Johns Hopkine Magazine The latest from Johns Hopkins Magazine. Johns Hopkine Magazine Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Generic drugs have a dodgy past, medical historian says <p>Jeremy A. Greene admits to a bias when he began researching the history of generic drugs for a book. He was a physician who regularly prescribed and took generic drugs. He gave them to his children and saw generics as a valuable alternative to expensive brand-name drugs. The book project began, Greene says, as a back door into "exposing the underbelly" of America's brand-name pharmaceutical companies. "I had thought that the generic drug industry had a moral gloss attached to it, that it was good and virtuous and part of a beneficial public-minded policy," he says.</p> <p>Then Greene, a medical historian in the School of Medicine, got to the 1990s. The Food and Drug Administration approves new drugs only after clinical trials demonstrate their safety and efficacy. But a generic needs only to demonstrate its similarity to the drug that it is designed to mimic. Turns out, in the '90s, several generic firms supplied regulators with test samples of the actual brand-name drug instead of their generic. In one instance, a company simply sandpapered the pharmaceutical company's logo off a pill and submitted it as its own creation. In that instance, they did such a shoddy job they got caught. "Unfortunately for the generic firm," Greene writes in the book, "the pill artists ... hadn't fully removed all evidence of the logo."</p> <p>Uncovering the sometimes-sordid past of the generic drug business "completely shocked me," Greene admits. On a sunny fall morning on the Homewood campus, he sits in the atrium of Gilman Hall and talks about the genesis of his book <em>Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine</em> (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). "[For] a historian of science and technology and medicine, the question emerges: Why look at something so mundane?" Greene says. "It doesn't seem like an object that you would write a scientific history about." But it is generic drugs' very mundanity—their pervasiveness and tacit acceptance in daily life—that sparked Greene's interest. Here is an industry that barely existed 50 years ago. In 1960, fewer than 10 percent of drug prescriptions in America were for generics. By 2010, that number had jumped to 80 percent. Today, as patents for brand-name drugs expire— like the cholesterol-lowering Lipitor, the acid-reflux pill Nexium, and the blood thinner Plavix—the substitution of bioequivalent generic drugs for more expensive products has become a trillion-dollar industry.</p> <p>Generics now save American consumers real money. In 2012, Americans spent less on prescription drugs for the first time in almost six decades, with generics reducing spending on medicine by $28.9 billion that year. "It's hard to find people who don't relate to this topic in some visceral way because most people have consumed a generic drug or know someone who has," Greene says. And as a historian, this is what gets him excited: the study of how scientific knowledge and governance impact the everyday reality of our lives.</p> <p>Greene says his research challenged some of his assumptions. In making generics a safe and regulated alternative, the scientific and regulatory community initially believed that it was only the drug itself that mattered. Turns out that assumption is erroneous. Greene tracks the rise of what is now called the science of similarity in the late 20th century, which discovered that a drug's efficacy is never just about the molecule. While patents may expire—opening up competition by generic companies to replicate the drug's basic chemical composition—trademarks last, meaning a generic company may not legally create a pill that is 100 percent like its brand-name predecessor.</p> <p>So a generic is similar but not exactly the same as its counterpart. And some of the differences can affect a drug's efficacy. "You could have the molecule present in the pill, but if the layer of shellac on the surface of the pill was too thick, and someone swallowed the pill and it came out the other end not being absorbed, well, then, the shellac mattered." It is, in other words, not just the chemical composition of the drug but also the way a pill is produced, how it is pressed and bound in manufacturing, and how the human body absorbs it. There can even be a negative effect when patients presume that a generic will not be as effective. "What were thought to be incidental, inactive parts of the drug could matter," Greene says.</p> <p>Greene chronicles a geopolitical debate surrounding the nature of generics. On one side of the argument, you have generic companies that claim their product is the same in every way except appearance and price. On the other, you have pharmaceutical companies claiming that generics are inferior. (Lest you think the scandal and graft were all on the part of generic manufacturers, Greene recounts the tale of a researcher hired by a pharmaceutical company to prove that generic competitors were substandard. When her research proved otherwise, the company quashed the results.) This global debate over generics is far from resolved. "The French government still rejects the notion that a generic drug can be considered equal to a brand-name drug," Greene says. But in a country where socialized medicine allows the government to negotiate drug prices, brand names often cost the same as a generic.</p> <p>Not so in America. The history of generics in the United States, which is the focus of Greene's book, is largely about economics. The federal government cannot legally negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, not even through Medicare. So generics have emerged as a free-market solution to the issue of affordable health care. The result is that the generic pharmaceutical market exhibits all the foibles and irregularities of the marketplace. Greene points to the generic Doxycycline, a full-spectrum antibiotic created by Pfizer in the 1960s under the brand name Vibramycin, and capable of treating everything from Lyme disease to STDs. The generic went from being pennies a pill to more than $150 a dose when demand surged.</p> <p>Greene's research takes in everything from the mom-and-pop operations of the mid-20th century to the multinational corporations of today, airing all the dirty laundry, politics, and controversy along the way. But his intent was not to discredit the industry. Generics, he points out, are a rare success story in a health care industry bloated by inefficiency and expense. "The question I tend to get from people around this topic is, 'As a physician, do you believe I can trust generic drugs?'" Greene says. "The short answer is, 'Yes. You can trust them.' My goal was not to make people distrust the system but to suggest
 that it helps to be conscious of those systems and to insist on as much transparency as possible."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 The Harriet Lane Handbook gets a new look for its 20th edition <p>Jamie Flerlage remembers her first— it was green. Branden Engorn's was pink. Janet Serwint says the turquoise one is on her shelf, but she probably had an earlier edition first. Chances are every doctor and health care professional who cares for children can recall the color of the first edition of <em>The Harriet Lane Handbook</em> they used when training. And for years, the handbook's cover featured the same image: a small illustration of the Johns Hopkins Hospital dome set inside a solid color.</p> <p>Since it was first created in 1953 by six Johns Hopkins pediatric residents who wanted a pocket-sized guide of essential information, <em>The Harriet Lane Handbook</em> has become the bible for up-to-date pediatric care information. It is updated every three years by Johns Hopkins pediatric residents and has been translated into 20 languages. The new 20th edition is available as a 1,132-page book, online, or via an app.</p> <p>"You would never meet a pediatric trainee or pediatrician who didn't use 'the <em>Lane</em>,' as we call it, at some point in their careers," says Engorn, one of the two co-editors of the 20th edition that came out in July. The book is named after the Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children, a now defunct Johns Hopkins children's hospital that opened in 1912. "As an intern it was in your coat pocket on your hip," says Flerlage, the other co-editor. She notes that everyone adds tabs to frequently used pages, especially the drug formulary in the back that covers dosages for more than 400 medications. "And you put your name on that spine in marker because everybody has one."</p> <p>The triennial update process begins the first year of a pediatric intern's three-year residency. Future chief residents are selected during that initial year, and if your class coincides with a Lane update year, as chief resident you oversee the endeavor. Engorn and Flerlage were tapped at the end of their 2009–10 first year to be co–chief residents during the 2013–14 rotation. During the second year of their residency, Engorn and Flerlage asked the new first-year interns which of the <em>Lane</em>'s 31 section chapters they would like to research, update, and write. Each first-year then asked a faculty adviser to assist them. In all, 33 residents, three pharmacists, one nutritionist, and 41 faculty members looked at the information in the previous edition, determining what needed to be updated and why. Then the residents began writing, with Engorn and Flerlage overseeing the enterprise.</p> <p>Sometimes the updates are significant. The chapter on behavior and development was put on hold until the American Psychiatric Association published its new diagnostic guidelines in the 2013 edition of the <em>Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition</em> (<em>DSM-5</em>) before that chapter could be updated. "The whole purpose of the book is that it's written by residents. They're the frontline providers," Engorn says. "We needed to really revamp that whole [behavior and development] chapter to make sure the diagnosis of autism was the diagnosis of autism that the new <em>DSM-5</em> said, not the <em>DSM-4</em>."</p> <p>Other updates are more informed by clinical needs. In the chapter on procedures, which covers everything from taking a blood sample and placing an intravenous line to taking a lumbar puncture or inserting a catheter, writer Bradley McCammack wanted the online and app version of the <em>Lane</em> to link to a series of instructional videos created by the <em>New England Journal of Medicine</em> to provide more detailed procedural instructions. Engorn and Flerlage worked with the <em>Journal</em> to make that content available to the Lane's users. "We might not be writing a new protocol or saying what the new drug is in every instance," Engorn says, "but [the residents] find a way to present it in a different way so the book can be more useful to the readers."</p> <p>The co-editors finished their chief residencies a few weeks after their edition of the <em>Lane</em> was published. Engorn is currently receiving advanced training in anesthesia and critical care at Johns Hopkins, and Flerlage is working on a hematology-oncology fellowship at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Both mention what an honor it was to work on a trusted resource with such an esteemed tradition. Producing a <em>Lane</em> update "really demonstrates the emphasis we put in the program on leadership," says Serwint, a Johns Hopkins Children's Center professor and director of the pediatric residency program. "It allows [residents] to excel in scholarship and be on the cutting edge of new information and the dissemination of clinical practice and guidelines. I think it also instills in them the respect and need for lifelong learning."</p> <p>Flerlage appreciated the reach of the <em>Lane</em> firsthand. She started her St. Jude's fellowship during her gap year, and her interests in international oncology had her spending part of that time working in Guatemala, where she saw both English and Spanish versions of the handbook. "Everybody there has them," she says. "No matter where you go, there's a <em>Lane</em> on the desk. Seeing the universality of the tradition is rewarding."</p> <p>In 2012, Johns Hopkins Pediatrics moved into its new home inside the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center, and to honor the occasion Engorn and Flerlage felt the <em>Lane</em> needed to update its cover. So the 20th edition features a photo of this shiny new building where the next generations of Johns Hopkins pediatrics residents will care for kids. "When you ask previous editors what people know most about your book, it's actually the cover," Engorn says. "We thought that it was only appropriate that we change the cover in the new edition for the next century of pediatric care at Hopkins. And that was pretty cool to think about."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Poet Chris Nealon's new collection talks about feeling powerless <p>The textbook definition of heteronomy is "subjection to an outside force." Johns Hopkins English professor and poet Chris Nealon puts that idea into emotional terms when talking about why he chose it for the title of his new poetry collection. "I think it's a way of talking about feeling powerless sometimes," he says. "The Dial," the first <em>Heteronomy</em> poem he wrote, was shaped during the first wave of the 2011 Occupy movement and during the University of California at Berkeley faculty's response to austerity measures. Nealon used to teach there, and many of his friends and former colleagues were involved in that fight.</p> <p>"'The Dial' is structured as a dream poem because it felt like dreams were the only way in which I could be with the people who were doing the stuff I most admired," he says. "The rest of the poems, written in the years after that, were about coming to terms with what happens when an exciting political moment subsides and you return to the rhythm of feeling like you're not powerful, you're not connected to other people, [and] you can't change anything."</p> <p>Political poetry might bring to mind the activist tone of Denise Levertov or the cadenced rhetoric of Gil Scott-Heron. Nealon's version is a more playful and self-aware reverie, finding political unease in the passing thought, as in this excerpt: "The species-shame, the American shame we feel on the left—we teach ourselves/that shame is what will mark us off from the right—it's immobilizing—/The thing that should distinguish us from the right is the refusal of all exploitation."</p> <p>"The Dial" and the other poems leapfrog through time—an overheard conversation in a café bleeds into musing about hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj and Harry Potter and wondering who would listen to Theodor Adorno audiobooks while on the commuter train—as the poet-narrator in each instance searches for big-idea meaning in the everyday. <em>Heteronomy</em> is a collection of meditations that recognize that pop culture can spark existential anxieties as seriously as contemporary philosophers, and that appreciating Adrienne Rich's poem "The Phenomenology of Anger" doesn't rule out being moved by A Taste of Honey's disco gem "Boogie Oogie Oogie."</p> <p>Nealon arrived at his juggling of time and meaning in <em>Heteronomy</em> by going really old school: the Middle Ages. "I was thinking a lot about time in terms of how poets of my generation have been using it in interesting ways, being playful with it, imagining it as reversible, sometimes circular or something you can visit in nonlinear ways," he says. "And I was also thinking about how, frankly, medieval poets wrote about poetic meaning, in particular meaning around moments where poets gesture at their own poem, or gesture at the fact that they've been writing a poem. That was one of the most liberating discoveries for me, that I could be the poet who was describing being a poet having just written a poem. That opened up my sense of form in the poems."</p> <p>Nealon's use of such meta-commentaries, often derided as postmodern relativism, is informed by 13th-century poets responding to narrative prose acquiring intellectual prestige over poetry. Poets at the time realized that by playing with framing devices they could convey other
types of knowledge rather than mere information. Poems could touch on the mystical, the melancholic, or
the erotic in ways that prose couldn't. "You would think such self-gesturing might make everything inward-looking and navel-gazing," Nealon says. "But when done well it has the opposite effect, making the poem a kind of porous space into which the world can speak."</p> <p>His balance of pop culture's emotive potency and mischievous pathways into other realms recalled, for this reader, American novelist Thomas Pynchon. This was before discovering that Nealon taught a Pynchon class in spring 2014 or that "The Dial" includes a quote from Pynchon's <em>Against the Day</em> as an epigram. Nealon is a fan as well. "I think Pynchon's been boxed into a narrative of the clever '60s radical postmodernist who wants to disrupt all the conventions of narrative fiction and he's a showoff—which, he certainly is—but his sense of humor is everywhere in his novels and this is the heart of Pynchon for me. His sense of humor and his humaneness crisscross with his political outrage and sense of compassion in ways that I just don't see many other places."</p> <p>The same could be said for <em>Heteronomy</em>. The poems move with a pop song's accessibility while freighting the emotional weight of a short story. The comic and the serious coexist in the same observation: "You'll have seen the faces of the women thinking, really? I still have to remind/you not to grope me in the commune?"</p> <p>"Just as there's good and bad versions of love poetry, there's good and bad versions of political poetry," Nealon says. "And like a lot of poets before me and poets of my generation, I want to figure out how to do it in a moving and powerful way."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Rediscovering the 'Ode to the Star-Spangled Banner' <p>At the end, when the audience cheered, it was the culmination of a two-year project—the rediscovery of a long-forgotten piece of music by a once-renowned American composer. And I'd like to think that should the shades of my grandfather, Albert Grauer, A&S 1907, and father, William Grauer, A&S '36, exist somewhere, they were grinning from ear to ear.</p> <p>The audience was attending the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's gala last September 20 to inaugurate its 2014–15 season at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. They had just heard the rousing "Ode to the Star-Spangled Banner" by Ferde Grofé (1892–1972). In his lifetime, Grofé had been celebrated as the composer of <em>The Grand Canyon Suite</em>, the arranger of George Gershwin's <em>Rhapsody in Blue</em>, and as the "prime minister of jazz," heard often on the radio and while touring the country with his own orchestra. His name is less known today, however, and the "Ode to the Star-Spangled Banner" had not been performed by a full orchestra in 82 years—not since its debut at the celebrity-studded opening of Radio City Music Hall in December 1932.</p> <p>That's where my father and grandfather come into the story. My grandfather had gotten tickets for them to the Radio City opening at what <em>Billboard</em> magazine called the "ridiculously exorbitant" price of $2.50 apiece. (That would be about $45 today.) My father, then a freshman at Hopkins, kept the program as a souvenir.</p> <p>Around 40 years ago, I found that Radio City Music Hall program in the attic of our home in Great Neck, New York—the house in which both my father and I grew up. We are a family that tends to keep things. It wasn't until about four years ago, as I was preparing to donate the show's program to Special Collections at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, that I looked at it closely and spotted the third item on what had been a 19-act extravaganza. It was listed as "Sept. 13, 1814," and described as a musical evocation of the British bombardment of Fort McHenry and the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," played to accompany a dramatization of these events.</p> <p>I thought it would be great if I could find that music and offer it to the Baltimore Symphony to perform a few years later to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. When I searched the Internet for "Sept. 13, 1814" and "Ferde Grofé," I found nothing—but I did discover that Grofé's papers are in the Library of Congress. I knew that Johns Hopkins otolaryngologist Charles Limb had worked with the BSO, so I emailed him and asked whom I should contact.</p> <p>His reply: "Let's work on this together." He put me in touch with BSO music director Marin Alsop, as well as the artistic director, Matt Spivey, and a young researcher at the Library of Congress, Nicholas Alexander Brown.</p> <p>Brown found the handwritten orchestral score for what had been renamed "Ode to the Star-Spangled Banner." He also found a 1937 recording of Grofé leading his own jazz orchestra in a scaled-down version of the piece. Brown then put me in touch with Ferde Grofé Jr., now 84, who eagerly granted permission for the BSO to perform it. Since the work had never been published, I contacted Jari Villanueva, an old friend and Peabody alumnus who had been the Air Force Band's arranger. He agreed to undertake the daunting task of preparing the score for printing.</p> <p>I also remembered that A&E's History Channel had broadcast a docudrama in 2004 titled "First Invasion: The War of 1812," featuring scenes depicting the bombardment of Fort McHenry, as well as Francis Scott Key writing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Another friend and colleague, Jay Corey, then a videographer with Johns Hopkins, combined the music and the movie footage—thereby re-creating, in a way, how the piece had originally been performed.</p> <p>That's what the Baltimore Symphony did on September 20. The orchestra did a magnificent job playing the piece to the accompaniment of the video, the audience cheered, and somewhere, perhaps, my dad, my grandfather, and Ferde Grofé Sr. smiled.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Experimental Ebola treatment has its roots at Johns Hopkins <p>In August of 2014, a small biotech company in San Diego with just nine employees became international news. Mapp Biopharmaceutical appeared to have a cure for Ebola. Called ZMapp, the experimental treatment was given to two American aid workers infected with the deadly virus. The patients survived, and a media frenzy ensued. Larry Zeitlin, Mapp's president, and Kevin Whaley, chief executive officer, were inundated with press requests. Everyone from the BBC to Bloomberg News, from CBS to Fox, ran stories on the new treatment. Zeitlin told <em>The New York Times</em> that the sudden demand for ZMapp, which was limited in quantity and had never been tested in humans before being given to the patients, was "absolutely overwhelming."</p> <p>Zeitlin, 46, and Whaley, 63, are at the helm of one of the few biopharmaceutical companies to successfully manufacture human monoclonal antibodies in plants. The human immune system naturally develops antibodies to fight toxins. Some pathogens, however, overwhelm the body's defense system and we cannot produce antibodies fast enough. Decades ago, scientists discovered that when they took blood from a person who has survived a disease, extracted the right antibodies, and then put those into someone else, the recipient would become passively immune to that infection. An example of passive immunity is the shot you get for malaria before traveling.</p> <p>Antibodies have traditionally been manufactured in mammalian cell culture, which is expensive. Zeitlin and Whaley, along with research partners, figured out how to manufacture the three antibodies for ZMapp using tobacco plants. Plantibodies, as these are called, are not yet commercially available. Today, there's just one FDA-approved drug made by using a plant. Called Elelyso, the drug is an enzyme manufactured using carrot cells and administered to treat the hereditary condition Gaucher disease. "[Producing antibodies in plants] is not something that is fully embraced by the pharmaceutical industry, and with good reason," Whaley says. "In a lot of ways, it's still an unproven technology."</p> <p>This is research that the two first began in the lab of Johns Hopkins biophysicist Richard Cone. Whaley and Zeitlin met there in the 1980s and worked with Cone and Thomas Moench, a physician specializing in infectious disease, on developing antibodies as a contraceptive as well as protection against STDs. "Richard's lab was most interested in these big public health problems," Zeitlin says. "I loved that [the researchers in Cone's lab] were applying science to not just understand how things work, but to solve problems, to try to make a contraceptive, to try and solve STDs. I was hooked."</p> <p>He and Whaley became interested in plantibodies in the late 1980s. The promise of plants, Whaley explains, is the ability to manufacture treatments for less money. "You can't go to Africa and charge people $1,000 a year for contraception. You need a way to make things cheaper," Zeitlin says. He and Whaley left Johns Hopkins in 1999 to work for a California startup that made human monoclonal antibodies in corn plants, but the company didn't survive. "They filed for bankruptcy and we were both out of jobs," Zeitlin says. It was Whaley's idea to start their own company. "I was quite nervous about it, but it seems be working out," Zeitlin says.</p> <p>The two had learned a few things at that failed startup. "The company was making antibodies in corn," Zeitlin says, "then people started to realize that making pharmaceuticals in food crops isn't a good idea." The other problem with corn: It takes too long to grow. Testing antibodies against pathogens is an iterative process that requires some guesswork. When the human body fights a disease, it throws a host of antibodies at the problem. The trick for scientists, then, is to pick which of the antibodies are the most effective against any given disease. This requires trial and error, picking one antibody, manufacturing it in the lab, testing it against the disease. The researchers needed to produce new antibodies for testing at a more rapid pace. "Where it took a year and half in corn, it took just weeks with tobacco," Zeitlin says.</p> <p>With funding from Department of Defense and NIH grants, Mapp focused on antibody research for treating deadly viruses and poisons, as well as continuing research in partnership with Cone for sexually transmitted diseases. By 2010, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency created a project called Blue Angel. Plantibodies could mean cheaper, faster ways to develop treatment against virulent epidemics or man-made bioterrorism. "They decided that plants could be a transformative technology," Zeitlin says. DARPA funded four new facilities to manufacture antibodies in plants, including Kentucky BioProcessing, where ZMapp is made.</p> While the media is focused on ZMapp, Whaley says the real potential of the drug isn't just its efficacy in treating Ebola&#8212;it's what that treatment and their research portends for a host of seemingly intractable illnesses and conditions, particularly for people living in poverty. At Mapp, Whaley and Zeitlin not only seek treatments for rare and dangerous viruses and poisons&#8212;Ricin, Ebola, Marburg, Junin&#8212;they have also advanced the use of human monoclonal antibodies for contraception and protection against sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. "ZMapp is not really the story. The real story is about antibodies and how diverse they are. ZMapp shows the power of antibody-based technology, and that's the exciting thing to us. They work; they are effective," Whaley says. "So now can we produce antibodies at a low enough cost and at a large enough capacity so that it plays a role in global health?" That's what Zeitlin and Whaley hope to find out next. <p><div class='teaser featured-teaser article has-image'> <div class='thumbnail'> <a href='/ebola'> <img src='' /> </a> </div><div class='teaser-text'><h5 class='overline'>FEATURED COVERAGE</h5> <h2><a href='/ebola'>Johns Hopkins responds to Ebola</a></h2><div class='summary'>Relevant news coverage and helpful resources related to the Ebola outbreak and how Johns Hopkins is responding at home and abroad</div> </div> </div></p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 On the roof of JHU's Ames Hall, bats and owls vie for space <p>Here's a problem likely not faced by Johns Hopkins researchers before:
