Category Archives: Campus News

Princeton, 1996: Campus Headlines From the Year the Class of 2018 Was Born

This week, Beloit College’s annual Mindset List noted several interesting tidbits about members of the incoming Class of 2018: Since most were born in 1996, their lives never overlapped with those of Tupac Shakur or Carl Sagan; the terrorist attacks of 2001 happened when they were in kindergarten; and they’ve never known a world without The Daily Show.

clintonBut what was happening at Princeton when the Class of ’18 was still in diapers? Quite a lot: 1996 is the year when the Tigers upset UCLA in men’s basketball and said farewell to Pete Carril; President Bill Clinton delivered the Commencement address as Princeton celebrated its bicenquinquagenary (250th anniversary); and alumnus Richard Smalley *74 shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of a novel type of carbon molecules.

The Pyne Prize that year went to Derek Kilmer ’96, now a U.S. Congressman from the state of Washington, and Daniel Walter ’96, who went on to earn a Ph.D. from Princeton’s physics department. Kilmer’s Congressional colleague Jared Polis ’96 also was on campus. PAW wrote a column about his ambitious course load, which included 25 classes in his first two years (just over six per semester). Continue reading

Faculty Committee Recommends Ending Grade Deflation Targets

A faculty committee is recommending that Princeton reverse course on its 10-year attempt to curb grade inflation that has been widely unpopular with students. The University should drop numerical targets for A’s, which are too often “misinterpreted as quotas,” and instead allow departments to set their own grading standards, the committee said. The changes could be voted on by the faculty as early as October.

The faculty voted in 2004 to adopt a policy recommending that each department limit A grades to 35 percent for undergraduate course work and to 55 percent for junior and senior independent work. The percentage of A’s dropped from 47 percent in 2001-04 to 41.8 percent in 2010-13.

But the policy raised a number of concerns, and few colleges followed suit. In his fourth month in office, President Eisgruber ’83 appointed a group of nine faculty members to review the policy and determine whether it meets the University’s goals with as few negative consequences as possible.

The group’s report was released Aug. 7. In a statement, Eisgruber praised the committee for “a set of recommendations that I fully support.” Continue reading

Bock GS Curates Flash Photography Exhibition

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Amanda Bock GS

The Showing: “Artificial Light: Flash Photography in the Twentieth Century,” an exhibit curated by Amanda Bock GS.
Dates and Location: May 24 – Aug. 3, 2014, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Main Building, the Lynne and Harold Honickman Gallery. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and until 8:45 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Curator: Bock was a Goldsmiths Fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for three years and today is project assistant curator in the department of prints, drawings, and photographs. She also is a Ph.D. student at Princeton working on her dissertation in art history. Continue reading

Summer Strings: Physicists Debate Theories, Evidence at Annual Conference

By Mark Alpert ’82

Where do scientists go on their summer vacations? While many fled to the beach or some other getaway last month, several hundred physicists came to Princeton to discuss string theory, which is a topic you won’t find on most beach-reading lists. For the five days of Strings 2014, the latest in a series of annual conferences, the theorists eschewed sun and sand in favor of exploring the weightiest of questions: Can we construct a mathematical framework that explains the fundamental nature of the universe?

Participants at the Strings 2014 conference. (Amaris Hardy, Office of Communications)

Participants at the Strings 2014 conference. (Amaris Hardy, Office of Communications)

Princeton was the perfect venue for this year’s conference because so many string theorists work in the University’s physics department and at the Institute for Advanced Study. “No other institution is as closely associated with string theory,” said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a physicist at the Institute (and one of the stars of the recent documentary Particle Fever). “Princeton was the incubator for the field for many years.” Continue reading

For Some Tech-Minded Students, Startups Provide an Alternative Path

Today’s exploding tech industry, with its 20-something-year-old CEOs and millionaire college dropouts, thrives on a philosophy of learning from real-world successes and failures, not textbooks. This raises an important question: Is an undergraduate degree necessary for professional success?

Even at Princeton, some students are itching to ditch coursework for hands-on work experience. Just ask Alice Zheng, originally a computer science major in the Class of 2013, who is taking time off to work at The Dentboard, a Princeton-based start-up.

“The way I see it, Princeton will always be waiting for me, and I have opportunities in front of me now that I want to grasp while I can,” Zheng said.

Those opportunities include working for a company that, according to Dentboard founder Caleb Bastian, plans to offer “a new IT infrastructure for the entire dental industry.” That goal is ambitious for a company with five employees, three of whom are Princeton undergraduates taking time off from school. Continue reading

Princeton Students Create Climate-Themed Hackathon in the Philippines

Participants gathered for a photo after the Hack the Climate awards ceremony. (Courtesy Hack the Climate, Manila/Elaine Cedillo)

Participants gathered for a photo after the Hack the Climate awards ceremony. (Courtesy Hack the Climate, Manila/Elaine Cedillo)

When Princeton students Michael Lachanski ’15 and Jacob Scheer ’15 began planning an international hackathon to address climate change, the Philippines seemed like a natural host site. The country has exceptional biodiversity as well as vulnerability to weather events related to climate change. And its capital, Manila, is home to a budding tech community.

Lachanski and Scheer made their pitch to the Pace Center for Civic Engagement and earned a grant from the Center’s Davis Projects for Peace. In late May, after finishing their exams, the two flew to Manila to finish their planning. Last week, in a 60-hour marathon competition held at Manila’s De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, teams of computer programmers used their skills to build a range of new applications. Continue reading