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By Stormy Burns, music department office coordinator
As many of you know, in December Shane and I attended an exciting celebration. The Berkeley astrophysics group that Shane helped establish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. I’d like to share some “bests” of our trip to Stockholm.
Best big event: The Royal Ball after the ceremony and banquet.
Best little event: The Christmas markets we found in the squares around Stockholm.
Best walk: Strolling in the cold and looking at the department store windows at night.
Best ride: The taxi ride from the hotel to the Town Hall to join our spouses for the banquet. (Five women in ball gowns and wraps can really fill a vehicle!)
Best big meal: The royal banquet, complete with fireworks as dessert was served.
Best small meal: Lunch in a diner in old town Stockholm. (No burgers, however.)
Best drink: All that French champagne!
Best conversation: Overhearing why there is no Nobel prize in mathematics.
Best gifts: Little wooden Swedish horses; tiny wooden star ornaments and candle holders.
Best tacky gift: Replica dynamite sticks made of black licorice and wrapped in paper.
Best group gathering: The Swedish lunch on the island of Fjaderholmarnas, in Stockholm’s archipelago, with the physics team.
Most fun in a museum: Watching the Nobel Laureates and other Ph.D.s romp on the play structures in the Pippi Longstocking Museum lobby.
Best hair: Judy Goldhaber’s electric shade of orange that she chose for the celebration week.
Best tiara and gown: The Crown Princess of Sweden’s blue gown and headpiece.
Best trumpet fanfare: At the beginning of the royal promenade to the banquet hall.
Best tourist event: The bus tour of the city with the Nobel laureates and their families.
I wrote and posted pictures to a blog I called “Stormy Adventures”: http://stormybburns.blogspot.com/ There are lots of photos of each day of our adventures and some video clips of the trumpet fanfare and banquet. At this time, the blog has had almost 4,000 hits – it must be people looking for Saul and Shane in their white tie and tails!
The link to the official Nobel website is www.nobelprize.org
It’s not often that a class assignment becomes a tangible enterprise, but CC’s new on-campus bar is the direct result of an economics course. A first block economics course, “Entrepreneurship,” was instrumental in launching The Ninth Block, the on-campus bar.
At the start of the school year, seniors Lee Carter, Ryan Patterson, and Luke Urban, and juniors Bryce Daniels and Tyler Thorne took Economics and Business Professor Larry Stimpert’s class in which the assignment was to write a business plan. Their first idea was a combination barbershop and bar, but they quickly dropped the barbershop side of the business and focused instead on creating a social space on campus in which students could gather and talk over a drink.
The result is The Ninth Block, currently located in La’au’s Taco Shop behind the Spencer Building. Daniels, a golfer, came up with the name, which is derived from the 19th hole in golf, commonly meaning the bar or clubhouse. CC’s Block Plan originally had nine blocks, and Patterson liked the historical significance and double connotation of the name.
“I strongly believe in the importance of students having a place to meet and socialize that doesn’t require an invitation. This gives students an option who might like to have a drink with a friend or group,” said CC President Jill Tiefenthaler.
Students under 21 can enter the bar but are not served alcohol. Entrants’ IDs are checked, and different wrist bands are worn by students over and under 21 years of age.
“We wanted a constructive place where kids could gather. There was a lot of support from the administration and the students,” said Urban. “What we were hoping to do was create an alternative to the house party scene.”
The group was encouraged by Stimpert, who liked the plan but kept challenging the students to make it better. ”He not only pushed our group, he pushed the whole class. He challenged everyone to do cool things with their project. He expected a lot out of everyone,” Urban said. “If it wasn’t for Larry, none of this would have happened.”
The on-campus bar, which serves CC students of age, faculty, and staff, is a pilot program, but Patterson said the goal is to find it a permanent, on-campus location. Colorado College previously had a campus bar, Benjamin’s Basement (also known as Benny’s) in the Rastall Center, which opened in 1975 and served 3.2 beer, soft drinks, and snacks. It ceased to exist when the building was enlarged, remodeled, and renamed the Worner Campus Center in 1987.
The students’ project fits in with an administrative goal to provide a location on or near campus where students 21 years can meet, socialize, and drink responsibly. Once the idea began to take shape, the students got in touch with Mike Edmonds, dean of students, and President Tiefenthaler, to discuss the possibilities of operating an on-campus bar. Both were open to the proposal, and Edmonds put the group in touch with Joseph Coleman, a local businessman who owns several restaurants. The students formed a partnership (PDUCT Management, derived from the initials of the five students’ last names) with Coleman, and Coleman agreed to house The Ninth Block in La’au’s, where it operates after the restaurant closes.
