From left, Madeline Cohen '16, Gabriella Rizzo '13, and Gary Fox '13 perform a scene in "It Takes a Village," a thesis musical by Sandra Fong '13 and Emi Nakamura '13. (Photo: David Kelly Crow/Courtesy the Lewis Center for the Arts)
Sandra Fong ’13 sat helplessly in the audience as she watched her creation come to life. “I hope I remember to breathe; I’m probably going to hold my breath ’til the end,” she excitedly whispered to a friend. By the end of Saturday night, she could breathe a sigh of relief after a run of three senior-thesis workshop performances went off without a hitch.
Twelve student performers sat in a semi-circle of chairs in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio, their music stands poised between them and the audience. They wore black and white, but the topic they sang about took on a decidedly gray tone.
It Takes a Village, the thesis collaboration between Fong and composer Emi Nakamura ’13, tells the story of a character ambiguously named “M.” as he moves to the town of Standard, USA, and struggles to live a “normal” life — or, as normal of a life as one can lead being raised gender neutral. M. (played by Terrence Fraser ’16), who wears dress-like tunics and enjoys both football and ballet, is confronted by the conservative citizens of Standard and pressured to conform to the stereotypes of his gender.
The topic of gender neutrality first piqued Fong’s interest two years ago when she read a news story about a family that had chosen to raise their child gender neutral, and was both surprised and saddened by the public outcry that ensued.
Mike Ford '14 (Photo: Courtesy Athletic Communications)
By Stephen Wood ’15
After beginning the season with a 2-16 record in nonconference games, Princeton baseball stands at 3-1 following the first weekend of Ivy League competition, in which the Tigers split a doubleheader with Yale and swept another against Brown.
In the early spring, Ivy teams head south to play strong teams and, traditionally, get beaten up, so the sluggish start was not completely unexpected. But the Tigers have a long way to go if they want to improve on last year, when they finished second in the Gehrig Division.
For a team that lost star hitters Matt Bowman ’14 and Sam Mulroy ’12 to the Major League Baseball draft and graduation (then the draft), respectively, the Tigers are not looking bad offensively. Leadoff hitter Alec Keller ‘14 is off to a great start, hitting .355, and Mike Ford ’14 has already knocked in 15 runs.
Defensively, starter Zak Hermans ’13, last year’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, is in good form, as is Ford, who emerged from a March that was hellish for many pitchers with a 1.36 ERA. Kevin Link ’13 looks strong after notching his first win in a complete game against Yale.
“Hopefully, you don’t even need to go to the bullpen when they pitch,” head coach Scott Bradley said.
Bradley was commenting on the longevity of his starters, but he touched on a larger issue – the instability of the bullpen. Princeton’s relievers have an average ERA of 9.00. With Bowman in the starting rotation last year, Bradley could expect to go an entire weekend – four games – with maybe four pitching changes. This year’s bullpen may not be able to handle much more than that.
Starter Mike Fagan ‘14 has had a rough spring and lasted just three outs in his start against Yale March 30. He was relieved by Cameron Mingo ’16, a moment which may have been a sign of things to come. Mingo’s ERA sits at 2.78 and he allowed no earned runs in five innings against Yale, striking out four. The Bulldogs got three unearned runs off of him, but of the five pitchers Princeton used Mingo was the only one to record six or more outs.
Bradley has said that he wants to use Mingo as a long reliever, but he also said, “The game is going to dictate what we’re going to do with our bullpen.” The Tigers are going to need every starter to go deep into the game, and it’s looking like that could mean some changes to the starting rotation.
Niveen Rasheed '13 ended her remarkable Princeton career with an NCAA Tournament loss to Florida State. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)
When Lauren Polansky ’13 and Niveen Rasheed ’13 took a recruiting visit to Princeton together in 2008, the women’s basketball team was coming off of a 7-23 season. As the two high school seniors and AAU teammates pondered their college decisions later that fall, the Tigers were destroyed by in-state rival Rutgers 83-35. With both players having other attractive offers, their friends started asking questions: Are you sure you want to go there?
Polansky and Rasheed decided they did, changing the course of Princeton’s program for good. Along with Kate Miller ’13 and Megan Bowen ’13, they formed the core of the most successful Ivy League class ever: Four outright titles, the four best NCAA tournament seeds in league history, 96 wins against 20 losses, and a 54-2 record in conference play.
Those seniors were probably not thinking about all that with 54 seconds left in Sunday’s first-round NCAA tournament game, when Rasheed, Polansky, Miller, and Bowen were subbed out for the final time in their illustrious careers. Instead of reflecting on how they transformed a team that had never reached the tournament into one that expects to be there annually, they watched as time ran out on another chance to take the next step, as Princeton fell to No. 8-seed Florida State in Waco, Texas, 60-44.
