Unconditional love means unconditional likes. At least, that’s how it works with Chris Aldrich’s mom, who “auto-likes” everything he posts to Facebook. Family pictures? Like! A blog post titled “A New Low in Quantum Mechanics?” Like!
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For the first couple of months of freshman year, I spent my evenings breaking into buildings on campus.
Having just passed our 20th college reunion, an old friend starts spilling the beans…
Apparently the statute of limitations on college shenanigans has run out and one of my best friends has written a nice little essay about some of “our” adventures. Fortunately he has kindly left out the names of his co-conspirators, so I’ll also remain silent about who was responsible for which particular crimes. Like him, I will leave the numerous other crimes he redacted unsung.
For the first couple of months of freshman year, I spent my evenings breaking into buildings on campus. This began, naturally, because a few of us who lived in and around the Vincent-Willard dorm had mail ordered lock-picking kits, and, well, we needed something to practice on besides our own dorm rooms.
So down into the midnight bowels of Krieger we crept, sneaking deep underground into disused classrooms, mute hallways, and one strange lab whose floor was tight-knit mesh wiring with a Silence of the Lambs–esque chamber below. We touched little, took nothing (except, once, a jar of desiccant—sorry!), and were never caught.
Such was the state of fun at Johns Hopkins in the fall of 1992, an era when the administration seemed to have adopted a policy of benign neglect toward the extracurricular happiness of its undergraduate body. We had Spring Fair and the occasional bus trip to New York for the day. What more could we want?
For many—really, most—of my cutthroat classmates, this was reason to grumble. Why, they moaned from the depths of D-level, couldn’t school be more exciting? A student union, they pleaded. A bar. A café. Anything to make campus life more bearable.
But for my friends and me, the school’s DGAF attitude meant freedom: We could do whatever we wanted, on campus or off. When lock-picking grew old (quickly, I’m pleased to say), we began to roam, wandering among the half-abandoned industrial sites that lined the unreconstructed harbor, or driving (when someone happened to have a car) under the interstates that cut through and around the city. We were set loose upon Baltimore, and all we ever wanted was to go and see what there was.
Here’s what we found: A large yellow smiley face painted on the end of an oil-storage tank. The 16mm film collection at the Pratt Library. A man who claimed to have been hanging out with Mama Cass Elliot of the Mamas & the Papas the night she lost her virginity. The Baltimore Streetcar Museum. How to clear the dance floor at Club Midnite by playing the 1978 song “Fish Heads” (eat them up, yum!). The big slice at Angelo’s and the $4.95 crabcake subs at Sip & Bite. Smart drugs, Neal Stephenson, and 2600 magazine at Atomic Books. The indie movie screenings at Skizz Cyzyk’s funeral home “mansion.”
None of these alone was world-changing (okay, except maybe “Fish Heads”). Put together, though, they amounted to a constant stream of stimulation, novelty, and excitement, the discoveries that make new adulthood feel fresh and occasionally profound.
All the while, I heard the no-fun grumbling from around campus and failed to understand it. We had freedom—what more could we need? The world was all around us, begging to be explored. We didn’t even have to leave campus: One spring, my girlfriend and I simply stepped off the sidewalk next to Mudd Hall into a little dell—and discovered a stand of wild scallions. We picked a ton, brought them home, and feasted on our foraged bounty. All we’d had to do was to leave the asphalt path—no red brick in those days—behind.
Matt Gross, Johns Hopkins A&S ’96, ’98 (MA), is a food and travel writer/editor who’s worked for everyone from The New York Times and Bon Appétit to The Guardian, The Village Voice, and Saveur. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Jean Liu, A&S ’96, and their two daughters.
Incidentally he also had two other meaty pieces that came out yesterday as well:
- Are we Living in a Post-Bacon World? | ExtraCrispy.com
- A New Book About Nathan’s Famous Feeds Our Need for Cheap Eats — and the Prosperity Myth | Village Voice
Popular physics has enjoyed a new-found regard. Now comes a brave attempt to inject mathematics into an otherwise fashionable subject
Popular physics has enjoyed a new-found regard. Now comes a brave attempt to inject mathematics into an otherwise fashionable subject
Nov 5th 2011 | from the print edition
The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen. By Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. Allen Lane; 255 pages; £20. To be published in America in January by Da Capo Press; $25.
PREVIOUSLY the preserve of dusty, tweed-jacketed academics, physics has enjoyed a surprising popular renaissance over the past few years. In America Michio Kaku, a string theorist, has penned several successful books and wowed television and radio audiences with his presentations on esoteric subjects such as the existence of wormholes and the possibility of alien life. In Britain Brian Cox, a former pop star whose music helped propel Tony Blair to power, has become the front man for physics, which recently regained its status as a popular subject in British classrooms, an effect many attribute to Mr Cox’s astonishing appeal.
Mr Cox, a particle physicist, is well-known as the presenter of two BBC television series that have attracted millions of viewers (a third series will be aired next year) and as a bestselling author and public speaker. His latest book, “The Quantum Universe”, which he co-wrote with Jeff Forshaw of the University of Manchester, breaks the rules of popular science-writing that were established over two decades ago by Stephen Hawking, who launched the modern genre with his famous book, “A Brief History of Time”.
Mr Hawking’s literary success was ascribed to his eschewing equations. One of his editors warned him that sales of the book would be halved by every equation he included; Mr Hawking inserted just one, E=mc2, and, even then, the volume acquired a sorry reputation for being bought but not read. By contrast, Mr Cox, whose previous book with Mr Forshaw investigated “Why does E=mc2?” (2009), has bravely sloshed a generous slug of mathematics throughout his texts.
