March 22, 2006: From the Editor
A bit subdued, and lacking boisterous partying and screaming jackets, Alumni Day doesn’t have quite the pizzazz of that other big alumni event, Reunions in June. Still, it has always been one of my favorite days on campus, for it’s on Alumni Day that I get to taste, again, what it is like to be a student.
This issue reports on the activities of the weekend, including the alumni and student honors, the massive luncheon in Jadwin Gym, and a daylong conference at the Woodrow Wilson School on public service. But other events — events that are somewhat harder to capture in our pages — are equally meaningful. The always-poignant Service of Remembrance gave alumni, students, and staff members a way to reflect on classmates and colleagues who died during the year. At other times, alumni filled lecture halls
to hear professors discuss topics ranging from Woodrow Wilson 1879’s decision to enter World War I, to relations between China and the United States. If, over the years, the relationships and ways of thinking we once developed at Princeton sometimes get buried under everyday demands, Alumni Day offers another chance to burnish them.
One of the best-reviewed presentations at Alumni Day was the talk by Arthur Levinson *77, winner of the Madison Medal. Levinson, the CEO and chairman at the biotechnology company Genentech, spoke about spurring scientific research in a corporate environment.
Princeton, of course, has no business school — but there is always more than enough material to fill a PAW issue on business and technology each year. This is that issue. Associate editor Brett Tomlinson previews some of the inventions and technologies being developed by five Princeton faculty members and alumni. If they succeed, scientifically and commercially, the innovations promise to make a dent in problems faced in many areas of everyday life, from health concerns to the inconveniences posed by heavy traffic and security checks.
Freelancer Merrell Noden ’78, a frequent PAW contributor, offers a profile of graduate student Alex Halderman ’03, whose research in the computer science department has put him at odds with corporations such as SunComm and Sony BMG — and made him a hero of the online technology crowd. Mark F. Bernstein ’83 updates readers on the situation of undergraduates who were sued by the Recording Industry Association of America after downloading music on their computers. Other perspectives from the business world come from Robert L. Johnson *72, the entrepreneur who founded — and eventually sold — Black Entertainment Television, and Barbara Cassani *84, who built a profitable low-cost airline and went on to launch London’s successful bid for the 2012 summer Olympics. Together with the many panels and speakers at Alumni Day, they offer much to think about.