The Committee includes:
Associate Professor of English, Co-Chair of Conceptual Foundations of Science
W. Donald Cotter
Chair of Chemistry; Associate Professor of Chemistry, Co-Chair of Conceptual Foundations of Science
Donnie Cotter's scientific research focuses on the mechanism of transmetalation. Recently, he has turned his scholarly attentions to the study the history of chemistry, focusing on the American chemical community between 1890 and 1920. Cotter is the author of numerous scholarly papers and presentations, many of them coauthored by Mount Holyoke students.
Chair of Environmental Studies; Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Timothy Farnham believes in the importance of interdisciplinary study to build a broad understanding of environmental issues and foster creative and practical solutions to real world problems. His scholarly interests focus on environmental values and how humans have perceived their place in the natural world throughout history.
Professor of Anthropology on the Ford Foundation
Andrew Lass is an intellectual historian with a strong interest in the philosophical implications of linguistic approaches to the study of meaning in anthropology and of the historical and cultural shifts in the sense of place and time. His research and publications have looked at the formations of memory and forgetting in Czech culture and national history. He is currently re-examining the concept of meaning in the work of the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Sam Mitchell teaches logic and associated areas such as probability. His research is in justification in Philosophy of Science. He's particularly interested in how making observations justifies believing in hypotheses of a scientific theory. He is currently at work writing a book on how it is possible to justify a hypothesis by two independent experiments, and relatedly, how it is possible to justify one hypothesis independently of another.
Professor of Physics and Mathematics on the Alumnae Foundation
Mark Peterson is a physics theorist who teaches in both the physics and mathematics departments. His research includes modelling fluid dynamics in biophysical settings, innovative mathematical methods for elasticity theory, and the history of physics and mathematics, especially the life and work of Galileo.
Chair of Biological Sciences; David and Lucy Stewart Professor of Biological Sciences
Stan Rachootin teaches what evolved (Introductory Biology, Terrestrial Arthropods, Invertebrate Zoology), how evolution might work (Evolution, Macroevolution), and how evolution evolved (Darwin). He has advised theses on how flatfish evolved from round fish, why a tiny fly preserved in amber made eye lenses on its wings, and what the differences in shapes of closely related snails teach us about metaphor in statistics. Each project takes a new problem, though most find that development can help disentangle an evolutionary mystery.