The difficulties in explaining physics without using maths are longstanding. Einstein mused, “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility,” and “the fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.” Yet the language in which the world is described is that of maths, a relatively sound grasp of which is needed to comprehend the difficulties that physicists are trying to resolve as well as the possible solutions. Mr Cox has secured a large fan base with his boyish good looks, his happy turns of phrase and his knack for presenting complex ideas using simple analogies. He also admirably shies away from dumbing down. “The Quantum Universe” is not a dry undergraduate text book, but nor is it a particularly easy read.
The subject matter is hard. Quantum mechanics, which describes in subatomic detail a shadowy world in which cats can be simultaneously alive and dead, is notoriously difficult to grasp. Its experiments yield bizarre results that can be explained only by embracing the maths that describe them, and its theories make outrageous predictions (such as the existence of antimatter) that have nevertheless later been verified. Messrs Cox and Forshaw say they have included the maths “mainly because it allows us to really explain why things are the way they are. Without it, we should have to resort to the physicist-guru mentality whereby we pluck profundities out of thin air, and neither author would be comfortable with guru status.”
That stance might comfort the authors, but to many readers they will nonetheless seem to pluck equations out of thin air. Yet their decision to include some of the hard stuff leaves open the possibility that some readers might actually engage in the slog that leads to higher pleasures. For non-sloggers alternative routes are offered: Messrs Cox and Forshaw use clockfaces to illustrate how particles interact with one another, a drawing of how guitar strings twang and a photograph of a vibrating drum. A diagram, rather than an equation, is used to explain one promising theory of how matter acquires mass, a question that experiments on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, will hopefully soon answer.
The authors have wisely chosen to leaven their tome with amusing tales of dysfunctional characters among scholars who developed quantum mechanics in the 1920s and beyond, as well as with accounts of the philosophical struggles with which they grappled and the occasional earthy aside. Where the subject matter is a trifle dull, Messrs Cox and Forshaw acknowledge it: of Heinrich Kayser, who a century ago completed a six-volume reference book documenting the spectral lines generated by every known element, they observe, “He must have been great fun at dinner parties.” And they make some sweeping generalisations about their colleagues who pore over equations, “Physicists are very lazy, and they would not go to all this trouble unless it saved time in the long run.”
Whether or not readers of “The Quantum Universe” will follow all the maths, the authors’ love for their subject shines through the book. “There is no better demonstration of the power of the scientific method than quantum theory,” they write. That may be so, but physicists all over the world, Messrs Cox and Forshaw included, are longing for the next breakthrough that will supersede the claim. Hopes are pinned on experiments currently under way at CERN that may force physicists to rethink their understanding of the universe, and inspire Messrs Cox and Forshaw to write their next book—equations and all.
from the print edition | Books and arts
“The Information,” by James Gleick, is to the nature, history and significance of data what the beach is to sand.
“The Information” is so ambitious, illuminating and sexily theoretical that it will amount to aspirational reading for many of those who have the mettle to tackle it. Don’t make the mistake of reading it quickly. Imagine luxuriating on a Wi-Fi-equipped desert island with Mr. Gleick’s book, a search engine and no distractions. “The Information” is to the nature, history and significance of data what the beach is to sand.
In this relaxed setting, take the time to differentiate among the Brownian (motion), Bodleian (library) and Boolean (logic) while following Mr. Gleick’s version of what Einstein called “spukhafte Fernwirkung,” or “spooky action at a distance.” Einstein wasn’t precise about what this meant, and Mr. Gleick isn’t always precise either. His ambitions for this book are diffuse and far flung, to the point where providing a thumbnail description of “The Information” is impossible.
So this book’s prologue is its most slippery section. It does not exactly outline a unifying thesis. Instead it hints at the amalgam of logic, philosophy, linguistics, research, appraisal and anecdotal wisdom that will follow. If Mr. Gleick has one overriding goal it is to provide an animated history of scientific progress, specifically the progress of the technology that allows information to be recorded, transmitted and analyzed. This study’s range extends from communication by drumbeat to cognitive assault by e-mail.
As an illustration of Mr. Gleick’s versatility, consider what he has to say about the telegraph. He describes the mechanical key that made telegraphic transmission possible; the compression of language that this new medium encouraged; that it literally was a medium, a midway point between fully verbal messages and coded ones; the damaging effect its forced brevity had on civility; the confusion it created as to what a message actually was (could a mother send her son a dish of sauerkraut?) and the new conceptual thinking that it helped implement. The weather, which had been understood on a place-by-place basis, was suddenly much more than a collection of local events.
Beyond all this Mr. Gleick’s telegraph chapter, titled “A Nervous System for the Earth,” finds time to consider the kind of binary code that began to make sense in the telegraph era. It examines the way letters came to treated like numbers, the way systems of ciphers emerged. It cites the various uses to which ciphers might be put by businessmen, governments or fiction writers (Lewis Carroll, Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe). Most of all it shows how this phase of communication anticipated the immense complexities of our own information age.
Although “The Information” unfolds in a roughly chronological way, Mr. Gleick is no slave to linearity. He freely embarks on colorful digressions. Some are included just for the sake of introducing the great eccentrics whose seemingly marginal inventions would prove to be prophetic. Like Richard Holmes’s “Age of Wonder” this book invests scientists with big, eccentric personalities. Augusta Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, may have been spectacularly arrogant about what she called “my immense reasoning faculties,” claiming that her brain was “something more than merely mortal.” But her contribution to the writing of algorithms can, in the right geeky circles, be mentioned in the same breath as her father’s contribution to poetry.
