A. Shaw, Chancellor
Sandi Tams Mulconry ’75, Associate Vice President for University
Jeffrey Charboneau G’99, Executive Director of Creative Services;
Amy Shires, Christine Yackel G’75
Margaret Costello, Kathryn Smith
Michael McGrath, Amy McVey
WEB PAGE DESIGNER
CLASS NOTES COORDINATOR
Lindsay Beller G03, Cori Bolger 03,
Emily Gaines G02, G03, Lisa Miles 03,
Kristen Swing 03
Brown G98, Judy Holmes G86,
Kevin Morrow, Cynthia Moritz 81,
Mark Owczarski 86, G88
Syracuse University Magazine (USPS 009-049, ISSN 1065-884X)
Volume 19, Number 4, is an official bulletin of Syracuse University
and is published four times yearly: spring, summer, fall, and winter
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UNIVERSITY MISSION •
To promote learning through teaching, research, scholarship, creative
accomplishment, and service.
UNIVERSITY VISION •
be the leading student-centered research university with faculty,
students, and staff sharing responsibility and working together
for academic, professional, and personal growth.
the Transubstantial Blues
wanted to be a hydrogeologist. The reason is simple: When a well
digger hauled his rig into my backyard a few months ago and started
drilling for depths unknown in search of a sufficient water supply,
I wanted to understand what the heck he was talking about. When
he said hed surge the well one more time, I nodded
my head in agreement, as if I were an astute hydrogeologist. But
little did I know, until I scampered onto the Internet, that surging
involves pumping water into Mother Earth with extreme pressure,
causing bedrock to fracture and hopefully draw water into the well
through cracked seams. If you need to, I advised him,
drop a stick of dynamite down therejust as long as it
doesnt knock the house off its foundation.
not exactly a scholarly approach to research and discovery, but
with no cosmic powers to turn rock into water, I was left with the
transubstantial blues, knowing I was at the mercy of circumstances
beyond my control. If anything, though, I was encouraged to explore
and learn more about the hydrogeology of my little piece of turf.
Truth be told, its not the first time Ive wanted to
swap my editorial skills for something more captivatingor
at least more pragmatic at the moment. When I get skunked fishing,
for instance, I contemplate how my fortunes would fare if I were
an entomologist or an ichthyologist. When I hear a smokin
guitar riff, I may drift off in my mind to the Mississippi Delta
and envision myself as an ethnomusicologist journeying around in
search of authentic bluesmen.
Such are a few
of my paths not taken. One beauty of this job, however, is I can
live vicariously through the stories of others. In this issue devoted
to research, Im sure youll be amazed when you read about
some of the work being done here on the Hill. For example, just
hammering out these words at the keyboard can be therapeutic, according
to psychology professor Joshua Smyth, who studies the health benefits
of expressive writing. Over in the Physics Building, Professor Gianfranco
Vidali is attempting to simulate how stars are born. In the Center
for Science and Technology, information studies professor Elizabeth
Liddy G77, G88 is devising ways to smarten up computers
so they can mine databases with a human-like understanding of language.
While the research alone is impressive, whats also worth noting
is how passionate these folks are about their work. Talk about devotionsome
focus on a specific expertise for much of their career. Others engage
in cross-disciplinary activities, bending and expanding previously
unexplored boundaries of research.
No doubt, research
requires an insatiable curiosity, whether youre scouring the
dictionary for a new word or wrestling with quantum electrodynamics.
So its important to keep wondering, asking, and learning.
Research advances our civilization, and itd be one dull world
if we all still sat around and banged on rocksexcept for the
mineralogists, geologists, geophysicists, and hydrogeologists. They
need to do this as part of their research. And while my thirst for
deep well water has been quenched, I hope my thirst for knowledge
grows deeper every day.