Only one Ivy League team has ever won a game in the Big Dance; the Tigers came closest to being number two last year, when they fell to No. 8-seed Kansas State 67-64. But although Princeton drew another single-digit seed this season, Sunday’s game more closely resembled their first trip to the tournament — just as against St. John’s in 2010 (a game that, coincidentally, was held in Florida State’s Tucker Center), the Tigers simply struggled to make shots, making a season-low 25 percent of their attempts from the floor and going 4-for-10 from the free-throw line.
Princeton has been one of the nation’s most relentless rebounding teams for each of the last two seasons, and it lived up to that standard in the tournament, collecting 25 of its own misses while holding the Seminoles to just six offensive rebounds. Thanks to those second (and often third, fourth, and fifth) chances, the Tigers attempted 15 more shots than Florida State, even while committing 19 turnovers, many of them careless. But despite the extra attempts and a similar number of free throws, Princeton was outscored by 16 points, as the Seminoles shot 48 percent for the game.
Defensively, the Tigers showed several different gambits, but most of them kept defenders near the basket while giving Florida State space for mid-range shots — and the Seminoles largely obliged, making 13 two-point jumpers. Still, the Tigers’ defensive performance was good enough to win many games, as they held the nation’s seventh-highest scoring offense to just 60 points on 66 possessions.
Those were the now famous words of Austin Hollimon ’13 (famous in Princeton track circles, at least), describing on ESPN3 how he felt while Peter Callahan ’13 raced through the final leg of the men’s distance medley relay led the Tigers to victory at the NCAA Championships March 9. And from the following video, showing hundreds of supporters cheering for Callahan while watching a live stream of the race from Princeton’s campus, it’s clear that Hollimon wasn’t alone:
“We were shown that [video] after the race, and I was blown away,” Callahan said. “To see that support here was pretty incredible.”
Peter Callahan '13 (Photo: Courtesy Athletic Communications)
There were plenty of reasons for Princeton fans and teammates to have faith in Callahan. As a junior last February, he ran the mile in 3:58.56 at Penn State, becoming only the third Ivy Leaguer ever to break the vaunted 4-minute threshold; the following month, he placed sixth at NCAAs in the same race to earn All-America honors. After winning the mile at this February’s Heptagonal Championships, he anchored Princeton’s distance medley relay to Ivy League supremacy, taking the baton in fourth place before surging past the field in the final lap. And at the beginning of March, Callahan once again finished the DMR in style, helping the Tigers set an Ivy record and qualify for NCAAs.
So when Princeton’s foursome prepared to race in the final Friday event of the NCAA Championships, the experienced Tigers — three of whom had run at an NCAA meet before — knew they had one of the strongest anchors in the field. Michael Williams ’14 kept Princeton in the lead pack in the opening 1,200 meters, Hollimon ran the race’s fastest 400, and Russell Dinkins ’13 followed with one of the fastest 800-meter legs, giving Callahan the baton in third place.
The leaders took the mile out slow, allowing several other teams to bunch up in the lead pack, but Callahan stayed out of trouble. Just before the bell lap, Callahan made his move, sprinting past the leaders — and nobody had enough strength left to catch him, as the senior kept putting more and more distance on the field until the finish line. “I didn’t look behind me to see if people were coming—I just wanted to get to the tape first,” he said.
Anna Kornfeld Simpson '14, left, and Yingxue Li '13 test a robot at the project site in Malta. (Photo: Christopher Clark)
The complicated network of underground tunnels and wells under the island of Malta holds promise for archaeologists seeking to uncover more of the nation’s history. But to humans, they are largely inaccessible because of their narrow passages and the modern-day buildings that sit atop many. Archaeologists have resorted to using autonomous robots to explore the tunnels’ depths, and Princeton computer science major Anna Kornfeld Simpson ’14 has worked to improve how robots can navigate and understand where they are in the tunnels.
Kornfeld Simpson became interested in the project after a course in autonomous robot navigation with visiting professor Christopher Clark during her sophomore year. Looking for a way to get involved and apply what she’d learned, Kornfeld Simpson joined Clark’s team and set off for Malta last spring.
Kornfeld Simpson was tasked with finding a way to make it easier for a robot to move about the tunnels and create maps from the sonar information it collects. A robot lowered into an underwater tunnel is good at swimming, she said, but difficulties arise with how well the robot knows where it’s going. Sonar is helpful, but only up to a certain point.
