gerisullivan: (Gavi)
The Smith College Computer Science Department announced Monday that Gavriella Levy Haskell is this year's Clare Boothe Luce Scholar.

In addition to a full-tuition scholarship this next semester through graduation (!), the Clare Booth Luce (CBL) Scholars Program also includes research assistanceships; tutoring and mentoring opportunities; and opportunities for Gavi to present her work both on campus and at one or more major discipline-specific conferences. Yowser.

Gavi has a double major in Computer Science and Art History. She is Smith's second CBL Scholar under a special 2-scholarship grant awarded to Smith by the Henry Luce Foundation. Emily Flynn, class of ’14, was named last year as the first.

I look forward to hearing about Gavi's research and the other aspects of being a CBL Scholar at Smith. In her Copious Free Time, of course!
gerisullivan: (Gavi at PCP Barnard)
It's official, it's real. Gavi has been admitted to Smith College under Smith's Early Decision program.

Smith was not only her first choice of colleges, when I asked her what her list looked like a couple of months ago, she replied with the quote in the subject line. Yep; it was her first through fifth choice of schools. Early Decision was clearly the right choice for this student.

She's obviously pleased by the good news, pleased and relieved that she doesn't have to write college essays for Barnard, Princeton, and the other schools she was going to apply to if the news from Smith had been anything else.

Me? I'm suffused with happiness. Happiness for Gavi, and with the ohmigosh sheer wonder not just that she'll soon be going to college, but that she'll be going to college right here in the Pioneer Valley, a mere 42 miles from Toad Woods. Or 38 miles by the slower back roads.

Back when I was talking about moving away from Minneapolis, Susan firmly and immediately said, "You can move away when Gavi goes off to college." Susan was right; being 1300+ miles away from Gavi these past 7 years has been the hardest consequence of my move. Yet I also knew that waiting until my late 50s wasn't going to work for this whole "living in the woods" experience. If I was ever going to do it, I needed to move when I did.

Gavi, Susan, and I have done a terrific job of making lemon meringue pie out of big basket of lemons I brought to the table by moving away. One of the first things I did upon buying Toad Woods was to use frequent flyer miles so Gavi could not just see where I lived, but also see it was a place she could come to. In the years since, Susan's driven out four times so she and Gavi be here for long, wonderful visits. I've been back to Minneapolis as often as I've been able, and Gavi's been east on her own a couple of times, too. Gavi would have been looking east to come to school regardless of whether I was here or not, and having Toad Woods as a home base made it easy to visit several different colleges over the past two summers.

And now? Now she's coming here. Here to Smith, the school that's so clearly such a good fit and exactly where she wants to be. Here to the Pioneer Valley, home of Toad Woods, Aunt Geri, and many wondrous times to come.

Goshwow. Life is good. Life is so very good.

Congratulations, Gavi!
gerisullivan: (Improbable Research Stinker)
Step 1: Go to

If you see knitted gangrene, read accompanying copy. Then read Note 1 below.

If you don't see knitted gangrene (perhaps because it is no longer 23 September), please proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Go to the BMJ News tab

Repeat "If...." instructions above.

Step 3: Go to this Improbable Research blog post

You should see knitted gangrene there. Read accompanying copy.

Note 1: Once you see knitted gangrene and read the accompanying copy, you don't need to complete any of the latter steps. All links lead to the same information, more or less.

Note 2: For those wary of unknown websites, yes, that's the British Medical Journal BMJ. Really.

Note 3: The picture and article will also be in the print edition of this week's BMJ.

Note 4: Even in today's competitive college application market, I bet not many admission's officers see citations like this from American high school seniors.

Note 5: No, really, I had no idea. I mean, we knew the picture was going to accompany a short article in advance of next Thursday's Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. We were darned excited about that. I had no idea that the article was going to be about the knitted gangrene and the young woman who designed and created it, or that it was going to make the main page of the BMJ website. Yowser.

Note 6: Screen shot behind the cut tag; click on that image for a sampling of other screen shots and article citation info. It's all hanging out in the gallery of Bacteria for the 20th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.

Note 73: The ceremony has been sold out for weeks, but everyone's welcome at the LIVE WEBCAST on YouTube. Thursday, September 30th schedule:
Test pattern: 7:05 pm (Boston time)
Webcast begins: 7:15 pm
Ceremony begins: 7:30 pm

Here's where to watch the webcast.

Also, the Ig Informal Lectures at MIT on Saturday, October 2nd, are great fun. Free admission -- but seating is limited. More info awaits those who scroll down the Ig page.

Knitted Gangrene at the BMJ )

Signed: Aunt, Unca, Mother, Friend

(Ref: Robert Lichtman’s Trap Door #13.)
gerisullivan: (Carnegie Hall)

I love you so very, very much. Here's wishing you joy and interesting discoveries -- today, everyday, and always.


Jul. 12th, 2009 03:46 am
gerisullivan: (Carnegie Hall)
The subject line refers to the number of steps I walked Saturday. It was my first "over 10,000" day since surgery.

I would have walked more if I were at Birds Hill Park in Manitoba for BaggieCon at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, but that's okay. I doubt I would have held up through 26,5XX steps, which is my all time daily record since I started wearing a pedometer two years ago. I set the record at BaggieCon in 2007 after having walked 18,000+ steps the day before.

The entire 127-acre Smith College campus is a botanical garden and arboretum. Gorgeous. I didn't know Susan could possibly walk past even one let alone hundreds of interesting plants without stopping to coo over each one, but she did. Admirably, without complaint or even a comment. There was the rest of the tour group of prospective students, parents, and friends to keep up with.

There any more college tours ahead. July is especially full of them. Susan and Gavi are spending most of the next two weeks here and we have 7-8 more tours on the schedule. They'll then be visiting three more schools on the way home. With luck, I'll be able to join them for Cornell in Ithaca, then a fun day in Corning looking at amazing glass. Fingers crossed!

It will be interesting to compare the tours I'm able to go along on and see how they differ. I thought our tour guide at Smith was fabulous, but Gavi said she was pretty much the same as the tour guides at Carleton, Macalester, and UW-Madison. Wow.

We're building break days into the schedule. We're all looking forward to sleeping in and just hanging out here at Toad Woods all day Sunday. Here's hoping I can plow through a bunch of the items on my To Do list -- the more I can stay on top of my work and other commitments, the more tours I can go along on.

Life is good. I hope the music and fun in Winnipeg is equally so.
gerisullivan: (Default)
Saturday afternoon, Gavi and I will be at the Central Square Theatre for the Improbable Research Cabaret. The show is part of the Cambridge Science Festival and is also a fundraiser for the theatre.

There's a special $5 discount for tickets purchased online use the code "IMPROBABLE" to get the discount.

Here's a quick overview:

May 2, 2009 - 3pm

Join Ig Nobel Prize Winners

Presented cabaret style as part of the Cambridge Science Festival

Answering Questions like:
-- Is Coca-Cola an effective spermicide? - demonstration included!
--How do sheets wrinkle?
-- Why do people dislike the sound of fingernails on a blackboard?

Don't miss songs from the Ig Nobel Operas, the Performing Scientists from Harvard and MIT, and more! 

Tickets (before $5 discount)
Adults - $35
Students (with valid ID) - $20

All proceeds to benefit Central Square Theater. Tickets include post-performance reception with Cabaret scientists.

I'm looking forward to it! If you come, please be sure to say hi (and meet Gavi, if you've only seen me write about her).


gerisullivan: (Default)

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