Kip Thorne *65 (Courtesy Keenan Pepper, via Wikipedia)
At the Academy Awards ceremony, Interstellar visual effects supervisor Andrew Lockley, who accepted the Oscar for visual effects, praised alumnus KIP THORNE *65 as “one of the smartest people on Earth.” Thorne, a physicist at Caltech, served as the scientific consultant (and an executive producer) for the film, which was featured in the inaugural PAW Goes to the Movies column. Thorne’s involvement with the film began eight years ago, when he and producer Lynda Obst started working on a treatment in which “all the wild speculation would spring from science, not just the fertile mind of a screenwriter,” according to Deadline.com.
Oscar Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game highlights ALAN TURING *38 and his contributions as a World War II codebreaker. But Freeman Dyson tells Joel Achenbach ’82 of The Washington Post that the film overlooks Turing’s greatest contribution: “He invented the idea of software, essentially.”
Last week, Princeton received an extraordinary collection of rare books and manuscripts from the late WILLAM H. SCHEIDE ’36, who died in November 2014. Valued at nearly $300 million, the collection includes a Gutenberg Bible, an original printing of the Declaration of Independence, and notable musical manuscripts by Bach and Beethoven. The New York Times article about the gift cited a 2009 PAW story in which Scheide talked about smelling his books as “one way of getting acquainted.”
Former Massachusetts state treasurer STEVE GROSSMAN ’67 and Harvard Business School professor MICHAEL PORTER ’69 are teaming up at a nonprofit that aims to address income inequality by helping urban businesses grow, The Boston Globe reports. Grossman said he decided to take the new job at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City because “this is where you can change people’s lives.”
Director Mora Stephens ’98 on the set of her new film, Zipper. (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle)
By Giri Nathan ’13
The stereotype of alumni networking at Princeton is that it nurtures connections in fields like law, finance, and government. Independent film might sound like an unlikely addition to that list. But this month, three artists with Princeton ties will make their way to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, one of the industry’s marquee events. Jackson Greenberg ’12, Scott Salinas ’97, and Mora Stephens ’98 all worked on films that will premiere at the festival.
Salinas and Greenberg composed the score of the documentary Cartel Land, continuing a partnership that has its origins in the pages of the Princeton Alumni Weekly. As a freshman, Greenberg found himself in love with music and unsure of his summer plans. After stumbling upon a PAW profile of Salinas, a film composer in Los Angeles, he reached out on a whim and asked for an internship. Despite never having hired an intern before, Salinas took him in, and over the years, their intern-employer relationship evolved into one of collaboration and friendship. Continue reading
Princeton psychology professor Michael Graziano ’89 *96 will deliver the opening talk in the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday Lecture Series Jan. 10 at 9:30 a.m.
Graziano will focus on “Consciousness and the Social Brain,” a topic covered in PAW’s April 23, 2014, profile of the alumnus and professor. Future speakers in this year’s series include Professor Emily Carter, director of Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and Professor Paul Steinhardt, director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. For more information, visit pppl.gov/education.
The Science on Saturday program was renamed this year to honor Hatcher, its beloved longtime host, who died in March.
As the end of 2014 draws near, The Weekly Blog shines the spotlight on reader favorites. This year, PAW’s five most-viewed online stories were all cover stories from the magazine.
1. The Rules
(Published in the Oct. 8 issue)
Lawrence Otis Graham ’83 thought his Ivy League education and status would insulate his family from racism. He was wrong.
2. The People Who Saw Evolution
(Published in the April 23 issue)
After 40 years of research on Darwin’s finches, Peter and Rosemary Grant have written their valediction.
Three books by Princeton alumni were featured in The New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2014: A Replacement Life, by Boris Fishman ’01; American Innovations, by Rivka Galchen ’98; On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, by Alice Goffman *10; and Family Life, by Akhil Sharma ’92. Emeritus professor James McPherson also made the list with his biography of Jefferson Davis, Embattled Rebel. Times Book Review editors also named Sharma’s novel as one of the year’s 10 best.
Read more about the authors in the PAW Archives:
Boris Fishman ’01: Immigrant Experiences Inspire a Debut Novel
Fishman, who was born in the former Soviet Union and came to the United States at age 9, told PAW contributor Maria LoBiondo that the immigrant experience has played a key role in his writing. “Outwardly I’m very American, but inwardly I’m Russian,” he said. “The conflict is very rich for writing. Honey for art, but vinegar for life.”
Tiger of the Week: Author Rivka Galchen ’98
Galchen’s fresh, innovative short-story collection earned high marks from reviewers.
Life on the Run
Goffman, a rising star in sociology, chronicled the human costs of America’s penal system after spending her 20s immersed in fieldwork with wanted young men.
Tiger of the Week: Novelist Akhil Sharma ’92
Sharma’s semi-autobiographical second novel was the result of a sometimes painful writing process that took nearly a decade. He wrote about the experience in a personal essay for The New York Times.
For the record: This post has been updated to include Akhil Sharma ’92’s novel Family Life.
By Kathryn Beaumont ’96
More than 700 people braved driving wind and rain Nov. 17 and packed into the ballroom at the historic Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston to welcome President Eisgruber ’83 on the 16th stop of his “welcome tour” since becoming Princeton’s 20th president in 2013.
Following a lively cocktail hour, alums settled in for a discussion moderated by Princeton trustee Brent Henry ’69. After getting Eisgruber to admit that students have been known to chant, “Ice Ice, Gruber!” in his presence, Henry’s questions touched upon Eisgruber’s arrival on the faculty at Princeton, his decision to accept the Princeton presidency after turning down several other such offers, his plans for the future, and the state of Princeton admissions.
Eisgruber, who was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, said his own passion for constitutional law was ignited at Princeton in Professor Walter Murphy’s constitutional-law class. After teaching at NYU for more than a decade, Eisgruber jumped at the chance to teach law and public affairs on the undergraduate level. After all, because Princeton had no law school, “I thought I had insulated my career from academic administration,” he laughed. Eisgruber said he could not imagine becoming a university president except at a place where you “can feel the music of the place and sing the songs of the place.” Continue reading