Currents


In Brief

17th century to be showcased

The first Arts and Humanities Showcase will tap the talents of students, faculty, and community groups and will include upcoming theater and music productions, lectures, a symposium, and "art attacks."

Under this year's theme of "Music and Theater in the 17th Century," the arts celebration begins Thursday, February 25, with the International Theater Program's production of The Misanthrope. Written in 1666, the work is considered the French playwright Moliere's greatest comedy.

The following week, the College's music and theater programs will join in producing the first part of The Madrigals of War and Love. The work, published in 1638 by Claudio Monteverdi, calls for ambitious staging that will involve the College Chamber Singers, as well as instrumentalists and vocal soloists from the Eastman School's Collegium Musicum under the direction of Paul O'Dette, associate professor. The production also includes a dramatic poem staged with a narrator, two singers, and two pantomiming actors. Boston-based choreographer Ken Pierce, a specialist in early 17th century dance, will create a concluding two-part dance piece.

To draw attention to the various events, singers and musicians will be staging "art attacks"--surprise appearances in unexpected places around various campuses.

The performances will be complemented by lectures and symposia, as well as workshops by the visiting artists and the theater and music directors.

Yellowjackets present jamboree

The Yellowjackets, the University's oldest all-male a cappella group, will present its 13th Annual Midwinter Jamboree on Saturday, February 27, at 8 p.m. in Strong Auditorium. This year's theme is "Saturday Night Fever."

Joining the Yellowjackets on stage will be special guests The Penny Loafers, a co-ed a cappella group from the University of Pennsylvania, and Premium Blend, an all-female a cappella group from Ithaca College.

Tickets for the show are available at the Common Market in Wilson Commons. For more information, contact the College Music Program, x5-2828. To request any special accommodations, please call the Music Program at least five days in advance, or fax at 442-5345.

Institute offers millennial theme

The second annual institute on educational leadership will be held Saturday, March 6, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Wilson Commons. Community leaders and educators will present talks and workshops focusing on this year's theme, "Preparing for the Millennium."

The program will feature small group sessions in three areas: leadership development, personal development, and professional development. "The purpose of the institute is to encourage and develop leadership in women who are interested in making a difference in and through education," said Edwardine Weaver, director of the Office of Professional Development at the Warner School.

In addition to group sessions--led by community business leaders, educators, and administrators--the opening address will be given by Wanda Miller, media consultant and former television news anchor. Elaine Spaull, associate attorney with the firm Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle and former associate vice president for student affairs at RIT, will speak at lunch on leadership, growth, and transition. Small-group presenters will include Wyoma Best, vice president of communication for the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce; Carole Bilson Brown, international marketing manager for Eastman Kodak Co.; and Ed Cavalier, principal of East High School.

To register contact the Warner School, x5-8270. Registration deadline is Saturday, February 27.

Nature features scientists' work

University scientists unveiled in the February 11 issue of Nature a new class of optical materials that efficiently creates the kind of light prized by manufacturers of displays for computers, televisions, and entertainment systems.

The new materials emit nearly perfect circularly polarized light--the kind necessary to create 3-D displays and striking color images--that's hundreds of times more pure than light produced from today's materials. Light emerges by twisting its way through thousands of layers of molecules, spiraling from one side to the other. The material includes special additives, or dopants, that allow it to emit and manipulate color light without color filter arrays, which are necessary in today's display systems.

Also in the February 11 issue of Nature are results of the best images ever obtained of the living human retina, which show an unexpected randomness in the way that individual cells called "cones" are arranged. The results were obtained by a University team using a technology called "adaptive optics" that was originally developed by the military.

The findings were possible thanks to a laser-based system developed by David Williams and colleagues at the University over the last decade that maps out the topography of the inner eye. The idea is to correct for aberrations in the atmosphere so that rays of light travel in parallel lines and converge at a single point, delivering a sharp image. Astronomers use the technique in telescopes to grab ever-better photos of the heavens. Williams, director of the Center for Visual Science, leads an effort to apply the same technology to human vision.

Robot technology aids pharmacy

Pharmacists at Strong Memorial Hospital have teamed with a new drug-dispensing robot. This pharmacy automation enhances care by freeing pharmacists from routine tasks so they can spend more time with patients.

The medication dispensing system, ScriptPro SP 200, was recently installed in the Outpatient Pharmacy at Strong to improve customer service and quality of care for hundreds of people.

The process works like this: When a patient brings a prescription in, the pharmacist reviews the information for appropriateness, dose, and possible allergies or drug interactions. The pharmacist then places the prescription into the pharmacy's computer, which activates the robot. The robot relies on bar-code technology, similar to that used in grocery stores, to select an appropriate-size vial and the correct medication. A light-beam sensor counts each tablet or capsule to the quantity specified by the pharmacist. The vial then moves to a conveyor where its label is printed and applied. Finally, the robot scans the label and a photograph of the medication appears on the computer screen. A pharmacist checks the vial to be sure the medication in the vial matches the picture on the screen, then caps the bottle and it's ready for the patient.

Another robot, which will prepare medications for distribution to hospital inpatients, will be installed at Strong in early April.

Superconductor advances made

A College scientist and his Russian colleagues from Moscow State Pedagogical University have developed a superconducting device capable of detecting light at wavelengths that were previously off-limits to the materials, with remarkable speed and sensitivity.

The structure detects light in a portion of the infrared spectrum that's important for telecommunications and infrared astronomy, from 3 to 10 micrometers. The superconducting material, niobium nitride, is capable of detecting just a single photon, and it can recognize changes in light signals as fast as 25 billion times each second (25 gigahertz). Details of the device, along with the ultrafast measurements of its capability, were published in the December 28 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

"Detecting single photons is amazing, and ours is one of a few detectors that can do so," said electrical engineer Roman Sobolewski. "But what really distinguishes our device is its speed--25 gigahertz is very fast for an infrared detector." Sobolewski says conventional infrared detectors are typically either much less sensitive or slower.

The College is one of three academic institutions in the country working on such technology.

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Copyright 1999, University of Rochester
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Last updated 2-22-1999
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