 On the rooftop of a campus building, how far apart should they site one cage holding big brown bats and another cage full of barn owls? That's what Cynthia Moss, a professor who studies echolocation in bats, and Assistant Professor Shreesh Mysore, who uses barn owls to research the inner workings of the brain, must figure out. Both Krieger School researchers want to establish roosts on the roof of Ames Hall—an outdoor location they hope will make the animals comfortable enough to breed.</p> <p>The problem is, as Mysore succinctly puts it, "barn owls eat bats."</p> <p>Mysore's and Moss' labs are adjacent to one another in the basement of Ames. Their test subjects—14 barn owls and approximately 70 bats from four different species—flutter about separately in several climate-controlled rooms, perching on faux tree branches, or, in the case of the bats, dangling from the mesh-covered air ducts in the ceiling.</p> <p>The potential predator-prey conflict between their animals notwithstanding, both scientists, who work in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, pursue similar goals: to understand the neural processes these animals employ to navigate. Each focuses on animals' midbrains, an area responsible for deciding what to attend to in spatial attention.</p> <p>In her bat lab, a 20-by-20-foot soundproofed room that looks more like a recording studio than a laboratory, Moss films the bats in flight with high-speed cameras. She uses sensitive audio equipment to record the high-frequency calls they make as they bounce sound off objects and use the feedback to adjust their flight paths. Each sequence plays out in less than a second, but by slowing down and correlating video of a bat's flight with changes in its vocalizations and neural activity (measured via electrodes planted in the animal's midbrain), researchers can decipher how bats make decisions during flight. "Essentially, we're figuring out what's going on in the bat's mind," says Moss, whose research also focuses on bats' senses of vision and touch. "We're very interested in trying to understand how bats build pictures of the world. Of course, we can't ask a bat directly, 'What do you see?' But we can use their behavior to make inferences about what they experience."</p> <p>Mysore also studies decision-making processes, specifically, how the brain decides where to direct its attention. Barn owls, with their acute senses of sight and hearing, are specialists across two sensory modalities. They also happen to have midbrains with neatly arranged neural clusters that are easily measured and manipulated. In his own soundproofed lab, Mysore straps little owl earphones onto his subjects and pipes in sequences of noises. He uses a projector to present the birds with a series of abstract, dotlike images meant to provoke responses of varying intensities. By measuring neural activity in the birds' midbrains, he can decipher which sensory input—the sights or the sounds—the animal attends to with the most immediacy. Mysore then uses electrical current to stimulate areas of the forebrain, "hijacking" the bird's neural circuitry to con the animal into thinking it wants to pay attention to something. He then plays the sounds and/or images again, taking measurements in the midbrain to discover where the animal's attention is directed. If the external stimuli are strong enough—say, a series of big, scary dots coming right at the bird— it trumps any manipulation he's done artificially. Mysore can see how the competition for attention plays out in the neural circuits of the brain.</p> <p>More recently, Mysore has been experimenting with mice to learn more about what goes wrong in the neural pathways of people with attention-related disorders such as ADHD and schizophrenia. "The owls have been invaluable in helping us make what we think are big leaps in our understanding, but we want to test to see if this is going on similarly in mammals," he says. "We can make very strong hypotheses about how the brain may work under normal circumstances, and therefore, make hypotheses about what may be going wrong in various psychiatric illnesses."</p> <p>Mysore and Moss recognize the common thread in their research and hope to collaborate. "Historically, there have been a lot of connections between research involving owls and bats as auditory predators," says Moss. "We're both very interested in spatial attention, and we use different animal models for studying these mechanisms, so there could be some very interesting comparisons."</p> <p>As far as the rooftop of Ames Hall is concerned, the university has hired an architectural firm to reimagine the space. Whatever the final design, one thing's for certain: The cages holding the owls and bats will be as far away from one another as possible.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Those damned particles <p>Massive clouds of electrically charged particles can form in the upper atmosphere, and one such "plasma bubble" has been implicated in the downing of a helicopter in Afghanistan that killed seven American soldiers in 2002. Researchers used NASA satellite data to determine that the helicopter flew under a 62-mile-long bubble, which they believe disrupted a radio warning to the pilot to avoid an enemy-held mountaintop. <a href="">Click here for more.</a></p> <p>It's no fun being an aging galaxy. Scientists determined that massive, central black holes that spew radio frequency–emitting particles from the core of older galaxies can prevent the birth of new stars. <a href="">Click here for more.</a></p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Karl Alexander's decades-long study shows the long shadow of a poor start <p>Karl Alexander has spent more time in prisons than most professors. For 25 years, the Johns Hopkins University sociologist and his Johns Hopkins colleague Doris Entwisle followed the lives of 790 children growing up in a variety of Baltimore neighborhoods. The researchers interviewed their subjects almost every year while they were in school and every few years after they became adults. Early on, the participants could usually be found in school or at home. But as they aged, some of them began to land in prison. So Alexander, Entwisle, and their colleagues followed them there.</p> <p>The researchers discovered that these young people, even if they were in jail for some "pretty nasty things" like attempted murder, usually made great interview subjects. They were polite and respectful and relaxed in conversation. They spoke freely about the most personal aspects of their lives: unfulfilled dreams, time spent using and dealing drugs, relationships and sex. "It's amazing what people will talk to you about, especially in the interviews we did in lockups," Alexander says. The stories the interviewees told could be heart-wrenching, even to a veteran sociologist like Alexander. One subject told the researcher that he had seen his brother hang himself out­side his window. "That haunted me. That stayed with me," Alexander says. "You hear something like that, you say, 'Wow. That's really something to grow up with.'" The tales weren't all bleak. One subject had enrolled in his prison's master gardener program. Some hoped to earn their GEDs after they got out.</p> <blockquote> <p>Education and hard work lift people from the inner city out of poverty only in excep­tional cases. The vast majority born poor are almost certain to stay that way.</p> </blockquote> <p>Alexander and his colleagues recorded every story. They collected a mountain of data: each subject's work history, how far he or she had advanced in school, their past drug use, number and ages of children and other family members, and relationship status. The sociolo­gists combined this information with data from earlier interviews of both study subjects and their parents, along with profiles of the neighborhoods where their subjects grew up, school report cards, and family backgrounds. Pulling these strands together, the researchers wove a rich tapestry from the lives of children growing up in Baltimore from the early 1980s through the mid-2000s.</p> <p>Many of the middle-class children in the study progressed through life's stages as expected: school, college, work, marriage, par­enthood. But for poorer children, the picture was largely bleak. In their book <em>The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood</em> (Russell Sage Foundation, 2014), co-authors Alexander, Entwisle, and Linda Olson, an instructor in the School of Education, combine an explication of 25 years of data with powerful anecdotes—stories of murdered friends and siblings, absent fathers, mothers too addicted to drugs or alcohol to pro­vide basic care, dreams deferred. The researchers show how, at each step on the path to adulthood, neighborhood and family and school conspire to pass down advantage and disadvantage from generation to generation. Contrary to the popu­lar American narrative that everyone has equal access to opportunity as long as he or she is will­ing to work hard, the reality revealed by the study is grim. Education and hard work lift people from the inner city out of poverty only in excep­tional cases. The vast majority born poor are almost certain to stay that way.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>The 68-year-old Alexander has the tall, lean build of a basketball player and sports a close-cropped white beard and wire-framed glasses. He smiles easily and loves to talk. He grew up in working-class neighborhoods in west and north­east Philadelphia in the years after the Second World War, and he fell in love with sociology in an undergraduate statistical methods course at Tem­ple University. "Most everybody else hated the course, and I really liked it," he recalls. "What really appealed to me was to look at data and evi­dence and try to discern patterns in data in a way where you could make sense out of those patterns."</p> <p>Inspired by that course, Alexander chose to major in sociology. "I was kind of floating. I didn't have a clear sense of purpose before I wan­dered into that class," he says. "It was a transfor­mative moment for me." He went on to earn his PhD in 1972 from the University of North Caro­lina at Chapel Hill and took an assistant profes­sorship at Johns Hopkins.</p> <p>The university's Sociology Department was home at the time to two leading scholars with whom Alexander was excited to work: homeless­ness researcher Peter Rossi and education expert James Coleman. Within two years, however, both Rossi and Coleman left for other universities. But Alexander also met Doris Entwisle, a promi­nent researcher who studied education and early childhood. (Entwisle died of cancer in November 2013, after the manuscript for <em>The Long Shadow</em> was completed.) When Entwisle was tapped for a term as editor of the journal <em>Sociology in Educa­tion</em>, she invited Alexander to be her deputy. The two discovered they worked well together, com­plementing each other's strengths and avoiding ego battles. When Entwisle's editorship ended, they decided to develop a joint research project. Alexander had spent his early years at Johns Hop­kins studying how students' high school experi­ences affected how they fared in the workforce. But he had come to feel that he was missing important pieces of the picture. By the time chil­dren got to high school, Alexander realized, much of their life path had already been set. "You don't start high school with a blank slate," he says. "There's a built-up history there that's relevant." He wanted to better understand that history. Given Entwisle's expertise in early educa­tion, a study of how family and neighborhood influence children's early success in school made for a natural collaboration.</p> <p>The researchers developed a plan to interview children and their parents during first and second grades, and to survey teachers and gather school records. They would then spend a year analyzing data and writing up results. No one had ever tried to get data from interviews with first-graders. "There was skepticism that we really could get use­ful information from children that young," Alex­ander says. "We had to craft questions very care­fully." For example, rather than ask what children aspired to be when they grew up, the researchers commissioned an artist to draw images of differ­ent occupations—say, a cop and a teacher—so they could ask the children to choose which they identified with.</p> <p>For their study population, the researchers chose at random 790 students from 20 of Balti­more's public elementary schools. Four of the schools served middle-to-upper-class communi­ties. Eight had a middle-income population, and eight served students who were among the poorest in Baltimore. Four of the low-income elementary schools had no white students; five of the middle-income schools had no black students. Alexander and Entwisle discovered hidden pockets of white poverty and realized they could study how both race and income affect school performance.</p> <p>After three years, Alexander and Entwisle had enough data to show that by second grade, chil­dren from poorer families and neighborhoods had fallen behind their wealthier peers. The researchers published those findings but felt there was more to be learned from extending the study another year or two. After all, Alexander says, they had already done a lot of the heavy lift­ing—selecting the sample, establishing relation­ships with students, parents, and teachers, and securing cooperation from everyone up to prin­cipals and the superintendent's office. Why not follow the students into third and fourth grade, and see whether the income- and race-based edu­cational stratification grew with time?</p> <p>In the end, they kept the project going not just through elementary school but far beyond. They and their colleagues ended up interviewing study participants and parents nearly every year through the end of high school, occasionally tak­ing a year off to develop a new survey. To compile and crunch their data, the researchers assembled a core staff who remained with them throughout the project, including researcher Linda Olson. The researchers supported their small army of data gatherers and analysts with funding from public agencies and private foundations. Sup­port was wide but not always deep. "There were times when it came very close," Alexander says. "It was like the 11th hour, 59th minute—how are we going to make payroll?" The project's overall cost came out to somewhere between $12 million and $14 million, with no single sustaining grant. Alexander and Entwisle were always patching together relatively small sums of money.</p> <p>As the project matured and the data piled up, the picture of how children's early circumstances played out in their later school success became clearer. But it took a decade for the project to make waves outside of academic journals and confer­ences. That opportunity came about because Bal­timore City Public Schools, unlike most school systems, tested students in math and reading in both fall and spring. Alexander and Entwisle had collected students' test scores from the beginning, and around five years into their study they realized they could compare learning gains (or losses) dur­ing the school year with those from summer. The idea wasn't new, Alexander says; sociologist Bar­bara Heyns had published a book in 1978 docu­menting summer learning loss among poor schoolchildren in Atlanta. Heyns' finding had earned considerable attention within academia— both Alexander and Entwisle had read it—but few educators or policymakers were aware of it.</p> <blockquote> <p>"There was skepticism that we really could get use­ful information from children that young. We had to craft questions very care­fully." -Karl Alexander</p> </blockquote> <p>Drawing from multiple years of test scores, the Johns Hopkins researchers found that poor students in Baltimore generally kept up academ­ically with wealthier students during the school year, which Heyns had found to be true among her Atlanta students. But in both cases, poorer students tended to fall behind during the sum­mers. The main reason was that wealthier par­ents provided more opportunities for learning— trips to museums and libraries, for example. In some cases, these parents simply had access to more resources like books and money for vaca­tions. But even free learning opportunities like a trip to the library, Alexander says, can be out of reach for children of single parents who must work multiple jobs just to get by.</p> <p>Alexander and Entwisle published their sum­mer learning results in 1992 in the <em>American Soci­ological Review</em>. Their team's finding got wide attention, sparking policy discussions and inno­vations in summer school programs around the country. One of the most important outcomes emerged close to home after a Johns Hopkins undergraduate, Matthew Boulay, read about Alexander's work in the magazine <em>Education Week</em>. Boulay had a year earlier launched a proj­ect called Teach Baltimore, through which he and fellow students taught summer classes to Baltimore youth in 14 locations around the city. Inspired by Alexander's work, Boulay decided to take his project national. "I was surprised and amazed," Boulay recalls. "[The research] opened up this whole new set of possibilities and need for what we were doing." He sought out Alexan­der, who became his mentor. Teach Baltimore eventually morphed into the Center for Summer Learning, and later into the National Summer Learning Association, an advocacy organization whose advisory board Boulay now chairs.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Had the Beginning School Study ended there, it still would have been significant. But Alexander and Entwisle's evolving vision gave the study a scope far beyond school. To fully understand how school and career trajectories emerged from early life experi­ences, the researchers decided to continue following their subjects as they graduated or dropped out of high school, got jobs (or didn't), and began to have children of their own. The team conducted extensive interviews when sub­jects were 21 or 22 and again at 28 or 29. The inter­view topics changed over time, reflecting what was going on in participants' lives as well as trends in the kind of data sociologists of the time were collecting from adolescent and young adult populations. The researchers' surveys eventually encompassed not just school and home life but also work and unemployment, drugs, crime, and personal hardship. As early as age 14, study sub­jects started having children; the researchers found that especially among low-income partici­pants, these children often provided a sense of meaning that the rest of life lacked. Most of the low-income men had run-ins with the law at some point, and around half spent time in prison, which is where Alexander and Entwisle often found them.</p> <p>Despite the considerable time demanded of them—up to two hours per interview—and the need to answer personal questions, only a hand­ful of the study participants ever left voluntarily. "We think one of the reasons we've been so suc­cessful [at retaining participants] is that we've been a presence in their lives as far back as most of them can remember," Alexander says. "Beyond that, and I think this is the deeper reason, many of them really looked forward to talking to us because we were interested in them and wanted to hear their stories. And often they didn't have any adults in their lives who were interested in them and wanted to hear their stories."</p> <p>Their stories could be both harrowing and uplifting, sometimes both from the same source. Danté Washington, a study participant who has allowed his real name to be used, recalls that he heard gunshots so often growing up that he didn't think much of them until one night he went downstairs and saw that a bullet had come through his home's living room window. "I looked at that and realized there has to be some­thing different," he says. Washington went on to earn a degree in business from Strayer University and now owns a home in a different neighbor­hood and works at a publishing company.</p> <p>Through it all, Alexander and his colleagues kept a professional distance, listening sympa­thetically but never offering material help. (The researchers did sometimes provide lists of resources to help study participants or their fam­ilies with particular issues.) Striking this balance could be hard, Alexander admits, given their sub­jects' often intense experiences. "We worried about a lot of them," he says. "But we also rejoiced when we saw positive things happening."</p> <p>The parents in the study had less personal connection to the researchers but were generally also willing to talk, Alexander says; the interviews he and his colleagues did with them tended to be shorter and less probing. But the subjects moved often and didn't necessarily keep Alexander and Entwisle in the loop. The researchers would seek participants by calling them, searching online, knocking on their doors, knocking on neighbors' doors, talking to people sitting on stoops on the blocks where subjects had lived. They sent birthday cards each year and noted which ones bounced back—a "goddamn genius" strategy, according to study participant John Houser. When a card came back undelivered, the researchers knew they needed to do extra recon­naissance work. "It required dogged persever­ance," Alexander says. He and Entwisle learned the hard way that such perseverance can be hard to muster for people who are not personally invested in a project. For their final survey, at the behest of their funders, the study leaders for the first time hired a professional research firm, which got around a 30 percent response rate from past participants. Horrified, Alexander and his colleagues took their survey back and, repris­ing their time-tested boots-on-the-ground approach, rounded up 80 percent of the original subjects. Of those the researchers couldn't find, a sizable fraction were dead.</p> <p>Following children for 23 years is unusual; there are only a very small number of examples of studies that do that, says Adam Gamoran, president of the William T. Grant Foundation, which helped fund the Beginning School Study. "Even the best federal datasets follow young people for eight, 10, 12 years." By staying with their population for so long, Alexander and Entwisle set themselves up to do what few, if any, researchers had done before: trace a direct line from children's earliest experiences to their eventual places in the workforce and in society.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Success in the workforce turned out, again, to be largely a tale of haves and have-nots. Nearly all the higher-income students graduated from high school on time or close to it; of those, almost half went on to earn a bachelor's degree by age 28, and around half were working at well-paying managerial, professional, or tech­nical jobs by that age. Education is now almost universally recognized as the ticket to career suc­cess, and Alexander and Entwisle found that the ticket worked as promised—for the higher-income segment of their study population. In the book the authors refer to the school-to-work path as an "attainment regime," though Alexander now prefers the more accessible "success narra­tive." But he and Entwisle found that this narra­tive was mostly closed off to the low-income par­ticipants. A quarter of this population had not graduated from high school or earned a GED diploma by age 28. Only 12 percent had ever enrolled in a four-year college, and only 4 per­cent had graduated. Alexander mentions that 4 percent figure often. "To see just 4 percent of poor kids in our study complete college is just shocking. That's upsetting to me," Alexander says. "We should be able to do better by our poor children, especially given that we also see that so many want to be more successful at school."</p> <p>Alexander is referring to the fact that even among those who had not succeeded at school, most seemed to believe the education success narrative could still work for them. In their final survey, 85 percent of study participants who had dropped out of high school said they still hoped to get more education. Study participants' attempts to follow through on those desires were often stymied, however. In one of the book's many illuminating vignettes, the authors tell the story of a young woman, "Tami," who grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood and had a baby dur­ing her junior year of high school. Tami managed to graduate on time and near the top of her class, and she tried to pursue a pre-law degree, but par­enting and poverty kept getting in her way. At one point she left college to care for her daughter until she was in school full time; marriage and relocation to a different part of town later forced her to quit a second program. By 28, Tami had started and stopped community college three times without ever earning a degree. Speaking of her daughter, she said, "'I don't mean to say she stands in my way, but she has to come first, you know. I'm sure if I didn't have her I would be in law school right now.'"