December 20, 2000: Notebook

Faculty File: Professor and pundit

Upgrading Princeton's genomics infrastructure

Tech Notes: Computer, meet the mind

Tip-top topiary

In Brief

Talks on Campus

Faculty File
Professor and pundit

A lot of people are interested in what Paul Krugman thinks. Professor of economics and international affairs, Krugman has been writing twice-weekly Op-Ed pieces for the New York Times since January. Recent topics have included AT&T, fuel crises,, and the election, the election, the election.

Determined to “help people get things right,” Krugman is worried — irritated? incensed? — by fuzzy thinking about economic policy. “I often feel there are glaringly obvious things that just aren’t being picked up,” he says.

Krugman’s voice has been heard outside the academy since the 1980s, when “I started taking on some causes. For example, confused notions about international trade were driving public debate — the metaphor of international trade as a war with winners and losers.”

Not that he is a full-time pundit. Krugman teaches almost 400 undergraduates in Economics 102, Description and Analysis of Price Systems. “We’re talking about ‘the fate of empires’ here, but that means also talking about curve shifts and new equilibria,” he says. While introducing students to analytical tools, “I like to feel that some of the excitement comes through.”

Krugman, who left MIT to join Princeton this summer, has written several hundred articles and written or edited some 18 books. A specialist in international trade and finance, he admits to being “attracted to crises — to the bizarre and violent events in economics.”

In addition to Economics 102, he is teaching a graduate seminar in Domestic Policy Issues, working on a textbook, and continuing his investigation into “the impact of globalization on income distribution in developing countries.”

By Caroline Moseley

For a longer story about Krugman, go to


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Upgrading Princeton’s genomics infrastructure

The state of New Jersey has given $700,000 to Princeton to help develop its genomics research program and to help it attract further grants in the field.

The money, part of a $6.5-million package of awards to institutions of higher learning, will go to upgrade a fluorescence-activated cell-sorter, add a new mass spectrometer, hire skilled technicians to run the instruments, and establish a training program for graduate students.

Governor Christie Whitman said in a statement, “Academic research is instrumental in creating jobs, building businesses, boosting productivity, and saving lives. New Jersey’s research universities are a key part of the state’s economic infrastructure. Investing in their capacity to conduct cutting-edge research will stimulate new discoveries that can strengthen our high-tech economy and benefit people all over the world.”

With its money, Princeton intends to develop the technical infrastructure needed to perform basic research in the new science of genomics, particularly in the area of proteomics, which focuses on the study of cellular proteins that are important for normal cell function and a key element in the development of many diseases.

Building technical ability in proteomics will enable Princeton scientists to compete for research funds for which they previously have not had the technical capabilities needed to qualify.


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Tech Notes
Computer, meet the mind
A new research initiative will intertwine the two

For many years now, neuroscientists have studied how the brain produces higher cognitive functions and computer scientists have studied how such functions might be replicated artificially, but few have studied the impact of such work on the humanities.

In what ways will the future of cognitive neuroscience affect our social relation- ships and our sense of self? How might our modern theories of the mind be put in historical and cultural perspective?

These are the kinds of questions that led to the creation of the Henry R. Luce Professorship in Information, Conscious-ness, and Culture, a new faculty position funded by a six-year grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Each year the Henry Luce Foundation awards two or three professorships as part of its mission to support interdisciplinary teaching and learning in higher education. Princeton was selected this year as a result of a grant proposal initiated by Associate Provost S. Georgia Nugent ’73. “It’s traditional for Princeton not to be at the leading edge of fields,” said Nugent. “The university typically waits and feels out the discipline first. But now we’ve reached a critical historical moment, both for faculty and students. No longer can we afford to have a vacuum in this area.”

According to Nugent, the grant proposal was enthusiastically endorsed by a wide cross-section of the university. Indeed, the proposal team comprised faculty from such diverse disciplines as psychology, philosophy, computer science, sociology, religion, Germanic literature, and music. It is still unknown at this point, however, which department will host the professorship and who will fill the position. A candidate search is currently being conducted by the original proposal team, which hopes to make its decision in time for the 2001 fall semester.

By Andrew Shtulman ’01


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Tip-top topiary

These two 16-foot gleaming tigers, each 3,500 pounds and nine feet tall, were given by William Weaver, Jr. ’34 to guard the entrance to Princeton Stadium. The sculptures will eventually be covered with ivy, forming tiger topiaries. North Carolina artist Ruffin Hobbs made the tigers from stainless steel this summer and fall and had them trucked up in time for their dedication the Saturday of the Princeton-Dartmouth game. The topiary tigers are part of a larger landscape design for the area, planned by landscape architect Barbara Paca *95, which will include stone seating planters and a cobblestone plaza, said Jim Consolloy, the university’s grounds manager. To grow and maintain the intertwining ivy shoots, the tigers will live in university greenhouses during the winter months.

