January 15, 2004

Around Campus

Author Noam Chomsky to Speak

Noam Chomsky, a renowned professor of linguistics at MIT, will speak on Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. in the Campus Center Odeum; his talk will be followed by a book signing. Chomsky has authored over 30 political books dissecting such issues as U.S. interventionism in the developing world, the political economy of human rights, and the propaganda role of corporate media. The talk, sponsored by the Social Awareness Committee, is free and open to the public. For more information, call 508-831-5796.

Global Perspective Program Honored

WPI recently received an honorable mention in the Institute for International Education's 2003-04 Andrew Heiskell Awards, which honor the most innovative international education programs at American universities. WPI's Global Perspective Program was recognized as a "best practice" in campus internationalization. WPI was one of three finalists in the Study Abroad category.

WPI sends more engineering and science students abroad than any other university in the nation and has won numerous awards for its unique project-based approach to global education. Paul Davis, dean of interdisciplinary and global studies at WPI, and Natalie Mello, director of global affairs, recently described WPI's program as a model for other universities in an essay they wrote for Mass High Tech. You can read the essay online at the Mass High Tech web site.


Ram-Mohan Receives Engineering Award

L. Ramdas Ram-Mohan, professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering, has received the Engineering Excellence Award from the Optical Society of America. Ram-Mohan was one of four leaders in the field of optical engineering to receive this honor, which highlights technical achievements in optical engineering and is bestowed upon individuals who have made significant contributions to the field.

Report From the Cabinet

Dec. 9, 2003, Meeting Summary

Graduate Student Award and Payment Process: Jeanne Gosselin distributed a new form that combines and makes more efficient a number of operations affecting graduate student award, fellowship and payment processes currently carried out in several different offices.

2007-08 Academic Calendar: Chuck Kornik presented the draft 2007-08 calendar for adoption, noting that he had discussed it with all relevant constituencies. The only concern expressed was the burden on staff and resources resulting from starting A Term on Aug. 23, 2007. Kornik indicated that if the term were to begin one week later, B Term grades would be due on Christmas Eve. The calendar was adopted with one dissenting vote.

Residence Hall Marketing Plan: Philip Clay led an extensive and detailed discussion on how better to market WPI housing to students. Several new options are being designed; new marketing (including to parents) is being prepared; and "myths" about difficulties with the housing lottery will be dispelled. Clay indicated that several hundred more on-campus beds would be needed before WPI would reach the 60-70 percent on-campus housing level (including Greek residential units) that define a residential campus. Such new housing could respond to current student preferences, such as single rooms and suites with kitchens.

Budget Status: President Parrish, Steve Hebert and Judi Trainor all commented on the difficulties in the current budget ($2.5M shortfall) and next year's budget ($4.5M). The president's memo made the community aware of the current situation and of the steps being contemplated to address those problems, which are likely to include a reduction in positions.

Presidential Search: Steve Hebert reported that the search firm Korn-Ferry had identified about 25 names, and expected to see another 50 or so. The names of finalists will likely become public in March, when they are invited to campus.

Extended Education: Provost Carney commented on the combination of Continuing and Professional Education and Corporate Education into the new Division of Extended Education. He and Dean Lowenstein discussed efficiencies resulting from the reorganization, including staff reductions and new programs being positioned to offer should sufficient demand develop.

Summer School: Dean Lowenstein discussed her plans to develop summer school programs. She has met with academic department heads, administrative staff and students concerning supply and demand for courses. She is in the process of tabulating responses to surveys that gauged interest in summer classes among undergraduate and graduate students, and is looking at opportunities to introduce new initiatives. Extensive discussion followed about ways to explore expanding summer school activities.

Early Decision and Early Action Results: In response to a query from Provost Carney, the cabinet learned that Early Decision applications were down and Early Action applications were up. Discussion centered on best strategies to use these admissions techniques to yield the best students within budget and financial aid constraints.

Publications and Presentations

Biomedical Engineering

Cornwell, K.*, and Pins, G.D. "Characterizing Fibroblast Attachment, Proliferation and Migration on Self-Assembled Collagen Threads." Fall meeting of the Materials Research Society, Boston, Mass., Dec. 2003.

Throm, A.M.*, Downing, B.R.* and Pins, G.D. "A Method for Fabricating Microtextured Basal Lamina Analogs with Submicron Porous Architecture." Fall meeting of the Materials Research Society, Boston, Mass., Dec.2003.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Abu-Lail, N.I., Camesano, T.A. Polysaccharide properties probed with atomic force microscopy (invited review), Journal of Microscopy 2003, 212, 217-238.

Dupres, V., Camesano, T.A., Langevin, D., Guenoun, P., Checco, A. Atomic force microscopy imaging of hair. Correlations between surface potential and wetting at the nanometer scale. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2004, 269, 329-335.

Computer Science

Toth, David* and Gary Parker (Connecticut College), "Evolving Gaits for the Lynxmotion Hexapod II Robot," in proceedings of the 7th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, July 27-30, 2003, Orlando, Fla.

Humanities and Arts

Brattin, Joel J., "Voodoo Child: Jimi Hendrix: The Stories Behind Every Song, by David Stubbs," book review in UniVibes 46, Dec. 2003, pp. 4-5.

Brattin, Joel J., "Lonnie Youngblood Featuring Jimi Hendrix: Two Great Experiences (Expanded Edition)," CD review in UniVibes 46, Dec. 2003, pp. 6-7.

Brattin, Joel J., "Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Jimi Hendrix," CD review, in UniVibes 46, Dec. 2003, pp. 8-9.

