March 22, 2006: Notebook
About nine months into Arthur Levinson *77’s time as a biochemistry graduate student at Princeton, a colleague posed a question about his orange and black Fiat convertible. Didn’t it seem a little tacky, she asked, to be tooling around campus in a car with the school’s colors? Levinson’s befuddled response: “School colors?”
Levinson, the CEO and chairman of Genentech Inc. and the University’s 2006 James Madison medalist, explained that he was “fairly oblivious to just about anything other than the lab work,” a revelation that drew a hearty chuckle from a Feb. 25 Alumni Day audience that included Woodrow Wilson Award winner George Rupp ’64, the president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), who sported an orange, black, and gray tie, and President Tilghman, clad in an orange jacket.
Rupp and Levinson, winners of the University’s top prizes for undergraduate and graduate alumni, joined more than 1,300 fellow Princetonians and their family members for a weekend of lectures, panel discussions, and social gatherings.
The two guests of honor opened the day at Richardson Auditorium, delivering lectures about what they know best. Levinson examined scientific innovation in a corporate context, using examples from his work at Genentech, a biotechnology and cancer-drug leader based in South San Francisco, Calif. Rupp spoke about the challenges of providing aid to people in need around the globe, highlighting the approach of the IRC, a relief organization that specializes in helping refugees.
Levinson, Genentech’s CEO since 1995, began his career at the company 15 years earlier as a scientist in the research division, and his attention to basic science remains strong. The biotechnology sector has not been profitable historically, Levinson said, but Genentech has succeeded by investing in novel therapies and pouring profits back into research and development. Along the way, the company has improved its efficiency, he said, making decisions quickly but thoughtfully to remain nimble, and investing in a scientific infrastructure so that the company’s Ph.D.s do not spend an inordinate amount of time on menial laboratory tasks.
While some companies are guarded about publishing their findings, Genentech has made publications an “essential element” of bonuses and promotions for its scientists, Levinson said. (Papers by Genentech scientists are cited more often than those by researchers at top institutions such as MIT, Harvard, and Princeton, according to data compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information.) Levinson and his colleagues also have catered to the needs of Genentech’s employees, providing on-site perks like child care, dental care, and even a car-washing service. In January, Fortune ranked Genentech first on its annual list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” “I’m telling people not to get too carried away with that,” Levinson said. “But it’s kind of cool to be No. 1.”
Compared with Levinson’s lecture, which wrapped up with a slide featuring a New Yorker cartoon, Rupp’s speech took an understandably more sober tone. Since retiring from the presidency of Columbia University in 2002, Rupp has guided the IRC in its efforts to help refugees in the United States as well as in places like Afghanistan, Congo, and the Darfur region of Sudan. He spoke about changes in the way wars are fought around the world that have put more civilians in the line of fire. “Among the horrors that are inescapable in this new face of war are very large numbers of uprooted individuals, families, and communities,” Rupp said.
The IRC’s original mission at its founding in 1933 was to help dislocated Europeans resettle in the United States, and Rupp said that while the countries of origin have changed, the resettlement continues in 22 U.S. cities and in 25 other countries. Rupp said that his work at the IRC has taught him the importance of making sure people do not become dependent on international aid, but he also criticized a drop in the rate of American foreign assistance during the Bush and Clinton administrations. “While we think of ourselves as enormously generous, in fact we’ve become exceedingly ungenerous in our contributions to countries that need a little bit of a boost to get to the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder,” he said.
Alumni and faculty offered lectures and panels during the day on topics that included Sino-American relations, Woodrow Wilson 1879’s decision to bring the United States into World War I, and technology and intellectual property. During an afternoon question-and-answer session, Dean of the College Nancy Weiss Malkiel and Vice President for Campus Life Janet Smith Dickerson discussed plans for the four-year residential colleges and the University’s continued discouragement of fraternities and sororities.
Undergraduate, graduate, and alumni awards were presented during the traditional luncheon gathering in Jadwin Gym. Hundreds of alumni filled the University Chapel in the afternoon for the annual Service of Remembrance, which honors alumni, students, faculty, and staff who died over the last year. Rev. James C. Parham ’81 delivered the memorial address, and in the traditional memorial procession, Princetonians honored classmates and colleagues by placing flowers in a memorial wreath.
