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Xavier Magazine

Eye on the Sky

When it comes to Julie Langenbrunner’s future, the sky’s the limit. Literally. The senior graduates in May with a bachelor’s degree in physics and plans to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in astrophysics, thanks to a love of the stars she honed at the University’s little-known observatory.

Sitting atop Lindner Hall, the observatory is complete with eight permanent telescopes, a retractable roof and a computer that interacts with the telescopes and can read the digital images they grab from deep space.

Last summer, Langenbrunner captured photos of Mars, Saturn and a nebula cluster in the Orion constellation from the observatory, viewed a partial eclipse of the sun and started her senior research project in theoretical astrophysics by studying the effects of turbulence of magnetic fields on the rate of star formation.

About 200 students are exposed to the observatory each year through an astronomy course called Our Universe: The Sky, which meets core course requirements for science, says associate professor Steven Herbert. The survey course teaches science using astronomy, and students use the observatory to learn how to operate a telescope and demonstrate their knowledge of sky navigation and the constellations.

Herbert says observation of the night sky, especially in winter, is surprisingly good—despite the city lights—using the 12-inch Meade telescopes, one of which is fitted with a digital camera and connected to a computer.

The observatory was added when Lindner Hall was renovated in 1991. Before then, students had to climb to a patio on the roof of Hinkle Hall and carry telescopes with them, says Herbert, who once spent a night topside on Hinkle to photograph a complete lunar eclipse.

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Xavier Magazine

Extra Credit: Gail Hurst

Gail Hurst joined the criminal justice faculty this year to focus on her specialty: racial attitudes of juveniles toward police. Department chairman Jack Richardson says her arrival, which doubles the number of full-time criminal justice professors, raises the profile of teaching and research in the department because of her research skills and because she is the first in the department to have a Ph.D. in criminal justice.

Why did you study criminal justice? “I can’t say I had a passion for it. It was that I had to declare a major and [Morris Brown College] offered it. I knew I wanted to teach. The chair of the department, Johnnie Myers, shaped my career. She made criminal justice more than just policy and lawyers. She introduced me to theory and why people commit crimes. She gave me the tools I needed.”

 

What is the focus of your research? “My research is geared toward juveniles and their attitudes toward police. A lot of people are writing about attitudes by adults, but no one is writing about juveniles. We’re trying to see if what we found in adults applies to juveniles.”

 

What conclusions have you drawn? “I’ve found their attitudes are more negative toward police, while adults’ are more positive. African Americans are more negative than whites, but all are negative. Juveniles have had a lot of contact with police, but they felt police did not treat them well. A major reason was that a lot of kids saw or heard about police being rude to kids or physically assaulting citizens, and it was vicarious misconduct by police. I found girls are more negative than guys in their attitudes. A lot of times it goes into what you’ve been taught and, historically, police and blacks have not had a very good relationship.”

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Xavier Magazine

Deep Rumblings

Down in the catacombs of Lindner Hall sits an instrument that once made the University the center of international attention—a seismograph. Built in the early 1900s by a Russian prince, the 16-inch cube with a glass case on top is the lone remaining remnant of the seismograph station that was once located in Schmidt Hall.

When the earth shook under southern Ohio in March 1937, the machine spit out the answer: a 5.0 magnitude earthquake. When University professor Victor Stechschulte, S.J., oversaw the station, he used the machine to confirm the existence of deep quakes 360 miles beneath the surface.

The station opened in 1927 and was part of a unique cluster of stations at nine Jesuit universities around the country. They were the first network of seismology in the nation. Xavier’s station closed in 1972 and was eventually relocated to John Carroll University, leaving the University with a dusty piece of recording history.

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Xavier Magazine

By the Numbers

For Adam Grochowski, the term “starving artist” was a cold, hard reality. As a teenager, he was placed in a concentration camp along with other Catholic males old enough to resist the Nazi invasion of Poland. Grochowski survived the Holocaust, though, by drawing for the soldiers. It became his meal ticket.

The guards paid him in cigarettes, which he traded for food and favors. If he had followed the rules, he would have died.

After the war, Grochowski immigrated to America, changed his name to Grant and gained prestige as one of the designers of the paint-by-number kits. One of the last pieces Grant did before his death in 1992 was a portrait of Ignatius Loyola. That painting became the basis for the giant mural of Loyola that hangs in the Cintas Center.

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Xavier Magazine

A Day’s Work

The producers of the television program “E! True Hollywood Story” were looking for sound clips of Doris Day’s singing career, so they turned to WVXU for their needs.

WVXU documentary producer Mike Martini, a 1987 graduate, and writer Mark Magistrelli, a 1982 graduate, just completed digitally restoring some of Day’s original recordings, including a 1940s performance of the Fats Waller hit “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” and duos with Les Brown, Jimmy Wilbur and Barney Rapp.

“The minute this came out,” says Magistrelli, “we had phone calls from as far away as Finland from people looking for Doris Day recordings.”

The two previously combined for two other documentary CDs, The Nation’s Station and The War Years.

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Xavier Magazine

Dispatches from the Front

First Lt. Steven Easley stood at attention in his Army fatigues, tears on his solemn face, as speaker after speaker delivered elegant words about what was to come. Exactly what that is, though, remains unknown until Easley and his 111 colleagues—fellow soldiers of the 1193rd Panel Bridge Company—arrive at their destination. The only certainty is that it will include Kuwait along the way.

Lined up in rock solid formation, Easley, an information systems coordinator in the University’s office of admission, and his Ohio National Guard companions were given an emotional send-off in a ceremony at the Cintas Center on Wednesday, Feb. 19. More than 900 people—parents, wives, husbands, children and friends—attended the ceremony that included local and state dignitaries, a color guard presentation and the playing of the National Anthem.

The company, which specializes in building bridges that can be quickly erected and dismantled, is one of three Ohio National Guard units activated in February as part of the buildup of U.S. troops in the Middle East in the war on terrorism. Their year-long deployment in support of U.S. Central Command could be extended by six months. The company’s headquarters are at the armory on Reading Road about a mile from campus.

“Your response today says a great deal about the character of each of you and your families,” Major General John Smith said during the ceremony. “I pledge to you my unwavering support the entire time you are deployed. It is my hope our prayers keep our soldiers safe and bring about a more secure world and a safer America.”

Easley will be writing regular dispatches about his experiences for the Xavier magazine web site. His first installment is expected in about two weeks, or when he lands in Kuwait. He says he’s nervous about the long deployment and separation from his wife and family.

“I’m not a war person,” says Easley, who is trained as an engineer and a demolitions expert. “I don’t want to fight people. I like what I do—working with people and building bridges.”

Easley was featured in the winter 2002 edition of Xavier magazine in a profile that examined his traumatic childhood and the relatives who helped him overcome barriers on his quest to earn two degrees from Xavier.

After tearful farewells, the company departed in a convoy headed for Camp Atterbury, Ind., for a week of training. The future may include a two-week stay at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., for additional training before shipping overseas.

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