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December 13, 2002


It's All in the System Deborah Strahman, visiting instructor in computer science, has received a National Science Foundation subcontract award of $40,644 through the University of Utah for a project titled "A Grid for Research and Education in Distributed Systems and Networks." The grant covers a two-year period that began in September. Some years ago, researchers at the University of Utah constructed a controlled system that is designed to simulate the Internet. Others followed suit, and there are now a number of such emulation systems around the country. Strahman seeks to link all these simulations to a single federated entity on which experiments on large-scale loosely coupled distributed systems could be safely run. One could, for instance, simulate Internet attacks and counterattacks. The grant will allow Mount Holyoke students to learn to use the emulation system in computer science classes at MHC and to work on research projects related to the grant at the College, including building a local system that might join the federation.

By the Numbers Virginia Bastable, director of SummerMath for Teachers, and Jill Lester, assistant director of SummerMath for Teachers, along with Susan Jo Russell, Deborah Schifter, and Traci Higgins, have released the fifth book, titled Statistics: Working with Data, in their series Developing Mathematical Ideas. As in other parts of the series, the "book" actually consists of two volumes, a facilitator's guide, a casebook, and a video, which are designed to serve as material for a seminar or course for inservice or preservice teachers. The casebook presents twenty-eight cases in which students in grades kindergarten through five develop ideas about collecting, representing, and analyzing data. The facilitator's guide offers suggestions about how a teacher might elicit and develop students' ideas and further pursue some of the issues raised in the cases. Says Donal O'Shea, dean of faculty and Elizabeth T. Kennan Professor of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, "Although these materials are aimed at elementary school teachers, both parents and teachers of students at other levels will find them fascinating. They provide a real window into how children think and grapple with ideas."

No Substitute for Experience Judaism in Practice: From the Middle Ages through the Early Modern Period, an anthology edited by Lawrence Fine, Irene Kaplan Leiwant Professor of Jewish Studies, was published last fall by Princeton University Press. It focuses on the wide range of Jewish religious practice and experience in the years between 600 ce and 1800 ce. Fine contributed the introductory essay, four others in different sections of the book, and numerous translations. The essays are arranged under the following seven headings: Rituals of Daily and Festival Practice; Rituals of the Life Cycle; Torah, Learning, and Ethics; Religious Sectarianism and Communities on the Margin; Art and Aesthetics; Magic and Mysticism; and Remarkable Lives. Professor of History Jonathan Lipman contributed an article titled "Living Judaism in Confucian Culture: Being Jewish and Being Chinese" to the fourth section.

Grant Granted Laurie Priest, senior lecturer in physical education and director of athletics, and the physical education department have received an award of $30,000 from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to support a graduate internship for women and ethnic minorities interested in athletic administration.

In Memoriam Professor Emeritus of History Wilma J. Pugh, who taught at the College between 1943 and 1971, died November 1 at her home in Loomis Village. She was ninety-six. She is survived by four nephews and one niece and by eighteen grandnephews and nieces and thirteen great-grandnephews and nieces. The family will hold a memorial service in Michigan. Says colleague, friend, and history professor Robert Schwartz, "At Mount Holyoke, [Pugh] earned a lasting reputation as an innovative, devoted, and imaginative teacher. When lecture courses were the rule, she was the first in the history department to introduce the seminar style of teaching. Anticipating by several decades the interdisciplinary explorations so common today, she initiated and chaired in 1958 an interdepartmental, team-taught course on Religion and the Development of Scientific Thought, founding thereby a program in the history of science. Pugh's lasting impression on students was summarized at the time of her retirement by Martha Ellis Francois, MA '55 (who died in 1983), in a 1971 article that appeared in the Alumnae Quarterly." "She will long be remembered by the many students and colleagues who have known her as somewhat retiring on the surface but quite the contrary when tackling a difficult philosophical problem or the modern French party system. Then she displays her excellent ability to penetrate to the very heart of the matter and to explain so that others may follow her in comprehending a difficult point or in making a synthesis. One never came away from one of her classes without several exciting ideas to think about and the feeling that Miss Pugh herself was constantly taking a fresh approach to the history with which she dealt so masterfully. Warm-hearted and deeply concerned about everything which was going on around her, she always gave her best to any situation despite whatever handicaps came along." In 1966, Pugh endowed a fund to support the research expenses of MHC students undertaking honors work in history. Notes Schwartz, "Her intent [was] to honor excellence and to encourage research in libraries and archives as far from campus as her own beloved France. This exceptional generosity is further testimony to her own exceptional character and achievements." Since 1966, eight students majoring in history have received the Wilma J. Pugh Award to help support their research in archives and sites ranging from the Newberry Library in Chicago to field work in Africa and archival research in Denmark, England, and France.

Good Sport Competing in the Miss Massachusetts USA Pageant November 23 and 24 in Quincy, Massachusetts, Mamta Dass '06 was named a semifinalist and received a special Spirit Award Promoting Friendship and Sportsmanship.

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