Evolution of Campus Architecture

Inside Chocolate

Education: Who’s on First?

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Anne Levin and Bart Jackson were prepared for the

May 30, 2007 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Princeton Reunion Lectures

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Evolution of Campus Architecture

Back in 1957 when Jon Hlafter was a freshman at Princeton University,

there were some 3 million gross square feet of floor space on the

campus. That figure has tripled in the past five decades. And Hlafter,

who as been at Princeton University for 39 years and now has the title

of university architect, has been watching and monitoring all along.

This expansion is the topic of a talk Hlafter will deliver at the

university’s reunions celebration on Friday, June 1, at 9 a.m. at

McDonnell Hall, room A01. The talk is sponsored by the Class of 1957.

While the campus has blossomed in both its size and its architectural

diversity, its growth is actually not that unusual, says Hlafter.

"It’s important to say that it is in the nature of universities to

grow, because human knowledge is always growing," he says. "And it is

the purpose of universities to explore and understand our world."

Hlafter’s talk will focus not on architecture (the campus has

buildings by Robert Venturi, I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and other

celebrated architects), but rather on simply how the campus has

changed visually in the second half of the 20th and early 21st

centuries.

"It’s about the evolution of the campus," Hlafter says. "I’ll be using

some diagrams that show how it has grown from 1756 to the present."

There was virtually no growth on the Princeton campus between the

years of the Great Depression through World War II and beyond.

Firestone Library, built in 1948, was the only new construction of

significance during that period. Dillon Gymnasium had burned during

the war, so it was reconstructed and enlarged. But in the decade of

the 1960s, everything changed.

"The reason for what turned out to be a very dramatic period of growth

in the `60s and early `70s was several fold," Hlafter says. "The

Russians set up Sputnik in 1957 and Princeton University, like many

universities across the country, realized that new science buildings

were needed to improve the education of our youth in various areas of

technology. The combination of that and just the general need to

modernize after so long of a period of no building resulted in a very

significant expansion in a very short time."

Contemporary buildings began to appear on the campus, which had until

then been built in a traditional style. "In order to add to the campus

as efficiently and economically as possible, the buildings were pretty

much designed in what I suppose most people would call a modern

style," says Hlafter. "And therefore that was a break from the earlier

buildings in the first third of the 20th century which were Collegiate

Gothic."

By the early 1970s, Princeton University had built a number of

laboratories. It had used a gift from the Jadwin family to construct

both Jadwin Hall for the Department of Physics, and Jadwin Gymnasium

for the Department of Athletics. There was a brief hiatus in the

mid-1970s, Hlafter says, when the priority was to consolidate people

in a new set of circumstances and in some cases squeeze additional

faculty and staff into existing buildings.

As the university began to develop its residential college system and

women were admitted, the undergraduate student body grew from about

3,200 to about 4,500. In about 1980 it was decided that all freshmen

and sophomores would be assigned to residential colleges.

"In that period, existing buildings were reused in order to allow 5

residential colleges to operate," says Hlafter. "Rockefeller and

Mathey made use of dormitories in the northwest corner of the campus.

Butler and Wilson were in the middle of the campus, and Forbes emerged

from the residential college that had formed about the former

Princeton Inn. All of that happened with relatively little new

construction, except for Wu Hall by Venturi."

Campus expansion was slow but steady in the 1980s. There was

significant growth of research in molecular biology, and three

laboratories were built to accommodate that. The university is now

anticipating completion of the new science library at the corner of

Washington Road and Ivy Lane, designed by the celebrated Gehry.

More change is coming, and Hlafter plans to address not only a history

of the past, but also conceptual plans for the future.

– Anne Levin

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Inside Chocolate

It’s chemical name, theobroma, translates into "food of the gods."

Many who have savored a rich morsel of chocolate melting on the tongue

agree that it does contain a hint of the divine. Historically

chocolate has served as a religious host, cash crop, currency, and

child pacifier. It has been endowed with mythic powers and credited as

a hallucinogen, aphrodisiac, panacea treacle, and the way to a woman’s

heart.

Exactly what draws us to this dark indulgence ranges far beyond the

scope of the laboratory. But Princeton assistant chemistry professor

Stefan Bernhard will do his best to unravel this magic bean’s mystery

in "The Chemistry of Chocolate" on Friday, June 1, at 2:30 p.m. at the

Frick Laboratory, Kresge Auditorium (Room 120). This Princeton

University Reunions lecture is open to the public.

While he does teach one course on chocolate chemistry, it is scarcely

Bernhard’s life’s research. In fact, most of Bernhard’s days, during

his five years at Princeton, have been spent trying to make better

solar energy for us all. His work involves synthesizing various metal

complex-based materials to develop new light-emitting devices.

Bernhard’s initial fascination with chocolate came from his native

Switzerland. At age 16, prior to leaving for Germany to attend the

University of Freibourg, Bernhard took a job at a local chocolate

factory. Always the chemist, he soon achieved a position in quality

control, checking, testing – and tasting. "I grew to hate the stuff

shortly after working there," he recalls.