</p> <blockquote> <p>"To see just 4 percent of poor kids in our study complete college is just shocking. That's upsetting to me," Alexander says.</p> </blockquote> <p>Subjects who didn't succeed in school faced a tough road, Alexander and Entwisle found. Gone were the days when someone without a high school diploma could walk into a skilled, well-paying unionized job at one of the city's factories or ship­yards. By the time the young adults in the Begin­ning School Study were entering the workforce, Baltimore, like many American cities, had been wracked by decades of deindustrialization. Left were lower-paying, mostly non-union jobs in a shell of the city's once-booming industrial economy.</p> <p>Still, some study participants found ways to make a go of it. "Todd," for instance, dropped out of college after one semester and went to work for his father's trucking company. By 28, he was mak­ing $50,000 a year—a solidly middle-class income. But he was the exception; the average study par­ticipant without a college degree was earning well under $30,000 a year when last interviewed.</p> <p>The most surprising findings showed up when Alexander and Entwisle broke down their data by race. From their interviews, the research­ers had learned that many of the racial stereo­types attached to young people—men in particu­lar—did not hold up. For instance, low-income white boys in their study were actually slightly less likely than black boys to graduate from high school. They were also as likely to have used drugs, and more likely to have used a drug other than marijuana. They were only slightly less likely to have an arrest record. That data sug­gested that, on paper, poor black men were at least as qualified as their white counterparts for whatever decent blue-collar jobs were available. Yet Alexander and Entwisle found that those jobs were going almost entirely to white men. The researchers' 2005–2006 survey revealed that low-income white men were employed full time, on average, 20 percent more during the previous 24 months and earned an average of $8,000 more per year than low-income black men. They also earned far more than both black and white women without high school educations, who got mostly low-wage clerical and service-sector jobs. But even though black and white women earned on average roughly the same (low) salaries, black women still fell victim to inequity. White women in the study did far better economically because they tended to partner with higher-earning white men. At age 28, 42 percent of low-income black women in the study were raising children by themselves on an average income of $20,000 a year. By comparison, only 9 percent of low-income white women with children were single; they earned an average salary of $30,000. Those with partners—64 percent—enjoyed an average annual family income of more than $50,000.</p> <p>This stark racial disparity had its roots not in qualifications but in privilege. Alexander and Entwisle found that white men were finding their jobs through informal, word-on-the-street hiring networks of which black men were not part. The networks were relics of Baltimore's well-docu­mented Jim Crow past, when blacks were system­atically shut out of most skilled trades. Modern anti-discrimination laws ended such practices' official sanction, but white employers continued to hire mostly white workers through family and social connections rather than through formal job postings. Alexander demurs from blaming white men's comparative success in today's work­place on conscious racism. He acknowledges that racist attitudes among employers could influence hiring decisions, but he and Entwisle did not attempt to gauge such attitudes. Rather, he believes that in connecting their children and relatives with available jobs, white adults were simply giving their kids the best chance in life that they could. "You can hardly object to that," he says. But due to the legacy of discrimination and deindustrialization, parents of the black low-income study participants by and large had no such connections to offer. "At age 22, we asked everyone how they found their current or most recent job," Alexander says. "White men were much more likely to say through family or friends, while African-Americans most often said on their own. And 'on your own' is not a good place to be." This second success narrative, of relatively steady, living-wage work available almost exclusively to white men through infor­mal hiring networks, "took us by surprise," Alex­ander says. "If there's an aha moment in the book, I think it revolves around that."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>A belief in social mobility—that anyone can pull him- or herself up the socioeconomic ladder through education and hard work—has long been ingrained in American self-identity. In recent years, how­ever, America's social mobility narrative has lost much of its credibility. Writing in 2013 in <em>The New York Times</em>, Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz called equal opportunity "our national myth" and argued that children who grow up poor in the United States face more bar­riers to success than do those growing up poor in other industrialized countries. The Beginning School Study's fine-grained results reinforce this kind of argument. Among 314 children from low-income families, only 30 ended the study in the middle class. If every child in the study truly had an equal chance to reach that socioeconomic stratum, the researchers would have expected this number to be more than twice as high. A starker picture emerges from the outcomes of the 18 black male students who attended the sur­vey's poorest elementary school and were still in the study at age 28. Seventeen of the 18 had been arrested and 16 had been convicted of a crime, seven were interviewed in prison, seven had dropped out of high school, only one had earned a four-year degree, and only five had been con­tinuously employed for the previous two years.</p> <p><em>The Long Shadow</em> is not the first work to argue that poor children are getting a raw deal in today's America. But it documents with preci­sion the mechanisms that can transfer advan­tage and disadvantage from one generation to the next, says Glen Elder, a University of North Carolina sociologist who advised Alexander's master's thesis. "One setback leads to another and they pile up over time," Elder says.</p> <p>The authors did more than just compile and crunch numbers, says Lenora Fulani, a psycholo­gist and political activist in New York. She applauds Alexander and his colleagues for also putting a human face on urban poverty, which often gets abstracted into statistics that distance both writer and reader from poor people's lived reality. "I was very thrilled with his take on under­standing and his interest in exploring what was really happening in poor communities in ways that were much more personal, much more intense . . . than the usual things that are written in psychology and elsewhere," Fulani says. "He spent time there [and] got to know people." She commends Alexander et al. for discussing the white urban poor. By broadening the depiction of urban poverty beyond the usual stereotypes, the authors make it harder for readers to ignore it, she says. "One of the ways that I think this coun­try stays away from poverty is that it's basically projected as black, with a lot of negativity con­nected to it," she says. "And that's unfortunate because it hurts poor people across the board."</p> <p>Alexander retired from Johns Hopkins this summer. His study is over and the data now live in an archive at Harvard, where other researchers are free to mine them. For those seeking to help children escape urban poverty, Alexander's career capstone just lays the foundation. "The book sets us up for asking the next question, which is: What can we do about it?" Gamoran says. "We shouldn't think that the long shadow observed in this study is inevitable or is impos­sible to counteract." Boulay agrees; he thinks the education community is only now beginning to address in earnest the summer learning loss that Alexander and Entwisle revealed in the mid-1990s. "I think we're actually just seeing the very beginning of the implications of Karl's work," he says. "In 20 years, this is going to be even more important." Like the poverty he spent his career studying, it seems that Alexander's work will cast a long shadow.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Biologist Jocelyne DiRuggiero wants to answer the age-old question: Are we flying solo in the universe? <p><strong>"It is unnatural in a large field to have only one stalk of wheat, and in the infinite universe only one living world."</strong> <em>– Metrodorus of Chios (ca. 350 BCE)</em></p> <p>In 2001, Jocelyne DiRuggiero stood on the parched sand of a New Mex­ico desert, looking up. A rocket had just launched, carrying microorgan­isms far from their hot springs home to just outside Earth's atmosphere. DiRug­giero, now a Johns Hopkins associate research professor of biology, was at the White Sands Mis­sile Range to test the survivability of various microbes when exposed to the vacuum and extreme UV radiation of space. Much of her previ­ous work had focused on the tiny environs within cells. But as she watched the rocket burn through the clouds, she caught her first glimpse of a much bigger research universe. "It shot into space and came back down, and that got me hooked," says DiRuggiero. "Here I was working with rocket sci­entists. It was amazing."</p> <p>Thirteen years later last April, DiRuggiero stood at a lectern at the Space Telescope Science Institute on the Homewood campus. Projected behind her was an ink drawing of the 1633 trial of Galileo Galilei, who was convicted of heresy by the Roman Catholic Church for favoring Nico­laus Copernicus' theory that Earth orbited the sun. This theory "was very bad news for a lot of people who thought that we were at the center of the universe," DiRuggiero told the roomful of researchers just waking up on a Monday morn­ing. "Since then, things have gone downhill." She then flashed another image, the famous Voy­ager 1 snapshot of Earth taken in 1990—the "Pale Blue Dot." To many, that view of our speck of a planet from 4 billion miles away underscored our inconsequential place in the cosmos.</p> <p>DiRuggiero and other researchers now pon­der our cosmic context via a new prism shaped not only by our lack of centrality but by the dis­covery of planets light-years away and, on Earth, bizarre sulfur-based organisms that flourish in extreme environments. Scientists in astronomy, biology, astrophysics, geology, planetary science, chemistry, and other disciplines are pursuing a new wave of science that probes a deep and very old question: "Is there life beyond Earth?"</p> <p>Their research is driving astrobiology, which NASA defines as "the study of the origins, evolu­tion, distribution, and future of life in the uni­verse." Those in DiRuggiero's audience were among 100 researchers who attended a symposium titled "Habitable Worlds Across Time and Space."</p> <p>"Our solar system is part of a beautiful galaxy, the Milky Way, that is just one among billions of galaxies in the universe," she told them. "The idea that we might not be alone in the universe is one of the most exciting scientific questions of our time."</p> <p>Astrobiology embodies a paradox: the study of a subject not yet dis­covered. Does "biology" even exist in our solar system or beyond, be it microbial or complex? How did life originate on Earth, anyway? What is life? The search for answers blends a heady mix of hope, fascination, and science.</p> <p>Researchers like DiRuggiero credit Galileo and others for helping set today's scientific stage, and for keeping the faith—one has to believe in the likelihood of life elsewhere to spend time looking for it. Speculation surely began as soon as humans first craned their necks to stare at the stars and imagine the heav­ens. Thales (ca. 600 BCE), considered by many the father of Western philosophy, espoused the concept of "a plurality of worlds." Greek think­ers like Epicurus and Metrodorus also asked whether the world we see with our limited vision is all there is, whether at the atomic level or an otherworldly realm akin to a parallel universe. Early philosophers sometimes paid a high price for their ideas. Giordano Bruno, an Italian Renaissance monk, proposed that stars were dis­tant suns and that other planetary systems might harbor life. For such prescient ponderings and other alleged transgressions, the Roman Inquisition tried Bruno in the early 1590s for her­esy, imprisoned him, and burned him at the stake in 1600, when he refused to recant. Later-century astronomers Christiaan Huygens and Johannes Kepler also mused about life on other planets. In his book <em>Cosmostheoros</em> (1698), Huy­gens wrote "all those Planets that surround that prodigious number of Suns. They must have their plants and animals, nay and their rational creatures too."</p> <p>DiRuggiero says, "You can have passion and let your imagination go, and at the same time do serious science." (Albert Einstein, after all, ele­vated imagination above knowledge.) That taps a core concept of the Institute for Planets and Life—founded a few years ago by DiRuggiero and other Johns Hopkins and STScI scientists. Via lec­ture series, interdisciplinary studies, and federal grant proposals, IPL has strung a web of astrobio­logical research. There's astrophysics, where one strand is the search and analysis of exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars light-years away. NASA's powerful space-based Kepler telescope has con­firmed nearly 2,000 exoplanets over the past few years, including a rocky Earth-like cousin known as Kepler 186f. Another area of IPL research is planetary science, which can analyze atmo­spheres on other worlds—such as Saturn's moon Titan—as well as the plate tectonics of early Earth to study how planets change. At the heart of the new field is biology, which includes researchers looking at the adaptability of life in extreme envi­ronments on Earth, places that might prove anal­ogous to long-ago landscapes on Mars or the present icy surfaces of Jupiter's moons.</p> <p>A wave of speculation, fueled in part by mass media attention such as Neil deGrasse Tyson's reboot of Carl Sagan's television series <em>Cosmos</em>, has engulfed scientists and the general public alike: Will the question of life elsewhere be answered in our lifetime? Mind-blowing research from all angles makes this a distinct possibility. Topics discussed at the Habitable Worlds symposium, for example, ranged from "Early Earth Across Time and Space" to "Venus and Mars as Failed Biospheres" to "The Habitability of the Milky Way Galaxy." Peter Olson, a Hopkins Earth scientist, discussed early Earth's transition from magma oceans to tectonic plates, science that sheds light on planet habitability. And researcher Ralph Lorenz of the Applied Physics Laboratory covered moons and planets that orbit red giants, stars much different from the golden orb in our sky.</p> <p>Skygazers also wonder where life could be detected first. Outlying exoplanets—which might offer Earth's true twin? Or microbial communes on closer satellites in our solar system? Either way, astrobiology offers the tantalizing likeli­hood of human-created technology so unconven­tional, and extraterrestrial life so weird, that sci­ence fiction will soon be made real.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>If a life-sustaining planet is detected, it will likely not resemble our mod­ern world. There won't be coffee shops or cellphones on faraway globes. Life on Earth evolved over 3.8 billion years in multiple directions and was reconfigured by at least five mass extinctions long before human latecomers arrived on the scene. Nonetheless, any search for entities elsewhere tends to be a quest for life that could live here, primarily carbon-based life forms. As many scien­tists observe, they have to start somewhere. With extraordinary telescope technology coming online, researchers will be able to scour the atmo­spheres of far-flung planets for evidence of life as we know it. At least that's the plan. "In the case of distant stars and other solar systems, it's more complicated," notes Mario Livio, a senior astro­physicist at STScI and one of 30 IPL researchers. "We cannot build a mission to go to those places, certainly not anytime in the foreseeable future. It's more a matter of remote sensing." Yet how do you remotely detect biosignatures that could indi­cate the presence of living inhabitants? For exam­ple, atmospheric gases such as oxygen, methane, ozone, or carbon dioxide, as well as astrobiology's holy grail, liquid water?</p> <blockquote> <p>Astrobiology offers the tantalizing likeli­hood of human-created technology so unconven­tional, and extraterrestrial life so weird, that sci­ence fiction will soon be made real.</p> </blockquote> <p>Until about two decades ago, the only other planets known to humans were in the solar system. A new generation of telescopes has already expanded our knowledge of exoplanets via a novel, even poetic approach: scanning star­light for the influence of planets. NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, launched in 2009, has moni­tored nearly 150,000 stars in one region of the Milky Way, looking for dips in their brightness that signal a planet passing between star and telescope, what's known as a transit. Scientists analyze other measurements, such as shifts in a star's spectrum, that might indirectly indicate orbiting bodies. Data from Kepler is archived and studied at STScI. And in 2017, NASA will launch the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Sat­ellite to expand the Kepler experiment across the sky, targeting bright, long-lived stars closer to our solar system and sifting for even better Earth-like candidates.</p> <p>Jason Kalirai is a research scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Astrophysical Sci­ences, as well as STScI's project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to launch in four years as the successor to the beloved Hubble Space Telescope. As NASA's most powerful telescope, Webb will provide a more sensitive orbiting infrared observatory. Most important for astrobiology, its instruments could measure the atmospheric composition of potentially habitable exoplanets already tar­geted by TESS. "Webb is powerful enough to detect water vapor, carbon dioxide, and meth­ane, all of which are found here on Earth," Kali­rai says. Both TESS and Webb will scan partly for planets within a star's habitable zone, often termed the Goldilocks Zone, where it's not too hot and not too cold.</p> <p>Finding a habitable world, though, is quite different from finding an inhabited one. "Ulti­mately, a 'life-finding' telescope will be needed to find Earth 2.0," says Kalirai. For example, an instrument that could scan for spectral signa­tures of oxygen and other biomarkers in a plan­et's atmosphere. Scientists at STScI are propo­nents of such an observatory, possibly with a vast 16-meter mirror. If approved, ATLAST—for Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope—would be 2,000 times as sensitive as Hubble and could launch by the late 2020s.</p> <p>In many ways, this all seems far, far away. "Working on exoplanets is like having a candy I can't reach," DiRuggiero muses. Fortunately, there might be much closer repositories of life in our solar system. Scientists are enthused about the icy moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Nep­tune: Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Enceladus, Titan, or Triton. Various researchers are hanker­ing to get a probe onto the cracked ice of Europa, which orbits Jupiter, or Saturn's moon, Encela­dus, where there's evidence of subsurface oceans, organic molecules in atmospheric jets, and tidal heat caused by the gravity of its host planet. "In the solar system, Enceladus ought to be one of the highest priorities for the world's space agencies," says David C. Catling, a profes­sor and researcher for NASA's Astrobiology Institute, in his book <em>Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction</em> (Oxford University Press, 2013). "Enceladus has a source of internal energy (tidal heating), organic material, and liquid water. That's a textbook-like list of those proper­ties needed for life. Moreover, nature has pro­vided astrobiologists with the ultimate free lunch: jets that spurt Enceladus' organic mate­rial into space. Technology certainly exists to build a spacecraft to swing by Enceladus and sample the organics."</p> <p>In just a couple of months, a NASA spacecraft named <em>Dawn</em> is set to visit Ceres, a Texas-sized asteroid recently reclassified as a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. Water vapor and organic mate­rial have been detected on Ceres, which scien­tists believe harbors a "thick mantle of ice that, if melted, would amount to more fresh water than is present on all of Earth," according to NASA. While the mission isn't geared to find life on Ceres, the spacecraft's orbital analyses of infrared light emission and reflected sunlight should offer details of the asteroid's surface composition. Some researchers wonder: Could life have existed there in the ancient past, or even now in a sea under all that ice? That's not likely, but the parameters of habitability are being stretched all the time. Water in some form, for example, has shown up in all sorts of unex­pected places. In October, NASA's Messenger mission, managed from APL, released the first photos of water ice in shadowed polar craters on the planet Mercury, which orbits so close to the sun, Goldilocks would surely get burned.</p> <p>Keeping track of all the breaking science is like trying to bottle a meteor shower. By next summer, the New Horizons mission, managed by APL for NASA, will check out frosty Pluto, which is on some scientists' short list of possible life-harboring globes partly because it's heavily endowed with organic (carbon-bearing) mole­cules. And several weeks ago, APL scientist Lou­ise Prockter was part of a team that published evidence of plate tectonics on Europa, the first sign of "surface-shifting geological activity" on a body other than Earth. Getting boots securely on the ground—or a probe's landing gear, or Chip­Sats, which are spacecrafts-on-a-chip—could tell so much more. "With the solar system, we can go there," notes DiRuggiero. "We might go to some of these icy satellites in my lifetime."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>In many ways, the search for life "out there" begins closer to the hearth—inside the core of planet Earth, even within our own bodies. From geological strata to genomic blueprints, the key to the lock on life's origins might be at, or on, our fingertips. It's all about the 'bio' in astrobiology.</p> <p>Recent discoveries of extreme life on Earth, known as "extremophiles," have expanded the likelihood that living entities could survive in alien environments that seem hostile to us. "How far can we push 'life as we know it?'" asks DiRug­giero. "By learning more about the extremes of life on Earth, we can determine the best places to look for life in the universe." Take recent research on the extent of life's adaptability in Earth's cold­est, hottest, darkest, or driest places. "Some microorganisms couldn't care less about oxy­gen," says DiRuggiero. "They can use sulfur. They can use iron. They can do amazing things."</p> <p>Hardy microorganisms known as thermo­philes, for example, were discovered in the 1970s in hot springs at Yellowstone National Park. (Some scientists believe life on Earth likely began at superheated hydrothermal vents.) An array of crea­tures living in deep-sea vents on the Pacific floor depend on chemosynthesis, in which chemicals take the role of sunlight; lanky tubeworms there can grow up to eight feet long. Methane ice worms reside on toxic methane ice mounds along the Gulf of Mexico's floor. And then there are cave-dwelling, acid-producing "snottites," named for their less-than-lovely consistency: a bacterial slime that eats poisonous hydrogen sulfide. Consider also the humble tardigrade, or water bear. These microscopic critters can ride the wind on dust motes and survive being zapped with deadly radia­tion. Though they prefer to lope around on cushy moss, they can also endure, in deep hibernation, in the most extreme environments on Earth, wait­ing for better weather. With five body segments and four pairs of tiny clawed legs, they are one of the few species to survive Earth's mass extinctions. Even the vacuum of space doesn't faze them much.</p> <p>The concept of Weird Life could apply to sim­ilar environs on nearby worlds. Take Saturn's moon Titan, where methane monsoons rage and sand dunes shift in the wind, where subsurface water or liquefied natural gas could offer possi­ble solvents for the organic molecules of life. "There's also lots of carbon and lots of nitrogen on Titan, so there's lots of material to make a prebiotic soup," says Lorenz, of APL, co-author of <em>Titan Unveiled: Saturn's Mysterious Moon Explored</em> (Princeton University Press, 2008).</p> <p>As DiRuggiero notes, "We have to get past the point where we're looking at single organisms because microorganisms are not isolated. They live in a community and interact with each other." Take the tubeworms. "They have a gut, which is made out of a sponge, and microorganisms inside do all the work for them—feeding the worms from the sulfur in the vents. That is so far away from what we can do with our physiology, it's just fascinating." DiRuggiero has visited some of the most extreme environments, taking samples of thermophiles from volcanic craters in Iceland and New Zealand, and scuba diving near hot vents off Italy's Vulcano Island. She currently researches the adaptability and evolution of Archaea (super-tough microorganisms similar to, yet distinct from, bacteria) in one of the driest places on Earth, the high-salt Atacama Desert in Chile.