December 21, 2007

Around Campus

Happy Holidays!

The annual Holiday Employee Luncheon was held on Thursday, Dec. 20, in Harrington Auditorium. Hundreds of faculty and staff members were treated to a delicious buffet of meats, pastas, soups, sides, and delectable desserts. For more festive photos, see page 4.

Gateway Park Wins National Award

In recognition of its successful transformation of an underutilized 19th century industrial site into a stateof- the-art life sciences and biotechnology park, Gateway Park, LLC has won the 2007 Excellence in Economic Development Award for Urban or Suburban Economic Development from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

At a ceremony held on Nov. 29 at Gateway Park, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Sandy K. Baruah and Congressman James McGovern presented the award to President Dennis Berkey and Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC) President David Forsberg. Gateway Park, LLC is a joint venture of WPI and the WBDC.

"Gateway Park represents the best and brightest economic development methods and practices in use today," Assistant Secretary Baruah said. "Gateway’s commitment to sound, research-based, market-driven economic development is helping Worcester and Massachusetts grow their economies and create jobs. I am grateful for their participation in our national awards program."

The Excellence in Economic Development Award is given annually in seven categories to recognize "innovative economic development strategies of national significance." In particular, the award for Excellence in Urban or Suburban Economic Development is given to a project that "utilizes innovative, market-based strategies to improve urban or suburban economic development results."

"This prestigious award is a wonderful recognition of the vision and the hard work of so many people in this community who helped to make Gateway Park a reality," said President Berkey.

Brattin: Charles Dickens Actually Lived Message of A Christmas Carol

At the end of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge, having glimpsed the dismal effect of his cold-hearted nature on the world-courtesy of the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future- pledges to change his ways, saying, "I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year."

Unlike his most famous literary character, Charles Dickens himself didn’t need to be scared straight by specters. According to Joel Brattin, professor of literature at WPI and a noted Dickens scholar, the Victorian author lived the message of A Christmas Carol throughout his life, generously supporting charitable causes in London and promoting social awareness and change through his actions and his fiction.

“The novel has had lasting appeal, in part, because of the conversion that Scrooge undergoes,” Brattin says. “He learns that it is not too late to change. But Dickens did not experience a similar conversion. He gained success at a young age; by that time, his social concern was already apparent and it remained strong throughout his career. His work contained social criticism and commentary, and his charitable activities were numerous.”

Brattin says Dickens’s out-of-pocket gifts to charitable causes were not overly generous by the standards of the Victorian Era, but his contributions of time and energy—particularly to two causes dear to his heart—were extraordinary:

Urania Cottage was a home for the rehabilitation of former prostitutes that Dickens helped set up for Angela Burdett-Coutts, one of Britain’s wealthiest women and most generous philanthropists. Dickens was involved in all aspects of running the cottage, from supervising its finances, to hiring staff and teachers, to combing work houses, prisons, and schools for potential residents. His intense interest in this cause was mirrored in his sympathetic portrayals of several “fallen women” in his books, including Little Em’ly in David Copperfield, who, like the women of Urania Cottage, ultimately travels to Australia to start a new life.

Dickens also devoted himself to the cause of struggling artists and writers, along with their families. Early in his career he often raised funds for colleagues in need by giving readings or staging performances of his works. In 1841, he published the collection Pic-Nic Papers for the benefit of the widow and children of John Macrone, his first publisher and a man he disliked intensely.

A decade later, Dickens helped establish the Guild of Literature and Art, an organization that provided welfare payments to struggling artists and writers. Dickens remained involved in the guild throughout his life, serving for a time as an officer and frequently signing (along with several other Victorian luminaries) the organization’s council attendance book. The book is now the jewel of the Robert D. Fellman Dickens Collection, housed in WPI’s George C. Gordon Library.

Prinn Delivers 3rd Annual University Lecture

Internationally recognized expert on global climate change Ronald Prinn, professor of atmospheric research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, delivered WPI’s third annual University Lecture on Dec. 10 in Alden Memorial.

Dr. Prinn is a widely respected researcher whose work touches on atmospheric chemistry, dynamics, and physics—on Earth and on other planets—as well as the chemical evolution of atmospheres. He is involved in projects in atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemistry, climate sciences, and assessment of science and policy regarding climate change, and also leads the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment, in which trace gases involved in the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion have been measured for the past 20 years around the world. Prinn has made significant contributions to the development of national and international scientific research programs in global change, and his lecture addressed the science, economics, and policy of climate change.

“There is no doubt in my mind that climate is already changing in very significant ways,” said Prinn, who headed MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from 1998 to 2003. “I emphasize that we cannot wait for perfection in either climate forecasts or impact assessments before taking action. The long-lived greenhouse gases emitted today will last for decades to centuries in the atmosphere. Added to this is the multi-decade period needed to change the global infrastructure for energy and agricultural production and utilization without serious economic impacts.”

2008 Chairman’s Exemplary Faculty Prizes

Donald K. Peterson ’71, current chair of the WPI Board of Trustees, has through his personal philanthropy created the WPI Chairman’s Exemplary Faculty Prizes. Continuing the practice initiated in 2007 when Profs. John McNeill and Richard Sisson received these awards, two prizes, each in the amount of $10,000, will be awarded at WPI’s 2008 Commencement Ceremony.

WPI’s Trustee Awards recognize excellence in particular areas of faculty performance: teaching, research and scholarship, and advising. The purpose of the Chairman’s Prizes is to recognize and reward members of the faculty who excel in all relevant areas of faculty performance, the true exemplars of the Institute’s highest aspirations and most important qualities.

Criteria: Demonstrated excellence in all areas of faculty performance relevant to the particular nominee. Eligibility: Tenured and tenure-track faculty at WPI.

