,” “The Glass Palace” and “The Hungry Tide.” His novels have won several prestigious awards in Europe and India.

Ghosh’s talk is the 29th annual Carolyn Drucker Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Program in Judaic Studies.


Vintage travel photographs exhibited

A new exhibition mounted by the Department of Art and Archaeology offers a look at vintage photographs from the second half of the 19th century, during the concurrent development of photography and tourism. “Global Views: 19th-century Travel Photographs” runs through Friday, Sept. 28, in the first floor lounge of McCormick Hall. The exhibition includes travel photographs from ancient and medieval sites, including this image by an unknown photographer of visitors to temples at Abu Simbel, Egypt, that were built as a monument to the pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century B.C. (photo: courtesy of the Department of Art and Archaeology)

U.N. envoy to address India’s international role

India’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nirupam Sen, will present a talk on “How I See India’s Role in the World” at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in 16 Robertson Hall.

Sen was appointed to his position as U.N. permanent representative in 2004. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1969 and has served in numerous international posts, including in Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and Norway.

The lecture is sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Amazon VP speaks on leadership executive and Princeton alumnus Jeff Wilke will discuss “Tough Choices: Leadership Is All About the Long Run” at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in the Friend Center Convocation Room.

Wilke, senior vice president for Amazon’s North American retail operations, will explore three types of long-term leadership investments and share experiences that have shaped him as a leader. His talk is the final lecture in the 2006-07 “Leadership in a Technological World” series sponsored by the Center for Innovation in Engineering Education.

Wilke, a 1989 Princeton graduate, joined Amazon in 1999.

Swim club seeks members

The Broadmead Swim Club, located near campus at 184 Broadmead St., is accepting members for the 2007 season.

Broadmead provides a 25-meter pool and a separate enclosed baby pool. The season runs from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

For more information and to download an application form, visit the club’s website at or call Noreen DiVanna at 577-7425.


© 2007 The Trustees of Princeton University
University Operator: 609-258-3000