“The biggest challenge with this data is that it’s really noisy, messy, and complicated,” she explained. “It’s just a whole bunch of numbers to the robot. ... [The robot] takes a ‘look around’ like a bat might do. It finds out roughly how far away the nearest obstacle is in all directions.”
Steve Forbes '70 said that the Federal Reserve has "flooded the engine" of the U.S. economy by supplying too much money. (Photo: Ellis Liang '15)
To revitalize the economy, the U.S. needs to return to a gold standard and simplify the tax code, Steve Forbes ’70 said at a lecture in McCosh Hall March 10.
Forbes, the chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media and a two-time Republican presidential candidate, returned to his alma mater for an event sponsored by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He told the audience that the recent economic decline was not the result of free market capitalism, but of flawed monetary and tax policy.
“If the Federal Reserve does not supply enough money to meet the organic or natural needs of the marketplace, you’re going to stall the economy. If it prints too much money, you get the economic equivalence of flooding the engine,” Forbes said. With the right amount, he continued, you have the chance to grow.
According to Forbes, the Federal Reserve in recent decades has “flooded the engine.” He added that an unstable currency also misdirects investment into illiquid assets such as land and buildings, which gave rise to the housing bubble. Furthermore, an unstable currency distorts market information, causes wages to stagnate, and undermines social trust, he said.
What does Forbes think the U.S. should do?
“The dollar will be re-linked to G-O-L-D,” he said. “Why gold? It’s the one thing in the world that keeps its intrinsic value better than anything else — like the North Star, Polaris, something you can fix off of.”
The Princeton women's basketball Class of 2013, clockwise from upper left: Megan Bowen, Kate Miller, Niveen Rasheed, and Lauren Polansky. (Photos: Courtesy Office of Athletic Communications)
In many ways, the women’s basketball team’s Senior Night on Saturday was just like the Senior Nights of thousands of teams in dozens of sports around the country. Before the game, Princeton’s veterans were honored for their work over the past four years; as their names and accomplishments were announced to the crowd, they brought their families onto the court, posed for pictures, and embraced head coach Courtney Banghart.
Of course, few Senior Nights have ever had as much to celebrate as the Tigers’ Class of 2013. As rookies, that quartet claimed the Ivy title and Princeton’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament; they added three more in following years. As juniors, they were critical in making the 2012 Tigers the first nationally ranked team in Ivy history, and soon they will graduate as the league’s most successful class by almost any standard.
And while most Senior Night festivities end when the game begins, Princeton held an even bigger celebration after Saturday’s final buzzer. With an 80-51 victory over Brown, the Tigers clinched their fourth straight outright Ivy championship — unprecedented in the round-robin era — and officially punched their ticket back to the NCAA tournament.
Fittingly, Princeton’s four seniors all made key plays in the title-clinching victory — and drew the largest cheers while cutting down the nets afterward. “The intangibles they brought are why they’re so successful,” Banghart said. “They have an enormous amount of enthusiasm, resolve, and toughness, and you don’t know that when recruiting them.”
Although the Class of 2013 entered Saturday a perfect 27-0 at home in Ivy League play, and Brown was ranked seventh in the league at 3-10, the Bears led late in the first half thanks to some rare defensive breakdowns. Kate Miller ’13 re-took the lead at the two-minute mark with a long jumper, then swished a three-pointer from nearly the same spot on the following possession; pesky point guard Lauren Polansky ’13 poked the ball free from Carly Wellington for a turnover 93 feet from the Bears’ basket; and Niveen Rasheed ’13 followed up a miss with a two-handed tip-in with 40 seconds remaining. Thanks to their seniors’ contributions, Princeton held a slim 33-32 lead at halftime.
The second half was a completely different game, as the Tigers torched Brown for 47 points on 32 possessions while limiting the Bears to only 19. During a 20-4 run early in the half, the Bears could hardly complete a pass on offense or get a rebound on defense; by the time the four seniors exited as a unit with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, the Ivy League title was well in hand. “We just realized we weren’t playing like ourselves,” Rasheed said. “We’re not going to have our last game at home be a bad one.”
Ian Hummer '13's 23-point, 14-rebound performance propelled Princeton to victory against Harvard. The Crimson also lost to Penn, giving the Tigers sole possession of first place in the Ivy League. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)
In basketball, perhaps more than in any other sport, there is an expectation that star players will decide close games. Like most sports clichés, this one contains as much falsehood as it does truth; for every game-winning highlight from Michael Jordan or Christian Laettner, there is another by a player like Robert Horry or Keith Smart, sidekicks who made critical shots.
