Reed alumni have been even more passionate and engaged than usual in recent weeks over an issue that outsiders will find hard to fathom—Paideia.
Paideia is, of course, Reed’s “winter term.” During a week in January, students, alumni, and staff hold classes on any subject they deem worthwhile. From the geology of Portland to underwater basketweaving to how to play a didgeridoo, the classes range from the serious to the surreal. Dr Demento is a regular attraction. (I’ve held a “reporters bootcamp” for the last several years, in an effort to acquaint students with journalistic fundamentals. And in deference to those fundamentals, I should remind readers that I work at Reed and that my views are correspondingly colored-- see comments.)
Students gain no academic credit for these classes—indeed, most of them are one-time gatherings of like-minded souls who want to go birdwatching, deconstruct Zappa, or decorate Dixie cups.
Robert Smith ’89 leads a group of students and alumni through the first Radio Bootcamp. Photos by Leah Nash
NPR reporter Robert Smith ’89 is sick of working with Oberlin graduates. Not that he has a problem with Oberlin—his wife attended—he really just wants to see more Reed students involved in radio journalism. For that reason, he flew to Portland to volunteer for Working Weekend ’13, during which he conducted the first Radio Bootcamp, a two-day crash course in the art of radio.
Connor LaBean ’14 and Ben Stephens ’14 confer on their presentation about a robotic lab assistant during the StartUp Lab. Photo by Leah Nash
Thanks to three Reedies who took top prize at the second annual StartUp Lab, biology students may soon find a new source of relief during their long hours in the lab.
Connor LaBean ’14, Anjuli Dharna ’14, and Ben Stephens ’14 were awarded $2,500 to help propel Genebot, a robotic lab assistant, from conception to reality.
Led by Bay-Area technology entrepreneur Lucas Carlson ’05, the StartUp Lab was an intensive simulation of the process of creating and selling an idea. Students worked with entrepreneurs and investors who helped them incubate ideas for start-up companies and strategize ways to bring the products to market. The Lab squeezed all the steps of an entrepreneur—inspiration, development, honing, and the pitch to an investor–into three short days, without ever leaving Vollum Hall.
I heard that Richard is gone. I'm very saddened by the news. I already knew him, though not in the classroom, when he was an undergraduate, and then afterwards as a colleague. In those early years, when faculty and students from different and nominally unrelated disciplines were less insular, Gail Kelly, Richard and I sometimes had dinner together at Gail’s house, on Glenwood Street; I’d bring the oysters, Richard the wine, and Gail did the rest. It was great fun, and, with Gail present, the conversation was always animated. --- Once in a while I’d attend his “wild” parties; the liquor flowed, but the music was too loud for me, so I would not stay too long. --- Richard would often ask me to translate something for him from French, or give him the etymology of a word, or locate a quotation by a French author he had come across; the last such quote he asked me to identify was a short paragraph from Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus.” I never found out what he needed it for. --- When he had discovered another prime number, he was so excited that he stopped me on campus to tell me about it; he knew that the import of his discovery was lost on me, except of course for it’s being a discovery. --- Once, in the 1980s, after reading an article on deconstruction and quantum theory, I stopped by his office with my simpleminded questions. That’s when he named me something like “Distinguished Quantum Professor of Henry Street.” --- Over lunch one day, it became clear that we were both given to hypochondria; he subsequently would greet me in the street with, "Hi Sam, are we enjoying bad health?" --- I hadn’t heard from Richard for the past two to three years or so, but I knew he was around, building something complicated or writing a book or urging and guiding students and colleagues in the right direction. I'll miss him.
---Samuel Danon [French, 1962–2000]
Please join us for a memorial to honor the late Richard Crandall ’69 [physics 1978–2012], on Saturday, January 26, at 2 p.m., in the Eliot Hall chapel.
Following the memorial, there will be a reception in the Gray lounge in Kaul Auditorium. The event is informal and open to the public.
The polymath at work. Professor Richard Crandall ’69 [physics 1978–2012] knew how to cut through a tangle of equations to the root of the problem.
The Reed community was stunned today to learn that physicist, mathematician, computer scientist, and inventor Richard E. Crandall ’69 [physics 1978–] died this morning at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital.
The cause was not immediately clear, but Professor Crandall was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
It is impossible to catalogue Crandall’s myriad intellectual achievements on such short notice. He was a physics professor of great renown at Reed and beyond, skilled at constructing fundamental experiments on a shoestring budget (one of his favorite tricks involved demonstrating the Doppler shift in visible light using a couple of old stereo speakers).
