Bennington, VT, United States
Bennington, VT, United States

Bennington College is a private, nonsectarian liberal arts college located in Bennington, Vermont, USA. The college was founded in 1932 as a women's college and became co-educational in 1969. It is accredited with the New England Association of Schools & Colleges . Wikipedia.

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Bullock J.P.,Bennington College | Bond A.M.,Monash University | Boere R.T.,University of Lethbridge | Gietz T.M.,University of Lethbridge | And 4 more authors.
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2013

Activation barriers to the electrochemical oxidation for the series PPh3-n(dipp)n (dipp = 2,6-diisopropylphenyl) in CH 2Cl2/Bu4NPF6 were measured using large amplitude FT ac voltammetry. Increasing substitution across this series, which offers the widest range of steric requirements across any analogous series of triarylphosphines reported to date, increases the energetic barrier to electron transfer; values of 18, 24, and 25 kJ mol-1 were found for compounds with n = 1, 2, and 3, respectively. These values are significantly greater than those calculated for outer sphere activation barriers, with deviations between observed and calculated values increasing with the number of dipp ligands. This suggests that the steric congestion afforded by these bulky substituents imposes significant reorganizational energy on the electron transfer processes. This is the first investigation of the effect of sterics on the kinetics of heterogeneous electron transfer across a structurally homologous series. Increased alkyl substitution across the series also increases the chemical reversibility of the oxidations and decreases the oxidation peak potentials. As the compounds for which n = 1 and 2 are novel, the synthetic strategies employed in their preparation are described, along with their full spectroscopic, physical, and crystallographic characterization. Optimal synthesis when n = 1 is via a Grignard reagent, whereas when n = 2 an aryl copper reagent must be employed, as use of a Grignard results in reductive coupling. Chemical oxidation studies were performed to augment the electrochemical work; the O, S, and Se oxidation products for the parent triarylphosphines for which n = 1 and 2 were isolated and characterized. © 2013 American Chemical Society.


Weber B.H.,California State University, Fullerton | Weber B.H.,Bennington College
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C :Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences | Year: 2011

Darwinism is defined here as an evolving research tradition based upon the concepts of natural selection acting upon heritable variation articulated via background assumptions about systems dynamics. Darwin's theory of evolution was developed within a context of the background assumptions of Newtonian systems dynamics. The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, or neo-Darwinism, successfully joined Darwinian selection and Mendelian genetics by developing population genetics informed by background assumptions of Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Currently the Darwinian Research Tradition is changing as it incorporates new information and ideas from molecular biology, paleontology, developmental biology, and systems ecology. This putative expanded and extended synthesis is most perspicuously deployed using background assumptions from complex systems dynamics. Such attempts seek to not only broaden the range of phenomena encompassed by the Darwinian Research Tradition, such as neutral molecular evolution, punctuated equilibrium, as well as developmental biology, and systems ecology more generally, but to also address issues of the emergence of evolutionary novelties as well as of life itself. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Derby N.,Bennington College | Olbert S.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
American Journal of Physics | Year: 2010

Both wire-wound solenoids and cylindrical magnets can be approximated as ideal azimuthally symmetric solenoids. We present an exact solution for the magnetic field of an ideal solenoid in an easy to use form. The field is expressed in terms of a single function that can be rapidly computed by means of a compact efficient algorithm, which can be coded as an add-in function to a spreadsheet, making field calculations accessible to introductory students. These expressions are not only accurate but are also as fast as most approximate expressions. We demonstrate their utility by simulating the dropping of a cylindrical magnet through a nonmagnetic conducting tube and comparing the calculation with data obtained from experiments suitable for an undergraduate laboratory. © 2010 American Association of Physics Teachers.


Ginoza R.,Bennington College | Mugler A.,Columbia University
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2010

The identification of motifs-subgraphs that appear significantly more often in a particular network than in an ensemble of randomized networks-has become a ubiquitous method for uncovering potentially important subunits within networks drawn from a wide variety of fields. We find that the most common algorithms used to generate the ensemble from the real network change subgraph counts in a highly correlated manner, such that one subgraph's status as a motif may not be independent from the statuses of the other subgraphs. We demonstrate this effect for the problem of three- and four-node motif identification in the transcriptional regulatory networks of E. coli and S. cerevisiae in which randomized networks are generated via an edge-swapping algorithm. We find strong correlations among subgraph counts; for three-node subgraphs these correlations are easily interpreted, and we present an information-theoretic tool that may be used to identify correlations among subgraphs of any size. Our results suggest that single-feature statistics such as Z scores that implicitly assume independence among subgraph counts constitute an insufficient summary of the network. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCTIC SOCIAL SCIENCES | Award Amount: 8.63K | Year: 2016

How does oil as a resource and social and economic force end? And what comes next? In Alaska, these are some of the most pressing questions for northern communities facing dwindling dividends, aging pipelines, and eroding coastlines. This exploratory research project will examine how a variety of stakeholders - earth scientists, oil companies, state policy-makers, and Alaska Native peoples - are each responding to the fiscal, infrastructural, environmental, and cosmological ends of oil in Alaska and envisioning how life might carry on afterwards.