</p> <p>"We haven't even discovered all life on Earth yet," she says. Upcoming generations of research­ers will make some of those discoveries. As part of IPL, DiRuggiero co-teaches a popular undergradu­ate course titled Planets, Life, and the Universe with Colin Norman, a Johns Hopkins professor of physics and astronomy. Among discussion ques­tions asked by students: "We are carbon-based life forms and use carbon energy. Do sulfur-based life forms use sulfur energy?" (Answer: They are not so finicky.) Astrobiology, per se, is not a major at Johns Hopkins or elsewhere, though some univer­sities offer minors. But as breakthroughs dovetail with increased interest from NASA, the field will likely grow. Hopkins graduate students in physics, planetary science, and biology, for example, are already getting into the game by launching a club known as the Astrobiology Forum.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Some people wouldn't put money down on extraterrestrial life. A "Rare Earth" hypothesis, offered more than a decade ago, posits that Earth just got lucky. The planet's axis is tilted just so, with help from the moon's gravity, stabilizing our climate. Jupiter played the heavy—sweeping up, through its massive gravity, comets that could have hit Earth, destroying species. Earth's plate tectonics recycle atmospheric gases. And we inhabit that solar system sweet spot of a habitable zone. Such a fortunate convergence might at least make us not so common. How often might all those factors align just right for life?</p> <p>Also, since Earth is relatively young at nearly 4.6 billion years old—the universe's age is about 14 billion—others question why intelligent extraterrestrial beings have not made it here yet (as far as we know, despite Area 51 conspiracy theories). The Fermi Paradox notes the seeming contradiction between a high probability of civi­lizations in the universe and the lack of contact. "Maybe advanced life is relatively rare," says Livio. Intelligent species might tend to destroy themselves after developing technologies like ours, or before mastering intergalactic space travel. The state of other civilizations "could dif­fer by billions of years," Livio says. "If they are more advanced by a billion years or less advanced by a billion years, the chance of finding them is very, very small. But if life is ubiquitous and there are lots and lots of planets in habitable zones there might be billions of civilizations," he adds. "In that case, you could have the whole spectrum of evolution." It's all a matter of perspective. Notes Livio, "They might be so advanced they know about us but don't care because we are like worms to them."</p> <p>Even the Fermi Paradox doesn't preclude life in some form. Maybe we just can't see well enough yet. "The universe wants to make life if it can find a nurturing place," DiRuggiero says. "It's just that the universe goes so far, it is hard for us to detect life." The first organisms found off Earth would likely be microbial, scientists predict. If that happens, could we cel­ebrate the discovery of extraterrestrial life? "It comes back to, 'What is life?' And it can be very philosophical," DiRuggiero says. "Yet every living cell is life."</p> <p>"If we find microbial life, if it's anything that everyone would agree on is life, then yes, that would answer the question,'" says Livio. "[But] if, for example, we were to find life some­where in the solar system, let's say on Mars, there would always be some nagging suspicion that this maybe represents pollution from Earth." That is, biological material might have reached Mars by way of what is called ballistic panspermia—rocks expelled from Earth with such force they eventu­ally fall to the surface of Mars. Various comets or asteroids also might have seeded multiple worlds with water and organic compounds, offering com­mon origins. (NASA's currently busy Mars rovers, <em>Curiosity</em> and <em>Opportunity</em>, have not found any­thing alive on the dry, dusty planet—though oxy­gen and carbon (and evidence of past water) have been detected, offering the possibility the Red Planet may have supported life at one time.)</p> <blockquote> <p>"Some microorganisms couldn't care less about oxy­gen," says DiRuggiero. "They can use sulfur. They can use iron. They can do amazing things."</p> </blockquote> <p>The continued search there and elsewhere will likely progress in fits and starts. Livio, a sci­entist by vocation and philosopher by nature, is the author of <em>Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein—Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe</em> (Simon & Schuster, 2013). At the edge of a possible threshold moment for science and humanity—scientists currently predict there are billions of planets in our galaxy alone—Livio finds inspiration in Europe's Age of Enlighten­ment. "The idea of life being only here is actually the last bastion of us being special. I am very much in favor of the Copernican principle that says that we are nothing special," he says. "One of my protagonists in <em>Brilliant Blunders</em> is Darwin because in the theory of evolution, humans are nothing special. They just evolved like every­thing else. That's how things are. We are a medi­ocre planet around a very mediocre star in a very mediocre galaxy."</p> <p>In the end, a second Earth that proves habit­able might at least make us feel less lonely, and life's signature beyond our planet would mean we are not flying solo—even if our neighbor is a hardy Bacillus. "We are not going to find intelli­gent life in our solar system, except on Earth," DiRuggiero says. "But I'm sure there is intelli­gent life somewhere. The universe is so big." That, perhaps, is the crux of astrobiology. "I guess it allows me to dream," DiRuggiero adds. "Even if I am 80 years old, and I am not in science and people find bacteria in an ocean on Europa, I would be so excited. But I would like to be part of it. This is within reach."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Hopkins researcher discovers everything we know about Pavlov is wrong <p>Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, that giant of Soviet science, was supposed to be a priest. His father was. His father's father was an unordained clergyman in the rural town of Riazan in Central Russia, where Pavlov men had served the Eastern Orthodox Church going back to Peter the Great. But when Ivan, born in 1849 as the first of nine children, entered theological school in 1860, Russia and especially its younger generation were swept up in a reform-minded, modernizing bloom. In 1861, Tsar Alex­ander II emancipated Russia's serfs, an estimated 23 million people, and progressive intellectuals grappled with new developments in politics, phi­losophy, and science. After reading Russian translations of physiologist Claude Bernard's lec­tures and George Henry Lewes' <em>Physiology of Common Life</em> (1859), as well as Russian physiolo­gist Ivan Sechenov's <em>Reflexes of the Brain</em> (1863), Pavlov realized the seminary wasn't for him. For the rest of his long and rich life, he turned to sci­ence to understand the unseen processes of the body as a way of unlocking the secrets of the mind. Science would be his religion.</p> <p>At least, that is the story told in Daniel Todes' sweeping <em>Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science</em>, just published by Oxford University Press. Todes, a professor in the School of Medicine's Depart­ment of the History of Medicine, spent more than 20 years sifting through thousands of pages in 27 different archives as he sought to understand the man he encountered in the scientific documenta­tion. What he found produced a life that diverges strikingly from both the Soviet and the Western accounting of the man and the science.</p> <p>Pavlov was an icon in the Soviet Union. As such, he could only be written about in ways that conformed to the Soviet view of him as a brilliant experimentalist who observed facts and followed the logic of science-produced theories from those facts.</p> <p>This version of Pavlov was the only one Todes knew before he first read some of the scientist's papers in the archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences during a 1990–91 research fellowship in St. Petersburg. Pavlov had a long career. He began working in the 1880s in the labs of German anatomist Carl Ludwig in Leipzig and physiolo­gist Rudolf Heidenhain in Breslau before land­ing a position in the Division of Physiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine in St. Peters­burg. He led labs there for 45 years until his death at 86 in 1936. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1904 for his work with digestive physiology and spent the last three decades of his life using his famous conditional reflex experimental pro­tocols to investigate the psyche of dogs as a way to understand the subjective human experience.</p> <p>Such a career produced a mammoth amount of archival material. "I was not particularly attracted to what I at first knew of Pavlov as a man, this flinty objectivist," Todes says, adding that when he first understood the immensity of Pavlov's archival record, it kept him up at night. "The material, because he was a hero, had been collected over time and was just staggering. I think it's been decades since someone really sat down with all of Pavlov's works and just read them closely. If you do, you see immediately that [his science] isn't just a matter of compiling facts or good experimental technique. There's all that human stuff in there."</p> <p>Todes was the right man in the right place to explore "all that human stuff." As a historian of science, he is deeply fascinated by metaphor. "If you or I are trying to think about something new, there's no way we can think about it except by drawing on things we think we know already," he says. "We do that in the form of metaphors, which we draw from all elements of our experi­ence. These metaphors structure scientific thought." He continues, "That, to me, is the greatest drama in the history of science. I'm basically a realist. I believe that there's an objec­tive reality independent of our consciousness. I don't think science is just a matter of opinion. But it's a deeply human endeavor, and reality being infinite, there's an infinite number of ways into it. Metaphors define paths into this reality— the questions that are asked and aren't asked."</p> <p>Ever since his first visit in 1976–77 on an exchange program organized by the Interna­tional Research and Exchanges Board, Todes has been smitten by Russia, its people, its history, and its culture. Yes, he was from one of the <em>kapitalisticheskie strany</em>—the capitalist countries— but Russia felt like a second home. So he was uniquely positioned to meld his interest in meta­phor with an understanding of and sensitivity to Russian culture. In his first book, <em>Darwin Without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evo­lutionary Thought</em> (Oxford University Press, 1989), Todes explored how Russian evolutionists objected to the metaphors used by Darwin. Those metaphors had been informed by Thomas Robert Malthus' political economy and its indus­trial struggle for existence, which were anathema to the more communal-minded Russians.</p> <blockquote> <p>"It's the great Russian epic. It starts before the serfs are emancipated and it ends in Stalin's Russia. It's got art, it's got Dostoevsky, it's got the church. What else do you want?" -Daniel Todes</p> </blockquote> <p>When Todes started researching Pavlov in the early 1990s, it was around the time that former President Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost reform polices opened the Soviet Union to market economics and intellectual transpar­ency. In addition to Pavlov's scientific archives, Todes gained access to his correspondence. He found reports from the Communists who worked in Pavlov's labs and reported to their Party cells. He went to Russia so often he earned the trust of Russian archivists who shared their Pavlov notes and research with him. He met with Pavlov's granddaughters and great-granddaughters. "The material was so overwhelming, I realized I'm never going to have a better topic than this," Todes says. "So I wanted to do it right and I didn't want to hurry it. I thought this was a story that people might read, not just historians like me. It's the great Russian epic. It starts before the serfs are emancipated and it ends in Stalin's Russia. It's got art, it's got Dostoevsky, it's got the church. What else do you want?"</p> <p>Todes took all the information he had gath­ered during roughly 20 years of research and turned it into a compelling 880-page biography that pays Pavlov one of the finer compliments a historian can: He turns an icon into a man. He has written that man's story as a sweeping drama where the scientist and the man are indivisible. "My dad used to tell me, 'Dan, work as hard as you can but if you ever have to choose between luck and skill, take luck,'" Todes jokes. "I was just really lucky."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Tell me—did you like Pavlov?" This is the first thing the spry, gray-haired Todes asks me before our first con­versation. His office is a compact room on the third floor of the Johns Hopkins Welch Medical Library. Uncluttered bookshelves line one wall, a small table with a computer atop it sits in a corner, and a wood chair faces an impressively tidy desk. Before he fields a single question, he wants to know my impression of Pavlov as rendered in his book.</p> <p>I didn't <em>dis</em>like Pavlov. He seems like a bit of a hardass, at times overbearing, definitely confi­dent and bordering on the overly so—but all of this was directed at taking his work seriously. He seemed passionate about science and assured in his own ideas, but only if the experimental data supported them. He was willing to be proven incorrect or devise new experiments and variables when the data wasn't coming out as predicted. That's what a scientist is supposed to do, isn't it?</p> <p>"My orientation toward history was always biographical," Todes says, pointing out that exploring history through one person's story succinctly provides a main character in a drama. "And for this question I'm most interested in— why scientists believe what they believe—if you take an individual, you can look into all their contexts: the personality, beliefs, teachers."</p> <p>In Pavlov's case, those contexts are elaborate. His career started before the Bolshevik Revolu­tion and ended in the time of Josef Stalin, and how he has been regarded has changed. Todes notes that before perestroika, Pavlov was the great Soviet scientist whose objectivity led him to embrace Communism. In the 1990s, Pavlov became a dissident who fought the Communists tooth and nail. Neither is entirely accurate.</p> <p>In America, Pavlov's science is improperly understood. His work with conditional reflex is misunderstood as having trained dogs to drool at the sound of a bell. Though Pavlov did document the amount of saliva dogs produced when they associated a stimulus with feeding, Todes notes that over three decades of research and tens of thousands of experiments, Pavlov and his co-workers used a bell in "rare, unimportant circum­stances." For Pavlov, a bell wasn't a suitable exper­imental protocol because it couldn't be precisely controlled. He primarily used a metronome, har­monium, buzzer, and electric shock device.</p> <p>He also wasn't interested in "training" a dog to do anything. Conditional reflex, for Pavlov, became an experimental method to investigate his real objective: the subjective experience of the dog as a model for understanding the same in humans. And casting Pavlov as a scientist interested in any kind of subjective life is radi­cally at odds with how his conditional reflex experiments have been understood and por­trayed by the American behaviorist school of psychology, which believed the "behavior of animals can be investigated without appeal to consciousness," as John Watson wrote in his 1913 paper "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It." Watson viewed Pavlov's conditional reflex experiments as a matter of external control— that an animal could be "conditioned" to respond in a specific manner whenever con­fronted with a specific external stimulus. This reading appears in a 1929 article in <em>Time</em> maga­zine about a physiological conference Pavlov attended in Cambridge, Massachusetts: "Behav­iorists have taken up his theories and made them fairly common knowledge. His picture of mental activity is mechanistic." The misunderstanding is perpetuated by scientists who took what they wanted from Pavlov's work and modeled research on that. Psychologist Howard Scott Liddell heard a lecture by a former Pavlov assistant at Cornell University in 1923 and designed his own behavior experiments based on it. In 1928, <em>The New York Times</em> covered a talk Liddell gave at the Society of Clinical Psychiatry at the Academy of Medicine where he said, "The result of this mechanical view of behavior is that all behavior can be ana­lyzed into reflexes, a reflex being the response of the animal to a change of environment which involves the nervous system." He adds, "Even the most complicated behavior can be shown to occur invariably according to laws which can be formulated definitely."</p> <p>Today, "Pavlovian" still conveys the notion of an involuntary response, and these inaccurate assumptions initially permeated Todes' under­standing of Pavlov. "Looking back, it took me an amazingly long time to change the view of Pavlov that I brought with me to my research," Todes says. "I began with this general notion of Pavlov as a hardheaded objectivist, the just-the-facts guy, trying to reduce the psyche and explain it totally in terms of physiological phenomena."</p> <p>Pavlov himself changed Todes' mind. While reading Pavlov's public speeches for both lay and scientific audiences and his personal correspon­dence, Todes found Pavlov using anthropomor­phic language when talking about the dogs in his experiments. How could a scientist with such a mechanistic view of the human mind believe <em>dogs</em> were displaying emotional states indepen­dent of the experimental protocol?</p> <p>The more Todes researched, the more he started to notice expressions and ideas that con­flicted with Pavlov as the just-the-facts objectiv­ist. Examining lab notebooks, he'd come across descriptions of the dogs' personalities—greedy, nervous, lazy, a hero, a coward. These descrip­tions were even in his digestive research, which produced a detailed physiology of the digestive system in dogs and the regulatory role of the ner­vous system. Todes came across a speech Pavlov made wherein he talked about visiting the St. Petersburg zoo and feeling as if he'd come across all the characters in Nikolai Gogol's <em>Dead Souls</em>. Pavlov routinely used such metaphoric language when talking about the dogs in his labs, meta­phors that appeared throughout his co-workers and assistants' research, writing, and lab notes.</p> <p>Todes says that around the year 2000, he real­ized that the "greedy," "lazy," etc., personality traits that appeared as observations in the diges­tive research notes became the investigative tar­get of his conditional reflex experiments. Pavlov didn't have a mechanistic view of the mind. Pav­lov was trying to use conditional reflex as an experimental protocol to understand conscious­ness. He pursued this for 33 years, stopping only with his death in 1936 at 86. "That's when I real­ized what the behaviorists had done in America," Todes says. "They were saying, 'We can't deal with [the psyche] in a scientific psychology. We just deal with behaviors as external movements.' They were interpreting Pavlov through their lens and taking the parts of Pavlov that fit."</p> <p>Pavlov disagreed categorically with this behav­iorist assumption. "Pavlov looked at behaviorism and said it reflected the pragmatic American point of view—that, generalizing unfairly, Ameri­cans as a pragmatic people, they're interested in what people do, not in what they're thinking," Todes says. "But he was a Russian through and through. He suffered over Dostoevsky and he was interested in the torments of our consciousness and what we could do about them. And you can't deal with that by defining it as unscientific. For him, the subjective experience was what science should be about."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Like Pavlov zeroing in on conditional reflex as a way to understand the psyche, Todes homed in on what the scientist revealed of himself in his writings. He found what he was look­ing for in Pavlov's private correspondence with his future wife, Serafima Vasil'evna Karchevskaia. In 1880, Karchevskaia helped organize a benefit for needy students at the women's gymnasium she attended in St. Petersburg. Fyodor Dostoevsky and Ivan Turgenev attended. Todes notes that Karchevskaia, six years younger than Pavlov, had missed the intellectual surge of 1860s reform-era Russia and retained her Orthodox faith. Dosto­evsky, who in novels such as <em>The Adolescent</em> (1875) and <em>The Brothers Karamazov</em> (1880) explored the spiritual conflicts between the "old" Russia and the modernizing ideas emerging in the 1860s, pro­vided a path for holding on to traditional faith and Russian values in the face of ostensible pro­gressivism. He made a huge impression on her— she referred to him as "the Prophet" in her unpublished memoir. And in a series of letters to Karchevskaia, Pavlov confesses to her that what religion does for her, science's search for truth does for him. It "is for me a kind of God, before whom I reveal everything, before whom I discard wretched worldly vanity," he wrote. "I always think to base my virtue, my pride, upon the attempt, the wish for truth, even if I cannot attain it."</p> <p>Todes quite exhaustively shows how Pavlov pursued that unattainable goal. It's why Todes spent so much time parsing his reports and assistants' papers, getting to know the dogs as well as Pavlov's co-workers, closely reading his speeches and letters. The everyday micro-obser­vations of the man inform this macroscopic bio­graphical portrait. "You can read so much of this man and his culture in his science," Todes says of Pavlov. "It's like everything we produce. The sugar we eat is the result of a long and not always pretty social historical process that links us with people and children and other lands. Science is the same. It's not just the frozen facts at the end. It's a fascinating product of human activity that bears the marks of its creators."</p> <p>Todes charts that human drama at the core of Pavlov's life and science in his book, but though it's written for a general audience, he realizes not everybody is going to pick up an 880-page volume. That's why he's teamed up with John Mann, a professor in the Johns Hopkins Film and Media Studies Program, and Sergei Krasikov, a New York–based Russian producer, to work on a documentary film. "About a year ago, we started this wonderful process where we decided to do a film based on Pavlov's quest, this search for order in a tumultuous, uncertain world," Todes says. "We want to use re-creations and archival films from Pavlov's work to focus on the man and his quest in a different way. Pavlov's great-granddaughter is thoroughly behind it. We have a narrative, we have a treatment, we have a team ready to go. All we need is the money for a trailer so we can apply for production funds."</p> <p>In talking about what they have in mind, he mentions <em>Particle Fever</em>, the 2013 documentary about experiments at the Large Hadron Collider that led to confirmation of the Higgs boson. "What I loved about that film was that the real hero was the scientists' passion and the prob­lems of scientific inquiry," Todes says. "That's what we want. We have in mind something that both captures the sweep of his life and takes that problem of the quest into the science."</p> <p><em>Particle</em> profoundly benefited from being pro­duced and shepherded for roughly seven years by Johns Hopkins professor of physics and astronomy David Kaplan, who brought his knowledge of the field and its main figures to the project, presenting an intimate understanding of the scientists' minds. Todes had to find his way inside Pavlov's mind the old-fashioned way: primary research, and the effort comes through in his book and discussion about the man he once regarded as a flinty objectivist.</p> <p>"You've got to get into the nitty-gritty—the protocols, the dogs, the data, how he crunched his data—and that's what I did," Todes says. "In that nitty-gritty you can see Pavlov's personality, the overall quest as he's working on it and con­fronting problems. You can empathize with him."</p> <p>Toward the end of the book, Todes includes a translation of a few comments Pavlov made to his lab staff on December 27, 1926, which were jotted down in shorthand by one of his co-work­ers. The occasion was the impending publication of his conditional reflex monograph. At this point he had been working on it for 25 years:</p> <blockquote> <p>Even the great icon who spent his entire life searching for answers worries that what he's chasing is going to remain forever just out of reach.</p> </blockquote> <p><em>I am unfortunately burdened by nature with two qualities. Perhaps they are objectively good, but one of them is very burdensome for me. On the one hand, I am enthusiastic and surrender myself to my work with great passion; but together with this I am always weighed down by doubts. The smallest obstacle disturbs my balance and I am tortured until I find an explanation, until new facts bring me again into balance.</em><br /> <em>I must thank you for all your work, for the mass of collected facts—for having superbly subdued this beast of doubt. And now, when the book is appearing in which I give the conclusions of our 25 years of work—now, I hope, this beast will retreat from me. And my greatest gratitude for liberating me from torment is to you.</em></p> <p>Here's a man at 77, a Nobel Prize–winning giant in his field, confiding to his employees that even he questioned himself during their work together. It's a remarkably candid moment and a reminder of the touching vulnerability that makes man the doubting beast: Even the great icon who spent his entire life searching for answers worries that what he's chasing is going to remain forever just out of reach.</p> <p>"This is just such a human feeling," Todes says. "I enjoyed following that tension, this quest, this great scientist in the muck. And I learned it's very complicated but that you can see the contin­ual interpenetration of experimental data and val­ues and personality on all these levels. Even at the end of his life, he's changing his mind, recasting it, thinking that maybe now if he differentiates between conditional reflexes and associations it'll all click. To me, it's just such a touching drama."