Author Archives: Brett Tomlinson

Zhang ’16 Explores Street Art for Summer Dale Project

Hosier Lane is a popular locale in Melbourne’s street-art scene. (Courtesy Maggie Zhang ’16)

Hosier Lane is a popular locale in Melbourne’s street-art scene. (Courtesy Maggie Zhang ’16)

Maggie Zhang ’16 at 5 Pointz in New York. (Courtesy Maggie Zhang)

Maggie Zhang ’16 at 5 Pointz in New York. (Courtesy Maggie Zhang)

As a high-school student in Syracuse, N.Y., photographer Maggie Zhang ’16 found art in unlikely places, including the walls of abandoned buildings in her hometown. She became fascinated with street art and began to seek it out, visiting New York City’s 5 Pointz, a now-defunct graffiti mecca, during her freshman year at Princeton. In August, with the help a Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award, Zhang explored one of the world’s great street-art centers: Melbourne, Australia.

Zhang spent part of her time photographing favorite murals and ephemera, but her primary goal was to learn more about the people behind the thriving street-art scene. Through interviews with artists, she found that the community covers a broad spectrum. Some are consultants by day, others paint as a form of political activism, and a few aspire to turn their street art into gallery exhibitions. Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Senate Candidate Greg Orman ’91

Greg Orman ’91 (Wikipedia)

Greg Orman ’91 (Wikipedia)

A few months ago, Greg Orman ’91 was a little-known independent candidate in the race for a Senate seat in Kansas, where the entrepreneur and investor lives. But as Orman has picked up momentum, endorsements, and some promising poll numbers — along with an assist from Democrats, who withdrew their candidate to avoid splitting votes — he’s earned some new titles: “Stormin’ Orman” (via The Economist); “the most interesting man in politics” (according to NBC’s Chuck Todd); and, if he were to defeat incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, perhaps the “Senate kingmaker” (The New York Times).

By PAW’s count, there are at least nine alumni running for Congressional seats this fall — five Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent — and Orman’s race is by far the most closely watched. Poll trackers believe that Orman, who has said he’ll caucus with the majority party, could block the Republicans’ bid to claim a majority in the Senate (the latest New York Times odds put the probability of that outcome at 14 percent).

Orman, an economics major at Princeton, hinted at his political independence in his senior yearbook entry, which included a quote by independent presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. While he seems destined to be wooed by both parties, for now he’s being critical of both and pushing for bipartisan cooperation. “We’re still sending the worst of both parties to Washington — people who seem more interested in getting reelected than they do in solving problems,” he said last month, according to The Atlantic. “They draw childish lines in the sand, they refuse to cooperate, and as a result, inaction has replaced leadership when it comes to solving our most pressing problems.” Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Buckminster Fuller at Princeton

(PAW Archives)

(PAW Archives)

fuller_b

(PAW Archives)

R. Buckminster Fuller, an architect and inventor best known for promoting the use of geodesic domes, taught as a visiting lecturer at Princeton in the 1950s and made his mark with experimental structures such as the “discontinuous compression sphere,” a towering, self-supported globe composed of aluminum pipes and cables. (The photo above shows the work in progress, with an assist from the local fire department.) Popular Science, in its brief description of the sphere, noted that Fuller had a “reputation for unusual designs … that appear to be held up only by equations.” Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Tech Innovator Eli Harari *73

Eli Harari *73 (Courtesy SanDisk)

Eli Harari *73 (Courtesy SanDisk)

Eli Harari *73, a Princeton engineering Ph.D. and computer-hardware pioneer, will receive the 2014 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the White House announced Oct. 3. Harari is one of 19 honorees in the fields of science and technology who will be honored by President Barack Obama later this year.

Harari’s idea for “system flash” memory sparked the creation of SanDisk, a Milpitas, Calif.-based company that began with three employees and now has more than 5,000. SanDisk technology is used in thousands of devices, from memory cards and USB drives to mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. “We’re now connected in ways that would not be possible without the technologies that Eli helped pioneer,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk’s co-founder, president, and CEO, in a news release.

