Academic Life
Bowdoin Physics Prof Runs 'Deflategate' Experiment (WCSH, Chronicle of Higher Education)

In response to the National Football League's "Ballghazi" or "Deflategate" scandal, Professor of Physics Dale Syphers demonstrated for a local TV reporter how footballs can change pressure over the course of a game.

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Featured Events

Tanya Tagaq in Concert with 'Nanook of the North'

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January 25, 20157:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Memorial Hall, Pickard Theater

This event is sold out; a limited number of tickets may become available at the door.

Internationally acclaimed performer Tanya Tagaq will appear in concert in Pickard Auditorium, Bowdoin College at 7 pm on Sunday January 25, 2015. This avant-garde music sensation will create exciting new music against the backdrop of the Inuit film Nanook of the North. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets can be picked up at the Smith Union Information Desk on the college campus beginning January 19, 2015.

Tagaq is a ground-breaking performer who has taken the traditional Inuit throat-singing she heard growing up in Cambridge Bay in the Canadian Arctic and transformed it, infusing it with jazz, punk, and other contemporary music, to create an exciting new sound. Reviewers describe her performances as "fierce," "exquisite," "unnerving," and"emotionally gripping."

She evokes the sounds, visions, and emotions of the northern landscape with her remarkable voice. Tagaq has performed with musicians ranging from Bjork and the Kronos Quartet to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. In 2014 she was awarded the Polaris Music Prize, one of Canada's top music awards, and her newest album, Animism, was listed as one of the top albums of 2014 by CBC Radio.

Nanook of the North, Robert Flaherty's classic 1922 silent film about life among the Inuit of northern Quebec, is regarded as one of the forerunners of modern documentary films. In 2012, Toronto International Film Festival commissioned composer Derek Charke, along with Tagaq, and her collaborators violinist Jesse Zubot and percussionist Jean Martin, to create a new soundscape for this silent classic. Drawing on her love of her northern home, Tagaq brings a depth of emotion and understanding to Flaherty's essentially colonial vision, reclaiming Nanook for contemporary Inuit.

This concert is presented by the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center with support from the Departments of Music, Cinema Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology, Student Activities, the President's Office Wabanaki Initiative, and the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.

Tanya Tagaq in concert with Nanook of the North was commissioned by TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of its film retrospective First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition.

For more information call Kristi Clifford at 725-3062, or visit the museum's web page

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Tania Iqbar: "The Environment and Inflammation: Mechanisms of Neurogenic Inflammation in the Mouse Olfactory Epithelium"

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January 29, 20154:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Our noses incur damage on a daily basis, and the olfactory epithelium is able to regenerate and maintain function. However, if chronic inflammation is initiated, it can lead to olfactory dysfunction. To begin to understand chronic inflammation, modulation of acute inflammation in the mouse olfactory epithelium is being studied at the Hegg Laboratory at the University of Michigan.

Tania Iqbal spearheads the project, which focuses on elucidating mechanisms of neuroregeneration using the mouse olfactory epithelium as a model. Iqbal's central hypothesis is that environmental irritants activate inflammation by acting on trigeminal nerve receptors to release inflammatory neuropeptides. Neuropeptides then activate the release of cytokines from macrophages and initiate an inflammatory cascade. She anticipates her work will direct studies toward developing therapies for olfactory dysfunction and chronic inflammation. 

Tania R. Iqbal is a postdoctoral candidate at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on mechanisms of regeneration, neuromodulation, and inflammation in the olfactory system.

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Thursday Night Salon with Anne Collins Goodyear: "Collaborations, Collusions, and Duchamp"

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January 29, 20157:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Museum of Art, Pavilion

Anne Collins Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, will offer a tour and overview of the exhibition Collaborations and Collusions: Artists' Networks from the Nineteenth Century to the Present. She will consider how pioneering groups of modern and contemporary artists supported and encouraged one another in pioneering artistic breakthroughs from impressionism and post-impressionism to cubism, dada, pop, and conceptual art and she will focus in particular on the important contributions of Marcel Duchamp, whose work is featured in this exhibition.

