Daily Debriefing

Dartmouth College was ranked eighth in Foreign Policy Magazine’s list of the top ten undergraduate international relations programs in the country, joining the ranks of Harvard University, Princeton University and Yale University, the magazine announced this month. Foreign Policy cited the work of the government department, especially that of professors Dirk Vandewalle and Jennifer Lind, whose research focuses on current international affairs. The College is the only school on the magazine’s list lacking a graduate program associated with international relations. The rankings are based on research conducted by the Teaching, Research and International Policy program at the College of William and Mary and a survey of international relations faculties from every four-year institution in America, according to Dartmouth Now.

Dartmouth psychology professor Ming Meng, a leading innovator in the field of brain functioning, has combined functional magnetic resonance imaging, computer vision and psychophysics to assign specific functions to different sides of the brain, according to EurekAlert, a science news website. His research focuses on distinguishing between the facial recognition capabilities of the right and left brain. Using images of faces and “non-face” objects, Meng collected fMRI data about his subjects’ brain activity, the website reported. The implications of Meng’s research have created a new frame of reference for studying conditions like autism, which is marked by trouble with facial recognition and. Knowing how the brain processes faces may enable doctors to identify some of the organizational discrepancies present in an autistic individual’s brain, according to the website.

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice announced that the Republican plan for across-the-board cuts to Medicare may cost the country more money than reforming the program, according to a study headed by economics professor Jonathan Skinner and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Cuts to the program will cause new Medicare patients to be turned away, slow the systems already in place and decrease the presence of collaborative consortiums that try to improve health care for Americans, according to the study, co-authored by Dartmouth Medical School professor and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Chief Executive Officer James Weinstein and DMS professor Elliott Fisher. In order to decrease Medicare spending, money could be withheld and rebated to health care regions experiencing decreasing growth in medical costs, compelling hospitals to improve care and emphasize cost-efficiency, according to the study. A system in place for withholding 6 percent of Medicare costs could create $400 billion in revenue over the course of a decade, according to the report.

Professor investigates role of altered images

As photo retouching software becomes more accessible and prevalent, the models and celebrities who grace magazine covers sport slimmer bodies and better complexions than ever before. Motivated by the relationship between unrealistic, altered images and negative body image among readers, computer science professor Hany Farid and Eric Kee GR’13 have developed a system for quantifying the amount of retouching images receive.

The work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November responds to studies that link retouching to issues like eating disorders, according to Kee.

“I think that body image and dissatisfaction is a significant problem in our society,” he said. “The images that we see in newspapers and magazines kind of document what we think the standard of beauty is, and I think a rating system could kind of calibrate it back to reality again.”

Farid and Kee’s work also follows a recent push in Europe for legislation that would require advertisers and publishers to disclose image retouching. Such policies would simplify the issue, failing to distinguish photos cropped and lightened from those featuring more extreme “digital plastic surgery,” Farid said.

To develop its model, the team assembled sets of original and retouched images and asked participants to rate them based on how seriously they thought the subjects’ appearances had been altered. With this data, Farid and Kee generated a formula that quantifies the extent of digital retouching on a scale of one to five.

A group at the University of Amsterdam is currently evaluating the impact that this kind of rating system could have on readers’ perception of printed photos and body image, according to Farid.

Recently, Farid and The New York Times performed a photo analysis on officially released photos of deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il’s funeral procession and determined that the images had been altered, according to The New York Times.

While the official image showed an organized crowd, the original image revealed a more scattered arrangement of onlookers.

Farid analyzed the locations of parade participants in relation to their footprints to discern the accuracy of the photo, The Times reported.

Readers, especially young adults, often assume images in mass media have been altered, according to students interviewed by The Dartmouth.

“Whenever I see those shows about models and stuff, like America’s Next Top Model,’ you see those pictures of the girls before and after and they’re totally different,” Laura Bergsten ’15 said. “I just kind of expect it.”

