Three actors wielding baseball bats destroy 14 life-size portrait heads, but don’t worry: it’s art.

By Emily Gold Boutilier

I took my 6-year-old to watch three actors take baseball bats to 14 works of art. Does that make me a bad parent? You be the judge.

Sing Along

“Every time we score a goal, it’s the law that we have to sing ‘Lord Jeff,’” Glee Club President Alex Speir ’11 told the crowd assembled in the library of South on Thursday evening. In cooperation with the RCs, Speir and other members of the club arranged gatherings over the past two weeks at various dorms to teach their fellow students, especially first-years, several of Amherst’s classic college songs, just in time for Homecoming.

A Laureate in the Lounge

By Katherine Duke '05

The 1997 Nobel Laureate in Physics does not eat his pizza crusts. I made this observation on Thursday, Sept. 9, when William Phillips dropped by the Physics Student Lounge in MerrillScienceCenter to have lunch with some Amherst students.

Learning Not to Highlight, and Other Orientation Highlights

By Katherine Duke '05

Hello, my name is Katherine, and I am a recovering habitual highlighter. Nine years ago, when I started my first year at Amherst, I got into the habit of studying with a hot pink or neon green or fluorescent orange marker in my hand, so that I could drag it across any lines of text that struck me as particularly important. It made me feel accomplished and scholarly—I could look back through the pages and see that I had really studied. It took me several semesters and many defaced books to realize that merely changing the color of what I’d read didn’t help me very much when I went back to re-read it later, and it was especially unhelpful when I found that I’d designated three quarters of every page as “particularly important.”

A Different Kind of Audience

By Ioanida Costache ’12

For the past three weeks a group of string players have been working with Professor of Music David Schneider on a chamber music project designed to get classical music out of its traditional settings of classrooms and concert halls.  With Schneider on clarinet, a string quartet composed of UMass alumnus Ben Van Vliet, me on violin, Hana Kommel ’10 on viola and local cellist Wayne Smith prepared a range of pieces to bring to a different kind of audience.

Professor Awarded One of Russia’s Top Civilian Medals

Professor William Taubman is presented with the Russian medal of  the Order of Friendship

Hon. Andrey K. Yushmanov (left) presents Professor William Taubman with one of Russia’s top civilian medals.

By Emily Gold Boutilier

One of my favorite things about editing Amherst magazine is that sometimes the job is unpredictable. On Monday, in between writing about students who edit Wikipedia and approving an illustration on the economics of dueling, I heard that William Taubman, the political science professor who won a Pulitzer for his biography of Nikita Khrushchev, would soon receive one of Russia’s top civilian medals. Two days later, I found myself in the same room as an important Russian official. Who would have thought?

The Russian official, the Hon. Andrey K. Yushmanov, is consul general of the Russian Federation in New York. He’d traveled to Amherst to formally present Taubman with the medal, known as the Order of Friendship. Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev decreed that the medal be awarded to Taubman—the Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science—for “a great contribution to the development of cultural ties with the Russian Federation, including the preservation and popularization of Russian language and culture.”

Peak Performances

By Katherine Duke '05

Amherst’s Spring 2010 season of performances is in full swing. In just the past three weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in the audience for five very different shows.

A Decade of Painting

Robert Sweeney, who has taught painting and drawing in the Department of Art and the History of Art at Amherst College for more than 30 years, exhibits his work from the past decade in the Eli Marsh Gallery from Jan. 28 through Feb. 14. Professor Sweeney gave a gallery talk,  presented below, on Thursday, Jan. 29.

 

Top Guns

By Katherine Duke '05

image

The students in the Interterm course “An Introduction to the Principles, Practices, and Procedures of Turbine Flight” sat in a darkened room in Merrill, taking turns on a joystick and mouse, being pilot and co-pilot on Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX). Projected onto a screen at the front of the room were the switches, dials and lights of a Boeing 737 flight deck and a simulated view of the trees, buildings and waters around the BeefIslandAirport in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Rain was lashing the plane’s windshield, lightning crackled in the distance, and the students were about to undertake a perilous mission.

His Last First Week

Interview by Katherine Duke '05

Ben Lieber has been dean of students at Amherst since 1984 and will move on to a new position at the college in 2010. This year, he brought decades of perspective—and a brand-new beard—to his final First-Year Orientation. He spoke recently about his experiences:

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