“It is an exciting opportunity, particularly for the students who came up with the idea,” said John Lauer, senior associate dean of students and director of residential life.
The bar, which is open from 9:15 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, serves nachos, chips and salsa, six different beers, and has a “limited but adequate” bar; it does not, however, serve shots. The students said that was a deliberate decision, designed to help promote responsible drinking and to distance the bar from the house party atmosphere. “It should be a place where a professor and student would be comfortable going after dinner at the professor’s house to talk about the issues of the day,” Carter said.
An on-campus bar helps minimize the risks of drinking, Patterson said. “This pilot program gives kids the opportunity to show they can be responsible. No one wants to mess it up.”
“The Ninth Block presents so many possibilities for learning,” Lauer said. “It is truly a unique pilot that offers hands-on business experience, another gathering place for the campus community, and a chance for the administration to see how all involved respond to the project.”
Although the entrepreneurship class was only a block long (and all five got an A in the class), they continued to work on the project the entire semester, even spending their winter break getting their bartender certifications. The group would spend long hours discussing, developing, and discarding plans. They would take over a classroom, writing ideas on the chalkboard and fine-tuning them. Stimpert can vouch for that: “They developed a high level of commitment to their idea, and long after Block One was over, I’d see them meeting together in a Palmer classroom late in the afternoon or at night hashing out details,” he said.
The students found they were constantly thinking about the challenges of getting the bar up and running– and knew the others in the group were too, based on the flurry of late-night texts and emails. “It was the perfect opportunity to learn what it is like to be a business owner and to operate a business on a small scale, said Carter. “It was a great experience.”
The bar’s founders said that the Block Plan definitely contributed to their commitment to the project, and that it would have been challenging to maintain their momentum under a semester plan. “It definitely was one of the top five educational experiences of my life,” Daniels said.
“The entrepreneurship course represents the best aspects of teaching and learning in Colorado College’s Block Plan,” said Stimpert. “The students immersed themselves in the creative task of developing a complete business plan in three and one-half weeks. They benefitted from the opportunity to work with nine successful entrepreneurs – most of them Colorado College alumni – who participated in the course. But most of the credit for the launch of The Ninth Block must go to these students. Their individual personalities quickly jelled into a hardworking and effective group.”
Student reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “People are telling us that it’s fantastic, that it’s just what the campus needs,” said Urban. “Even people we don’t know are coming up and saying they were sick of the party scene, and it’s so great to be able to go someplace close by and have a real conversation. It makes all the work worthwhile.”
Patterson said the endeavor has been the defining project of his senior year; a “capstone experience.”
“I think it will be very rewarding in the end. We want to show everyone that this is a viable, sustainable concept,” Patterson said. “It definitely improves campus life.”
The gauntlet has been thrown down by pie-maker extraordinaire Ron Rubin, development officer for major gifts.
Rubin’s Brown Bottom Rum Pecan Pie was the grand prize winner in Colorado College’s inaugural Pie-Off. The event, which drew 16 entries, was held Dec. 14 in Armstrong Hall as a benefit for CC’s Community Kitchen. CC community members literally put their money where their mouth was as they voted for their favorite pie with pocket change, dollar bills, and in some cases, five-dollar bills, and in the process raised a total of $175 for the Community Kitchen.
The event, organized by the athletic department and business office, featured three categories. In addition to be the overall winner, Rubin’s pie also took first place in the holiday category. Carolyn Madsen, office coordinator for the president’s office, took first place in the cream pie category, with her Black Bottom Pie. Rubin’s Raspbarb Pie was the top winner in the fruit pie category. A very close contender in the cream pie category was the Buttermilk Pie, an anonymous submission, which lost by 39 cents.
Rubin entered four pies in the competition. He baked two fruit pies (bluebarb and raspbarb) on Tuesday night, then went to the grocery store at 5 a.m. Wednesday, returned home, and baked two more pies (the grand prize winner and a peppermint eggnog pie) by 7:30 a.m. Although he often bakes pies for friends and family, Rubin said it was the first time he has baked four pies in 24 hours – and vows to enter five pies next year. “Next year is really going to be a doozie!” he said. “I’m bringing my special, famous pie recipes. No one will be able to touch them. Next year will be twice as big with much more money raised, I’m confident.”
