- Frontlines - Rees' Research Challenging Conventional Wisdom
It all looks typical at first. Daniel Rees, Professor of Economics, hurries around an obstacle-strewn office in his biking gear, shuffling through piles of journal articles and student papers which smother his desk. This is not a particularly unusual scene around campus until one considers it is late December; the semester has been out for more than a week, the library is closed, and campus is a ghost town. One would think it the least favorable time for a professor to be coordinating research. Not Rees. He thrives on being unorthodox, perhaps intentionally challenging conventional wisdom. "There's definitely something to that. When working on topics like mine, there aren't a lot of places to publish. My articles aren't necessarily criminology or sociology. Sometimes it is frustrating. I've got something to prove: that it is economics, and it is relevant." What about research in traditional economic subjects, like inflation, trade agreements, or unemployment? "No. No," he says emphatically. "It bores the heck out of me."
- Frontlines - Laird Research focuses on Collaboration, Networking, and the "Self-Made" Man
Pamela Laird, Chair and Professor of History, highlights sharing and collaboration as the connections between her teaching and her research. From collaboration comes a certain excitement that aids in the advancement of knowledge. Excitement gives people the energy to explore difficult questions including how the world is, how the world was, and what the world may become. This questioning can intrigue researchers during any stage of their lives, trigger them to work ceaselessly, and will inevitably pull them toward other intriguing questions. "Sometimes people are excited about a discipline because their goal is to share that excitement about their research and to explore those questions," says Laird.
- Frontlines - Riel-Salvatore Setting the Record Straight on Neanderthals
In 1986, the Riel-Salvatore family took a trip to the Lascaux painted caves in southwestern France, and the future of Neanderthal research was impacted forever. "I was one of those really annoying people who knew what they wanted to do when they were nine years old, down to the specific subfield in my discipline," says Anthropology Assistant Professor Julien Riel-Salvatore. At the time, young Julien was obsessed with knights and medieval lore, so on that trip his mother, brother and Julien toured many castles and keeps; almost as an afterthought, they went to see the Paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux. After seeing the caves, knights were out and early hominids were in. Upon returning home to Montreal, Canada, Julien prized a souvenir children's book showcasing the cave paintings and discussing the prehistoric artists. He keeps that book in his office to this day, next to tomes and textbooks full of the information archeologists, including Julien himself, have gathered on early modern humans.