Category: Issue 2.1 – Fall 2020

Amherst College Science Center

“Building Equity”: A Talk with Prof. Janice Hudgings

Janice Hudgings

In the early weeks of Fall 2016, Prof. Janice Hudgings of Pomona College tasked the sophomores in her Modern Physics course with identifying the scientists whose work was presented in the course textbook. The results: of the credited scientists, 99% were male, and 98% were white. These statistics are only the beginning. Since the late…

Bridging the Gaps of Art and Science: The Expansive Realm Of BioArt

Image of two hindlimbs from chick embryos.

In 2007, a performance artist named Stelarc permanently integrated a synthetic ear into one of his arms in hopes of “amplifying” his body. As unorthodox and unrealistic as this sounds, it offers an iconic example of BioArt: an art practice where artists and researchers work with cells, tissues, organisms, bacteria, and even organs such as…

Planetary cradles: UMass/FCAD colloquium speaker Feng Long presents ALMA view of early solar systems

three disks at different wavelengths

Solar systems like ours begin as pancakes of dust and gas left over after a star forms. Over time, the dust within these “circumstellar disks” coagulate into planetesimals that will eventually form planets like the Earth. During this early stage of solar system evolution, these circumstellar disks are called “protoplanetary disks” because planets have not…

The Math and the History Behind the Archimedean Solids

In his colloquium “Polyhedra: Plato, Archimedes, Euler,” Professor Robert Benedetto explains the mathematical history of the Archimedean solids – which include geometric forms like the truncated icosahedron, very reminiscent of a soccer ball but with flat faces instead of imposed on a spherical surface – and the proof that defines this set of 13 polyhedra….

The Life of a Putnam Student

The ,William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is the preeminent mathematics competition for undergraduate college students, consisting of two 3-hour sessions, with 6 problems each. The exam is so difficult that the median score is usually only 0 or 1 out of 120. Ethan Spingarn, a sophomore at Amherst College, participated in the 2019 Putnam Competition…

“Merely Bystanders”: Professor Sanderson’s Lecture on the Psychology of Courage and Inaction

Would George Floyd still be alive if J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao took action against Derek Chauvin violently asphyxiating Floyd for eight whole minutes? Would countless numbers of women have been saved from sexual harassment if Quentin Tarantino spoke out against the acts of Harvey Weinstein that he was very much aware…

Spectra’s STEM Internship Survival Guide – Academia & Research

How do I pick a supervisor?

Considering applying for STEM internships? Interested in experiences inside or outside of academia? Unsure how to get funding for these exciting opportunities (as a U.S. citizen, international, or undocumented student)? It can be hard to find summer opportunities while studying for midterms and completing coursework. Fortunately, Spectra (Amherst College’s very own Physics, Biophysics, and Astronomy…

Meet Professor Wu Orr!

mona wu orr

Image source: Amherst College Faculty & Staff Page Professor Wu Orr is a new Biology Professor who joined Amherst College this year. She is teaching Biochemistry this fall and will be teaching BIO-191 Molecules, Genes, & Cells in the Spring. I spoke with Professor Wu Orr to learn more about her research and her experience…

Introducing the McGeoch Fellows!

Named in honor of Professor McGeoch, who passed away in 2019, the ,,McGeoch Fellows assist the computer science department by holding TA hours, grading assignments, and serving as a support system for other students. This month, I caught up with Lesley Zhang ‘21, Jessica Yu ‘22, Maggie Drew ‘22, and Conrad Kuklinsky ‘21. Zhang works…