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Remembering a giant: Earl Wasserman <p>In the summers of 1952 and 1953, after completing my sophomore and junior years at another college, I enrolled at Johns Hopkins University in two courses taught by Earl R. Was­serman. The first examined the poetry of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, and Byron. The sec­ond dealt with five great 20th-century English novels: <em>A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Mrs. Dalloway, Point Counter Point, Sons and Lovers, and A Passage to India</em>. From 1948 to 1973, when he died of an aortic aneurism at age 59, Wasser­man was a professor of English at Homewood and one of the giants of the Johns Hopkins fac­ulty. Even today, his mention to Johns Hopkins graduates of that era or to scholars throughout the world evokes superlatives.</p> <p>He introduced me to the rewards of scholar­ship, the art of teaching, and the joy of learning. I was inspired to write this testimonial not only as a former student celebrating a great teacher on the occasion of his recent centennial—he was born in 1913—but as a fond remembrance of an era when the humanities were a major focus of the Johns Hopkins undergraduate program, though the process also evoked memories of an era when anti-Semitism was rampant in Ameri­can universities. It is also a belated atonement, as will become apparent. Above all, this is a paean to a man whose accomplishments over­rode personal tragedies.</p> <p>Wasserman spent almost all of his early years in Baltimore. He graduated from Baltimore City College in 1929, where the yearbook proclaimed his ambition was "to study pedagogy." The year­book also described him as an "infant prodigy" who "will be only fifteen years old when he grad­uates." Wasserman's family was quite poor, and upon graduating from high school, he became a substitute teacher in the Baltimore public schools. He was accepted by Harvard but had no money to attend. Somehow he entered Johns Hopkins as a freshman in 1931 under what was called the "New Plan," which meant that if he was really outstanding, he could take two years of undergraduate courses and then move on to the graduate program.</p> <p>His first choice when he entered Johns Hop­kins was to study mathematics. But he was advised that Jewish students were not welcome in the Math Department, so he migrated to English. After two years, he was accepted into the graduate program and received his doctorate four years later in 1937. The referees who read his dissertation, titled "The Elizabethan Revival: Its Background and Beginning," stated that "Mr. Wasserman's dissertation is an acute piece of investigation and a substantial contribution to knowledge." He was promptly engaged by the English Department as a substitute instructor, but there were no openings for him to teach permanently at Hopkins, so the chairman of the department, Hazelton Spencer, recommended him to several other universities. Spencer's letters of recommendation contain comments such as these:</p> <p><em>Of our last year's crop of doctors, Wasser­man turned in the best dissertation and passed the best examinations. ... We all feel that Wasserman did a really significant job, and what is perhaps even more important, that a number of interesting avenues for fur­ther work open out from what he has already done. ... He is a young man of high intelli­gence, his health is excellent, he is pleasant to work with. ... It is perhaps not impertinent to mention Wasserman's general stability among his attractive qualities. He is not the sort of Jew who is likely to run headlong into issues raised by the lunatic fringe.</em></p> <p>And these:</p> <p><em>Having arrived at this point in my descrip­tion of Wasserman's qualifications, I am wondering whether they will be obliterated in the mind of your department by the fact that he is a Jew. If you could see and talk with him I have little doubt that this consideration would not weigh heavily with you. He is a fine, alert, clean-cut lad, not swarthy—in fact, almost blonde and neither the brassy nor the over-obsequious kind. He is a valued member of the Tudor and Stuart Club, and I can assure you that unless Jews as such are taboo in your depart­ment, it is inconceivable to us that the racial question should prove troublesome in Was­serman's case. … I hope you will give him very serious consideration.</em></p> <p>The chairman of the English Department at the University of Illinois responded that the department's executive committee was very interested in Wasserman: "However, there is the fact that he is a Jew, and our feeling, and the feel­ing of our Dean is that it is unwise to engage a Jew without having seen and talked with him." When Wasserman visited Urbana, Spencer's rec­ommendations proved accurate and persuasive. Wasserman began teaching at Illinois in Septem­ber 1938. During his tenure there, he produced a dozen articles. Still in his 20s, he gave a paper at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association which, according to later comments by Raymond Havens, a great Wordsworth scholar and longtime professor at Johns Hopkins, "seemed to me about the best thing I heard at that entire meeting of the Association."</p> <p>During World War II, Wasserman was a radio officer on a Navy transport ship in the Pacific. After his honorable discharge in 1946, he told the Hopkins English Department that he would very much like to return. Kemp Malone, a professor in the department, was eager to bring him back, and this precipitated an extraordinary memo­randum written by President Isaiah Bowman to P. Stewart Macaulay, the university provost, on December 23, 1947:</p> <p><em>Malone tells me that Wasserman has been on all their lists for the eighteenth century and romantic period and has been one of the leading candidates for the post in the search that he says has been made during the past two years. He says that the search was a nation-wide search and that it was thorough.</em></p> <p>Bowman concluded with this paragraph:</p> <p><em>All of this to prepare your mind for a com­mittee meeting that we should hold soon if we are to fill the place that Wasserman is meant to occupy. Malone says that the department has not put his name forward any earlier because Wasserman is a Jew. At the time that he graduated and got his PhD there was turmoil hereabout and a few com­munist brethren were active. Can you find out from the Registrar, or otherwise, if Was­serman was involved in any of these activi­ties? Malone swears that he is anything but a Communist. I am not satisfied with this report and would like more detail. Malone says that Wasserman proved to be one of the finest and most brilliant scholars they ever had in the department.</em></p> <p>One cannot appreciate the depth of Bowman's anti-Semitism without a brief detour into much that has been learned about him since he stepped down from his 13-year presidency at Johns Hopkins in 1948. Bowman was a national figure, considered by many to be the most prom­inent and respected American geographer of his time. But his anti-Semitism was well-known. The esteemed Johns Hopkins professor Owen Latti­more remembered Bowman as "profoundly anti- Semitic." Neil Smith, in his book on Bowman titled <em>American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization</em> (University of California Press, 2004), notes that in 1939 Bow­man fired one of the most promising young his­torians on the Johns Hopkins faculty, Eric Gold­man, on the grounds that "there are already too many Jews at Hopkins." Goldman went on to become a professor at Princeton and an out­standing historian of American culture. While Bowman was searching for candidates to teach in the geography department at Johns Hopkins, he expressed an interest in Henry J. Bruman, but only after satisfying himself "that Bruman is not a Jew." Bowman believed that "Jews don't come to Hopkins to make the world better or anything like that. They come for two things: to make money and to marry a non- Jewish woman." Wor­ried that Johns Hopkins was "becoming a practi­cally Jewish organization," in 1942 he instituted a quota on the admission of Jewish students. (All quotations from <em>American Empire</em>.)</p> <p>Despite Bowman's prejudice, Wasserman joined the English Department at Johns Hopkins in 1948 and remained until his untimely death. As soon as he returned, his vertical trajectory as teacher and scholar never wavered. His first book, <em>Elizabethan Poetry in the 18th Century</em>, a substantial revision and enhancement of his PhD thesis at Johns Hopkins, had been pub­lished in 1947. Around the time of his arrival at Homewood, he began his seminal work on John Keats, culminating in the publication in 1953 of <em>The Finer Tone</em>. A demonstration of Wasserman's reputation is contained in a 1952 letter from W. J. Bate, one of the longtime Harvard luminaries, who wrote to Wasserman that he would "be happy to have the chance of reading your book on Keats. I know beforehand that it will have indisputable merit. I can assure you that it will be both a pleasure and a privilege."</p> <p>Before <em>The Finer Tone</em> was published, there was a calamitous episode. Wasserman had placed the manuscript and his wife's fur coat on the back seat of his locked car, parked near Druid Hill Lake. When he returned, the car had been stolen. Wasserman was more aghast about the loss of his manuscript than the loss of the car. After notifying the police, he assumed the thief, after opening the trunk, saw a manuscript about a person named John Keats and must have thrown it into a garbage can. With his colleague Jack Cope, Wasserman emptied every garbage can within a mile of where the car had been parked. The manuscript was never found. Was­serman later said that when he rewrote the entire book from memory, the finished product was of a higher quality than the original.</p> <p>The atmosphere at Johns Hopkins for the humanities was extraordinary in the 1950s and 1960s. It is not hyperbole to assert that the Hopkins English Department was in its most glorious years in that era. It was at the center of intellectual intensity for the humanities. The faculty mainly consisted of Wasserman, Don Cameron Allen, J. Hillis Miller, Ronald Paulson, Jack Cope, and Avrom Fleishman. Fleishman, who was Wasserman's student, colleague, and family friend, stated:</p> <p><em>As a colleague, Earl was the department's intellectual leader, not by virtue of his ideas or knowledge but by his unassailable com­mitment to ideas and knowledge. The departmental roundtable at Faculty Club luncheons was itself a seminar, where col­leagues discussed not only the gossip and power-mongering of the day but also their progress in thinking through what they were working on and their problems in researching the evidence for their literary interpretations. This single-minded dedica­tion was misinterpreted by members of other departments as snobbishness or restrictive specialization. It was, rather, a resistance to diluting the intellectual level of departmental discourse with further gossip and power-mongering.</em></p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>As a scholar, Wasserman was intensely and incredibly pene­trating on every subject. He also was generous with his time with everyone, both students and col­leagues, who often were referred to as "Wasser­maniacs." When he believed that anyone was not living up to appropriate standards or was asking a question without the substantive knowledge to make the question relevant, Wasserman could be biting. He first presented his famous essay on Bernard Malamud's <em>The Natural</em> as a lecture at Cornell. During the question-and-answer period after the talk, someone asked Wasserman a ques­tion, to which he responded, "Have you read the book?" The questioner said, "No," at which point Wasserman walked off the stage. He was not one to suffer fools. Shortly before he died, he read a review of his book on Shelley and responded to the reviewer:</p> <p><em>I have never before replied to a review and have never had adequate occasion to do so. But your review of my Shelley in the current MLQ is the most stupid review I've ever read and reveals conceptions of poetry that I have difficulty in believing anyone seriously maintains, even you. The only explanation for your review that I can conjure up is that it was written with jaundice instead of a sound mind. I thought you would appreciate my telling you so.</em></p> <p>Wasserman was tough but fair. He was intim­idating to many people. Legendary Johns Hop­kins humanities professor Richard Macksey could not say enough about Wasserman's "pas­sion and fervor" while teaching. "If you really wanted your battery charged, you would go in and listen to Earl for a while." Jerry Schnydman, former director of admissions and secretary of the board of trustees at Hopkins, took Wasser­man's course on Keats and Shelley in the mid- 1960s because Wasserman was "the most revered teacher at Hopkins." Schnydman did not receive a great mark for the course, but because Wasser­man happened to be his adviser, he was con­strained to meet with him to approve his sched­ule for the next term. Schnydman approached the meeting with great trepidation because of his low mark. Wasserman immediately put him at ease by commenting that Schnydman was an A student in lacrosse (being an All-American) and that when one averaged the marks in lacrosse and Keats-Shelley, he would do well in life. He has never forgotten Wasserman's generosity.</p> <p>Two years after Wasserman joined the Johns Hopkins faculty, he and his wife, Eleanor, whom he had married in 1937, suffered a terrible personal loss—the death of their only child. Linda Wasserman was born in Illinois in 1942. In August 1950, Linda was diagnosed with a ret­rovesical neurogenic sarcoma, a rare malig­nancy. During surgery, it was discovered that the tumor was inoperable. She then received mas­sive radiation. Sections from the tumor were analyzed at several hospitals, but by early Octo­ber all of the consults were discouraging. Linda died six weeks later.</p> <p>Earl Wasserman died on March 3, 1973, fol­lowing a lecture he had given at the University of Pennsylvania. At his funeral a few days later, Rabbi Israel Goldman eulogized:</p> <p><em>In many years in the rabbinate, I have never been so deeply moved as I was last night when a group of Professor Wasserman's stu­dents arranged to come to see me well towards midnight. They wanted so much to talk to me about their great teacher. ... These young gentlemen were not only his students, they were his disciples.</em></p> <p>I was mesmerized to be in the presence of a man whose love of teaching, whose love of schol­arship, and whose passion and fervor were evi­dent after the first 15 minutes in his presence. My writing of this article is a belated atonement to a stupid omission of mine when I was 17 years old. Shortly after the conclusion of my first summer course with him, I received this letter:</p> <p><em>12 August 1952</em><br /> <em>Dear Mr. Stiller,</em><br /> <em>I write to inform you that you have received an A in my course this summer, and to tell you that it was a pleasure to read your exam­ination papers. Since I find that you are not a regular student at Hopkins and since I never had an opportunity to chat with you, I would find it pleasant to have a few words with you before you leave town. Please don't suspect anything important in this sugges­tion, and please don't go out of your way to make a visit to the campus. I have nothing specific in mind, except to know you some­what better than I am able to through your two examination papers. If you are in the vicinity of Hopkins at any time, do drop in; I am usually here most of the day, Monday through Saturday.</em><br /> <em>Sincerely yours,</em><br /> <em>Earl R. Wasserman</em></p> <p>To say that I was not flattered would, of course, be a monumental lie. But, even though I had already completed two years of college, I was too shy, too introverted, and too intimidated by Wasserman's invitation. He was so smart and, in a sense, overwhelming in his brilliance, that I never raised my hand in class. I could not imag­ine what I could have said to him if I were to "drop in," and I ignored his invitation. I was not too intimidated, however, to enroll in his class for next summer. Then, a few months later, I wrote to him (too scared to telephone) and asked if he would write a letter of recommendation for me to the Yale Law School. This was his response:</p> <p><em>13 November 1953</em><br /> <em>Dear Stiller,</em><br /> <em>Please forgive me for not having written ear­lier; I have been swamped with work. The letter has gone off to the Registrar of the Yale Law School, and you can rest assured that I wrote as warm a letter of rec­ommendation as you could have hoped for. If it is the law that you want, I hope sincerely that you are admitted. I have something of a conviction that you'll succeed at what­ever you try in earnest. I'm not one bit daunted that you've not decided on English; if there's anything we don't need in English it is the enthusiast who has nothing more than enthusiasm. And so I'm very much inclined to discourage people from entering graduate work in English; they should be admitted only if they persist despite every discouragement and despite every deflation of their ardor.</em><br /> <em>Perhaps you'll be especially significant as the first truly literary legalist of distinction. After all, [Oliver Wendell] Holmes only dab­bled at literature.</em> <em>Best wishes,</em><br /> <em>Sincerely,</em><br /> <em>Earl Wasserman</em></p> <p>I have retained these letters. They (as well as my notebooks for the two courses, the only col­lege or law school notebooks I have retained) are my precious jewels. Dick Macksey's memorial note about Wasserman attested:</p> <p><em>The institution he served with such fierce dedication, the students he taught with the same dynamism, and the colleagues to whom he gave so freely have long since made a place for Earl Wasserman in their personal histo­ries; each can still learn much from his les­son. In his large recompense he is the Genius of our shore and an inspiration to all who venture on the perils of scholarly matters.</em></p> <p>Earl Wasserman taught me with dynamism and fierce dedication. There is a very large place for him in my personal history. His close reading of texts has followed me for the last 60 years. In Dick Macksey's words, I still learn much from his lesson. He has been the Genius of my shore and the inspiration each time I venture into the per­ils of scholarly matters.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Book review: We Are Not Ourselves <p>The reasons Eileen Tumulty, the daughter of a pair of Irish immigrants living in Queens in the 1950s, is so driven to improve her lot in life are obvious from the first pages of the unsentimental debut novel <a href=""><em>We Are Not Ourselves</em> (Simon & Schuster, 2014)</a>, by Matthew Thomas, A&S '01 (MA). The schoolgirl Eileen watches her father hold court in the bar only to clam up at home, the silence between him and her mother preferable to the chaos that erupts when he is whiskey drunk. When her mother joins him in alcoholism, Eileen observes that she "drank harder than her father ever had, as though she were trying to make up for lost time."</p> <p><em>Ourselves</em> follows the tenacious Eileen from her hardscrabble youth through her nursing education and into her marriage to Ed Leary, another striving working-class Irish-American, and on through the birth of their son Connell and Ed's harrowing dimming from early-onset Alzheimer's. It's a sweepingly intimate novel, mapping the everyday moments of life's highs and lows across a borough, city, and country rapidly changing over the course of the 60 years the novel captures. That closely observed human story has earned the book deserved attention—longlisted for The Guardian's First Book award; effusive reviews in <em>The New York Times</em>, <em>Washington Post</em>, <em>Entertainment Weekly</em>; its film rights optioned by producer Scott Rudin (<em>Moneyball</em>, <em>The Social Network</em>)—
but the novel is also an intoxicating read. Phrases often achieve a bonsai-tree emotive elegance: as a younger woman Eileen daydreamed of marrying an upstanding man with a non-Irish name that conveyed comfort, "one of those decorous placeholders that suggested an unbroken line of WASP restraint."</p> <p>This class awareness coursing through the veins of Eileen's life is what makes <em>Ourselves</em> so moving. It quietly captures that mix of dreams, work, and love ordinary people invest in with hopes of giving their children a better tomorrow. Toward the end Eileen attends a Mets game alone, getting so wrapped up in her memories of what the game meant to Ed that the outcome doesn't mean anything but everything. The same could be said of Eileen. Hers is but one of millions of late-20th-century, first-generation American stories, but in Thomas' empathetic telling of it nothing matters more.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Book review: A World More Concrete <p>This impressive study not only explores how real estate development shaped city politics and African-American populations around metropolitan Miami in the 20th century, it delivers a powerful look at how property functions as political power and de facto urban policy to segregate and control populations. By documenting how black and white landlords, politicians, and entrepreneurs found ways to reproduce Jim Crow segregation via property ownership, Connolly, a Johns Hopkins assistant professor of history, shows how economic interests become cudgels wielded to separate the worthy
 from the worthless, and continue to carve up American cities and exurbs today.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Book review: The Baltimore Atrocities <p>Comics artist and writer John Dermot Woods, A&S '02 (MA), plunges into life's cruelties with this arresting illustrated novel. <a href=""><em>The Baltimore Atrocities</em> (Coffee House Press, 2014)</a> follows two young men's stay in Baltimore as they search for clues to finding their siblings, who went missing there as kids. Each chapter in this quasi-detective story includes a series of newspaperlike shorts— marriages disintegrating, suicides committed, businesses abandoned, relatives forgotten. They are the titular atrocities. Woods never resolves the protagonists' mystery; instead, he amasses stories to paint a city's portrait as a group of anonymous, despondent stars, alone in their individual oblivions but together still forming a constellation that can burn bright. Disarmingly moving.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 The big picture <p>It's noisy and dusty up on the second floor of 10 E. North Avenue. The century-old building is about a mile south of the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, and its sleek (if somewhat battered) facade dates to the 1939 opening of the erstwhile Centre Theatre here. The three-story structure between Charles and St. Paul streets had begun life as a garage for Packards and Studebakers and in the late 1950s was ignobly carved up into banking offices. Then came vacancy and decay.</p> <p>On this fall afternoon, power tools roar away as construction workers repurpose it for its latest role: a film and audio facility to be co-managed by Johns Hopkins and the Maryland Institute College of Art. There's really not much to see within the bare brick walls at present, but come next fall, this is where Johns Hopkins and MICA students will gather to think about the artistic pairing of sights and sounds. Johns Hopkins and MICA are sharing the $10 million cost for an initial 10-year lease of the roughly 25,000-square-foot second floor and a build-out to include recording studio, soundstage, screening rooms, editing suites, and classrooms. The collaboration—between the Krieger School, Peabody, and MICA—is to be known as the Johns Hopkins–MICA Film Center.</p> <p>From windows in the building's southwest corner (glassless at this point) you can see the Parkway Theatre a block away. This long-neglected 1915 movie palace is slated for a $17 million renovation into a three-screen, 600-seat film center by the Maryland Film Festival. Johns Hopkins recently received a $5 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to be used for the theater, which will also have facilities for Hopkins and MICA film students, and the schools will be able to do some programming within. The Centre and Parkway theaters are in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, a roughly 20-block chunk of midtown where state tax breaks and other incentives have already brought changes to an area long scarred by vacancy. Since the area's arts designation in 2002, boards have come off windows and lights turned back on in galleries, performance venues, and arts-oriented restaurants and cafes.</p> <p>Investing in the district aligns with the Homewood Community Partners Initiative, a collaborative effort with area stakeholders and civic leaders that the university launched two years ago to improve conditions within 10 neighborhoods near Homewood. Johns Hopkins has pledged $10 million—and the partnership has raised an additional $14 million—to support activities and projects that strengthen the 10 communities.</p> <p>Andrew Frank, special adviser to Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels on economic development matters, says the university is committed to supporting Station North in multiple ways. One, he says, is the big ticket: "The university is collaborating with MICA to create a small campus for Hopkins that's about halfway between Peabody and Homewood to try and connect them through a strong spine up Charles Street."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 History goes digital <p>Before there were Gilman Hall and the quads, the Homewood campus (though not yet called that) featured a lone greenhouse. The building and its accompanying botanical gardens were constructed in 1908 for Duncan Starr Johnson, a botanist who had earned his PhD at Johns Hopkins and then been lured back as part of an effort to expand instruction and research in zoology and botany.</p> <p>Stuart "Bill" Leslie counts Johnson as one of his many new acquaintances, most of them long ago deceased. Since summer 2013, Leslie, a professor in the Krieger School's Department of History of Science and Technology, has been on sabbatical and on the hunt for personalities, stories, and all manner of minutiae from Johns Hopkins' past. Leslie says he's up to his eyeballs in JHU lore.</p> <p>President Ronald J. Daniels tasked Leslie with writing a new history of the university. The work, projected for completion in 2018, will cover all divisions, exploring the connections between them and the powerful personalities that shaped them.</p> <p>In 2013, the Office of the President also launched Hopkins Retrospective, a project, with Leslie's book as its centerpiece, designed to explore Johns Hopkins history and find new ways to share it with the university and Greater Baltimore community.</p> <p>To manage the project, the university this past summer hired Jenny Kinniff, an archivist who helped launch the Hopkins Retrospective website to serve as the virtual home of the project and to allow visitors to learn more about Leslie's book and explore the history of the university in greater depth. The site, already populated with facts and rarely seen images, will become a repository for stories, pictures, and perspectives from throughout the university's nearly 140 years of existence, and it will highlight various Hopkins Retrospective initiatives.</p> <p>Learn more at</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Art imitating life <p>Stainless steel rings jutting from the ground, pebbles in the sidewalk, and stone medallions etched with water-related graphics are all part of Optical Gardens, Baltimore's newest work of public art, on the east side of Charles Street between 33rd and 34th streets. The linear plaza and sculpture were created as part of the $25 million reconstruction of Charles Street between 25th Street and University Parkway, the front door to Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus. The art park was created on city-owned land and funded under Baltimore's One Percent for Art program, which requires that at least 1 percent of the eligible budget of any public works project be reserved for public art.</p> <p>With references to everything
