October 11, 2000
File: Connecting the arts
to step down
Class of 2004 arrives
class is most diverse in Princeton's history
Natural History Museum becomes a cause
New protein affects aging process of cells
Connecting the arts
In 1980, when John Wilmerding,
then the assistant director of the National Gallery, organized a
show of American Luminist painting, he included quotations from
Thoreau, Hawthorne, Emerson, and Whitman on the walls with the paintings.
For the first time, he says, this made him think about the connetions
between art and literature.
One painting in particular,
Rubens Peale with a Geranium, caused him to add science, politics,
and Thomas Jefferson to his thinking. "It's a painting of a
painter," Wilmerding says, "and the plant takes up half
the picture. That indicates a balance between art and science. And
Jefferson at that time was a man of art, letters, and botany, as
well as politics."
When Wilmerding came
to Princeton in 1988 as Sarofim professor in American art, he designed
a course around three dates in American history - 1800, 1850, and
1900. He juxtaposed examples from politics, history, natural science,
architecture, literature, and art from each period to "illuminate
During the decade that
he taught his course, American Art and Culture: The 19th Century,
a book began to take shape and was finally published last fall.
The book's title, Compass and Clock: Defining Moments in American
Culture (Abrams), refers to the vast changes between 1800 and 1900
in the American idea of space and time. "This book came out
of teaching, the process of pedagogy," Wilmerding says.
teaches a freshman seminar on the art and culture of New York, exploring
the Gilded Age, the Ashcan School, subways, the Stieglitz circle,
the Harlem Renaissance, and pop art. And the 19th-century course?
He doesn't offer it anymore because, he says, "The answers
are all in the book."
By Ann Waldron
to step down
a voice unsteady with emotion, Harold T. Shapiro *64 announced his
resignation as Princeton's 18th president at a press conference
in Nassau Hall on September 22. Shapiro plans to finish out the
academic year - his 13th as president of the university - and then
take a year-long sabbatical before returning to teaching and research
as a professor at Princeton.
Shapiro, 65, said that
there was no single reason why he was leaving now, other than that
he is leaving Princeton "at the top of its game." "You
could never be around long enough to see all the initiatives finished,"
Shapiro said, "because as soon as you finish one, another is
started." He did cite the successful completion of the $1.14-billion
250th anniversary campaign and said that he "feels good about
the opportunities I'm leaving my successor."
Robert Rawson '66, chair
of the executive committeee of Princeton's board of trustees, said,
"Because of the character and the extraordinary leadership
of President Shapiro, it is with regret that the board accepted
his resignation. But we knew this moment would come, and if you
look at the university by almost any measure you see a very, very
Although Shapiro listed
improved student financial aid, the new Frist Campus Center, and
the investment in campus building restoration and renovation as
achievements he was proud of, he said he most wished to be remembered
by what faculty and students had achieved during his tenure. "I
hope people will remember that Andrew Wiles solved Fermat's Theorem,
or that the history department published 21 books in one year,"
Rawson and the search
committee, which Rawson will also chair, now join Harvard and Brown
in the difficult task of finding a new leader. "The sets [of
appropriate candidates] for each university may be different,"
Rawson said when asked about the competition. "We'll just do
our own thing and see what happens."
came as this issue of PAW was going to press. Our coverage will
continue in the October 25th issue.
Class of 2004 arrives
class is most diverse in Princeton's history
Last month the Class
of 2004 came to a campus bathed in late summer sunlight and humidity.
But warm, damp air didn't faze the spirits of the newest and freshest-faced
members of the Princeton community.
the 1,160 freshmen, 59 percent arrived Labor Day weekend to participate
in Outdoor Action and Urban Action, annual week-long events designed
to begin the process of bringing a class together. Close to 600
students participated in various Outdoor Action trips, which included
areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Catskills, and the Appalachian
Trail. Another hundred participated in Urban Action at one of seven
locations in Princeton, Trenton, and Philadelphia. The rest of the
freshmen arrived September 9 for five days of orientation. (To see
the orientation schedule, go to http://www.princeton.edu/pr/ pub/oc/index.html.)
At Opening Exercises,
on Sunday, September 10, President Shapiro spoke to a standing-room-only
crowd in the Chapel, which still has ceiling-high scaffolding straddling
the pews on one side for the ongoing restoration of the stained
Freshmen, who were expected
to attend the exercises, for the most part arrived at the interfaith
service wearing sandals, sneakers, shorts, and T-shirts. Some women
wore short skirts, and at least one freshman wore a suit and tie.