The segments of “The Information” vary in levels of difficulty. Grappling with entropy, randomness and quantum teleportation is the price of enjoying Mr. Gleick’s simple, entertaining riffs on the Oxford English Dictionary’s methodology, which has yielded 30-odd spellings of “mackerel” and an enchantingly tongue-tied definition of “bada-bing” and on the cyber-battles waged via Wikipedia. (As he notes, there are people who have bothered to fight over Wikipedia’s use of the word “cute” to accompany a picture of a young polar bear.) That Amazon boasts of being able to download a book called “Data Smog” in less than a minute does not escape his keen sense of the absurd.
As it traces our route to information overload, “The Information” pays tribute to the places that made it possible. He cites and honors the great cogitation hives of yore. In addition to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., the Mount Rushmore of theoretical science, he acknowledges the achievements of corporate facilities like Bell Labs and I.B.M.’s Watson Research Center in the halcyon days when many innovations had not found practical applications and progress was its own reward.
“The Information” also lauds the heroics of mathematicians, physicists and computer pioneers like Claude Shannon, who is revered in the computer-science realm for his information theory but not yet treated as a subject for full-length, mainstream biography. Mr. Shannon’s interest in circuitry using “if … then” choices conducting arithmetic in a binary system had novelty when he began formulating his thoughts in 1937. “Here in a master’s thesis by a research assistant,” Mr. Gleick writes, “was the essence of the computer revolution yet to come.”
Among its many other virtues “The Information” has the rare capacity to work as a time machine. It goes back much further than Shannon’s breakthroughs. And with each step backward Mr. Gleick must erase what his readers already know. He casts new light on the verbal flourishes of the Greek poetry that preceded the written word: these turns of phrase could be as useful for their mnemonic power as for their art. He explains why the Greeks arranged things in terms of events, not categories; how one Babylonian text that ends with “this is the procedure” is essentially an algorithm; and why the telephone and the skyscraper go hand in hand. Once the telephone eliminated the need for hand-delivered messages, the sky was the limit.
In the opinion of “The Information” the world of information still has room for expansion. We may be drowning in spam, but the sky’s still the limit today.
GOOD MORNING: Sunday morning, hours after they departed the SRO BevHilton ballroom where their Carousel of Hope Ball raised more than $6 million ($1.5 million from Marvin) benefiting the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, Marvin and Barbara Davis were hosting a lavish lunch for the out-of-town guests plus participants in the fundraiser. Marvin still couldn’t get over the ball’s finale when he saw wife Barbara on stage shaking it with Ricky Martin — who had the entire ballroom on its feet dancing. Barbara had also told Michael Jackson, “Ricky wants to meet you.” So Jackson and his date Elizabeth Taylor made their way backstage with Barbara, who shoved Michael onstage for a brief moment in the spotlight with the new king, Ricky Martin. Martin had flown in from Australia with his entire troupe to perform gratis, as did the other artists. I had been annoyed by Jackson and Taylor, who were sitting directly in front of our table. I thought them rude as they engaged in conversation during Ricky’s first two numbers. Jackson’s doctor, dermatologist Arnold Klein; had sidled up to talk with them during Martin’s performance. (Klein’s nurse Debbie Rowe, you recall, married/divorced Michael and bore him two children: son Prince, 3-1/2, and daughter Paris, 2-1/2). Jackson and his children have been regular (biweekly) visitors at the Davis’ home and the offspring get high marks from Marvin. John Davis had birthday-gifted dad Marvin with two tiny donkeys which graze on the lush lawn; the celeb lunch bunch had a full view of the tiny critters who have free rein (and you know what that includes) of the garden … At the BevHilton, Elizabeth and Michael were seated at one end of the head table on the first riser and in full view of the crowd below. As you might imagine, their presence created a major crush of visitors; some like Shirley MacLaine and Carrie Fisher (who just toiled with Taylor in “Those Old Broads”) carried on their conversation on the carpeting alongside Elizabeth. Another of the “Broads,” Joan Collins, was seated elsewhere with Evie and Leslie Bricusse. Collins is off to England to be at daughter Tara Newley’s side during her divorce battle. Joan is no stranger to that stage.
