Notebook: December 25, 1996
UNIVERSITY HELPS TO BUILD TRENTON SCIENCE CENTER
Faculty, alumni, and students provide expertise, skills, and funds
The renaissance of the John A. Roebling Sons industrial complex in Trenton is under way, with faculty, students, administrators, and alumni taking part in the transformation of the former Roebling machine shop into the Invention Factory Science Center.
The Invention Factory is the educational centerpiece of the $160 million overhaul of the former Roebling site, located in Trenton's Chambersburg section. This 21stcentury "factory" will be a learning center that will give the public a chance to experience cuttingedge science with exhibits on energy, communications, biotechnology, materials science, transportation, and the environment.
The factory's reach will go far beyond its brick walls. It also supports a regional outreach center, putting material from the world's best scientists on the desktops of New Jersey schoolchildren. The Invention Factory has already produced science kits for 8,000 students through its Science to Go program, and it will use computer and interactive television to introduce students to the world of science and technology.
The university's involvement extends to every phase of the project-from the look of the building to the content of the programs and the funds needed to make it happen. The Princeton Materials Institute (PMI) and the Princeton Center for Complex Materials (PCCM) will have major roles in the center's development and ongoing governance. PCCM, which received a $14 million grant from the National Science Foundation, has designated a portion of that for the outreach programs.
Visitors to the Invention Factory Science Center will learn about the 125year history of Roebling Co., which was sold in 1952 as demand eased for its chief product, wire rope. While John A. Roebling didn't invent wire rope, he perfected the manufacturing process. From the start, Roebling saw his product as the essential material for the suspension bridges he sought to build. Wire rope was also used for barges, elevators, and other 19th-century innovations. But the Roebling bridges, particularly the 1883 Brooklyn Bridge, are the company's most memorable contribution to industrial America.
Clifford Zink, executive director of the center, seeks to emphasize the harmony of 21stcentury science in a 19th-century space that was, in its day, a center of innovation. "The building itself is really our first exhibit," he said.
The architectural firm of Ralph Lerner, dean of the School of Architecture, has been selected to renovate and design the new facility and exhibit space. The machine shop will be overhauled in stages, with a visitor's center scheduled to open next year. The overhaul is expected to be completed in 2001.
The list of Princeton connections to the Invention Factory Science Center starts with Ferdinand W. Roebling III '33, great-grandson of the company founder. PMI's former director, Peter M. Eisenberger '63, serves as chairman of the Invention Factory board of trustees, and President Shapiro is also a board member. Hartford P. Gongaware '94 is the factory's project coordinator, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, whose executive director is Scott McVay '55, has contributed more than $200,000.
PCCM and the Invention Factory are partners in Pathways to Science and Technology, an interactive software system that will provide educational content. Several students are designing the Pathways program, and its executive committee includes faculty and staff members.
When the Invention Factory visitor's center opens next year, it will likely feature models of the three most famous Roebling bridges, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate, and the George Washington Bridge, which Wendy L. Gottshall '97, a civil-engineering major, is planning to construct as her senior thesis project.
PRINCETON WINS BATTLE OF THE BANDS
The Princeton marching band earned bragging rights by winning the Battle of the Marching Bands poll on ESPNet's Sportszone Web site in November. Princeton edged out Stanford in the finals, receiving 53.6 percent of the 7,216 votes cast. Both schools have "scatter" bands, which don't march during their performances.
In each round of the single-elimination, 16-band contest, alumni, students, and Web surfers voted for the bands they liked best. On the road to the finals, Princeton defeated bands from the University of Tennessee, Ohio State University, and Rice University. Unofficial band historian Irwin S. Tillman '86 helped get out the vote by e-mailing alumni and band members about the contest.
This is the first such contest on ESPNet's Sportszone Web site, said Kaaren L. Andrews '93, who works for Starwave, which created and maintains the site. In selecting the bands for the contest, Starwave looked for a diverse group of styles.
Dartmouth, the only other Ivy band in the contest, lost in the first round.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF STEREOTYPING AND PREJUDICE
"People never think of themselves as prejudiced," says Assistant Professor of Psychology Gordon B. Moskowitz. "Only other people are prejudiced." A social psychologist, Moskowitz teaches a freshman seminar called The Psychology of Stereotyping and Prejudice. "Making snap judgments about others can help us move through the world smoothly," he observes, "but it can also lead us to rely on stereotypes. . . . We need to realize we are often very biased in how we interpret people, actions, and events."
