March 12, 2003: Notebook
Farmers have long known that bees help pollinate crops, and many farmers have even rented bees for the work they do.
But Claire Kremen, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, recently published a study that demonstrates how modern agricultural techniques prevent farmers from fully utilizing their natural assistants.
Kremen and her colleagues spent two years studying the bees on watermelon farms in Californias Sacramento Valley, where the researchers laboriously counted and sorted bees, and measured the pollen grains deposited on watermelon flowers. They discovered that native bee communities can sufficiently pollinate crops, so farmers dont have to rent bees. They also found that modern industrial farming techniques, including pesticide use and some land-management policies, have diminished native bee populations.
As the farms were surrounded more and more by other farms and less by natural habitat, the diversity and the abundance of the bees declined radically, so native bee communities were no longer sufficient to provide pollination services to crops, explains Kremen.
Kremen arrived at Princeton in 2001 and has focused most of her research on resolving conflicts between how humans use land and resources and maintaining biodiversity. She served as the program director of Madagascars Wildlife Conservation in the 1990s.
It seems that what we need to do is find solutions that show people the value of conserving biodiversity, says Kremen, who teaches an undergraduate course on conservation biology. There are values that nature provides that we are largely unaware of, that we dont value in our marketplace or culture, but yet we depend on.
Undercover police find alcohol infractions at eating clubs
Club officers at Colonial and Quadrangle served summonses
A Princeton Borough police undercover operation at Princetons eating clubs led to summonses for four club officers on charges of serving alcohol to underage drinkers.
Lieutenant John Reading, a police spokesman, said that the summonses were served on February 4, during bicker and sign-ins, to deter underage drinking on the Street. None of the students were arrested.
The undercover work began in November, and Reading said that the police were looking for illegal drugs and underage drinking.
The operation is directed at all 12 clubs and could go on ad infinitum, so long as there is a problem, said Reading, who would not say how the police officers gained admittance to the clubs.
According to the police report, the former president of Colonial Club, Christopher Langhammer 03, and two club officers, Justin Mirabal 03 and Anna-Rachel Dray-Siegel 04, received summonses for serving underage drinkers inside the club on November 24, 2002. Langhammer was charged with three counts of making alcoholic beverages available to a minor and maintaining a nuisance. Dray-Siegel and Mirabal, who police say were serving as bartenders, were charged with serving alcoholic beverages to a minor.
Former Quadrangle president Rolando Amaya 03 was charged with three counts of making alcoholic beverages available to minors and maintaining a nuisance. Police reported seeing three underage drinkers inside the Quadrangle Club on November 23.
Even though Amaya and Langhammer did not actually serve alcohol to minors themselves, their positions as club presidents made them liable, Reading said. All of the students were scheduled to appear in court on February 24. The charges carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. None of the students replied to phone and e-mail messages requesting comment.
Lauren Robinson-Brown 85, the universitys spokeswoman, said an internal investigation will be conducted and that the students involved may be subject to university disciplinary action. We work diligently to ensure that all students understand the severity of violating laws, particularly as related to underage drinking and other substance abuse, she said.
Borough police have threatened, but never undertaken, undercover operations on the Street since 2001, when 11 students were sent to the hospital for severe intoxication and alcohol-related injuries during that years bicker.
This year, Public Safety reported taking six students to the hospital and two to the universitys McCosh Health Center from February 2 to 9. One of the incidents led to another summons for a club officer. The president of the Cap and Gown Club, Matthew Groh 03, was cited for serving alcohol to a minor after borough police were called to the club late on Saturday, February 8, and found an unconscious and drunk 19-year-old female student on the floor of an upstairs bathroom. The student was treated at the Princeton Medical Center.
Several students said the police should have more important things to do than go undercover to bust underage drinkers and that singling out club officers was unfair.
If I was a cop and that was my assignment, Id feel demeaned, said Chris Benson 06, who said he does not drink but that he attends parties on the Street.
College students are going to drink. As much fire as the eating clubs have been under, its a lot safer than students drinking unsupervised or alone in their rooms. When youre in one of the clubs, there are more people to watch out for you, said Ashley Frankson 03, who is 21 and a member of the Terrace Club.
New court papers filed in Robertson lawsuit
In papers filed February 4 in Mercer County Superior Court, lawyers for the relatives of Marie and Charles Robertson 26, who gave $35 million in 1961 to endow the Woodrow Wilson School, accused university officials of using the Robertson Foundation as their personal piggy bank.
