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undergraduate experience was not as intense as that of Beth Kephart C82
[Coming Home, November/December],
and, in retrospect, I probably would have been happier at a much smaller
school. However, I did experience the same level of joy and discovery
as a French major when I was able to master French phonetics and achieve
near-native fluency. Our graduate assistant was a charming young woman
from Dijon who opened this whole world to me. I spent many tiring hours
in the basement of Bennett Hall at the language lab, but it was worth
every minute. Later I married a Frenchman, so the language has truly become
a part of my life.
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Sandra Choukroun CW69
ENTHUSIASM WAS BOUNDLESS AND INFECTIOUS
just read about Alan MacDiarmids Nobel
Prize for Chemistry [Gazetteer, November/December]. At Penn I was
an undergraduate chemistry major, and in the fall of 1977 I was required
to take Dr. MacDiarmids course in synthetic inorganic chemistry as part
of the major. I had absolutely no interest in the subjectuntil I
had taken in a few of Dr. MacDiarmids lectures. His enthusiasm was boundless
and infectious. He taught with such verve, spirit and clarity that it
was impossible to sit in his class and not love it.
Over the years
I have frequently described how a teacherDr MacDiarmidcould make a person
love a subject one thought one hated. Of course, as the Nobel citation
makes clear, he walked into our lecture every day fresh from the daily
work that led to his Nobel Prize this year. He would tell us about his
work, and wove it so beautifully into the textbook stuff on which most
of the course was based, that we could literally feel his excitement.
theres more. As Penn proclaims a focus on effective teaching and on integrating
current research into classwork, it had Dr. MacDiarmid in its own backyard.
A personal episode: before an exam I scheduled an office hour with him,
and brought a list of questions. After he clarified and explained every
one of them, as I rose to leave, Dr. MacDiarmid thanked me for
coming and preparing my questions beforehand. Never before or since did
I experience such a thing.
great scientist, a great teacher, a great man. Penn has a lot of great
chemistry professors, but for me Dr. MacDiarmid is in a class by himself.
Eric Bruskin C79
OF AIDS REMAINS A MYSTERY
am writing because the article Wistar
Scientists Cleared of Hatching AIDS [Gazetteer, November/December]
article states that Drs. Hilary Koprowski and Stanley Plotkin were exonerated
by the findings of three independent laboratories. Actually, Lawrence
K. Altman in an article in the September 12 New York Times titled,
Tests Fail to Support Theory on AIDS and Role of Chimpanzees and Vaccine,
wrote, The tests do not conclusively disprove that possibility, however,
because other vaccines for which samples were not kept could have been
made from chimpanzee cells. The tests leave the mystery of the origins
of AIDS unsolved.
Edward Hooper pointed out in his book, The River, that there exists
a possibility that the polio vaccine made and administered by Koprowski
contained chimpanzee tissue. Chimps do harbor SIV, as we now know, but
this was unknown to Koprowski at the time.
did not accuse Koprowski of murder in his book; rather, he informs us
that at the time Koprowski developed the vaccine he did not know of the
danger of SIV and could have unknowingly exposed humans to it. In the
United States many persons who took polio vaccines in the 1950s were inadvertently
exposed to SV40 contaminant.
might do us more good to think about the unimagined potential risks in
current research, as well as the risk of being less than completely opennot
to stop doing trials, but to expand our thinking and achieve the greatest
Lucy Gorelli C79
on earth did you run that unsigned propaganda piece attempting to exonerate
Hilary Koprowski and Wistar? Testing four vials of 40-year-old sludge
from the back of the fridge proves nothing.
real difficulty here is that Koprowski cant seem to find his lab notebooks
from the fifties. He says he lost them.
ask any scientist: The Notebook is sacred. You fudge the data in your
notebook, youre a bad person.
a cloud over Koprowski. It will, or should, follow him to his grave, because
of his sloppy (or dishonest) lab practices. And no amount of whitewashing
or handwaving by some gullible naÔf at the Gazette offices can
substitute for a real pro reporter walking over to Koprowskis office
and saying (again), So, Hilary, whered you say the notebooks went?
and then, by some amazing stuff-of-legend means, resurrecting and reconstructing
the jottings in the notebooks as they were set down in the ordinary course
obviously shredded his notebooks. Enough said.
Richard Katz C70
THAT DISPLEASE, PLEASE
What have we here? In the middle of
Man in the Muddle [Notes From the Undergrad, November/December]
there appears: I managed to piss off
I had to flip back to the front
cover to make sure it was the alumni magazine of one of the finest universities
in the land.
the publication done away with editors and proofreaders? Have we given
in to a rude, crude, foul-mouthed generation of me-ists? Lets hope not.
seniors PC should have its printer washed out with soap.
William Last C57
WITH OLYMPIC DATES: AN
ALL-IVY FINAL IN 1920
to the Gazette for mentioning that Brandon Slay W98 was upped
to gold medalist in the 167.50 freestyle wrestling class at the Sydney
Olympic Games last summer [Sports,
why did sports columnist Noel Hynds research on a previous Ivy League
Olympic medalist stop at 1924?
he had gone back another four years he would have found out that at the
1920 Olympics in Antwerp, the Red and Blue captain, Samuel Gerson W24,
reached the final round only to lose the gold medal to the Cornell captain
and four-year opponent, Charles Ackerly, in the only all-Ivy final in
freestyle-wrestling Olympic competition.
C. Robert Paul Jr. W39
Little Neck, N.Y.
MUST RESIST DEMANDS
Nugents recent article [Resistance Fighter,
September/October] makes one wonder why the American Medical Association
has not used its formidable clout to educate our doctors about indiscriminately
patients demanding antibiotics, no doctor should prescribe anything
he deems either ineffective or inappropriate no matter what the extent
of protestations by a patient. When antibiotics are not the answer, doctors
should prescribe what is appropriate and take the time to educate the
patient as to why antibiotics are not the panacea for all illnesses. This
is not the easy way but the right way, which requires steeling ones resolve
to dictate to the patient.
Sydney P. Waud C63
Browns diatribe regarding John Widemans alleged coolness to him was
both racist and sadly paternalistic [Letters,
November/December]. That Brown harbored this venom for a decade is truly
telling. Wideman is one of this countrys great writers. Any reasonably
discerning reader of his prodigious (and prize-winning) output will not
find the racism that Brown claims is there. That reader will instead find
prose that elevates life and speaks todare I say it?our souls.
Norman J. Glickman C63 G67 Gr69
MASK AND WIG MEMORIES
appreciated C. Robert Paul Jr.s letter in the July/ August Gazette
about Bobby Troup. Just about the same time, going through some of
my late fathers things, I found the program of the Fourth Freshman Show
that introduced the song Daddy, then called Daisy Mae and sung beautifully
by Bobby Martin. That program is kind of a Whos Who in Mask and Wig at
that timea lot of talent. Bobby Martin was a great guy and a popular
figure on campus. Unfortunately, Bobby was killed in the war. Gordon Hardwick,
Jr., a member of our cast, also lost his life in the war. There may be
others, gone but not forgotten.
every copy of the Gazette brings some bad news to the Class of
1943. I always want to fill in the details of these good guys. Jackie
Welshgreat scat back. Don PottsMask and Wig star. Ted McDonaldfootball
manager, Sphinx. Herb Coopervarsity football. Dave Mahoneybasketball
star, very successful businessman and philanthropist. We all loved the
University of Pennsylvania. Its a great university and in my time we
had a wonderful student body.
Alan R. Scott W43
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