Senior Roast 2014

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of this year's Senior Roast

Class of 2014

Congratulations Class of 2014


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Euclid Game!

Math lovers - try out your geometry skills with


The Euclid Game

In memory of

Alan Pollock

tutor, scholar, mentor, friend 

Alan Pollock

March 6, 1928 – January 27, 2014

plinth3bThe Meridian Plinth - Alan was deeply interested in all things astronomical, especially as known and practiced in the ancient and medieval periods. He particularly enjoyed using the plinth to observe the motion of the sun.

A Poem on the Plinth Inspired by Alan

Brenda Hillman writes:

This poem was inspired by a visit from Alan Pollock one warm spring day; he told me excitedly that he had just taken a class to see the Meridian Plinth and they had talked about the movement of the sun. I was so engaged by Alan's excitement over the Plinth that I went to visit it soon thereafter, and crafted this poem in relation to some of the ideas from Gnostic Christian texts I had been reading. I dedicated it to Alan, and he always seemed delighted to think he had inspired it.

Meridian Plinth

               by Brenda Hillman 

The gravestone-looking slab donated to the college
for instructing students about light and dark
and the rotation of the world stands solemnly
in the courtyard being landed on by buff-colored
sparrows with shining breasts and claws. It is
summer in the suburbs and the voices of students
seem to travel a long way from the field
as light has had to travel from far off
to abide in this rock. Two steel pegs
and a chart that looks like a quarter of a pie
etched into the granite will show the passage
of the sun, and in the grooved triple name
of the donor, in the E for east and W for west,
in the other grooves flecked by mica today
the light from noon looks a bit forlorn.

The seven-souled vestments of the flesh
were supposed to keep light in mankind. Secret
names should have been learned by now to ease
its passage home, but were not learned.
And the sun striking down at noon like this—
because it insists on moving—the sun
seems ancillary to the stone, and weaker;
it has to move and last forever, or a little less
long than the imagination. If you stand
very near the plinth you can feel the stored
heat of its mass, and the different kind of light
being saved for you. The parallel worlds
are stacked up and rub against each other,
the worlds we read of in the texts that have to fit
neatly inside each other, one after another,
like a child's bathtub blocks fit, or as your
lover fits. It is the same in the universe:
surely the dark world holds the other close;

and when the time comes, something from outside fate
will come to retrieve the divine sparks.
As dandelions travel from the dry hills today,
or the woman with the baby, coming across the lawn:
maybe they are the redeemers. Remember
how the heavenly messengers sometimes
look like tourists, arriving unawares, and after
they feast they become special. When all
the sparks have been retrieved, the cosmos
will be finished, the milky light of the suburbs
cleared of blossoms, of physical terror,
and of doves with their responsible
white shears, trimming the fabric of the day...

But of the suffering inherent in matter,
what shall we say? That it goes back
when we go back? That it will die when we do?
If it goes there with us how far away?
Perhaps it will be left, and the plinth
can hold it for us, and go on with its job
of being patient in the sun while the mountain
makes more irreducible granite, more of itself.
The plinth was meant to please and instruct,
holding odd shards of radiance inside;
it wants to live. Stand next to it.
In the other noon, it casts no shadow.

2012 Integral Program Ptolemy/Copernicus Essay Winner

rafanelliCongratulations to Rex Rafanelli for being chosen as this year's essay winner. Here are the remarks of our judge, Prof. Dennis Duke of Florida State University:

Rafanelli to me is the most comprehensive, covering all the important issues, and with a uniform high quality of analysis and commentary. I got the feeling that he read the texts and assimilated the ideas quite thoroughly. Overall, his entire presentation has a nice continuity and a smooth, logical flow from beginning to end.

I like particularly the discussion of Alm I 7, which shows that Ptolemy was perfectly aware of the theoretical option of a rotating Earth, and that there is nothing in celestial phenomena against such an idea, but rather its rejection is based on terrestial phenomena. Rafanelli also presents a nice commentary on the way that Copernicus addressed this crucial issue.

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Photos of the Year

Ten random photos (everytime page is refreshed) from the best of the year. Click HERE for the full album of 138 photos.