Amherst Magazine

My Space: Leslie Moclock '10E

If a 1-billion-year-old coffee mug or a 40-year-old plant aren't strange and wonderful enough, there's plenty more waiting in Leslie Moclock '10E's room in Humphries House. Her geology studies have taken her from Montana to the islands of Greece to an undisclosed and highly protected location somewhere in New England. She has the rocks to prove it.

To navigate the 360° image below, click and drag to move around or click the "+" or "-" buttons to zoom in and out. Clicking on any object's number will bring you to the explanations below. You must have QuickTime installed to view this image. If you don't have the plug-in, you may download it for free.

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Object 1: Farmers' Market Plant

Moclock bought this plant from the Amherst Farmers' Market, a weekly fixture in town during the warmer months.

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Object 2: Rock and the Blues

A blue-eyed statuette of Athena's owl stands in the center of four rocks. At the bottom are garnets that Moclock collected from Gore Mountain, N.Y. Clockwise from the garnets are a large, dark schist, a glaucophane-bearing blueschist (both collected from Greece) and a sample of kyanite. (Glaucophane and kyanite come from the Greek for "blue-appearing" and "blue," respectively.)

The kyanite is from a large outpost of the crystals somewhere in New England; the exact location is kept a secret to protect the extraordinary formation (professors take their classes there only in vans with blacked-out passenger windows). Moclock found the sample, known as a float, lying on the ground, making it fair game for collection.

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imageObject 3: National Geographic Collection

Moclock is a huge fan of National Geographic, preferring its photo spreads to posters for room decoration. Her mother gave her a subscription to the magazine as a birthday present.

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Object 4: Family Plant

This plant grew from a cutting of a plant that itself grew from a cutting of a plant that Moclock's grandmother owned. "I guess that makes it about 40 years old. I'll try to keep it alive.'

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Object 5: Machine Shop Top

Moclock took a class in the Machine Shop, an industrial haven nestled in Merrill Science center. "I made a top that actually runs pretty well."

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Object 6: Murex

At one time, the unassuming shell of this predatory snail would have been a symbol of royalty. The murex, passed down to Moclock by its collector, was once used to create the royal purple dye used by the Romans.

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Object 7: Upholsterygeist

Moclock picked up this gliding rocker at a yearly charity furniture sale on the Amherst Town Commons. The chair was already claimed, though: Moclock did battle with thousands of ants inhabiting the upholstery, eventually stripping the chair and adding her own cushion.

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Object 8: Chalk?

This is a scanning-electron microscope image of a coccolith. This nannoplankton built a calcium-bearing skeleton out of these plates. Masses of these skeletons form blackboard chalk. "They're a delight to paleontologists and classroom teachers all over the world," says Moclock.

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Object 9: Cardboard Bagpipe

Moclock, who has loved Irish music since high school, decided to dress up as a bagpiper for Halloween. She made her bagpipe out of cardboard from her dorm and recorded bagpipe music on a small tape player. "I walked around with it playing. It was cheesy."

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Object 10: Whale, Saved

During the hubbub and flurry of students moving out, a few things tend to get left behind. Unwanted lamps, storage crates and "borrowed" dining hall dishes show up in common rooms and hallways. Moclock found this abandoned whale and took it upon herself to save it.

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Object 11: Greyson Shale Mug

Moclock spent a summer in Montana at a geology field-training "boot camp." This mug was made from clay taken from 1-billion-year-old shale formations near where she worked.

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Object 12: Sand

Ever the geologist, Moclock has samples of sand from all over the world. Given to her by a friend, the two samples on the left are from the Sahara in Tunisia. Next are two samples of sand from Hampton Beach and Rye Beach, N.H., near where Moclock lives. On the far right is sand from Santori, Greece, where Moclock traveled and studied with professors from the college's Department of Geology.

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Object 13: Chalk Tree

"A lot of people draw on their walls with ink and paint. That's no good - you can't get it off at the end of the year. This, you can do away with." In a macro homage to her microscopic poster (Object 8), Moclock drew this tree with multicolored chalk.

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