Advanced Math/Science Research Update
by Dr. April Burch, Director of the AMSR program
January 15, 2013
Since our last update, Berkshire School hosted student researchers from Belmont Hill, and all-boys prep school outside of Boston, for a 1-day mini-symposium on Student Biomedical Research. The goal was to foster collaboration, communication and community outreach with our students. AMSR students Liza Bernstein '13, Sissi Wang '13, Lars Robinson '13, Elsie Guevara '13, Ernest Yue '13, and Nate MacKenzie '14, gave short talks about their work in the new Bellas/Dixon Math and Science lecture hall. The talks were followed up by break-out sessions where Belmont Hill students described their research projects and students discussed commonalities between the projects and future goals.
The second semester of AMSR started with some terrific news. The AMSR program was awarded a grant from The Chinchester Dupont Foundation for the purchase of an EVOS fluorescence microscope. This piece of equipment will expand the types of experiments and analyses that can be done by AMSR students this and future years. The microscope should arrive shortly, and Dr. Burch has invited everyone to stop in for a look next time they are on campus.
One new, exciting project that is underway in the winter season of AMSR in the afternoons is being spearheaded by Elif Kesaf '14. Elif is from Turkey and seeks to identify novel viruses of non-pathogenic strains of Legionella bacterium from travertines in Pamukkale. In collaboration with Dr. Sunny Shin at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she will be working to isolate viruses of this bacterium with the hope of identifying new agents to combat Legionnaires' disease caused by a pathogenic form of Legionella.
Look for more news from Dr. Burch in the next issue!
JSTOR: Trove of Scholarly Journals
How does original scholarship happen? Academics conduct experiments in laboratories, gather data out in the field, and research the arguments of their precursors and contemporaries in the library. Traditionally, universities have housed most of these activities, because of the substantial facilities and resources they can provide. Nothing is ever likely to replace laboratory or field work, but modern libraries can harness the power of the internet to connect students and teachers outside of universities to the world of scholarly discourse, as published in academic journals.
Working with Berkshire School’s academic departments, The Geier Library has acquired access to JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/, an online database of more than 1000 academic journals, containing literally millions of peer-reviewed articles, images, reviews, and primary sources. The range of topics is incredibly diverse, from traditional secondary-school subjects like language and literature (254 journals) to professional fields like finance (20 journals), and even to highly specific and arcane topics, such as Slavic Studies (18 journals) and music theory (3 journals). There are titles for the ‘hard’ sciences such as zoology (65 journals), social sciences like economics (147 journals), and even journals written in languages other than English, such as Historia Mexicana and Cahiers d’Études Africaines.
Facilitating access to these important resources, the Geier Library will help teachers and students conduct research relevant to their courses, from American history papers on the Whiskey Rebellion to independent study projects on African economies, from performances of Shakespeare in light of staging traditions to analytical essays on postmodern interpretations of Virginia Woolf. Students in sustainability courses can explore energy policy, just as students in linear algebra can read up on recent findings in The American Journal of Mathematics. Finally, access to JSTOR can help our whole community learn, allowing busy teachers the ability to deepen their subject knowledge without ever leaving campus.
Visit JSTOR today (www.jstor.org) for a glimpse of what is now available to Berkshire students!
-- Evan Clary, English Department Chair