Editor’s Note

By ksascomm

Kate Pipkin

One of the most interesting things about the Krieger School is the broad diversity of its brain power. At one end of campus we have the sizable Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, home to Nobel Prize winners and brilliant researchers probing the origins of the universe. On the other side of campus we have the Mattin Center—a hub for a wide range of creative pursuits in the visual and performing arts. And in between is a vibrant mix of intellectual prowess in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.

This issue of Arts & Sciences highlights that span of expertise. Our cover story, of course, is all about science and the new doors we are (literally) opening in the quest to teach the natural sciences in new and innovative ways. The Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories opened this fall, and you will see by our photos what an aesthetically stunning place it is. Our seasoned photographer, Will Kirk—a graduate of the Class of 1999—spent countless hours getting all kinds of unusual shots of this unique addition to campus. The sweep of glass on the north side of the building makes for some interesting reflections and photos (see our cover pic, for example). For this shoot, Will scoped out the building at the crack of dawn, well after dark, and seemingly every time in between, in the quest for that perfect shot. He told us it’s really an interesting building to shoot.

“During the day, the sun lights the trees and fills the long sweep of the glass facade with reflections,” he said. “The curvature of that facade causes the reflections to repeat in a fascinating pattern that shifts as you change your angle. When it’s dark outside and the lights are on inside, the reflections disappear, and you see all those different spaces stretching out in front of you. My favorite time to shoot over there has to be dusk. At that point, most of the lights are on, and you get to watch as the interior light overtakes the sunlight. Depending on where you stand, you can catch a wash of sky and reflected trees just as they give way to a hint of the labs inside.”

Visit our online gallery to see more images of the new laboratories and the faculty and students who inhabit them.

Moving from the sophisticated technology of the new science laboratories, readers will learn about mysteries hidden “in the margins” of several old manuscripts and documents. Two of our professors—Jacques Neefs in the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures and Marina Rustow in the Humanities Center—are examining old texts to reveal new meanings. Let’s just say they might inspire you to go back and read Madame Bovary in a whole new light.

On the social sciences front, we take readers to the streets of Baltimore City, where some of our budding undergraduate researchers study the challenges low-income people are up against when they are simply trying to secure fresh, healthy food. Adam Sheingate, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, spent part of the summer teaching his students how to conduct research “in the field,” which included farmers markets, supermarkets, and soup kitchens. He said his aim was to “close the loop between the research that identifies the problem and the research that evaluates the policy.”

In addition to our three features, this issue includes profiles of some of our extraordinary alumni, news about the school, and examples of student research that range in topic from the Large Hadron Collider to Spenser’s The Faerie Queen. So sit back and witness the far-reaching expertise that characterizes the School of Arts and Sciences.

Kate Pipkin