Category Archives: Campus News

PAW Goes to the Movies: Interstellar, with Professor David Spergel ’82

Professor David Spergel ’82, right, and PAW senior writer Mark F. Bernstein ’83 discussed the science behind the new film Interstellar. (Beverly Schaefer)

Professor David Spergel ’82, right, and PAW senior writer Mark F. Bernstein ’83 discussed the science behind the new film Interstellar. (Beverly Schaefer)

David Spergel ’82, the Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation, is an astrophysicist, author, and MacArthur Fellow, but PAW asked him to put on a new hat: film critic.

In the first in an occasional feature called “PAW Goes to the Movies,” we invite a faculty member to see a current movie of particular relevance to his or her field of expertise and then play Roger Ebert for us. In this case, we chose Interstellar, the new film about space travel starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. (The film was inspired by Kip Thorne *65, an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology.)

Spoilers follow, so read with caution if you haven’t seen the movie. Continue reading

At HackPrinceton, More Than 500 Students Explore New Platforms, Novel Ideas

Collin Stedman ’15, left, pitches HostShark at the HackPrinceton science fair. (Mary Hui ’16/Picture Perfect)

Collin Stedman ’15, left, pitches HostShark at the HackPrinceton science fair. (Mary Hui ’16/Picture Perfect)

Pop! Pop! It’s just after midnight on Sunday and music is blaring as Rachel Margulies ’16 zips over a swath of bubble wrap on her scooter in the lobby of the Friend Center. Around her, a few other students are dancing along to the music, stomping happily on the bubble wrap.

No, it’s not some misplaced Prospect Avenue party — it’s actually a scheduled late-night stress reliever as part of Princeton’s semi-annual hackathon, HackPrinceton. Gathering more than 500 students from all over the country (and Canada), HackPrinceton is a 36-hour event during which students converge at Princeton to work on software and hardware projects, all while competing for thousands of dollars in prizes. Past projects include piano playing stairs and viral apps like What Would I Say?. “It gives you an excuse to work really hard on ideas you might have had, for prizes,” Margulies says.

Participants are given space to work, along with plenty of food, gear, and mentorship. Margulies and her team have been stationed next to the Apple table (staffed with Apple engineers who offer onsite support to participants) since 4 p.m. “I think we’re doing a lot of learning,” says Eric Principato ’16, one of Margulies’ teammates. “I think we’re doing as much learning as we are coding.” Continue reading

Princeton’s Student Veterans Discuss Service

Names displayed in the Nassau Hall Memorial Atrium. (PAW)

Names displayed in the Nassau Hall Memorial Atrium. (PAW)

This is an edited version of a story posted on Nov. 13, 2014. To view the correction, click here.

Just inside the wood paneled doors of Nassau Hall, the marble walls of the Memorial Atrium list the names of hundreds of Princeton alumni who have died serving in the line of duty since the founding of the University in 1746.

“Up on that wall they have veterans who have died from the Revolutionary War throughout all the conflicts [in American history],” explained a graduate student who, as an active member of the armed forces, asked not to be identified in this story. “What’s missing is Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said, referring to the two 21st-century wars that have claimed the lives of more than 6,000 Americans.

The absence of names from the most recent conflicts, while positive, also is symptomatic of growing disconnect between American society, along with its elite institutions, and the members of the armed forces, the graduate student argued.

It was the desire to bridge this divide that led him and his fellow veteran students at Princeton to form the Student Veterans Organization, which aims to serve as both a support group for veterans on campus and a facilitator of dialogue between those veterans and members of the Princeton community at large.

On Nov. 11, the Student Veterans Organization co-sponsored its first formal event, a Veterans Day panel at Robertson Hall featuring six Princeton-affiliated veterans reflecting on their service and discussing the very divide that led to the Student Veterans Organization’s formation last spring. Continue reading

Photos of Princeton-Harvard Gameday 2014

Princeton may not have won the football game, but Tiger tailgaters remain undefeated. Aleka Gürel ’15 captured images of Saturday’s colorful events before, during, and after the Princeton-Harvard game.

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Princeton in the Fall (Slide Show)

Last week, photographer and PAW intern Jennifer Shyue ’17 captured images of the changing campus colors — and one furry friend.

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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