 from astronomers seeking life-bearing exoplanets to geologists searching for underground streams, it's art that was inspired by the community outside its gates. Knowing that people will pass through the park over many seasons, even years, the artists strove to create a place that would reward repeated viewings. "It's not a simple piece that you are meant to understand all at once," says Tom Drugan of Haddad/Drugan, the team that designed the art park. "The meaning reveals itself over time."</p> <p>Their inspirations included natural features like the Wyman Park Dell and Stony Run, the colorful row houses along St. Paul and Calvert streets, and the proximity of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. They were also intrigued by the work of two late Johns Hopkins professors: Abel Wolman, known for his efforts to standardize methods used to chlorinate drinking water in cities; and his son, M. Gordon "Reds" Wolman, a geomorphologist and expert on river science, water resources management, and environmental education.</p> <p>Optical Gardens is the first work in Baltimore designed by Seattle-based artists Drugan and Laura Haddad. The $254,000 commission is one of the largest and most expensive works of public art in Baltimore's history.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Developing leaders <p>The university has a new way to support its exceptional scholars who are on the cusp of transforming their fields. The Johns Hopkins University President's Frontier Award of $250,000 will be given each year for the next five years to a faculty member who demonstrates significant scholarly achievement and shows exceptional promise for future work. The award is being established with a $1.25 million donation from trustee Louis J. Forster, A&S '82, SAIS '83, and Kathleen M. Pike, SAIS Bol '81 (Dipl), A&S '82, '83 (MA).</p> <p>"We are very grateful for Lou and Kathy's generosity, which enables us
 to give a significant boost to faculty members who have the expertise and creativity to become prominent intellectual leaders but need more time, resources, or assistance," President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Robert C. Lieberman wrote in an announcement. "We look forward to announcing the first recipient in spring 2015 and, over the next five years, watching our brightest educators challenge the boundaries of their work."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Child care center <p>In response to the needs expressed by members of its workforce, Johns Hopkins University is moving forward with plans to open a child care center on the Homewood campus in fall 2015. A temporary structure will be built on the Stony Run parking lot along the southwestern edge of campus. The modular, one-level building will be used until the university can design and construct a permanent facility at the northeast corner of campus.</p> <p>The center will care for children ranging in age from 10 weeks through 5 years. After an extensive review process that took into account staff-to-child ratios and staff credentials, the university has selected Downtown Baltimore Child Care Inc. to run the center. Administrators say this project began in earnest in 2010, with an exploratory process that included input from many members of the JHU community. <a href="">Click here for more information</a>.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Standout season <p>Johns Hopkins fall sports teams have had so many superlative seasons over the last few years, they've created an expectation of perennial success. The 2014 fall Blue Jays did not just meet the standard—they blew right through it to set new benchmarks.</p> <p>The two-time defending national champion women's cross-country team is now the three-time defending national champion. The Jays placed four runners in the top 30 as they raced past second-place MIT for the national crown. Junior Sophia Meehan was the best finisher as she sped to sixth place; her sister, Tess, a sophomore, placed 24th.</p> <p>Women's soccer rolled into the NCAA Final Four for the first time in school history with a tense 1-0 victory over Thomas More College in the national quarterfinals. The Jays entered the tournament ranked 20th in the nation; at press time they had eliminated 9th-ranked Thomas More and sixth-ranked Carnegie Mellon. They were scheduled to play fifth-ranked Williams College in the semifinal match.</p> <p>After securing its 10th Centennial Conference championship in the last 12 years, football won its first-round NCAA playoff game, defeating Rowan University, 24-16. Hopkins entered the national championship tourney undefeated for the third time in the last four seasons. Their average margin of victory in the regular season was 26 points, with their only close game a 27-20 win over Susquehanna. At press time, the Blue Jays were set to play undefeated Hobart in the second round.</p> <p>And though tennis is considered a spring sport, sophomore Ashnaa Rao delivered a spectacular result when she won the USTA/ITA national small college singles championship. She became the first Hopkins tennis player, male or female, to win a USTA/ ITA national crown.</p> <p>In other fall sports, men's cross country placed second in the Centennial Conference. Men's soccer compiled a winning 9-7-2 record, and field hockey finished 10-9 and made it to the semifinals of the conference championship.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Abbreviated <p><strong>Kent Calder</strong>, director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies and director of Japan Studies at <strong>SAIS</strong>, was presented with the Order of the Rising Sun on behalf of the emperor and prime minister of Japan during a ceremony at the Japanese embassy. Calder was honored for his contributions to Japan studies in the United States. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Paul Rothman</strong>, dean of the <strong>School of Medicine</strong> and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and <strong>Peter Pronovost</strong>, senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine, have been named to <em>Modern Healthcare</em>'s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Dawnielle Farrar-Gaines</strong> and <strong>Nykia Jackson</strong>, of the <strong>Applied Physics Laboratory</strong>, received 2014 Women of Color Technology Awards. Farrar-Gaines, a senior electrical and materials engineer in the Research and Exploratory Development Department, received a Technical Innovation–Industry award. Jackson, an engineer in the Asymmetric Operations Sector, was selected as a 2014 Technology Rising Star. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Brice Ménard</strong>, an assistant professor in Physics and Astronomy in the <strong>Krieger School of Arts and Sciences</strong>, received a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering, given to early-career scientists and engineers. The honor brings a five-year, $875,000 award. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Collin Broholm, a professor of physics and astronomy in the <strong>Krieger School</strong>, is one of 19 scientists nationwide to be selected as Moore Experimental Investigators in Quantum Materials. Broholm will receive $1.8 million over five years to fund his research based on neutron scattering. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Pediatric surgeon and scientist <strong>David Hackam</strong> is the new pediatric surgeon-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. He will work closely with pediatrician-in-chief George Dover to oversee clinical operations at the center. Hackam will direct not only general pediatric surgery but also several surgical subspecialties. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> The <strong>Krieger School</strong>'s Homewood Art Workshops has a new name: the Center for Visual Arts. The center celebrated its 40th anniversary in October with a Plein Air Paint Out, where close to 50 artists created artworks at outdoor locations around campus. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Huntington "Skip" Sheldon</strong>, Med '56, a longtime university trustee, committed $15 million to the <strong>School of Medicine</strong>'s Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. Part of the gift will go toward a facility for electron cryomicroscopy, a technique that allows researchers to study biological structures at the level of individual molecules. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> In the latest <em>U.S. News & World Report</em> rankings of best colleges, Johns Hopkins remains 12th, maintaining for a second year its highest placement in the past 15 editions of the guide. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> In a separate <em>U.S. News</em> ranking with different criteria, Johns Hopkins was named the 11th best university in the world. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> The <strong>Krieger School</strong> was awarded a four-year, $960,000 Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a new Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Initiative. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Chris Beyrer</strong>, a professor in the <strong>Bloomberg School of Public Health</strong>, and <strong>Daniel Drachman</strong>, a professor in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong>, are among the 70 new members from the United States elected to the Institute of Medicine. Also elected to the IOM is <strong>Joshua Sharfstein</strong>, who will become the <strong>Bloomberg School</strong>'s new associate dean for public health practice and training in January. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Leslie Ford Weber</strong> has been appointed director of the Montgomery County Campus and of Government and Community Affairs for Montgomery County. Weber replaced Elaine Amir, who retired in September 2013. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> The Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust honored <strong>Daniel J. O'Shaughnessy</strong>, guidance and control subsystem lead engineer at <strong>APL</strong> on the Messenger spacecraft, with the first Heinlein Award for his development of a technique that employs solar panels as sails and guides a spacecraft without using its rocket propulsion system. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Richard Huganir</strong>, director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong>, has received the Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. The $40,000 award recognizes contributions that may provide new insights into psychiatric and neurological disease. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> A ribbon-cutting ceremony in September opened the new Centre Street Performance Studio at the <strong>Peabody Institute</strong>, which gives students a venue where they can get hands-on experience producing and promoting their own programming ideas. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> The <strong>School of Nursing</strong> reports that with the addition of six new inductees, 43 percent of its full-time faculty members are fellows of the American Academy of Nursing. The new members are Associate Professors <strong>Joan Kub</strong>, <strong>Hayley Mark</strong>, <strong>Sarah Szanton</strong>, and <strong>Elizabeth "Ibby" Tanner</strong>; and Assistant Professors <strong>Jill Hamilton</strong> and <strong>Nancy Hodgson</strong>. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> A $136,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services will enable the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum to make available online its entire collection of more than 10,000 museum objects. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Jordan Green</strong>, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is shared by the schools of <strong>Medicine</strong> and <strong>Engineering</strong> was named to the "Brilliant Ten" list of <em>Popular Science</em>. Green uses biodegradable particles to teach the immune system to recognize cancer cells. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Carey Priebe</strong>, a professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics in the <strong>Whiting School</strong>, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research, a program that supports President Obama's BRAIN Initiative. Grant recipients get $300,000 over a two-year period. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Also awarded a grant from the BRAIN Initiative are neuroimaging scientists at Johns Hopkins and the University of Copenhagen, whose teams received a three-year, $1.5 million grant to develop transformative brain imaging. The team leaders from Johns Hopkins are <strong>Arman Rahmin</strong>, a chief physicist and imaging expert in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong> and the <strong>Whiting School of Engineering</strong>, and <strong>Dean F. Wong</strong>, a professor in <strong>Medicine</strong>, <strong>Public Health</strong>, and the <strong>Carey Business School</strong>. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> A team of biomedical engineering undergraduates placed second in the 2014 Collegiate Inventors Competition. The Hopkins team invented AccuSpine, a probe designed to improve spinal fusion surgery by providing real-time feedback for accurate surgical screw placement. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Johns Hopkins joined the BorrowDirect consortium this summer, giving JHU faculty, staff, and students access to the more than 50 million volumes held by consortium members. Users have the ability to search and request materials from across the 11 institutions' libraries without going through interlibrary loan.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Jason Kravitt, A&S '69, funds bereavement seminars for Hopkins pediatric residents <p><em>Imagine you are pregnant. For nine months you have felt a child grow inside of you, until you arise in the middle of a bitter cold January night to travel across Chicago to the hospital. You are so excited you can hardly contain yourself.</em></p> <p><em>But when you arrive, the nurses and intern tell you that the baby has no heartbeat. There must be some mistake. How can nine months of life be reversed so quickly? You are on the delivery table, and you start negotiating with God. You are pushing and breathing. You give birth to a stillborn child.</em></p> <p>The child's name was Cameron, and every year his father, Jason Kravitt, A&S '69, tells this story to a classroom of second-year Johns Hopkins pediatric medical residents.</p> <p>"Back then [in 1982], nobody on the medical staff wanted to be with you when your child died," Kravitt explains. His wife, Beverly, held Cameron for only a few moments before the medical staff took him away. "They essentially ran away and left us alone. They never brought him back for us to look at. We never saw him again."</p> <p>The hospital then assigned Beverly to the maternity ward, "surrounded by nothing but mothers and babies," until Jason asked that she be moved. That's when the situation "went from idiocy to madness," says Jason, as the hospital then placed Beverly in the cancer ward, surrounded by death instead of new life, with nurses who weren't trained for postpartum care. Jason ended up hiring a private nurse to care for her in the hospital.</p> <p>Appalled at the treatment they'd received, the Kravitts approached the hospital with suggestions for improving patient care—but their advice fell on deaf ears.</p> <p>Frustrated and grieving, Beverly Kravitt refused to give in to self-pity. Instead, she was determined to help other bereaved families any way she could. Walking along the beach with her husband several months after their ordeal, she sketched out a plan: raise enough money, and their voices would be heard. In 1985, the couple founded the Cameron Kravitt Foundation.</p> <p>The foundation initially funded programs for parents exclusively in the Chicago area, until Kravitt began speaking with a development officer at Johns Hopkins about his new foundation. "They had an idea to add a program to train doctors at Hopkins. We felt this was something that would attack the problem head-on as opposed to just nibbling at the edges," he says.</p> <p>Launched in 1996, the Cameron Kravitt Foundation Death and Bereavement Seminar has trained 442 Johns Hopkins pediatric residents and 24 chaplains-in-training. Jason attends each session—sometimes with Beverly, too—to share his story with residents as they begin a daylong seminar on death, dying, and compassionate care.</p> <p>Over the course of the day, the physicians meet other parents who have lost children, learn techniques to work with grieving families, then practice their new skills with actors standing in as hospital patients. They also learn about autopsy and organ donation, the role of ministry for grieving families, and the importance of dealing with their own stress and burnout.</p> <p>According to Marisa Kristeen Matthys, a Johns Hopkins resident and aspiring pediatric hospitalist
who took the seminar in January, a high point of the training was working with the patient actors. "Every second of the simulations felt real. You were with a family delivering difficult
news, and you felt their pain and shared their tears," says Matthys, who recalls how "enlightening" it was to learn "the positive role we can play in a family's experience with death and dying."</p> <p>Matthys isn't the only one who has wept during the training, notes Kravitt. "We've had many residents run out crying." But he says that's a small price to pay in order to ensure that others receive a level of compassion from doctors he wishes he had received.</p> <p>Kravitt, a New York–based partner at the international law firm of Mayer Brown, admits that it's easy to become cynical about health care in the United States. But every year when he meets the new batch of second-year residents, his faith in the future of medicine is restored. It's the compassion of those students— and the support of their two children, Nikola, 36, and Taylor, 31—that keep Jason and Beverly committed and enthusiastic to raise money for the next year's class.</p> <p>It's not cheap. The one-day symposium costs about $25,000 to run, and the foundation has kept it going for nearly 20 years.</p> <p>"It's a 'bicycle charity.' It doesn't have an endowment, so you have to start pedaling when you run out of money," Kravitt says. "We raise money through the foundation, and we usually have a fundraiser every other year." At the next fundraiser, the Kravitts hope to raise $500,000 to endow the program.</p> <p>Kravitt believes that by holding the program at Johns Hopkins, training new residents year after year who will go on to teach and practice at some of the best hospitals around the world, he and Beverly are helping to make wide-sweeping change. "Imagine the influence we will have eventually as the generations add up," he says. "The influence we have on the medical industry as a whole is maximized by being at Hopkins."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Jeffrey Raider, A&S '03, SAIS '04, talks about co-founding Warby Parker and Harry's <p>Many startups involve shiny smartphone apps or new ways to tap into the "sharing economy," such as Airbnb and Uber. And then there are Warby Parker and Harry's, young firms bringing e-commerce
 to timeless items: eyeglasses and razors, respectively. Warby Parker, launched in 2010, designs prescription eyeglasses it sells online for as little as $95. They've moved more than a million pairs to date, and <em>GQ</em> dubbed them "the Netflix of eyewear." Harry's, launched in 2013, sells razors and shaving supplies online. Jeffrey Raider, A&S '03, SAIS '04, co-founded both companies with friends.</p> <p><strong>How did you choose to build businesses around these household items?</strong></p> <p>I had a pair of eyeglasses, and my prescription kept changing, but I didn't change my glasses because they were so expensive. I felt this was a problem that we could solve through Warby Parker. And at Harry's, it was similar. My co-founder, Andy [Katz-Mayfield], had gone to a drug store and waited for 10 minutes just for someone to unlock the case where the razors were held. He paid $25 for four blades and some shaving cream. He felt like that was an awful lot, and looking at the packaging, products, and brands, he also felt disconnected from what he wanted as customer. I totally empathized with his experience. So they were both born out of personal dissatisfaction.</p> <p><strong>How is it starting businesses with close friends?</strong>
</p> <p>Lots of people said, "Don't go into business with your friends," and there are certainly friends that I have who might not be the best business partners. But with both Warby Parker and Harry's, my co-founders were people whom I respected, trusted, and admired in both a personal and professional context, and it's been an amazing experience to build companies with them.</p> <p><strong>What has been the biggest surprise on your entrepreneurial journey?</strong></p> <p>I am constantly humbled by how hard things are to physically make, and I think we really take for granted everything that's in our bathrooms or closets. Making things of middling quality, that's not too difficult. But if you want to produce to the highest standards in the world, the level of sophistication and thought and time and attention to detail that goes into it is all so meaningful. Andy and I had this phrase early on at Harry's: We give a shave! We just care about every single little detail of every product and will not let anything get out in the line that we don't 100 percent believe in and have completely thought through. And, as a result, it took us 18 months to launch Harry's.</p> <p><strong>Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?</strong></p> <p>No. My mom was an entrepreneur when I was growing up and I saw how hard it was. I just got so excited about the opportunity to do something to fix problems that I had and felt lots of people also had. I had no choice. I had to go start Warby Parker. I couldn't sleep at night. I was so excited about it, and I felt the same way about Harry's.</p> <p><strong>Startups have a high failure rate. How have you succeeded?</strong></p> <p>Both Harry's and Warby Parker are still really young, and so while we've had lots of early success, which is exciting, we want to build hundred-year brands with both companies. We don't feel we've yet accomplished what we've set out to do. In terms of what has enabled us to have our early success, I think fundamentally we've tried to create products that have universal appeal and a real value proposition. And we've also been lucky and had some breaks along the way. For instance, <em>GQ</em> just happened to be doing a big article on eyeglasses the month we launched Warby and they featured us. In less than a week we'd sold out. You do your best to position yourself for success, but there is certainly a bit of serendipity in building companies.</p> <p><strong>Have your experiences at Hopkins helped you as an entrepreneur?</strong></p> <p>Yes, a whole lot. The SAIS curriculum is highly intensive, and we had to take a lot of complex information and ideas and distill them down into the things that matter and then develop opinions about those things. This sort of thinking also applies to what we're doing at Harry's and Warby Parker.</p> <p><strong>Any humorous moments you can share?</strong></p> <p>After we bought a German razor blade manufacturer for Harry's, we actually went to speak to the whole factory. The management team spoke English, but a lot of the people on the shop floor did not. Andy and I are standing up on these wooden crates telling the entire factory about how excited we were to come together with them to build this amazing global brand. We would speak for like 20 seconds in English and then a manager would translate for a full minute in German and we'd have no idea what he was saying—was he telling them that we were crazy? But at the end, the factory workers gave us a big round of applause.</p> <p><em>Postscript: Raider and his Harry's team now take weekly German lessons.</em></p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Right where they left off <p>It wasn't easy being an African-American man in Baltimore in the 1950s, when segregation was the law and racism was rampant. But for Elmo Douglass, Engr '54, Johns Hopkins was a haven. Although he was one of the first black graduates 