IT WAS NO SECRET that Ricky Martin, while the toast of the (young) world, was nervous about appearing before this mature, star-studded audience of performers and execs. He needn’t have been! Sure, he’s had movie offers but can’t accept because of the time they’d take away from his concerts and recordings. He winged out (in his plane) immediately after the BevHilton benefit to Miami … Performers at future BevHilton events will be pleased to know that Merv Griffin, the Carousel Ball’s host, has built a new backstage facility for talent. It was appreciated by the magnificent performers Toni Braxton (who said her mother has diabetes), young Charlotte Church (whatta voice!), David Foster and the musicians. Jay Leno’s takeoff tape on candidates Gore and Bush was classic, but his remarks about President Clinton are getting to be overdone by now. Touching moments were the remarks by Barbara Davis, daughter Dana (and the presentation of a hand receiving the brass ring sculpture) and Sidney Poitier. George Schlatter did a terrif job again producing the show … Clive Davis, one of the music chairmen, just signed Luther Vandross and O-Town to his new J Records and has now added a young duo from Brazil: Medeiros, brothers Julian and Rodalgo M. who sing in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Attending with Davis was his cousin Jo Schuman Silver, owner of SanFran’s fantastic “Beach Blanket Babylon” show, which continues SRO for every performance … Among those who stopped by to hug Michael Jackson was Berry Gordy, his discoverer. Also Suzanne De Passe. Also there Keely Shaye Smith and Pierce Brosnan, who told me he doesn’t expect to be away at work when their baby arrives in February. And they probably will not have the wedding until summer, in Ireland … As always, the Carousel Ball featured a silent auction which preceded in the BevHilton’s rooms surrounding the lobby and ballroom. Dana Davis and sister Nancy Davis-Rickel again chaired and the auction brought in $623,389 — to date. They are still selling items. Celebrity-designed plates brought in $56,700. Guests included Line Renaud, just in from Paris. She arrived with Veronique and Gregory Peck (he contributed one of the designed plates). Neil Diamond even bought a painting by LeRoy Neiman, which he had contributed … Marvin Davis, whose properties over the years have included 20th Century Fox and the Beverly Hills Hotel, has a new affiliation with Lend Lease with plans to build everything “all over the world.” Meanwhile the Davises continue to build to one day find a cure for childhood diabetes.
AND NOW, AS THEY SAY on the 11 o’clock news, “some late-breaking news”: Charlton Heston, who starred in the first two “Planet of the Apes” pix for 20th, will cameo in the next. Yes, he was killed off in the second pic — but now he returns as an ape. No, he’s not a foot soldier, so he won’t have to carry a gun — as I did, as an ape (member of the National Rhesus Assn., ya know) in the first “Planet” pic, opposite Heston. Producer Richard Zanuck and director Tim Burton launch next week in Paige, Ariz., site of the first.
John Davis had birthday-gifted dad Marvin with two tiny donkeys which graze on the lush lawn; the celeb lunch bunch had a full view of the tiny critters who have free rein (and you know what that includes) of the garden …
Class of 1996: JEFFREY P. DOSHNA and SARAH (WATSON) DOSHNA write: "We are pleased to announce the birth of our son, Noah Alexander Doshna on April 29. Sarah continues to work as a process engineer for Merck & Co., in their sterile pilot plants. Although Jeff is continuing his doctoral studies in the department of urban planning at Rutgers University, he has assumed the role of 'stay-at-home' dad for the time being. Fellow Vincent-Willard alumna IVY WONG '96, paid a visit in June and brought a card for Noah signed by ROGER OEN '96, JAMES ARMSTRONG '94, CHRIS ALDRICH '96, MAX BARTEAU '96, TAMMY WU '96, JANET LEE '96, PETER SYLVES '96, and TONY TSAI '96. We also regularly see JOHN PAXTON '96."
More than 400 guests attended Johns Hopkins convocations in San Francisco and Burbank in March, hearing from President William R. Brody and other outstanding faculty speakers about developments at Johns Hopkins. The Southern California convocation, held at the Walt Disney Studios, was hosted by University trustee John F. Cooke, Disney's executive vice president-corporate affairs.
Address of George Bush
41st President of the United States
The Johns Hopkins University
Arts and Sciences/Engineering Undergraduate Diploma Award Ceremony
Baltimore, Maryland -- May 22 1996
Madam President, thank you for that wonderful, warm introduction and what a pleasure it was to meet with Asma and the other leaders of this class here today. I felt very relieved when I told them that I was going to give this speech on the gold standard and the international balance of payments. It only takes about 50 minutes and they all seemed enthralled with the idea. All of which reminded me, as I was telling Dr. Nathans and my friend, Mike Bloomberg, who's taken on the chairmanship of the board here, about a graduation at Yale University which I attended, and the speaker went on. He went Y is for Youth, he went on about 25 minutes, A for Altruism, another 35 minutes, L for Loyalty, 30 minutes, E for Excellence. By the time he finished, all but one kid had left. The guy was praying. He said, "Oh son, I'm so pleased to see you here giving thanks." He said, "What exactly are you praying for?" The kid said, "Well, I'm praying that I did not ... thanks to the Lord that I did not go to Johns Hopkins University."
Um, I'm pleased to be here. It's been a little more that six years since I visited this prestigious university for Commemoration Day. And I am delighted to be back here. I salute Dr. Nathans for what he has given to this university, not only as faculty but as his interim period as president and I am grateful for his service to the country on our Science Board which he served ... with no partiality, but just bringing to the board his sense of excellence for which Johns Hopkins is so famous. It doesn't seem possible that 48 years ago I was sitting out there where our graduates are today, most of them, bursting to get out there and claim my stake in the world, to try anything. And I am sure that each of you feels the same way, and I encourage you to do it all. Don't be afraid of trying, of dreaming. Don't even be afraid of failure or tears. We all stumble. We all face fear, and that's what makes us human. But none of us should ever regret, none of us should ever sit at a grandchild's graduation and think, I wish that that were me, starting all over again, there's so much I'd do differently. First of all, don't worry, any of you graduates, if you're not 100 percent sure what you want to do the rest of your life, what you want to be 30 years from now. Barbara and I have lived in about 40 different houses, over the course of 51 years of marriage, and I wish Barbara would stop saying, "George can't hold a job." But, uh, but it was only after a couple of decades out in the real world that I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. But the point is this, you have a lifetime of chances in your grasp right now. Don't lose any of them. Don't give up the chance to take a risk, follow a vision, hug a child, touch a life.