Free and open to the public.

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Common Hour with Dallas Denery: "How We Learned to Live with Lies"

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January 30, 201512:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Is it ever acceptable to lie? This question plays a surprisingly important role in the story of Europe's transition from medieval to modern society. According to many historians, Europe became modern when Europeans began to lie, that is, when they began to argue that it is sometimes acceptable to lie. In this lecture, Dallas Denery examines the trajectory of historical progression from a medieval world of faith, in which every lie is sinful, to a more worldly early modern society in which lying becomes a permissible strategy for self-defense and self-advancement.

Denery uncovers the complicated history of lying from the early days of the Catholic Church to the Enlightenment, revealing the diversity of attitudes about lying by considering the question from the perspectives of five representative voices, the Devil, God, theologians, courtiers, and women. Examining works by Augustine, Bonaventure, Martin Luther, Madeleine de Scudry, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and a host of others, he shows how the lie, long thought to be the source of worldly corruption, eventually became the very basis of social cohesion and peace.

Dallas G. Denery II is an associate professor specializing in medieval and early modern European history. He is the author of Seeing and Being Seen in the Later Medieval World: Optics, Theology, and Religious Life and the coeditor of Uncertain Knowledge: Scepticism, Relativism, and Doubt in the Middle Ages. His most recent book, The Devil Wins: A History of Lying from the Garden of Eden to the Enlightenment, is now available from Princeton University Press.

Note: This talk will also be live streamed on Bowdoin's Live Webcasts page.

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Evening Discussion with Jill Abramson, Former Executive Editor of 'The New York Times'

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February 4, 20157:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Memorial Hall, Pickard Theater

Jill Abramson is a journalist who spent the last 17 years inthe most senior editorial positions at The New York Times, where she was thefirst woman to serve as Washington Bureau Chief, Managing Editor, and ExecutiveEditor. Before joining the Times, she was Deputy Washington Bureau Chief and aninvestigative reporter covering money and politics at The Wall Street Journalfor nine years. She is the author of three books including Strange Justice,which she wrote with Jane Mayer. Before joining Harvard's English Department asa lecturer teaching non-fiction narrative writing, she taught undergraduatewriting seminars at Yale for five years and at Princeton.

She is the author of three books including Strange Justice, which she wrote withJane Mayer. Before joining Harvard's English Department as a lecturer teachingnon-fiction narrative writing, she taught undergraduate writing seminars atYale for five years and at Princeton.

Ticket info: Free and open to the public. Tickets are required and areavailable at the David Saul Smith Union Information desk, 207-725-3375.

Sponsored by: Gender & Women's Studies and the CharlesWeston Pickard Lecture Fund.

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Community Lecture Series: "Challenges and Opportunities of the Contemporary Arctic"

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February 5, 201512:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

Join Susan Kaplan, director of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, and Genevieve LeMoine, curator of the Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, as they discuss some of the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary Arctic.

Community Lectures include time for questions from the audience. Arrive at noon with a bag lunch. Beverages and cookies provided. 

The lectures are free and open to the public. Questions? Call 207-725-3253.

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Iris Levin '05: "Seabirds, Swallows and Social Networks"

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February 5, 20154:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

In her presentation, Iris Levin '05 examines questions and themes from molecular ecology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and disease ecology. Her research explores biological interactions at multiple scales, from social transactions between individuals to patterns of population structure between hosts and parasites. 

Using subjects within the avian world, she studies the interface between social behavior, physiology and parasite/microbe transmission by testing hypotheses that integrate themes from evolutionary biology, behavioral ecology and wildlife epidemiology, within the mathematical framework of social network theory. 

Iris Levin is a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at University of Colorado, Boulder.  She graduated from Bowdoin in 2005 and earned her PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics from the University of Missouri, St. Louis in 2011.

