Notable & Quoteable

Campus notes and faculty quotes from spring semester


Categories: Academic

A team of UM students recently won the International Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl after competing against undergraduate students from thirty-two different universities. Students Hayden Hooker and Joel Johnson both are seniors studying philosophy; Alan Rolph is a senior studying political science and journalism; and team coach Neil Bennett is a graduate student pursuing a master’s in economics. Though it is common for Ethics Bowl teams to have a philosophy professor for a coach and to prepare for the competition through a credited course, the UM team prepared on its own outside of class. During November and December, the team advanced through regional competitions, and they won the final competition on February 27 in Jacksonville, Fla.

After receiving approval from the Montana Board of Regents in January, UM’s College of Arts and Sciences officially changed its name to the College of Humanities and Sciences. “It better reflects who we are,” says Chris Comer, dean of the college. “There are universities that are currently shying away from the humanities. We would rather hoist the flag of humanism and be proud of it.” The college also is taking steps to launch a new Humanities Institute. Currently in the planning stage, the institute promises to stimulate research and support scholarships directed toward the humanities on campus. Comer notes that the new name is meant to more accurately portray the identities of the college’s departments and programs and does not indicate a shift in academic focus. “We are still located in the Liberal Arts Building,” Comer says. “And we still identify as the home of the liberal arts. We’re also one of the shining spots of the humanities in Montana, and we wanted the name of the college to reflect that.”

Scientists and students studying at the subnanometer level can rejoice: UM has purchased a single-crystal X-ray diffractometer valued at $515,000. The device is the only small-molecule diffractometer in Montana and this part of the Rocky Mountain West. “This is a state-of-the-art instrument,” says Orion Berryman, a UM assistant professor of chemistry. “We are really excited to have it here.” Berryman says the diffractometer measures tiny crystal samples to determine composition at atomic resolution. This tells scientists what the crystals are made of and how the atoms are arranged. The device produces 3-D maps that illustrate the locations and composition of atoms within the sample. Berryman wants to spread the word that the device is now available to chemists, geoscientists, pharmacy researchers, biologists, and others. “It is intended to be an intercollegiate instrument,” Berryman says. “We hope to have students from UM, Montana State, and elsewhere using it.”

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