Literary scholars find it hard to envision a cultural world without Henry James, the great American novelist whose novel The Portrait of a Lady enjoys a lasting mystique more than 130 years after its first publication. Now, Smith professor Michael Gorra has written a new book exploring why James’ work and his enigmatic life are still so intriguing. More...
For the first time, women constitute 20 percent of the Senate. But will their presence lead to a more productive and less contentious legislative season? Smith scholars weigh in.
A team of researchers is working with the National Science Foundation to lay out a complete evolutionary tree that brings together every single known organism on Earth.
Is there a positive to negative campaigning? While the candidates in the current presidential contest are clashing over ideologies, many people wonder if this is the most rancorous election ever.
For the first time in psychiatric history, hoarding is poised to become an official mental disorder. Professor Randy Frost reflects on the early research that began in a Smith psychology laboratory
English professor Michael Thurston set out to walk from Eastham to Provincetown, following Henry David Thoreau's footsteps and finding surprising insights about his own life along the way.
Cities that host major sports events like the Olympics often expect a financial windfall. But economics professor Andrew Zimbalist says the costs of putting on these extravaganzas often outweigh any benefits.
But what is it and who cares? Finding the Higgs boson particle is a big step for scientists, but physics professor Gary Felder says there are more secrets of the universe yet to be discovered.
Taking a fresh approach to teaching nonfiction writing, academics are drawing on the novelist’s techniques for storytelling but emphasizing “a slavish obligation to serve fact and to observe accurately
Why aren’t more women serving in Congress? Senior Alana Eichner has spent the past year analyzing the successes and failures of women who ran as party nominees for the House of Representatives.
Despite gloomy predictions from publishing aficionados, book artist and illustrator Barry Moser is confident that the ink-and-paper book as we’ve come to know it isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Evelyn Fox Keller, the 2012 William Allan Neilson Chair of Research, has lectured on contemporary scientific problems, including the persistent discussion regarding medical genetics and the nature-nurture debate.
The research of Associate Professor of Computer Science Dominique Thiébaut focuses on “the cloud’s” significance in everyday life as well as on how scientists are tapping into it to accomplish complex computations
Smith is one of the first institutions of higher education to apply innovative teaching methods known as knowledge building to the liberal arts. With video.
A Smith professor suggests that a team of logicians should review all statements made by political candidates during public debates.
The vampires captivating the popular imagination on the big screen in the Twilight movies and in popular television series like True Blood are bloodsucking creatures of the digital age.
Smith Professor Donald Joralemon is not only asking engaging questions about death in America. He’s inviting public input on the topic by posting a draft of his upcoming book on the Internet.
How can scholars and their students visualize the complex and multilayered urban space of Paris without touring firsthand the famous city?
What happens when the aging brain experiences sleep disruptions? Jet-lagged mice might help us understand.
There is new evidence of sea-level oscillations during a warm period that started about 125,000 years ago.
Psychological and social healing are aided by reconciliation with adversaries, says Joshua Miller, professor in the School for Social Work.
“I think the shock of 9/11 literally unhinged us, at Smith and nationally,” says John Connolly, who was serving as Smith’s acting president on September 11, 2001.
Smith professor Nicholas Howe’s work might some day contribute to improving Muslim-Christian relations.
A recently scholarly publication, authored by a Smith chemistry professor and his student, analyzes women’s roles in the discovery and development of named organic reactions.
Using solar panels to generate electrical power at the site of a soon-to-close landfill is a good way to capture new revenue. With video.
Why thousands of bureaucrats, priests, artisans and farmers settled some 2,000 years ago in the Lake Titicaca Basin of the Andes and developed an important regional center there is a mystery.
Smith College geologists have discovered that polygonal sandcracks can develop without the usual necessary ingredient: mud.
A Smith College professor asks why American and European policy makers are hesitating to call for the end of President Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist regime.
Some 150 years after iconic naturalist Charles Darwin pondered the natural world’s mysteries, excerpts from his writings are now scored to be sung in a newly commissioned work.
A Smith scholar sees it as an obligation to explore how the concept of jihad came to legitimize Muslims fighting other Muslims, something proscribed as sinful in the early Islamic tradition.
As an astronomer and a paleontologist posit their predictions for the end of the planet, they agree on one point: humankind can subvert catastrophic events that would mean death for life on Earth.
Theater is supposed to tell us something. The play, through the plot, is designed to reveal to us—the audience—an element of truth. Or is it?
Understanding which genes allow pathogens to evade the immune system’s fever response may lead to the development of therapeutic drugs.
When zoo patrons visit big cats, they expect to see cheetahs doing things cheetahs do: running, jumping and exploring their surroundings.
Naturally occurring compounds may prevent the “dicey game” that doctors must play in administering anesthetics to patients.
When a trove of unusual color slides documenting Shinto festivals in Kyoto, Japan, recently surfaced, Smith College faculty and staff quickly took steps to make sure these cultural records wouldn’t be lost to the ages.
Setting high goals for oneself is often considered a more positive aspect of perfectionism. But is it? An Academic Minute with Professor of Psychology Patricia DiBartolo.
Trash. Rubbish. Garbage. Refuse. Junk. These words and others like them, such familiar parts of our vernacular, hint at our nuanced and often conflicted relationship with the concept of waste.
When scientists and entomologists recently reported a breakthrough in identifying the infections that may be killing honeybee colonies, the director of Smith’s Center for Proteomics took note.
Confucius, the venerable Sage who lived in the 6th century BC, is enjoying a 21st century revival. His rehabilitators? The Chinese Communist Party.
For compulsive hoarders, however, the collecting and saving of things — and consequent clutter — can be the cause of great suffering.
There's nothing as inviting as the cool shade of a stand of hemlock trees stretching out along a forested trail on a sunny day.
Karen Kukil, associate curator of special collections at Smith, will teach Smith students how to edit correspondence from the Sylvia Plath Collection — including Plath's unpublished letters written to her Smith friends.
The jitters among undergraduates presenting the progress of summer research were evident.
In the past 10 years Smith has won more National Science Foundation (NSF) research funding — more than $14 million — than any other select liberal arts college in the nation. And that is not a coincidence.
Summer research fellows had nearly twice the odds of completing an advanced degree as students who did not participate in the program.
From YouTube videos of cat antics to late-night stupid pet tricks, pets are pervasive in our culture. Yet in academia, pets have long been shunned to the proverbial doghouse. Until now.
Friday afternoons for Christine Woodbury are all about time. Literally. She and about a dozen Smith professors and students gather each week to talk, ponder, inquire and maybe even argue about the fourth dimension.
Ileana Streinu was honored by the American Mathematical Society for her algorithmic solution of the “carpenter’s rule problem.”
Featuring an array of Smith professors speaking on thought-provoking subjects related to their teaching, research and academic interests, Scholars in Studio is a video series that showcases our diverse and vibrant community of scholars. More...
Insight chronicles the ideas, intellectual life and creative thinking inherent within the culture of research and the liberal arts at Smith College, where a vibrant community of scholars and students exhibit a love of discovery. Through words, images and multimedia, Insight showcases the ideas, the people behind the ideas and the original contributions Smith is making to larger intellectual dialogues and a growing body of knowledge.
Insight is produced by the Smith College Office of College Relations. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Jan McCoy Ebbets is Insight's editor.