Portland can be a bit gloomy this time of year, when unremitting rain provides the soundtrack for what can seem like unending final's work. But those grey skies couldn't dampen the spirit of the spring-fall thesis parade, which was celebrated last week in a particularly heartwarming bout of collective effervescence.
Bedecked in colorful costumes and covered in glitter, students danced and hugged each other to the beat of Reed’s drum corps. About 30 seniors hurled their thesis drafts on the bonfire in front of the library as classmates sprayed them with champagne (thankfully the temperature did not dip below the mid 50s).
Memory expert and psychology professor Dan Reisberg found several problems with the methods investigators used to reconstruct the memory of the key witness in the case. Photo by Darryl James
The Oregon Supreme Court issued a landmark decision yesterday, proclaiming new legal standards for using eyewitness identification as evidence in criminal cases and granting a new trial to a man who was convicted of murder on the basis of an identification that the court deemed faulty.
The justices announced a unanimous ruling after reviewing thousands of pages of psychological research, including testimony from Professor Dan Reisberg [psychology 1986–], who identified several problems with the methods investigators used to identify the suspect.
In a move that will significantly reduce its environmental impact, Reed has signed a three-year, $5.4 million contract with Ameresco Quantum to identify and implement changes that will minimize energy use, maximize equipment life and maintain building livability.
After evaluating more than 960,000 square feet of campus buildings, AQ outlined a program of energy renewal and replacement that will yield a 12% reduction in electrical energy use, a 13% reduction in gas use and a 28% reduction in water and sewer costs. The changes are estimated to cut operational utility costs by at least $2.7 million over the next 10 years and reduce annual CO2 emissions by 2.65 million pounds.
Reception to follow in Gray Campus Center commons.
PLEASE NOTE: Reed’s west parking lot, next to Kaul Auditorium, is under construction from October 2011 through August 2013. There is limited parking in the west lot; if you park there, the easiest way to reach Kaul is by walking up Botsford Drive. More parking is available in both the east and north parking lots. There is also an additional parking lot on the corner of SE 28th Avenue and Steele Street. Click for a map of Reed parking lots.
There are few meals more popular amongst Reedies than pasta with red sauce. When the board points are gone and funds are low, a frugal student can turn a few dollars into a dinner hearty enough to sustain them through the wet chill of fall.
On Saturday, SEEDS (Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service) organized a trip to a homeless shelter in Northeast Portland where students could employ their pasta expertise to help the less fortunate by cooking a giant feast.
From the farthest edges of the globe to the inner mechanics of the cell, Reedies have always loved to explore. Since 1977, Reed's study abroad program, run by the indefatigable Paul DeYoung, has sent out students to see world while making sure they come back in time to graduate. Reedies always return with stories to tell; here we present an occasional report of their adventures.
Amy Egerton-Wiley '13 was born and raised in Los Angeles. She fell in love with Chinese literature when she got to Reed, and decided to make it her major in her sophomore year. That spring she spent a semester abroad at Capital Normal, a Reed-approved university program located in Beijing. She chose Capital Normal (over an American-run program) because she wanted a truly Chinese educational experience, but the school's language-learning program, with its heavy emphasis on memorization, was uninspiring. So Amy to turned Beijing into her school: her Mandarin grew stronger with every conversation on a subway train or in a public park.
It has long been an open secret that Reed's outdoor programs are among the best in the country. Despite our long and storied tradition of exploring the wilderness, however, backpacking trips and whitewater adventures often don't make it into the description of a college better known for pursuing the life of the mind.
Fortunately, Reed has been getting some well-deserved recognition recently with glowing coverage in Outside Magazine and the Wenger outdoor blog.
A palpable wave of grief spread across campus today as word filtered through that John D. Gray [trustee 1961–2006] had died of cancer at the age of 93.
It's hard to convey the level of respect and affection for John and Betty Gray that generations of Reedies have held in their hearts.
"Reed probably wouldn't be in existence today if it were not for former trustee John Gray," said John Sheehy '82, author of Comrades of the Quest, the oral history of Reed that reveals how John and Betty Gray, together with Paul Bragdon [president 1971–82], Howard Vollum '36, Ed Cooley [trustee 1968–2001], and Dick Wollenberg [trustee 1962–2005] rescued Reed from the brink of financial abyss during the early '70s.