of the university, Douglass says he never encountered racism on campus. "I suspect those that didn't like my being there stayed away, so I didn't know who they were," he says. "But then there were those who befriended me, like Lou."</p> <p>Lou Robinson, Engr '54, was one of Douglass' classmates in the Department of Civil Engineering. Robinson, Douglass, and a few other students moved as a group through their course work—physics, mathematics, chemistry, mechanics—and often commuted to campus together, by bus or in Robinson's father's car. "Elmo, through force of his personality, became integrated at Hopkins," Robinson says. "After the first couple weeks, he was accepted like everyone else."</p> <p>The young men bonded over the difficulty of their course work. "Hopkins was not an easy school, not at all," says Robinson. "I recall when we first entered, during the orientation we were told that half of us would not be there at graduation, and that's the way it turned out." But Douglass says it wasn't all a grind. "We managed to find a few times to do bad things," he says conspiratorially. "In those days, a group of us would pick up a Volkswagen and move it so our friend couldn't find it." And there was an incident when someone—"I don't want to accuse Lou," Douglass says— replaced copper sulfate with blue ink in the lab, rendering an experiment useless. ("It wasn't me!" says Lou.)</p> <p>After graduation, the two followed similar paths. Both spent several years in the Army Corps of Engineers and went into highway engineering, Robinson in Pennsylvania and Douglass in California. Both married and had children—two sons for Douglass and one for Robinson.</p> <p>But they didn't keep in close contact until the 2004 Johns Hopkins reunion, when they both attended a cookout
 at a former classmate's home on Wye Island. "We picked up where
 we left off 50 years before," says Robinson. The two discovered shared interests in literature, music, current events, and especially travel. Together they've journeyed to Brazil, New England, Canada, the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater in Africa, and down the Mississippi on a riverboat. These adventures keep their friendship lively, as does a snappy sense of humor.</p> <p>With both of their wives and many of their classmates deceased, the two are grateful for each other. "I don't think there's any chance that we won't continue to communicate on a regular basis," Douglass says, "and I think we'll always be friends."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 A tour of Denver from alumni <p>Welcome to Denver, home of the Broncos, 300 days of sunshine, and Johns Hopkins Alumni Association's Denver Chapter. About 900 active alumni explore the Mile High City together three or four times a year.</p> <p>From professional sports teams— basketball, football, baseball, hockey, soccer (Denver's got it all)—to recreational trails, Denver has no shortage of fun and sun. "There's a lot of activity in Denver," says Robert Duncan, A&S '71, president of the Denver Chapter. "People get out and do things here."</p> <p>One of the city's liveliest spots, Lower Downtown (LoDo) features tons of entertainment, shopping, dining, and cultural activities. LoDo has an eclectic mix of cuisines, including Italian (check out Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria), Parisian (Bistro Vendôme), Asian (ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro), and more.</p> <p>Ninety brewpubs beckon parched patrons in LoDo, including the Tavern Downtown. On homecoming, the Tavern is packed with thirsty alums rooting for Hopkins lacrosse to crush Maryland. For baseball fans, Coors Field—home of the Colorado Rockies—is right across the street.</p> <p>If you're thirsting for the arts instead, visit LoDo's Museum of Contemporary Art, or head over to Bannock Street to the Clyfford Still Museum. More than 2,500 artworks from one of Abstract Expressionism's originators are housed here. In his will, Still requested his estate be given entirely to an American city willing to establish a museum dedicated solely to his work. In 2004, Denver received the collection. "It's a very spectacular story," says Duncan.</p> <p>Inside the historic Quigg Newton Denver Municipal Auditorium, catch a performance at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Last year, alumni enjoyed a cocktail party and private dress rehearsal of <em>Romeo and Juliet</em> here.</p> <p>Adrenaline junkies have plenty of options to get their fix in Denver, too. Housed in the restored 1901 Denver Tramway building, REI Denver is an outdoor gear and sporting goods store—with a 47-foot climbing wall. Of course, there's always Rocky Mountain National Park, just an hour and a half from Denver, and a number of nearby hiking, biking, and skiing trails open year-round.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Alumni Association's Student Grants Program has an immediate impact <p>A few minutes before the end of the 2014 Johns Hopkins University Dance Marathon, students decked out in glow-stick necklaces, tutus, and shirts emblazoned with "I <3 DM" lined up to face the crowd. One by one, each held up a large number to the audience of several hundred students in Homewood's Glass Pavilion, revealing the amount that had been raised for the Johns Hopkins Children's Center: $32,559.54. With a contribution from university President Ron Daniels, the grand total came to $35,000—a 279 percent increase from the previous year.</p> <p>Participants solicit sponsorships from family and friends to directly support the hospital. But financial support for the dance marathon itself— to pay for audio-visual equipment, a black light, and a photo booth—comes from the Student Grants Program of the Alumni Association. Every fall, the Alumni Association invites Johns Hopkins students to apply for grants of up to $1,500 to support community service events and initiatives. Those grants have gone to everything from the university's student chapter of Engineers Without Borders' potable water project in Guatemala to Cooking 4 Love, a group that prepares and serves meals every Friday at My Sister's Place women's shelter. Cooking 4 Love President Misa Baum says the student grant funding helped defray the cost of food, equipment, and transportation. "Last year, without the alumni grant money, our meal budget each week would have been $100. The alumni grant money allowed us to add $20 to each [week's] meal, which helped us add healthy salads and fresh fruit for dessert. It also allowed us to make long-term investments like buying sharp knives." "There are so many groups that are looking for funding, and it's great to have that money in the budget to do the things you want to do," says Alex Surget '16, co-president of the Dance Marathon executive board.</p> <p>Of the 80 applications received for the 2013–14 cycle, 49 were funded for a total cost of $50,000. Student Grants Program committee chair Steve Lascher, SPH '96, '08 (PhD), hopes the amount for the 2014–15 cycle will be closer to $62,500. "I would love to see our budget reach a quarter of a million dollars over the next five years. We don't give out enough money," he says. The funds come from a combination of university support and donor contributions to the Alumni Association. Those who want to directly support student projects can designate their gifts to the Alumni Association as such. Alumni Association President Jay Lenrow, A&S '73, and his wife, Ruth, have personally pledged $25,000 to be given over the next five years to enhance the Student Grants Program. While the program cultivates the next generation of alumni donors, its chief asset, Lascher says, is immediacy. "This committee has the greatest immediate impact on the students across all of the schools," he says. "It is a perfect opportunity to show how we allocate funds from the Alumni Association in support of the students."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 His dubbel life <p>Beer and music have a long, frequently symbiotic, history. Yet despite having once played in a punk band and studied music composition at Johns Hopkins, Paul Kopchinski, Peab '98, says it was family heritage that drove him to open De Kleine Duivel, a Belgian beer hall in Baltimore. "My mom's side of the family is Flemish, from northern Belgium," says Kopchinski. "I still have family that lives in Antwerp that I go back to see and visit. For me, Belgian beer has always just been beer."</p> <p>De Kleine Duivel, which translates to 'the little devil,' opened in December 2013 in the old meeting hall for the Improved Order of Red Men in the hip Hampden neighborhood. Kopchinski gutted the hall and added an exquisite Art Nouveau mirror made of Peruvian and American walnut with matching bar. The bar serves roughly 200 kinds of Belgian beer, from traditional lambics to stouts more commonly associated with Great Britain. Kopchinski chuckles when asked to pick the beer he likes best.</p> <p>"That's like asking me, 'What's your favorite song?'"</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 A strong finish <p>Newlyweds Jessica Kensky, Nurs '09, and Patrick Downes found themselves in the unluckiest of places on April 15, 2013—cheering on runners at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The couple suffered severe injuries, including the loss of their left legs, in the bombing. Unwilling to let the tragedy tarnish marathon day forever, Kensky and Downes were at the finish line together again one year later, this time riding side by side on hand bikes through the 26-mile course.</p> <p>"The emotional part of the day was seeing people cheering on the sidelines, doing exactly what we were doing the year before," she says, "knowing that they would go home with their friends and families and their bodies intact."</p> <p>But that wasn't the only difficult part of the day. "Being a disabled athlete is extremely challenging," Jessica says. "You have to overcome a number of obstacles before you even get to your race or training. I'm proud of us for facing that day head-on."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Class notes <p><div class='teaser featured-teaser article'><div class='teaser-text'> <h2><a href=''>Submit class notes</a></h2><div class='summary'>Did you get a promotion? Get married? Graduate (again)? We want to hear from our alumni. Share your updates, and your news may appear in the alumni class notes section of the Johns Hopkins Magazine. Please submit your news to</div> </div> </div></p> <h4>1945</h4> <p><strong>Charles Edwards, A&S '45, '48 (MA), '53 (PhD)</strong>, was awarded the Laufberger Medal by the Czech Physiological Society for his enhancement of international scientific collaboration.</p> <h4>1949</h4> <p><strong>Julian L. Gelwasser, A&S '49</strong>, was named a knight of the French Legion of Honor for his participation in the U.S. Army operations that led to the liberation of France during World War II. The award is France's highest distinction. Gelwasser lives in Solon, Ohio, with his wife, Helen.</p> <h4>1958</h4> <p><strong>Kurt A. Gitter, A&S '58</strong>, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the United States–Japan Foundation on April 3 for his lifetime commitment to promoting friendship and understanding between the peoples of the U.S. and Japan. The award includes a grant of approximately $10,000 to a U.S. or Japanese nonprofit organization in honor of the award recipient. This year's grant was given to Johns Hopkins.</p> <h4>1963</h4> <p><strong>Ronald P. Spark, A&S '63</strong>, was appointed last year by the mayor of Tucson, Arizona, to serve as a volunteer neighbor outreach coordinator. Spark is a past president of his neighborhood association and is on the steering committees of the Neighborhood Support Network, Broadway Coalition, and Downtown Neighborhood and Residents Council.</p> <h4>1965</h4> <p><strong>Dan M. Granoff, A&S '65, Med '68</strong>, received the 2014 Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award from the American Society for Microbiology for his work on vaccine development. Granoff is a scientist with Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California.</p> <p><strong>Ken Lehman, A&S '65</strong>, was appointed chair of the Futuro Media Group board of directors. He is the managing partner of KKP Group in Evanston, Illinois, and co-founder of Winning Workplaces, a nonprofit that helps organizations become great places to work.</p> <p><strong>Stephen E. Silverman, Engr '65</strong>, retired in 2010 from his avionics company and is an active pilot and amateur radio operator. He lives in Maine and New York City with his wife of 32 years, Sheryl.</p> <h4>1966</h4> <p><strong>William J.T. Mitchell, A&S '66 (MA), '68 (PhD)</strong>, was elected in May to the American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. Mitchell is the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor in English and Art History at the University of Chicago.</p> <h4>1969</h4> <p><strong>Ruth Schwartz Cowan, A&S '69 (PhD)</strong>, was elected in May to the American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. Cowan is a professor emerita in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.</p> <h4>1970</h4> <p><strong>Glenn Marcus, A&S '70</strong>, producer with New Voyage Communications, was in the Maryland Public Television studio in May to present his 2004 documentary, <em>The World War II Memorial</em>. Marcus has taught graduate seminars at Johns Hopkins on the history of the documentary, war on the screen, and the history of Washington, D.C.</p> <h4>1972</h4> <p><strong>David M. Hashmall, A&S '72</strong>, was elected in July to succeed Regina M. Pisa as chairman of Goodwin Procter for a five-year term. He joined the law firm as a partner in 2001.</p> <h4>1973</h4> <p><strong>Steven Harvey, A&S '73</strong>, retired after 38 years of teaching English at Young Harris College. The author of three books of essays, he will continue working as a founding faculty member in the MFA program in creative writing at Ashland University.</p> <h4>1975</h4> <p><strong>Albert J. Matricciani, A&S '75 (MLA)</strong>, retired in April after spending more than 19 years as a Maryland judge. He returned to the law firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, where he served as partner from 1987 to 1995. He is the past president of the Friends of the Sheridan Libraries and the Maryland Humanities Council.</p> <h4>1976</h4> <p><strong>F. Charles "Chuck" Brunicardi, A&S '76</strong>, physician and musician, is the Moss Foundation Professor and vice chairman of the Department of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. He produced a debut album of original folk-country songs, <em>Where Sunset Meets the Beach</em>, which was nominated for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in music.</p> <p><strong>Robert L. Schimmel, A&S '76, SPH '77</strong>, has been named one of Florida's legal leaders by <em>Florida Trend</em>.</p> <h4>1977</h4> <p><strong>Lewis Schrager, A&S '77, '03 (MA)</strong>, wrote the play <em>Fourteen Days in July</em>, which was produced as part of the Baltimore Playwrights Festival held in August. The story recounts the failed Camp David peace talks of July 2000 between Israelis and Palestinians.</p> <p><strong>Smith, A&S '77</strong>, has held the Skirball Chair of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University since 2000. He served as president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America in 2010 and 2011, and in 2011 was elected to the American Academy for Jewish Research. In 2013, Smith became a grandfather.</p> <p><strong>Ivan R. Strunin, A&S '77</strong>, moved to Hong Kong in 2012 to become a member of Deloitte's Asia Pacific International Core of Excellence as the managing director of U.S. Tax Services.</p> <h4>1978</h4> <p><strong>Jeffrey I. Cohen, A&S '78, Med '81</strong>, was named a 2014 Academy Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Cohen is chief of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Cameron R. Smith, A&S '78</strong>, is among the first 50 Woodrow Wilson New Jersey Teaching Fellows. The program recruits individuals with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math and prepares them to teach in high-need secondary schools.</p> <p><strong>Lynn Snyder-Mackler, A&S '78</strong>, received the American Physical Therapy Association's Mary McMillan Lecture Award in June. Snyder-Mackler serves as Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Delaware.</p> <p><strong>Carolyn Williams, Peab '78, Engr '86 (MS)</strong>, and her husband,<strong>Steve Alpern, A&S '80 (MLA)</strong>, reported in August from Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, where the Johns Hopkins Glacier is thriving.</p> <h4>1979</h4> <p><strong>Stuart W. Davidson, A&S '79</strong>, of the Philadelphia-based law firm Willig, Williams & Davidson, was selected for inclusion in the 2015 edition of Best Lawyers.</p> <h4>1984</h4> <p><strong>Celeste E. DeBaptiste, A&S '84</strong>, an OB-GYN physician, has joined Saint Francis Healthcare's North Wilmington Women's Center in Delaware.</p> <p><strong>Ronald E. Maylor, Engr '84</strong>, an electrical engineer, joined Mueller Associates in Baltimore as a project manager in May. He was previously with RMP Engineering.</p> <p><strong>Ann Marie K. Rohaly, Engr '84</strong>, director of accessibility, policy, and standards for Microsoft's corporate accessibility group, received TVNewsCheck's 2014 Technology Women to Watch Award.</p> <h4>1985</h4> <p><strong>Mara Schecter Butler, A&S '85</strong>, has lived in Texas for about 10 years. She is excited to see friends and former classmates at the Class of 1985's 30th reunion, for which she is a committee member.</p> <h4>1986</h4> <p><strong>Jon S. Vernick, A&S '86, SPH '94</strong>, was promoted in May to professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is also an associate chair of the department and of the Master of Public Health program.</p> <h4>1987</h4> <p><strong>Michael J. Choi, Med '87</strong>, was named to the National Kidney Foundation board of directors. He is an associate professor of medicine and clinical director of the Division of Nephrology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine</p> <h4>1988</h4> <p><strong>Scott D. Lippe, A&S '88</strong>, chief
of gastroenterology at Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, New Jersey, has been elected to the board of governors of Conventus, a professional liability insurance company for physicians in New Jersey. He lives in Fair Lawn with his wife and eight children.</p> <p><strong>Timothy Gerard Malia, A&S '88</strong>, is a family physician at Immediate Care East in Victor, New York, and vice president for AAVia Foundation, a nonprofit he founded with his wife for the health of Bolivian children.</p> <h4>1989</h4> <p>Gwendolyn V. "Gwennie" Kelly, A&S '89, is grateful for the generosity of others who helped shape her formative Johns Hopkins years: donors, family, and lifelong friends.</p> <h4>1990</h4> <p><strong>Bonnie Bassler, A&S '90 (PhD)</strong>, received the 2014 EMD Millipore Alice C. Evans Award from the American Society for Microbiology for her contribution to the advancement of women in microbiology. Bassler is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and the Squibb Professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University.</p> <h4>1993</h4> <p><strong>Matthew Boulay, A&S '93 (BA/ MA), '98 (MA)</strong>, was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential in Afterschool by the National AfterSchool Association for his commitment to expanding summer learning opportunities and his role in conceiving the organization that is now the National Summer Learning Association.</p> <p><strong>Roy B. Norton, SAIS '93, '99 (PhD)</strong>, heads the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, which promotes Canadian interests. He previously served at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.</p> <p><strong>James Segil, A&S '93</strong>, co-founded EdgeCast Networks in 2008, one of the world's largest content delivery networks, which was acquired this year by Verizon Digital Media Services for $400 million.</p> <h4>1994</h4> <p><strong>Jonathan B. Harris, SAIS '94</strong>, a personal injury lawyer in Miami, is suing tobacco companies on behalf of 155 individuals and families for smoking-related illness and death. Previously, Harris won a case against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company that resulted in a nearly $30 million verdict.</p> <p><strong>Timothy James Min, A&S '94</strong>, has been named to lead the trade law practice group of the Deutsche Post DHL group. He is vice president for international trade law in the legal department of the global express company. The Min family will continue to reside in Cincinnati.</p> <h4>1995</h4> <p><strong>Kerry A. (Schalders) Onda, A&S '95</strong>, married Alex Onda on October 12, 2013, in Castle Rock, Colorado, where they celebrated with former Johns Hopkins classmates<strong>Teresa Slazas Fabiano, A&S '95</strong>;<strong>Jeremy B. Hancock, A&S '95</strong>; and<strong>Michelle Lee</strong>. Onda is senior counsel for Reed Group in Denver.</p> <h4>1996</h4> <p><strong>Sarah C. Chan, Peab '96</strong>, is a winner of the 2014 PianoTexas Concerto Competition teachers division held in June; she performed with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Chan is an assistant professor and coordinator of keyboard studies and music theory at California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock, California.</p> <p><strong>Sendil Krishnan, A&S '96</strong>, a physician, was promoted in March 2013 to executive medical director of Triad Hospitalists in Greensboro, North Carolina.</p> <p><strong>Yusuf H. Mwawa, SPH '96</strong>, has returned to clinical practice and research after many years in political life.</p> <h4>1997</h4> <p><strong>Geoffrey J. Corb, Engr '97, Bus '12 (MBA)</strong>, was named to the board of directors of ASUG, the world's largest independent systems applications and products users group. He is the deputy chief information officer for IT@JH.</p> <p><strong>Michael Frakes, Nurs '97</strong>, married Malisa Iannino on June 14 at the King's Chapel in Boston. Frakes is the director of clinical services and organizational quality for Boston MedFlight. Iannino is a neonatal intensive care unit nurse at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The couple lives in Mansfield, Massachusetts.</p> <h4>1998</h4> <p><strong>Quentin E. Hodgson, A&S '98, SAIS '01</strong>, joined Mitre as a cyber principal in June. He previously served as chief of staff for cyber policy at the U.S. Department of Defense. In his new role, he will support strategic projects for the Department of Homeland Security.</p> <h4>2000</h4> <p><strong>Daniel S. Blynn, A&S '00</strong>, special counsel with Kelley Drye law firm in Washington, D.C., has been named a Super Lawyer in the area of consumer law practice.</p> <h4>2001</h4> <p><strong>Beth Zeitlin Shaw, Engr '01</strong>, was appointed in May an administrative patent judge with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.</p> <h4>2002</h4> <p><strong>Scott F. Creamer, A&S '02</strong>, chairs the Department of Economics, History, and Political Science at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, where he is a professor of political science. He also serves as civic leadership internship supervisor and leads the study abroad program in international politics that travels to France and Belgium.</p> <p><strong>Jeff Novich, A&S '02</strong>, was a finalist in the 2014 BigApps NYC app-making competition. Created with developer Josh Weitzman, the Reported app streamlines New York taxi complaints to the city and reduces submission time. Novich's Hired in New York app won a $10,000 prize in last year's competition.</p> <p><strong>Bruce A. Perler, Bus '02 (Cert), '04 (MBA)</strong>, was named president-elect of the Society for Vascular Surgery in June. He is vice chair for clinical operations and finance in the Department of Surgery, chief emeritus in the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, and director of the Johns Hopkins Vascular Noninvasive Laboratory.</p> <p><div class='teaser featured-teaser article'><div class='teaser-text'> <h2><a href=''>Submit class notes</a></h2><div class='summary'>Did you get a promotion? Get married? Graduate (again)? We want to hear from our alumni. Share your updates, and your news may appear in the alumni class notes section of the Johns Hopkins Magazine. Please submit your news to</div> </div> </div></p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 In memoriam <p><strong>James E.T. Hopkins, A&S '37, Med '41</strong>, June 16, Belair, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Dorothea B. Polster, A&S '41 (MA)</strong>, June 25, St. Louis.</p> <p><strong>John J. Osborn, Med '43</strong>, April 25, San Anselmo, California.</p> <p><strong>Virginia "Sis" Carper Poetzsch, Bus '44</strong>, August 10, Chesterfield, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Stewart H. Benedict, A&S '45 (MA)</strong>, March 22, New York.</p> <p><strong>Charles H. Lithgow, A&S '46</strong>, June 5, Novato, California.</p> <p><strong>Edward D. Sokol, A&S '47, '52 (PhD)</strong>, June 11, Commerce, Georgia.</p> <p><strong>Harry B. Beard Jr., Engr '48</strong>, May 27, Westminster, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Francis I. Catlin, Med '48, HS '50, SPH '59 (ScD), Med '72 (PGF)</strong>, February 24, Houston.</p> <p><strong>Claude Gerard, A&S '49, '51 (MA)</strong>, February 26, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>John C. Mesmeringer, Engr '49</strong>, July 30, Parkville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Doris F. Singer, Bus '49, A&S '50 (MA)</strong>, January 6, Albany, New York.</p> <p><strong>Robert H. Hurlow, Engr '50 (MSE)</strong>, July 15, Bainbridge Island, Washington.</p> <p><strong>Charles A. Powell, Engr '50, '55 (MSE)</strong>, June 21, Cockeysville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Charles C. Richards, A&S '50, Med '54</strong>, April 20, Riverview, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Robert N. Alfandre, SAIS '51</strong>, June 12, Washington, D.C.</p> <p><strong>David E. Livingston, A&S '51</strong>, January 17, 2010, Portsmouth, Ohio.</p> <p><strong>Thomas D. McKewen, Engr '51, '52 (MS)</strong>, June 13, Ashburn, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Priscilla G. Teeter, Nurs '51</strong>, May 30, Westminster, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Jerald Leish, Engr '52</strong>, June 10, Oxnard, California.</p> <p><strong>Joel D. Lesnick, A&S '53</strong>, May 28, Bedford Corners, New York.</p> <p><strong>Richard Allwork, A&S '54</strong>, June 23, Colebrook, Connecticut.</p> <p><strong>Joann Peterson Floyd, Ed '54 (MEd)</strong>, June 21, Macon, Georgia.</p> <p><strong>Mildred M. Heigley, Nurs '54 (Dipl)</strong>, June 3, Pittsburgh.</p> <p><strong>Samuel W. Lewis, SAIS '54</strong>, March 10, McLean, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Roger L.B. Slakey Jr., A&S '57 (PhD)</strong>, May 21, McLean, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Charlotte Gebb Dietz, Nurs '55 (Cert)</strong>, July 1, New Orleans.