Triumphant Reed students brandish gamepieces after taking first place in the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiate Ginormous Blokus Tournament.
An undefeated Reed team took first place in the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiate Ginormous Blokus Tournament on Saturday.
The tournament, now in its sixth year, is inspired by the boardgame Blokus, in which players systematically set down blocky geometric tiles on a square grid in an effort to claim territory and prevent their opponents from doing the same. But there’s a twist: the tournament is played on a gargantuan outdoor grid measuring some 400 square feet in area.
The Reed team was drawn from students taking Economics 315, Game Theory, with Prof. Jon Rork. “I like to use Blokus in my class to teach students how to think about strategy in a non-mathematical way,” says Prof. Rork. “When we get to the math, students find it more intuitive.”
Can drought affect domestic violence?
Is sex like driving?
Does foreign aid actually benefit its intended recipients?
These are the kinds of questions that Prof. Nick Wilson ’99 and his students wrestle with every day. And if this doesn’t exactly square up with your ideas about what economists are supposed to do, it’s time you took a fresh look at the discipline.
“If you were an alien observing Earth over thousands of years, what you’d notice is that until about 1820, the entire planet—every nation, every region—was basically poor,” Prof. Wilson says. “And then you see a striking divergence, where some countries get really rich, but others stay poor. I think understanding that phenomenon is the most important thing I can do.”
Professor Angélica Osorno [math] has won a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The fellowship aims to give junior faculty the resources needed to aid their scholarly research and academic growth by offering support for twelve months of research and writing.
Prof. Osorno’s area of research is algebraic topology—the study of space and the properties of spaces that are preserved under continuous deformations. In particular, she will study how to construct infinite loop spaces (spaces of great importance in algebraic topology) from specific categorical inputs.
Prof. Osorno earned her PhD in math from MIT and taught at MIT and the University of Chicago before coming to Reed in 2013.
Pathogenic E. coli is a leading cause of diarrhea, which killed 1.5 million children in 2009 alone.
Professor Kelly Chacón [chemistry 2015–] has won a grant of $53,500 from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to study pathogenic bacterial metal detox via x-ray absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy.
She plans to use a combination of state-of-the-art spectroscopy and biochemical methods to understand how pathogenic E. coli thwart excess copper levels. Prof. Chacón hopes that understanding this mechanism will allow scientists to develop alternatives to traditional antibiotics to which pathogenic bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant.
She views the project as an ideal field of study for undergraduate chemistry students. The grant will allow Prof. Chacón to select several students to travel to a national laboratory with her and provide them with an invaluable learning experience.
More than 10,000 refugees are stranded outside the village of Idomeni in northern Greece.
I felt a tug on my sleeve. Looking down, there was a boy of about twelve who stared pleadingly while pointing to his bare and mud-soaked feet. Behind him were another half dozen, with more coming. They were but a few among the thousands of refugees camped on this vast plain that had become a bog following days of rain.
The few score residents of the border village of Idomeni in northern Greece were nonplussed by the worldwide attention their community had drawn since a dozen countries in Eastern Europe closed their borders to the masses fleeing the turmoil in Syria and beyond. That controversial action stranded approximately 50,000 homeless refugees, who entered Greece in the hope of moving on to Western Europe, and now have nowhere to go.
The Greek government had allowed their entry, which it could do little to prevent, mostly by small boats from Turkey to the Aegean islands, with the expectation that the refugees would quickly move onward. From there they have made their way to the frontier with Macedonia hoping to reach Germany or its neighbors.
Physics major Kaustuv Datta ’17 and six other Reed students won grants of $5,000 each to pursue projects over the summer.
Reed is proud to announce the latest winners of the President’s Summer Fellowship: seven outstanding projects that combine intellectual pursuit, imagination, adventure, personal transformation, and service to the greater good.
Inaugurated by President John R. Kroger, with generous support from trustee Dan Greenberg ’62 and his wife, Susan Steinhauser, the fellowship attracts scores of creative proposals every year. The winners will be awarded $5,000 each to pursue their projects during summer 2016. Here they describe their projects in their own words.
Prof. Kara Cerveny [bio] won an $80K grant to study neurogenesis in zebrafish.
Three Reed biology professors have won significant grants this spring, continuing a remarkable string of success for the biology department.
Prof. Kara Cerveny won an $80,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to investigate neurogenesis—the process by which neurons are generated—in zebrafish. This is part of a collaborative grant with two other principal investigators at Whitworth University and Lewis & Clark College; the total amount awarded to all three institutions is $240,000. The Collaborative Research Alliance Pilot Initiative will establish a virtual "Center for Excellence" in the Pacific Northwest. The overall goal of this project is to study the mechanisms underlying cell specification behavior during neurogenesis in developing embryos.
Prof. Suzy Renn won a $57,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to organize the BRAIN STEM workshop which brought together professors and students from colleges around the nation to discuss the role of undergraduate research and education toward the national BRAIN Initiative.
BRANCHING OUT. Groundskeeper Dave Nielsen is retiring after serving Reed for 24 years.