William Robertson 72, his cousin Robert Halligan *73, and three other relatives sued the university in July. In November, university lawyers filed for a dismissal of the lawsuit. In response to the familys February filing, university attorney Douglas Eakeley said the plaintiffs were seriously misguided.
William Robertson said the university has ignored family requests over the years and has failed to train enough public servants. He said the university improperly tried to place the foundations assets under the management of the Princeton University Investment Company, Princo, and used $22 million in foundation funds to build Wallace Hall, and that these were the two final factors that led him to file the lawsuit. We think that Princeton has simply lost its opportunity to manage this project, said Robertson.
Eakeley disagreed. The record is going to show that the Woodrow Wilson School makes incredible efforts to recruit students interested in government affairs and helps place them in government and public service positions upon graduation and later, he said.
The university is scheduled to file another response in court March 14.
Big Bang in the bag
Talk about time-lapse photography. In June 2001, NASA launched a satellite that was built with input from Princeton scientists one million miles into space,
where it began to take pictures of the universe. The high-resolution pictures, released by NASA last month, have excited scientists, who say that the images answer questions about the age, composition, and evolution of the universe and support the Big Bang theory. The pictures captured patterns of tiny temperature differences within the universes microwave light and show the universe in its infancy, some 380,000 years after the Big Bang.
David Spergel, professor of astrophysics at Princeton and a member of the project team, said that with these images, many of the questions that have driven the field of astrophysics for the past few decades are answered. How old is the universe? (13.7 billion years, plus or minus 200 million years.) How much matter is in it? (The universes matter breaks down as follows: 4 percent ordinary matter; 23 percent dark matter of unknown form; and 73 percent dark energy.) How fast is it expanding? (The speed at which a galaxy expands increases, on average, by 71 kilometers/second for every 3 million light-years it is away from Earth.)
Ed Turner, another Princeton astrophysicist, said the results of the project strongly confirm and more accurately quantify the Big Bang-Inflation model of cosmology, which suggests that the universe was created in an instant and has been expanding ever since. Lyman Page, a Princeton physicist and a project leader, said that the satellites measurements over the next three years will increase our knowledge of the star formation history of the universe, the Hubble Constant, the matter density, the age, and the first few femtoseconds after the Big Bang.
The satellite, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), is named for Princeton physicist David Wilkinson, who died last fall and who was a founding member of the project team. It will continue to collect data for another three years, possibly longer. For more information go to: www.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_mm.html.
Improving campus life for minorities
Princeton is creating a new mentoring program for African-American freshmen, after a recent survey showed that many black students were dissatisfied with both academic support programs and the campus social environment.
The Committee for the Improvement of Black Life at Princeton surveyed 125 black students about one-third of African-American undergraduates during a Black Student Union meeting last fall about issues affecting students of color. The committee urged Princetons administration to hire more black professors, improve mentoring and advising programs, and provide more social and dining alternatives.
In other findings:
78 percent of the students surveyed said they felt Princeton does not have a welcoming social atmosphere for students of color;
46 percent said that Princeton does not support the academic needs of the black community;
51 percent of the students said that a lack of diversity amongst faculty affects their academic performance.
President Tilghman said she has been working with Brittani Kirkpatrick 05, president of the Black Student Union, and other administrators to establish a mentoring program that would pair incoming minority freshmen with upperclassmen.
In addition, there are plans to create an umbrella student committee with representatives from minority organizations to focus on social activities, similar to existing programs at Yale and Stanford, in order to allow the organizations to devote more time to political and campus issues, Kirkpatrick said. Administrators have also said that the four-year residential college plan will offer additional dining and social options for all students who desire alternatives to activities at the eating clubs.
Rare collection of first-edition Nietzsche works acquired
One of the worlds great collections of Friedrich Nietzsches work, including first editions of many major titles, such as Also sprach Zarathustra, is now at Firestone Library.
The rare collection 32 of Nietzsches 64 works was purchased in December in part with funds awarded to comparative literature and philosophy professor Alexander Nehamas by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Nehamas received the Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities Award in 2001. The library and the university also contributed to the acquisition.
The previous owner of the collection, William Schaberg, a Nietzsche bibliographer, collected the works during his research for the book The Nietzsche Canon, says Stephen Ferguson, the librarys curator of rare books.
What is remarkable about this collection is that all the books are in their original condition. Many are in paper wrappers, which is the way they were published at the time, Ferguson says.
Nehamas says the collection is the most complete set of first editions of Nietzsches works outside the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar. Copies of the books are rare because they were published in small numbers and went unsold and uncollected since Nietzsches reputation and popularity were not established until his death, Nehamas says.
