FACULTY NEWS

Richard Crandall ’69, Howard Vollum Adjunct Professor of Science, physics, was quoted in the May 17 issue of Business Week in an article on the physicist Stephen Wolfram and his revolutionary ideas about the rules that govern the phenomena of life. The article can be found online here. Crandall, the director of Reed’s Center for Advanced Computation, has gained renown for his development of algorithms that allow the resolution of difficult mathematical problems. He has worked with Wolfram closely on various research initiatives over the last 15 years.

Jacqueline Dirks ’82, associate professor of history and human-ities, was a guest on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio’s Odyssey program, a live national talk show, on May 24. She was one of three experts (along with Eric O. Clarke, University of Pittsburgh, and Bruce Caruthers, Northwestern University) who discussed the relationship between the citizen and the consumer. Dirks talked about the different — and overlapping — obligations, responsibilities, and possibilities of each role. Hosted by Gretchen Helfrich, the popular program has been produced by Chicago Public Radio since 1998 and had its national launch on November 1, 2001. You can find the show at http://www.wbez.org/odyssey.

Paul Gronke, associate professor of political science, in collaboration with colleagues from West Point and Duke University, delivered a briefing at the Pentagon on April 5. Gronke’s research has examined how the rise of the all-volunteer army and the decline in military experience among civilian elites has created a “gap” in civil–military relations. The briefing was requested by the office of guard and reserve affairs as part of the congressionally mandated quadrennial force review. As a result of changing military needs and budgetary demands, the guard and reserve have become the central “human resource” for any major military engagements. The office wants to understand the effects of this change. The briefing asked whether guard and reserve troops, because they are neither completely military nor completely civilian, act as a “bridge” between military and civilian cultures.

Ronald McClard, Arthur F. Scott Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded a grant of $158,900 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a component of the National Institutes of Health, for his research on structure and mechanism of yeast orotate PRTase. The grant will provide support for three years to study the enzyme that carries out the key connection in forming pyrimidine nucleotides which, as a group, then make up half of all DNA and RNA, or nucleic acids, the vehicles for the archiving and manifesting of genetic traits and direction of events in living cells. McClard is employing a variety of approaches such as X-ray crystallography (in collaboration with a group at the University of Indiana), enzyme kinetics, and synthetic organic chemistry in order to gain a clear picture of the course of events in nucleotide formation.

Self-Same Songs pictureRoger Porter, professor of English and humanities, has published a new book, Self-Same Songs: Autobiographical Performances and Reflections (University of Nebraska Press). The work is a critical study of life-writing from the eighteenth through the late twentieth century, with a preliminary discussion of Odysseus as a narrator of his own life. The five sections of the book are titled “Autobiography and Exile,” “Autobiography as Defense,” “Autobiography as Self-Effacement,” “Autobiographical Posturing,” and “Self as Others, The Other as Self.” The text includes readings of Gibbon, Franklin, Delacroix, Gosse, Kafka, Somerset Maugham, Michel Leiris, Nathalie Sarraute, Thomas Bernhard, and Nabokov, among others. Porter examines the function autobiography, letters, and journals serve for each of these writers. In addition, Porter weaves throughout the book an autobiographical account of his interest in the figures he discusses, as well as of the way they have influenced his thinking about his own life.

An op-ed piece by Darius Rejali, associate professor of political science, ran in both the Oregonian and the Miami Herald this spring. Rejali was responding to a proposal by Alan Dershowitz to legalize torture. Rejali is an expert on the origins of modern torture; he is the author of Torture and Modernity: Self, Society, and State in Modern Iran (Westview Press, 1994).

The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust awarded $36,000 to Reed professor of biology Peter Russell for his study on the barley yellow dwarf virus and $26,000 to associate professor of biology Janis Shampay for her study on chromosome ends in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Russell’s project is to identify and characterize yeast genes required for the expression of particular genes of barley yellow dwarf virus, a plant virus that can cause extensive destruction of barley and other cereal crops. The lab is studying plant pathogenic viruses and attempting to use yeast as a model organism for experiments on the virus life cycle. Shampay’s project will continue the investigation of the structure and behavior of chromosome ends, or telomeres, which are required for chromosome stability and maintenance. Shampay’s lab has been studying the regulation of the telomerase enzyme and telomere length in aquatically developing embryos.

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2001
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