The only other people dressed up in the crowd were the few parents
in attendance, the administrators on call, and the four student-prizewinners
honored that day. They were: Peggy Ping Hsu '03, the Freshman First
Honor Prize; Abbie Boggiano Liel '02, the George B. Wood Legacy
Sophomore Prize; Vance Foster Serchuk '01, the George B. Wood Legacy
Junior Prize; Jared George Kramer '01, the Class of 1939 Princeton
Scholar award; Manfred Dietrich Laubichler GS, the Charlotte Elizabeth
Procter Fellowship; and Jayanthi V. J. Wolf GS, the Harold W. Dodds
award winners from left: Manfred Dietrich Laubichler GS, Peggy Ping
Hsu '03, Jared George Kramer '01, Jayanthi V. J. Wolf GS, Vance
Foster Serchuck '01, and Abbie Boggiano Liel '02.
Shapiro, in his main
address, welcomed the students, and off the bat let them know how
important they were to Princeton's vitality, which he said "continues
to depend on an energetic and dynamic interaction between the old
and the new, between
tradition and change, between faculty and students, between friends
and colleagues, and between the great ideas and cultural artifacts
of the past and the new ideas and innovations that are so characteristic
of contemporary life."
He also urged them to
remember that as they gain knowledge, their ethical responsibility
increases as well. "In your years on this campus, as your knowledge
blossoms, so correspondingly will your power to effect change, and
as a direct consequence your ethical responsibilities to the well-being
and interests of others will increase. Opportunity and responsibility
are companions in life's journey. . . . Each of you will have to
decide how you will fulfill these obligations and how you will prepare
yourselves to live moral, ethical, productive, and fruitful lives
in the world beyond our campus gates."
The students who form
the new class, said Dean of Admission Fred Hargadon, are "high-energy
young men and women, each of whom is the sort of person the others
came to college to meet."
This year's freshmen
are more diverse than ever. Of the 1,160 students, 50.8 percent
are male, 49.2 percent female; 8.9 percent international (up from
6.2) ; 12.8 percent legacy (up from 12.4); and 28.9 percent minority.
The minority figure includes 13.3 percent Asian Americans (up from
11.1), 8.1 percent African Americans (up from 7.6), 6.6 Latinos
(up from 6.2), and 0.9 percent Native Americans (same as last year).
The top three states
sending students to Princeton this year were the same as last: New
Jersey, with 156
students; New York, 146; and California,
This year's yield, 69
percent, was the same as last year, said Steve Le Menager, acting
dean of admission.
This year, 40 percent
of the freshman class are on need-based financial aid. Don Betterton,
director of undergraduate financial aid, who provided the figure,
said that the university had planned for the number to be higher.
"We had hoped for
42-43 percent of students on aid, but the economy has done well,
and not so many seemed to need it. When we compare ourselves to
other selective colleges, however, we've held the line better than
our sister institutions, who've seen 4-5 percent decreases in their
Before the university
modified its financial-aid policy in 1998 to attract a more economically
diverse group of students, typically 38 percent of freshmen were
This year, the Graduate
School expects to enroll 571 students, but was not able to provide
actual numbers before press time. Actual numbers will be published
in an upcoming issue.
Classes began on Thursday,
Asian American 13.3
African American 8.1
Natural History Museum becomes a cause
is a fact at campuses across the country that controversies regularly
bubble up - not unlike a famous geological wonder at Yellowstone
Park. Alumni write to the president, faculty members have strong
opinions, and administrators either accommodate alumni or hold to
the plan, usually approved by the Board of Trustees.
At Princeton, the most
recent controversy, which began percolating around Reunions and
has continued into the fall, involves the Natural History Museum,
located in Guyot Hall.
A few months ago, it
was announced that the university was going to renovate the museum's
space, which features a lofty ceiling and large windows that look
north to the bright, mirror-like façade of the Frist Campus
Center. The reconfigured space would hold offices for the Princeton
Environmental Institute (PEI), an interdisciplinary program that
addresses environmental issues. The museum would be relocated. Over
the summer it was mistakenly reported in the media that the museum
was closing, but Provost Jeremiah Ostriker clarified the case. "The
museum is not closing," he said.
The museum-space renovation
is the first step in a series of changes that will affect the earth
sciences departments. Further construction to Guyot, including two
new buildings, would yield a quadrangle that would bring together
molecular biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, geosciences,
PEI, and atmospheric and oceanic sciences, a Ph.D. program currently
at the Forrestal campus. A new science library is part of the plan,
as is a multistoried atrium in the new geosciences building, where
a new natural history museum could go.
George Philander, chair
of the geosciences department, very much wants a new natural history
"One major problem
with the museum as it is now is that it gives not the slightest
indication as to what a vibrant science geology is at the moment,"
Philander said. "So what I would like is for a museum that
would reflect what we actually do." He referred to the new
earth sciences exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History
in New York as a model museum presentation.
For a new museum with
updated exhibits, clearly funds are needed, and input. "What
we need to do is form some committee that can get involved with
the architects to make sure that at the very early stage they take
into account what it is we would like to have," Philander said.
