Abstracts: Thursday, February 23rd


Jessica Armstrong | Chemistry 
Hydrogen Evolution Catalyzed by a Cobalt Complex Containing an Asymmetric Schiff-Base Ligand
Advisor: William McNamara
Artificial Photosynthesis (AP) is a method of harnessing solar energy to generate clean burning hydrogen fuel. It relies on combining catalysts with chromophores to split water and store energy in the chemical bonds of hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. A successful device for AP will produce hydrogen when it is submerged in water and irradiated with visible light. Light excites a chromophore, promoting an electron into the conduction band of a semiconductor. An electron is then transferred to a catalyst that will reduce H+ to H2. Hydrogen in its molecular form is particularly useful as a fuel source because burning it produces primarily H2O as a byproduct and does not generate large amounts of CO2, mirroring the use of glucose in plants. The development of a system for hydrogen generation requires the identification of effective catalysts that are efficient, robust, and feasible.


Matthew McGuinness | Neuroscience 
Modeling Remyelination in Multiple Sclerosis
Advisor: Randolph Coleman
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system. MS is characterized by damage to the myelin sheath which insulates axons of neurons allowing for faster conduction of the action potential. Loss of the myelin sheath leads to a variety of neurological and musculoskeletal symptoms, and most pharmaceutical treatments aim at slowing the destruction of myelin and preventing future attacks. The body retains some ability to rebuild myelin, however, over the course of the disease this remyelination fails. In this study, a mathematical model was built examining the biochemical signaling pathways involved in remyelination. The model focused on signals received by oligodendrocyte precursor cells and their growth into oligodendrocytes, as well as the production of vital myelin proteins. Several drugs currently in use for MS, as well as others being considered for clinical trial, are being examined for their efficacy in promoting remyelination.

Sloane Nilsen | History
The Myth of Classlessness in Wartime and Austerity Britain: Hope, Disillusionment, and the Festival of Britain, 1940-1951
Advisor: Frederick Corney
My research examines the construction of the myth of classlessness in Britain during the Second World War and challenges to it under austerity in the immediate postwar years. The thesis engineers the 1951 Festival of Britain as a lens through which to track a history of hope for and disillusionment with socialist reconstruction legislation, while addressing the following key questions. How did the expectation for continued social harmony from the war clash with the "New Britain" delivered by the postwar Labour government? In what ways did this tension motivate the organization of a festival about the nation, for the nation? Featuring the prophecies of H.G. Wells and George Orwell, baby starvation techniques, postwar toilet seat aesthetics, and a particularly striking piece of steak, this thesis ultimately endeavors to question the agenda of the Festival of Britain on the eve of Cold War polarization.


Douglas Breton | History  
The Role and Legacy of Scottish Highland Soldiers in the French and Indian War
Advisor: Julie Richter
Although now among the most recognizable soldiers in the British Army, Scottish Highlanders were once regarded with suspicion and hostility. A number of clans revolted against the king in 1745-1746, and this act was punished severely with the proscription of Highland dress and weapons. Yet only one decade later, as the British government faced a critical shortage of troops in the French and Indian War, it decided to create two new Highland regiments and enlarge a third for service in North America. Men from formerly rebellious clans enlisted in droves, later showing themselves to be among the king's best soldiers. Yet they also sustained higher casualties than any other regiments largely because of English misconceptions about their actual abilities. Those who survived helped create some of the first emigrant Highland communities in North America as well as future Highland regiments. Thus the legacy of these soldiers lives on even today.

Luke Maclay | History 
Animals and the Production of History: Heritage Livestock and National Identity
Advisor: Laurie Koloski
In recent decades, the idea of "heritage" has grown to include various spheres of everyday life. In this process humans, imbued objects with deeper meanings that may muddle and reconstruct the past. Included in this process has been farm animals, reimagined as symbols of local and national agrarian pasts. This paper examines how these heritage breeds of livestock in particular have become surrogates for human stories and identity. More specifically, it raises and seeks to answer questions of historical authenticity, mythmaking, and national identity through the lens of three cases studies. These case studies include a breed brought back from "extinction" in the United States, a supposedly biblical breed making "Aliyah" to Israel, and a regional breed that is the namesake of an English region. They link together is demonstrating how people use animals to imagine themselves within particular national communities and how this has global resonance.