Nomination Process: Individuals must be nominated by department heads (no more than one nomination per department) or by the Provost. Nominations, which are to be submitted to the Provost, should consist of:

Additional letters of support, a citation index for publications where appropriate, recent summaries of student teaching evaluations and other relevant supporting material may accompany the nomination so as to define the high quality of faculty performance at WPI. The previous year’s awardees are not eligible but other faculty members of the departments of the awardees are eligible for consideration in the current year. Students and alumni are welcome to send recommendations and/or supporting materials to the appropriate department head or to the Provost.

Deadline for nominations for the 2007-08 year: Friday, Jan. 25. Submit (electronic versions preferred) to Debbie Graves in the Provost’s Office.

Thanks for Toys for Tots Donations

Mike DiRuzza, associate director of financial aid, and Allyson Warren, a work study student in the Office of Financial Aid and coordinator of WPI’s Toys for Tots campaign, extend a warm and heartfelt “thank you” to those who donated their time, financial support, and toys for WPI’s Toys for Tots campaign. Six giant boxes containing more than 100 toys, and financial contributions of $70 were donated to Toys for Tots. The toys and money were given to Worcester County children in need so they could have a brighter Christmas.


Galotti Named Robotics Volunteer of Year

Nicholas Galotti ‘05, web applications administrator in WPI’s Division of Marketing and Communications, was given the 2007 RoboNautica Volunteer Award at the 7th annual RoboNautica tournament held on Dec. 15 on campus. Galotti has served as a team mentor and an integral volunteer at most FIRST events held at WPI. “[Nick] works tirelessly on many of the behindthe- scenes aspects of the events, including technical management and scoring software,” said Colleen Shaver ‘04, MS ‘07, education resources coordinator at FIRST, in her announcement of Galotti’s award. “He is dedicated, reliable, and an invaluable part of the success of [RoboNautica].”

Hahn Returns to WPI to See Impact of Great Problems Seminars He Helped Launch

Eric Hahn ‘80 recently spent a morning with some first-year students talking about air pollution in China, fish stock depletion in Tanzania, and the feasibility of various photovoltaics systems. Indeed, it was just another day at WPI. Hahn—a computer scientist and entrepreneur whose work has helped shape the Internet—returned to his alma mater on Dec. 10 to visit with the 88 firstyear students who had completed the university’s new “Great Problems” seminars, a pilot program he helped start to give freshmen real-world experience through hands-on project work. In two seminars— Feed the World and Power the World—students addressed global problems focused on food, health, and energy resources. In speaking with the students about their projects, Hahn was immediately impressed by their fresh ideas and thinking. Though not all of their proposed solutions were immediately implementable, he observed, “it was exciting to see their different perspectives.” Hahn’s recent gift of $100,000 to the university helped fund this new approach to WPI’s firstyear experience. His purpose was twofold: to help transform the first-year experience to include projectfocused work, and to encourage students to be responsible members of the global community and use their unique talents to give something back.

Publications and Presentations

Chemical Engineering

Atabek, A., and T. A. Camesano, “An atomic force microscopy study of the effect of lipopolysaccharides and extrapolymeric substances on the adhesion of Pseudomonas aeruginosa,” Journal of Bacteriology, vol. 189, pp. 8503-8509, 2007.

Abu-Lail, L. I., Y. Liu, A. Atabek, and T. A. Camesano, “Quantifying the Interactions Between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Natural Organic Matter,” Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 41, pp. 8031-8037, 2007.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Pavlik, J. W., S. Laohhasurayotin, and T. Vongnakorn, “Vapor-Phase Photochemistry of Methyl-and-Cyanopyridines: Deuteriuim Labeling Studies,” Journal of Organic Chemistry, vol. 72, pp. 7116-7124, 2007.

Humanities and Arts

Brattin, J. J., “Charles Dickens and Rupert Holmes: The Mystery of Edwin Drood," SpeakEasy Stage Company, Boston, Mass., Nov. 28, 2007.

Brattin, J. J., “A Christmas Carol: Its Origins and Importance,” Westfield Athenaeum, Westfield, Mass., Dec. 5, 2007.

Matos-Nin, I. E., “Lo Medieval en una Novela Renacentista de Maria de Zayas,” GRAFEMAS,, Diciembre 2007

Mott, W. T., “Center of the Storm,” (Campus protest in the ‘60s) Bostonia, vol. 80, summer 2007.


Note: Information for the calendar comes from the Web-based WPI Events Calendar, which is powered by the Social Web. To have your events listed in @wpi, please enter them in Social Web and request that they be added to the appropriate WPI calendar. Visit Social Web to learn how.

Friday, Nov. 30

Women’s Basketball: WPI vs. Wesley • Harrington Auditorium, 1pm
Women’s Basketball: Keene State vs. Curry College (WPI Tournament) • Harrington Auditorium, 3pm

Monday, Dec. 31

Women’s Basketball: WPI Tournament — Consolation Game • Harrington Auditorium, 1pm
Women’s Basketball: WPI Tournament — Championship Game • Harrington Auditorium, 3pm

Thursday, Jan. 3

Women’s Basketball: WPI vs. Johnson & Wales • Harrington Auditorium, 5:30pm
Men’s Basketball: WPI vs. Anna Maria College • Harrington Auditorium, 7:30pm

Saturday, Jan. 5

Men’s Basketball: WPI vs. Curry College • Harrington Auditorium, 2pm

Wednesday, Jan. 9

Men’s Basketball: WPI vs. Coast Guard • Harrington Auditorium, 5:30pm
Wrestling: WPI vs. Home Tri- Meet #1 • Alumni Gym, 6pm
Women’s Basketball: WPI vs. Coast Guard • Harrington Auditorium, 7:30pm

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Last modified: February 04, 2008 16:41:46