Brattin, Joel J., "Live at Berkeley," CD review in UniVibes 46, Dec. 2003, p.9.

Brattin, Joel J., "Jimi Plays Berkeley," DVD review in UniVibes 46, Dec. 2003, p. 10.

Brattin, Joel J., "Hendrix and the Blues," film review in UniVibes 46, Dec. 2003, p. 10.

Brattin, Joel J., Steve Rodham, Malcolm Stewart, et al. "Spottings and Jottings," in Jimpress 76, Winter 2003/2004, pp. 40-43.

Brattin, Joel J., and Doug Bell, "Noel Redding: The Experience Sessions," CD review, in Jimpress 76, Winter 2003/2004, pp. 81-83.

Mechanical Engineering

Apelian, D., and Makhlouf, M.M., "The Metal Processing Institute at WPI: An Example of a Successful Industry/University Alliance," in proceedings of the First International Conference on Light Metals Technology, edited by A. Dahle, pp. 21-26, Brisbane, Australia, Sept. 2003.

Durgin, W.W., Meleschi, S.B., and Andreeva, T.A., "Experimental Investigation of Statistical Moments of Travel Time in Grid-Generated Turbulence," abstract, Bulletin of the American Physical Society, vol. 48, no. 10, 2003.

Hoffman, A.H., Robichaud, D.R, II, and Grigg, P., "The Effect of Hydration Upon the Compliance Properties of Skin," in proceedings of the 2003 Bioengineering Conference, Key Biscayne, Fla., pp. 633-6.

Jorstad, J.L., Apelian, D., and Makhlouf, M.M., "Novel, Slurry-Based, Semi -Solid Processing Routes," in proceedings of the First International Conference on Light Metals Technology, edited by A. Dahle, pp. 109-114, Brisbane, Australia, Sept. 2003.

Makhlouf, M.M., Apelian, D., Chaudhury, S., and Bergman, C., "Heat Treatment of Aluminum Cast Components in Fluidized Beds," in proceedings of the First International Conference on Light Metals Technology, edited by A. Dahle, pp. 371-376, Brisbane, Australia, Sept. 2003.

Riddle, Y.W., and Makhlouf, M.M., "Thermal Analysis of Magnesium Foundry Alloys," presented at the European Congress on Advanced Materials and Processes, Lausanne, Switzerland, Sept. 2003.

Robichaud, D.R., II, Grigg, P., and Hoffman, A.H., "The Response of Mechanoreceptors in Rat Skin to Biaxial Loading: A Preliminary Study," in proceedings of the 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Washington, D.C., vol. 1., Nov. 2003.

Recent Grants

Biomedical Engineering

Shonat, R., for "Noninvasive Imaging of Chlorio-Retinal Oxygen Tension," from the University of Illinois at Chicago, $6,011.

Electrical and Computer Engineering;

Computer Science

Pahlavan, K. and Emmanuel Agu, for "RI: An Integrated Multi-Layer Wireless LAN Test Bed," from the National Science Foundation, $142,171.

Mathematical Sciences

Walker, H., for "Nonlinear Equations Research," from Sandia National Laboratories, $34,454.

Mechanical Engineering

Gatsonis, N., for "Unstructured 3D Particle and Particle/Fluid Computational Methods for Partially Ionized Flows in Electric Micropropulsion," from the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force, $60,440.


Ram-Mohan, L., for "Sensors: A New Class of Devices Based on Interfacial Effects in Metal-Semiconductor Hybrid Structures," from Washington University in St. Louis, $150,000.

Total Nov. grants and contracts awarded: $393,076.

Did you Know?

Ljungquist Edits Newly Discovered Poe Letters

In the summer and fall of 1843, an aspiring writer from Attleboro, Mass., wrote to some of the foremost literary figures of his time to ask advice about his earliest efforts in the craft of poetry. Among the replies to Abijah M. Ide Jr. are two rare and remarkable letters from Edgar Allan Poe, which came to light when they were sold at auction in Boston in 2001 and which have been recently edited by Kent Ljungquist, professor of American literature at WPI. The Poe letters, along with correspondence to Ide from New England poets James Russell Lowell and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, are reprinted in an essay by Ljungquist in Resources for American Literary Study (AMS Press, 2003).

The letters from Poe reveal his thoughts on artistic fame and give forthright advice to Ide about the challenges of being a writer in a contentious literary marketplace. Ide, still a teenager, wrote to Poe, Lowell and Longfellow and sought "acquaintance and fellowship with other Poets." Ide went on to contribute poetry to American magazines and to edit the Taunton True Democrat and the Union Gazette and Democrat. He was active in Democratic politics and served in the Massachusetts Senate in the 1850s.

At the time of his receipt of Ide's first letter, Poe was in Philadelphia and planning an independent magazine project, first conceived as the Penn Magazine, then as the Stylus. Poe counseled Ide, "Be bold, read much--write much--publish little--keep from the little wits, and fear nothing." When Ide wrote to Poe again in 1845, Poe had moved to New York City. In his second letter he gave Ide further advice about where to place to his verses.

Another discovery in Ljungquist's essay is a tribute to Poe written just after his death in 1849. The poetic eulogy, laced with references to The Raven, appeared in the Taunton True Democrat. Ljungquist concludes that the lines were almost certainly written by Ide.

Ljungquist is the author of The Grand and the Fair: Poe's Landscape Aesthetics and Pictorial Techniques and editor of a series of reference volumes: Nineteenth-Century American Fiction Writers, Antebellum Authors in the South, and Antebellum Authors in New York. He has published articles on Poe in a range of scholarly journals.

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Last modified: February 20, 2008 08:49:49