Fellow graduate alumnus Arthur Levinson *77, a former CEO of Genentech and Princeton’s 2006 James Madison Medal recipient, also will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Levinson was our Tiger of the Week three years ago when he took over as the non-executive chairman of Apple following the death of Steve Jobs. He currently heads Calico, a research and development company in California, and works with former Princeton professor David Botstein, Calico’s chief scientific officer.

Video: Eli Harari *73 on engineering after Princeton, courtesy of Princeton Engineering Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Roger Nierenberg ’69, a Maestro of Organizational Dynamics

Roger Nierenberg ’69, left. (Courtesy Portfolio Publishing)

Roger Nierenberg ’69, left. (Courtesy Portfolio Publishing)

For nearly two decades, conductor Roger Nierenberg ’69 has used examples from orchestral music to illustrate principles of organizational dynamics that apply in other contexts. Hundreds of companies, in industries ranging from health care to finance, have invited him to conduct his interactive Music Paradigm seminars, which feature live orchestra rehearsals. And Nierenberg continues to find new fans — including music critic James R. Oestreich, who recently reviewed a Music Paradigm session in The New York Times.

Nierenberg, meeting with nursing directors at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, “was making real music and making good sense,” Oestreich wrote, when the conductor began his rehearsal with string players from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He also modeled dysfunctional dynamics, acting aloof or micromanaging, before finishing with a performance that illustrated best practices. A conversation with the nursing directors followed.

Nierenberg, who outlined his program in the 2009 book Maestro, was deeply engaged in music by the time he began his undergraduate years at Princeton, and during his time on campus, he was active in the University Orchestra, the Glee Club, the Opera Club, and the Princeton Chamber Singers. He served as music director of the Stamford (Conn.) Symphony and the Jacksonville Symphony in the 1980s and ’90s before turning his attention to the Music Paradigm program. “I found, somewhat to my astonishment, that it was a very potent business tool,” Nierenberg told PAW in 2002. “It grew slowly, by tiny increments. I, and others, began to discover the power of music as metaphor.” Continue reading

For Engineers, A Hands-On Chance to Design, Serve

Kasturi Shah ’16, center, and Amanda Li ’16 talk with one of EWB’s community partners in La Pitajaya, Peru. (Courtesy Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17)

Kasturi Shah ’16, center, and Amanda Li ’16 talk with one of EWB’s community partners in La Pitajaya, Peru. (Courtesy Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17)

In the summer of 2013, Amanda Li ’16 and Kasturi Shah ’16 walked the hillside path of what would be phase two of a new gravity-fed potable water system for La Pitajaya, a community in the Andean foothills of Peru. The path wasn’t really a path, Li said, and their tools were pretty basic — a 60-meter measuring tape and a handheld GPS device. But Li and Shah, project managers for Princeton’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), got the information they needed to begin their designs.

A year later, after months of planning and more than three weeks of exhausting labor, Shah was racing down the same mountain, doing her best to run faster than the water in the pipes so that she could be at the bottom when it reached the tap stand below. Seeing the project’s completion was cause for cheers and celebration from the Princeton team — six undergraduates and two traveling mentors — as well as the community partners who helped bring the system to life, Shah said.

The Princeton EWB group, founded in 2004, had two summer projects this year: one in Peru and one in Kenya. A third trip, to Sierra Leone, was canceled due to the Ebola outbreak. About 50 students are involved in various phases of the EWB work, but only a handful travel to implement the systems that the teams design. The projects are community-initiated, Li said, and community members play key roles in construction and implementation.

Corrie Kavanaugh ’17, a civil engineering major on the La Pitajaya team, said this summer’s trip — her first with EWB — was a remarkable service experience and an education in practical engineering. “It’s very difficult to actually design something in real life,” Kavanaugh said. “Being part of EWB has given me technical experience that you don’t normally get [in the classroom].”

Below, view photos of the La Pitajaya team, courtesy of Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17. Continue reading