S. Barksdale Penick Jr. ’25 Award (for local Schools
Class of 1926 Trophy (for raising the largest amount for Annual Giving in a given year) The Class of 1980 ($5,001,980)
Jerry Horton Award (for efforts to increase Annual Giving amounts and participation) The Annual Giving Committee of Chicago (the first three-time winner)
Harold H. Helm Award (for exemplary and sustained service to Annual Giving) Richard O. Scribner ’58 of Princeton
The Moses Taylor Pyne Honor Prize (the highest general distinction awarded to an undergraduate)
JEREMY GOLUBCOW-TEGLASI ’06, religion
JAMES WILLIAMS ’06, Woodrow Wilson School
Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowships (which recognize scholarly excellence and support the final year of graduate study)
Liang Feng, molecular biology
Guy Geltner, history
Gerard Passannante, English
David Shih, physics
Ninety-nine cents to download a song on iTunes sounds like a good deal, especially if you compare it to the $5,000 penalty Delwin Olivan ’08 paid last fall to settle a lawsuit brought against him by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for illegally downloading music in his dorm room. Olivan is one of more than 60 Princeton students who have been served with civil complaints by the RIAA over the last three years for illegally downloading music, prompting the University to strengthen its efforts to educate students that downloading songs and films for free on the Internet is theft.
Olivan and his roommate, Sean Gleason ’08, are fighting back against the RIAA in their own puckish way. They have created a Web site, www.freedelwin.org, and are attempting to earn back Olivan’s $5,000 settlement by selling T-shirts and wristbands with the defiant logo, “Free Delwin.” So far the pair have raised more than $1,300 and created a minor sensation in music chat rooms on the Web.
Concerns over downloading first arose in the late ’90s with the debut of Napster, a Web site that allowed users to download any of the millions of songs in its library at no cost. Fearing loss of CD sales and copyright fees, the recording industry successfully lobbied for a law that prohibited the evasion of copyright protections, and in 2000 successfully sued Napster in federal court. Notwithstanding the introduction of iTunes and similar sites that enabled users to download songs legally for a nominal fee, the number of free — and illegal — downloading sites proliferated. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision last year that such sites can be held liable for copyright infringements committed by their users, many remain in existence. Known as peer-to-peer or P2P sites, they are really massive file-swapping sites: Users download songs and movies directly from other users, and in turn make their own libraries available to others.
Beginning in 2003, the RIAA filed a host of lawsuits against individual downloaders, most of them college students, including 25 Princeton students. All those suits have been settled out of court, including one against Dan Peng ’05, who paid $15,000.
Although the University itself has not been named in any of the suits, in 2003 it revamped its guidelines for acceptable Internet use and set forth more stringent penalties. Students caught downloading a relatively small number of files can escape with only a warning. More egregious violations — defined as downloading more than 500 sound files, 10 movies, or even one newly released movie — face a sliding scale of penalties. A first offender would receive three months probation, a second offender six months, and a third offender might have access to the University network terminated. Despite evidence that he had downloaded more than 4,000 songs, the RIAA’s complaint against Olivan named only three specific songs, and he received a dean’s warning.
The University is hosting a number of seminars to educate students about the dos and don’ts of downloading, and students purchasing computers from the University now find them with iTunes preinstalled. Nevertheless, while the number of RIAA suits filed against Princeton students has declined over the last two years, the number of disciplinary actions taken by the Uni-versity against students for computer misuse, for offenses ranging from illegal downloading to the use of pirated software, has almost doubled.
Gleason compared downloading to jaywalking, saying, “I don’t see it hurting anybody except some people who need to get a reality check.” But he said he has stopped because it takes too long. “I’m impatient,” he said.
“Plan B is squarely the same as other forms of contraception that are widely accepted. So if you are opposed to emergency contraception, to be honest about that, you also have to admit that you are opposed to regular birth control. But to somehow peel it off as something different ... and confuse the public mind is intellectually dishonest.”
Dr. Susan F. Wood, who resigned last year as the Food and Drug Administration’s assistant commissioner for women’s health in protest of the FDA’s announcement to further delay a ruling on whether the emergency contraception application Plan B should be made available over the counter. She spoke Feb. 21 in Robertson Hall.
In an effort to explore ways to lure the nation’s best and brightest back to public service, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs brought back some of its own best and brightest for a symposium Feb. 24. Titled “In the Nation’s Service: Changes and Challenges,” the daylong gathering was highlighted by the return of former professor Ben Bernanke, making his first public speech since becoming chairman of the Federal Reserve Board to a packed Richardson Auditorium. The symposium also featured the announcement of the new Scholars in the Nation’s Service fellowship program, created to attract more University students into federal government service (see Notebook in PAW’s March 8 edition).
Panel discussions explored different aspects of public service and ways to make it more attractive as a career. Alumni panelists included Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro ’57, New York state attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer ’81, former White House press secretary Mike McCurry ’76, Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes ’54, Indiana Gov. Mitchell Daniels ’71, and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker ’49, as well as alumni who are involved in community-based and other forms of public service.