You know Dave Nielsen. You’ve seen him pruning the roses outside Sullivan, pushing a wheelbarrow across the Quad, or riding a lawnmower on the Great Lawn with a bandana over his face. Dave retired last week, having worked at Reed for more than 24 years.
Dave’s first day on the job was December 10, 1991. Before Reed, he had worked at the Gresham parks department, plus done stints as Safeway checker and McDonald’s cook.
Since then, Dave has left an indelible mark on campus. One example is the profusion of rose bushes outside Sullivan. He calls that area “My Mom’s Garden,” because it’s thanks to his mother’s emphasis on education that Reed has the flowers. Several years ago, Dave and his two daughters, who were aged around ten and twelve at the time, were shopping at the Lloyd Center mall when the signs scattered around caught his eye. The mall was holding a promotion: spend $75, bring in your receipt, get a free rose bush.
Chemistry major Luke Kanies ’96 founded IT giant Puppet Labs, which employs more than 300 people in downtown Portland.
The room is a hubbub of debate about broken code, JSON arrays, and the finer points of system architecture. But we are not in a conference room of a tech startup. We are gathered in a Reed classroom for an innovative event organized by the Center for Life Beyond Reed.
Its name? MindStorm.
Huddled at a whiteboard typically devoted to Milton and Hobbes, a group of students led by former math major Chris Fesler ’96 discussed the minutiae of designing service discovery protocols with all the earnestness of Odysseus begging Achilles to return to the siege of Troy. In lay terms, a service discovery protocol tells individual copies, or instances, of programs how to find and communicate with each other—so that if, for example, one instance of a security program fails, another can quickly armor up to continue its defense. Or so that, in the case of Fesler’s financial clearing company, Apex Clearing, a member of al Qaeda can’t sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange when one of Apex’s trade screening systems goes down.
MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD. Father Robert Palladino taught calligraphy at Reed from 1969 to 1984.
Father Robert Palladino, a vital force in Reed's calligraphy tradition, and mentor to many scholars of the letter—including a penniless dropout named Steve Jobs—died quietly at home in Welches, Oregon, on Friday, according to his son, Eric. He was 83 years old.
A former Trappist monk, Father Palladino taught calligraphy at Reed from 1969 to 1984, where he guided students on an intellectual voyage through the the art and history of the letters of the alphabet with brush, pen, quill, and ink.
“Whenever you write, write something worth reading,” he told his students.
BRING IN 'DA FUNCTION. Prof. Jim Fix will lead Reed's new initiative in computer science.
Reed’s digital footprint will grow by an order of magnitude next year with the launch of a fully fledged computer science program.
With $5 million in fundraising for endowments nearly complete, the college will hire two new tenure-track professors, offer deeper and more advanced coursework to a wider range of students, and establish a major in computer science.
Combined with other recent initiatives—such as computational biology and the Software Design Studio—Reed aims to build an outstanding program that provides students from all kinds of backgrounds an unparalleled opportunity to master this dynamic field.
The two-dozen students in attendance got a chance to spend time with a dynamic group of Reed alumni:
conservator Jim Coddington ’74;
The collision of two black holes at near-light speed sent a gravitational wave pulsing through the fabric of space-time. Physical Review Letters
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two black holes fell into each other's gravitational field and began to spin around each other at insanely high speed, ultimately smashing together in a spectacular collision that sent a pulse of energy rippling through the fabric of space-time.
This cosmic event was detected on September 14, 2015, by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)—a massive scientific achievement by thousands of scientists who worked on the project over multiple decades. Physics grads Larry Price ’01, Paul T. Baker ’06, Grant Meadors ’08, and Meg Millhouse ’12 were on the team behind the historic breakthrough, which marked the first time that gravitational waves have been detected and the first time that two black holes were seen to collide. (Until now, in fact, the evidence for the existence of black holes was somewhat theoretical.)
How did it feel to be part of this discovery? "Wonderful!" Grant told us. "How often can one help open a view to a new side of the universe?"
Grant began his work on gravitational wave astronomy at Reed, where Prof. David Griffiths and Prof. Johnny Powell agreed to him take Physics 200 his freshman year. "That fall I saw posters for the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates," Grant says. "One was at LIGO Hanford. Dick Gustafson, a scientist there, knew of Reed and invited me to come work with him in the summer of 2005. That is how it all began!"
During his time at Reed, Grant ran the nuclear reactor, won a Goldwater Scholarship, and wrote his thesis, Re-searching galactic structure with Reed's radio telescope, with Prof. Bob Reynolds [physics].
After graduation, he studied physics at the University of Michigan and spent two years at the Hanford Observatory as a LIGO fellow, participating in the "quantum squeezer" experiment. After earning his PhD, he joined the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, Germany, to resume his search for gravitational waves.
The authors of the groundbreaking paper included several other Reedies:
Paul T. Baker ’06 graduated in physics, writing his thesis on electrodynamics and weak-field Kerr geometry with Prof. Joel Franklin ’97. After Reed, he earned a PhD from Montana State University and is currently a visiting assistant professor at SUNY in Geneseo, NY, where he specializes in gravitational wave data analysis and bayesian statistics.