Touching a life. That's what I want to talk to you about today. Each of you has visions of success for your future. You can just feel the energy as the president spoke here, what a wonderful job she did. Find your own ways to define it. Let me give you mine. As often I said as president, I believe that any definition of a successful life must include service to others. It's just that simple. It doesn't mean that you have to run for public office, but I hope all of you will somehow save some time to be actively involved in our political system. It's not very pleasant in the political arena these days. There's an adversarial press, and a very, very much, kind of a controversial environment. But it's worth it. It's worth it to get into what Teddy Roosevelt calls the arena, roll up your sleeves and try. Serving others does mean rolling up your sleeves and getting involved in your community, though. It means getting off the sidelines, it means being a doer and not a critic. It means contributing to a cause larger than yourself. There is no problem. You know you read the papers, there's all these problems. But there is not one single problem in the country today that somewhere is not being solved by some people. And for eight years as vice president and four as president and even today unemployed and retired, I have seen literally thousands of examples of the neighbor-helping-neighbor spirit that made this country the kindest and the gentlest and the strongest in the entire world. It was one of the real joys of being president, and Barbara and I are continuing to try and encourage others to volunteer their time and effort to fighting a community problem. People say, "What's it like from going from being president of the United States of America one day" ... they don't say to be unemployed the next, they're very polite to us now. We can even go to a ballgame in Camden Yards and not even get booed. It's wonderful. But they say, "What's it like," "What's it like?" and it's a wonderful life, because what we want to do is what everybody on this faculty, I'm sure, does; what every parent does; and that's put something back into the system. Give something to the community in one way or another. It doesn't have to be dramatic, it doesn't have to be in the newspapers, some way to have the satisfaction of knowing you're helping make somebody else's life a little brighter. Of course, government has an obligation to help those who cannot help themselves. And yet there's something special about the kindness of a neighbor helping someone he or she doesn't know. It gives that special touch that is beyond the power of government to provide. No exercise is better for the human heart than reaching down and lifting someone else up, and to serve others, to enrich your community. This truly defines a successful life. For success is personal, and it is charitable, and it is the sum, not of our possessions, but of how we help others.
And so, here I am at 72 years old, and I'm expected to give advice, and I will. My advice is to encourage you to follow the example of those who have preceded you and to set an example for those who follow. For each of you, Johns Hopkins has been a wonderful place of possibilities. This standard of excellence has been for each of you a place of possibilities. A place where you have developed your potential and prepared for the future. But now the time has come to venture out. The time has arrived for you to put in the hard work and the sacrifice and dedication that transforms these possibilities into reality.
Do it all, but do it without neglect of family. People say to me, "What's the largest problem, what's your biggest shortcoming?" The largest problem is, in my view, facing the country is the decline or the weakening of the American family and my biggest shortcoming was not being able to rally the country, not for government legislation, but to do something to strengthen the American family. And so each of you, your career paths ahead of you, do something to help strengthen the family and for those kids that don't have a family, take them under your wing and help them, too.
Let me close. I am an optimist about the future. I honestly and truly believe that our best days are yet to come. I believe this because I've seen how far we've come. Gone are the suspicions and the conflict of the Cold War. We no longer face threat of nuclear holocaust, where your parents, some of them, were taught to hide under their desks, to avoid nuclear fallout. We no longer live in a world of two antagonistic superpowers, and, as for me, I take heart that a teacher will not have to explain balance of terror, mutually assured destruction, and all of these other acronyms of the Cold War. We're putting that dark chapter behind us and today the world is rife with promise and opportunity, and yes, cliche though it may be, today begins the rest of your life. A Yale teacher once said, "Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it, for today has power, boldness and magic in it.
My favorite story was told by a great friend of Barbara's and mine who received the congressional gold medal the other day, the coveted award, Billy Graham. And he told about a speaker that was standing where I am and the speaker went on too long, so one of the guys at the head table, the dais, picked up his shoe, heaved it at him, missed him and hit a lady sitting in the front row. She goes like this and says, "Hit me again. I can still hear him."
So I would say to you, be bold in your dreaming, be bold in your living, be bold in your caring, your compassion, your humanity and then, when you sit at your grandchild's commencement half a century from now, you'll look back at the tapestry of your life and find it good, and that will be the greatest success of all.
Thank you for welcoming me back to this very special campus and may God bless every single graduate in the class of 1996. Thank you very much!
The student-run SNARK film series will screen a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-released Michael Douglas-Annette Bening film, American President, in the newly refurbished Shriver Hall Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The auditorium, which seats 1,100, was recently outfitted with a new screen, 35-mm projectors and soon-to-be-installed Dolby sound system in part to accommodate student organizations, which promised to bring to Homewood sneak previews of major Hollywood films.
SNARK director Chris Aldrich says the free tickets are available at the Levering Hall Student Union desk beginning at noon.
