The Hunt for Lost Nazi Uranium Colloquium

Check out the following colloquium event passed along by Professor Kung!

Title: The Hunt for Lost Nazi Uranium

Abstract: 1944 saw the height of the Manhattan Project efforts which was distributed between Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford. Since the Manhattan Project was spurred by the fear that Germany was building nuclear weapons, Allied anxiety continuously pondered the Nazi atomic progress. As Germany began to fall, Gen. Groves commissioned the military and scientific intelligence mission code-named Alsos. It was to be at the forefront of the defeat so as to immediately assess the German advancement towards an atomic bomb. Alsos uncovered what the Manhattan Project had feared: the Germans had a two-year lead on the American nuclear program and being the birth place of nuclear fission, the Germans began with an incredible sprint of discovery. But then they found, just as the Americans were getting their feet wet, the German program miraculously had slowed. In April 1945 in the sleepy village of Haigerloch, Alsos found the culmination of the German nuclear program: a failed reactor experiment, named B-VIII. It was on the scale of Enrico Fermi’s successful Chicago Pile 1. This incomplete nuclear reactor, built of 664 uranium cubes had come very close to criticality. What had happened? How did Germany miss the mark? The answer is straightforward: unlike the U.S. efforts, spearheaded by Groves’ singular defining military force, the German atomic program was not administered by a competent manager. Their adequate resources were distributed and not gathered, their superb intellect was competitive and not collaborative. The failure of their atomic program can be pinned to a critical mass of German confidence moderated by ego and arrogance. Had they more humility and collaboration, history would have taken a different path. Instead, their reactor was scattered to history. What happened to the German B-VIII reactor? The United States acquired it; however, the question remains: what did they do with it?

When? Thursday, Feb. 20, from 4-5 PM

Where? In Corcoran 101

Paid RA position for Prof. Christov

I am looking for a research assistant to assist me in a research project on the idea of self-determination. The remuneration for this position is up to $1,500 and available immediately.

In asking “How did the self-determination of a people and nation building come to be seen as virtually synonymous?”, the project seeks to map out the political, legal, and historical literature on the subject. The RA job is to research articles, books, and historical data on the development of self-determination from the 18th century to the present.

All interviews will be conducted this Wednesday, Feb 5. Email Prof. Christov ( if interested.

Food for Thought w/ Prof. Ralkowski

ICYMI: Food for Thoughts are kinda like Talks at Google, but for the UHP, and with free food (and your friends.)

Our first Food for Thought of the semester will be Friday, 9/20 from 12-1PM in the Club Room. Professor Ralkowski, one of our esteemed honors faculty, will be giving a talk over a catered lunch. Make sure to RSVP to reserve your seat and your sandwich!

Title: The Consolations of Humor

Description: The ancient Greek philosophers thought humor was bad for us. Some thought it could overthrow the rule of reason in the soul, while others argued that it involved maliciously taking pleasure in the ignorance of others. Modern philosophers have made related criticisms, associating humor with irrationality and feelings of superiority. In our own time, philosophers are not the only people who have raised concerns about the anti-social characteristics of humor. In what The New York Times has called “the most discussed comedy special in ages,” Nanette, Hannah Gadsby presents an argument against comedy as a whole. The point of this talk is to explain how humor has an indispensable role to play in a philosophical life, one that the ancients would have appreciated if they had understood humor’s possibilities differently, and one that helps us make sense of the extraordinary popularity and significance of Hannah Gadsby’s breakout performance in Nanette.

Food for Thought w/ Prof. Harvey

Our next Food for Thought of the semester will be Friday, 11/16 from 12:30-1:30PM in the Club Room. Professor Harvey, on of this year’s Faculty Fellows, will be giving a talk titled “But It’s Only A Story” over a catered lunch. Make sure to RSVP to reserved your seat and your sandwich!
Read more about Professor Harvey’s research below:
My current research focuses on using modified theatrical methods in two related ways: First, as a means of both exploring and understanding the cultural attitudes that underpin political attitude in order to further enrich the Drama for Conflict Resolution (DCT) literature, and second; as a new type of qualitative research method for use in politically flammable and/or socially loaded situations. I often work in multi-media contexts, using social media and digital storytelling and/or role-playing platforms in pursuit of these activities.
This new type of “ethnographic theatre” intersects with my own “alter ego” as a working playwright and screenwriter, in that often I must either generate an original piece of theatre from the information collected during the research phase of the work, and/or guide members of the research population as they develop their own theatrical experiences. This fusion of cultural discovery and dramatic expression brings together two different aspects of my professional life, in ways that suggest exciting new ways of furthering empathy and understanding within and across conflicted groups.
The course I’m currently teaching As a Faculty Fellow in the University Honors program is based on this notion of melding media-based techniques with in-person cultural discovery, but focused specifically on the living legacy of Washington, D.C.’s unique relationship with human slavery. As the course syllabus describes it: “Digital Storytelling and D.C. Slavery” is an experientially-based Honors class that gives students a chance to conduct original research on race, identity, and cultural legacy while simultaneously exploring salient issues of past and present as they intersect in two places: Today’s national headlines and the surviving built environment of the neighborhood surrounding G.W.’s Mount Vernon campus. Specifically, this class offers Honors students the opportunity to investigate D.C.’s complex relationship with human slavery by unraveling historical information that has been coded into the very streets of the city, and by then taking to those streets in pursuit of new cultural and political data on the topic.
In doing this, the course addresses a set of timely and flammable issues related to race, politics, and deep-seated tensions in the American cultural biography that continue to echo with palpable urgency in today’s political discourse. Mount Vernon residents live in an area of particular resonance, since during its existence the Georgetown area has experienced especially numerous transformations in the racial composition and citizenship status of its population. The course will also examine the unique relationship with local Native American groups with whom self- emancipated slaves sometimes found refuge, acceptance, and status…or further enslavement.

