Getting it right

Getting it right

Writing about research for public consumption—and getting it right—involves a continual balancing act between accuracy and clarity. Accuracy versus clarity is at the heart of many writerly decisions.



Who knew?

I learned just a few minutes ago that the official name for Rogers 100 is ISC 1127. Not that I ever expect to hear anyone actually call it that.



1,000 Giddy Arcana*: Fruit flies have champagne tastes

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. But what fruit flies really like is champagne. That’s right—champagne.



Chromium-doped beryl…in seven letters

You may not have to be a chemist to solve this puzzle, but if would help if you have logged some serious lab time. It starts with 1 across: “Glassware type.” There are a bunch of those maddening self-referential clues, such as “With 81 across, glassware.”



No cats were killed in the writing of this blog

To you, it may be a humble pontoon boat, but to the scientists involved, it’s a research vessel and deserving of a worthy scientific name. Accordingly, the College’s new pontoon boat—I mean research vessel—will be known as RV Schrödinger’s Catamaran. The name is a reference to Shrödinger’s Cat, a thought experiment that involves a sealed,



1,000 Giddy Arcana*: Bond. Flemish bond.

In the beginning, there is the artifact. Interpretation of what historians refer to as “material culture” enables someone to draw inferences about the everyday life people from the items they left behind. I asked several people for their definition of material culture. Historian Susan Kern says it’s “getting history from ‘stuff’.” For instance, the glazing



The real story on Thomas Jefferson

It must be book season. In today’s mail, I received a copy of Susan Kern’s new book, The Jeffersons at Shadwell. I’ve already written a piece about this book, which literally rewrites our understanding of the young Thomas Jefferson. Shadwell was the plantation birthplace of Thomas Jefferson and his home until it burned to the



You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Dept.

The calendar and thermometer both say “no, no” but the presence of students on campus is a sure sign that summer is over. Regina Root and Giulia Pacini were on their way to lunch between meetings with freshman advisees when I ran into them. I congratulated Regina on her new book, Couture & Consensus: Fashion



Ladies and gentlemen, heeeere’s J.C.

I was walking down Jamestown Road on the Monday of Spring Break when a car swerved my way and came to a stop. Usually there’s a couple of bewildered tourists inside the car wanting to ask directions, as the geography of Williamsburg is complex enough to bewilder a troop of Balkan Boy Scouts. But J.C.



Just when you’re ready to misquote Churchill

I was getting ready to say the following: We have killed the monster and thrust it upon an unsuspecting public. That’s my private way of saying that the latest issue of Ideation is off the presses and in the mail. I know this because I received my copy at home already. The on-campus copies also