Einstein Makes an Appearance at Oglethorpe

photo by Travis TaylorIn celebration of the 100th anniversary of our campus, Oglethorpe University has put one of its rare treasures on display: Albert Einstein’s handwritten manuscript, “The Experimental Confirmation of the General Theory of Relativity,” on view through April 30, 2015 in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA).

The manuscript, penned in 1920, was written by Einstein by request from his colleague Robert Lawson, an English physicist. Lawson was in the process of translating Einstein’s 1917 work, “Relativity: the Special and General Theory” and asked Einstein to give him observational proof of general relativity for the 1920 English edition. The exact documents Einstein gave to Lawson are now being exhibited for a special few months, exclusively here on campus.

Thornwell Jacobs

Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, President of Oglethorpe University, 1915-1943

Oglethorpe came into possession of the documents in a unique way that spans back to its founding in 1835. Oglethorpe originally had its roots in Midway, a town near Milledgeville, Ga. Because of the Civil War, the school closed for a while. However, Thornwell Jacobs, a generous and well-educated Presbyterian minister, was determined to restore the school. He had grown up hearing stories about Oglethorpe from his grandfather, Ferdinand Jacobs, who had been a faculty member there, and it became his dream to someday reopen the school. A skilled fundraiser, Thornwell Jacobs raised enough money and interest to organize a Board of Trustees for the college by 1912. With land donated by the Silver Lake Park Company and the help of Atlanta architectural firm of Morgan Dillon and Downing, Oglethorpe University at last reopened in 1915 and welcomed 45 students in 1916. Serving as president of the university through 1943, Jacobs accomplished many things, including launching the Crypt of Civilization and establishing a medical school. Jacobs was a true Renaissance man with a talent for writing that led him to found and publish The Westminster Magazine. He will always be remembered for his detailed letters and amazing ability to positively influence others.

As for the Einstein manuscript, it was given to Oglethorpe University by alumna Nellie Jane Gaertner ’34 in 1982. She was the daughter of Herman Julius Gaertner, one of the first faculty members appointed when Jacobs re-opened Oglethorpe at its current Atlanta location in 1915. The manuscript had been retained by Lawson for some years before it was acquired by Herman Julius Gaertner, a professor of German and Mathematics. Oglethorpe is lucky to posses the manuscript as most of Einstein’s work now resides at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jordan Michaels_Holly Bostick_John Tilford

Students Jordan K. Michels and Holly Bostick examine the manuscript with OUMA Collections Manager John Tilford.

OUMA Collections Manager John Tilford helped to illustrate the historical context of the manuscript’s creation, as well as the history of Einstein’s expansive archive. He relied on a number of rarely-seen images of Einstein and his colleagues, including personal secretary Helen Dukas and Professor Otto Nathan, both co-trustees of Einstein’s literary estate. According to John, Helen Dukas preserved Einstein’s papers for decades before they were given to Hebrew University after her death, and for this, scholars and historians owe her an enormous debt.

“Staff and faculty of Division III (Natural Sciences), OUMA, and the Philip Weltner Library, with the enthusiastic input and support of OU students, came together seamlessly to present the manuscript and a rich program of lectures, films, and other events,” says Elizabeth Peterson, director of OUMA. “We are grateful for a Georgia Humanities Council grant which supports these activities and thrilled to again be part of the Atlanta Science Festival.”

The Einstein exhibition has generated robust student involvement with interest from scholars of all disciplines and departments. Students from a variety of majors including physics, theatre, English, and philosophy came together to participate in a group reading of Einstein’s Dreams. Additionally, Oglethorpe University senior and physics major Antonio Mántica leads “A Tour through Time”, during the week of the Atlanta Science Festival. His presentation will explain the historical and current understandings of how time functions and how we can use that knowledge to inform our experience of it. Other events include three film screenings and discussions about Einstein-related movies, and an evening of astronomy with Fernbank Science Center astronomer April Whitt.

“The manuscript should be viewed in person to truly appreciate its uniqueness as each word, diagram and calculation, including a few corrections, were all penned by Einstein’s own hand,” says Tilford. “Anyone can read the transcribed text in print and digital formats but the power of the handwritten documents must be witnessed first hand.”

Ariana Feiner is a writer and a student at Oglethorpe University. She enjoys art history and recently published her first children’s book, Ariana Rose: A Story of Courage.
This online story was adapted from an assignment for her journalism class.

“The Crossing Over of Art & Science”

asf-2-magentaThe Oglethorpe University Museum of Art opens two new exhibitions this weekend: OPTIC CHIASM: The Crossing Over of Art & Science, presented in partnership with the inaugural Atlanta Science Festival, and BLIND/SIGHT: Conversations with the Visually Inspired.