MSE Symposium Unspools Tuesday at Shriver Hall At 100, Why Do Movies Matter? Mike Giuliano ------------------------- Special to The Gazette Not that turf-conscious professors need worry about one of the main campus buildings being converted into a nine-screen multiplex theater, but the movies have arrived on the Homewood campus in a big way. Most immediately, the Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium, "Framing Society: A Century of Cinema," opens this week to examine the roles of the motion pictures in American society. Its undergraduate co-chairmen, Matt Gross and Chris Aldrich, are no strangers to the subject of film. Each is involved in film classes, student film organizations, film production, screenings and a just-launched magazine. All of which, considered together with the symposium, they hope will provide a new frame of reference at Hopkins for the only art form that proceeds at 24 frames per second. Lest anyone still harbor the prejudice that movies should be accompanied by popcorn and not term papers, young filmmaker Gross is quick to defend the academic worth of their symposium offering. "Chris and I always felt it was an appropriate topic for the symposium," he says. "It wasn't so much deciding whether to do it as how to do it. We want to explore how cinema fits into our culture. Can a particular movie or stream of movies change things in society?" By way of example, he dips into film and political history for the famous anecdote about President Woodrow Wilson's proclamation that D.W. Griffith's controversial 1915 film Birth of a Nation was "like history written by lightning." Gross says, "It's a historical fact that Wilson was one of the first people to give legitimacy to film. Since he went to Hopkins, he's like this guy sitting on top of the ivory tower saying this is a way of reporting history. That legitimizes film as a historical pursuit. And the 100th anniversary of cinema is an opportunity to look back on film in a cultural and intellectual way." Gross adds that a visit to Paris reinforced his sense that the French, whose visionary Lumière brothers began showing movies commercially in 1895, have a much keener sense of film history than do Americans. "It's not just that Americans don't have a grasp of film history. There's not a good grasp of history among the American people," he says. There's yet another reason why Gross believes movies haven't always received the respect they deserve in this country. "Also, possibly, the business of film has gotten in the way somewhat," he says. "Because it is big business--it's a product--some people may not feel it's worth looking at" in an academic forum, he says. Gross looks on this year's symposium as a springboard for a broader discussion, both on campus and in the larger community, of the role played by movies. "The symposium is a way to get everybody who is interested together in one place to talk about movies. Beyond the symposium, we're trying to create at Hopkins a kind of cinematic culture. And we need to expand so that the Baltimore public knows about what's at Hopkins," Gross says. "Being on campus for four years, everything feels so isolated. Many students know a lot about film but not always about what's going on off campus, and people off campus in Baltimore know about film but not about what we have here. "We'd like to integrate Hopkins into the Baltimore community at large. We want to be a regular part of the movie scene. So we want the symposium to act as a catalyst for everything else," he says. One impact the symposium will have on and off campus will result from the outfitting of Shriver Hall with a new 38-foot screen. "The old screen had been subjected to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other things," says Mary Ellen Porter, special assistant to dean of students Larry Benedict. The film is noted as much for its campy content as for its cult following, who make viewing the film an interactive experience replete with vegetables and other substances tossed at the screen. Also added were 35mm film projectors, and there are plans to add "surround sound" equipment next year. These technical enhancements will make the 1,174-seat hall the largest and potentially one of the best movie theaters in the Baltimore area. Existing film series such as the long-running Reel World and Weekend Wonderflix will look better on screen. Porter says the booking of preview screenings and other special programs "will give us a chance to reach out to the greater community in a way we don't now." Better campus screening facilities can enhance both a weekend date for the latest Die Hard movie and a student taking notes on the mise-en-scène in a Renoir film. "In terms of facilities, film is a machine art and machines are a part of it," notes Richard Macksey, a longtime Hopkins professor of humanities and film and an active member of Baltimore's cinema culture. He cites the upgrading of 110 Gilman several years ago as an instance of how film courses prosper when projection moves closer to state of the art. Indeed, the cinematic zeitgeist on campus seems healthy. Last summer saw the birth of yet another film series, The Snark, which offers classics and avant-garde fare. Also recently arrived on the screen scene is the Animation Club. The recently established Johns Hopkins Film Society and its magazine, Frame of Reference, promote film culture at Hopkins, including criticism, theory, history and production. Mardi Gras Baltimore, co-directed by Gross and 1995 graduate Gil Jawetz, will premiere at the symposium at 8 p.m. on Nov. 15. Gross hopes the diversity of symposium speakers will provide the insights and inspiration to support and nourish the confluence of Hopkins' film-related activities. For example, James G. Robinson, founder and CEO of Morgan Creek Productions, will talk about the business of making movies. Veteran screenwriter Millard Kaufman and young director Rose Troche will each talk about their place within that industry. Critic Molly Haskell will talk about the role played by women in filmmaking and criticism. And Thomas Cripps, among the world's leading scholars of black film history, will add his reflections on the representation of blacks in the movies and the social effects of those images. It's a lineup that has won over at least one initial skeptic. "Frankly, I was a little skeptical of it at first because a lot of money goes into [the symposium], and I didn't want to see speakers who'd stand up there schmoozing and then vanish into the night," says English professor Jerome Christensen, who directs the Film and Media Studies program. Established in 1991, Film and Media Studies is a cooperative program of the departments of English, French, German, Hispanic and Italian Studies, Writing Seminars, Humanities and Philosophy. Presently, students may minor in this area, but Christensen expects that the eventual addition of a film production course will enable students to major in Film and Media Studies. Although he says Hopkins "will never be a film school" on the scale of New York University or the University of Southern California, it is taking its place with other academic pursuits at Homewood. "I'm glad [Gross and Aldrich] have used [the symposium] in a way that will be educational," Christensen says. "I'm hoping the symposium will demonstrate the range of opportunities both in terms of careers and the intellectual challenges that contemporary film represents. It also gives us a push to do other things." Christensen suggests the symposium visit of Indian filmmaker Girish Karnad will likely figure into classroom discussions in a course on Indian film being offered in the spring. Undergraduate internships with Robinson also are under discussion. "My aim is to have some institutional pay-off to these things," he says. "Film is especially adaptable to an interdisciplinary approach and it's used for so many pedagogical purposes now," says Macksey of the Hopkins approach to teaching film. Having mentored such future Hollywood talents as Walter Murch and Caleb Deschanel during their student days in the 1960s, Macksey has been a constant advocate for film studies on campus. And what would the students like to see on the classroom screen scene in the semesters ahead? "I'd like to consider how the film study is done at New York University, Columbia, USC and elsewhere and then find a different and original way to go at it at Hopkins," Gross says. "Many of those film schools examine how movies are made and not as much attention is paid to movies as literature. That's something Hopkins can do."