Announcement from Professor Frawley

Dear University Honors Program students,
I am writing to let you know that I will be stepping down from my position as Director of the University Honors Program at the end of this semester. I will have a single-semester sabbatical and then return to my position in the English Department in the Fall of 2019.
This was a difficult decision for me. As I explained to the Honors faculty and staff a few weeks ago, I want more time to spend with my research and writing. That, combined with the sense that the program will grow in beneficial ways with new leadership, made me think the time was right to step away. The Honors Program will be in great hands: Professor Ingrid Creppell, currently our Deputy Director, will move into an interim Director role for next semester, during which time the provost will likely determine who best can fill the position more permanently.
Engaging with you all—whether in class, in Honors events, or in informal conversation—has been the very best part of my experience as Director. I really mean that! I sincerely thank you all for helping to make my professional life so rewarding.
Maria Frawley

Professor on the Town: Tudor Place w/ Prof. Harvey!

Dr. Kerric Harvey’s Fall 2018 Self and Society course, “D.C. Slavery and Digital Storytelling,” was recently treated to an educational walking tour of upper Georgetown neighborhood, generously donated by Tudor Place Historic House and Garden, and led by Tudor Place staff members Hillary Rothberg (Director of Education and Visitor Services) and Laura Brandt (Education Coordinator).

Focusing on the area’s rich antebellum Black life and culture, localized Civil War issues, and D.C.’s unique experiment in “compensated emancipation” that freed 3100 enslaved people in the capital approximately nine months before Lincoln signed the national emancipation document, the engaging and insightful 90 minute walk was followed by an interactive role-playing exercise called “Would You Run?” Designed and developed by Tudor Place, this is a creative teaching tactic that gives students the opportunity to confront the same type of complicated, high-stakes decision-making challenges as those faced by a number of real-world people during the slave era.

The October 19th educational event is the not the first time that Tudor Place has generously partnered with Dr. Harvey to enrich learning experiences for G.W. students. The landmark historic property also provided specialized educational material and unique (supervised) filmmaking access to the mansion grounds for her “Cell Phone Filmmaking and Washington’s Civil War” Dean’s Seminar during G.W.’s four-year commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Honors Fall Hike *NEW DATE*

The fall 2017 hike was hopping! Not literally of course, that would be horribly dangerous.

After being cancelled in anticipation of a hurricane (casual), the annual Honors Fall hike has been rescheduled!
On Sunday, October 14th, the Honors Program is hosting a $5 hike with your classmates, Prof. Ralkowski, and UHP staff, led by certified TRAiLS guide and peer advisor extraordinaire Rachel!. We’re going to Harpers Ferry, a historic town in West Virginia, complete with actors in historic garb and a big ole mountain to climb!
We’ll meet in the Foggy Bottom townhouse at 8:30 am, and the hike should last most of the day, returning to campus in the early evening. Whether you are a professional hiker or have never even scaled an escalator, come out, enjoy the fall sunshine, and get to know UHPers outside the classroom. We’ll provide lunch and guides, you provide insightful mountain talk and witty banter.

Sign up here by 10/11, and make sure to bring your $5 in cash to the Honors townhouse!

Food for Thought w/ Prof. Trullinger

Welcome back UHP!  Join us for our first Food for Thought of the semester on Friday, September 14 from 12:15-1:15 PM in the Club Room at the Townhouse. Food for Thoughts are a great way to get involved with the UHP community. At these events, UHP professors give a casual presentation on their individual research over a lunch. This month, we will be hearing from Professor Trullinger. Make sure to RSVP to save your seat and your lunch!
“Are We Finished?: Hope, Utopianism, and Human Unfinishedness”
Lately there doesn’t seem to be much of a basis for hope for the future. In my talk I will discuss the importance of utopianism for Latin American liberation theology, and how it offers us intriguing philosophical and theological reflections on the possibility of hope in the midst of hopeless situations. Utopianism challenges our sense of the limit of what is possible, underscoring the need to try what seems impossible. This will be tied to Paulo Freire’s theory that human beings are (or ought to be) eternal students, and by seeing ourselves as perpetually unfinished, we remain capable of radical change without losing the humility we need to avoid self-destruction.


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