Although Dartmouth Engineer magazine does not have an official policy on photo retouching, editor Karen Endicott of the Thayer School of Engineering said she only permits minor alterations, such as brightening, cropping and blemish removal, processes that Farid and Kee’s participants supported.

“If I have a close-up of a student and the face is really blemished, I might even out a little bit of that, but we don’t alter the meaning of a photo,” Endicott said. “I think it’s wrong to alter the meaning of a photo.”

Although it could take years before his research code is developed into a software packet for commercial use, Farid and Kee’s work has already had visible effects, Kee said.

“It’s interesting to note that even without creating the software it’s creating change politically and socially,” Kee said. “Just by saying, Hey, we can do this,’ we’ve raised awareness of the issue. That alone could drive change as well.”

Petit murderers’ convictions raise death penalty questions

The Petit Family Gallery in the Life Sciences Center pays tribute to William Petit '78's wife and children, whose killers are awaiting lethal injection.

Correction Appended###

On Dec. 9, 2011 three and a half years after Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, Hayley Petit, 17, and Michaela Petit, 11, were killed Joshua Komisarjevsky was sentenced to death for the Petit family murders, reopening dialogue about the death penalty in the state of Connecticut.

His accomplice, Steven Hayes, received the death penalty following his conviction in October 2010. However, a bill to repeal the death penalty in Connecticut currently awaiting approval from the state Senate could allow Komisarjevsky and Hayes to appeal their sentences, according to The Connecticut Mirror.

Hayley Petit daughter of William Petit ’78, who survived the attack would have matriculated with the Class of 2011. In memory of the Petit tragedy, the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center which opened this past September features a gallery dedicated to the Petit family. The memorial was built with funds raised directly from Petit’s classmates.

In October 2011, Komisarjevsky was convicted on 17 charges, including three counts of murder, four counts of kidnapping and charges of burglary, arson and assault against members of the Petit family. Hayes was found guilty of 16 of the same 17 crimes but was acquitted of arson. Six of Komisarjevsky and Hayes’ crimes made them eligible to receive the death penalty.

Connecticut has only seen one federal execution since 1960, that of Michael Ross in 2005 for the rape and murder of eight young girls, The New York Times reported. Before Ross, the last man executed in Connecticut was Joseph Taborsky for robbery and murder in May 1960.

Komisarjevsky and Hayes will join nine others in Connecticut currently awaiting lethal injection, the state’s method of execution, according to The New York Daily News.

William Petit has been vocal in his support of Connecticut law in favor of the death penalty and praised the June 2009 decision by former Gov. Mary Jodi Rell, R-Conn., to veto a bill that would have abolished it, according to The Hartford Courant.

“Thankfully, Gov. Rell has a sense of what is required to maintain the fabric of our society,” Petit told The Courant. “Finally, the victims have a reasonable voice and some consideration over the deluded thinkers who feel that rights should only be accorded to convicted felons. I want to thank Gov. Rell for her moral courage and clarity to stand up for what is right and just with her veto of the bill to abolish the death penalty.”

Although Petit lobbied for the death penalty in the years prior to Komisarjevsky and Hayes’ trials, he declined to testify during their sentencing periods because of concerns that it could yield grounds for appeal.

The Petit trial’s concurrency with the November 2010 Connecticut gubernatorial race brought the morality and legality of the death penalty to the forefront of the election, according to The New York Times.

Tom Foley replaced Rell who decided against running for reelection on the Republican ticket. Foley, a supporter of the death penalty, ran against Dan Malloy, D-Conn., who spoke about his desire to abolish the death penalty during his campaign.

According to a February survey conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, support for the death penalty in Connecticut has risen to 67 percent, up from 59 percent in 2005. The survey also found that 74 percent of those polled support the death penalty in the Petit case.

Despite Malloy’s opposition to the death penalty, he was elected governor on Nov. 9, 2010 the same day that jurists announced their decision to sentence Hayes to death.

In April 2011, the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would abolish the death penalty for future crimes, according to The Connecticut Mirror.