When the men’s basketball team faced Harvard on Friday night, however, there was no question who the biggest star was — and nobody left Jadwin Gym doubting his influence on the game. In what was effectively a must-win game for the Tigers — a loss would have put Harvard two games ahead with three remaining — Ian Hummer ’13 made the three biggest plays of Princeton’s season, willing the hosts to a 58-53 victory that kept their NCAA tournament hopes alive.
A second-generation Princeton basketball standout — his father Ed ’67 and uncle John ’70 each wore the orange and black — Hummer added to his already robust legacy in Friday’s game. With an old-fashioned three-point play early in the second half, he passed Doug Davis ’12 for second place on Princeton’s all-time scoring list, trailing only Bill Bradley ’65; he also ranks among the program’s top 10 in rebounds, assists and blocked shots, and he’s one good game from adding steals to that list.
But Hummer’s play down the stretch was even more memorable than his milestone. With the Tigers trailing by one point and two minutes remaining, point guard T.J. Bray missed a medium-range shot, but Hummer crossed the lane from the weak side, rose through traffic, controlled the ball with one hand and laid it in softly off the glass, coming down with a 52-51 lead.
Thirty seconds later, with Princeton down by one point once again, there was no doubt where the ball was going. Coming out of a timeout, Hummer outmuscled Steve Mondou-Missi to get extremely deep post position; the Harvard forward had no choice but to foul Hummer, who made both free throws and gave Princeton another one-point lead.
That margin held until the final seconds, when Mack Darrow ’13 missed the front end of a one-and-one. Hummer rose above Mondou-Missi to tap the rebound back toward the Princeton backcourt; as it neared the sideline, Bray slapped it back in play with a full-extension drive, and Denton Koon ’15 collected it, drawing a clock-stopping foul and making both free throws.
Hummer intercepted Harvard’s last-ditch inbounds pass for good measure, sending a crowd of 4,413 home happy and keeping the Ivy League race alive. Hummer’s final line: 23 points, 14 rebounds, and one Ivy League Player of the Year trophy that can be all but engraved already. “He was a monster,” Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker said in the postgame press conference.
Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks, visited Princeton Feb. 27. (Photo: Ellis Liang '15)
Military commissions are necessary judicial institutions, Chief Prosecutor of U.S. Military Commissions Brig. Gen. Mark Martins said in a Feb. 27 lecture at the Woodrow Wilson School.
Martins, the chief prosecutor for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks, emphasized that in contrast to civilian courts, military commissions have a different standard of evidence and jury composition, which are essential for dealing with cases related to armed conflict. However, Martins added that new forms of conflict, such as terrorism, blur the lines between civilian and war crimes.
“The nature of the threat is that something can be regarded both as a violation of the law of war — a war crime — and a violation of the domestic law. Those are not mutually exclusive categories, and that’s where the controversy of how you’re regarding this challenge comes in,” Martins said.
Martins pointed out that one difference of military commissions is in allowing hearsay evidence, prompting Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs Kim Lane Scheppele to ask what that implies for evidence gathered through coercion.
“The hearsay rule in Anglo-American jurisprudence is the way that we screen out torture,” Scheppele said, “so when the hearsay rule is relaxed, it’s hitting the front line in the American system or the English system, the barrier that keeps out evidence collected by torture or by coercion.”
The life of a spring athlete in the Northeast can be difficult this time of year. Many schools further south and west have already played their first games, enjoying warm afternoons and sunshine after a full winter of practice. But for Princeton and other Ivy League teams, February merely means the continuation of winter: intermittent snowfall, temperatures in the 30s and more time spent training indoors, waiting for the weather to turn so the season can begin.
How do these athletes pass the time while cooped up inside? The men’s golf team came up with a fun solution: a trick-shot video.
This video, which has garnered about 2,500 views as of Monday morning, was conceived by Greg Jarmas ’14 and Matt Gerber ’16 and also features Joe D’Amato ’15 and Quinn Prchal ’16 in supporting roles. The foursome filmed their shots near the end of January’s finals period and posted the result earlier this month. “We were hanging around practicing one day, hitting some of those shots, and we thought, we should make a video — it would be fun to make, at least,” Jarmas said.
For a film in which several shots required extreme precision, those four Tigers were able to hole out rather quickly. Jarmas said the recording process took only 1-2 hours a day for a three-day span, serving as a reminder that, to borrow an old PGA Tour slogan, these guys are good. (He added that thinking up new tricks often took longer than executing them, and that the climactic ending — a crazy, Rube Goldberg-esque shot that runs for a full 30 seconds — took two hours to build.) Indeed, if the fall was any indication, Princeton has a promising future ahead — the Tigers won the Ivy match play tournament title in October and will be a strong contender for the official conference championship this spring.
