The Rhodes Trust has announced that 32 American students have been named Rhodes Scholars and will enter Oxford University in October 2014.
The winners were selected from 857 applicants endorsed by 327 different colleges and universities. The scholarships, announced early Sunday, provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the prestigious university in England.
Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.
The value of the scholarships averages about $50,000 per year.
The American students will join an international group of scholars selected from 14 other jurisdictions around the world. Approximately 80 scholars are selected annually.
The 32 American students chosen as Rhodes Scholars for 2014, listed by geographical region:
Jessica Wamala, Milford, New Hampshire, Villanova University
Alexander Joel Diaz, North Bergen, New Jersey, Harvard University
Elizabeth Hockfield Byrne, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University
Katherine Elida Warren, Bainbridge Island, Washington, Harvard University
Isabel Emma Eggleston Beshar, Rye, New York, Yale University
The Rhodes Trust has announced that 32 American students have been named Rhodes Scholars and will enter Oxford University in October 2014
Paolo Poggioni Singer, Bronx, New York, Harvard University
Evan Barrett Behrle, Oxford, Pennsylvania, University of Virginia
Alexander Gerard Wang, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, New York University, Abu Dhabi
Timothy Michael McGinnis, Charlotte, North Carolina, Princeton University
Charles Samuel Tyson, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of Virginia
Brian Westfall McGrail, Arlington, Virginia, Williams College
Emma Pierson, Arlington, Virginia, Stanford University
James O’Connell, Tampa, Florida, Wake Forest University
Lindsay Evans Lee, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Melissa Loreice McCoy, Dallas, Texas, Georgia Institute of Technology
John Mikhael, Dallas, Texas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Adam Mastroianni, Monroeville, Ohio, Princeton University
Courtney Wittekind, Mason, Ohio, Carnegie Mellon University
Vinay Nayak, Oak Brook, Illinois, Yale University
Calla Glavin, Birmingham, Michigan, US Military Academy
Drew Alan Birrenkott, McFarland, Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin
Samuel Martin Greene, Spring Green, Wisconsin, University of Chicago
Donald Mayfield Brown, Vicksburg, Mississippi, Mississippi State University
Joshua Allen Aiken, Eugene, Oregon, Washington University, St. Louis
Meredith Lukens Wheeler, Fort Collins, Colorado, Stanford University
Erin Alexandra Tanith Mauldin, Albuquerque, New Mexico, US Military Academy
Suzanna Marie Fritzberg, Lake Forest Park, Washington, Yale University
Andrew Scott Lea, Richland, Washington, Harvard University
Miles William Unterreiner, Santa Barbara, California, Stanford University
Clarke Knight, Henderson, Nevada, Smith College
Aurora Catherine Griffin, Westlake Village, California, Harvard University
Zarko Perovic, San Diego, California, University of California, Berkeley
Armand D’Angour, a lecturer in classics at the University of Oxford and author of The Greeks and the New: Novelty in Ancient Greek Imagination and Experience and the forthcoming Eureka: Seven Principles of Innovation from Ancient Greece, has imagined several solutions ancient Greeks would give to help modern Greeks with their current financial worries.
1. Debt, division and revolt. Here’s the 6th Century BC news from Athens.
In the early 6th Century BC, the people of Athens were burdened with debt, social division and inequality, with poor farmers prepared to sell themselves into slavery just to feed their families.
Revolution was imminent, but the aristocrat Solon emerged as a just mediator between the interests of rich and poor. He abolished debt bondage, limited land ownership, and divided the citizen body into classes with different levels of wealth and corresponding financial obligations.
His measures, although attacked on all sides, were adopted and paved the way for the eventual creation of democracy.
Solon’s success demonstrates that great statesmen must have the courage to implement unpopular compromises for the sake of justice and stability.
