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Joseph Poon, the William Barten Rogers Professor of Physics and materials scientist Gary Shiflet, William G. Reynolds Professor of Materials Science, are at the forefront of the quest to develop amorphous metals, which are cooled so quickly that crystals do not have a chance to form. Without crystalline boundaries, which are points of weakness, these materials approach their maximum theoretical strength and hardness, they exhibit excellent corrosion resistance, and, because they are essentially frozen liquids, they can be easily molded like plastic. Mr. Shiflet is focusing on developing extremely light, aluminum-based metals for transportation and aerospace, while Mr. Poon is working to discover new kinds of amorphous steel that could be used for naval applications.

Such revolutionary technologies often raise unforeseen ethical conundrums. With a prestigious Career Award from the National Science Foundation, ethicist Rosalyn Berne (College '79, Graduate Arts and Sciences '82, '99) of the Engineering School's Division of Technology, Culture, and Communications has launched a five-year study of the broader social, psychological, and spiritual implications of breakthroughs in nanotechnology. In the international arena, the University continues to build interdisciplinary connections with institutions in South Africa, Botswana, and Mozambique. This past year, six South African officials visited the School of Nursing to share experiences and expertise in training, management, and retention issues. The University's Center for Global Health also has launched initiatives in the region, including a pilot study by Dr. Christine Wilder (Medicine '02) on the correlation between environmental change and disease.

Tibet may be remote geographically, but it has never been more accessible to scholars, thanks to the work of David Germano in religious studies. He is the driving force behind the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library (www.thdl.org), an ambitious project that represents a new model for the library in the digital age. The archive's digital holdings include research in a range of languages, multimedia learning resources, and creative works on the environments, cultures, and history of Tibet. When fully developed, Mr. Germano's library will comprise not only a wealth of content but also technological tools that help users manipulate and combine these digital resources into new user-defined collections and teaching resources.

The Power of Teaching
Mark Edmundson, a professor of English and a contributing editor for Harper's, celebrates the power of the classroom in his new book, Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference. Published to warm reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere, Professor Edmundson's memoir pays tribute to a high school philosophy teacher in working-class Medford, Massachusetts. Day to day, he played to a tough audience, but for at least one underachiever in his class, it was the beginning of a lifelong love of literature and ideas.
 
Charles Marsh
Keeping (and Living) the Faith

Is religious faith relevant to modern life? Do spiritual commitments still move people to social action in our time? For Charles Marsh, associate professor of religious studies and director of the Project on Lived Theology, the answer is a resounding yes. Established with a grant from the Lilly Endowment, the project seeks to understand, in his words, "the connection between faith and practice, between theological commitments and social existence." Scholars working with him have traveled throughout the country to study the role of faith in four areas-racial reconciliation, community building, responsible uses of power and authority, and mental health.

In June, the University played host to the Conference on Lived Theology, which brought project members together for the first time in a public forum. Participants included such renowned figures as Lee Stuart of the Nehemiah Project in the Bronx and Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School. By the final day, the gathering had moved beyond academic exercises to become "more about renewing our commitment to public responsibility as intellectuals, as activists," said Professor Marsh.

A pastor's son who grew up in Laurel, Mississippi, at the height of the civil rights movement, Charles Marsh is the author of God's Long Summer and The Last Days, two books that describe the theological commitments that motivated many of the central figures in those tumultuous times.

 
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