Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Extraterrestrial faults

Analyzing plate tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Professor Geoffrey Collins

Professor Geoffrey Collins

A team composed of Wheaton students and a professor has received funding to continue the investigation into whether the surface of one of Jupiter’s moons is being shaped by plate tectonic activity, like Earth.

Physics professor Geoffrey Collins is part of a team that recently won a grant from NASA to revisit old data in light of the new theory. The award provides more than $132,000 to Wheaton for Professor Collins and students to look more closely at the evidence of possible plate tectonic activity on Europa. The grant funding allows Collins to devote more time to the research project and hire student research assistants, and for the Wheaton research team to present their work at conferences.

Planetary geologists Simon Kattenhorn, of the University of Idaho, Moscow, and Louise Prockter, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., pointed out evidence for plate tectonics on Europa last fall in an article published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Plate tectonics is the scientific theory that Earth’s outer layer is made up of plates or blocks that move, geological activity that leads to the formation of mountains and volcanoes and sets off earthquakes. The new observations on Europa provide the first solid evidence that this geologic process may also occur beyond Earth. [Read more...]

Honoring creativity

Professor wins Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship

Wheaton Professor Kelley GoffAssistant Professor of Art and Art History Kelly Goff has been awarded a 2015 Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship. He is one of 15 artists who will receive a fellowship of $10,000.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council provides unrestricted grants for artists to promote the further development of their talents. The highly competitive fellowships, which are based on artistic quality and creativity of the work submitted, recognize exceptional work by Massachusetts artists across a range of disciplines. A total of 549 applications were received, including 294 in the category in which Goff’s fellowship was awarded: sculpture/installation/new genres.

“I’m truly honored and proud to receive the award,” said Goff. “My practice is becoming increasingly location-driven and so the funds will likely cover travel and research expenses.”

Goff, who earned his master of fine arts in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, has been a faculty member at Wheaton College since fall 2013. His work has been widely exhibited, including at the Beard and Weil Galleries at Wheaton; RISD Museum and Woods-Gerry Gallery in Providence, R.I.; Maxon Mills in Wassaic, N.Y.; and Davidson Contemporary and Allegra LaViola Gallery in New York City. [Read more...]

Life beyond Earth

Professors win NASA research grant

Europa ocean
Two Wheaton College professors and their students are joining a $50 million, five-year effort to study the origins, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. [Read more...]

Career bid

Chen RufusSummer internship at Christie's turns into fall opportunity

While working as a summer intern at Christie’s auction house in New York City, Jiaan “Rufus” Chen ’15 was invited to view one of the items up for sale, a 300-year-old Korean celadon vase. An art history major with an interest in East Asian art, Chen was thrilled by the chance to examine the piece and even more excited when he got to hold it. Then he learned the vase was worth half a million dollars.

At that point, fascination turned to fear as one thought came to Chen’s mind: “Don’t drop it.”

Not only did the Wheaton senior not drop the vase, he handled the rest of his summer duties at Christie’s so well that his supervisor invited him back in fall 2014 to help the auction house prep for their big September sale. [Read more...]