NOTE: This post was originally published at

Laser light show

Scott Howard, an electrical engineering graduate student and teaching assistant for ELE 102, “New Eyes for the World,” sets up a homemade laser May 18 in the undergraduate optics laboratory. the course introduces non-science and interdisciplinary students to modern topics of engineering optics that they encounter in daily life.

Photo by Frank Wojciechowski
Alumni authors swing for the fences

Going to a baseball game can be a confusing experience, even for longtime fans. Does the infield fly rule apply when two fielders collide and drop the ball? And where can you get a decent slice of pizza in Yankee Stadium? Two alumni authors have set out to answer questions like these in new books released this spring.

Michael Morse ’91 explores the rules of the game in All New Baseball Brainteasers (Sterling 2007), a 60-question quiz covering real-game scenarios. Question 42, for instance, covers a 2004 game in which Minnesota Twins infielders Michael Cuddyer and Doug Mientkiewicz collided on an infield fly with the bases loaded and one out. Though the ball dropped to the dirt, the batter was called out, correctly, due to the infield fly rule. The confused runner on first was tagged out as well when he strayed from the bag. Morse calls on his training as an umpire as well as his experiences sitting in the bleacher seats at Yankee Stadium to write puzzling but entertaining questions.

John Buchanan ’87 and his brother Andy focus less on the rules and more on the ballpark experience in their “Wise Guide” books about famous Major League stadiums. So far, the pocket-sized guidebook series includes volumes on Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Yankee Stadium, covering everything from food and drink to ballpark music. In the Bronx, the authors note, you can count on hearing “YMCA” at the end of the fifth inning and Frank Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York” after a Yankee win. The Buchanans also are big on ballpark trivia. Fenway’s “Green Monster” in left field, they say, began as a wooden wall, was later covered in tin, and since 1976 has been coated in hard plastic. Information about the “Wise Guide” series is available at For information about other books by alumni and faculty, visit New Books at PAW online.

Alumni in the news
Brad Smith ’81, senior vice president and general counsel for Microsoft, is a prominent figure in the company’s efforts to draw royalties from the distributors and users of certain free software, according to a feature in Fortune’s May 28 issue. … Bob Bradley ’80, who was profiled in PAW’s March 7 issue, was named head coach of the U.S. men’s national soccer team May 15. Bradley’s team had won three international matches and tied a fourth in his four months as interim coach, and New York Times columnist George Vescey wrote that Bradley “earned this job by never acting like an interim coach.” … Princeton religion professor Cornel West *80 discussed Don Imus, the n-word, and the future of hip-hop in a May 19 Billboard interview. Though West has been critical of some rappers, he said he keeps an open mind about the future. “50 Cent may be another Malcolm X and turn out to be a serious progressive,” he said. “You just don’t know. That’s why I’m not giving up on him, the Game and other rappers. I’m just trying to respectfully challenge them and make them accountable.” West is both an observer and a participant in the genre: His new album, “Never Forget,” is due in stores June 19.
Track standouts travel to regional meet

More than a dozen Princeton athletes in men’s and women’s track and field will compete in the NCAA East Regional Meet in Gainesville, Fla., May 25 and 26. Top competitors for the Tiger men include David Nightingale ’08 (5,000 meters), Justin Frick ’10 (high jump), and Andrew Park ’07 (pole vault). All three posted season-bests that ranked in the top five in the region. On the women’s side, Princeton’s strength lies in the distance events. Catha Mullen ’07, Jolee Vanleuven ’09, and Christy Johnson ’10 will run the 5,000 meters, and Caroline Mullen ’07 and Liz Costello ’10 will run the 1,500 meters. Those five runners helped the women’s cross country team finish 23rd at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November 2006.