2. What happens next? The Delphic oracle
Ancient Delphi was the site of Apollo’s oracle, believed to be inspired by the god to utter truths. Her utterances, however, were unintelligible and needed to be interpreted by priests, who generally turned them into ambiguous prophecies.
In response to, say: “Should Greece leave the euro?” the oracle might have responded: “Greece should abandon the euro if the euro has abandoned Greece,” leaving proponents and opponents of “Grexit” to squabble over what exactly that meant. It must have been something like listening to modern economists. At least the oracle had the excuse of inhaling the smoke of laurel leaves.
Wiser advice was to be found in the mottos inscribed on the face of Apollo’s temple at Delphi, advocating moderation and self-knowledge: “Know yourself. Nothing in excess.”
3. Nothing new under the sun: The sage Pythagoras
If modern Greeks feel overwhelmed by today’s financial problems, they might take some comfort from remembering the world-weary advice from their ancestor Pythagoras that “everything comes round again, so nothing is completely new”.
Pythagoras of Samos was a 6th Century BC mystic sage who believed that numbers are behind everything in the universe – and that cosmic events recur identically over a cycle of 10,800 years.
His doctrine was picked up by the biblical author of Ecclesiastes in the 3rd Century BC, whose phrase “There is nothing new under the sun” is repeated more than 20 times.
If you look at the picture at top of the story, the young man with a laptop on a Greek vase from 470 BC (in fact, a writing-tablet) seems to prove the proposition.
In the early 6th Century BC, the people of Athens were burdened with debt, social division and inequality, with poor farmers prepared to sell themselves into slavery just to feed their families
4. Mind you, it could be worse… Odysseus and endurance
“Hold fast, my heart, you have endured worse suffering,” Odysseus exhorts himself in Homer’s Odyssey, from the 8th Century BC.
Having battled hostile elements and frightful monsters on his return home across the sea from Troy to his beloved Ithaka and wife Penelope, Odysseus here prevents himself from jeopardizing a successful finale as a result of impatience.
The stirring message is that whatever the circumstances, one should recognize that things could be, and have been, even worse. Harder challenges have been faced and – with due intelligence and fortitude – overcome.
5. Are you sure that’s right? Socrates and tireless inquiry
“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being,” said Socrates.
By cross-examining ordinary people, the philosopher aimed to get to the heart of complex questions such as “What is justice?” and “How should we live?” Often no clear answer emerged, but Socrates insisted that we keep on asking the questions.
Fellow Athenians were so offended by his scrutiny of their political and moral convictions that they voted to execute him in 399 BC, and thereby made him an eternal martyr to free thought and moral inquiry.
Socrates bequeathed to humanity a duty to keep on thinking with tireless integrity, even when – or particularly when – definite answers are unlikely to be found.
6. How did those jokers end up in charge? Aristophanes the comedian
The most brilliantly inventive of comic playwrights, Aristophanes was happy to mock contemporary Athenian politicians of every stripe. He was also the first to coin a word for “innovation”.
His comedy Frogs of 405 BC, which featured the first representation of aerial warfare, contained heartfelt and unambiguous advice for his politically fickle fellow citizens: choose good leaders, or you will be stuck with bad ones.
7. Should we do the same as last time? Heraclitus the thinker
“You can’t step into the same river twice” is one of the statements of Heraclitus, in the early 5th Century BC – his point being that the ceaseless flow of the water makes for a different river each time you step into it.
A sharp pupil pointed out “in that case you can’t step into the same river once”, since if everything is constantly in flux, so is the identity of the individual stepping into the water.
While change is constant, different things change at different rates. In an environment of ceaseless flux, it is important to identify stable markers and to hold fast to them.
Bond markets, debt and bail-outs must feel like a similar challenge.
8. Tell me the worst, doctor. Hippocrates faces the facts
Western medicine goes back to Hippocrates, late 5th Century BC, and doctors still take the “Hippocratic oath”. An extensive set of ancient medical observations details how patients fared when they were treated by means such as diet and exercise.