The bill died in the Connecticut General Assembly in May 2011 when several senators decided not to support the repeal of the death penalty after talks with William Petit, according to The Connecticut Mirror. The General Assembly may vote on the bill in the next session in 2012, The Connecticut Mirror reported.

Although the bill would have applied only to future cases, Chief Public Defender Susan Storey and Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane said that if the bill became law, it would be unlikely that those currently sitting on death row would be put to death, according to The Day, a Connecticut-based news source.

Malloy, however, did not agree with Storey and Kane’s assessment, citing the current inadequacies of the death sentence in Connecticut.

“I’m not sure I agree with that,” he told The Day. “Would people appeal on that basis? Of course. But they’re appealing on every basis. That’s why we have two people on death row who have been on death row for more than 20 years.”

Following Hayes’ sentencing, Petit told reporters that he believed the jury’s decision was just, but nothing could alleviate his suffering, according to The New York Daily News.

“There’s never closure,” Petit told The New York Daily News. “There’s a hole. There’s a hole with jagged edges. Over time, the edges may smooth out, but the hole in your heart and the hole in your soul is always there.”

The jury foreman, Ian Cassell, said in an interview with The New York Times that the trial weighed heavily on every juror and the verdict left an overwhelming sense of loss.

“All the jurors were really emotional,” he said. “No one is happy. Nothing is better. Nothing is solved.”

The gallery in the LCS features various works of art created by members of the Dartmouth community, with a quilt entitled “The Spirit of Dartmouth” serving as the focal point of the exhibit.

The Petit home was invaded around 3 a.m. on July 23, 2007. Hawke-Petit was forced to drive to and withdraw $15,000 from a local bank, where she was able to notify an employee that her family was being held hostage.

Upon arriving on the scene at the Petits’ home, a police officer found the house burning. Komisarjevsky and Hayes attempted to flee and hit the first officer’s car before crashing into the two police cars set up by other officers as a roadblock.

The original article stated that the bill to repeal the death penalty was awaiting vote, when in fact the bill had died in the Connecticut General Assembly in May 2011. The bill may be voted on in a legislative session in 2012.

Longest-serving prof. Gert dies at 77 in N.C.

The late Bernard

Former philosophy professor Bernard “Bernie” Gert, the longest-serving faculty member in the College’s history, spent his life spreading his love of philosophy to family members and colleagues. Gert, who taught at the College from 1959 until his retirement in 2009, died Dec. 24 of heart failure at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C., according to his son, Joshua Gert. He was 77 years old.

He was an expert in ethics and bioethics, a leading researcher on the philosopher Thomas Hobbes and the founder of the ethics committee at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, according to Joshua Gert.

After growing up in Ohio and receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati, Gert earned a PhD at Cornell University in 1962, according to his wife Esther Gert.

Gert first became interested in philosophy after hearing someone from the University of Cincinnati speak about the subject at his high school, his wife said.

“[He] has loved it all his life since then,” Esther Gert said. “He did exactly what he liked his whole life, which was philosophy.”

Gert also played an instrumental role in shaping how the practice of medical ethics is taught at DHMC and was influential in this field on a national scale, his son said.

“A lot of professional philosophers just do philosophy, but my father served for many, many years on hospital ethics committees,” he said. “He thought moral theories were pointless unless they could be applied.”

The world-renowned theory described in his book “Morality” has kept the text continually in print since 1970, and he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Cincinnati in 2006, according to his son.

“My father did live the moral code that he tried to clarify and justify,” Joshua Gert said. “He really was a remarkably upright, solid, reliable guy who did the right thing in many cases when it wasn’t super easy to do.”

Gert had a strong influence on the philosophy department at the College and was its chair for many years, according to former Dartmouth philosophy professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, who currently teaches at Duke University.

“He absolutely had a deep influence on my work and the work of many other people, including his former students and other philosophers,” Sinnott-Armstrong said. “He was a constant presence that inspired us all to do better work and also put pressure to live up to his high standards.”