Weaver met Hobbs last May on the ferry taking them to the wedding of Weaver’s grandson on Nantucket Island. Hobbs, who is a bagpiper as well as an artist, had been hired to pipe for wedding guests as they arrived at the reception and fell into conversation with Weaver and his wife. “I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Hobbs.
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In Brief

Last month, Provost Jeremiah Ostriker was awarded a National Medal of Science for his contributions to the field of astrophysics, including insights into the dynamics of galaxies and star clusters and the existence of large quantities of dark matter. Provost since 1995, Ostriker, the Charles A. Young professor of astronomy, is one of 12 medal recipients this year for the nation’s highest scientific honor. Twelve other Princeton scientists have won the award over the years, including John A. Wheeler in 1970, Robert Dicke in 1970, John W. Tukey in 1973, and Val Fitch in 1993. A complete list of Princeton’s award winners is at

Former head basketball coach Pete Carril is recovering from heart bypass surgery that took place on November 28 in Sacramento, California. Carril, an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings, was to remain in the hospital for a week and return to work some time in January. Carril had a heart attack last April.

On November 16 Kamal Alexis Aqui ’03 was arrested by Princeton Borough police for the November 10 burglary, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual contact of a student at Forbes College. The victim, who was asleep at the time, did not wake up. Her boyfriend, however, did awaken and confronted Aqui, who ran from the room. Aqui, who also lives at Forbes, was identified from a facebook and taken to police headquarters for questioning on the 16th, when he confessed. According to Barry Weiser, the university’s crime prevention specialist, all three persons involved are believed to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time. Aqui, who comes from Silver Spring, Maryland, posted $25,000 bail that day, and he was released from Mercer County Correctional Facility. His trial date has not been set. According to the Office of Communications, “the student is not on campus at this time.”

The university’s development office and the Alumni Council sponsored a first-ever conference in Japan at the beginning of November. Just over 130 alumni, both undergraduate and graduate, took part in the two-day event, which featured a number of graduate alumni speaking about various regional issues, such as finance, art and culture, science and technology, and issues related to Japan and Asia. In addition to President Shapiro and some administrators, several members of the faculty took part. The Princeton Club of Japan served as the host organization. For more information about the speakers and their topics, go to www.princeton. edu/~alco/asia2000.html.

Fans of Bob Dylan crammed Dillon Gym on November 17 for his two-hour performance. Among the songs were “My Back Pages,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” and “Desolation Row.” For his seven-song encore, he sang some of his more famous numbers: “Like A Rolling Stone,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” One observer noted that “his lyrics were hard to understand, and his melodies sometimes unrecognizable, but his classic oomph — and his harmonica — were out in full force. Not only did the show sell out, but hopeful attendees waited outside the gym to buy up extra tickets. Even poet Paul Muldoon, professor in the Council of the Humanities, stood in the back of the gym and nodded in time to the music.”

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Talks on Campus

U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson spoke at the Woodrow Wilson School on October 25 to a capacity crowd in Dodds Auditorium. After his address, he willingly took questions regarding his department’s handling of the rise in oil prices and the Wen Ho Lee incident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

A week after the presidential election, five Princeton scholars held a panel discussion about the Electoral College and the election. Taking part were faculty fellow Christopher Eisgruber, research scholar Jonathan Riley, research scholar Joan Tronto, assistant professor of politics Keith Whittington, and visiting professor for distinguished teaching Melissa Williams.

John Sarbanes ’84 gave a talk on November 8 called Where Have All the Teachers Gone?: A View From Ground Zero of the Service Economy. Sarbanes, a lawyer in Baltimore, also serves as a special assistant to the Maryland state superintendent of schools, where he focuses on Baltimore city school reform.

The program in African-American Studies is sponsoring a year-long lecture series called Works in Progress. On December 7, Alvin B. Tilley, Jr., a postdoctoral fellow in government at the University of Notre Dame, spoke on Shades of Gray: African Diaspora Identity and the Two Faces of Black American Power, 1936-1996.

The final event in the year-long celebration of the centennial of the birth of Adlai Stevenson ’22 was a panel that took place on November 9. Included were former Senator Eugene McCarthy and numerous historians, biographers, and political scientists. An exhibit related to Stevenson is on display at the Seely Mudd archives through February 10.

others on campus this fall were: novelist Gish Jen; Richard Roberts, 1993 Nobelist in medicine and physiology; Arthur Winfree *70, professor at the University of Arizona and a specialist on how chemical and electrical waves affect sudden cardiac death; Nadine Strossen, president of the New York Civil Liberties Union and a professor at New York Law School; Bruce Ackerman, political philosopher and professor at Yale; sexologist Ruth Westheimer; and John Powell, executive director of the Institute on Race and Poverty and a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School.

During the week of November 27, Marcia Carlson and Bradford Wilcox, two postdoctoral fellows in Princeton’s Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, moderated an online chat about single fathers, discussing their particular challenges and the policies and programs that can help them stay connected to their children.


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