The moving picture turns 100 this year and some Johns Hopkins University undergraduates who can’t picture life without a big screen have marked film’s centennial by bringing to the Homewood campus an impressive group of movie industry insiders to discuss the powerful medium of film.
The 1995 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium, “Framing Society: A Century of Cinema” will be held in Shriver Hall at 8 p.m. on different nights from Oct. 10 through Nov. 16, and is entirely free and open to the public.
James Robinson, founder and CEO of Morgan Creek Productions, will discuss the movie-making business in the series kick-off event Oct. 10. Since 1988 Robinson has produced at least 26 films, including Young Guns I and II, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Enemies: a Love Story, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and True Romance. Last year Robinson, a Baltimore resident who commutes every week to the West Coast, was named the most prolific producer of the year by Hollywood Reporter Magazine.
Also during the series, an independent film maker will discuss the recent boom in independent, low-budget films while another director will talk
about the importance of her identity as a Latina lesbian and her struggle not to be pegged as a “queer” director. Other speakers will discuss the portrayal of African-Americans and women in movies, and one of India’s leading directors will discuss the international movie scene.
Symposium organizers say another highlight will be a lecture given by veteran screenwriter Millard Kaufman. Kaufman, 78, has weathered the ups and downs of the film industry for decades and his colorful, tell-it-like-it-is style is as entertaining as it is enlightening. Besides writing memorable Lee Marvin and Spencer Tracy westerns like Bad Day at Black Rock and Take the High Ground, he is also known for risking his career by fronting the screenplay Gun Crazy for a blacklisted friend during the McCarthy era. Still, Kaufman is probably most famous for creating the quirky and comical cartoon character Mr. Magoo.
During the symposium, Hopkins will also hold the grand opening of the Shriver Hall Theater in Shriver Hall Auditorium, which will be outfitted with state-of-the-art screening capabilities, making it the largest movie theater in the Baltimore-Washington area. In the future, the new theater will host movie premieres and sneak previews as well as off-beat and foreign films.
The Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium was established in 1967 by Hopkins’ undergraduate student council to honor the university’s eighth president.
Every year since then, a team of two to three students chosen by the student council has arranged and managed all aspects of the series. Usually about six prominent figures are booked to address a current national issue.
Covering topics like the nuclear arms race, human sexuality, freedom of the press and foreign policy and race, the symposium has been drawn speakers like Aaron Copland, Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Bernstein, former senators George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, Pat Robinson and Isaac Asimov.
This year’s symposium organizers are Hopkins seniors Chris Aldrich and Matt Gross. Gross and fellow Hopkins senior Gil Jawetz have also produced and directed a short film, Mardi Gras, Baltimore, which will premiere during the symposium.
The 1995 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium.
Oct. 10, 8 p.m.
“The Film Industry.” James G. Robinson, CEO of Morgan Creek Productions; producer of True Romance, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Major League 2.
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 8 p.m.
Go Fish, written and directed by Rose Troche.
Thursday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m.
“Sexuality and Film.” Rose Troche writer/director of Go Fish.
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall.
U.S. premiere of Ondanondu Kaladalli, directed by Girish Karnad.
Thursday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m.
“World Cinema.” Girish Karnad, leading film director of India and past director of the Film and Television Institute of India.
Thursday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m.
“Women In Film and Criticism.” Molly Haskell, New York film critic and author of From Reverence to Rape.
Thursday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m.
“Censorship of Film.” Millard Kaufman, screenwriter, Bad Day at Black Rock, Take the High Ground, Raintree Country; board member of the Writers Guild of America; creator of Mr. Magoo.
Friday, Nov. 3, 8 p.m.
Bad Day at Black Rock, written by Millard Kaufman. The film will be introduced by Kaufman and followed by a question and answer session.
Thursday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m.
“Race and Film.” Thomas Cripps, author and history professor at Morgan State University.
Friday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.
Premiere and screening.
World premiere of Mardi Gras, Baltimore, written, produced and directed by JHU students Gil Jawetz and Matt Gross. Screening of Laws of Gravity, produced by Larry Meistrich.
Thursday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m.
“Independent films.” Larry Meistrich, producer of Laws of Gravity and New Jersey Drive; CEO of the Shooting Gallery.