Prizes were provided by the athletic department, with the winner of each category receiving a CC shirt and the grand prize winner receiving four tickets to a CC hockey game.
The pies and participants in the competition included:
Jack Daniels Peach – Carolyn Madsen
Raspbarb – Ron Rubin
Bluebarb – Ron Rubin
Apple – Cheri Gamble
Apple Cranberry Current with French Topping – Jim and Jannette Swanson
Black Bottom – Carolyn Madsen
Buttermilk – Anonymous
Mile-High Coconut Cream –Angela Hines
Coconut Cream – Camilla Vogt ’13
Peanut Butter Honeycomb – Melissa Beyers
Nesselrode – Carolyn Madsen
Mincemeat – Joan Taylor
Georgia Pumpkin – Joan Taylor
Brown Bottom Run Pecan – Ron Rubin
Peppermint Eggnog Cheesecake – Ron Rubin
Chocolate Pecan – Leslie Weddell
Here is Ron’s recipe:
Rum Pecan Pie with a Chocolate Bottom
2 heaping cups of pecans that have been toasted 5 to 10 minutes at 300 to become fragrant, then cooled. Do not allow them to burn. You have to watch the pecans closely so they don’t overcook.
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed and pressed)
3/4 cup light or dark Karo syrup (I use dark)
3 large eggs plus 2 yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum (I use Myers’s dark Jamaican rum. Cap’t Morgan would also be good, I bet!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
To make filling:
Heat brown sugar and Karo syrup in a heavy medium size saucepan at low/medium heat, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula. When sugar is dissolved into the syrup, set aside.
In another medium size saucepan, whisk eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, rum, and salt together. Slowly whisk warm (not hot) sugar mixture into egg mixture. Return saucepan to stove on low and mix with rubber spatula.
Whisk in melted butter slowly.
Meanwhile, after pie crust is pressed into pie plate, put into 300 degree oven for 3 or 4 minutes for crust to get flaky. While in the oven, during the last minute, pour in the 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Leave in oven until starting to melt. Remove crust and chocolate and spread the chocolate around the crust bottom to form a nice layer of chocolate. Let cool before adding pecans and other ingredients so chocolate doesn’t melt when adding pecan mixture.
In a small pan over low heat, stir together cornstarch and water until pasty thick. Whisk into sugar mixture. Heat in sugar mixture saucepan on medium, stirring frequently about 3 minutes so it is warm to hot.
Sprinkle pecans into chocolate pie shell, then pour filling mixture on top of pecans.
Place pie plate with ingredients in 300 to 325 degree oven (depending on oven accuracy) on cookie sheet to prevent spillage from dripping onto oven, if it should bubble over. Bake until pie puffs and the mixture is a little bubbly and firm throughout – about 35 to 40 minutes. You don’t want the mixture to be runny when taking it out of the oven. You can “shake” it a little to be sure it is firm in the middle. If need be, cook a little longer if not firm.
Place on rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Serve either warm or cool. Will keep for a week or two in the refrigerator.
Colorado Springs hosts two nationally-ranked undergraduate institutions, Colorado College and the Air Force Academy— separated from one another by a short 15-minute drive and wide cultural, scheduling and administrative differences.
However, a recently awarded $6,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation will allow the schools to break down barriers to cooperation through a series of monthly forums that can range from dinners to receptions before or after an event to interdepartmental research seminars. Colorado College and the Air Force Academy have since further expanded the program to include University of Colorado-Colorado Springs students and faculty in program activities, said John Gould, associate professor of political science and lead CC contact for the grant.
The initial efforts will focus on building communication and collaboration in three areas: social sciences, humanities and natural sciences, with each division receiving $2,000 for inter-institutional community building. Although the political science departments of CC and USAFA have a long history of informal collaboration due to their mutual interest in global studies and international relations, their interaction has been irregular due to a lack of resources. Within the humanities and natural sciences, the USAFA and CC faculty have had less contact. The grant money is aimed at creating new opportunities for network development in all three divisions.
