The Oberlin Review

Papal Support for LGBTQ Issues, Evolution Misleading

Kiley Petersen, Opinions Editor

February 20, 2015

As a former Catholic, I can tell you that the pope is a big deal. He’s the head honcho, second only to Jesus, in modern Catholics’ “What Would _____ Do.” So what the pope chooses to endorse or to condemn is a sign of what direction the mainstream church is heading. I grew up in a liberal African-American parish in St. Paul, MN. So while more conservative white Catholic churches were solemnly singing along to an organ and sending white savior mission trips off to less- privileged nations, we clapped our way through gospel songs, danced in the aisles and had much more enjoyable Sundays than any other Christians I knew growing up. In an environment that so heavily immersed me in African- American and African...

Neuroscience Professor to Study Senses Using Omni, Oculus Rift

Dyani Sabin

February 6, 2015

Though Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Leslie Kwakye may research virtual reality, the implications of her work are very real. Kwakye is interested in studying multisensory integration by combining information from different sensory modalities through the use of the Virtuix Omni and Oculus Rift, two new virtual reality devices. Sensory modalities are commonly known as things like sight, smell, touch, sound, taste and “self motion,” or the feeling of how you are moving. By looking at how people combine these different sensory systems, Kwakye is trying to discover how the brain combines diverse information into the seamless experience of perception. The classic study of this question is simple: Occasionally...

Research Conference Recognizes Minority STEM Students

Research Conference Recognizes Minority STEM Students

November 21, 2014

Oberlin sent a team of seven students to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in San Antonio last week. There, several students earned first place in their field for their posters. College seniors Marisa Aikins, Hudson Bailey, Gifty Dominah, Michelle Johnson and Gabriel Moore and College juniors Anne Chege and Edmund Korley, along with two Oberlin faculty members, traveled to the conference last Wednesday to present their research at one of the largest professional conferences...

For Sustainable Design, New Club Turns to Nature

Dyani Sabin

November 7, 2014

If you want to know how to create more sustainable architecture, you might want to ask the birds and the bees. At least that’s what the members of Oberlin’s first-ever Biomimicry Club, an organization that aims to bring Oberlin toward sustainable living based on designs found in nature, might tell you. According to its founder, College sophomore Olivia Scott, the purpose of biomimicry is essentially to “use nature to solve your problems,” or to base industrial and sustainable designs on those found in nature. “Nature has had 3.8 billion years of evolution, so you’re using that as a design but also as inspiration,” said Scott. Examples of possible biomimetic designs are air conditioners ...

False Science Hurts College Reputation

Rachel Berkrot, Zia Kandler, and Mae Kate Campbell

October 10, 2014

To the Editors: We are writing this letter because we are disturbed, upset and above all embarrassed by an event that took place at Oberlin College last Wednesday. As part of the Oberlin Illuminate Debate Series, two of America’s most widely recognized climate change skeptics came to “debate” the state of the climate. Dr. Judith Curry and Dr. Patrick Michaels, both climatologists who each receive significant amounts of funding from the fossil fuel industry, stood before us and presented poor scientific evidence to argue against the widely recognized scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change is a severe problem that must be addressed. As a college that considers itself at the forefront of campus...

Oberlin Honors Undergraduate Research

Oberlin Honors Undergraduate Research

September 26, 2014

This year’s annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research displayed student research findings from both the natural and social sciences and provided a platform for interdisciplinary discussions. The celebration included an alumni panel, a poster session and oral presentations by student researchers. According to Afia Ofori-Mensa, visiting assistant professor of Comparative American Studies, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and the organizer of the celebration, the goal of the...

NSF Grant Funds Supercomputer for Sciences

Emma Paul

September 19, 2014

Professors from the College’s Biology, Physics and Chemistry departments were the recent recipients of a $486,256 grant by the National Science Foundation to build a supercomputer, or a high-performance computing cluster, which will allow students to process data sets of an unprecedented size. The computer, which is slated to be built by the end of next summer, is replacing an older high-performance computing cluster, which has been used in the science departments for the past nine years. Nearly 350 Chemistry students per year currently use the old HPC cluster, and the computer also has applications in physics, astrophysics, and computational biology. Matt Elrod, Biggs Professor of Natural Science...

Off the Cuff: Shazeen Attari, expert on the psychology of resource consumption

Maddie Stocker, News Editor

February 28, 2014

Shahzeen Attari, assistant professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington, sat down with the Review this week to talk about energy consumption, motivations in social dilemmas, and the paper she will publish on Monday. Attari visited Oberlin to give a talk titled ‘Public Perceptions of Electricity and Water Use.’  How did you become interested in energy policy and efficiency? I actually started off as a Physics and Math major at [University of Illinois at] Urbana-Champaign, and I volunteered for nature conservancy one spring break as an undergrad, and I realized that [there were] many interesting questions about the environment. I actually grew up in the Mid...

Off The Cuff: Tim Elgren, scientist, teacher and new Dean of Arts and Sciences

Maddie Stocker, News Editor

February 14, 2014

What geared you toward the sciences? I’m a physical inorganic chemist, so that’s a lot of chemistry. That’s my background. [I went to] undergraduate school in St. Paul, MN, and really explored a lot of areas. I was interested in psychology, I got interested in biology, and ultimately landed in chemistry, and really felt that I was incredibly fortunate to have landed at exactly the kind of level of question that I really enjoyed thinking about. So chemistry was a natural place for me. I went off to Dartmouth [College] and did my graduate work in this specialized area of chemistry. I [was] always interested in environmental chemistry, but when I got there I became interested in a biochemical detoxification projec...

Op-Ed: Intro Science Courses Require Revision

Chip Williams

May 13, 2013

Imagine that a group of people have taken it upon themselves to design the curriculum of a new liberal arts college. These people are totally ignorant of the course offerings and distribution requirements in effect at existing liberal arts colleges, but they have access to what such schools say about their missions and purposes. They would see that these institutions claim that all of their graduates, regardless of major, are broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences, and instilled with the skills of “critical thinking.” When the curriculum-designers turned to the problem of designing first-year course offerings in the sciences, it would become clear to them that there would be two general classes of students...

Proprioception Sits at Crossroads of Science and Art

Oliver Levine, Staff Writer

February 15, 2013

In her senior thesis show, Proprioception: A sensory understanding of one’s body in space, which opened last Friday night in the Baron Gallery, College senior Madalyn Berg skillfully explored relationships between the human body and nature. A Studio Art and Biology major, Berg used the exhibition to underscore our personal relationships to internal and external environments. Primarily a sculptor, Berg utilizes a wide range of material — from porcelain to snakeskin — to create her pieces. Some works are not handcrafted at all, but appropriated from nature. Fittingly, these works have been put on display in ways that suggest the transience of life, but also the connection between anatomy and art. Among these pi...

Physics Student Presents Honors Thesis on Carbon Capture Methods

Eli Bixby

April 29, 2011

In an environmentalist’s ideal world, the emission of greenhouse gases would be cut to nearly nothing. This is a lofty goal and one that remains unrealistic — for now. Many scientists from a variety of areas are working toward reducing greenhouse gases by a variety of methods. Among these researchers is College senior and physics major Jennifer Schloss, who presented her Honors thesis on carbon capture this past Monday, April 25. Her work is designed to aid scientists on the front line of carbon capture research, by providing a more in-depth understanding of carbon capture technology. Schloss studies Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), a promising new area of carbon capture technology that has the potential to g...

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