Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2015 - (Page 7)
Making Music to
Connect the World
KARL RABIL /©VASSAR COLLEGE
President Shirley Ann Jackson met with Pauline Newman before delivering
the Newman Distinguished Lecture in Science, Technology, and Society
at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.
Advancing The New Polytechnic
PRESIDENT SHIRLEY ANN JACKSON SHARED HER
vision for The New Polytechnic-and its unprecedented potential to harness the power
of science and technology-at the inaugural
Pauline Newman '47 Distinguished Lecture
in Science, Technology, and Society.
Held in April at Newman's alma mater,
Vassar College, the lecture acknowledges
her contributions in the field of intellectual
property and patent law, and in the application of science and technology for government, business, and academic use. Since
1984, Newman has served as a judge for
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal
Circuit, which has nationwide jurisdiction
over international trade legal issues, government contracts, patents, and other subjects.
"Hers has been an extraordinary career,"
Jackson said, "but one with which we are
familiar at Rensselaer, where a number of
our alumni and alumnae have moved from
science and engineering to become prominent figures in intellectual property law."
As an example, Jackson cited Arthur
Gajarsa '62, chairman of the Rensselaer
Board of Trustees, and former U.S. circuit
judge. In fact, Gajarsa served alongside
Newman for 15 years on the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
She devoted most of her remarks to The
New Polytechnic, defined as a collaborative
endeavor merging across a multiplicity of
disciplines, sectors, and global regions.
"We are re-envisioning the meaning of
polytechnic, within the context of modern
challenges and opportunities," Jackson said.
"The New Polytechnic is predicated on the
absolute necessity of educating our students
in multidisciplinary and collaborative
thinking, and linking our researchers-in
the arts, architecture, the humanities, the
sciences, and the social sciences-as well
as in engineering and the applied sciences.
Engaged in by a broad spectrum of participants, guided by societal concerns and
ethics, The New Polytechnic ultimately
facilitates novel and effective approaches
to global challenges."
Jackson pointed to global threats such as
geopolitical tensions, climate change, pandemics, competition for natural resources,
and growing income inequality in developed
and developing economies.
"Collaborations on a grand scale are
required, and colleges and universities, as we
educate future leaders and convene brilliant
scholars, have an obligation to seed, and to
"Collaborations on a grand scale are required, and
colleges and universities, as we educate future
leaders and convene brilliant scholars, have an
obligation to seed, and to support, new approaches
to teaching, learning, and problem-solving."
support, new approaches to teaching, learning, and problem-solving," Jackson said. "It
is when we join forces that we truly cancel
out our weaknesses and compound our
"To solve great problems," she added, "we
IN CELEBRATION OF EARTH WEEK, THE SCHOOL OF
Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS)
debuted an innovative artistic performance
featuring the Earth Trio 2015 combining
music, philosophy, and the sounds of nature.
"Music does connect us to the world,"
says Michael Century, professor of music and
new media. "It's not a separate category for
escape or diversion only. The 2015 Earth Day
Music Celebration was built on the highly
impactful Earth Week Festival that was held
in 2013, which attracted large audiences
that attended a series of performances, talks,
panels, and films."
Century, who is also a pianist, accordionist, and composer, says that this year's event
brought together several world-class musical
and intellectual talents in a two-part program.
"Susie Ibarra and David Rothenberg are unique
musicians that I have known for years, with
strong commitments in their art to the environment and sustainability matters," he says.
The Earth Trio includes Century, Rothenberg, and Ibarra. Ibarra is a percussionist,
composer, teacher, and practitioner of world
music. She is also noted as a humanitarian
working with indigenous peoples through
music, a TED fellow, and a collaborator working with artists in other media. Her composition Circadian Rhythms, for 77 percussionists
and surround soundscape, was premiered at
the 2013 Earth Week Festival on campus.
Musically at home in classical, contemporary, and improvisational settings, Century
joined the Rensselaer Arts Department
in 2002 after a varied career as university
teacher, new media researcher, inter-arts
producer, and arts policy maker. His works
for live and electronically processed instruments have been performed and broadcast
in concerts and festivals internationally.
RENSSELAER/SPRING 2015 7
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2015
Table of Contents
Snapshot: Astronomy and Art Intersect
President's View: Healthy Partnerships
Feature:Bridging the STEM Gap
Feature: Smartest Lake in the World
Feature: In the Air
RAA Annual Report
One Last Thing: A Memorable Visit to Rensselaer
Link: Inside Rensselaer 209th Commencement Article & Photos
YouTube Link: Partnerships: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Rensselaer (2:40)
Link: “The New Polytechnic: Addressing Global Challenges, Transforming the World” speech
YouTube Link: Immersive Learning at Rensselaer: Geo Explorer (0:49)
YouTube Link: The Jefferson Project at Lake George (0:03:25)
Link: Class Notes (RAA Account Required)
Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2015