Town-gown fun at Communiversity
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Hearing history: Thompson explores sound technology
by Hilary Parker
For Princeton history professor Emily Thompson, the record player is an auditory portal to the past. Consider the early days after the phonograph’s invention by Thomas Edison in 1877, when people weren’t quite sure what to do with the device. At the time, many thought its most promising future would be as a piece of office equipment, used by male executives to record notes and dictate correspondence.
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Longtime faculty member John Marks dies at 85
John Marks, professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at the University, died at his home in Princeton on April 15 at age 85. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. A specialist in Near Eastern cultural and political history, Marks was a member of the faculty from 1954 until his retirement in 1993.
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Cultural property course examines Native American treasures
by Ushma Patel
In a back room at the Princeton University Art Museum, the students in professor Lawrence Rosen’s new anthropology course received a firsthand lesson on the issues surrounding art, authenticity and ownership. With their eyes and hands, students took in ancient pieces from the American Southwest of Mimbres pottery and Hopi kachina dolls — representations of holy figures made to educate children. One item, a ceremonial bowl used to cover the faces of the dead in burial, recently was discovered to have been repainted with figures sometime since the 1960s. Rosen saw an opportunity and dove in.
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New website to help translate genetic data into medical therapies
by Chris Emery
Princeton researchers have created a Rosetta Stone for the human body, a website that offers clues to the role DNA plays in aging and disease by helping scientists make sense of the vast jumble of information emerging from genetics research. By mashing up genetic data from disparate sources and interpreting it with the help of computer algorithms informed by biological principles, the online system allows scientists to predict which genes might be involved in ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer.
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Obama selects Chyba for science and technology council
President Barack Obama has named Christopher Chyba, professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs at Princeton, to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST is a group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who will advise the president and vice president and formulate policy in the many areas where understanding of science, technology and innovation is key to strengthening the economy and forming policy.
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Contributing writers: Cass Cliatt, Chris Emery, Hilary Parker, Ushma Patel, Ruth Stevens
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