Gert’s ethical system, developed over a period of decades, remains one of the most plausible and interesting moral theories available today, according to Sinnott-Armstrong.

As a professor, Gert encouraged students to make claims and announce their own views, which he critically assessed, Sinnott-Armstrong said.

“He tended to teach in a very Socratic style,” he said. “He was always fair-minded and always had time to help you with your own work and provide feedback.”

Gert was also heavily involved in the Dartmouth Jewish Community, according to his son. He was one of the first Jewish professors hired by the College, Joshua Gert said.

Although his publications and accomplishments were extremely influential, Gert was also proud of his life outside of scholarship, according to his wife.

“His greatest achievement may be his writings, but I might also say it is his family,” she said.

Gert had an enormous influence on his children, Joshua and Heather Gert, who are currently both professors of philosophy, according to Joshua Gert.

“It was so fun to talk with him, and my love for philosophy was an extension of my great love for him,” his son said. “I was very much inspired by my father.”

Gert’s passion for philosophy was evident in all aspects of his life, and he was constantly involved in philosophical conversations and revising his work.

“It was like walking a tight rope one little move and you’re off into the philosophy,” Joshua Gert said. “I remember hearing the click-click of his old typewriter as he worked on his books late at night while I was trying to fall asleep.”

Sinnott-Armstrong remembers Gert as hardworking and honest.

“He was known to be critical and yet helpful, which is exactly what I wanted in a colleague,” he said.

At the time of his death, Gert was at work on a book on human nature, according to Joshua Gert. It was nearly finished and in the revision process.

Gert’s talents as a philosopher and father were evident to all who knew him, his son said.

“You can’t get everything perfect and have it last forever,” Joshua Gert said. “He had it almost perfect he saw a lot of great things.”

Bernie Gert is survived by Esther Gert, his wife of 53 years, his children, his son-in-law John Roberts and his daughter-in-law Victoria Costa both philosophy professors and his granddaughter Susanna, according to his wife.

Faculty earn science fellowships

Topics ranging from the dissociation of chemical bonds to computer algorithms characterize the research of the five Dartmouth faculty members selected as fellows at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, according to a Dec. 7 press release posted on the organization’s website.

Duane Compton, Russell Hughes, Lee Lynd, Jason Moore and George O’Toole will be formally recognized by the AAAS at the group’s annual meeting, which will take place in Vancouver Feb. 16-20.

The AAAS an international non-profit organization that facilitates collaboration between scientists in various fields and encourages public dialogue about the sciences recognizes fellows annually for distinction in one of 24 fields of study. Dartmouth Medical School professors Compton, Moore and O’Toole were recognized in the field of biological sciences, while Hughes was selected in the chemistry field and Lynd was recognized in engineering. In total, 539 fellows were selected this year among professors and researchers from colleges, universities and medical research institutions across the globe, according to the press release.

The number of College faculty members elected to the fellowship in the past few years has experienced a significant increase, according to AAAS records. While four professors were awarded the fellowship in 2010, only two were selected in 2009 and one in 2008. In total, twenty-six College faculty members are currently AAAS fellows.

The AAAS selected six fellows each from both Harvard University and Princeton University. Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University each had four fellows, while three fellows were chosen from Brown University and two were selected from Columbia University, according to the press release.

Hughes chosen for his work in organo-metallic chemistry and the development of synthetic methods for the conversion of carbon-fluoride to carbon-hydrogen bonds is the first member of the chemistry department to be awarded an AAAS fellowship, he said.

“I hope there are more fellows in the future,” Hughes said. “There are certainly many people in my department and in the College who I think are deserving. You have to have a bit of a culture if people don’t get nominated, they don’t become fellows. We need to have a culture of nominating people who are deserving.”

DMS dean Wiley Souba said he sees the increase in AAAS fellowships as a sign of heightened national recognition of the research being done at the College and DMS. “The talent is here. We want to take advantage of these opportunities by building a culture for submitting nominations and making known our good work,” Souba said in an email to The Dartmouth.