Of course, maintaining that momentum may be hard after the rude interruption of winter. Players can putt in their carpeted practice area by the Dillon squash courts, where their video was staged, and hit into a simulator that projects the ball’s flight path, but there are parts of the real game that can’t be replicated indoors. “It keeps the club in your hand, but there’s no substitute to being able to see the ball fly outside,” Jarmas said.
Baseball and softball players are also suffering cabin fever — or, perhaps, “Jadwin fever” — while being unable to train in their natural outdoor habitats. Ivy League rules allow full in-season practices to begin Feb. 1, but the baseball team had escaped Jadwin only once before last Friday (unlike last year, when both teams were outside early and often after an abnormally mild winter). Meanwhile, most of the nation’s top college teams are well into their seasons; Cal State Fullerton has played eight games already and LSU has played seven, to name two.
Softening the blow is Princeton’s indoor practice area, which pitcher Zak Hermans ’13 called the Ivy League’s best. Despite its unfriendly name — “The Pit” — Princeton’s facility, located at the bottom of Jadwin Gym, has a FieldTurf surface and plenty of netting to catch stray balls. It is spacious enough to contain a full infield for simulated scrimmages, allowing hitters to step outside the batting cages and face live pitching.
There are still limitations, of course — outfielders can’t practice tracking deep fly balls — but in the Northeast, you take whatever opportunities you get. And this weekend, both teams will get vaccinated for Jadwin fever, as the softball team opens its season in Jacksonville while the baseball team visits Maryland. With 3 to 5 doses each weekend through the end of April, as well as occasional mid-week booster shots, Jadwin fever will soon be replaced by spring fever.
Internet expert danah boyd studies the intersection of technology and society, particularly in the ways that young people use social media. “I’m an ethnographer,” she explained in a Feb. 18 talk at the Woodrow Wilson School.“I spend most of my time trying to understand everyday practices and how to map what is going on in our lives.”
A senior researcher at Microsoft Research, boyd (who legally changed her name to include only lowercase letters) described the four “affordances,” or functional qualities, that accompany new technology: persistence, replicability, searchability, and scalability. In other words, information generated online will stick and spread; people can be searched, and their words can be seen by millions.
“Part of the online environment is that we often don't know what the context is, we're negotiating it, and again it gets complicated when you think about persistence or when you think about things spreading,” boyd said.
The idea that young people do not care about online privacy is a myth, in boyd’s view. “The first thing to realize is that a lot of young people have chosen to be in a public, which is different from choosing to be public,” she said, noting that this distinction colors the way young people try to control their social situations when online.
For most teams in the ECAC men’s hockey league this season, there has been no such thing as a comfortable position in the standings. Princeton learned that the hard way this weekend, sliding all the way from third place to seventh with two 3-2 home losses, but such large changes have been common in one of the wildest editions ever of the ECAC. Just look at a chart of every team’s standing after the last nine weekends of conference play:
(Graph by Kevin Whitaker '13)
Bear in mind, that crazy graph starts a full month into conference play, by which point every team had played 5-8 games and the standings should have stabilized a bit. Instead, they’ve only become more chaotic. Quinnipiac ran away with the league lead by winning its first 10 conference games, but five different teams, including Princeton, have held second place in the last two months.
Cornell opened the season ranked sixth nationally and was still in fourth place when the calendar turned; after a seven-game losing streak, it dropped to 11th within a month. Harvard was also nationally ranked as late as Dec. 17, five weeks before falling into the basement. On the other side, six straight victories propelled Rensselaer from 11th place to second in a three-week span, an almost unheard-of leap this late in the season.
Those jumps reflect a season of preposterous parity — every team can beat almost anyone, so the standings have formed a tight band right around .500. Entering Friday, the middle eight teams were separated by a mere four points, the difference between a good and bad weekend; even after a relatively orderly week, a four-point range still contains teams two through eight. “It seems like it’s always really tight [in past years], but this is pretty incredible,” head coach Bob Prier said.
If the ECAC Tournament had started last week, Princeton would have been the No. 3 seed, getting a first-round bye before playing a home game in the quarterfinals. If it started today, the Tigers would be seeded eighth, having to beat a solid Brown squad in the opening round for the right to visit national No. 1 Quinnipiac.
Of course, with the standings still so close, Princeton could bounce back as high as second place with a strong showing against Brown and Yale this weekend. With only four games remaining, every team except Harvard is still mathematically in the running for a top-four seed and first-round bye in the ECAC Tournament. “When that many teams are fighting for a bye that late in the season, these are really playoff-type games already,” Prier said.