Tyler Moran, On Almost Normal Matrices
An n-by-n matrix is said to be "almost normal" if it has n-1 orthogonal eigenvectors. The properties of the numerical range and Aluthge transform of such a matrix are explored. In particular, it is shown that the boundary of the numerical range of an almost normal matrix is a smooth curve.
Katie Beaver, The Effect of U.S. Policy on International Organization Effectiveness
In a 1998 interview, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright referred to the United States an “indispensible nation” in world affairs. The U.S. “stands tall” and “sees further into the future than other nations.” Its interests cannot be sacrificed in pursuit of multilateral cooperation and thus must be taken into account if such cooperation is to be successful. This presentation will seek to address this claim empirically by examining the level of United States involvement in several treaty negotiations after 1990 in order to assess its impact on the ability of the treaties and organizations to be effective. The following multilateral efforts will be discussed: the International Criminal Court, The Montreal Protocol, The Kyoto Protocol, The International Aid Transparency Initiative, and The Ottawa Convention on the Ban of Anti-Personnel Landmines.
Elsa Voytas, Justice and a Lack Thereof: Comparative Perspectives on Transitional Justice in the Southern Cone
Southern Cone countries ruled by military regimes in the 1960s-1990s now have divergent policies to obtain justice for crimes committed during the military dictatorships. Over 1,000 trials have taken place in domestic Chilean courts in the years following the application of universal jurisdiction in the Pinochet case. Following a Supreme Court decision in 2005 overturning Argentina’s amnesty law, over 400 domestic trials have ensured. Meanwhile, amnesty persists in Brazil, recently reaffirmed by a 2010 Supreme Court decision. This poster analyzes the factors surrounding the opposite Supreme Court decisions in Brazil and Argentina. Strategies utilized by human rights organizations, the role of the executive branch, the scale of violence and nature of the democratic transition, and the use of international mechanisms such as universal jurisdiction can all lend insight into the nature of justice for human rights violations in Southern Cone countries.
Jessica Murray, The Effect of Mercury on Neural Gene Expression during Zebra Finch Development and Song Learning
Mercury is a highly toxic pollutant that preferentially and adversely affects the nervous system, particularly when exposure occurs early in life. Preliminary data reveal that male juvenile zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) learn a less complex and lower pitched song after developmental exposure to methylmercury. To investigate how mercury may be exerting its toxic effects in the developing brain and during song learning, expression of key genes associated with language pathology were examined in zebra finch embryos and juvenile males whose parents were raised on a diet containing low, biologically relevant levels of mercury. Zebra finches are vocal learners and thus provide a model system for language acquisition in humans. The genes of focus for this study were FoxP2, a winged-helix transcription factor implicated in language disorders, and CNTNAP2, a downstream target of FoxP2 which is also associated with language impairment. We have utilized in situ hybridization on histological sections to compare spatiotemporal gene expression patterns between unexposed control embryos and embryos developmentally exposed to methylmercury. Levels of gene expression of FoxP2 and CNTNAP2 were quantified with qRT-PCR. Currently data suggest that embryos have a great deal of biological variation in FoxP2 at the stages analyzed. Further analysis will be performed to investigate the potential causes for this variation. Effects of prenatal exposure to mercury will also be examined in juvenile zebra finch during song learning. Levels of FoxP2 and CNTNAP2 expressed throughout the brain will be quantified with qRT-PCR and compared across treatment groups.
Brian Rabe, The Role of Calcium Activity in the Developing Nervous system of Xenopus
During early neural development, neural cells undergo rapid increases of intracellular calcium concentration followed by a rapid decrease to baseline levels. These calcium “spikes” or transients have been linked to a variety of neural developmental processes. Calcium transients are believed to act in addition to hardwired genetic mechanisms to control changes in gene expression by which a neural cell acquires and maintains a specific identity. In order to determine the role of calcium activity on the global gene expression of developing Xenopus neural cells, the calcium transients of dissociated neural cells are manipulated via exogenous calcium concentrations. After culture, the RNA of these cells is extracted and subjected to microarray analysis to determine the effects of an increased frequency of calcium transients on gene expression. Furthermore, signaling via the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a putative upstream regulator of calcium activity. GABA signaling has been implicated, via the modulation of calcium activity, in a variety of essential processes during neural development including cell proliferation, migration, neurotransmitter phenotype specification and synapse formation. We predicted that key subunits of the GABA receptors are expressed during the neurula stages of development, a period critical for neurotransmitter phenotype specification. Using whole mount in situ hybridization and qRT-PCR, we have shown that five GABAA alpha subunits and the two GABAB¬ subunits are expressed throughout the developing nervous system of neurula and tailbud Xenopus embryos.
Brett Evans, Desire and the Textual Body in Latin Love Elegy
Latin love elegy is a genre of ancient Roman poetry that purports to disclose the tale of love between a first-person speaker and his or her beloved. One metaphor in this genre is pervasive: the physical text is the body of the lover. In this thesis, I explore several routes of approach to the modern reader’s interpretation of these poems’ elusive realism and self-portrayal as a ‘body-text.’ More specifically, I will present two case studies – the first, a haunting dream of a drowning beloved; the second, a woman who publishes her body for all to see/read – that will demonstrate the extent to which the reader’s desire and understanding of ‘literature’ shapes his or her understanding of a text.
Kayla Grant, L'Être Dans la Lettre: Epistolarity and the Psychological Novel of the Late Nineteenth Century
This thesis concerns the use of letters in late nineteenth-century French and English novels; within these texts, letters introduce alternate temporalities and corporalites that dramatize the problematics of transmission, the present's relationship to the past, and the nature of story-telling. By examining letters -- whether quoted in full or simply referred to -- in Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw," Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the d'Urberviles," and Guy de Maupassant's "Une Vie," I will explore how epistolarity remains a relevant form even after its peak of popularity in the 18th century.