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2014: The year in pictures

December 9, 2014
photo of a droplet of liquid hanging off the edge of a surface

University photographer J. Adam Fenster shares some of his favorite photos from around the University during the past year.

photo of a droplet of liquid hanging off the edge of a surface

Living on the edge: Chunlei Guo, professor in The Institute of Optics, developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials hydrophobic. In this photo, a water droplet bounces off the edge of a metal surface treated with Guo’s process to repel moisture.

“This was a technically challenging photo shoot, requiring hours of set up and practice,” says Fenster. “I have to give credit to Anatoliy Vorobyev, a senior scientist working with Professor Guo. Without his help setting up the demonstration and patiently squeezing precisely measured water from a dropper, I wouldn’t have been able to get these images.”

 

two dancers in a studio

Dance academy: The Linda E. Sloan Studio—a brand new acting, voice, movement, and multi-purpose performance studio—opened in Todd Union in 2014.

“I think the best way to illustrate a new space on campus is to show it being used,” says Fenster. “I went to a movement class in the studio and happened to catch this shot from a low camera angle. I like how the students in the foreground frame the students in the background”

 

light streaming in through the windows onto the tables and chairs in Rettner Hall

Under the Rochester sun: Sunlight streams through the atrium of the Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation.

“We’re always looking for ways to showcase campus spaces. Here, the found light creates interesting shadows and contrasts in the photo,” Fenster explains.

 

technicians working in clean suits in the Laser Lab

Laser focus: Photographing in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics is a challenge. Fenster had to secure access, don the appropriate safety gear, and bring his own lights for two days of shooting.

In this photo, a technician maneuvers a diagnostic outside the target chamber of the Omega EP laser. Fenster recalls that the extra effort was worth the results: “Besides confirming that difficult shooting conditions can yield interesting photos, there is no substitute for having incredible subjects and good relationships with the people who provide access and assistance in photographing them.”

 

man in graduation cap and gown kissing a baby

New dad, new grad: Graduation is a milestone event, which makes for many emotional moments throughout the weekend. Fenster captured this particular Kodak moment outside of Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Here, Tyson Olson kisses his 4-month-old son after receiving his diploma from the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

 

large crowd of graduates

Facing the future: More than 1,200 graduating students received their degrees during the 2014 Arts, Sciences & Engineering commencement ceremony.

“This year, we set up two remote cameras—one wide, one tight—on the Rush Rhees Library balcony,” explains Fenster, “and ended up with this vibrant, high-energy shot.”

 

musician playing a stand-up bass

Jazz it up: Each year, Eastman School of Music faculty, students, and alumni perform during the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. At this year’s festival, Fenster snapped a photo of Tyrone Allen II ’17 playing bass on the Gibbs Street stage. Note how the stage’s railing acts as a natural frame for Allen.

 

rainbow over Memorial Art Gallery

Somewhere over the rainbow: In June, Fenster was at the Memorial Art Gallery to photograph President Seligman’s annual Garden Party. As he was preparing to leave, he noticed the rain and decided to wait a few minutes. That decision paid off as a perfect rainbow appeared over MAG’s Cutler Union.

 

instructor helping a conductor at the front of an orchestra

Summer school: “This photo illustrates what the Eastman School does in a nutshell—music, teaching, outreach,” says Fenster. In it, Neil Varon helps a young conductor hone his craft on the Kodak Hall stage. As part of the Summer Conducting Institute, up-and-coming conductors from around the world have the opportunity to rehearse with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

white light passing through three blocks of clear plastic and breaking into red, green, and blue light

Light bright: Belying this image’s simplicity was a carefully constructed photo shoot—followed by a re-shoot.

“I had to go back to Duncan Moore’s lab a second time with a different plan,” Fenster says. “Turns out that when photographing these lasers, the longer the exposure, the worse the ‘laser speckle’, which results in grainy, unusable images.”

 

Blue Angels jets flying in the sky over the Interfaith Chapel

Stealing their thunder: This year’s Rochester International Air Show featured the F-16 fighter jets of the United Stated Air Force Thunderbirds.

“When the Thunderbirds are in town, we always try to photograph them ‘on campus.’ That means finding a University landmark—such as the Interfaith Chapel or Rush Rhees Library—and waiting for the jets to fly by,” Fenster explains.

 

students dumping a bucket of ice over the head of a coach as part of the Ice Bucket Channel

Challenge accepted: “It was the summer of the Ice Bucket Challenge!” says Fenster. So naturally, he was on hand to document the University’s athletic department coaches and administrators as they completed the challenge at Fauver Stadium on a summer day.

 

ring of students on the quad at night holding candles in a ceremony

Candlelight kick-off: Pictured is the Class of 2018’s Candlelight Ceremony, an event that takes place on the Eastman Quad during orientation week.

“The challenge with an annual event like this is to find new ways to photograph it,” Fenster recalls. This year, he used a fish-eye lens and a higher angle to capture the concentric rings of freshmen in front of Rush Rhees Tower.

 

man looking through a lens and his eye appears to be missing

Rochester’s invisibility cloak: After his first round of photographing the optical cloaking device created by John Howell and Joseph Choi, Fenster got to thinking: What if we cloaked a face?

