Spring 2012

Right Church? Right Pew?

It’s a safe bet that more Americans are able to name the nine reindeer of Santa than the twelve apostles of Jesus.

The hunt for the mystery diarist

When a young doctor’s wife wrote in her diary back in 1902, she couldn’t have known that over a century later, scholars at William & Mary would be reading it—let alone trying to determine her identity.

All about the algorithms

Sometimes the guys on Team Gold say “worlds.” Other times, they say “finals.” Both terms refer to the World Finals of the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC) to be held in May in Warsaw, Poland.

Diving into Colonial history

A partnership between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Watermen’s Museum in historic Yorktown is giving students at three local schools an opportunity to dive into Colonial history—literally.

W&M School of Education
Launching Camp Launch

While William & Mary’s students are away from campus in summer, a new—and considerably younger—set of students will take their place in the dorms and in the classrooms, learning about science and cutting-edge technology.

Lasers and candy and bosons, oh my!

Joshua Erlich was not teaching a cooking class when he talked about fat content, taste and mouth feel to an audience of several dozen members of the Williamsburg community one bright Saturday morning.

Anne Charity Hudley
... it's also how you say it

The 30 students in a high school classroom may all speak English, but a mix of factors in each student’s background shapes how he or she speaks it. The same is true for the teacher.

Plugging the last leaks

A pipeline with a leak isn’t very efficient—much of whatever is supposed to be transported will be lost along the way. That’s exactly what’s happening to women as they pursue careers in science.

VIMS grad student Samuel Lake shows off his game with Kristin Kelley
PERFECT combination

Theresa Davenport was having some trouble with a football player. Davenport was explaining to a biology class at Grafton High School about some of the problems that can stem from seawater that is low in oxygen.

student at the 2011 VISTA summer science camp
VISTA of the Commonwealth

Virginia’s beaches are in trouble. Swimmers are getting sick. The water looks ugly. The governor’s scientists have no idea what’s wrong. Then the governor hears about a two-week convention of young scientists—very young scientists—at William & Mary’s School of Education. He issues a desperate plea for help.

W&M School of Education
The Tidewater Team

The Tidewater Team is helping fourth- and fifth-grade students get their hands dirty—creating mini-ecosystems, fictional animals, volcanoes and ice cream makers.

Almost as good as an outcrop

Heather Macdonald has always been eager to get her new geosciences students out of the classroom and into the field—especially if there is a handy outcrop.

From the dock to your fork

Local seafood once provided a major economic and cultural link between the Chesapeake Bay and the people in its watershed. Today—with a few exceptions—the crabs, oysters and fish on your plate are more likely to come from the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean or the Far East.

Science, in 3 to 5 minutes

There are the arts, and then there are the sciences. There is literature, language and film, and then there is calculus, physics and experiments.

A couple of simple questions…

The most comprehensive survey of international relations scholars ever made started at William & Mary with two elementary questions.

Hands-on activity is a hallmark of the STEM Education Alliance summer academies.
STEM Education Alliance

“Three, two, one …” A rocket made out of a two-liter bottle shoots into the blue sky, a line of white smoke trailing behind.

Noyce Scholar Robin Shaulis ’11  (front) demonstrates seine-hauling technique to students at a GEAR-UP academy at VIMS.
Noyce Scholars

America needs more good, seasoned K-12 STEM teachers—a set of professionals who not only understand science and math, but who also know how to make other people understand science and math.

Emil Davis, biology teacher at Bruton High School, gets his students Kai Brown (front) and Brittany Cordero started on a gel electrophoresis experiment as William & Mary biologist Margaret Saha looks on.
Summer updates

Every summer since 1999, a number of high school biology teachers gather in the labs and classrooms of William & Mary’s Integrated Science Center to work with and discuss the latest advances in research with the College’s biologists.

ARES will parachute down to above the surface of Mars
Airplane over the Red Planet

William & Mary might become the base for a mission to Mars. The mission is called ARES—the Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Surveyor. Joel Levine explains that the idea is to send an airplane to Mars.

They really drank this stuff?

Geologists at William & Mary are analyzing a possible contributing cause of the deaths at Jamestown Island during the Starving Time of 1609 and 1610—bad drinking water.

Changing flavors

An international team of physicists has reported the first set of observations detailing important behavior of neutrino oscillation, an accomplishment that is a necessary step to additional experiments intended to answer fundamental questions about the makeup of the universe.

Muscarelle Museum Director Aaron De Groft (front) and Chief Curator John Spike confer with students
Grand Hallucination: Hanging of art at the Muscarelle

A visitor walks into a museum gallery. Everything seems perfect: the paintings are grouped; the labels are carefully placed; the texts announce the significant themes; and the lighting entices. All of these aesthetics boast ‘here is something very special, come a little closer.’

Intracellular traffic control

William & Mary molecular biologist Lizabeth Allison has received a grant of more than $1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Heather Macdonald is a finalist for Robert Foster Cherry Award

"Why do we study geosciences?” Heather Macdonald asked her audience at the Robert Foster Cherry Lecture. She then ran down a list of timely geoscience topics, including hurricanes, earthquakes, climate change, volcanoes and petroleum and other natural resources.

AidData partners with climate change center to launch foreign-aid mapping tool

AidData, in partnership with the Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Political Stability program (CCAPS), has launched an online data portal that enables researchers and policymakers to visualize data on climate change vulnerability, conflict, and aid, and to analyze how these issues intersect in Africa.

Rocking the geologists

The William & Mary Department of Geology has acquired a world-class mineral collection that geologists say will be a valuable resource in the department for many years.

Pushing their own boundaries

William & Mary students are pushing the envelope when it comes to undergraduate research. Hundreds of them put their research on display when the College hosted the 18th Annual Undergraduate Science Research Symposium.