As dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Sharon Hahs likes to at least dabble in all things arts-related and science-related.
However, there is one interest she pursues that combines the two—solar eclipses. Hahs and her husband, Billy, have traveled to exotic locales around the world to view total solar eclipses six times since 1990. And, those trips have provided some fantastic photographs of these phenomena.
“As the moon passes in front of the sun, a process that takes about an hour, I use a camera with a filter that blocks out more than 99 percent of the light,” Hahs explained. “When the sun is blocked completely (that’s known as ‘totality’), I remove the filter and the brilliant corona is captured on the film. Actually, it’s always there but normal sunlight is so bright that it can’t be seen except during totality.
“By varying the exposure time—the amount of light recorded on the film—different effects can be captured,” Hahs said. “However, totality lasts only two to four minutes. You have to move quickly to get the dramatic shots.”
In addition to the eclipse itself, the couple also takes time to soak in the culture of the regions they visit. They’ve traveled to Costa Rica, Chile, Thailand, Mongolia, Venezuela, and Turkey. “Chasing eclipses is also a great excuse to travel,” Hahs quipped. “And, in addition to the science-related eclipse itself, there’s also an aesthetic experience that’s difficult to put into words.
“When totality occurs, there’s an eerie few moments when the Earth is bathed in shadow; everything seems to stop,” she said. “It is truly beautiful, both artistic and scientific at the same time.”
Solar eclipses are a fascinating occurrence, which would not exist but for nearly precise distance and size ratios between the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun. The Sun’s diameter is approximately 400 times that of the Moon’s but because the Moon also is about 400 times closer to Earth, the Sun and the Moon appear to be roughly the same size; thus, the Moon is at times able to block our view of the Sun.
Consider this: if the Moon’s diameter was just 140 miles less than it is, there would be no solar eclipses visible from anywhere on Earth.
“The way the Earth is tilted on its axis also makes for varied angles and distances between the Earth and the Sun, therefore, the views of total eclipses are specific to certain localities at the time of the eclipse,” Hahs said. “To see any solar eclipse, you have to be inside the path of the shadow, which is usually about 3,000 miles long but only about 20-40 miles wide, Hahs explained.”
Traveling to see a total solar eclipse also can be disappointing. “The first time we traveled to Costa Rica, we got our camera set up and suddenly a rainstorm moved in and we missed it,” Hahs said. “Three years later we went to the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, where there had been no recorded rainfall in 400 years,” she said. “We got great shots of that one.”
In her office, Hahs has several framed sequences of solar eclipses accompanied by maps of the regions in which they occurred and shots of the surrounding region. She’s very proud of the photographs and delights in sharing her experiences. “Although I haven’t done any formal research on solar eclipses, I have given informal talks and shared this with others.
“But, mostly, we do it for the enjoyment of the cultures, the countryside, the beauty of the moment,” Hahs said. “And, there’s an aspect to ‘roughing it’ that we like. In Chile, we spent the night in the desert in an Army tent. That was quite the experience.
“Last year, we traveled to Turkey and took our daughters—Cara, 28, who is a surgery resident in Kansas City, and Ona, 22, who recently graduated from Harvard in interdisciplinary social sciences—and they came to realize why Billy and I love this so much.”
Cathy Santanello looks upon her job at SIUE as a positive force, one that can help good faculty members become even better. She’s program director of the Excellence in Learning and Teaching Initiative, as well as an instructor in the Department of Biological Sciences.
The teaching program is poised to help SIUE faculty through workshops Santanello and others offer, through feedback interviews with students at mid-semester points, and by maintaining a fairly extensive lending library of pedagogical books. “I also have a budget to bring in experts on various topics.
“At SIUE we have very good faculty who are interested in becoming even better. For example, if we are asked to conduct a mid-semester student interview, we’re gathering valid feedback, which we then share with the professor.
“It’s voluntary, which means that the professor cares enough about student learning and teaching to find out how they can become better instructors,” she said. “We see this as a positive.”
Santanello recently invited faculty to a reception in the Provost’s office where she displayed the books in the program’s lending library. Some of the titles included The Skillful Teacher by Stephen Brookfield, Changing College Classrooms by Diane Halpern, Mentor in a Manual by A. Clay Shoenfeld and Robert Mangan, and Professors Are From Mars, Students Are From Snickers by Ronald Berk. The library also contains several video and audio titles.
“For now, the library will be located in the Provost’s office, but eventually I’d like to have my own space for this program,” Santanello said. Provost David Sill and Douglas Eder, director of the Undergraduate Assessment and Program Review, began the faculty development initiative and Santanello is working to continue that effort. “We’re pursuing a grant to augment existing faculty development.
“My role is to be a liaison,” Santanello said. “For example, a faculty member might have a problem with students being unruly in class. We have books that address that problem and offer solutions. We also have books that address other issues, such as teaching interdisciplinary courses, writing across the curriculum, and course portfolios, to name a few.”
Upcoming seminars Santanello has planned to deal with topics such as technology in the classroom, humor in the classroom, classroom assessment techniques, and civility in the classroom and in the workplace. “Next fall we’ll be offering several on a regular basis,” she said. “Later in spring I’m also beginning a newsletter to departments and I hope to get the word out to the faculty about what we have to offer.”
There’s more information about the program on Santanello’s Web site: www.siue.edu/~csantan.
