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Pamplin Society of Fellows » Activities - A society of scholars, athletes, and resolute leaders at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon


Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Posted in Activities, Distinguished Visiting Scholar on November 19th, 2011 by ana – Be the first to comment

“Non-Euclidean Sports and the Geometry of Surfaces”

Richard Canary

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 7:00 pm

Templeton Student Center, Council ChambersRichard Canary

For those of us who are not flatlanders, it can be hard to visualize the properties associated with non-Euclidean surfaces. While we can intuitively understand the properties of flat-space and to a certain extend spherical spaces (as we live on a sphere ourselves!), we do not have the same intuition for hyperbolic spaces. Professor Richard Canary has developed a lecture which remedies this issue. He will be discussing the impact of hyperbolic geometry on various sports and the classification of these surfaces and their natural geometries. This will lead to a look into the progress being made on the geometrization of 3-dimensional spaces.

A little about the speaker:

Mathematician Richard Canary received his M.S. in Mathematics from Warwick University in Coventry, England in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Princeton University in 1989. He is currently a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. He has authored over 40 papers on a variety of mathematical subjects.

His current research interests include low-dimensional topology and Kleinian groups.

Highlights from Fall Retreat 2011

Posted in Activities, Fellows, Professors on September 29th, 2011 by lnash – 1 Comment

Last weekend, the current Pamplin cast (short only two) shared YMCA Camp Collins’ snazzy facilities with students from Beaverton High School and a Girl Scout troop. By the end of the car ride to Gresham, Oregon, I had already realized how lucky I was (and am) to be part of such a cohesive, energetic, driven group.

On the first night, our new Pamplin professor of history, David Campion, introduced himself by presenting a brief autobiography. He told us about his beginnings at a Jesuit high school—his first inspiration to become an educator. We learned that he paid for college by joining the Naval ROTC program, and subsequently went to grad school for engineering (against his better judgment) before becoming an officer on a ship in the first Gulf War.

Before bed, about half our ranks went on a nighttime walk to admire the stars. A handful of us played Banana-grams—a fast-paced word game using Scrabble-esque tiles. Katy ground most of us into fine dust.

In the morning, we met up with a couple of men who would guide us through team-building exercises and ropes courses. Laura Bogar, despite a nagging cold, was the first to volunteer to run as far as she could, while screaming as loudly as she could, stopping as soon as she ran out of breath. Zach, Benjamin and Micah raced her, Zach soon disappearing around a corner, the clear winner.

After everyone else had had a chance at the climbing wall, Professors Campion and O’Sullivan scrambled up like it was nothing, putting many of us to shame.

While waiting for our guides to prepare the zip line, we passed up the usual fall-back-and-trust-your-teammates-to-catch-you exercise, and went for the human gyroscope. That means that we all gathered around Kyle and Erica, in turn, and passed them hand over hand so that they each performed a back flip without touching the ground.

Nikki’s scream pierced the air as she stepped off of a platform in the trees, hurtling along a zip line toward a tree across the way.

In the afternoon, we had a few hours of free time. While the more adventurous among us rented bikes, went on runs or took advantage of Camp Collins’ bouldering and obstacle courses, the rest retired to the cabins to sleep or study. I fell asleep reading Zhuangzi, and a few minutes after waking up was summoned to a yoga session led by Kyle. Erica, Pirtle and I performed sun salutations while “My Heart Will Go On” played in the background on Micah’s Celtic pan-flute.

As soon as we had finished off our hamburgers (or veggie burgers) and ice cream sandwiches, Professor Johnson and Professor Campion introduced a “moral dilemma,” posing a situation in which we had to decide whether to drive a car with a bomb into a hotel, at which we were the manager; or to drive to a police station, at which point the IRA would kill our wife, who they had hostage. There was more to it than that, but I won’t go into detail. The discussion lasted about an hour.

Later, we separated into committees for the semester, each more popular than the last, everyone contributing grandiose ideas.

Back at the cabins, after the professors had left, everyone gathered around the snacks and talked—about school, about spirit animals, about superpowers. At some point, the circle turned its attention to Micah, who held us in thrall with ghost stories, many taking place on Lewis & Clark’s south campus. In the end, he promised to arrange a tour of the Corbett mansion with Campus Safety.

Driving back to Portland the next morning, everyone in my car stared sleepily ahead listening to the top 40. After a fantastic weekend, it was difficult to think about homework and the week ahead, but I have to say that I was more excited about the Pamplin Society than I ever had been before.

Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Posted in Activities, Distinguished Visiting Scholar on January 25th, 2011 by awalcott – Be the first to comment


“Analogy as the Core of Cognition”
Douglas Hofstadter
Monday, January 31st- 7:00pm
Templeton Campus Center, Council Chamber

Hofstadter holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from University of Oregon and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Stanford University. He is the author of Goedel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid; I am a Strange Loop; Le Ton beau de Marot, and The Mind’s I, among others. Hofstadter’s interests concerning the human mind are varied, ranging from errors as a window on the mind, to the mechanisms of creativity, to the nature of consciousness. Currently his most active goal is to reveal how analogy-making lies at the base of all human thought. Hofstadter also has an interest in languages and translation.

Discussion: Power Shift in Washington

Posted in Discussion Group on November 17th, 2010 by Nikki – Be the first to comment

Thursday, November 18, 2010
7:00 PM, Pamplin Room

Featuring Political Science professors Curtis Johnson, Todd Lochner, and Chris Wendt

Have an opinion to air about the recent elections? Want to know the why of how things went down? Join three of LC’s very own Political Science profs in the Pamplin Room this Thursday (11/18) at 7 pm to hear and talk about the election results and their implications. Refreshments will be provided!

We support pancreatic cancer research!

Posted in Service on November 17th, 2010 by lili – Be the first to comment

Hi everyone,

This past month, our Service Committee has been hard at work on our latest project, raising money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and we found out that pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, and it is often difficult to catch until it is in advanced stages. We decided to raise money and participate in the annual PurpleStride walk, where survivors, family, and other supporters gather to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.

We started our effort with a bake sale to raise money to enter the walk. We held it the week before Halloween, so we all baked delicious Halloween treats:


Don’t they look delicious?

Lots of people came to our bake sale. We asked for donations to PurpleStride, and people were very generous:


We ended up raising close to $170! Thanks Lewis & Clark students for your donations!

Next came the PurpleStride Walk! I went with fellow Fellows Alex, Kim, and Laura to the Portland Zoo. We had a lot of fun and contributed $70 above our registration fees.

dscf5289Lots and lots of people walked!

dscf5290This hippo did not walk.

dscf5275Neither did this goat.

dscf5280But I did! I also found out that I do not have the wingspan of a California Condor.

It was a great project! Stay tuned for more updates from the service committee!


The Physics of Superheroes

Posted in Distinguished Visiting Scholar on April 2nd, 2010 by ana – Be the first to comment

In the middle of last semester, a group of us got together as the Distinguished Visiting Scholar committee (henceforth called DVS). We were all given the task to pick out two scholars we would like to hear give a lecture on campus. I found this task to be daunting. I had a hard time coming up with physicists/mathematicians I would like to hear speak. Then one of my high school friends told me about James Kakalios, a professor at the University of Minnesota who teaches a freshmen seminar class entitled “Everything I needed to know about physics I learned from reading Comic Books.” Now, you probably don’t know this about me, but I absolutely love comic books, and I’m a physics major. To me, this lecture seemed perfect.

So, I sat down and with the help of the DVS committee, I wrote a letter to him, asking him to come to campus and give a lecture based on his book The Physics of Superheroes. He e-mailed me back during our winter break, asking me if the opportunity was still available. We arranged for him to come visit and give a lecture on March 16.

Thinking that the opportunity was too good to pass up, I asked Professor Kakalios if he would be willing to give an extra lecture on his research (yes, he is an actual physicist too!) for the physics department the day before his superheroes lecture. To which he agreed.

The day that Professor Kakalios finally got to campus I was really worried. I am very nervous about meeting new people. As I was walking to my last class of the day, I happened upon Professor Kakalios standing in Howard Hall. I nervously headed over to him and introduced myself. We shared a few pleasantries and I went on to my class. While I then believed that he was a kind man, I was worried that no one would come to the lecture, or worse, that it would go over poorly.

Before his superhero lecture, the Pamplin Society put a small dinner on for the society and members of the physics department. At the dinner, I listened to Kakalios tell stories about the comic book store he used to visit across from his elementary school. I was totally enamored with him. He even wore a tie portraying my favourite super heroes, the Fantastic Four.

The lecture started and the audience was met with many great comic references that contain actual physics concepts.  My personal favourite from the lecture was how Kitty Pryde’s superpower can be related to electron tunneling. Quantum mechanics tells us that there is a certain probability that an electron under proper circumstances can pass through a “solid” barrier without disturbing the barrier or itself. This probability is found through the use of Schrödinger’s Equation. So, Kitty Pryde’s mutant power can be viewed as the power to alter her quantum wave function,  making the probability of her being able to “tunnel” through the wall 100%, and therefore passing through the wall.

I think that it is obvious that I am not the only one who enjoyed the lecture. Throughout the lecture, I could hear my professors and peers laughing at Kakalios’s various jokes.