Meg Millhouse ’12 wrote her Reed thesis on neutrino oscillation tomography with Prof. David Latimer. (Her preface begins with a memorable quote from renowned physicist Wolfgang Pauli: “I have done something very bad today by proposing a particle that cannot be detected; it is something no theorist should ever do.") She later published her thesis in the American Journal of Physics. She is currently pursuing a PhD in physics at the Extreme Gravity Institute at Montana State University.
Larry Price ’01 wrote his thesis on Bargmann-Wigner formalism with Prof. Nick Wheeler ’55. After Reed, he earned a PhD from the University of Florida and spent six years working as a postdoc at the LIGO laboratory in Pasadena, where he developed software to optimize astronomical observations and authored well over a scholarly papers on the subject of gravitational waves. He is currently a data scientist at digital advertising firm OpenX.
Biochemist Kevan Shokat ’86 offered career insight at a workshop on healthcare and the cure of illness at Working Weekend.
Many of the two-dozen students in attendance came to the workshop looking for guidance on how to break into the world of medicine: what internships and volunteer gigs to look for, when to take the MCAT, how to choose a medical school.
But hospitalist Kjell Benson ’91, still in scrubs after a night shift at Adventist Medical Center, advised them to take a step back: “You have to get your heart going. Then you’ll write your resume.”
Cartoonist and illustrator Lucy Bellwood ’12 shares insights and advice at Reed's Working Weekend. Mandy Heaton
Some 150 energetic students seized the chance to map out potential careers at Reed's annual Working Weekend, presented by the Center for Life Beyond Reed on February 5-6. Events included six workshops, each dedicated to a Community of Purpose, and a Career Fayre at which 65 students met with potential employers.
The communities of purpose were devised to help students whose interests might not dovetail exactly with traditional occupational categories such as engineering, law, or medicine. Instead, the communities focus on larger themes, such as Global Healthcare and the Cure of Illness and Human Potential, Education, and Success, which spans careers from teaching to psychology research to coaching.
Employers represented at the Career Fayre included the City of Portland, Multnomah County Health Department, Peace Corps, Planned Parenthood, RVK Investment Consulting Services, and Scribe-X Northwest.
Reed students assemble the Zero Project by Katsushige Nakahashi in the Cooley Art Gallery. The project involves stitching together more than 25,000 individual photographs. Daniel Cronin
It’s an airplane. It’s a puzzle. It’s a work of art.
The monumental Zero Project is currently on display in Reed’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Gallery, transforming the gallery into a surreal airplane hangar where students are painstakingly stitching more than 25,000 individual photographs into a single gargantuan image.
Eschewing mimesis for collaborative assembly, Zero Project is the brainchild of artist Katsushige Nakahashi. As a boy, he played with a plastic scale model of the aircraft flown by Imperial Japanese Navy kamikaze pilots during WWII— the Mitsubishi A6M Zero warplane.
CUE THE CUBOID. Physics major Aiman Absar ’19 is on a quest to help Bangladesh cope with devastating floods with a cheaper, more sustainable brick.
A Reed physics major hopes to curb the devastation caused by floods in Bangladesh with a new twist on one of humanity’s most durable inventions—the humble brick.
Aiman Absar ’19 and two Bangladeshi friends have created a startup to manufacture a new kind of brick that is both cheap and environmentally sustainable.
With a population of 156 million people packed into an area the size of Iowa, Bangladesh has the highest population density in the world. During the monsoon season, heavy rain combined with poor drainage cause the rivers to flood their banks, inundating the countryside and destroying the makeshift houses of the impoverished rural population. When the waters subside, the farmers and fishermen begin the Sisyphean task of fashioning another abode from sheets of corrugated steel, mud, and thatch.
Prof. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri is one of the foremost scholars on the history of Islam.
Prof. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri [religion], an expert on the history of Islam, will address the City Club of Portland on the threat of Islamophobia on Friday.
When politicians call for Muslims to be barred from entering the United States and for Muslim citizens to be registered, it is clear that Islamophobia has become an increasingly common aspect of national conversation.
Prof. GhaneaBassiri will join educators, community organizers, and other scholars at the Sentinel Hotel to discuss how the rise of Islamophobia is playing out in the Pacific Northwest on Friday, January 8 at 12:15 p.m.
It’s quick, it’s painless, it’s free, and it cuts HIV infection in men by up to 60%.
Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is a powerful tool for combating HIV in areas with high prevalence rates of the virus, according to the World Health Organization.
Nonetheless, men aren’t typically pounding down the door to get the operation. So government agencies, health workers, and NGOs in South Africa are trying to find ways to encourage more men to undergo the procedure.
Nine intrepid Reed students won fellowships to pursue projects around the globe over Winter Break. (And yes, the guy in the sport coat is President Kroger.)
Nine intrepid Reed students will travel the globe this winter as part of Reed's Fellowship for Winter International Travel.
The nine fellows won $3,000 each to pursue a passion, develop a professional skill, or perform service for others over Winter Break.
Chemistry major Joohee Bang ’16 will learn about carbon fiber in South Korea through a program offered by Korea Mirae Technology. "As a chemist who is pursuing academic career in materials science and engineering, I hope to gain further insights into new materials with industrial purposes and their applications," she writes.