Transparent link: The new
Fine Arts Center lobby, which figures prominently in our cover story, recently
received an Honor Award for Design Excellence from the Boston Society of
Architects. The lobby is called a transparent link between the upper
and lower campus, as well as a beautiful addition, a light sculpture,
and a nice contrast to the original building.
Dont try this at home: Amherst
firefighter Derrick Donahue demonstrates the intense heat produced by
halogen torchières by actually frying an egg on one. This show-and-tell
accompanied UMasss announcement last winter that it would join campuses
across the country in banning the upward-shining lamps. Torchière
fires have caused injuries and deaths elsewhere; the one such blaze at
UMass fortunately caused no bodily harm, but did cause $5,000 worth of
smoke and water damage. In the weeks following the announcement, dorms
set up Torchière Turn-In Days so students could swap
their dangerous halogen lamps for safer and more energy-efficient fluorescents.
Small change: A disc
about the size of a quarter, but with the potential to store huge amounts
of data, has been developed by UMass researchers Thomas Russell of polymer
science and engineering and Mark Tuominen of physics, working in conjunction
with IBM and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. According
to Tuominen, the coin-sized disc could store up to 200 times the data
contained on your 30-gigabyte hard-drive. The December 15 issue of the
journal Science reported on the disc.
Generous people: Coming
within a hairs-breadth of Chancellor David Scotts goal of
50 percent participation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employees
Charitable Campaign (COMECC) the number of faculty and staff donors to
the campaign reached 2,441 this year, just 23 shy of the 50 percent mark.
Nearly $454,000 was raised,
exceeding the $440,000 goal. Since Scott became involved in the campaign
the average gift size has risen 77 percent, the total raised has increased
189 percent, and the percentage of employees participating has doubled.
Custodians were 73 percent
overall this year, said campaign coordinator Gloria Fox at the celebration
breakfast in February. Professor John Nelson had 67 percent in English,
and boy did he work at that!
In the entire
research area, said Fox, everyone but one person contributed.
There was one holdout. That at least proves we didnt break anybodys
Far and away: In what
is being called a milestone of modern astronomy, the first high-resolution
digital survey of the entire sky is complete. Using a pair of infrared
telescopes developed at UMass and located in Arizona and Chile, the 2Mass
All-Sky Survey, has given us the first detailed global view of our
Milky Way galaxy, as well as the galaxies which lie beyond, says
UMass astronomer Michael Skrutskie, who led the project. A sampling of
2MASS images is online at www.ipac.caltech.edu/2mass/gallery/.
ties: Last fall, Kevin Boyle invited the students
in his U.S. history class to take part in an extra-credit project: the
History 151 Virtual Family Album. Participants would submit a photograph
or other document from their family history, and a brief essay linking
it to themes in the course. Submissions would be posted on the project
Participation was voluntary;
Boyle was hoping for 5 percent. By the end of the semester, I was
flooded with submissions, he says. Sixty of 180 students contributed
The pictures were wonderful:
great-grandparents as young immigrants, grandparents heading off to fight
in World War II, parents sitting in front of the family Christmas tree.
Better still are the explanations of the photos importance. Anyone
who thinks todays college students are cynical about their country
or their families should read these entries, says Boyle.
The album is online
on up (& down) the trail: What looks like
a pair of ski poles, feels like a pair of ski poles, but improves the
physics of hiking? These European-style poles recently tested by grad
student Christopher Knight 99G and faculty member Graham Caldwell
of exercise science.
In a study reported
this winter in Sports in Primary Care, subjects carrying heavy
packs trudged for an hour at a time on an inclined treadmill, both with
and without poles. With a pole in each hand, walkers lengthened their
strides, felt less strain on their knees, and generally felt better, rating
their level of exertion at approximately 7 percent less. Said Knight,
They all favored the poles.