In preparation for the
renovation, the museum's specimens - skeletons, stones, and fossils
gathered over the years by faculty and students on geological expeditions
- will be sorted. Some will be put in temporary storage, others
displayed at various locations on campus, according to Allen Sinisgalli,
associate provost for research and project administration.
It sounds like a reasonable
plan: Consolidate the earth and environmental sciences, and install
the museum in a better place.
But, as so often happens,
it is in the communication of plans that people can win or lose
supporters. Philander points out that though the museum belongs
to the department, the department has no jurisdiction over the space.
If the administration wants to reallocate space, it can, and it
has. Over the summer the university announced its intention in a
terse statement: "The Museum of Natural History in Guyot Hall
will close to the public Labor Day weekend in preparation for renovation
of the building. The exhibit will re-open in a new and better space
when the renovation project is complete."
Perhaps it was the terseness
of the statement that caused alumni and faculty to react. Perhaps
university administrators didn't realize that many alumni and faculty
hold the old museum dear to their hearts and don't want it to be
dismantled or moved. Those concerned have written letters to President
Shapiro (about two dozen), to local newspapers, and to PAW.
For Bill Bonini, professor,
emeritus, of geophysics, the issue is the space itself. He, among
others, is not sure the "better" space will indeed be
better. He supports updating the museum, but in its present location.
"It's the museum space we're really trying to preserve. It
was designed by Professor William Berryman Scott and his colleagues
in the geology department a hundred years ago, and it is worth preserving
with its north windows and the height." He points out that
the current museum space is adequate for creating a proper and updated
Others cite the educational
value of the museum. "A natural history museum can be a critical
form of outreach to an increasingly science-illiterate citizenry,"
wrote Lydia Fox '81, chair of the department of geosciences at University
of the Pacific.
The uproar, as Philander
calls the controversy, has actually had some benefit. There has
been more discussion with the architect of the new building, Payette
Associates of Boston, about how to display the museum pieces. And
it has generated a lot of interest in how to best tell the earth's
geological history. Many of the museum's most famous artifacts,
notably the allosaurus skeleton, will continue to be displayed in
Guyot during the renovation, which, according to Sinisgalli, is
still on schedule for January.
New protein affects aging process of cells
at the end of a cell's chromosomes are structures called telomeres,
which protect the chromosomes when the cell divides. Each time the
cell divides, the telomere shortens. When the telomere is gone,
the genetic material is exposed, and the cell ceases to divide,
In cancer cells, however,
the lifespan of telomeres is extended by telomerase, a protein that
occurs in 90 percent of cancer cells. This allows the cancer cells
to continue to replicate. Telomerase does not usually occur in healthy
Virginia Zakian, a professor
of molecular biology, along with her collaborator, Vincent Schultz,
using baker's yeast cells, discovered another protein, called Piflp,
which inhibits telomerase. This finding, published in August in
Science magazine, may help cancer researchers come up with ways
to treat cancer.
Though the experiments
were done in baker's yeast cells, Zakian said that telomere regulation
has been so important throughout evolution that human cells employ
many of the same mechanisms.
"These are very
lowly organisms. This is what we use to bake bread," Zakian
said. "However, as we show in this paper, humans have a protein
very similar to yeast Piflp. It would be quite gratifying if it
turned out that it also functions in a similar way in humans and
could give us insights into human cancer."
Foot lectured August 24 on "Bookbindings: Purpose, Use,
and Content: A Historical View." Foot recently retired as director
of collections and preservation in the British Library and is the
author of many books and articles about bookbinding.
Paula L. Fredriksen
*79, professor of religion at Boston University, spoke September
17 on "Jesus, the Crucifixion, and the Origins of Christianity."
On September 22, Halle
Berry, the actress (pictured at right), came to campus to give
the keynote address of a two-day program, called Imitating Life:
Women, Race, Film, 1932-2000, that examined Hollywood's portrayal
of isues of race and gender.
Crime is not a problem
at Princeton, but if we don't stay proactive we become a victim,"
said Barry Weiser, crime prevention officer,
The university's efforts
include two new programs instituted by the Office of Public Safety.
RAD, rape aggression
defense system, is a 12-hour course offered to women in four 3-hour
segments. In the course, women learn how to defend themselves. "It's
a program incorporating simple, down-to-earth logic," Weiser
He noted that rape is
not a problem on
The other program, called
Adopt a PUPS (Princeton University public safety officer), involves
public safety officers attending events and socializing at the colleges
to build relationships with the student community.
While crime isn't a huge
problem on campus, Weiser concedes that drinking on campus is. "We
spend a lot of time dealing with drinking. Nationwide it's a concern.