What is exceptional in ancient thinking about health and disease is the clear-sighted recognition that doctors must observe accurately and record truthfully – even when patients die in the process.
Magical or wishful thinking cannot bring a cure. Only honest, exhaustive, empirical observation can hope to reveal what works and what does not.
9. Seizing the opportunity: Cleisthenes and democracy
The ancient Greeks were strongly aware of the power of opportunity – in Greek, kairos. Seizing the moment – in oratory, athletics, or battle – was admired and viewed as an indication of skill.
In many cases, such temporary innovation, born of the moment, will be more enduring, especially if successive innovators build on its principles.
When the tyrants of Athens were deposed at the end of the 6th Century, the leading citizen Cleisthenes needed to think up a constitution that would cut across existing structures of power and allegiance.
He devised with amazing rapidity a system of elective government in which all the citizens (the Greek word “demos” means “the people”) had a single vote – the world’s first democracy.
10. Big problem, long bath: Archimedes the inventor
Asked to measure whether a crown was made of pure gold, the Sicilian Greek Archimedes (3rd Century BC) puzzled over a solution.
The story goes that when he eventually took a bath and saw the water rising as he stepped in, it struck him that an object’s volume could be measured by the water it displaced – and when weighed, their relative density could be calculated.
He was so excited by his discovery that he jumped out of the bath and ran naked through Syracuse shouting “Eureka!” – Greek for “I’ve got it!”
Finding the solution to a knotty problem requires hard thinking, but the answer often comes only when you switch off – and take a bath.
A research team found that some bacteria can evade efforts to vaccinate against them by wearing a new disguise.
The study, published in Nature Genetics, tracked how pneumococcus bacteria responded to the introduction of a vaccine in the US in 2000.
Specialists said the evasion would make some vaccines less successful in the long term.
An updated pneumococcus vaccine is already in use.
A research team found that some bacteria can evade efforts to vaccinate against them by wearing a new disguise
Vaccines train the immune system to attack something unique to an infection. In the case of tetanus, it results in the body making antibodies which target the toxin produced.
Dr. Rory Bowden, one of the researchers from the University of Oxford, said: “There are plenty of vaccines out there that look stable and continue to work because they target bacteria or viruses that are not changing.”
Pneumococcus bacteria, however, comes in more than 90 varieties or serotypes. Each variety looks different to the immune system so would each need separate vaccines.
Infection can result in pneumonia and meningitis. Across the globe, more than 800,000 children under five die as a result each year.
A vaccine against more than 90 types would not be possible, but in 2000 the US authorities began immunizing against seven of the most common varieties.
Cases rapidly dropped. By 2007, there was a sustained 76% drop in cases of septicemia, pneumonia and meningitis in children under five.
However, some bacteria managed to change their outer coat – known as capsule switching – to avoid the immune response.
They did it by collecting pieces of DNA from other pneumococcus bacteria which had died.
By analyzing bacterial genes, the researchers identified five cases of capsule switching. They said one of the new strains, called P1, “quickly became established spreading from east to west across the United States”. It had “becomes one of the most prevalent” varieties by 2007, the report said.
An updated vaccine which protects against 13 types has since been introduced. Dr. Rory Bowden said the “holy grail” would be a universal vaccine which would target something common to all types of pneumococcus.
Prof. Derrick Crook, from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Understanding what makes a vaccine successful and what can cause it to fail is important.
“Our work suggests that current strategies for developing new vaccines are largely effective but may not have long term effects that are as successful as hoped.”
Dr. Bernard Beall, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, added: “The current vaccine strategy of targeting predominant pneumococcal serotypes is extremely effective, however our observations indicate that the organism will continue to adapt to this strategy with some measurable success.”
The Wellcome Trust’s Dr Michael Dunn said: “New technologies allow us to rapidly sequence disease-causing organisms and see how they evolve. This will provide useful lessons for vaccine implementation strategies.”