OPTIC CHIASM - Irene K. Miller, Blink Again, 2013, monotype collage, framed 36x22

Irene K. Miller, Blink Again, 2013

OPTIC CHIASM explores the art of vision and science of sight, and includes art by Irene K. Miller, Kenn Kotara, Allan Eddy, Marcia R. Cohen, and Lisa Solomon, contemporary artists working in a variety of media, all of whom are inspired, influenced, driven and focused by and about issues of vision. Also on exhibit are the results of research in vision and optics by scientists affiliated with area institutions, including the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center, Emory University, Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Regents University and Medical Center, and the Medical College of Georgia. Visitors also will have a chance to use a Camera Obscura and handheld pinhole cameras to learn more.

OPTIC CHIASM was organized by Nancy Lowe, director of Symbiosis Art + Science Alliance; Nicole Gerardo, assistant professor at Emory University, Department of Biology; and Elizabeth Peterson, director of OUMA.

Annie Maxwell, 60, blind from birth with no known cause. Photo by Billy Howard.

Annie Maxwell, 60, blind from birth with no known cause. Photo by Billy Howard.

BLIND/SIGHT, an exhibition created and organized by photographer Billy Howard and illustrator Laurie Shock, presents a collection of photographs of people with vision loss, a biography of each person including a description of their vision, and an interpretative illustration of what they see. This exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Center for the Visually Impaired and is made possible in part by CVI, VSA Arts Georgia, the Fulton County Arts Council, and Georgia Council for the Arts and the Grassroots Arts Program.

In partnership with the festival, OUMA will host three free events open to all:

  • Saturday, March 22, 12 noon-5 p.m. – Open House, with an introduction to the exhibition OPTIC CHIASM by the three co-curators at 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 26, 5:00-7:00 p.m. – Public Reception, with an introduction to the exhibition OPTIC CHIASM by the three co-curators
  • Wednesday, March 26, 7:00 p.m. – Following the public reception, two lectures will be presented: “Visions: A Look at Creativity and Disability” by Elizabeth Peterson, director of OUMA, followed by “Art-Science in America: Building Up STEAM” by Nancy Lowe, director of Symbiosis Art+Science Alliance

A Wednesday Lecture Series will complement the exhibitions.  Both exhibitions run through May 4, 2014.

Science-Palooza Helps Students’ Academic and Professional Development

Cancer Biology students also hosted a cancer awareness event that was featured on Cure Childhood Cancer's website.

A few weeks ago, Oglethorpe students majoring in biology, chemistry and psychology were able to verbally and visually present to the entire OU community on the topics they studied this semester. The annual Science-Palooza poster session event featured approximately 50 different presentations, and some students were responsible for more than just one. As attendees approached, students were prepared to explain their research and answer questions presented to them about their work.

Students enrolled in “Cancer Biology” explained the multiple processes of how cancer cells travel to organs in the body. “Cell Biology” students conducted experiments that showed how different chemicals can affect cell growth and development. Psychology students expanded on previous psychological research by creating experiments that focused on everything from race and pro-social behavior to belief in being able to influence random chance events. Some of the content may have been a little difficult to understand if you are not familiar with terms like HELA cells, metastasis, and partial eta effect sizes. Nonetheless, each presentation added its own special touch to the array of scientific topics present at the college-leveled science fair.

Allyson Terry '14 presents her psychology research during Science-Palooza.

Presenting at this event does a lot more for the students involved than simply showing off the eye-catching posters they created. By presenting at this Science-Palooza myself, I experienced the effects that an event like this can have on a student’s academic and professional development. As a Psychology major, I conducted a study that looked at how people perceive interracial couples in comparison to same-race couples. Every time someone came up to me I had to give a three-minute spiel explaining my strenuous four months of hard work. It seemed redundant and cumbersome at times, but the more I interacted with spectators interested in my research, the more comfortable and fluid I became in presenting.

Another plus to presenting at the session is when questions are asked and you are the only one that can answer them. Being solid in your approach and strong in your knowledge of the topic you studied increases the feeling of accomplishment. Conducting individual research is a difficult task, but when you have the opportunity to share all you have done with people who are genuinely interested, you know your late nights in the library have not gone in vain.

Events such as Science-Palooza enable students of different majors and academic interests to see first-hand what their peers are doing on campus. The only improvement to the event that I might suggest is hosting it in a larger venue in order to accommodate the large number of attendees!

Pegasus Creative is pleased to welcome Allyson Terry ’14 as the campus reporter intern for summer 2013!

 

 

Oglethorpe Alumni Excel in Medical Illustration Field

Nobles Green '03

Are you a biology major with an artistic touch, or an art major with an appreciation for science? Did you know about the career of medical illustration? Within the last decade, three Oglethorpe students have chosen to pursue this challenging career, and the rewards have been well worth the hard work.