Bernhard went off to Freibourg, where he earned his bachelor’s,

master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry. But each summer he would

return to work at the hometown chocolate factory. His love for

chocolate gradually returned. "But I like French chocolates best of

all, and in moderation," he says.

Aztecs and Mayas stumbled upon the cacao tree in the moist tropics of

Andean foothills at about 500 to 1,000 feet of elevation. They soon

discovered that this mid-growth tree, about 12 to 25 feet tall,

yielded a large pod filled with beans and pulp from which heaven

itself could be processed. They ground the beans and mixed them with

water to create several beverages, deemed fit only for nobles and

members of the elite priesthood. Aztecs termed this delight

"xXocolatl" (bitter water), a word that morphed into "chocolate."

From the tree. There are three initial, much-debated steps to the

cocoa harvesting process that growers and chocolatiers agonize over as

the key to quality. After the beans and pulp are plucked from the pod,

they must be quickly sun dried for somewhere between three to seven

days. Not long enough, and there will be mold instead of fermentation,

too long and the flavor will be burned away.

Next, the beans are roasted, de-shelled, and ground. Again, how long

and how finely differs from producer to producer. This final grinding

of the bean’s core produces a chocolate liquor that, when cooled,

becomes basic baker’s chocolate. Then, depending on recipe, much of

the cocoa butter (the bean’s edible fat) is removed.

Dark chocolate is created from the liquor by adding sugar, some cocoa

butter, and a dash of vanilla. Milk chocolate has all these, plus some

dry milk powder. White chocolate has no chocolate liquor, but consists

only of cocoa butter and sugar.

To the lab. Chocolate is one of several alkaloid molecules making up

the group called methylxanthines. These molecules occur naturally in

coffee as caffeine, in tea as theophyllene, in cocoa tree as

theobromine, and in other forms in about 60 other plant species. Like

caffeine, chocolate’s theobromine acts initially as a stimulant, but

to a much lesser degree. It generally stays in the body about 6 to 10

hours.

Theobromine relaxes the body’s smooth muscles, and thus has been

recommended as a diuretic and as a treatment in cases of mild cardiac

failure. And yes, it is true, chocolate’s relaxing effect and its

ability to dilate blood vessels makes it a proven way to reduce high

blood pressure. Theobromine levels are about double in dark as opposed

to milk chocolate, so for medication purposes, go dark.

Into the mouth. Britain’s Cadbury Chocolate Company keeps tallies on

all national chocolate consumption. New Zealanders, with a huge

Cadbury factory right on their own Southern Isle, eat on average seven

pounds of chocolate annually, while their Australian neighbors double

that with 14. In America we enjoy 17 pounds of chocolate per person

per year, which falls in line with most European nations, where

residents eat between 16 and 18 pounds each year.

But the grand winners of the chocolate appreciation award are, as

expected, the Swiss. The average Swiss, Bernhard’s father, for one,

devours 22 pounds of chocolate year after year.

The one aspect of chocolate consumption that absolutely escapes

Bernhard’s scientific analysis is why women so much prefer it to men.

"I have studied the make up of both genders, and found nothing that

chemically would lead to this," he says. "I even ask my students. The

women admit they crave it more, but they cannot tell me why."

– Bart Jackson

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Education: Who’s on First?

Are we losing the race? For generations American politicians and

pundits have been worried that our nation’s students are dropping the

educational lead. First there worries that the Russians, with their

space-probing prowess, have gotten out in front. Then there was worry

that the disciplined Japanese with their clever, wildly popular

electronics, are ahead. Most recently it appears that residents of

India are coming on strong. However imaginary these global education

Olympics, there is a belief that they lead to economic gold, and they

are taken very seriously.

But Robert Burkhardt, lifelong educator and headmaster of the

innovative Eagle Rock School in Colorado, points to a uniquely

American educational edge. The country’s creativity, he argues, is

being fueled by a system and spirit that will long keep us front

runners. A Princeton alumnus, Burkhardt joins several fellow educators

in an alumni-faculty forum, "Education and Competition: Are American

Children Falling Too Far Behind?," on Friday, June 1, at 9:15 a.m. at

Princeton University’s McCosh Hall, Room 10. This panel discussion is

open to the public.

In addition to Burkhardt, panelists include Tonya Chisolm Miles `82,

Maryland State Board of Education; Misha Simmonds `97, associate

partner, NewSchools Venture Fund; and Lisa Lazarus `02, teacher,

Rafael Hernandez School.

It would be hard find an educational niche into which Burkhardt has

not ventured during his teaching career. Born in Central Valley, New

York, along the Hudson, he spent his boyhood near Washington Crossing.

After graduating from Princeton in l962, Burkhardt earned a master’s

degree in administrative education from Columbia Teachers College. He

earned a doctorate in education from Cincinnati’s Union Graduate

School. His thesis was the founding of a working alternative high

school.