A morning session, which examined ways in which the “best and brightest” historically have been attracted to public service, was highlighted by polite but sometimes pointed exchanges between Theodore Sorensen, former speechwriter and adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and David Halberstam, a longtime critic of those presidents, who won a Pulitzer Prize as a New York Times reporter for his coverage of the early years of the Vietnam War.
The afternoon closed with Bernanke’s address. Noting that the Federal Reserve Board was created during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson 1879, the new Fed chairman took pains to rebut what he characterized as the discredited theory that permanently low unemployment can be bought at the cost of accepting higher inflation. In fact, as the disastrous economy of the early and mid-1970s showed, Bernanke said, such a policy frequently achieves neither of its goals. Instead, he signaled to the world financial markets that he will follow the lead of his predecessors, Volcker and Alan Greenspan, who pursued price stability, both as an end in itself and as a means to greater economic stability and predictability, which in turn promotes greater long-term growth and lower unemployment.
After more than 50 years of bringing town and gown together in a relaxed orange-and-black-themed setting, the Annex Bar and Grill has closed. Scheduled to reopen under the same management in the spring as a more upscale Italian restaurant, there is a collective sense that Nassau Street will never see its likes again.
“The bar is really the only neighborhood bar in Princeton,” said senior Adam Burgoyne. “All kinds of people go there: staff who work at Princeton, grad students, townies, everyone. I’m going to miss the calm, laid-back, and authentic atmosphere.”
Descending the narrow stairs of the basement restaurant was, in many ways, like stepping into the Princeton community’s extended dining room. Town residents and academic luminaries rubbed elbows, surrounded by playful ephemera including a stained-glass roaring tiger and old football team photos.
The Annex’s prices were popular with students. “It’s sad that it’s closing, because it’s one of the last cheap places in Princeton and the only cheap place to get drinks,” Cailey Hall ’07 said.
Any given night at the Annex could be lively. There might be 30 people gathering to celebrate a successfully defended thesis, or Saturday crowds after a football game. No matter what the time, one of the owners, brothers Joe and Rich Carnevale, could be seen greeting and mingling with customers.
The restaurant, called Sotto, will exchange University knickknacks for a sleeker décor of stone, tile, and granite tabletops for the bars. The Princeton memorabilia will likely be dispersed among the University archives, the athletics department, the Princeton Historical Society’s collections, and eBay’s Princetoniana site.
“The Annex is the historic gathering of so many illustrious Princetonians,” said Professor Cornel West *80, who has frequented the restaurant since he was a graduate student. “We shall support Sotto. It builds on the best of the rich heritage of the Annex.”
By Jocelyn Hanamirian ’08
“POLITICS OF MEMORY & TRUTH COMMISSIONS IN LATIN AMERICA” is the topic of a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Program in Latin American Studies Monday, March 27, at 4:30 p.m. in 219 Aaron Burr Hall. Speaking will be Argentine professor Elizabeth Jelin; Paraguayan professor Aldo Marchesi; and Victoria Sanford, City University of New York professor. The moderator is Carlos Iván Degregori, a lecturer at Princeton and a member of the Peruvian Truth Commission.
Don Marquis, University of Kansas philosophy professor, will discuss “ABORTION AND INFANTICIDE: A CRITIQUE OF PETER SINGER’S VIEWS” on Wednesday, March 29, at 4:30 p.m. in McCosh 10. Singer, the Decamp Professor of Bioethics, will offer a response.
Paul Miles *99, lecturer in history, will give a lecture on “LYNDON JOHNSON AND THE DECISION FOR WAR IN VIETNAM” on Wednesday, March 29, at 5:30 p.m. in East Pyne 010. Miles, who received his Ph.D. after 30 years in the military, served as aide de camp to Gen. William Westmoreland, then the Army’s chief of staff.
ACHIEVING ENERGY SECURITY will be the topic of Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, on Thursday, March 30, at 8 p.m. in A-02 McDonnell Hall. Chu, who shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1997, will describe energy research that may lead to transforming technologies.
“BRIDGES TO HEAVEN,” a symposium on East Asian art in honor of longtime Princeton art history professor Wen C. Fong, will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2, in McCosh 50. Each day’s sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 5:30 p.m. A reception will be held Saturday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the University Art Museum. For more information, go to http://web.princeton.edu/sites/ TangCenter/.
THE PRINCETON LAPTOP ORCHESTRA, an ensemble of 15 laptop-based “meta-instruments” directed by professors Dan Trueman and Perry Cook, will perform Tuesday, April 4, at 8 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium. Joining them will be be accordionist Pauline Oliveros, tabla player Zakir Hussain, and the quartet So Percussion. For ticket information, call 609-258-5000.
Undergraduate women joined President Tilghman and other successful career women Feb. 22 for an animated and often intimate forum that asked whether society and the workforce permit women to navigate both work and family life successfully.