Nobles Green ’03, an award-winning senior medical animator for Nucleus Medical Media, creates medical animations for a variety of clients, including pharmaceutical companies and TV shows like Dr. Oz and Oprah.

“I’ve always liked art and science growing up,” he said. “For a while I just wanted to pursue an art career, but the more I learned about biology… there was something that made me interested…There’s a lot of problem solving, so far as knowing what your client wants and knowing how to visualize what they’re saying, what scientific theories they want to express.”

Sarah Duff ’12 also works for Nucleus Medical Media, as the Production Assistant for Legal Medical Art at Nucleus Medical Media.  Nobles was integral in Sarah’s decision to enter the medical illustration field.

“He visited my senior year [at Oglethorpe] and I asked him what he did,” she said. “He gave me a chance to tour the company, to look around and see what it was like. Then in August, Nobles emailed me to tell me there was a job opening.”

Similarly, Katie Dale ’10 who was a double major in biology and art, found Nobles to be of great assistance in her quest to work for Nucleus Medical Media.

“All I did was contact Nobles,” she said, “and he was helpful and so nice, and he got me an internship… I always knew I wanted to be in the medical field though I wasn’t sure specifically what. I didn’t actually declare a major until the end of my junior year… one of my [golf] teammates was looking into [medical illustration] because she was an art major, and she told me I should look into it and I thought it was perfect for me. I didn’t have to give up my love of art, and I could still be in a science field!”

Nobles himself credits the decision to pursue medical illustration largely to Associate Professor of Art Alan Loehle.

“He’s been very encouraging, very helpful all throughout Oglethorpe,” said Nobles, “so I did all the mandatory classes with him as well as some individualized [classes]… I like to help OU students out, [and] every time Loehle tells me about someone I try to help them out, give them a tour.”

Thanks to faculty and alumni, these graduates have found a place in the competitive world of medical illustration. As Sarah advises, “Don’t be scared around alumni because they’re going to want to help you succeed..I’m so lucky to have this job because I absolutely love it.”

New Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research Showcases Students’ Work

Like most college seniors—whether they’re budding writers, scientists, researchers, economists, artists, etc.—I want people to read and see my work, to ask questions, to challenge it. In other words, I want to be published. Thanks to Oglethorpe, I now have that chance.

The new Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research is a scholarly, peer-reviewed publication that promotes undergraduate research by preserving and making available the academic and creative inventions from our campus. The Journal serves as both a digital repository of scholarly output and a platform for publishing inventive and original works. Various types of submissions are accepted, including research articles, photography, book reviews, conference posters and more.

“It is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I’ve done since starting at Oglethorpe,” said Ashley N. Dawson ’16, one of the first students to be published. “I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was a little girl, and the Journal and its supporters made that dream a reality. It truly is an amazing feeling to see your thoughts on the screen, and to know that people are reading them and sharing them with others.”

The Journal was started thanks to the efforts of Anne Salter, university librarian and director of Philip Weltner Library, and Laura Masce, university archivist. While attending a conference at Kennesaw State University, they learned about the idea and the possibility of partnering with the institution. Kennesaw would host the site, and Oglethorpe students would be able to send submissions to their own, separate journal for their alma mater.

“We began getting the faculty on board…and there was a lot of interest,” said Anne. “We were determined to do this.”

Being published is incredibly helpful for a resume, and the process for publication is simple: write your thesis, talk to your advisor, and then submit!  A team of editors review the work and inform those who submit of any changes or problems before the work is published. The editors are David Evans, dean and assistant vice-president of library services at Kennesaw, and Oglethorpe faculty: Dr. Charles Baube, professor of biology; Dr. Michael Rulison, professor of physics; and Dr. Linda Taylor, professor of English.

Five freshman honors students, Derek C. Wolter ’16, Ashley N. Dawson ’16, Tali M. Schroeder ’16, Tabitha Clark ’16 and Grace B. Djokoto ’16, have already taken advantage of this opportunity, and the Journal is continuing to take submissions on a rolling basis.

“My article is about Inuit mythology and its influence in a children’s film,” said Tali. “Ms. Salter makes the publishing process very easy, and I would definitely recommend it to those who are unsure of submitting an article.”

“If you are seriously considering graduate school and doing original research,” added Anne, “coming to [Oglethorpe] is a great place to begin that research.”

Attention Oglethorpe students!  Why not take advantage of this opportunity? There are many ways to learn more: contact Anne Salter, visit the Journal’s website, or you can even watch Weston Manders’ “This Week in Oglethorpe Arts” video episode that features interviews about the new Journal.