March 2015 Newsletter: What Does It All Mean?

Written by
Maura M. Fennessy
March 17, 2015

Now that this warmer weather has begun to melt away the snow and ice of winter, and venturing outside doesn't require quite as many layers, it is a great time to visit Princeton!  Come to a public policy forum at the Woodrow Wilson School, which is featured in this issue of Learn more about the innovative research and entrepreneurial efforts underway on campus. Bring your family to the Cotsen Children's Library or the Princeton University Art Museum, which was just placed on Fodor's list of the 15 Best Small Town Museums in the U.S. Congratulate the Princeton women's basketball team on their historic undefeated season and wish them well in their game against Wisconsin-Green Bay. Extend the St. Patrick's Day celebration by attending a Fund for Irish Studies lecture. Or read below about what singer-songwriter Paul Simon had to say during his recent visit to campus.


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Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is the university's premier center for teaching and research in public policyand international affairs. Below are just a few analyses by Woodrow Wilson School faculty to help the public understand the implications of important policy or court decisions as they happen.



Keith Wailoo

Implementing Obamacare

As the March 30 deadline for enrolling in Obamacare approaches, questions loom about how many people will ultimately enroll and how many will remain uninsured. In preparation for a panel discussion of leading health experts at held at Princeton on February 27, Keith Wailoo, vice dean of the Woodrow Wilson School and the Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs, answered questions about how, from a historical perspective, the tumultuous rollout of the Affordable Care Act compares to past health care policy rollouts such as Medicaid and Medicare.  

Read more of the Q&A on the implementation of Obamacare.

Doug Massey

The Consequences of Postponing Obama's Immigration Policy

On Feb. 17 - just one day before President Barack Obama's new immigration policy was planned to go into effect - a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction halting its implementation. Obama's proposed executive action was intended to legally protect five million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Immigration expert Douglas Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, called the decision "nonsense" in a Q&A discussion analyzing the decision the next day. Massey's research focuses on international migration, race and housing, discrimination, education, urban poverty and Latin America, especially Mexico.  

Read more of Douglas Massey's reaction to the federal court decision on immigration policy.

Cecilia Rouse

Making Community College Free

On Thursday, Jan. 8, President Barack Obama unveiled America's College Promise, a proposal that would use government funds to make community college free for millions of American students. The White House says the proposal would save a full-time community college student $3,800 in tuition a year on average and could benefit roughly 9 million students each year. The federal government would provide three-fourths of the costs, and participating states would be expected to contribute the remainder. Cecilia Rouse, dean of Princeton's Woodrow School of Public and International Affairs and former member of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, where community colleges and postsecondary education were part of her portfolio, shares her reactions to the announcement.

Read Cecilia Rouse's analysis of America's College Promise.



Resistance-proof antibiotics; a new cancer therapy; personalized nerve regeneration; using nanoparticles for medical applications. This is a sampling of the types of research and innovation that recently received recognition - and funding - from campus innovation programs and about which you can read in the articles below.  See how the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is putting 3-D printing technology to good use. And read about entrepreneurship in the context of making a positive impact on the world, in the most recent issue of E-Quad News.

Innovation Forum 2015

New Approach to Cancer Therapy Takes Top Prize at Innovation Forum

Mark Esposito stood before a panel of judges at the Keller Center's 10th annual Innovation Forum on Feb. 25 and made a bold statement - a leap forward in cancer treatment is close at hand.  "The problem is we're treating the wrong disease," said Esposito, a Princeton University graduate student in molecular biology.  Esposito took the top prize at the Innovation Forum, an event for University researchers to present potentially marketable discoveries, with his pitch for a method to stop the spread of cancer.

Read more about Esposito's research and the other winners at the 2015 Innovation Forum.  

Innovation Funds Awarded to Support Natural Sciences, Humanities Projects and Industry Collaborations

Seven innovative projects have been awarded support through Princeton University's Dean for Research innovation funds. Now in its second year, the program enables faculty members to pursue bold new ideas, said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti.  Awards ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 went toward new ideas in the natural sciences, such as chemical reactions and cell behavior; new ideas in the humanities, including contemporary literature and classical Chinese; and two research collaborations with industry on nanparticles and machine learning.

Read more about the Innovation Fund awards.

3-D printed parts

Researchers Find 3-D Printed Parts Provide Low-Cost, Custom Alternative for Lab Equipment

The 3-D printing scene, a growing favorite of do-it-yourselfers, has spread to the study of plasma physics. With a series of experiments, researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that 3-D printers can be an important tool in laboratory environments.  "The printer is now a crucial piece of our laboratory and used regularly," said Andrew Zwicker, the head of Science Education at PPPL and lead author of a paper that reports the results in the current issue of the American Journal of Physics. "The versatility of the printer is such that our first reaction to an equipment need is no longer whether we can find or purchase the required piece of equipment, but can we print it?"

Read more about 3-D printed parts.



Paul Simon

Paul Simon Speaks About His Career and the Role of Art in Society

Internationally renowned singer-songwriter Paul Simon visited Princeton University on Tuesday, March 3, talking about his career in a discussion facilitated by Paul Muldoon, the Howard G. B. Clark '21 University Professor in the Humanities and a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts. The Grammy Award-winning artist also offered an impromptu performance to a capacity audience of over 800, made up of mostly students joined by faculty and staff at Richardson Auditorium.

Read more about Paul Simon's visit to Princeton.

Cotsen Children's Library

Cotsen Children's Library Promotes Love of Learning

Those who enter Princeton University's Firestone Library may not realize that it contains the Cotsen Children's Library and Bookscape gallery, designed to imitate and excite the imagination of children and transport mature visitors back to their childhood. The Cotsen Children's Library, created through a gift from Lloyd E. Cotsen, Class of 1950 and Charter Trustee Emeritus, contains children's books, manuscripts, original artwork, toys and prints spanning the 15th century to the present day. The gallery contains a large glass wall where visitors of all ages can peer at the some of the rarest books in the collection on the other side. The space is also home to a two-story bonsai treehouse where children can hide, explore and read their favorite stories.

Read more about the Cotsen Children's Library.