|Live and learn|
During spring break, eight students from WRCU radio and the Colgate Activities Board (CAB) traveled to the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, and applied what they learned to their organizations. James Gerken ’11 reports:
The conference is actually a triad of three separate festivals: music, film, and interactive. The trip was a culmination of several months of preparation that resulted in a unique experience.
We learned that SXSW is a digital-minded festival, from the mobile Wi-Fi hotspots all over downtown to the afternoon panels about blogging and social networking. We fit right in with our own blog, Flickr photo galleries, and Twitter page. Even with the ubiquitous technology, the power of human connections was apparent.
“I found it surprisingly easy to approach band members, venue managers, and agents, which I know will be invaluable for CAB and for booking shows at Colgate,” said Ceci Menchetti ’11.
The presence of thousands of people with a similar passion for music provided us with some memorable encounters. Liz Le ’09, who met the manager of a small southern California jazz-metal band, said, “Just talking to her about her experience was one of the most helpful things I did.”
David Ryan Pokorny ’10 spoke with representatives of other college radio stations and sought inspiration for WRCU. He also attended meetings regarding Internet marketing and promotion and plans to use information from those sessions to start a new student group on campus aimed at promoting Colgate artists.
Moving from one venue to another, it was clear that SXSW was a unique festival. Bands with little touring experience were performing alongside some of today’s big names, such as Kanye West, and even some seasoned veterans, like two of the biggest headliners, Devo and Metallica.
Four members of the faculty — two from the same department — were recognized at commencement for achieving emeritus status upon their retirements.
As a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 1984, Joseph Amato “is known to his students and fellow faculty as a demanding professor who always seems to find the time to help others understand the intricacies and beauty of physics,” said longtime colleague Tom Balonek, who is also chair of the department. Amato has served the university in many capacities, including twice as department chair, chair of the Scientific Perspectives Core, director of the natural sciences and mathematics division, and most recently as co-author of the Middle States Review. With research interests including the properties of materials and devices at very low temperatures, superconductivity, the physics of impact cratering, and physics education, he has been a major innovator of the physics curriculum both at Colgate and nationwide. Co-author of the textbook Modern Introductory Physics, he developed several novel laboratory apparati and experiments that have received national awards. He received his PhD in experimental solid state physics from Rutgers University.
As a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 1968, Shimon Malin has taught popular courses on the physics of space-time, relativity, and physics and philosophy. “Shimon is known as a patient, gentle, thoughtful teacher, who has challenged science and non-science students alike as they studied to understand and appreciate our place in the universe,” said Balonek. Malin holds a PhD in theoretical quantum mechanics from the University of Colorado. He has authored dozens of papers and a textbook in his research specialties, which include the foundations of quantum mechanics, general relativity, and cosmology. His recent book Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Mechanics and Reality, a Western Perspective, aimed at a general audience, probes the relationship between science and philosophy.
Dierk O. Hoffmann joined the Colgate faculty in 1977 after completing a PhD at the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1973. He had also done postdoctoral work funded by the German National Research Funds, and worked in educational publishing. His scholarly work has focused on methods and theory of critical text editions, German literary life in early 20th-century Prague, and second-language acquisition. In recent years, his passion shifted somewhat toward technology and the classroom, an area where he has been one of the pioneers at Colgate. His work brought living German authors and contemporary German theater into the Colgate classroom — not only via electronic media, but also in person — and in turn took Colgate out into the world through his many collaborations, both at home and abroad. “All of his work — as a scholar and as a teacher — has been marked by a tremendous enthusiasm for the unconventional,” said Alan Swensen, chair of the Department of German. “Dierk inspired generation after generation of our students with this same enthusiasm.”
Ibrahim A. Ahmad joined the Department of Mathematics in 2005 as Neil R. Grabois Professor of mathematics. His career as a respected expert in nonparametric statistics, life testing and reliability, actuarial science, and applied probability included various administrative posts both in academia and in industry. He also served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nonparametric Statistics. Among his honors, Ahmad, who holds a PhD in statistics from Florida State University, is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, American Statistical Association, International Statistical Institute, and the Royal Statistical Society. “While at Colgate, Professor Ahmad has shared his enthusiasm for his field with many students at the introductory and the advanced level,” said Evelyn Hart, chair of the department.