Students explain their research during the John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference.
John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference Scheduled
April 10, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Eighteenth Annual John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference
will be held Saturday, April 14 in the Center for Natural Science (CNS) Learning and
Research (201 Beecher St., Bloomington). The conference will include a full day of
research presentations, both in poster and oral format. In addition, there will be
presentations by art students in the Merwin Gallery in The Joyce Eichhorn Ames School
of Art Building (6 Ames Plaza West, Bloomington) and by music composition students
in Presser Hall (1210 N. Park St., Bloomington).
The conference typically attracts more than 50 undergraduates, who showcase research
projects from a variety of University departments and programs, including psychology,
economics, political science, biology, mathematics, chemistry, English, theatre, and
history. To see a schedule of the conference, visit https://www.iwu.edu/jwprc/details.html
This year’s keynote speaker will be Richard Binzel, professor of planetary science
in the department of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, and one of the world’s leading scientists in the study of
asteroids and Pluto. Binzel was a member of the International Astronomical Union
Committee, which in the summer of 2006 brought forward the proposal to keep Pluto
as a planet. He will speak about the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper
Belt as a part of his keynote address.
Binzel completed a bachelor’s degree in physics at Macalester College (St. Paul, Minn.)
and a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Texas. His current research focuses
on mapping the geology of the asteroid belt through telescopic observations revealing
the compositions of nearly 2000 asteroids. He is credited with having established
compelling evidence linking certain earth-impacting meteorite types with specific
asteroids. In 1999, Binzel devised the Torina Impact Hazard Scale, which assigns a
number to the likelihood that a newly discovered asteroid will strike the earth. Binzell
was honored with a Presidential Young Investigator award from George H. Bush in 1990
and the Harold C. Urey Prize from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary
Sciences in 1991. He is a current Science Team Member on the NASA New Horizons Mission
to Pluto launched in 2006 and arriving in 2015. Asteroid number 2873 bears his name,
an honor bestowed by the International Astronomical Union in recognition of his contributions
to the field.
Student presentations will include such titles as “Trade Liberalization and Environmental
Justice in the Ivorian Cocoa Industry,” a project by senior French and international
studies double major Anne Fell, who theorizes that neoliberal economic policies have
failed to adequately address the environmental and human costs of cocoa production
in that region; “Minorities, Markets, and Mongols: Reimagining Center/Periphery Conflict
in the Russian Federation,” which discusses senior political science major Brett Strand’s
year-long Honors Research project in which he tested several theories regarding the
reasons that conflict occurs between Moscow and periphery states like Chechnya; and
“Travelling through Disenchantment: The Southern Seas by Manuel Vazquez,” a presentation by senior English literature and Hispanic studies
major Rachel Slough connecting themes present in the Spanish detective novel to the
frustrations brought on by he period of transition between dictatorship and democracy
that began in 1975.
The John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference was established as an annual event
in 1990. Held in April each year, the conference provides an opportunity for students
who are pursuing individual research projects to present their findings in a public
forum. Students at any level in any academic program throughout the University are
eligible to participate.
The conference is named for explorer and geologist John Wesley Powell, a one-armed
Civil War veteran and founder of the National Geographic Society who joined IWU’s
faculty in 1865. He was the first U.S. professor to use fieldwork to teach science,
and in 1867, took IWU students to Colorado’s mountains—the first expedition of its
kind in the history of American higher education.
For additional information, contact Linda French, associate professor of physics,
at (309) 556-3580, or visit the conference Web site at https://www.iwu.edu/jwprc/index.html.
Contact: Amanda ReCupido and Teresa Sherman, (309) 556-3181