Research by faculty at DMS is becoming increasingly visible on a national and international scale, Moore said.

“I think DMS has always had really good people, but we’re kind of hidden away in northern New England,” he said. “It’s not necessarily that we’re doing better science, but DMS is raising its visibility here and internationally. People are discovering all the good stuff going on here.”

Moore, a genetics and community and family medicine professor, was nominated for the AAAS fellowship for his work using computer algorithms to map genetic and environmental patterns for common diseases. Moore and his team found that these factors work together in a “synergistic way” to influence an individual’s risk for a specific disease and have made their computer software available for free download for doctors and health care providers. The program has been downloaded 30,000 times since 2005 and has emerged as the “gold standard” in the field for this type of analysis, Moore said.

Compton, who was nominated for the fellowship for his work in cell division as a biochemistry professor at DMS, has contributed insight into how tumor cells improperly segregate during this process.

“In a practical sense, we are trying to stop this error in chromosomal segregation,” Compton said. “If we corrected the pathway, obviously it would be much better for the patient.”

Lynd’s nomination follows his research on extracting energy from plant biomass as a professor at the Thayer School of Engineering. O’Toole, a microbiology and immunology professor, was nominated for his work on cystic fibrosis, according to a College press release.

Expanding research projects and increasing funding awards are key elements of the DMS strategic plan, according to Souba and Compton. Last year, DMS funding awards for research rose from $128 million to $137 million.

Despite decreases in the budgets of institutions like the National Institute for Health, growth in DMS funding is likely to continue as a result of strategic planning, according to Compton.

“In the medical school, we’ve put together a pretty aggressive strategic plan to actively increase research activities through new recruitments and projects here,” he said. “I think [research funding] will increase in the future.”

Nomination to the AAAS fellowship is largely an honorary position and fellows will not take on many new responsibilities within the AAAS, though they will gain the ability to nominate new fellows and are invited to attend the AAAS annual meeting, according to Moore.

“It’s quite an honor for these faculty members but also for Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth,” Souba said. “It’s kind of a merit badge of excellence. The honor itself is special but at a more fundamental level, it embodies what we’re all about at DMS: improving the lives of the people we serve through research and education.”

Hughes said that for many fellows, the honor recognizes their long-term commitment to a particular field of research.

“I take this as a recognition of all the people in my team that I’ve worked with over the years and as a tribute to my department that provides the collegiate environment that allowed and provided for this research,” he said.

Moore said that the recognition that comes with the fellowship advances the College’s and researchers’ reputations.

“I think we are getting recognized more for the work we’re doing, and it comes with more success,” Moore said. “Along with publishing more papers, receiving more grants, it all plays an important role and improves the reputation of the institution. People are going to look more favorably on the research being done at Dartmouth because of that.”

Completed fellowship nominations for 2011 were due in April, Hughes said. Fellows heard of their successful election to the AAAS via email on Nov. 6 and were later sent formal congratulatory letters.

“I was surprised, but knew it was in the cards,” Hughes said. “You have to know you’re up for position because you submit a number of information, but the deadline for all that to go in was in April.”

Nominations to the AAAS can be submitted in one of three ways: three current and active fellows can nominate a peer not from an affiliated institution, the AAAS chief executive officer can make a nomination or a field’s steering group can make a nomination, according to the organization’s website. Each of the 24 fields of study recognized by the AAAS has its own steering group to oversee nominations. Potential fellows must receive at least five votes in favor within the steering group and nominations are then passed to the AAAS Council for a final vote.

New shows this winter concentrate on the men of comedy

Fall may have been the season for single women, with such new hits as “New Girl,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Pan Am” and “Whitney,” but the winter is the season for the eclectic male lead. The season’s chilly weather also brings with it the premieres of “Angry Boys,” “It’s a Brad, Brad World” and “Luck,” as well as the continuation of “The Life and Times of Tim,” offering a respite from the fall’s influence of “Bridesmaids” (2011) on female comedies. Although a heavy emphasis on cable shows dominates the mid-season, almost all of the major networks feature a new show for viewers to enjoy.

