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A New Portrait of Portrait of a Lady Emerges

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...

Fall 2012

Women as Players and Pawns in the 2012 Election

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.

Building the Tree of Life, Microbe by Microbe

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.

Oppositional Behavior in the Presidential Contest

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.

Hoarding: Making Disorder an Official Disorder

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

Alone on the Sandy Shores, Again

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.

Olympics or Bust

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.

Opinion / The Higgs Boson Has Been Found!

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.

Exploring Fact, Fiction and the Details In Between

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

Spring 2012

Predicting Women’s Success in Congressional Races

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.

The Power of the Printed Page Endures

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.

It’s Not Always About the Genes

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.

What's the Big Deal About Cloud Computing?

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

What Do You Know? And How Well Do You Think?

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.

Opinion / Instant Replay for Presidential Debates: A Logical Move

A Smith professor suggests that a team of logicians should review all statements made by political candidates during public debates.

Fall 2011

The Undead and the Digital

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.

Discussing Dying and Death in America

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.

With Digital Mapmaking, Scholars “See” a New Virtual Landscape of Paris

How can scholars and their students visualize the complex and multilayered urban space of Paris without touring firsthand the famous city?

Learning How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep From Jet-Lagged Mice

What happens when the aging brain experiences sleep disruptions? Jet-lagged mice might help us understand.

Fossil Coral Dating Reveals Critical Clues About Sea-level Change

There is new evidence of sea-level oscillations during a warm period that started about 125,000 years ago.

Fear Eats the Soul: 9/11 and the Cycle of Fear and Violence

Psychological and social healing are aided by reconciliation with adversaries, says Joshua Miller, professor in the School for Social Work.

Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

“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.

Using the Power of Computing to Understand the Interactions of Early Christians and Muslims

Smith professor Nicholas Howe’s work might some day contribute to improving Muslim-Christian relations.

What's In a Name?

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.

Designing a New Solar Energy System at a Closing Landfill Site

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.

What Drew Settlers to the Peruvian Highlands?

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.

Sleuths Find Clues to Ancient Environments in Bahamian Sands

Smith College geologists have discovered that polygonal sandcracks can develop without the usual necessary ingredient: mud.

Opinion / How Many Syrians Have to Die?

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.

We Sing the Theory of Evolution

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.

Is Jihad Meant as Devotion to God by the Sword?

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.

Rethinking the End of Our Planet

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.

In Modern Drama, Why Are the Characters So Often Entrapped?

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?

What’s the Best Way to Help the Body Fight Off Invading Bacteria?

Understanding which genes allow pathogens to evade the immune system’s fever response may lead to the development of therapeutic drugs.

How Can We Encourage Cheetahs in the Zoo to Behave as They Would in the Wild?

When zoo patrons visit big cats, they expect to see cheetahs doing things cheetahs do: running, jumping and exploring their surroundings.

Can Naturally Occurring Molecules in the Brain Be Used for General Anesthesia?

Naturally occurring compounds may prevent the “dicey game” that doctors must play in administering anesthetics to patients.

Digital Project Brings Images to Scholars

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.

Audio: Patricia DeBartolo on Perfectionism

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.

Examining Our Relationship to Trash

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.

Unlocking the Basics of Life With Proteomics

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.

What Confucius Says is Useful to China’s Rulers

Confucius, the venerable Sage who lived in the 6th century BC, is enjoying a 21st century revival. His rehabilitators? The Chinese Communist Party.

Uncovering the Psychopathology of Hoarding

For compulsive hoarders, however, the collecting and saving of things — and consequent clutter — can be the cause of great suffering.

Understanding the Impact of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on Forest Ecology

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.

Objects Are Documents

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.

Smith the Site — and Subject — of Summer Research

The jitters among undergraduates presenting the progress of summer research were evident.

Smith Leads Peers in NSF Funding

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.

Undergrads with Research Experience More Likely to Earn Advanced Degrees

Summer research fellows had nearly twice the odds of completing an advanced degree as students who did not participate in the program.

Not in the Doghouse: Pets an Academic Subject

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.

Education Doesn't Stop at the End of Class

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.

Professor Recognized for Groundbreaking Mathematical Research

Ileana Streinu was honored by the American Mathematical Society for her algorithmic solution of the “carpenter’s rule problem.”