Noah Graham (Physics) has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for work on a project titled Casimir Forces From Scattering Theory. The project will carry out calculations of Casimir forces, which arise from quantum-mechanical fluctuations at the short distance scales relevant to nanotechnology. The approach is based on developing broadly applicable numerical techniques for computing the reflection and transmission of light. This work will be carried out in collaboration with a research group based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and will involve at least four Middlebury student researchers.
Jessica Teets and Orion Lewis (both Political Science) are part of a research team based at the University of Alberta that has received funding from the Social Science Research and Humanities Council of Canada for a project titled Policy Innovation and Institutional Change in China. This study uses an evolutionary approach to analyze how the interaction of policy ideas, individual preferences, and existing institutions in China create incentives for local officials to act as policy entrepreneurs in an authoritarian system. The grant provides travel funds for research in China and other project costs. At least two Middlebury undergraduate students will assist with this research.
Guntram Herb (Geography) was awarded a grant to participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute titled On Native Grounds: Studies of Native American Histories and the Land, which was sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association and was in residence at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC for three weeks this summer. This institute provided college and university faculty participants with the opportunity to engage in dialogue with leading scholars in Native American history and scholarship. While at the Institute, Guntram conceptualized a new research project on Native American tribes astride the US-Canada border.
Jeff Howarth (Geography) and a colleague at University of California-Santa Barbara have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation’s IUSE program (Improvement in Undergraduate STEM Education) for an interdisciplinary project titled Multimedia Learning Principles for Design-it Yourself Online Instruction of GIS Concepts. The theoretical goal of the project is to evaluate the generalizability of multimedia learning theory to the domain of solving spatial problems with computer-based geographic information systems. The practical goal of the project is to provide STEM educators with evidence-based guidance for presenting instruction online that can help them develop blended learning environments as an alternative to traditional lecture and lab classrooms. At least three undergraduate students will be involved with this project.
Will Amidon (Geology) has received a grant from the National Geographic Society for a project titled Finding Early Martian Landscapes in Idaho. The goal of this research is to understand the role of glacial outburst floods in forming amphitheater-headed canyons on the Snake River Plain of Idaho. This work should provide useful clues to how similar canyons formed on the surface of Mars. Two Middlebury undergraduates will be working with Will on this project.
Laurie Essig (Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies) has received a lecturing award from the Fulbright Scholar Program in support of her 2015-2016 leave. She will be working with the Gender Studies Program at the European University at St. Petersburg. While there Laurie will co-teach a graduate seminar in gender theory and continue in her role as advisor to graduate students in the program. She will also continue her research on the construction of the homosexual as foreign pollution within ideologies of Russian nationalism.
Aline Germain-Rutherford (Linguistics) and colleagues from the University of Toronto and York University (in Canada) and University of Grenoble (France) have been awarded a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The University of Toronto is the lead institution on this collaborative project titled “LINguistic and Cultural DIversity REinvented (LINCDIRE): A digital environment to help learners navigate their trajectories.” The goal of this project is to create a partnership among institutions with expertise in different languages and cultures that will lead to development of a tool for language learners within the context of “plurilingualism” – a theory of language learning that stresses the value of interconnections and synergies of languages at the level of the individual.