“Angry Boys” created by Chris Lilley, the genius behind “Summer Heights High,” premiered Jan. 1 on HBO. With a speciality for mock-documentaries, Lilley portrays several different characters in the program, including imbecile twin brothers, their prison officer grandmother, an overbearing Asian mom, an aging surfing champion and a black rapper named S.mouse. The first episode contains the same sort of outrageous and often offensive humor that Lilley brought to the world of “Summer Heights High.” The quick-witted granny’s sarcasm dominates the premiere, as she frequently ridicules the delinquent juveniles, giving them superhero-themed pajamas and serenading them with awkward karaoke renditions.

“A Brad, Brad World” stars Rachel Zoe’s fashion assistant Brad Goreski as he ventures solo into the cutthroat world of styling. Here, he tries to move his studio out of his garage, but he has to contend with only having one celebrity client. The show, which premiered Monday Jan. 2 on Bravo, also features Goreski’s boyfriend of 10 years, Gary Janetti, who embraces a conservative but preppy style.

“The Life and Times of Tim,” an offbeat animated comedy in its third season on HBO, features the voice of creator Steve Dildarian as Tim, an average idiot who always says the wrong things at the wrong times. Right now, a jobless Tim has accidentally killed a blackmailing caddy and has managed to offend everyone in attendance at a Chinese funeral. If you are ever feeling particularly down, be sure to check out Tim, who is certain to be in more trouble than you.

A predominantly male cast also stars in “Luck,” which premieres on Jan. 29 on HBO. This drama centers on the Santa Anita racetrack and its daily operations. Created by David Milch, the mind behind “Deadwood” and “John From Cincinnati,” the show takes a look at the intricate world of horse racing and stars a big-name cast including Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina.

Although there will be a heavy emphasis on comedy this January, dramatic shows remain on the schedule including “Luck” and Fox’s “Alcatraz,” a show produced by J.J Abrams. This drama is expected to be full of sinister schemes and will include the reappearance of several thought-to-be-dead Alcatraz inmates.

The Emmy Award-winning “Downton Abbey” also returns to PBS, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of “Brideshead Revisited.” Both programs have captivated American audiences with sumptuous and sometimes scandalous narratives about British aristocracy during World War I. Modern viewers are still enamored by this type of slow-paced, elitist costume drama almost as much as by the nauseating real-world antics of Seaside Heights, N.J.

“Jersey Shore,” a show that bridges drama, comedy and romance, returns in its fifth season to MTV this January. The always colorful cast of Snooki, the Situation and the other muscled, fake-tanned loonies are back from embarrassing themselves in Italy to continue their socially unacceptable behavior on the shores of New Jersey.

The much-loved cult film “Napoleon Dynamite” (2004) will be adapted this season in the form of an animated comedy series on Fox, starring Jon Heder as the voice of the eponymous character. The most anticipated comedy to return this season, however, is Tina Fey’s sitcom “30 Rock,” which enters its sixth season on Jan. 12. The season will face the interesting challenge of dealing with the storyline of character Avery Jessup, Jack Donaghy’s wife, who had been kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il during season five. In light of the Korean dictator’s recent death, audiences will soon find out how the show’s writers will reconcile comedy and recent political developments. The new male-dominated shows to premiere this winter will face competition from the fall’s female driven shows, particularly the return of Fey’s Liz Lemon. With the Golden Globes around the corner, it will be interesting to see whether comedy or drama will reign supreme this year.

Piano trio to perform the works of Mendelssohn at the Hop

Violinist Philip Setzer, pianist Wu Han and cellist David Finkel will perform Mendelssohn's piano trios.