Overall, I thought that the lecture went well. And more than just going well, I learned a lot about how putting on a lecture on campus goes. I have learned a lot about what we should do differently next year and what we should keep the same.

3/31 Discussion

Posted in Discussion Group on March 31st, 2010 by Diane – Be the first to comment

This Wednesday, 3/31, at 6:00 PM, Prof. Curtis Johnson will be facilitating a discussion on Intent vs. Impact in the Pamplin room.

The distinction between what a person is trying to achieve and what they are actually doing is important in situations ranging from sexual harassment litigation to free speech on college campuses. It should be a good conversation. And, of course, there will be snacks.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Mapping Haitian SMS Messages

Posted in Service on February 9th, 2010 by mcole – 1 Comment

Lately, I have been becoming familiar with streets in neighborhoods I’ve never walked, navigating regions of a country I’ve never known. In the weeks following the earthquake in Haiti, an organization called Ushahidi has been collecting, translating, evaluating, and mapping thousand of SMS text messages from those in need. Needing volunteers to map messages twenty-four house a day in wake of the crisis, the students of Lewis & Clark college were asked fill a gap not covered by those on the East coast or in Geneva. On the night pictured in this photo, over forty students from the Undergraduate, Graduate, and Law Schools were packed into the Pamplin room to be trained in message mapping. Over the course of the week, many more came to be trained, including some faculty members.

While the training room was full of long faces, dampened by the tragedy, it was also an inspiring scene. The overwhelming student response to the crisis was one of the largest gatherings of the institution-wide community that I have ever been a part of. This project, I think, is perfect for students. We have time to share, technological savvy, and a desire to share our compassion. I am continually amazed by the wonders of technology. Between our Skype chat, cinematically titled the “Portland Situation Room,” online mapping resources, and Google Earth, we were able to be part of a chain which facilitates meaningful aid in Haiti. Maybe someday I will walk the streets whose satellite images I have surveyed. In the meantime, I and many other faithful volunteers will continue tracing them from our own homes, hoping to support Haitians in rebuilding theirs.

Maddie Cole

Mapping Training

Sunny Sunday Service!

Posted in Activities, Fellows, Service on December 3rd, 2009 by lili – Be the first to comment

This past Sunday, I, along with my fellow Fellows Nikki Myoraku (’12) and Warren Kluber (’12), volunteered with the Albertina Kerr Center, a non-profit group dedicated to helping children and adults with developmental disabilities. The Center helps to integrate people with developmental disabilities into their communities, both vocationally and recreationally. This is a cause that is especially close to my heart because I have grown up with two brothers with developmental disabilities, and I have seen how they and other people with developmental disabilities are often isolated from their communities, so it is pretty amazing to see an organization so dedicated to helping people like this!

As a part of our commitment to service, we decided to spend the afternoon helping out Albertina Kerr in any way that they needed. It turns out that they are currently promoting a new campaign, Army of Angels, which is an attempt to build a larger community of dedicated volunteers in the Portland area. Many of the people who receive the Center’s services are younger, so they are hoping to reach out to a new young generation of volunteers who can better relate to and with the Center’s clients (sounds kind of like us!). We helped out by putting up posters for the Army of Angels campaign in the NE Alberta and Mississippi neighborhoods. Luckily, it was a sunny day, so we were able to get in some sightseeing and exercise along with our volunteering.

Slightly tired volunteers!This is our lovely volunteer team (minus me). From left: Warren, Nikki, and fellow volunteer Yoko

Nikki hard at workThis is Nikki doing some intense postering!

Army of Angels posterOur handiwork in action!

This activity was just one of the many exciting events we’ve been up to in Service committee this semester! We have also sponsored an Ivy Pull at Tryon Creek, and this upcoming Sunday we will be cooking dinner for volunteer medical workers at the Wallace Medical Center. I hope that you enjoyed my account of our excursion, and hopefully soon we will have pictures of the delicious dinner we’re cooking!

-Lili Pill-Kahan (’11)

February 18 Discussion: The Economic Crisis… What Next?

Posted in Discussion Group on February 12th, 2009 by chatham – Be the first to comment

The Economic Crisis: What Next? ~ 7:00 PM, February 18th, 2009 in the Pamplin Room

Featuring Professors of Economics Marty Hart-Landsberg and Harry Schleef

Angry at Wall Street?  Hate the bailout?  Wish we could all go back to hunting and gathering?  Come find out what exactly happened and talk about where we should go from here.  The evening will begin with an overview of the crisis by Drs. Hart-Landsberg and Schleef, then open to a discussion about the economy, the bailout, and everything else that comes up.

Don’t know a CDO from a CD-ROM?  These articles should help you on your path to enlightenment: