Lunatics: Men, Women and the Moon in Early Modern France

moon imageThe intellectual debate that flourished in renaissance and early modern France is often described by scholars as a “battle of the sexes” — a battle in which women were often accused of being particularly susceptible to the lunar cycle.

Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Katherine Dauge-Roth examined the issue in a recent faculty seminar lecture, presented as part of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies ‘Science Before Science’ colloquium.

Read / listen to an interview with Katherine Dauge-Roth

Paleontologist Describes Discovery of the Supergiant Dreadnoughtus (TED)

Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara gave a TED talk on Earth Day, April 22, about finding a remarkably complete skeleton of the Dreadnoughtus — a 77-million-year-old sauropod “that was as tall as a two-story house and as heavy as a jumbo jet.” Lacovara also recently visited Bowdoin to give a talk to students about paleontology and his once-in-a-lifetime discovery. Read about Lacovara’s Bowdoin talk.

Bowdoin’s ‘Northern Bites’ Take Second in 2016 RoboCup US Open


Bowdoin’s “Northern Bites” prepare to take the field against the University of Miami’s “RoboCanes”

Bowdoin’s team of autonomous, robotic soccer players—the “Northern Bites”—took second place in the RoboCup 2016 US Open, held at Watson Arena over the weekend. For the second year running the Northern Bites lost in the final, this time going down, 5-0, to The University of Texas’s “Austin Villa.”

Professor of Computer Science and team advisor Eric Chown said he was “super happy” with second place. “Although we lost 5-0, it was only 1-0 at half-time and a pretty great game in which our goalie was once again spectacular, but our robots started, literally, falling apart in the second half,” which meant Bowdoin ended up only being able to field three “players,” out of a possible maximum of five. Five universities and colleges from the across the nation came to Brunswick Friday for the two-day tournament.

The next challenge for the Northern Bites is the RoboCup world championships in Leipzig, Germany, at the end of June. Read more about Bowdoin’s Northern Bites RoboCup team

Orchestra Seating is a Cultural Oddity Explained by Biology (Aeon)


The particular seating arrangement of an orchestra, with high-pitched strings like violins situated to the left of lower-pitched strings including cellos, is rooted in a biological oddity of brain organization, explains Richard Kunert in Aeon.

While the left hemisphere of the brain processes higher pitches better, left-right crossing of the brain means that the right ear will actually hear the higher tones better.  So how does this fit in with the seating arrangement of modern orchestras?