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Disease Detective

By Robert Strauss

It was mid-April at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), just about the time to start breathing a little more easily now that the flu season had passed without any big problems. Then there were reports of two apparently unrelated cases of children in California falling ill with an odd strain of influenza.
“That’s when you [...]

The Liberal Arts Engineer

By Carol Brévart-Demm

THE SECOND FLOOR LOBBY OF HICKS HALL, home of the College’s Engineering Department is a bright and friendly place. Light cascades from a wall-sized window onto a loose arrangement of plants, old instruments, and antique equipment. Between classes, animated groups of budding engineers cluster around a large table, socializing with classmates, friends, and professors; [...]

A Transformative Presidency

By Lawrence Schall ’75

The most transformative presidencies in higher education have belonged to those whose tenure lasts far beyond the current eight-and-a-half–year average for college and university chief executives. Think of presidents such as Charles Eliot, who led Harvard from 1869 to 1909, building it into a modern university. Or Robert Maynard Hutchins, who served as president and [...]

Strong Voices, Strong Minds, Strong Spirits

By Jeffrey Lott

“When I first came to Swarthmore, I thought I was just passing through,” says John Alston, in a reflective mood as he looks back on 15 years as founding director of the Chester Children’s Chorus (CCC) and 18 as a member of the College’s Music and Dance Department. “I thought I would be here for [...]

Skyscrapers and Emptiness

By Eli Epstein-Deutsch ’10

“Skyscrapers and emptiness,” says Polish theater director Michal Zadara ’99, as he sits across the table from me, smoking a slim cigarette and gesturing pointedly at the Warsaw skyline outside the cafe window. I think I understand what he means. There is a disconcerting sense of unoccupied space at the heart of the city, amidst [...]

Word Domination

By Katie Becker ’10

Becky Botsford seems to live the average life of a 10-year-old girl. She has moderately clueless parents, an annoying younger brother, a pet monkey, and a secret. When trouble arises, Becky becomes WordGirl, a superhero with super strength, super speed, and a super vocabulary. Whether she’s out saving the city from a rat-brained villain’s nefarious [...]

Tian ’an men Diary

By Karen Linnea Searle ’84

Editor’s Note: Following are edited excerpts from a journal written by Linnea Searle (known in college as Karen) while she was a university student and teacher of English in Beijing from January to May 1989.
As a young speaker of Chinese, she could closely observe the democracy movement that is now known as Beijing Spring. [...]

The Neutrino Hunter

By Dana Mackenzie ’79

If particles had personalities, what a family they would be! Quarks are so cliquish that they travel only in groups of three and are never seen alone. Flashy photons, all style and no substance, travel everywhere at the speed of light. Businesslike electrons bind atoms to one another and power all our electronic gadgets.
One kind [...]

A Mind on the Right

By Paul Wachter ’97

Robert George ’77, a leading conservative public intellectual, remembers the precise moment that he was set on the path to becoming an academic: It was when he first encountered Plato’s dialogue Gorgias in Kenneth Sharpe’s political theory seminar.
“Before reading that dialogue, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought of pursuing an academic career,” [...]

Dropping Out­­­—and Dropping In

By Dana Mackenzie ’79

Ruth Haas ’82
If you read very much literature about women in science, you will soon encounter the metaphor of the “leaky pipeline.” At every key career transition—from high school to college, college to grad school, grad school to junior faculty, and junior to senior faculty—women seem to drop out in greater [...]