We’ve all seen the “Drop Zone” signs that pop up around campus this time of year, but a group of enterprising seniors decided to take the idea one step further and set up a Senior Yard Sale on the patio outside Atwater. Each senior was responsible for getting their gear to the site—and then staying to oversee the selling of it—and then carting away the lonely leftover lamp if it didn’t in fact sell. We caught a bit of the action on that sunny afternoon.
For the theatre department’s spring production course, New York-based visiting director Jay Dunn ’00.5 came to campus to work with a group of students on adapting a version of Moliere’s last play, “Imaginary Invalid.” In collaboration with Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Dana Yeaton, who was also teaching the play in his comparative literature course, Dunn devised a studio experience for the actors that would include improvisation, adaptation and scriptwriting, workshops with Yeaton’s students, and plenty of archetype character development. It was a different approach for many of the students, most of whom have extensive experience on stage, but one they all relished in the end. “Imaginary Invalid” was performed in Wright Memorial Theatre on April 13-15.
VIDEO SLIDESHOW: Students Henry Philip ’13, Andre Keiser ’12, Ali Andrews ’12, Chester Curme ’11.5, Lucas Avidan ’15, Aden Forrow ’13, Alex Clement ’12, and Paul Donnelly ’15 (not pictured) spent winter term converting a tractor engine to run on hydrogen.
What happens when you mix eight Middlebury College students, two Middlebury alumni, a 1948 Ford tractor, and hydrogen? You get applied math and science principles, problem-solving, a hands-on experience, and a farm tractor that runs on a green fuel that produces clean emissions. This past winter term that’s what happened in the machinery shop at local business Champlain Valley Equipment. Mark Benz ’56 and Dick Catlin ’56 worked with eight students to convert a tractor engine from running on gasoline to running on hydrogen. Benz and Catlin initially began this project in 2008 when they spent a semester with four students working on the same problem but with limited success. However, the groundwork was laid and with the help of physics professor Noah Graham, they set up a winter term class this year to continue the effort. It was an enormous task—in four short weeks the group had to switch the tractor’s internal combustion engine, which is carbureted, to fuel injection and shift the mechanical paradigm to a computerized one. They could then experiment with different fuels in the engine, beginning with propane, moving on to compressed natural gas, and finally using hydrogen. And for what may be the first time ever, hydrogen gas successfully powered an internal combustion engine in a tractor.
It’s a big first step but problems remain to be resolved. The tractor does not yet run with the adequate horsepower needed and storing hydrogen so it can be used by vehicles is another issue. But the project will continue at the College with both new and old faces. One student who participated in the winter term class, Lucas Avidan ’15, is looking ahead to the next challenges. “Looking forward from here I’m hoping that we’re going to be working on getting higher pressure fuel injectors so that we can get a better burn when we put hydrogen through the engine. Also, maybe put a better super charger on the engine so the tractor can run with a higher horsepower.”
Mark Benz and Dick Catlin will continue to lend their expertise to the project and help guide the students. Andre Keiser ’12 remarks, “It was great to work with two alums who have a lot of experience in the engineering field.”
To hear more from the students and the alums, watch the audio slideshow above.
Noted Senegalese artist Viyé Diba, artist in residence at the Museum of Art in mid-February, left a room-sized impression with his thought-provoking installation “Nous sommes nombreaux, et nos problemes avec…” (We are numerous, and our problems with that…) Part of the exhibit “Environment and Object: Recent African Art,” on display through April 22, Diba’s work joins the others in using mostly found objects destined for landfills to illustrate the effects man-made issues have on the environment. Middmag visited with Diba during a break from his work, and he shared his thoughts.
Fall Family Weekend marked the seventh year that the Classics Department staged a marathon reading of one of four classical texts: Iliad, Aeneid, Odyssey, and Metamorphosis. “We alternate between Greek and Latin,” explained Trish Dougherty, academic coordinator for classics and classical studies. Trish is a key organizer of the event, and she provided much of the background in the following slide show from the weekend’s event, which took place just inside the entrance to the Davis Family Library and featured the Odyssey.
Stay tuned to MiddMag for more Fall Family Weekend stories, including links to the President’s address to parents, panels and discussions, and other editorial coverage.
On Tuesday, August 9, Middlebury’s Solar Decathlon team officially welcomed visitors to tour the nearly finished home before it’s disassembled and trucked to Washington for the start of the U.S. Department of Energy competition on September 23.
For more than two hours on a slightly cloudy afternoon, a swarm of curious folks crowded the small but beautifully efficient dwelling, and everyone walked away with a smile. “It’s exactly the kind of house I’ve always wanted,” said one woman, as she scanned the central space that includes the kitchen, dining area, living room and workspace. Another young couple paused as they were leaving to ask one of the team members, clad in their signature yellow t-shirts, if they could come back and move in tomorrow.
Take a look at the following photos for a glimpse of what this group hopes will set the standard for many homes to come. And stay tuned to their web site for more news and updates!