News Briefs

Chem Professor to speak on wax and rocket science

Not many people would expect rocket scientists to rely on technology developed in Medieval West Africa for their sophisticated applications. Dr. Linus U. Thomas-Ogbuji will explain the relationship in his upcoming special seminar.

Thomas-Ogbuji, from the NASA-Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, will conduct a special seminar entitled "Lost-Wax Treasures of West Africa, Ancient and Modern" this Wednesday.

Medieval masters of metallurgy, the Bini (Benin) craftsmen of ancient West Africa developed the "Lost Wax method," known today as investment casting. The art is still practiced today, more recently in the "Gold Coast" of West Africa to make exquisite jewelry. Thomas-Ogbuji's lecture will highlight some West African treasures of bronze and gold made by the Lost Wax method.

Scientists have adapted the method for more advanced practices in their work. This technique is still preferred for the precision casting of aircraft engine parts, bioengineering prostheses and other components for exacting applications.

The invitation to Thomas-Ogbuji is under the auspices of the Blumeno Lecture series. Dr. Fredric Stoller, OC '53, provided the endowment for this lecture series in memory of his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Blumeno. Stoller developed an interest in art during his career as a doctor, and he subsequently endowed the Blumeno series to explore the connections between chemistry and art.

Thomas-Ogbuji's seminar will be held in Kettering Hall, Room 9, on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

-Benjamin Clark

Ely to serve as trustee for class of '99

A College canvassing board recently finalized the election of Amie Ely, OC '99, to the Board of Trustees. As her class' trustee, Ely will serve for the next three years, until Oct. 12, 2002. Ely's appointment fills the vacancy left by Class Trustee Michael D. Murphy, OC '96.

"I decided to run for election as a class trustee because I saw a lot of good things in the College that I think need to be maintained and strengthened, and some not so good things that I think we need to work on improving. As a student, I sat on several panels discussing Oberlin's less-than-stellar retention rate. It was exciting to have a voice, and challenging to try to think of what our retention numbers mean. I knew that the Board of Trustees would be a large step up from and continuation of the type of issues discussed by the panels," said Ely.

Ely brings impressive credentials to her new position. Among her laundry list of accomplishments at Oberlin College, Ely graduated with honors in psychology, while also majoring in biology and neuroscience and minoring in third stream computing. She is also a member of the Sigma Xi national honorary research society, a McNair Scholar, a recipient of the Oberlin Leadership Recognition Award and the NCAA/John N. Stern Scholar Athlete award.

Ely said, "For four years at Oberlin, I viewed the trustees as an entity. A group of mainly older men in suits who would descend upon our campus a few times a year and make far-reaching decisions behind closed doors. They were benevolent, mainly, but somewhat intimidating and distant. Now, as a trustee, I hope to be able to take the input of students, administrators and faculty and use it to help shape Oberlin into a better institution, while conserving the things that make us unique and diverse."

Currently, Ely is conducting research in Greybull, WY with the aid of a John Anson Kitteredge Grant. She is researching the trial of the man who admitted to murdering her father and two other men 20 years ago but was never convicted.

While at Oberlin, she spent four years on the varsity track and field team, with three years as captain and co-captain. Ely worked for two years as a commentary editor for The Oberlin Review and was a contributing writer for The Voice and The Dial.

"I am very excited to still have this tie to Oberlin, and I look forward to the first open forum in December," said Ely.

-Benjamin Clark

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Copyright © 1999, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 128, 8, November 5, 1999

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