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Thursday Night Salon with Frank Goodyear: "Rocks, Waves, and Skies: Maine Landscapes, 1900-1950"

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February 5, 20157:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Museum of Art, Pavilion

At the turn of the twentieth century, artists from urban centers such as Boston and New York City made Maine one of their favorite summer destinations. Aided by improved roads and new rail lines into northern New England, they gravitated to the rugged coast, where crashing waves, exposed rocks, and dramatic skies captured their artistic interest. The paintings that emerged from those inspirations ushered in a new chapter in the history of art-making here in Maine. 

Join Frank Goodyear, co-director, Bowdoin College Museum of Art for a tour of Rocks, Waves, and Skies: Maine Landscapes, 1900-1950, a new exhibition on display through June highlighting the work of artists such as Rockwell Kent, George Bellows, John Sloan, and Marsden Hartley. 

Free and open to the public.

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Sherryl Vint: "To Seek Out New Worlds: Science Fiction in a Global Perspective"

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February 5, 20157:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

Sherryl Vint is professor of Science Fiction Media Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she co-directs the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies program. She is the author and/or editor of several books, including Bodies of Tomorrow (2007), Animal Alterity (2010), The Wire (2013), Science Fiction: A Guide to the Perplexed (2014), and The Routledge Concise History of Science Fiction (2011, with Mark Bould). She co-edits the journals Science Fiction Film and Television and Science Fiction Studies.

Her talk will present an overview of science fiction in a global context, exploring the ways common science fiction icons appear differently when embedded in multiple local contexts, and will discuss the significance of the recent explosion of science fiction across the globe. 

This event is free and open to the public.  For more information contact Arielle Saiber at  

Sponsored by the Departments of Romance Languages and English and the Cinema Studies and Gender and Women's Studies Programs.

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Film: 'For the Rights of All: Ending Jim Crow in Alaska'

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February 5, 20157:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

This one-hour, award winning documentary reveals the true-life story of an extraordinary Alaskan woman who becomes an unlikely hero in the fight for civil rights. Like Native Americans in the lower forty-eight states, Alaska Natives struggled to keep their basic human rights, as well as protect their ancient ties to the land. The Bill of Rights did not apply to them.

Elizabeth Peratrovich, a young Tlingit woman and mother of three, testified before the Alaska Territorial Senate in 1945 and swayed their vote with her compelling testimony in favor of the Anti-Discrimination Act, the first civil rights bill passed in the U.S. since the Civil War.&

Free and open to the public.

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Film, Dinner, and Discussion: 'Growing Local'

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February 10, 20156:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Thorne Hall, Daggett Lounge

Growing Local is a short series by Maine Farmland Trust about small farms and the uncertain fate of the local food movement. The series weaves together three separate but connected stories to create a coherent narrative about local food and local farms. The goal of the project is to help fellow Mainers, and hopefully others around the country, better understand the agrarian landscape surrounding us and the important role it plays in growing community as well as food. The film makers hope to inspire viewers to actively seek out local foods for their own health, the health of their communities and that of the planet. 

See the trailer and join us for dinner (get dinner 'through the line' and eat in Daggett Lounge), watch the film (starting at 6:30) and participate in conversation with table mates and local farmers. 

This event is being hosted at Bowdoin by the Environmental Studies Program, Sustainable Bowdoin, and Bowdoin Dining.

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Emily Doolittle: "Animal Songs, Animal Music"

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February 12, 20154:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 016

Can animal songs be considered music? Join composer Emily Doolittle as she explores this philosophical question within the context of zoomusicology, the study of the musical aspects of sound or communication produced and received by animals. Doolittle investigates how humans across cultures and time periods have used animal songs in their music, and analyzes bird and other animal songs from both a musical and a scientific perspective. 

This past year, she was part of a study showing that hermit thrushes base their songs on the overtone series. She was also recently composer-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Seewiesen, Germany), where she and ornithologist Henrik Brumm discovered that the musician wren shows a preference for singing perfect consonant intervals. 

Doolittle has written for such ensembles as Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Toronto), Symphony Nova Scotia, the Vancouver Island Symphony, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, the Motion Ensemble and Paragon, and such soloists as sopranos Suzie LeBlanc, Janice Jackson, Patricia Green and Helen Pridmore, pianist Rachel Iwaasa, violinist Annette-Barbara Vogel, viola d’amorist Thomas Georgi and viola da gambist Karin Preslmayr. 