He cites, among other studies, early research by the late Hadley Cantril (with Albert H. Hastdorf) that appeared in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology in 1954. "They Saw a Game: A Case Study" concerns the Princeton-Dartmouth football game of November 23, 1951, notable for penalties incurred. The researchers showed a film of the game to a group of Princeton students and a group of Dartmouth students. The Princeton students "saw" the Dartmouth team make twice as many infractions as Dartmouth viewers "saw." "When people identify with different groups," Moskowitz points out, "they actually see things differently."
To examine the psychological processes underlying this and other aspects of stereotyping and resultant prejudice, 13 first-year students gathered every week this fall in Rockefeller College. They are as ethnically, geographically, and politically diverse a group as a seminar leader could hope to assemble. The question discussed in one session was whether racial stereotypes (such as "African Americans are musical") and prejudice are automatic responses or whether they can be consciously controlled. Students had read two experimental studies, one proposing automaticity and the other allowing for the role of intent.
Always seeking to connect assigned readings to real-world events, Moskowitz initiated the discussion with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous letter of 1963 from the Birmingham, Alabama, jail about the need to "help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice . . . to the majestic heights of understanding." Does the fact that people need to be motivated to get beyond stereotypes imply that stereotyping is a default response? he wondered. "Absolutely yes," said one student. "You can't help it." Another student protested, "What I was taught at the age of five is not forever. I can make my reactions change."
Moskowitz's own research in the early stages of impression formation has led him to believe that, although bias may be deep and often unrecognized, it is subject to volition. But in class discussion, he encourages students to share their own views of the argument, with few professorial interpolations.
Dressed in jeans, a flannel shirt, and a baseball cap, he strolls the periphery of the room, enjoying the intellectual and emotional fireworks his subject ignites. "I always have an outline of what I want to cover," he says, "but the students regularly take me places I hadn't intended to go, and bring up topics I was only gradually wending my way towards."
In the weeks to follow, the seminar examined, besides "economic realities that can lead to prejudice," the reasons some people have for being prejudiced. "A component of our own identity is the groups to which we belong," explains Moskowitz. "We need to see these groups in a positive light, so we tend to exaggerate the negative qualities of other groups." Students also examined the influence of parents, schools, and the culture at large, and the effect of stereotyping on its victims.
The course uses, among other texts, Gordon Allport's The Nature of Prejudice (1954) "to give students who are new to the field an overview." Most of the reading, however, is of primary sources, including journal articles on "some of the earliest work on assessing stereotyping, which was done at Princeton in the 1930s." Students also submit weekly papers that relate the readings to one another, or to a historical or current event.
Moskowitz, a 1985 graduate of McGill University, earned his Ph.D. in 1992 at New York University. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1994, after spending a year as an assistant professor at the University of Konstanz in Germany. He has been interested in stereotyping and prejudice since a McGill course showed him "how psychological factors contribute to the existing tension between Canadian Anglophones and Francophones." He also admits to being influenced in his young years by egalitarian themes in the songs of John Lennon.
"It takes work to be neutral," says Moskowitz. "The first step is to accept responsibility for your reactions. It's important to realize we are all part of the problem."
THE NATURE AND CAUSES OF PREDILICTION
A reading list by Assistant Professor Gordon Moskowitz
Children and Prejudice, by Frances E. Aboud (Blackwell, 1988)-Looks at the role of culture, parents, cognitive development, schools, and the media in creating stereotypes in children.
The Nature of Prejudice, by Gordon W. Allport (Addison-Wesley, 1954)-Classic book providing the first comprehensive review of the societal, personal, motivational, and cognitive components contributing to prejudice.
Prejudice, Discrimination and Racism, by John F. Dovidio and Samuel L. Gaertner, eds. (Academic Press, 1986)-Argues that prejudice in the U.S. is not on the decline; it simply has taken a less explicit form in the post-civil-rights era.
"Differential Social Perception and Attribution of Intergroup Violence: Testing the Limits of Stereotyping of Blacks," by Birt L. Duncan, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34 (1976): 590-The biased nature of perception is shown as eyewitnesses draw different conclusions about identical behaviors performed by blacks and whites.
"The Authoritarian Character Structure," by Abraham H. Maslow, Journal of Social Psychology 18 (1943):401-Although all people can be biased by stereotypes, there are some personality types particularly prone to bias and scapegoating.