</p> <p><strong>Theodore Dragich, Bus '55</strong>, July 2, Cambridge, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Jay N. Karpa, A&S '55</strong>, June 6, Pikesville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Carol C. Kealey, Nurs '55</strong>, May 22, Columbia, Missouri.</p> <p><strong>Dene L. Lusby, A&S '55</strong>, July 12, Scottsdale, Arizona.</p> <p><strong>Karl Bruce Jacobson, A&S '56 (PhD)</strong>, April 4, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.</p> <p><strong>Madeline Myers Massengale-Beall, Nurs '56 (Dipl)</strong>, August 3, Houston.</p> <p><strong>Kurt J. Wegner, HS '56,</strong> June 28, Youngstown, Ohio.</p> <p><strong>Glenn M. Jones, HS '57</strong>, July 1, Lubbock, Texas.</p> <p><strong>Helen Weisner Meurer, Nurs '57 (Dipl)</strong>, February 16, Gainesville, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Philip L. Williams, Med '58, HS '59</strong>, June 17, Gadsden, Alabama.</p> <p><strong>Anatol H. "Harry" Oleynick, HS '59, '60, Med '60 (PGF)</strong>, February 19, Timonium, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Thomas R. Foster Jr., Ed '60 (MEd)</strong>, March 2, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>James R. Harrill, A&S '60</strong>, March 3, Carson City, Nevada.</p> <p><strong>Philip C. Medenbach, A&S '60</strong>, July 23, 2013, Ocala, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Lucrecia F. Joven, Med '61 (PGF)</strong>, March 22, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>J. Peter Kusel, A&S '61</strong>, July 5, Frederick, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Alfred C. Strohlein, Med '61 (MA)</strong>, March 8, San Diego.</p> <p><strong>John J. Bosley, A&S '62 (PhD)</strong>, March 13, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Samuel H. Paplanus, Med '62 (PGF)</strong>, June 5, Tucson, Arizona.</p> <p><strong>Yerby Rozelle Holman, A&S '64 (MLA)</strong>, June 1, Sykesville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Leonard B. Alenick, Med '65</strong>, January 12, Lakewood, Washington.</p> <p><strong>John R. "Jack" Ciliberti, A&S '65</strong>, July 8, Redmond, Washington.</p> <p><strong>Richard L. Regosin, A&S '65 (PhD)</strong>, March 12, Irvine, California.</p> <p><strong>Allan J. Baer, Bus '66</strong>, March 1, Clarksville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Joan J. Clark, Bus '66, A&S '71 (MLA)</strong>, June 17, Hockessin, Delaware.</p> <p><strong>Diran O. Mikaelian, Med '66 (PGF)</strong>, February 1, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>Charles J. Crafton, Engr '67 (Cert), '69</strong>, February 27, Grasonville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Carolyn E. Marlin, Nurs '67</strong>, March 11, Tampa, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Charles B. Sheridan Jr., A&S '67</strong>, March 13, Edinburg, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>James J. Tsigounis, Bus '67</strong>, June 26, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Thomas A. Kaleita, A&S '69</strong>, April 21, Los Angeles.</p> <p><strong>Jeannette M. Rivoire, A&S '69 (MS)</strong>, January 11, 2013, Annandale, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Irene G. Hiscock Gibson, SPH '71</strong>, June 18, Sherman Oaks, California.</p> <p><strong>Robert L. Hacker, A&S '71</strong>, April 20, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Donald L. White, SPH '71</strong>, July 11, Silver Spring, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Jonathan E. Pederson, Med '72, HS '76</strong>, June 27, Minneapolis.</p> <p><strong>David B. Bryan, A&S '73 (PhD)</strong>, April 2, Knoxville, Tennessee.</p> <p><strong>Mary A.V. Fox, HS '73</strong>, April 25, Mount Desert, Maine.</p> <p><strong>Robert L. Gingell, Med '73 (PGF)</strong>, March 11, Amherst, Massachusetts.</p> <p><strong>Samuel R. Floyd, A&S '77 (MS)</strong>, June 21, Columbia, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Gertrude Irene Dovell, Ed '78 (MEd)</strong>, May 29, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>John A. Bannigan, SPH '79</strong>, July 10, Arlington, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Terry Keenan, A&S '83</strong>, October 23, New York.</p> <p><strong>Katia Laremont, A&S '87</strong>, June 22, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Timothy Charles Kuhfuss, Engr '88 (MS)</strong>, July 11, Laramie, Wyoming.</p> <p><strong>Steven S. Hsiao, Med '91 (PhD), '91, '92, '14 (PGF)</strong>, June 16, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Susan R. Woodcock, Bus '97 (MS)</strong>, February 28, Tiverton, Rhode Island.</p> <p><strong>Peter C. Lasher, Nurs '00</strong>, July 27, Annapolis, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Craig W. Bowen, Bus '05 (MBA)</strong>, June 15, Norfolk, Virginia.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Backseat blues <p>We were almost upside-down, flying toward the ground at 480 knots. I knew what was coming next and didn't relish it. Sure enough, the world outside the canopy spun around in a couple of heartbeats, and now we were rightside-up—still diving earthward. At the bottom of the dive, the pilot released a small bomb, then pitched the nose up hard. G-forces, seven times normal, squeezed me until he took us hard left and down to 500 feet, flying from the target as fast as possible to escape would-be pursuers. It was then I realized I didn't feel very good.</p> <p>On this day in 1989 the United States was at peace. Our bomb was a practice bomb. I was in the back seat of an F-4D Phantom jet, roaring over a bombing range in North Carolina, serving not as a warrior but as a military flight surgeon in the District of Columbia Air National Guard. I was backseat in the Phantom so I could understand the mental and physical stresses our pilots and backseaters experienced in the air before I ruled on their medical fitness to fly. It was a part-time job. A dream assignment.</p> <p>Just minutes earlier, while speeding above the forest at nearly treetop level, I felt exhilarated. But that was now replaced by commanding nausea. My brain, evolved from tree-dwelling ancestors, was unadapted to the gyrating flight path we'd taken in four bomb runs.</p> <p>There were two more runs to go. Resistance was futile. I pulled a small white plastic bag from a flight suit pocket, switched off the microphone in my oxygen mask before unbuckling the mask, held the bag to my face, vomited, wiped, reattached my mask, activated the mic, and stowed the bag. Relief ... temporarily. We started the next run.</p> <p>And so it went every time I flew a ground attack mission. For safety reasons, the Air Force prohibits anti-motion-sickness medications, and switching to 100 percent oxygen did not help me as it does others. There was one sure cure: If the pilot gave me the stick, I instantly felt better—a curiosity long known to aviators—but that was not an option during attack runs.</p> <p>My situation was hardly unique. Most of the backseaters in our squadron told me they would become nauseated if they flew infrequently. They advised flying daily for two weeks and twice weekly thereafter—a stark impossibility for a full-time cardiology fellow at Hopkins.</p> <p>And so ended my fighter dreams, as I chose the cardiology ticket over the fighter ticket. Yes, the fellowship ultimately opened many doors, but none was as fun as the one it closed.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Message <p><strong>You never know where you'll hear a great idea.</strong></p> <p>On a recent flight back to Baltimore, my seatmate serendipitously turned out to be a Hopkins alumna, Melanie Shimano. She was returning to Homewood to pursue her master's. We started to swap stories about what we'd been up to.</p> <p>Melanie and her two best friends—fellow Johns Hopkins chemical and biomolecular engineering majors—had spent the summer refining an invention that emerged from their Senior Design class: a personal air filter with the potential to neutralize the transmission of infectious diseases on airplanes. As intriguing as their concept was their design process. She told me they had conceived of and rejected enough prototypes to fill a room before landing on one that worked. As the plane touched down, I told her I'd love to see it when they felt ready.</p> <p>Without missing a beat, Melanie and her team were soon in my office, a prototype cradled carefully in her arms.</p> <p>Melanie and her colleagues' enthusiasm and initiative are a microcosm of what I'm seeing across our community—that is, the desire to turn novel research into market-ready technologies and treatments. Increasingly, our faculty and students are calling for opportunities to move seamlessly along a research spectrum from basic to applied.</p> <p>And Johns Hopkins is answering the call. Early next year, we will open our new innovation hub, the first of its kind located at the nexus of our East Baltimore divisions. We are also building on proof-of-concept successes, from investing in our Social Innovation Lab to support mission-driven enterprises, to expanding Homewood's FastForward business accelerator, to launching our inaugural Johns Hopkins Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, a crash course for budding inventors from more than 30 departments across Johns Hopkins Medicine.</p> <p>Though these efforts respond to the needs of individual researchers, clinicians, and scientists, we also recognize the imperative of innovation for our university as a whole. At a moment when federal research funding is constrained and industry has retreated from investing in early-stage technology, we are keenly aware of the impact a robust innovation ecosystem can have on our ability to continue to achieve our mission of groundbreaking discovery, exceptional patient care, and service at home and around the globe. At the same time, we understand the powerful role that universities like Johns Hopkins can play as igniters of economic opportunity for our wider communities.</p> <p>It will take our collective imagination to navigate this changing landscape and to implement our best ideas at Johns Hopkins.</p> <p>Of course, as Melanie reminded me at 30,000 feet, finding creative solutions is simply what we do.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Contributors <p><strong>Neil A. Grauer</strong> ("A Rediscovered Ode," p. 23), A&S '69, is assistant director of editorial services for the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Marketing and Communication. He created the cartoon Hopkins Blue Jay in 1966, continues drawing it today, and has written nine books. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Dave Cooper</strong> ("The Long Shadow of a Poor Start," photography, p. 30) has done work for everyone from <em>Garden & Gun</em> magazine to Pew Charitable Trusts. He is the director of the 2007 feature-length documentary <em>Road to Roubaix</em> about the challenging one-day cycling race. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Ben Jones</strong> ("The Long Shadow of a Poor Start," illustration, p. 30) lives and works in Manchester, United Kingdom, and has completed commissions for Penguin Books, <em>The New York Times</em>, <em>The Guardian</em>, and <em>The Boston Globe</em>. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson</strong> ("Are We Flying Solo?," pg. 38) is a lecturer in the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, an essayist, and editor of <em>3QR: The Three Quarter Review</em>. She is also the author of <em>Literature on Deadline</em> (Celumbra/Pacific Isle, 2007), and is a former staff writer for <em>The Miami Herald</em> and <em>Johns Hopkins Magazine</em>, among other publications. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Shale D. Stiller</strong> ("The Earl of Homewood", p. 54), A&S '77 (MLA), is a partner at the law firm DLA Piper. He is a trustee emeritus of Johns Hopkins University and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> <strong>Yvonne Albinowski</strong> ("Building Hundred-Year Brands," photography, p. 70) is a New York City–based photographer whose latest photo series, "50 Faces on U.S. 50," showcases residents who live along Route 50 in Nevada. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <h4>On the cover</h4> <p>Since graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1984, <strong>John Kachik</strong> has been busy creating retro-style art for clients like Shiner beer, Mini Cooper, and Bloomingdale's. For this issue's cover, Kachik gave our astrobiology story the pulp magazine treatment, mimicking the colors and graphics you'd find splashed across mid-20th-century newsstands. His work can also be seen on the two-page opening spread of "Are We Flying Solo?" on p. 38.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Editor's note <p>I am, by nature, a meanderer.</p> <p>I never met a digression, a side street, a side interest that I didn't want to follow. Many times a day I do follow them, contrary to the counsel of productivity experts—productivity being one of my side interests— who emphasize focus, the direct path, the unwavering progress toward drawing a straight, bold red line through the top item on my prioritized list of action steps.</p> <p>When I read the opening pages of Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson's cover story on the new science of astrobiology ("Are We Flying Solo," p. 38), I derived no small satisfaction from noting biologist Jocelyne DiRuggiero's meandering path as a scientist. She started with studying what happens in the microscopic confines of cells—cells that make up microorganisms that somehow flourish in the most inhospitable places, like deep-sea volcanic vents. Then came a day when it made sense to put some of her tiny subjects in the nose of a rocket and launch them beyond the atmosphere. Suddenly a side door opened, and DiRuggiero wandered from deep sea to deep space. Might there be exoplanets orbiting distant stars that could harbor life? And what form might that life assume?</p> <p>I have before me a brochure for prospective Johns Hopkins students. The cover reads "Curiosity Welcome," and on an inside page there is this: "We can't resist following a hunch, chasing down a lead, going where that spark takes us."</p> <p>Going where that spark takes us. However meandering the path.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Dialogue <h4>"In the Hitler Sense..."</h4> <p>The article <a href=",d.eXY">"Snake in the Garden" [Fall]</a> reminded me that in 1962 my husband and I, chemistry graduate students at JHU, wanted to buy a house in Baltimore. When we asked about properties in the Roland Park/ Guilford area, the realtor asked a surprising question: "Are you Jewish?"</p> <p>We were neither of us practicing Jews, we were choristers in a Bolton Hill Episcopal church, and we didn't celebrate the Jewish holidays. I am a World War II refugee from Nazi-occupied Austria. Surprised by the question, I blurted out, "In the Hitler sense, yes." The realtor went on to tell us that Roland Park was a "restricted" neighborhood and, while there was no law prohibiting Jewish home ownership in these neighborhoods, no Baltimore realtor would broker a sale there to Jews. We did buy a house in Mt. Washington, where housing cost considerably less; we learned that at the time people would pay considerable sums of money not to live next door to a Jewish family.</p> <p>This was half a century ago. Society and the law have moved on. All kinds of prejudices still exist, but they are not condoned or practiced, at least not in public. The public conversation no longer dwells on prejudicial practices that targeted not only Jews but Italians, Poles, Irish, and women; it continues, however, to focus on prejudice against people of color. This focus is unlikely to change anyone's mind and may exacerbate the very prejudice it seeks to eradicate.</p> <p>Ruth F. Weiner, A&S '62 (PhD) Albuquerque, New Mexico</p> <h4>No Snakes Here</h4> <p>I was saddened, but not surprised, to learn of the Roland Park Company's dedicated legacy of bigotry in establishing the Roland Park, Guilford, and Homeland neighborhoods <a href=",d.eXY">["Snake in the Garden," Fall]</a>. My seventh great-great-grandfather, Captain Charles Merryman, received from Lord Baltimore the 200-acre tract of land (Clover Hill) that later went on to become a substantial portion of those neighborhoods. Much of my life, schooling, and formative friendships have taken place in these neighborhoods, where subtle and not-so-subtle remnants of the same bigotry still remain. My Roland Park Country School graduating class of 1974 was unable to hold our prom at a Baltimore country club because we had both black and Jewish girls in our class.</p> <p>I am happy to report, however, that there is another neighborhood in Baltimore, also designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and offering the same curvilinear streets, landscaping, and lovely, large old houses as Roland Park, which is wonderfully diverse and where I have lived and raised my family for 30 years. Sudbrook Park, although much smaller than Roland Park, is an artsy, civic-minded community of whites and blacks, Christians and Jews, near the heart of Pikesville. The only snakes in our gardens are the kind that aerate the soil.</p> <p>Lara Merryman Schafer McLaughlin, Ed '99 (MS), A&S '05 (MA) Pikesville, Maryland</p> <h4>That Sinking Feeling</h4> <p>In <a href="">"Climate Change Questions" [Dialogue, Fall]</a>, Raoul Benveniste's rebuttal to the editor's note by Catherine Pierre regarding the debate over whether climate change is man-made, he argues that there is little point in spending tax dollars to try to reverse climate change if it can happen naturally, as it did millions of years ago in what today is Florida.</p> <p>Seeing as I actually am from the Tampa Bay area of Florida, where Mr. Benveniste learned this, I feel I have a vested interest in not having my home state sink beneath the seas any time soon. The argument is not whether all climate change is man-made but whether this particular warming of the planet is. If climate change is our fault (as evidence does appear to suggest), we certainly should do something to fix it. After all, we broke our toy, so either we suffer with its being broken (thus many species die that otherwise would not; many—including humans—are displaced owing to changes in the environment; and devastating weather patterns become more severe and commonplace) or we do what we can to fix it. We have the ability to make a real impact on our environment rather than to be just a victim of its whims. We should use this power to help more than just ourselves.</p> <p>Unless, of course, this reluctance to help is just a clever ploy to sink Florida before our alligators, hurricanes, and utter insanity take over the rest of the world, in which case, I salute you!</p> <p>Brittany Chavez, A&S '09 Port Richey, Florida</p> <h4>So Berry Wrong</h4> <p>I am going to use Wikipedia to respond to Raoul Benveniste's "Climate Change Questions" [Dialogue, Fall] and let my intrepid fellow readers follow the citations to the original research. He wrote, "Approximately 1,000 years ago, grapes were growing in Greenland ('Vineland'). Today it is mostly covered in ice." The article "Vinland" states, "In geographical terms, Vinland is sometimes used to refer generally to all areas in North America beyond Greenland that were explored by the Norse." It also states, "It should be noted that <em>vinber</em> (currants—black or red) literally translates to wineberry, and that there is a long-standing Scandinavian tradition of fermenting berries into wine; grapes do not currently grow in Iceland or Scandinavia." It wasn't Napa Valley.</p> <p>Dr. Benveniste also wrote, "I doubt that any significant change in our climate can be measured in the lifetime of a human." The online article "August 2014 Was Earth's Hottest August On Record; Long-Term Trend Points to Global Warming" in the online <em>International Business Times</em>, that well-known Marxist publication, should assuage his doubts. It also states that July of this year was the fourth-hottest on record, after 2005, 2010, and 1998.</p> <p>Robert O'Rourke, A&S '80 Leavenworth, Kansas</p> <h4>You're All Wet</h4> <p>In the otherwise interesting article <a href="">"Water, Water, Everywhere?" [Summer]</a> is the statement: "Every drop of it has been here since the Earth began—and no more." This is nonsense. Water is constantly being formed and unformed. In photosynthesis, water combines with carbon dioxide to form sugars. In the major industrial process of electrolyzing salt solutions, some of the hydrogen in the water is reduced to hydrogen gas and the rest is in hydroxide ions, sodium hydroxide being an important product. In many reactions of acids and bases, water is formed. In respiration, sugars and oxygen combine to form water and carbon dioxide.</p> <p>John Bordley A&S '72 (PhD) Sewanee, Tennessees</p> <h4>Corrections:</h4> <p>Dumbest thing we did last issue: Somehow, we messed up four bylines and credits. (Don't ask.) Greg Rienzi was credited with writing <a href="">"Virtuous Development" [Forefront, Fall]</a>. Greg is a fine writer, but not of that piece—the byline should have read Lawrence Lanahan. Christina Cook did write <a href="">"Don't Try This" [Forefront, Fall]</a>, but she spells her name Christina Cooke, and we should, too. The photo of <a href="">Matt Green [Campus, Fall] was by Cara Walen</a>, and the photo of <a href="">furniture [Campus, Fall]</a> was by Will Kirk.</p> <p>Second dumbest thing we did: In <a href="">"Ouch" [Fall]</a>, we stated the cost of chronic pain in the United States as between $560 million and $635 million. As reader Mark Glickstein, Med '70, correctly pointed out, that should have been between $560 billion and $635 billion.</p> <p>Finally, <a href="">"Climate Change Questions" [Dialogue, Fall]</a> included an incorrect graduation year for letter writer Raoul Benveniste. He graduated from the Krieger School in 1966.</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 In short, supplies <p><em>When hospital personnel in U.S. operating rooms rip open shrink-wrapped packages of supplies for each procedure, they usually throw away anything unused. Surgeon Richard Redett, director of the Johns Hopkins Cleft Lip and Palate Center, believes discarded surgical supplies could do much to improve quality of care in developing countries.</em></p> <p><em>Since 2003, Redett has been the medical director of SHARE—Supporting Hospitals Abroad with Resources and Equipment. The medical student–run organization started in 1991 to recover clean, unused medical supplies at Johns Hopkins Hospital and donate them to resource-poor hospitals in developing countries. They follow World Health Organization guidelines, including sending only essential and requested supplies to prevent new waste.</em></p> <h4>Context</h4> <p>When Redett became involved with SHARE in 2003, the organization, which he emphasizes is "99 percent run by medical students," had between one and three volunteers taking donated surgical supplies to West African medical clinics each year. Since 2008, SHARE has sent more shipments—currently about 10,000 pounds per annum—with more volunteers each year. In West Africa, an intermediary pays to ship the supplies to various hospitals.</p> <p>"I do a lot of international work and saw an opportunity to recruit more students," explains Redett. "I knew there were many supplies we weren't capturing because we were limited in volunteers. I had an interest in international health, and it seemed like a good opportunity to increase our impact." SHARE works with others planning trips abroad, too. "If somebody contacts us and says they're doing a hospital trip and need supplies, we'll help them as well," he says.</p> <h4>Data</h4> <p>For a study published by <em>World Journal of Surgery</em> in November, SHARE wanted to determine the potential for U.S. hospitals to donate supplies to resource-poor hospitals abroad. Redett and co-researchers found that one year of donated urinary catheters, needleless disposable syringes, sutures, gauze, and other items included in operating room packs could significantly decrease disability-adjusted life years for individuals. (DALY is a term used to describe years of life affected by illness; decreasing DALY means more days of good health.) In the study, Redett and others figured out a list of the 19 or 20 most commonly used supplies and tracked them in two hospitals in Ecuador from September 2010 to November 2013. They found that a year's worth of those donated supplies could prevent 5.5 percent of the total 192,000 DALY lost owing to leprosy worldwide, for instance.</p> <h4>Upshot</h4> <p>American hospitals accumulate thousands of pounds of open but unused supplies each year, which in most cases would be discarded, says Redett. "Our intention in noting this is to say, 'Hey, if you have this much waste coming out of your hospital, let's put it to good use.' If you extrapolate our data to other hospitals, the impact is significant." Others are listening. "For three to four years, I and the students have been trying to get other hospitals interested in SHARE. But the amount of attention this study has generated has been stunning to me," he says. In the late weeks of October, for example, five or six medical schools called SHARE to ask for input on how to start a similar program.</p> <h4>Conclusion</h4> <p>If more U.S. medical centers got involved, the improvement in global health would be huge, Redett believes. "Ideally there'd be no waste in the first place, but, in 2014, unfortunately, there is. Donating to hospitals in developing countries is simple, cheap, and effective if you follow the WHO guidelines for sending supplies to developing countries." He adds, "Developing countries have very good surgeons and nurses, but they're lacking supplies. Hospitals aren't stocked with what they need. Because of donated supplies, surgeries that previously could not be performed are being performed."</p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:20:00 -0500 Take a bow <p>In 1913, celebrated Spanish cellist Pablo Casals acquired a cello made by Venetian luthier Matteo Goffriller in 1733. He played it for the rest of his life, including at Peabody on February 12, 1915. A century to the day later, Peabody faculty cellist Amit Peled will perform exactly the same program—on the very same cello, lent to him by Casals' widow, Marta Casals Istomin. "Casals could have had any Stradivarius that he wanted but he wanted this cello," Peled says of the instrument, which recently returned from a yearlong restoration. "This one, it sounds like someone is actually talking to you, which I think is the quality Casals liked about it."</p>