Press Releases in May, 2011

Climate helped drive Vikings from Greenland

Climate clues:  William D'Andrea, right, and Yongsong Huang took cores from two lakes in Greenland to reconstruct 5,600 years of climate history near the Norse Western Settlement.
Greenland's early Viking settlers were subjected to rapidly changing climate. Temperatures plunged several degrees in a span of decades, according to research from Brown University. A reconstruction of 5,600 years of climate history from lakes near the Norse settlement in western Greenland also shows how climate affected the Dorset and Saqqaq cultures. Results appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Distributed May 30, 2011)
The 2011 Orations

Jacob Combs:
What I Learned from the Big Bad Woolf

A tradition of Commencement oratory:  Jacob Combs delivered the second Commencement oration, What I Learned from the Big Bad Woolf, Sunday, May 29, 2011.
Jacob Combs grew up in Los Angeles in a close, diverse, multifaith family. With passions in literature, theater, and music, he has worked in the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life, served as a Meiklejohn peer adviser, and is on the board of Brownbrokers, a group that produces original student-written musicals. He hopes to be a composer and lyricist for theater. The text of his oration, delivered at Commencement exercises on the College Green Sunday, May 29, 2011, follows here. (See also the oration delivered by Elyse VyVy Trinh) (Distributed May 29, 2011)
The 2011 Orations

Elyse VyVy Trinh:
An Education in Altruism

A tradition of Commencement oratory:  Elyse VyVy Trinh delivered the first Commencement oration,An Education in Altruism, on Sunday, May 29, 2011.
The daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Elyse VyVy Trinh says her Brown experience helped her understand her personal history and roots more than she ever imagined. She is a human biology concentrator who has focused her coursework on culture, gender, history, and race. She will continue her studies at the Warren Alpert Medical School hopes to pursue a career in pediatrics or pediatric oncology. The text of her oration, delivered at Commencement exercises on the College Green Sunday, May 29, 2011, follows here. (See also the oration delivered by Jacob Combs) (Distributed May 29, 2011)
The 243rd Commencement

Faculty awards Rosenberger Medal to President Simmons

The Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal:  President Ruth J. Simmons listens as Cynthia Garcia Coll, chair of the faculty and the Faculty Executive Committee, reads the citation presenting her with the faculty’s highest honor.
The faculty of Brown University has awarded the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal to President Ruth J. Simmons. The Rosenberger Medal, established in 1919 and presented for the first time in 1925, is the highest honor the Brown faculty can bestow. (Distributed May 29, 2011)
The 243rd Commencement

Brown confers 10 honorary doctorates

A day of honors:  Actor Jack Nicholson received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa, at Brown University’s 243rd Commencement Sunday, May 29, 2011.
Brown conferred honorary degrees on 10 distinguished candidates during its 243rd Commencement exercises, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The honorands included Olympian Katie King Crowley, online editor Arianna Huffington, columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, mathematician David B. Mumford, actor Jack Nicholson, playwright Lynn Ida Nottage, physicist Lisa Randall, human rights activist Kenneth Roth, astronaut David R. Scott, and poet and editor Zhenkai Zhao (Bei Dao). Texts of the citations follow here. (Distributed May 29, 2011)
Meeting of the Corporation

Brown Corporation elects one fellow, seven trustees

At its business meeting Friday morning, May 27, 2011, the Corporation of Brown University elected one member to the Board of Fellows and seven to the Board of Trustees. It also reappointed its treasurer and secretary to new three-year terms and formally accepted a number of gifts totaling more than $18.5 million. (Distributed May 27, 2011)

Kevin McLaughlin named dean of the faculty at Brown

Kevin McLaughlin:  Nicholas Brown Professor of Oratory and Belles Lettres
Dean of the Faculty-Designate
Kevin McLaughlin, the Nicholas Brown Professor of Oratory and Belles Lettres and professor of English, comparative literature, and German studies, has been named dean of the faculty at Brown University. He will begin his duties on July 1, 2011, succeeding Rajiv Vohra. (Distributed May 27, 2011)
The 243rd Commencement

Brown to confer 2,334 degrees Sunday, May 29

Brown University will confer 2,334 degrees, including 10 honorary doctorates, during its 243rd Commencement exercises Sunday, May 29, 2011. Lists of degree recipients will be available in the printed Commencement program and is available online. (Distributed May 27, 2011)

Scientists detect Earth-equivalent amount of water in the moon

Moon speck:  Brown scientists found super-tiny melt inclusions in lunar soil samples that opened the door for measurements that revealed the magnitude of water inside the moon.
The moon has much more water than previously thought, a scientific team including Brown University has discovered. First-time measurements of lunar melt inclusions show that some parts of the lunar mantle have as much water as the Earth’s upper mantle. The results may change the prevailing theory about the Moon’s origin as well as shed new light on the origin of water at the lunar poles. Results appear in Science Express. (Distributed May 26, 2011)

PetWatch provides reliable information for owners of exotic pets

Not from around here:  Furcifer pardalis, the panther chameleon, is native to Madagascar. Some are collected from the wild for the pet trade but most are captive bred.
People who keep exotic pets need to know more than what to feed them. Are the animals wild-caught or captive-bred? Can they become vectors for exotic diseases? Are they endangered or likely to pose unusual problems? Three Brown students are developing reliable information sheets on pets from spiders to constricting snakes. (Distributed May 25, 2011)
The 243rd Commencement

A strong showing at Graduate School Convocation

Brown University’s Graduate School is expected to award more than 635 degrees at its Commencement Convocation Sunday, May 29, 2011, on Lincoln Field. The total for graduate degrees awarded this year will be almost 60 percent larger than a decade ago. (Distributed May 25, 2011)
Bell Gallery

Among the Breakage New Painting from Providence

Ara Peterson, Detail from Arcade (2009):  Laser cut birch slats and acrylic paint; 35 x 8 feet
The David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University presents Among the Breakage: New Painting from Providence, featuring recent paintings by 10 local artists, from Saturday, June 11, through Sunday, July 10, 2011. (Distributed May 23, 2011)

Exercise helps women fight smoking cravings, but effect is short-lived

Staying on track:  Researchers haven't been sure whether exercise can help women fight cigarette cravings. A new study suggests that it can, but the effect is short-lived
For years researchers have found that exercise can curb nicotine cravings, but have struggled to show a practical benefit in trials. Newly published research suggests a reason: the effect is too ephemeral. The next step, funded by a 5-year grant, will be to see how frequently exercise might be needed to have a lasting therapeutic effect. (Distributed May 19, 2011)

Human rights crusader to deliver 2011 Baccalaureate address

 Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch and Baccalaureate Service speaker
Kenneth Roth, a 1977 Brown University graduate and a human-rights crusader, will deliver the 2011 Baccalaureate address at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 28, in the First Baptist Meeting House. In his address, titled "Finding Your Way When There Are No Rules,” Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch since 1993, will explain what human rights' work and the Arab Spring say about making one's way in the world. (Distributed May 19, 2011)