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
In the summer of 1933, Princeton professor George E. Beggs, above, and Elmer K. Timby made and tested a celluloid scale model of a tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, using a technique that Beggs had invented to test the stress resistance of bridges and other structures. (In the photo, he’s working with a model of the proposed Camden-Philadelphia Tunnel.) Their work attracted nationwide attention, and Beggs’ method has since been used by engineers worldwide.
Engineering, however, did not always take center stage at Princeton. In fact, engineering did not come to Princeton until 1875 — more than a century after the University’s founding in 1746. Until the 1920s, course offerings were limited to civil engineering for undergrads and electrical engineering for graduate students. In a predominantly liberal-arts campus, it seemed, engineering remained on the sidelines.
To bridge the gap between technical training and a liberal-arts education, the University created an “engineering plus” program in 1921. In essence, engineering education was to be liberalized: Undergraduate engineers would be trained in both technical fundamentals as well as cultural and humanistic studies. Fourteen years later, Carlton S. Proctor 1915, a future president of the American Society of Engineers, penned an enthusiastic overview of the program in PAW, calling it “a distinctly Princeton education.”
“Princeton’s young singers and musicians did very well.” So declared a New York Times reviewer in a December 1982 recap of the Princeton University Opera Theater’s sold-out performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio at Lincoln Center.
Fidelio had started out as a campus production the previous spring. The performance so impressed the Beethoven Society that it sponsored the Princeton University Opera Theater performance at Lincoln Center. Michael Pratt, who conducted the opera — and who still conducts the University Orchestra and directs the program in musical performance — was hailed by the Times as a “real hero,” displaying a “sense of just the right tempo … careful phrasing and well-planned dynamics.”
More than 30 years later, the Princeton University Opera Theater is still singing strong. In January 2014, it staged a performance of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea in Richardson Auditorium, and next January, it is slated to perform Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel.
Saturday marks the final opening day of Princeton’s fall sports season as the Tiger football team kicks off its 2014 schedule at San Diego. On campus, a pair of varsity teams will be competing (men’s tennis, field hockey), along with club sports, including men’s and women’s rugby.
Rugby is among the University’s longest-running club teams, with more than 80 consecutive years of competition on the men’s side. PAW’s May 19, 1964, cover featured this action shot of the Princeton ruggers, left, in action against the New York Rugby Club, which won the match, 8-6. Later that year, a Daily Princetonian article described the ethos of the Tiger team:
“Rugby at Princeton is a sport for gentlemen,” wrote Chris Jones ’67. “It has to be. If it didn’t have a fairly high level of sportsmanship, nobody would be able to even crawl away from this bruising game. It is rather ungentlemanly cruelty to beat the brains out of a man you’re going to be drinking with in the beer party that the home team always gives for its opponents right after the game.”
A simple, solemn bronze bell hangs from a wooden post at the entrance to Princeton’s Sept. 11 memorial garden outside Chancellor Green. Titled “Remembrance,” the bell was created by Toshiko Takaezu, a longtime faculty member in Princeton’s visual-arts program.
Takaezu, who died in 2011, first arrived on campus in 1967, two years before the beginning of coeducation. She was among a handful of artists who breathed new life into creative-arts instruction during an expansion led by then-President Robert Goheen ’40 *48. Takaezu also earned acclaim for her innovative work as a ceramicist, painter, and weaver.
In 1996, four years after retiring from teaching, Takaezu received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree at Princeton’s commencement. The citation credited her for encouraging “generations of Princeton students to use their creative powers to shape and center their lives.”
Princeton upperclassmen arriving back on campus in September 1948 found a couple of significant changes: Firestone Library was nearly complete, while the books at the old Pyne Library had been pulled from their shelves; and the swimming team finally had a new home at Dillon, after being pool-less for four years due to a fire that destroyed the gymnasium.
The U-Store, in the midst of a reorganization, had found dusty boxes of silk top hats and canes — relics that, according to PAW columnist William T. Barry III ’50, “drew curious eyes and eager buyers.” But students had more than costumes and frivolity on their minds. At class registration in Dillon Gym, a sign directed them to visit the balcony and register for Selective Service. “These signs reminded all the non-veterans that their college careers are liable to be interrupted by the draft before graduation,” Barry wrote.