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Science Division

The mission of our programs is to prepare students to ask and answer scientific questions that nobody has even thought of yet. Our graduates need to be able to learn new scientific information from primary sources, formulate and ask smart scientific questions, interpret the answers nature gives to those questions, and communicate the results to others in effective ways.

$1 million "capstone award" from HHMI boosts intermediate-level science education

Thursday, May. 24, 2012 7:30 pm | Contact: Des Moines Register; e! Science News; Iowa Higher Education

Grinnell College has received a $1 million science education “capstone award” from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), one of the nation’s largest private funders of biomedical research and education.

The four-year HHMI grant recognizes Grinnell for “sustained excellence and important contributions to undergraduate science education” and will support curricular reform and advising activities to benefit intermediate-level science students, building on already successful introductory and advanced research programs.

“One of the key opportunities we have with this generous grant is to develop intermediate-level undergraduates’ abilities to become scientific leaders,” said Leslie Gregg-Jolly, professor of biology and program director for the HHMI grant.

“Often students at the intermediate-level begin to question their own commitment and ‘fit’ in the scientific community, so we will use grant funds to assess student learning and attitudes, develop opportunities to work in teams outside of traditional disciplinary boundaries and offer employment to increase their involvement and success in science departments.”

The grant will also have impact for science education nationally. Grinnell’s Center for Science in the Liberal Arts will analyze and disseminate information about students’ performance, development and persistence to improve the STEM pipeline, using a nationally recognized research method developed by Grinnell Professor of Psychology David Lopatto.

“We are very grateful to HHMI for recognizing Grinnell’s national leadership in undergraduate science education,” said Grinnell President Raynard S. Kington. “The grant will further our institutional commitment to widening access and promoting success for all students as we respond to the nationwide call for science education reform and the need to develop a large and diverse pool of scientists.”

The 2012 HHMI grant is the fourth to Grinnell since 2000 and recognizes the college’s development of a “mature and successful program.” In 2011, the White House awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring to the Grinnell Science Project, a program to promote success among students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.

Approximately one-third of Grinnell students graduate with a major in science. Nearly 70 percent of the college’s science graduates enter graduate programs; in fact, Grinnell ranks eighth on a per-capita basis among all U.S. higher education institutions whose graduates pursue Ph.D.s.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.


Robert N. Noyce ’49 Science Center

The facility includes refurbished teaching and research laboratories, classroom and office space, a science library, a computer laboratory, and several study areas. The addition connects two of the wings with a courtyard in between. The building houses the departments of biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science, physics, and psychology. Containing modern scientific equipment and instrumentation, the facility has laboratories, classrooms, and seminar rooms, which are equipped with electronic and other modern instructional tools. The building also houses the Kistle Science Library and the Physics Historical Museum. In the northeast section of the building, a greenhouse is used as an instructional and research facility.

Shonda Kuiper, mathematics, awarded the 2012 MERLOT Classics Award

2012 Merlot Classics Award - Stat2Labs

The Sloan Consortium
Newburyport, Ma., United States
August 3, 2012

Dr. Kuiper's creative and engaging games and labs exemplify reform efforts in Statistics Education, and she is highly deserving of a MERLOT Classics Award.

Editor Notes: 

  • The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching – MERLOT (www.merlot.org) Announces the 2012 MERLOT Awards for Exemplary Online Learning Resources. This program recognizes and promotes outstanding peer reviewed online resources designed to enhance teaching and learning. The award is granted to honor the authors and developers of these resources for their contributions to the academic community. Every year each of the MERLOT Editorial Boards is able to select an outstanding resource from its discipline to receive the MERLOT Classics Award. MERLOT considers this learning material an exemplary online learning resource and it is now recognized as so on the MERLOT website listing. United States, Aug. 2.

  • Shonda Kuiper's textbook, "Practicing Statistics: Guided Investigations for the Second Course" is available, contrary to the information provided in the release.

Person Mentioned: Faculty/Staff- Shonda Kuiper, mathematics

Experiment used on Skylab designed by George Simon '55

Fri, 2011-07-22 14:36 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Sunspot scientist came close to flying on orbital mission

Las Cruses Bulletin
Las Cruses, Nm., United States
July 22, 2011

The scientist who looked up at the Sun from atop the Sacramento Mountains hoped to get an even closer look, as a payload specialist, during the STS-51F Space Shuttle Challenger flight.

“Space Center Commissioner Dr. George Simon should be riding high … doing his scientific research in a locale that will be the envy of many of his colleagues,” the January 1985 Space Log reported. The International Space Hall of Fame (ISHF) in Alamogordo publishedthe journal. Simon was on the backup list, and did not make the Spacelab 2 mission that launched on July 29, 1985.

Person Mentioned: Alumnus/a- George Simon '55

Hankel Transforms of Linear Combinations of Catalan Numbers

Fri, 2011-04-29 15:43 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Professor Christopher French cowrote an article, "Hankel Transforms of Linear Combinations of Catalan Numbers" with math majors Michael Dougherty, Benjamin Saderholm, and Wenyang Qian, all math majors in the class of 2012. The article appeared on April 20 in the Journal of Integer Sequences, Vol. 14 (2011), Article 11.5.1. In this paper, the authors consider the result of applying a certain operation called the Hankel Transform to certain sequences of numbers obtained in a natural way from the famous Catalan number sequence. Other authors had shown that when one applies the Hankel Transform to the sequence of sums of adjacent Catalan numbers, the resulting sequence consists of every other Fibonacci number. This paper generalizes that result to more general linear combinations of Catalan numbers. The research for this work was done during the summer of 2010, as part of a MAP that Dougherty, Saderholm, and Qian participated in.

Grinnell Putnam Team in Top 10%

Wed, 2011-04-06 10:41 | By Anonymous (not verified)

The Grinnell College Putnam team placed 46th out of 546 teams from across the U.S. and Canada. The annual exam took place in December with 16 Grinnell students among the 4296 students who took the exam. Grinnell College had four students score at least a 20:

  • Klevi Xhaxho: 28 points (individual rank: 641.5)
  • Benjy Greenberg: 26 points (individual rank: 679.5)
  • Colin Grove: 20 points (individual rank: 883)
  • Alyce Eaton: 20 points (individual rank: 883)

The first three were members of the Grinnell's "team" (all contestants take part individually but three students are identified before the contest and the sum of their scores forms the team score). Congratulations to all the Putnam participants.