During the next round, Fenster asked that question—and Choi gamely agreed to volunteer his own face for cloaking. The result is this stunning image, which was picked up by numerous media outlets (including NBC News) to illustrate the research.

 

physical therapists assist Bradford Berk as he walks during a therapy session

Stepping up to the challenge: In September, Bradford Berk announced his plans to step down as CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center in order to launch the new University of Rochester Neurorestoration Institute.

Berk suffered a spinal cord injury in 2009, but continued leading the Medical Center while also using its services. Here, he walks with help during a biweekly physical therapy session.

“It was very humbling and inspiring to see such an accomplished, impressive person actively working to overcome his injury,” remarks Fenster.

 

aerial photo of River Campus and Genesee River

A roof with a view: From atop the Brooks Crossing Apartments on the other side of the Genesee River, Fenster captured this brand new aerial view of River Campus and the Rochester skyline.

“This was another re-shoot; our first opportunity was interrupted by rain. I like how the curve of the Genesee makes campus look a little like an island from this angle,” comments Fenster.

 

student's face repeated many many times through an optical illusion

To infinity (box) and beyond: “It’s always fun to show the cool stuff happening at MAG,” says Fenster, “even if it is on a tight deadline.”

Late on a Friday afternoon, Fenster received a request to shoot artist Matt Elson’s Infinity Boxes, an exhibition using color, light, and mirrors to create optical illusions that envelop viewers who peer inside.

Fenster and student Miriam Grigsby ’17 went to the Memorial Art Gallery for the shoot. Here, Grigsby poses inside “Radiance” (Infinity Box #6). And if you look closely enough, you can even spot the photographer himself at work with his camera.

Top stories of 2014

Based on web traffic to our news sites, we’ve compiled a list of this year’s most popular stories.

(1) ‘Cloaking’ device uses ordinary lenses to hide objects across a range of angles

September 25, 2014

animated gif of a hand passing through a lens and the hand appears to disappear
Inspired perhaps by Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, scientists have recently developed several ways—some simple and some involving new technologies—to hide objects from view. The latest effort, developed by physics professor John Howell and graduate student Joseph Choi, not only overcomes some of the limitations of previous devices, but it uses inexpensive, readily available materials in a novel configuration.
Read more and watch the video

Also reported in: NBC News, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, The Nerdist, Mashable, Los Angeles Times, and many others

(2) Video gamers’ aggression linked to frustration, not violent content

April 7, 2014

The disturbing imagery or violent storylines of videos games like World of Warcraft or Grand Theft Auto are often accused of fostering feelings of aggression in players. But a new study co-authored by psychology professor Richard Ryan shows hostile behavior is linked to gamers’ experiences of failure and frustration during play—not to a game’s violent content.
Read more

Also reported in: NBC News, Huffington Post, New Republic, BBC News, Daily Telegraph, and many others

(3) Bend in Appalachian mountain chain finally explained

July 18, 2014

graphic of a map showing the path of the Appalachian mountains and how it bends
The 1,500-mile Appalachian mountain chain runs along a nearly straight line from Alabama to Newfoundland—except for a curious bend in Pennsylvania and New York State. Thanks to research from Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences, we now know what caused that bend—a dense, underground block of rigid, volcanic rock forced the chain to shift eastward as it was forming millions of years ago.
Read more

(4) Playing action video games can boost learning

November 10, 2014

A new study from Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences, shows for the first time that playing action video games improves not just the skills taught in the game, but learning capabilities more generally.
Read more

Also reported in: CBS News, The Washington Post

(5) Computer science students help singers learn their vowels

March 6, 2014

students and a professor standing around a pianoVoice students who want to perfect how they sing their vowels could get help from a new simple, free application developed by a group of University  students who developed it as part of their Human-Computer Interaction computer science class.
Read more and watch the video

(6) New deans at the Eastman School of Music, Simon Business School

May 2014

Jamal Rossi
Andrew Ainslie

Jamal Rossi, who came to Eastman in 2005 as senior associate dean, was named the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music and Andrew Ainslie, formerly of the UCLA Anderson School of Management, was named the seventh dean of the Simon School of Business.

Read more about Jamal Rossi

Read more about Andrew Ainslie

(7) New York Times lists University as among most economically diverse

September 9, 2014

The University of Rochester is listed 28th on the New York Times’ “The Most Economically Diverse Top Colleges” list. Among the 27 AAU (Association of American Universities) institutions listed, Rochester is ninth.
Read more

(8) Wegman Foundation gives $17 million to University

April 1 ,2014

Danny Wegman at a podium

President Joel Seligman announced two extraordinary gifts from The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation (WFCF): a $10 million lead gift to the University’s Institute for Data Science and a $7 million gift to support the Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Read more

(9) What is blue noise?

September-October 2014

blue background graphic with the words What is Blue Noise Mask

Two University engineers helped transform the early days of the digital revolution, setting off a “virtuous cycle” of research and invention that continues to be felt decades later. That’s the largely untold story of the blue noise mask.
Read more from Rochester Review

(10) Everything is awesome on April Fools

April 1, 2014

Rush Rhees Library made out of LEGO

On April 1, University websites were overrun by thousands of LEGO bricks, in one of the more ambitious April Fools pranks to hit college and university websites that day.
Read more

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