Mike Smith’s current show at the Morris Center Gallery—Ancient Symbols: Modern Images, One Hundred Perceptions of the I-Ching—consists of paintings that incorporate imagery and ideas from the 64 hexagrams that make up the I-Ching (EE-JING), the ancient Book of Changes.
Included in the exhibition is a set of 64 paintings offered for sale as one unit at a cost of $64,000, the proceeds from which would endow a one-year scholarship for a student from China to attend SIUE to study (?).
The exhibition runs through April 28 in the second-floor Morris gallery and is being presented by The University Museum. Gallery hours are (?)-(?) Monday through Friday and from (?)-(?) Saturday.
The I Ching, about 5,000 years old, is one of the oldest available sources of spiritual wisdom. Legend has it that Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi was responsible for creating the I Ching, although there are different stories concerning where he found his inspiration. One legend tells the story of a dragon-like creature that climbed from the water near the emperor as he was meditating.
From lines on the creatures scales, Fu Hsi set about drawing diagrams representing the patterns on the scales of this creature, believing that the diagrams would be sufficient to encompass all wisdom.
I Ching symbols are composed of lines representing Yin (female) or Yang (male) properties. The emperor’s creation consisted of eight symbols, each made up of three lines (trigrams), each line of which could be either Yin–the female power, or gentleness, or Yang–the male power, or strength. Mathematically, there are eight combinations of Yin and Yang in three lines (23=8). In the year 1143BC, King Wen, whilst under sentence of death, placed the eight tri-grams in pairs to produce the sixty-four 'hexagrams' (six-lined symbols) with which we are now familiar (again, 82 = 64). His son, the Duke of Chou, added a commentary on each line in each hexagram and on the symbolism (known as the Hsiang Chuan, or the 'Image' of a hexagram). This produced 384 commentaries (64 x 6 = 384) that still form an essential part of I Ching. Centuries later, Confucius added more commentary, known as the 'Ten Wings'. The commentary states that "Change has an absolute limit: This produces two modes: The two modes produce four forms, the four forms produce eight tri-grams; the eight tri-grams determine fortune and misfortune." Over the centuries, I Ching continued to be recognised, and even given religious significance, before it came to France in the early 19th century. In the early 20th century, a German translation of I Ching was completed and published by Richard Wilhelm (who had lived in China for many years). This translation still forms the basis of many of the published I Ching texts.
Myth and Cosmos” is the theme of this year’s travel seminars to Greece and Egypt with teams of professors from both campuses of Southern Illinois University.
The 18th annual seminars, led by the professors who are experts in various fields pertaining to each destination, are scheduled for May12-25 to Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan, Egypt, and May 28-June 12 to Athens and Olympia, Greece, and the Greek isles of Crete, Santorini, and Mykonos. The trip to Egypt also includes a luxury cruise on the River Nile as far as Abu Simbel.
The program is open to anyone, students and non-students, including families, on a first-class, five-star travel itinerary, at a cost of approximately $3,500 per person, which includes R/T transportation, and “just about everything else,” according to Robert Hahn, an associate professor of Philosophy at SIUC and director of the trips for nearly 20 years.
“What makes the SIU travel adventure so distinct is that, besides offering a series of lectures in their ancient specialties, each professor on the trip will direct a hands-on project,” Hahn pointed out. “In Egypt, everyone gets to carve and paint their own hieroglyphic tablets, and will participate in the re-creation of a mummification ritual.
“In Greece, the group will make a sundial on the beach, run an Olympic race in an ancient stadium, and perform in an ancient play in a theater with costumes and masks made by participants in the group.” Hahn also pointed out that groups are limited to 30 persons for each travel seminar and that the spaces usually fill up quickly.
For more information, visit the travel seminar Web site: www.siu.edu/~nmc/hahn/origins.html or call (314) 721-5645 in St. Louis or (618) 453-7670 in Illinois.
Stephanie Henschen, project specialist with the Early Childhood Center, has been named acting director of the center, effective March 1.
She succeeds S. LaVernn Wilson, who is retiring the same day. Wilson has been involved with the university’s daycare program and the SIUE School of Education for nearly 30 years.
Henschen joined the teaching staff of the center in August 1991. She taught the half-day pre-school class for one year before becoming teacher in the full-day pre-school four-year old class.
She received a bachelor of science in Elementary Education from SIUE in 1989. Henschen resides in Belleville with her husband, Jeff, and daughter, Taylor.
Providing School of Nursing students with the most technologically advanced training tools available and in a realistic medical setting, the School has completed construction of a new psychomotor skills lab. And, there’s a new “teacher” in the lab.
It’s a computerized patient simulator capable of replicating a variety of physical symptoms and the capacity to respond to treatments. And, please resist the temptation to call it a “dummy.” The human patient simulator is a fascinating computerized, life-like human figure that can either be male or female and is programmed to respond to “treatment” in an emergency room setting. There's also a smaller “juvenile” model for pediatric sessions.
The computer driven, life-sized mannequins breathe, emit a pulse (in all the correct places), and is programmed with sophisticated patient profiles, allowing it to accurately mirror human responses. Utilizing the simulator, instructors may choose from 70 different medical scenarios allowing students to practice a wide range of nursing and medical procedures and techniques—everything from the administration of intravenous “drugs” to defibrillation.
SIUE is the first and only four-year nursing education program in the Midwest equipped with the human patient simulator. At a cost of $500,000, the School of Nursing’s psychomotor skills lab offers nursing students an unparalleled degree of training through this practical, hands-on experience.