100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go, by Marcia DeSanctis ’82

Marcia DeSanctis ’82

Marcia DeSanctis ’82

The book: From food and wine to art and fashion, the 100 vignettes in this guidebook seem to cover all that typifies France. Like any good Baedeker, the book explains not only where to go but why to go there. Essays describe tourist meccas — the châteaux of the Loire Valley, for example — as well as easily overlooked but fascinating sites such as Christian Dior’s childhood home on the coast of Normandy and the memorial museum to 44 Jewish children seized by the Nazis in Izieu. Woven throughout is practical advice for women travelers: When walking La Croisette, Cannes’ fabled avenue frequented by film stars, the author says, “leave the sweats and Dos Equis T-shirt at the bottom of your canvas tote.” Since its publication in November, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go has spent three months on The New York Times Best Sellers list in the travel category.

The author: Marcia DeSanctis ’82 is an award-winning travel writer who spent several years living and working in Paris. Her essays and articles have appeared in Vogue, Town & Country, and The New York Times, among many other publications. Before becoming a writer, she spent 18 years as a television news producer. Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Keeping Books in Circulation

Images from PAW’s 1978 story on theft at Princeton libraries, from left: A library guard served as “a reminder to be honest”; new security measures included electronic scanners; librarian Peter Cziffra shows tabs in the card catalog that indicate missing books.

Images from PAW’s 1978 story on theft at Princeton libraries, from left: A library guard served as “a reminder to be honest”; new security measures included electronic scanners; librarian Peter Cziffra showed tabs in the card catalog that indicated missing books.

On a winter Friday 33 years ago, local police found more than 2,000 stolen library books — including nearly 1,000 from Princeton University and the Princeton Theological Seminary — at the home of a former graduate student.

It wasn’t the first time the University had dealt with book theft. In January 1978, Firestone Library estimated that some 150,000 its volumes had disappeared, almost certainly as a result of theft. “One year we put the books out, the next year they’re gone,” Peter Cziffra, then the head of the Fine Hall math and physics library, told PAW. (The story’s headline: “Crime in the Stacks.”)

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Tigers of the Week: Astronomy Prizewinners Claire Max *72 and David Weinberg *89

David Weinberg *89 (Lisa Florman)

David Weinberg *89 (Lisa Florman)

Claire Max *72 (Sameer A. Khan)

Claire Max *72 (Sameer A. Khan)

Two Princeton graduate alumni — Claire Max *72, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California–Santa Cruz, and David Weinberg *89, a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University — were recognized for their achievements in instrument development and scientific research at last week’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle. Max received the Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation, and Weinberg was awarded the Lancelot M. Berkeley–New York Community Trust Prize. Past Tiger of the Week honoree and Princeton professor David Spergel ’82 also was among the AAS prizewinners, sharing the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics with colleague Marc Kamionkowski of Johns Hopkins.

Max, the 2009 winner of Princeton’s James Madison Medal, is an expert in adaptive optics, which enables earth-based telescopes to see distant objects more clearly by correcting for image distortions produced by the earth’s atmosphere. Specifically, the AAS award recognized her invention of sodium-laser-guide-star adaptive optics, and her long-term contributions to the field. “Her leadership has transformed how we observe by making near-diffraction-limited imaging possible on large ground-based telescopes, thus opening new fields of discovery including resolving stars and gas near supermassive black holes and studying extrasolar planets,” the AAS release said.

Weinberg, who was recognized for “highly meritorious work in advancing the science of astronomy,” delivered the final plenary lecture of the AAS meeting, an overview of insights in cosmology and galaxy evolution drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which has been actively mapping the universe since 2000. Weinberg’s involvement with SDSS actually dates back to 1992, when he was a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to his research and teaching, Weinberg has collaborated with artist Josiah McElheny on cosmology-inspired sculptures. Continue reading

Indie Nation’s Service: Princeton at Sundance

Director Mora Stephens ’98 on the set of her new film, Zipper. (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle)

Director Mora Stephens ’98 on the set of her new film, Zipper. (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle)

By Giri Nathan ’13

The stereotype of alumni networking at Princeton is that it nurtures connections in fields like law, finance, and government. Independent film might sound like an unlikely addition to that list. But this month, three artists with Princeton ties will make their way to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, one of the industry’s marquee events. Jackson Greenberg ’12, Scott Salinas ’97, and Mora Stephens ’98 all worked on films that will premiere at the festival.

Salinas and Greenberg composed the score of the documentary Cartel Land, continuing a partnership that has its origins in the pages of the Princeton Alumni Weekly. As a freshman, Greenberg found himself in love with music and unsure of his summer plans. After stumbling upon a PAW profile of Salinas, a film composer in Los Angeles, he reached out on a whim and asked for an internship. Despite never having hired an intern before, Salinas took him in, and over the years, their intern-employer relationship evolved into one of collaboration and friendship. Continue reading

Slavery in Jamaica and the Antebellum South Brought to Life in A Tale of Two Plantations

Richard S. Dunn *52 *55

Richard S. Dunn *52 *55

Historian Richard S. Dunn *52 *55 has spent the last 40 years constructing a portrait of the final decades of slavery. In A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia, Dunn draws a richly compelling history of the lives of three generations of slaves at the Mesopotamia sugar estate in Jamaica and the Mount Airy plantation in Virginia.

“Slavery caused terrible suffering to the black people in both regions,” Dunn writes, “but in strikingly dissimilar ways.” At Mesopotamia, Dunn found, life was marked by deadly work regimens, rampant disease, and dependence on the slave trade for new laborers. At Mount Airy, families often were broken up as “surplus” slaves were sold or moved to other work sites. More than 200 of the estate’s slaves were sent 800 miles away, Dunn found in his study of the papers left behind by the owners. Dunn provides a detailed account of the lives of two enslaved women: field hand Sarah Affir from Mesopotamia and Winney Grimshaw at Mount Airy. Continue reading