Tonight, melodies from professionals tickling the ivories will echo through the halls of the Hopkins Center for the Arts as esteemed musicians Wu Han, David Finckel and Philip Setzer travel to the College to perform piano trio works by early Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn. The concert represents the impressive collaboration between three of the classical music world’s powerhouse performers.

Finckel and Setzer have played together since 1979 as members of the world-renowned Emerson String Quartet, an ensemble that has garnered eight Grammy Awards, three Gramophone Awards and the Avery Fisher Prize, arguably the most sought-after honor for chamber music groups.

Han is Finckel’s wife and a distinguished pianist and pioneer of musical education in her own right. The New York Times once referred to the pair as “Chamber Music’s Busy Power Couple.” She and Finckel are also directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as several music festivals and workshops for young artists.

“Our group is really a labor of love,” Setzer said in an interview The Dartmouth. “We’re all like family, and we have such a great time playing in this trio together.”

The concert will showcase the piano trio, an ensemble comprised of a pianist, a violinist and a cellist, according to Margaret Lawrence, director of programming at the Hopkins Center, .

“[The trio] provides the broadly expressive possibilities of the piano added to the beautiful, rhapsodic melodies of a violin and cello,” Lawrence said. “In a piano trio, you have the great intimacy of a string quartet, including the sense that the music is a vital, witty conversation going back and forth between the players.”

Performing with the trio represents a welcome break from playing with the Emerson Quartet, which often plays upwards of 90 concerts a year, according to Setzer,

“It’s certainly fun to do something other than the quartet,” he said. “To play and really learn the repertoire of this piano trio genre is really fun.”

While Han, Finckel and Setzer are experts on a variety of musical genres and styles, they often choose to immerse themselves in the work of a specific composer. After a longtime focus on the piano trios of Franz Schubert, the trio members decided to shift their focus to the works of Mendelssohn.

“We try to focus each season on one composer and really delve into their works,” Setzer said. “Mendelssohn’s piano trios have really exciting and beautiful melodies and are the pinnacles of the piano trio repertoire.”

The trio members possess a deep admiration for Mendelssohn’s music. In 2003, Finckel and Han founded the Music@Menlo chamber music institute in San Francisco. The 2009 Music@Menlo series was titled “Being Mendelssohn” and marked a celebration of the composer’s life and works. A variety of renowned ensembles and lecturers attended the series to perform Mendelssohn’s music and discuss his impact on the musical world.

The concert will showcase Mendelssohn’s “youthful exuberance [and] vivid sometimes almost feverish excitement about music,” Lawrence said.

The trio members admire not only Mendelssohn’s compositional prowess, but also his intellectual character. Mendelssohn was a respected conductor as well as a composer, and he is also credited with resurrecting the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach. He also pursued a wide range of passions beyond music including beekeeping and landscape art, according to Setzer.

“Mendelssohn was as much a Renaissance man as you could imagine,” said Setzer. “He embraced life in a way so few people do, and you can hear that in his music, which is so full of life.”

The star-studded concert at Dartmouth will begin with Mendelssohn’s passionate and dramatic Cello Sonata in D Major, performed by Han and Finckel. Composed during a period of professional struggles, personal loss and emotional upheaval for Mendelssohn, the work reflects the feelings of burgeoning passion, which defined Mendelssohn’s compositions.

Setzer will then join Han and Finckel on stage to present Mendelssohn’s two works for piano trio. The ensemble intends to release a recording of Mendelssohn’s piano trios this month, according to Setzer.

“[The pieces] are filled with dramatic moods, from the dark and portentous to the carefree and sparkling,” Lawrence said.

Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1, in the key of D minor, opens with a lyrical cello solo and “a million piano notes” played by Han, Setzer said. The following third movements of both pieces are light and playful “scherzo” sections, which reflect Mendelssohn’s sense of humor, according to Setzer.

“Mendelssohn was the kind of guy you’d like to meet at a party or dinner,” Setzer said regarding the composer’s playful musical style.