Public Safety has always been against public drinking. The 1999
Nude Olympics was a fiasco, not because of the nudity, but because
of the drinking."
The other active criminal
area is burglary
and theft, especially of bicycles.
Public Safety sites of
Statistics about crime
on campus: http://webware.Princeton.edu/pubsaf/
stats.htm). Listing of
crimes and incidents reported to Public Safety: http://webware.Princeton.edu:80/pubsaf/blotter.htm
Sex offence (forcible)
Auto theft 5,4
Drug arrest 2,8
Drug policy violation
with bikes) 339,369
Princeton is making the
lists, again. This year, it topped U.S. News & World Report's
listing of the country's best universities. It placed ninth in Sports
Illustrated for Women's rankings of best colleges for women athletes.
And Men's Health magazine rated Princeton as one of the 10 most
As part of Princeton's
ongoing alcohol initiative, "social-norm" posters were
affixed to bulletin boards and lampposts last month letting students
know that over-consumption is not universal on campus. The distinctive
blue posters announced that 60 percent of Princeton students stop
alcohol consumption after four drinks. Five drinks or more is considered
complained about a breakdown of communications between them and
the university this summer. Although students knew their mailboxes
would be in the Frist Campus Center, they believed their campus
addresses would still be their dorm rooms (e.g., 211 Walker). It
wasn't until they received letters at home in early September that
they learned their addresses would change to Frist mailbox numbers.
In the same letter they also discovered the student telephone prefix
had been changed from 258 to 986. Many of them had already given
out what they thought were their new addresses and phone numbers
to friends, family, and colleagues.
All quiet on front campus:
Unlike last year, when protests marked the first day
of class for controversial ethicist Peter Singer, this year there
was not a peep. Singer, who teaches the freshman seminar How Are
We To Live?, said that the current level of protests against him
This year's 250th anniversary
visiting professors for distinguished teaching are Gregory E. van
der Vink *83 and Melissa S. Williams. Van der Vink, director of
planning for IRIS, a university research consortium supported by
the National Science Foundation, has taught at Princeton before
and will again teach Environmental Decision-Making in the geosciences
department. Williams, an associate professor of political science
at the University of Toronto, joined the faculty
of the Center for Human Values and will teach a course on equality
in the spring.
Three professors have
been named to the American Philosophical Society: William Jordan,
professor of history; Shirley Tilghman, professor in life sciences;
and Frederick Mote, professor, emeritus, of East Asian studies.
Jordan also received the Charles Homer Haskins medal from the Medieval
Academy of America for his book The Great Famine: Northern Europe
in the Early Fourteenth Century (Princeton University Press).
Phillip James Peebles
*62, professor, emeritus,
of physics, was awarded the $150,000 Cosmology Prize of the Peter
Gruber Foundation for his work in explaining the origin and structure
of the universe.
A. Ferrand *88 (right), former associate professor of civil engineering
at the City University of New York, became associate dean of the
faculty last month. Ferrand earned her Ph.D. in the water resources
program at Princeton.
Joseph Greenberg *77,
acting registrar since last fall, has been appointed registrar for
a five-year term. Greenberg earned a doctorate in English at Princeton
and joined the administration in 1978 as assistant registrar.
The registrar's office
now offers a transcript-request form online. There are no fees involved.
The site address is http://ntigger.princeton.edu/registrar/trans/trans_order.htm.
Berg '23, baseball catcher and spy and probably the most famous
member of his class, was the subject of an ESPN television biography
this summer. Berg signed with the Dodgers after graduating from
Princeton, where he majored in modern languages. He played baseball
for 15 years. During his off-seasons, he studied languages and earned
a law degree.
John Spencer '53 k'23
attended a screening of the bio-pic in New York and reported on
what he learned. Berg began his career as a spy in Japan in 1934,
Spencer reports, "when he broke away from a group of major
leaguers touring Japan, talked his way into the highest building
in Tokyo, and took panoramic movies of the most important military
"Berg's major achievement
as a spy came in 1943. Worried that the Germans might be ahead in
making an atomic bomb, 'Wild Bill Donovan,' the founder of the CIA's
predecessor, the OSS, sent him to Switzerland to meet Werner Heisenberg,
the leading German physicist, to learn if this was so. If it was,
Berg had orders to kill him. After listening to Heisenberg lecture
and charming his way into a conversation with him afterward, Berg
concluded, correctly, that the Germans were far behind the Americans.
For his OSS services, Berg was awarded the Medal of Freedom, which
because of his anger at the OSS when it demanded an accounting of
his expenses, he refused."
After the war Berg would
not work for the CIA or any other organization. He led an aimless
life, "always on the move, always cultivating an air of mystery."
He died in 1972, single, nearly broke, mysterious to the end.
At this time, ESPN does
not plan to re-air the show.