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Freshman Honors Program
209.946.2856
honors@pacific.edu
John Ballantyne Hall

University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Ave
Stockton, CA 95211

Honors Seminars 2016-2017

2016-2017 Honors Seminars

Biology Building, Room 101
Thursdays at 6 PM


September 1: Ann Miller
Conservatory of Music 

New Music: The Relationship between Composer, Performer, and Patron

The collaborative relationship between composers and performers of new music is special and essential: without performers, new works cannot be brought to life, and without composers, performers cannot add new works to their repertoire. To complicate matters, composers and performers must have financial backing. The party responsible for commissioning new works of music has changed over the course history: while the church was at one time the chief patron of music, in current society, individuals, arts organizations, and universities are now the primary patrons. This lecture will trace not only the history of commissioning new music, but also the complex relationship between composers, performers, and patrons. Included will be a discussion of the joys and challenges of the commissioning process with a focus on two trios that were premiered at Pacific. 


September 22: John Cary Sims
Pacific McGeorge School of Law

How Elections Influence the "Independent" Federal Judiciary Created by Article III of the Constitution

The nature of the judicial appointments expected to be made by the next President has emerged as a major issue in the 2016 election season. While all federal judges enjoy an independence that is stoutly protected by life tenure under Article III of the Constitution, the process by which they are appointed is intensely political. One of the defining characteristics of our constitutional system is the influential role played by the Supreme Court and other federal judges, officials whose political allegiances and accountability trace a path that is dramatically divergent from all other components of the United States government. There have been numerous dramatic political confrontations over judicial nominations, but the elections of 1800, 1936, and 1968 offer particularly striking examples of the interplay between electoral politics and judicial appointments.


October 20: Sacha Joseph-Mathews
Eberhardt School of Business
Targét versus Targhetto:

The Plight of Retail In-store Redlining ment of History A practice that has now become very popular in the retail landscape is a phenomenon I have coined as "in-store redlining". It involves signifi­cantly differing in-store standards within any one retail chain based on the geographical location of a specific store. Retailers practic­ing in-store redlining, base investments in physical upgrades, customer service delivery, merchandise offerings, service environ­ments and in-store maintenance primarily on the location of a store. Specifically, stores located in or close to inner cities, dominated by lower-income, minority populations, have significantly lower invest­ments (Targhettos); as compared to stores located in or close to suburban locations populated mainly with middle to high income major­ity or white populations (Targéts). The presentation explores the practices of the big box retailer Target, as it pertains to how they op­erationalize different components of their stores in different cities. Focus groups were conducted across the USA in urban and suburban locations with both minority and majority populations, to examine how they responded to the different standards enforced by Tar­get.


November 17: Gesine Gerhard
Department of History

Hunger Politics: A History of Food in the Third ReichA practice that has now become very popular in the retail landscape is a phenomenon I have coined as "in-store redlining". It involves signifi­cantly differing in-store standards within any one retail chain based on the geographical location of a specific store. Retailers practic­ing in-store redlining, base investments in physical upgrades, customer service delivery, merchandise offerings, service environ­ments and in-store maintenance primarily on the location of a store. Specifically, stores located in or close to inner cities, dominated by lower-income, minority populations, have significantly lower invest­ments (Targhettos); as compared to stores located in or close to suburban locations populated mainly with middle to high income major­ity or white populations (Targéts). The presentation explores the practices of the big box retailer Target, as it pertains to how they op­erationalize different components of their stores in different cities. Focus groups were conducted across the USA in urban and suburban locations with both minority and majority populations, to examine how they responded to the different standards enforced by Tar­get.


January 26: Ryan C. Moffet
Department of Chemistry

A Detailed View of the Chemical and Morphological Properties of Individual Aerosol Particles 
Aerosols - tiny particles suspended in the Earth's atmosphere - alter climate by directly interacting with solar radiation and by influencing cloud formation. The detailed physicochemical properties of individual particles have a controlling influence on aerosol optical and hygroscopic properties, which, in turn, influence radiative transfer and cloud formation. Microscopic measurements of individual particles have allowed for the identification of important particle characteristics and processes. For marine sea spray aerosol, ocean biology can control aerosol composition and structure, resulting in particles that having differing cloud formation potential. Findings on the composition and morphology of complex soot particles have implications for the role that these particles play in atmospheric heating. Examples from field studies as far away as the Amazon basin or from as close as Sacramento will be surveyed to illustrate how aerosols interact with the Earth system.


February 23: Ove A. Peters
Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

Endodontics: A Journey into the Inner Workings of Teeth

Travel is beyond many other issues a matter of scale. Viewpoints vary and with them the appreciation of the object one sees, irrespective of the location, it may the Yosemite National Park or could be a glimpse into one's mouth. This presentation will attempt to take the audience through several orders of magnitude of metrical scale from the microscopic view that is available to a clinician to the molecular underpinning of pain and inflammation. 

Visualizations and comparisons to objects of similar size will allow participants in this seminar to delve into the inner workings of teeth and appreciate the intricacies involved here. This will perhaps open the door to less apprehension at the next visit to the dentist but also to anticipation for future therapies.


March 23: Aleksei Beltukov
Department of Mathematics
Reconstruction from Spherical Means

Under certain assumptions, the data collected by airborne synthetic aper­ture radar (SAR) can be regarded as averages of surface reflectiv­ity taken over circles centered on the flight path. The image on the left shows what raw SAR data may look like. It was generated by averag­ing the charac­teristic function of seven randomly scattered disks over circles centered on an ellipse with the addition of 10 per­cent white noise. The image on the right is the reconstruction obtained by solving a dense ill-conditioned linear system with 105 un­knowns-one per circle. A direct as­sault on such a system would have required the storage of a matrix with 1010 entries and about 1015 arithmetic operations-a computation that would strain most supercom­puters for months. Meanwhile, the clever algorithm that we will discuss took less than forty seconds on an ordi­nary laptop and that is not even the best part! The best part is that most of the clever­ness comes from standard mathematical theory which we teach in our upper-level applied mathematics courses.


April 20: Joel Lohr
Benerd School of Education
Sitting Alone with a Text: Overcoming the Inherent Protestant Biases of American Education

Despite efforts to change, American education-from kindergarten to Ph.D.-remains heavily steeped in a Protestant model of learning: literacy is prized and students often read texts alone, a practice itself premised upon the Protestant Reformation's foundational idea that one can encounter the divine personally through written word. In this seminar, I trace some of the origins of America's literacy-based educational system before concluding with suggestions for overcoming what can be sizable learning hurdles for some students. I suggest that the solution lies not in standardized curricula or homogeneous pedagogical models so much as teacher sensitivity to the ethnic and religious make up of specific classroom settings. I provide examples of how alternative educational models might thoughtfully and creatively be incorporated into American education when appropriate.