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Showing posts with label University of Maryland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label University of Maryland. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gardens at the University of Maryland

I don't remember the name of this park, but it may well be my favorite.

As opposed to the above which is a little out of the way, this statue is in the heart of campus:

This shady rock garden is known as Woods Hall Garden:
I'm very fond of the Chapel Garden:


The next three are outside the Rossborough Inn, the oldest building on campus.

This final shot is near the Armory:

...and there are many other gardens on campus.  The landscaping crew does a nice job.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Positive end to a frustrating basketball season

Watched Maryland end 61 years in the ACC with a win over Virginia who was ranked number five in the nation.

Before the game, some of the big names in Terp basketball history were available to sign autographs, but we didn't feel like standing in the long line.  However, I did sneak through to get a shot of Gary Williams:

I was happy for the victory and also that the students finally got an excuse to storm the court when the overtime ended because they had been waiting for a big win all season.  I didn't wait around to get a picture though, because we were eager to eat.
We're all expecting more wins like this next year.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My stage debut

I'm taking a course in the English department which is described as rehearsed table reads of British plays.  After the rehearsals, the plays are publically performed on stage pretty much like a standard play except the actors can read from their scripts.  They aren't expected to memorize their lines, and sets and props are minimal.

I've never acted in my life, but I took on a role in a 2007 play by Nicholas Wright titled The Reporter which we put on yesterday.  Mine wasn't a starring role, but it was significant- I played the reporter's boss, a BCC executive.  The action is in the 1960's, and since men's clothing doesn't change very much my costume was business wear from my closet.

Pam was in the audience and said she enjoyed it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Quantum physics

Last semester I took a class in this subject that was offered within the philosophy department.  It was entitled "Spooky Action at a Distance," which comes from a quote by  Albert Einstein who wasn't completely comfortable with quantum physics but could not deny its validity. 

This summer I'm doing some additional reading on the subject, and maybe I'll sometime be able to articulate a coherent thought about it.

Meanwhile, I ran across this video that incorporates some of the concepts.  Not a bad song either.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Viet Nam War plaque at the University

On my walks around campus I encounter various objects donated by certain graduating classes or organizations.  I liked this donation from 1988 which was well after the war, but it shows that the scars were still present on our country.  The inscription may not be clear in the photo.  It states "To all those whose lives were touched by the fire of the war" which is a nice thought because it includes not just those who served but the friends and families of those who served and those who felt the anguish of the damage done to America.

The plaque is located on the grounds of the Memorial Chapel, an especially pleasant area of the campus and important to me because it's where we were married.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Rossborough Inn

 Having lived all my life in the Maryland suburbs, I'm not used to seeing old buildings during my daily routine.  That's why a structure built two centuries ago to serve travelers between Washington and Baltimore stands out.  Construction of the Rossborough Inn began in 1798 on what is now U.S.Route 1, so it goes back to before there was a college on the surrounding land.  What became the University of Maryland was chartered as Maryland Agricultural College half a century later, and as it grew it encompassed the Inn which has been in continuous use for events and offices since.

In April, 1864, the Inn was occupied by the Confederate Army who were welcomed by the students and faculty which is characteristic of the sympathies of many Marylanders at that time.  Locals joined the Rebel officers in an evening party during their stay.

The Rossborough has long been rumored to be haunted because of numerous sightings of ghostly figures over the years and as late as 1981 by a presumably sober University employee.

I noticed this plaque from the class of 1910 for a gateway along side the Inn.  One of the names on the right column is Millard E. Tydings who became a noted United States Senator from Maryland and whose step-son, Joseph also served as a Senator.  The elder Tydings has a hall at the University named for him and also a bridge across the Susquehanna River near the family estate.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Evolution of Life and Environment on Planet Earth (and Beyond)

As I have done after my previous three semesters in the Golden ID program, I have been reviewing my lecture notes and the text book for Geology 124.  The amount of material relating to both the physical and the biological sciences was significant but it was not all heavy.  How to cook rice, for example, was discussed (don’t stir it) as was the formation of soap bubbles and that shower curtains are a good environment for cyanobacteria.

For me, the course was ultimately about the growth of human knowledge about the universe around us.  The daily expansion of that knowledge was demonstrated by the discussions of the discoveries by the MSL Rover on Mars.  The class featured hands- on participation in observing and describing rocks on a field trip around campus and also by the collection of our hair samples for isotopic analysis.  From that data, students were required to create a hypothesis concerning “you are what you eat.”