She was born in Nova Scotia in 1972 and educated at Dalhousie University, the Koninklijk Conservatorium in the Hague, Indiana University and Princeton University. In 2008 she moved to Seattle, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Cornish College of the Arts. In addition to her academic pursuits, she plays fiddle in the Seattle-area French Canadian traditional music and stepdance band Podorythmie.

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Bowdoin Friends Book Lecture: Raymond Miller on 'Crime and Punishment'

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February 17, 20157:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Moulton Union, Lancaster Lounge

The Association of Bowdoin Friends is pleased to continue the Book Lecture Series again this Spring! All members of the community are invited to enjoy a good read then experience an analysis of the story from the perspective of a Bowdoin professor.

For this installment, Raymond Miller will explore and discuss Fyodor Dostoyevsky's classic, Crime and Punishment. Renowned as one of the world's greatest novelists and literary psychologists, Dostoyevsky's works grapple with deep political, social, and religious issues while delving into the often tortured psychology of characters whose lives are shaped by these issues.

This is played out in the manner in which the novel addresses crime and punishment; the crime is committed in Part I and the punishment comes hundreds of pages later, in the Epilogue. The real focus is not on those two endpoints but on what lies between them--an in-depth exploration of the psychology of a criminal.

Raymond Miller is a retired associate professor of Russian. There will be opportunity for questions after his lecture.

The event is free and open to the public. Just come, listen, and learn.

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Kates Lecture with Robert Bazell: "Cancer: Progress and Profits"

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February 23, 20157:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Robert Bazell, former Chief Science and Health Correspondent for NBC News, will discuss advancements in cancer treatment and the commercial concerns surrounding them. 

In his 37 years at NBC, Bazell reported over 4,500 news items and won dozens of awards for his journalism including an Edward R. Murrow Award, a Peabody, and five Emmys. He currently teaches molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale University.

Note: This talk will also be live streamed on Bowdoin’s Live Webcasts page.

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Christina Richards: "Exploring Implications of Genome Function in Complex Environments Using Model and Non-Model Plants"

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February 26, 20154:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Studies on genotype by environment interactions illustrate that the rapidly escalating amount of genomic data and tools applied to model systems in controlled conditions must be tried in more biologically relevant conditions and in a broader array of wild organisms.

Christina Richards examines how incorporating genomics and systems biology into robust experimental design and statistical analysis on model and non-model organisms will be a critical component of fleshing out the relationship between genotype and phenotype. Her research integrates several disciplines to explore how plants respond to natural selection in stressful or novel environments.

Christina Richards is assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of South Florida. Her research interests include natural selection, local adaptation, evolutionary ecology, and ecological genomics, among others. 

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Film and Lecture with David Mrazek and Joel Greenberg: 'From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction'

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February 26, 20155:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

This award-winning documentary tells the incredible forgotten story of the passenger pigeon, its unlikely extinction, and its striking relevance to conservation challenges today. Almost 100 years ago on September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known passenger pigeon in existence (named after Martha Washington) died in the Cincinnati Zoo. A superabundant species of billions that darkened the entire sky disappeared in a matter of decades. 

What happened to the passenger pigeon? You could say we happened. Discover how and why this bird went extinct, and how this anthropogenic extinction foreshadows more recent, rapid, ongoing destruction of species in the wake of the deforestation, rising ocean temperatures, acidification of bodies of water, and melting of polar ice shelves that are of vital concern to the current generation of students. 

Director and co-writer David Mrazek and co-producer and co-writer Joel Greenberg enter into discussions with biologists concerning the current unsustainable taking of sharks, acidification of oceans and bleaching of coral reefs, destruction of reptile habitat, and "de-extinction" of lost species through genetic manipulation. 

View the trailer and information on the filmmakers at

Sponsored by Bowdoin College Departments of Art History, Biology, Cinema Studies, Education, Environmental Studies and Visual Arts.

Open to the public.

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