"An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict," by Henri Tajfel and John C. Turner, Psychology of Intergroup Relations, by Stephen Worchel and William Austin, eds. (Nelson-Hall, 1986)-This article reveals how conflict between groups arises not only from struggles over material resources but also from struggles to maintain high self-esteem for one's "in-group" (often through denigrating the "out-groups").
"Stereotype Threat and the Intellectual Test Performance of African Americans," by Calude M. Steele and Joshua Aronson, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69 (1995): 797-Fear of living up to a stereotype leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby people exhibit the stereotypical behaviors they are trying to avoid.
"Controlling Other People: The Impact of Power on Stereotyping," by Susan T. Fiske, American Psychologist 48 (1993): 621-Stereotyping can be inhibited by some motives and goals (e.g., a desire to be egalitarian), but prejudicial responses can be promoted by other goals (e.g., a need to control).
"Examining the Role of Intent: Toward Understanding its Role in Stereotyping and Prejudice," by Susan T. Fiske, Unintended Thought, by James S. Uleman and John A. Bargh, eds. (Guilford Press, 1989)-Examines the legal ramifications for people charged with discrimination if their use of stereotypes could at some level be unintended.
RUDENSTINE, LAKE TO RECEIVE AWARDS
Harvard president Neil L. Rudenstine '56 and National Security Adviser W. Anthony K. Lake *74 will receive the university's highest awards for alumni on Alumni Day, February 22. Rudenstine, who was Princeton's provost for 10 years, will receive the Woodrow Wilson Award, given to an undergraduate alumnus or alumna who exemplifies "Princeton in the Nation's Service." Lake will receive the Madison Medal, which recognizes an outstanding alumnus or alumna of the graduate school.
Named Harvard's 26th president in 1991, Rudenstine has been credited with promoting unity among the university's 13 schools and colleges and building a premier AfroAmerican studies department. He has also championed policies that promote diversity on college campuses. A specialist in Renaissance literature, Rudenstine attended Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, earned his Ph.D. in English from Harvard, and taught there for four years before returning to Princeton in 1968 as dean of students and associate professor of English. He became dean of the college in 1972 and provost five years later. He resigned in 1987 to direct the Mellon Foundation.
Appointed assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in December 1992, Lake had been a professor of international relations at Mount Holyoke College since 1981. He also served as senior foreign policy adviser to the Clinton/Gore campaign.
Lake joined the State Department in 1962, a year after graduating from Harvard, and was a foreign service officer until 1970. After work with the presidential campaign of Edmund Muskie, the Carnegie Endowment, and International Voluntary Services, Lake returned to the State Department in 1977 to serve as director of Policy Planning for President Carter until 1981.
SCULPTURE SHATTERS; ASBESTOS DISCOVERED
The university experienced two mishaps the week before Thanksgiving: Asbestos was discovered in Firestone Library, and a 16th-century sculpture was damaged in the Art Museum.
A terra cotta relief of the Madonna and Child from the studio of the Florentine sculptor Luca della Robbia fell from its mount and shattered on November 19. The sculpture, part of the museum's collection, had been displayed for several months as part of an exhibit prior to the incident. It was rehung in a different location a week before the mishap. The cause for the fall isn't known yet, said Ruta Smithson, museum spokeswoman. But the relief's new location-in a passageway between two galleries-made it more vulnerable.
The museum will try to restore the relief to some semblance of its original appearance. But if it is no longer exhibitable, the museum will keep the fragments for future study.
Low levels of airborne asbestos were found in sections of the library, causing its closure for several days for remediation in late November. The asbestos was discovered when a maintenance worker found that insulation in a duct leading from a fan that circulates air to portions of the building had come loose.
The university had the insulation and air tested for asbestos; the air had 0.05 fibers per cubic centimeter in certain areas of the library. The maximum permissible level for long-term exposure is 0.10, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The New Jersey standard for reoccupying a space after asbestos remediation, however, is more stringent, and this standard was exceeded.
The ductwork from the affected fan was sealed off, and the area served by its ventilation system was partitioned. All surfaces in the affected area were cleaned. Then the building's air was retested and found to meet the state standard.
The cleanup is ongoing, said university spokesman Justin Harmon '78. The affected fan and ductwork are being cleaned. The insulation that remains in the library's ducts will be replaced.