Also stressed was the importance of the continued questioning of scientific hypotheses by identifying past hypotheses that took many years before general acceptance (such as continental drift) or a hypothesis that was recently created (such as snowball earth) which is now doubted by many.  A possible flaw in the most important biological hypothesis in history, evolution, was identified by its creator, Charles Darwin.  That possible flaw was eventually resolved by technical advances in microscopes, but Darwin had the intellectual honesty to first raise the question himself.

As someone whose last previous college course in science was during the Lyndon Johnson administration, I sometimes looked around at the young students and wondered what they would remember 45 years from now about Geology 124.  My bet would be that they will remember a lot.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Conference of the Birds

Yesterday afternoon I attended an excellent jazz concert at the University of Maryland which featured performances by two of the professors in their jazz program within the music department. The concert was appropriately titled "The Jazz Professors" and was as educational as it was entertaining.

Before each number, one of the professors would give a short talk about the piece, the composer, and the significance to the history of the music. The pieces were performed in more or less chronological sequence beginning with Jelly Roll Morton's "Dead Man Blues", a song probably about a hundred years old.

One of the last songs on the program was composed by bassist Dave Holland in 1972, and I listened to that album often in those years. Although until yesterday I probably haven't heard it in 30 years, I always found the melody of "Conference of the Birds" so haunting I can summon it into my mind's ear anytime. It was a real treat to hear it live.

Link to listen to the original.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Camille Paglia, Johnny Cash, and Johann Sebastian Bach

When I awoke yesterday morning, my wife strongly recommended that I listen to an interview with Camille Paglia, the controversial commentator on art, politics, and anything else that strikes her fancy, so I accepted the ear bud to her MP3 player and listened while in bed.  Among other comments, Paglia criticized art academics for their secular humanist scorn for anything religious.  Although herself a skeptic of traditional religion, Paglia maintains that religious fervor has produced some of the greatest art in history and to dismiss it is to lose something vital in Western Civilization.  I can't say that her words influenced how I had planned to spend my day, but when I returned home in the evening I reflected how my day contained significant doses of both art and religion.

After my morning geology class and lunch at the Student Union, I walked to the Clarice Smith Center and there I listened to a brief mid-day concert of Bach's NUN Komm, Der Heiden Heiland BWV 61 inspired by passages from The Gospel of Matthew and other parts of the New Testament.  "Music's only purpose should be the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit"  Bach once said, and while I don't know if any Creator felt glorified, I felt my spirit uplifted by the voices and the instruments.

In the foreground below is one of the featured soloists.  That most of the performers were in their regular street clothes made the event casual, as if an interlude of beautiful music should be a normal part of the weekday.

For a version of this work click here

After that I proceeded to the campus Art Gallery for the new exhibit "What It Is, What It Was:  Music Video As Art."  When I was a young man in the photographic industry, there was general agreement that combining rock music with visual images was going to be big, but when MTV arrived I was disappointed with the quality of the short films being created for the music and haven't watched many of these videos over the years.  I never even got around to watching a widely praised one by one of my favorite singers, Johnny Cash, although it's been around now for ten years.  I got my chance yesterday because Johnny Cash's "Hurt" is one of the videos chosen to be projected wall size as part of the exhibit.  Ms. Paglia would have approved because Christian imagery is a major component and is appropriate because Cash was an intensely religious man.

To watch this video, click here

Radiohead, R.E.M., Tom Waits, Kanye West and other recording artists are also featured in the exhibit.  I spent about an hour there and plan to return.  It's art as far as I'm concerned and worth serious looks and listenings.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Field trip to the Smithsonian

Our geology class took the subway today from College Park into DC to the Natural History Museum.

The professor is placing a standard geological scale on some petrified wood next to the outside steps:

Inside he's showing us a depiction of what the earliest life forms on earth are believed to look like:

The students and the professor gather out on the Mall to prepare to return to campus:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday: College Football

Watched Maryland lose to University of Connecticut.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday: A geology field trip...

Examining different rocks used at the University.  This is a shot of the marble steps at H. J. Patterson Building.  If my notes are correct, it is a metamorphic rock containing many different minerals including quartz.  The penny is there to show scale.

Friday, August 31, 2012

First week of the Fall Semester

On Wednesday I was able to register at noon on the first day of classes which is earlier than normal for the Golden ID (geezer) program, but it was too late to receive the professor's e-mail that there would be no discussion classes that day.

Fortunately, outside the classroom there was a display of aquatic insects of the Middle Patuxent that was ideal entertainment for a Maryland fly fisherman.

The first lecture was yesterday and the course, "Evolution of Life and Environment on Planet Earth (And Beyond)",  looks to be interesting.