(photos of speakers available upon request)
MSE Symposium Considers the Cinema at 100 Leslie Rice ----------------------------------- Homewood News and Information It was just curiosity that drew the crowds of people to see Thomas Edison's latest invention one century ago. How could they have known then the colossal impact those odd, grainy, flickering moving pictures would forever have on American culture? Two Hopkins undergraduates have marked the 100th anniversary of the moving picture by bringing to the Homewood campus an impressive group of film industry personalities to talk about the movies. The 1995 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium, entitled "Framing Society: A Century of Cinema," will examine the power of the medium of film. Admission to the symposium, in Shriver Hall at 8 p.m. on various nights from Oct. 10 through Nov. 16, is free and open to the public. During the lecture series, chaired by Hopkins seniors Matt Gross and Chris Aldrich, an independent film maker will discuss the recent boom in independent, low-budget films while another director will talk about the importance of her identity as a Latina lesbian and her fight not to be pegged as a "queer" director. Other speakers will discuss the portrayal of African Americans and women in movies, and India's leading film director will discuss the international movie scene. "We chose speakers who could talk about film in a historical context," Gross said. "We didn't want someone to just come in and say, 'Here's my film: look at it'." Kicking off the series will be James Robinson, founder and CEO of Morgan Creek Productions, who will talk about how the film industry has become big business. Since 1988 Robinson has produced a couple dozen films, including Young Guns I and II, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Enemies: A Love Story, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and True Romance. Last year Robinson, a Baltimore resident who commutes every week to the West Coast, was named the most prolific producer of the year by Hollywood Reporter Magazine. Aldrich says he's particularly excited to hear screenwriter Millard Kaufman, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2. Kaufman, 78, has weathered the ups and downs of the film industry for decades. Besides writing memorable Lee Marvin and Spencer Tracy westerns like Bad Day at Black Rock and Take the High Ground, he is known for risking his career by fronting the screenplay Gun Crazy for a blacklisted friend during the McCarthy era. Still, Kaufman may be most famous for creating the quirky and comical cartoon character Mr. Magoo. "Kaufman is planning to talk about censorship in film, but even if he just talks about his career it will be very entertaining," Aldrich said. "He's very colorful and tells really funny stories about his experiences with some of the most powerful people in the industry." During the symposium, Hopkins will also hold the grand opening of the Shriver Hall Theater within Shriver Hall Auditorium, which will, by then, be outfitted with state-of-the-art 35mm projection and sound equipment, making it the largest movie theater in the Baltimore-Washington area. In the future, the new theater, made possible through university grants submitted by Aldrich and Gross, will host movie premieres and sneak previews as well as off-beat and foreign films. The Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium was established in 1967 by Hopkins' undergraduate student council as a means of honoring the university's eighth president. Every year since then, a team of two to three students chosen by the student council, after a very competitive proposal process, has arranged and managed all aspects of the series from beginning to end--from selecting the topic, to raising money (this year roughly $35,000), to booking the personalities to reserving rooms. Usually about six prominent figures are booked to address a current national issue. Covering topics like the nuclear arms race, human sexuality, freedom of the press, and foreign policy and race, the symposium has drawn top-flight speakers like Aaron Copeland, Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Bernstein, former senators George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, Pat Robinson and Isaac Asimov. Aldrich and Gross decided they wanted to direct the 1995 symposium after attending many of the lectures from last year's symposium on children's issues. "Chris just turned to me and said, 'Let's do next year's symposium,' " Gross recalled. "Without even thinking, I said, 'On movies, right?' He said 'yeah,' and that was it. I wish I could say it was a decision we pondered long and hard on, but it wasn't." Since their proposal was chosen by the student council last December, the two have felt the weight of all the successful symposia of the past, which have captured national and local attention. "It's really been a constant pressure, and over the summer it was a full-time job for both Chris and me," said Gross, who happens to be a fledgling director. "All things considered though, I feel really lucky to have been able to do this. Just the experience of having to deal with every single detail, getting to know some of these people, and the kinds of things I have learned has been incredibly rewarding." ***************************************************************** THE MSE SYMPOSIUM - 1995 SCHEDULE "Framing Society: A Century of Cinema," is a series of lectures by film producers, directors, critics and screenwriters. All lectures and film screenings are free and open to the public and will take place in the new Shriver Hall Theater on the Homewood campus. ------------------------------ Tuesday, Oct. 10, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Lecture. "The Film Industry." James G. Robinson, CEO of Morgan Creek Productions; producer of True Romance, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Major League 2. ------------------------------ Wednesday, Oct. 11, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Screening. Go Fish, written and directed by Rose Troche. ------------------------------ Thursday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Lecture. "Sexuality and Film." Rose Troche, writer/director of Go Fish. ------------------------------ Wednesday, Oct. 18, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Premiere and Screening. English premiere of Ondanondu Kaladalli, directed by Girish Karnad. ------------------------------ Thursday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Lecture. "World Cinema." Girish Karnad, leading film director of India and past director of the Film and Television Institute of India. ------------------------------ Thursday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Lecture. "Women in Film and Criticism." Molly Haskell, New York film critic and author of From Reverence to Rape. ------------------------------ Thursday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Lecture. "Censorship of Film." Millard Kaufman, screenwriter, Bad Day at Black Rock, Take the High Ground, Raintree Country; board member of the Writers Guild of America; creator of Mr. Magoo. ------------------------------ Friday, Nov. 3, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Screening. Bad Day at Black Rock, written by Millard Kaufman. The film will be introduced by Kaufman and followed by a question and answer session. ------------------------------ Thursday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Lecture. "Race and Film." Thomas Cripps, author and history professor at Morgan State University. ------------------------------ Wednesday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Premiere and Screening. Premiere of Mardi Gras, Baltimore, written, produced and directed by JHU students Gil Jawetz and Matt Gross. Screening of Laws of Gravity, produced by Larry Meistrich. ------------------------------ Thursday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m. ------------------------------ Lecture. "Independent Films." Larry Meistrich, producer of Laws of Gravity and New Jersey Drive; CEO of the Shooting Gallery. ***************************************************************** Call the symposium office for further information at (410) 516-7683.