Although the program was approved only a month ago, the institutions already have made arrangements for a number of collaborative programs. These include:
- A USAFA/CC student discussion group that will attend major speakers events this year at the two colleges
- A joint student outing of biology students to local fossil beds, with a common reading and group discussion relating to evolutionary biology
- A joint dinner of the political science faculties before a lecture from military analyst Andrew Bacevich
- A possible “Super Tuesday” primary event for students and faculty
- Group student/faculty trips to the theater
- A group discussion of Machiavelli’s “Prince”
- A program of activities relating to the theme of “freedom riding and writing”
It is hoped that as the year progresses, the newly found inter-institutional community will develop a forum in which members share information about research interests, areas of potential collaboration, visiting speakers, talented one-year visiting faculty members and academic resources and strategies. The goal is to create a communal identity—rather than an institutional one; an identity that will produce leaders willing to work on behalf of a community that extends beyond departments and institutions.
The Mellon grant provides an unprecedented opportunity to overcome the initial costs and barriers to community building and realize inter-institutional opportunities.
When the Nobel Prize in physics was announced Tuesday, Shane Burns, Colorado College physics professor, shared the special elation of knowing a great deal about the work that went into the award.
Burns is one of a small group of people, including Nobel winner Saul Perlmutter, who began the work that resulted in the 1998 discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe. Burns has continued to work with the group, now known as the Supernova Cosmology Project, since its inception in 1989.
Burns and Perlmutter searched for supernovae, which are massive exploding stars, when they were graduate students in the 1980s at the University of California at Berkeley. Burns fell in love with teaching and eventually came to Colorado College, while Perlmutter remained at Berkeley, where he is a professor of physics.
With Perlmutter the “undisputed leader” of the group that became the Supernova Cosmology Project, Burns worked with as many as 30 other scientists to observe supernovae. He is a co-author of the team’s most recent paper, published in June 2010 in the Astrophysical Journal. They were in intense competition with another supernova research team, whose two leaders shared the Nobel with Perlmutter.
Using time on the Hubble space telescope, Burns worked on the project by studying the infrared brightness of supernovae during the summers and blocks off from Colorado College. Some of his calculations were done on a high-powered Mac workstation on his office desk in Barnes Science Center, in contrast to his work two decades earlier on the largest computer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the PDP1144, a behemoth the size of a washer-dryer combination with a fraction of the capacity of his current desktop computer.
One summer in Berkeley, Burns brought in a Colorado College physics student, Katy-Robin Garton ‘01, who did measurements for the project. Garton and Burns are co-authors, with several others in the Supernova Cosmology Project, of a 2003 paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. Garton lives in Missoula, Montana, and is a documentary filmmaker.
“It was beautiful science,” said Garton, who remembers the project for its elegance and accessibility.
Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess, leader of a competing supernova research team, shared the Nobel Prize with Perlmutter.
The Colorado House of Representatives recently awarded Burns a commendation for his part in the Nobel Prize.
Burns lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Stormy, an office coordinator in the music department. They have two children.
Colorado College Professor of Economics and Business Larry Stimpert has published a new book, “Strategic Thinking: Today’s Business Imperative.” The book provides a realistic picture of the dynamic and complex process of strategic management in organizations. Written from the perspective of a manager, the book builds on theories of managerial and organizational knowledge that have had a powerful influence on many business fields over the last two decades. However, “Strategic Thinking” also focuses on how managers understand their business environments, assess and marshal their firms’ resources, and strive for advantage in the competitive marketplace by examining economic, structural, and managerial explanations for firm performance.
Stimpert has taught at the Korean University Business School and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Prior to entering the academic field, he worked in the railroad industry and in a variety of marketing, forecasting, and economic analysis positions.
The book, published by Routledge, is co-authored by Julie Chesley, formerly of the CC economics department and now assistant professor of organization theory and applied behavioral science at the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University, and Irene Duhaime, senior associate dean and professor at Georgia State University.
Improved treatments for cancer, better window coatings, and effective sunscreens are among the many outcomes of nanotechnology, the study of structures so small they are measured in the same way that one measures light. The field is growing rapidly, and a wide variety of nanomaterials are flowing into consumer goods and waste streams.
But we don’t know much about the long-term effects of these new materials, according to associate professor of chemistry Murphy Brasuel and student Kelsey Wise ’12, whose peer-reviewed article on the subject was published last month in the journal “Nanotechnogy, Science and Applications.”
Their article, “The current state of engineered nanomaterials in consumer goods and waste streams: the need to develop nanoproperty-quantifiable sensors for monitoring engineered nanomaterials,” is a review of current applications of certain nanoparticles, methods used to characterize and quantify them, their presence in the environment, and what research has been done into their toxicity.