He then taught at the college level for several years, ending up in

San Francisco in time to take over Governor Jerry Brown’s brainchild,

the California Conservation Corps. Based on the Civilian Conservation

Corps of the Depression era, this initiative involved having

youngsters building, serving, and enthusiastically learning. It worked

so well that under then-San Francisco mayor Dianne Feinstein,

Burkhardt brought the program to the city level.

In l989 American Honda hired Tom Dean and Makato Itobashi to come up

with an innovative education institution, and both men thought of

Burkhardt. Together they formed Eagle Rock School, set high in Estes

Park, Colorado.

Living and working here are 96 high school students. Each comes from

an at-risk situation where graduation was deemed unlikely, and all are

turning their lives around.

"The school is based on the idea that the desire to learn is innate,"

says Burkhardt. "It simply needs to be individually fostered in the

right manner." In addition to experimental student programs, Eagle

Rock offers a professional development center for teachers, and for

older professionals seeking a second start. Visitors in person and

online, at www.ceschangelab.org, are welcome.

"The world may be getting flatter with high tech knowledge making

great strides in India and China," says Burkhardt, "but the new Bill

Gates and Steve Jobs, and the spirit that launched Google are still

coming from America." Burkhardt thinks the whole concept of

we-versus-they educational yardsticks are defeating, but for those who

insist, he happily enumerates America’s assets and liabilities.

Land of innovation. Probably our greatest educational strength, says

to Burkhardt, is the one most taken for granted. Since the adoption of

the U.S. Constitution, America has made the commitment to teach 100

percent of its young people. In most other nations five percent still

remains the maximum commitment. By whatever method, America simply

gets more of its youngsters educated to a higher level than anywhere

else. It gives more people more tools.

Secondly, Americans are in love with the clever idea, backed by hard

work. The old Horatio Alger stories invariably involved people who

blended these two. Leonard Bernstein, speaking at John Hopkins in

l987, said that "imagination is the key component to success." Daniel

Rink, an international computer genius who has reinvented the

networking industry, predicts that "the future belongs to people who

can synthesize ideas."

By fiction or fact, American success is seldom earned by scholarly

education alone, as is often the case in Pacific Rim nations, nor by

finding favor with those in power. The intellectual melting pot has

done away with any one sure path to success. For an American to rise

to the top, he must think.

The process of starting a business remains comparatively simple in the

United States, and we seek education that will fit our children for

this task. Ten years ago the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

moved humanities classes from elective to mandatory. When asked why,

the school’s president responded, "because too many MIT graduates end

up working for graduates from Harvard and Yale."

Whether it’s our traditional emphasis on the individual carving his

own path, early childhood filled with playful imaginative games, or

simply the fiscal rewards from a successful startup, "believe it,

America’s creative DNA is alive and well," says Burkhardt.

Foreign competition. With more singular cultures and longer

traditions, other nations find themselves inadvertently hemming in the

creative DNA that is fostered in the American educational system.

Given the fact that no nation’s youth are inherently smarter or more

creative at birth than any other, Burkhardt invites us to examine the

educational systems themselves.

Nations like India and China are producing a great number of very

highly skilled technical graduates. But these nations are striving to

survive, while the United States is striving to flourish.

Burkhardt estimates that these struggling nations will require several

generations of successfully feeding themselves well before creative

juices can be truly unleashed. They are in an atmosphere that does not

– cannot – allow great risk taking. "And imagination demands that," he

says.

In the established nations, such as Germany, the rest of the European

Union, and Japan, a tight educational collar, linked to an equally

tight business milieu, often constrains top talent.

Encouraging trends. Burkhardt says that the increased move toward

small, personal schools over the last 15 years has proved to be one of

the most significant educational improvements in this country.

Back in the l950s, when classes were booming, educators espoused the

mega high school. Such big schools, they argued, could offer the

students more: full orchestras, for example, and a wider variety of

sports and courses.

The problem was that none of the students knew each other, and most of

the "athletes" sat on the bench while only the top 11 played. "Now

private foundations and municipalities are developing schools from 50

to 300 students, where learning becomes personal again," says

Burkhardt.

In addition to the more personal atmosphere, educators are trying

desperately to banish the formulaic teaching environment. Burkhardt

cites Wendy Kopp, Princeton University Class of l990, who founded

Teach for America (www.teachforamerica.org). Kopp’s program has gotten

Ivy League students teaching in inner-city high schools in a number of

cities, including Camden and Detroit, to the benefit of both

instructor and student.

Burkhardt admits it is impossible to undertake teaching 100 percent of

America’s children without some formalized standards, but with so many

different, individualized approaches, he sees great educational hope.

"Just look at the product," he says. "I see hundreds of extremely

bright young kids being turned away from even second tier colleges. We

have nothing to fear."

– Bart Jackson


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