Academic Spotlight
Faculty Research, Performance and Exhibitions

Student Research Shines in Science Symposium

Story posted October 21, 2010

In spite of a power outage on campus due to high winds, student research was very much in the spotlight during the 2010 President's Science Symposium on Oct. 15.

More than 60 students presented their research, as fellow students, faculty and community members filled Sargent Gym for a poster session.

Earlier, world-renowned naturalist Katy Payne spoke to a packed crowd—in a nearly dark room—for a Common Hour talk about her pioneering studies of the songs of humpback whales and infrasonic calling of elephants.
Unable to play her video presentation, Payne gave her own impromptu version of a whale song, which she rendered with eerie, surprising accuracy. Listen to a short clip.

The President's Science Symposium is an annual campus-wide celebration of Bowdoin student research, much of which is supported by summer research fellowships.

As part of the Symposium, four students were selected to give individual talks on their work. Highlights of their research:

Andrew Cardamone '11 discussed his project, "Phosphate Source Sink Dynamics in Androscoggin River Sediments." Cardamone's research, conducted with Associate Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Studies Dharni Vasudevan, sought to determine whether residual inorganic phosphate in the river sediment (caused by mill waste and agricultural runoff) will reenter the water column and adversely affect the ecosystem.

Holly Jacobson '11 spoke it about her project, "Ecological and Economic Recovery of the Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers, Estuary, and Nearshore Marine Environment." Jacobson worked with several fellow students and faculty mentors John Lichter, associate professor of biology and environmental studies, and Philip Camill, professor of Environmental Studies and Earth and Oceanographic Science. The project entailed surveying populations of the Lower Kennebec and Merrymeeting Bay to determine the current state of the ecosystem, which has been rebounding in recent years. Further improvement to the ecosystem is being pursued through local environmental awareness and continued investigation. Other students involved in the project were Andrew Bell '11, Benjamin Towne '12, Catherine Johnston '12, Cory Elowe '11, Henry Berghoff '11, and Paul Hinman '11.

Ben Messerly '11 spoke about his project, "Shaking Surfaces: Investigating Crystalline Solids with Focused Ultrasound." Messerly worked with faculty mentor Madeleine Msall, associate professor of physics. His research focused on acoustic waves (waves governed by elastic bonds between atoms) on crystal surfaces, using high-frequency pulses to measure wave speeds.

Rohit Sangal '11 talked about his project, "Investigation of the Differential Expression of Sema-2a Due to Deafferentation in the Cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus." Sangal worked with Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience Hadley Wilson Horch. Because it is rare for an organism to regain central nervous system function following injury, the field cricket-which does reestablish neuronal function-is studied with the theory that understanding regeneration in the cricket may be applied to treating other species.

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