Brasuel, whose graduate work was on the development of nanoparticle sensors to monitor communication between cells, notes that nanoparticles have different properties than the same substance in larger form – one reason that so little is known about the effects of nanomaterials . A nanoparticle of titanium oxide, for example, a key ingredient in some mineral-based sunscreens, is different than a “bulk” version of the same material.
The nano version of titanium oxide is valued for its ability to be spread transparently over the skin as it absorbs UV light. It’s used as a pigment in toothpaste and some foods, has potential in solar and fuel cells and hydrogen production, and it’s used in self-cleaning windows because it’s good at creating reactive species that break down organic materials.
Besides titanium oxide, the article discussed four other nanomaterials that are in demand or will be soon be available to consumers. These are carbon nanotubes (used in cosmetics, paints, filters, and reinforced plastics), semiconductor quantum dots (poised to be used in targeted drug delivery, cancer detection, and image-guided surgery), and gold and silver (used widely in consumer products). The article notes that the properties that make these nanomaterials so useful could also make them toxic.
“But we don’t know,” said Brasuel, who called for more work on possible effects.
“Nanotechnology is growing very rapidly on the development side but not so much on the regulation of exposure side,” Brasuel said. “How do we monitor these materials in the environment?”
Brasuel and Wise discovered that relatively little has been done to study possible effects of exposure. “It’s hard to talk about this without fearmongering,” said Brasuel, who notes that some consumer groups fear the worse and are against nanotechnology, while industry groups tend to emphasize their view that nanoparticles are absolutely safe.
“The truth is probably in between,” Brasuel said. “It’s not going to be completely benign, but not so harmful, either.”
Brasuel, who is incoming chair of the chemistry department, and Wise, who is also a captain of the college’s women’s soccer team, worked most of the summer of 2010 and the spring semester of 2011 on the article.
“I learned something completely new and fascinating,” said Wise of her work on the article. She spent this summer in a pre-med program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where she worked with a psychologist doing research on tumors in children.
Her work on nanotechnology contributed to her thinking about technology and society and long-term effects as she studied this summer, she said, noting that nanoparticles are used in some cancer treatment, though not in the work she did at Baylor.
“It’s so new. There’s a lot to be done,” Wise said. She returns to Colorado College in August for soccer practice – she plays center midfield – and for her senior year as a chemistry major. She plans to apply to medical school. She’s from Fairview, Texas, and went to high school nearby in Allen, Texas.
The Dean’s Advisory Committee and the Colorado College Venture Grant Fund supported Brasuel and Wise’s research.
As a first step in becoming part of the Colorado College community, President Jill Tiefenthaler is working with a small group representing trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to help her transition into her new role. The Temporary Transition Advisory Committee will serve through the summer. Tiefenthaler’s presidency began on July 1.
“My most important goal in the first year is to understand the college and really listen to a lot of different people,” Tiefenthaler said.
The committee will provide initial input on key stakeholders, individuals, and groups that the new president should meet, and events she should attend in her first year at Colorado College to ensure that she connects with the college and its community broadly and in meaningful ways.
“Every culture is so different,” Tiefenthaler said. “A year of listening is critical, to understand our greatest strengths, our blemishes, and our opportunities for the future.”
The transition committee members are:
Jonathan Lee, Faculty Executive Committee chair
Esther Redmount, former Faculty Executive Committee chair
Jane Murphy, assistant professor of history
Brian Linkhart, associate professor of biology
Ken Ralph, director of athletics
Randy Nehls, Staff Council co-chair
Isabel Werner ’08, young alumni trustee
Heather Carroll ’89 Alumni Association Board
Emily Fukunaga ’12, student
Logan Dahl ’12, student, CC Student Government Association
Suzanne Woolsey (ex officio), Board of Trustees chair
Working Group: Beth Brooks, director of the president’s office; Jermyn Davis, chief of staff, president’s office; Steve Elder, vice president for advancement; and Jane Turnis, director of communications
The Board of Trustees voted on May 20, 2011, in favor of amending the college bylaws, effective as of July 1, 2011, to add “gender identity, gender expression” as an additional category for protection in Article IX “Equal Opportunity Statement” of the bylaws and in the college’s anti-discrimination policy. The bylaws state that any such vote is not effective until expiration of a 30-day advance notice requirement of the resolution amending the bylaws. The draft resolution for the Gender Identity Bylaws Amendment was provided to the trustees at the May 21, 2011 plenary session. The 30-day advance notice requirement for the Gender Identity Bylaws Amendment has now passed. The Bylaws Amendment will now be effective on July 1, 2011.