The hallmark of the Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2, in the key of C minor, is his inclusion of elements inspired by his Jewish roots. Although he was raised as a Christian, Mendelssohn was born Jewish, and he pays homage to his heritage by including motifs typical of Jewish songs in the last movement of this piece, which will close tonight’s concert, according to Setzer.

The trio members will also give a post-concert talk and Setzer plans to meet with Dartmouth music majors on Friday morning to further discuss the works of Mendelssohn.

“We are thrilled to be coming to Dartmouth,” Setzer said. “We hope everybody enjoys the concert as much as we will.”

Finkel, Han and Setzer will perform this evening at 7 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center.

Women’s basketball loses tense game against Holy Cross

Women's basketball missed a last-second shot and lost to Holy Cross on Tuesday in a game that featured numerous lead changes.

With less than a second left on the clock, Millica Toskovic ’15 lobbed the ball down the court as the Big Green women’s basketball team made its final push to force overtime against the College of Holy Cross on Tuesday night. Although Tia Dawson ’15 caught the ball with time to put up a shot, the buzzer sounded to cut off Dartmouth’s attempt at a comeback. In the end, the Big Green lost to the Crusaders, 65-63, in a well-matched game.

Dartmouth came out strong in the first half, in part due to the excellent play of its post players. The women started off the game with an early 11-7 lead and continued to lead for the entire half. Dawson and Arianne Hunter ’14 battled their way into the paint, fighting with the Crusaders for every rebound.

Captain Faziah Steen ’13 said that getting to the net required reading Holy Cross’ defense and executing the appropriate offense.

“It came down to being able to recognize whether they were in zone or man,” she said. “We were able to hit some outside shots but I think we played our best offense when we were able to move the ball around and get post touches along with some easy buckets inside.”

Steen and Toskovic solidified the Big Green’s lead, leading the charge with outside shots to bring the lead to 23-15 just six minutes into the game.

Holy Cross soon regained confidence, however, as Kristine Ganser went 6-for-7 at the free-throw line, leading to a 14-6 Crusader run. By halftime, Holy Cross had tied the game 29-29.

Steen said the team discussed the importance of keeping the ball in its possession during the halftime break.

“The second half was just about being able to take care of the ball down the stretch as far as not turning it over and then continuing to move the ball around to get everyone touches and make the defense work,” she said.

Crusader Amy Lepley stifled the Big Green at the beginning of the second half with a huge scoring streak of seven points. Although Holy Cross snagged its first lead of the game 36-29, Dartmouth was determined not to let the game slip away. Nicola Zimmer ’14, who tallied 11 points on the night, sliced the Holy Cross lead by adding five points to put the Big Green back on track.

The game was delayed for nearly 20 minutes due to a Holy Cross player’s injury, and when the whistle blew, Dartmouth returned with a new-found intensity and came back from a six-point deficit. Toskovic nailed a jumper from the right to start a 10-5 run for the Big Green, creating a one point lead over the Crusaders.

Two minutes later, the game was tied 56-56 and Dartmouth was looking for a big opportunity to grab a win.

The Big Green took a three point lead with less than five minutes remaining with the help of a three-pointer from Steen and a jumper from Hunter. From that point on, it was an all-out battle for the lead. Holy Cross sunk three of four free throws and had help from a late jump shot by Kelly Hamner to ice the game.

Steen said the Big Green took a couple of quick missed shots instead of taking longer with the ball. Holy Cross’ defense held up and was able to make several key baskets to catch up with only minutes left, she said.

Dartmouth will focus on practicing hard for the next two weeks in anticipation of its Ivy League opener against Harvard University on Jan. 14. The game is set for 7 p.m. at Leede Arena.

Steen said that to prepare for the upcoming match against Harvard, the team will focus on putting the right pieces together and polishing its play.

“For the next week and a half, we will practice being able to execute our offensive sets and doing strategic things such as be able to transition between defenses seamlessly,” she said. “It’s about capitalizing on our strengths as a team, like our running game.”