Their text often differs from the reconstructed text of the standard edition scholars and philosophers are now using; these differences will be of great importance to historians of German letters and German philosophy, and the collection, especially if we eventually complete it, will draw them to Princeton, says Nehamas, who had been interested in bringing the collection to Princeton since he learned it was for sale in early 2001.
The artful amaryllis
This image of an amaryllis is from a book recently donated to the university by Margaret Field, who was a public librarian in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The book, A Selection of Hexandrian Plants, Belonging to the Natural Orders Amaryllidae and Liliacae (London, 1831), features numerous color illustrations, all hand-colored aquatints by Robert Havell from paintings by Priscilla Susan Bury. Ben Primer, associate university librarian for rare books, refers to the book's images as superb examples of 19th-century botanical illustrations. Hexandrian pertains to the class of plants whose flowers have six stamens.
Princeton signs affirmative action brief
Princeton joined with seven other private colleges and universities to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan that are being challenged in two cases the Court will hear in April. One case challenges Michigans undergraduate admission process, while the other challenges the process at its law school.
Attorneys at Harvard University prepared the amicus curiae brief; also joining were Brown, the University of Chicago, Dartmouth, Duke, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.
Signers ask the Court to uphold the standards of the 1978 Bakke decision for the consideration of race and
ethnicity in admission decisions. The brief notes that the signers do not set aside spaces in their classes or establish quotas for minority students.
The brief argues that as academically selective universities, the schools have a compelling interest in ensuring that their student bodies incorporate the experiences and talents of the wide spectrum of racial and ethnic groups that make up our society. Amici should be free to compose a class that brings together many different kinds of students; that includes robust representation of students from different races and ethnicities.
President Tilghman said the impact of the Supreme Courts decision goes beyond universities and could have significant implications for the nature of our society. Princetons participation in the brief is meant to underscore to the Supreme Court that core issues affecting both higher education and societal leadership are at stake here, she said.
It is important . . . that we continue to be able to do this, for educational reasons and so that we can prepare future leaders who come from a full range of racial and ethnic backgrounds and are prepared to succeed in a multicultural global society, she said.
In the frame
Film festival for alumni
With hope of giving alumni filmmakers and actors a chance to show their talents, a group of Princeton alumni in Hollywood is seeking entries for a short-film competition.
The Princeton-in-Hollywood (P.i.H.) Short Film Showcase will screen films that prominently feature alumni and undergraduates as producers, writers, directors, or actors.
The P.i.H. committee wanted a high profile event to get the word out that there was a community of Princetonians in Hollywood, said Tamar Laddy 94, one of the organizers. We also wanted to give up-and-coming Princeton filmmakers a venue to showcase their work.
Judges from the entertainment industry will select winners in six categories: drama, comedy, documentary, animation, experimental, and undergraduate. The winners in each category get a pitch meeting with an agent or manager.
The judges include actor Mark Feuerstein 93, star of the new NBC sitcom Good Morning Miami; screenwriter Craig Mazin 92, who wrote Scary Movie 3 and Senseless; Marc Rosen 98, a senior production executive with Heyday Films, the company that produces the Harry Potter movies; and Peter Safran 87, a manager with Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, which produces HBOs The Sopranos and represents several A-list actors.
Laddy, a geology major turned filmmaker who is working on a masters degree at the School of Cinema and Television at the University of Southern California, said short films are a popular format through which actors and filmmakers gain exposure, and the more opportunities you get to show off, the better off you are.
P.i.H. will host the showcase in September in Los Angeles.
Entries for the showcase must be less than 40 minutes in length and must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, April 2. Entry forms can be found online at http://alumni.princeton.edu/~ paa053/PIHEntryForm.htm.
Photo:A plaque honoring campaign donors hangs in Frist. (princeton communications)
Psychology and public affairs professor Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics, was awarded the 2003 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. He shares the $200,000 prize with his late colleague, Amos Tversky. Together, they revolutionized the scientific approach to decision-making. The Grawemeyer awards honor ideas rather than personal achievement.
A five-part orange-and-black plaque was installed in the Frist Campus Center to honor those who donated to the universitys 250th anniversary campaign, which raised $1.4 billion. Names of the 58,358 donors were placed randomly on the plaque in 10-point type a bit larger than the type on this page so that from a distance no single name is discernible, but each can be read at close range.
Carol Armstrong, the Doris Stevens Professor in Womens Studies and professor of art and archaeology: Manet and Cézanne: The Heroics of Modernism.
Vincent Courtillot, a geophysicist at the University of Paris: Mass Extinctions in the Phanerozoic: A Single Cause and if Yes, Which?