The aim of this proposed EAGER research is to make contact with these stakeholders, survey their engagements with the issue, visit field sites, and identify partners in order to better craft a collaborative, multi-sited research project on the ends of oil in northern Alaska. EAGER support will enable this exploratory research to incorporate local concerns into the design and implementation of a larger research project on the Ends of Oil in Alaska.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 89.81K | Year: 2016

The Village of Hoosick Falls in New York recently discovered unsafe concentrations of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) in its public water system. Faculty members at Bennington College will offer a new course, Hoosick Falls Water Crisis, to provide undergraduate students with key analytic skills and field research experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields related to this real-time disaster. The course will be co-taught by a social scientist, a chemist, and a geoscientist and will draw on methodologies and concepts within anthropology, chemistry, and geology to equip undergraduates to conduct urgent environmental research in times of crisis. This project will also produce a dataset for the community of Hoosick Falls, NY. Three wide-ranging broader impacts are anticipated. First, the students and researchers will collect independent data on PFOA concentrations in residential wells, resulting in a dataset that will help characterize the origin, extent, and trajectory of PFOA. Second, students will assist faculty members in preparing presentations of the findings to the community, which will not only serve to inform the public, but will also help strengthen students communication skills and help them better connect their scientific knowledge to societal outcomes. Finally, the faculty researchers plan to develop and distribute teaching and learning materials on PFOA for inclusion in postsecondary STEM curricula.

Understanding the Hoosick Falls Water Crisis seeks to effect engaged student learning around the Hoosick Falls water crisis in order to provide students with robust training and experience in monitoring groundwater contamination and generate preliminary independent data that will help characterize the origin, extent, and trajectory of the PFOA groundwater plume around Hoosick Falls, NY. The guiding educational research question is: How can environmental research on a local public crisis enhance the STEM curriculum for undergraduate students? Specifically, the researchers are studying how training students in environmental chemistry and hydrogeology and equipping them to apply those discipline-based skills to help produce key data on a local crisis will influence student enrollment and retention in STEM fields. The researchers hypothesize that hands-on experience in meaningful environmental research will demonstrate the value of STEM fields in a liberal arts education and enhance student outcomes within STEM for both STEM and non-STEM majors. Evaluation will occur using (1) pre- and post-assessments that will measure student attitudes towards and aptitude in environmental chemistry and hydrology, (2) enrollment and course performance data, and (3) student reflections.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 199.48K | Year: 2013

This project is matching academic rigor with experiential, interdisciplinary learning in a sequence of two courses that ground students firmly in their place of study: Bennington, Vermont, and its environs. Former mill towns like Bennington dot the New England landscape. These are not the urban centers at the forefront of sustainable design; but neither are they rural outposts or quickly spreading suburbs. Through analysis of past resource-use regimes and human-environment interactions, students in this project are gaining insight into what a sustainable future could be.

The curriculum is designed mainly for juniors and seniors and for environmental studies students, although it is also appropriate for students concentrating in other disciplines, as well as students interested in learning more about their new college home.

The first course, The Future of a New England Mill Town, provides the geographic specificity needed for students to understand how social, political, and biophysical processes influence each other. This introductory course highlights core STEM knowledge (from ecology, chemistry, geology, architecture, and psychology) central to sustainability issues, and it also examines how STEM knowledge and approaches are integrated in a larger societal whole through real problems in a tangible, localized setting.

The second course is an advanced projects course that involves individual internships with regional organizations during the colleges seven-week, non-residential winter Field Work Term. In this course, students collaboratively design and implement case studies that address issues of sustainability in the Bennington region, drawing on qualitative and quantitative research methods from diverse disciplines. Results from projects are archived and compiled as a resource for partner organizations and as a catalyst for the development of future courses and projects.

While creating locally focused place-based curricula, the investigators are also developing teaching tools that have general applicability in integrating student experience with any locality. Ongoing relationships with local community organizations, K-12 teachers, other colleges in the region, and others with unique knowledge lay the groundwork for future collaborations. The investigators are organizing workshops to collaborate with other colleges and K-12 teachers. Local media are disseminating ideas generated from students projects.


News Article | March 16, 2016
Site: www.sej.org

"NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt. — Above the Walloomsac River, where ramshackle farmhouses sit just downhill from tidy homes with organic gardens out back, the old ChemFab plant was, for many, a respected local employer from the days when this village’s prosperity depended on industry. For others, it was an eyesore and a nuisance, its smokestacks choking their homes with an acrid smell that seemed to cause headaches, sore throats and nosebleeds. But since the plant shut down more than a dozen years ago, few had given a thought to its environmental legacy. In recent weeks, however, several private wells near the ChemFab plant have tested positive for an industrial chemical that has been linked to cancer, thyroid disease and serious complications during pregnancy, making North Bennington — better known for its bed-and-breakfasts and Bennington College — the latest in a growing list of Northeastern communities unsettled by a contaminated-water scare." Vivian Yee reports for the New York Times March 14, 2016.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.npr.org

Former Bennington College President Liz Coleman believes higher education is overly-specialized & complacent. She says we need to encourage students to ask bigger questions and take more risks.(Image credit: Asa Mathat/TED)


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.npr.org

Former Bennington College President Liz Coleman believes higher education is overly-specialized & complacent. She says we need to encourage students to ask bigger questions and take more risks.(Image credit: Asa Mathat/TED)

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