A student group, the Organization of Women Leaders, organized the forum in the wake of a recent, controversial New York Times article that suggested women at elite colleges increasingly plan to become stay-at-home mothers. (In another Times article, in 2003, Lisa Belkin ’82 wrote about Princeton classmates who had dropped out of the workforce to care for children.)
OWL president Libby Shutkin ’07 said that “no topic comes up more than women in the workforce” when Princeton undergraduates talk to OWL members.
A 2000 survey of Yale alumni found that 56 percent of the women who had reached their 40s were working, compared to 90 percent of the men in that age group, according to the Times. A 2005 survey found a similar pattern.
All four panelists at the OWL forum, which drew about 30 female students and no men, said they support women who choose to remain at home. They said their concern is with another number: Only nine Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, signaling that opportunity gaps are still present in the workplace.
The struggle of women in the workforce will continue until women have equal opportunities for leadership positions, said Pam Miller ’92, one of the panelists. “It’s a continuum, and we have to keep thinking about how to keep going,” she said. Miller is a partner at the New York law firm of Arnold & Porter.
A young woman in the audience said that she had wanted to become a chemistry professor until last summer, when she interned at a lab and was told by graduate students that the long fight for tenure destroys female professors’ family lives.
Tilghman said those warnings reflected the lab’s culture — not the norm. She said that Princeton attracts professors with families because the area is a good place to raise children, and that the University monitors tenure grants for fairness.
But, she said, the student’s experience might get at the root of a larger issue — self-selection at the hiring level. At Princeton, the yearly pool of Ph.D. candidates in molecular biology splits evenly between men and women, but the applicant pool for an entry-level job in molecular biology is 25 percent women and 75 percent men. Tilghman speculated that women who might apply for a job are discouraged by expectations of a poor family life. If so, working women should speak out more about the rewards of having a career, she said.
Said Karen Magee ’83, Time Warner’s senior vice president for strategic planning: “This continues to be portrayed as [only] a women’s issue, when both men and women are affected.”
By Elyse Graham ’07
Astronomers have identified a previously unknown planet about five-and-a-half times the size of Earth, making it the smallest of the 170 known planets outside our solar system. The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE), an international project co-founded by astrophysics professor Bohdan Paczynski, played a key role in the discovery. While the icy planet, named OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, is not likely to support life, its relatively small size demonstrates the power of a technique called gravitational microlensing, a way to detect changes in the brightness of a star that indicate a passing planet. Paczynski and his colleagues hope to identify planets the size of Earth or smaller with orbits that might enable them to sustain life. The effort is a broad collaboration: The Jan. 26 paper in Nature that announced the planet had more than 70 coauthors.
A University committee is considering changes to the ACADEMIC CALENDAR, particularly in the timing of first-semester final exams. The Committee on the Course of Study, a group of faculty and students that reviews curricular changes, surveyed students in February and early March to gather their opinions about the current calendar and about possible alternatives, including moving exams to December and adding a January term. Dean of the College Nancy Weiss Malkiel, chairwoman of the committee, explained in a letter to students that while some faculty and students support the existing calendar, others believe “the frequency with which the fall term is interrupted disrupts academic work and poses a financial and logistical hardship for many students.” In a Feb. 17 editorial, The Daily Princetonian opposed any changes, arguing that the alternatives would “create more problems than they solve.” Revisions to the calendar require faculty approval.
THOMAS J. CHRISTENSEN, professor of politics and international affairs, has been named deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs with responsibility for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia. Christensen, an authority on China and international security, is expected to begin his new job this summer, taking a public service leave while remaining on the faculty.
Graduate student Andrew M. Lee, right, performed on classical guitar Feb. 24 as part of “This Is Princeton,” the University’s annual talent showcase featuring students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The show in Richardson Auditorium included music, dance, comedy, poetry, and film; proceeds go to local youth arts programs.
Princeton raised more than $165.3 MILLION in private donations in 2004–05, up 32 percent from the previous year but significantly lower than the University’s high of $227.5 million in 2002–03, according to an annual report from the Council for Aid to Education released in February. The report measures cash received, not pledges, and fluctuations from year to year are common. Private contributions to colleges nationwide increased 4.9 percent to $25.6 billion, the report said, but the rate of alumni participation dropped for the fourth consecutive year. Stanford led all universities, raising $603.6 million; Harvard led Ivy League institutions, raising $589.9 million.
The University celebrated 35 YEARS OF WOMEN’S ATHLETICS Feb. 11 with a daylong program that included a luncheon at Jadwin Gym and a halftime ceremony during the women’s basketball game against Dartmouth. A slide show featuring women athletes from the last 35 years is available at http://princetonvarsityclub.alumniathlete.com/.