"Concentrate on your breath and you'll make a better looking L. Breathe in. Breathe out on the downward stroke."
Nearly 30 students, faculty, and alumni hold their Speedball pens at a 45-degree angle and exhaling, grab the baseline with a downward stroke and finish with an exit serif. Next up is the letter O.
"As the O goes, so goes the alphabet," says calligraphy instructor Inga Dubay. "You'll be glad we didn't start with the O, it's not the easiest of letters. But it is a very lovely one in Italic. In handwriting we do the O all in one stroke, but in calligraphy we do a two-stroke O. Please do not do more than three at one time. You will be ill if you do."
One of the most exciting developments at Reed this fall is the return of calligraphy. As alumni know, calligraphy has a long and distinguished history at our college. From 1939 to 1984, Reed's humanist calligraphy program, under the direction of Lloyd Reynolds and Robert Palladino, inspired countless Reed students who pursued distinguished careers in the visual arts, typography, design, and literature, including luminaries like Steve Jobs and typeface designer (and Macarthur genius grant winner) Charles Bigelow '67.
The new Reed Scriptorium is part of the Cooley Gallery's new Calligraphy Initiative (the brainchild of Stephanie Snyder '91) and was developed and is coordinated by Gregory MacNaughton '89. Stephanie and Greg have both shown immense leadership in bringing this vital program back to the college. I dropped by the scriptorium the other night and it was packed with current students, staff, faculty, and old Reedies alike. Take a look at the Cooley's beautiful calligraphy Tumblr for more information about the program.
The Columbus Day Storm is generally reckoned to be the most powerful extratropical cyclone to hit the United States in the 20th century. Starting October 12, 1962, with peak gusts of 100 miles per hour, it rampaged through California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, killing 23 people, destroying 84 homes, severely damaging 5,000 more, and wreaking overall havoc estimated at $170 million.
What's this got to do with Reed? Nothing, except that the storm has sometimes been attributed to divine retribution after Reed defeated Columbia Christian College that day 19–7 on the football field.
Almost any Reedie would tell you that they did not embark on the life of the mind for its monetary potential. Yet few would turn down the opportunity to earn some quick cash by flexing their mental muscle. On this week's episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Daniel Herman '15 did just that.
Daniel was well prepared for the show: having been on academic quiz teams in high school, and currently working towards a degree in math and physics he breezed through the first few questions. The question of which presidential couple had been married longest made him pause (answer: George and Barbara Bush), but he deployed a lifeline and continued on unabated. By the end of round one Daniel had $68,000 in the bank, and one lifeline left.
Plutarch's On the Glory of Athens relates the story of Eucles, the Greek who ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens bearing the news that the Athenians had miraculously defeated Xerxes' army. After declaring, "We have won!" Eucles promptly died of exhaustion.
Last week bio major Ethan Linck '13 ran almost four times further, jogging 93 miles around Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland trail in just under 27 hours, the fastest unaided solo run ever recorded on that trail. Fortunately, he lived to tell the tale!
Ethan has been running cross country and track since high school, but got interested in 'ultra-running'—punishing long distance runs—at Reed, inspired by the heterogenous terrain and the strong ultra-running community in the Pacific Northwest. On his running blog he describes building up to the Wonderland trail: summer frustrations with similar runs, growing confidence in his own fitness, unexpectedly beautiful weather, and senior anxiety about leaving Oregon with so many adventures unexplored. All this led to the question that has pushed so many Reedies to do something outrageous: "Why not?"
Metaphysical education. Lifeguard Eliya Cohen '15 presents philosophical whiteboard to inquisitive Reed swimmers. Photos by Jenn McNeal '14.
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger said the best place to think philosophy was in a hut deep in the Black Forest while a storm raged outside. That may have been true for Heidegger, but it is not necessarily true at Reed, where a robust metaphysical debate has broken out in an unlikely location--the swimming pool.
Visitors to the sports center will notice that the poolside whiteboard no longer displays lap times and opening hours; over the last month it has sprouted a fascinating sequence of questions, claims, and rejoinders that have grown to fill every square inch. The debate began when philosophy major and lifeguard Eliya Cohen '15 asked fellow philosophy major Finn Terdal '12 to jot down some problems of metaphysics on the whiteboard to ponder during her shifts. The questions soon provoked students, alumni, professors, philosophers, physicists, and other sentient life forms who frequent the pool.