Author Archive

Romance and Asperger’s Syndrome

The other day I saw an interview with Hugh Dancy, who portrays a man with Asperger’s Syndrome in the new movie Adam. His character is one of the romantic leads (and the title character) in the film. In the interview, Dancy talks briefly about the research he did to better understand people with Asperger’s and the challenges they face in navigating social relationships.

I have no idea how accurate Dancy’s portrayal will be, but for a true insider’s viewpoint on life with Asperger’s, check out Laura Wexler’s powerful story “Alien No More,” which spotlights the struggles and triumphs of Penn State student Scott Robertson.

Clicking on this link will download a PDF of the article, which originally ran in our May/June issue.

Chas Brua, contributing editor

July 28, 2009 at 3:53 pm 2 comments

A Peek at the Blockson Collection

As prep for a photo essay we’re planning, a couple of us took a field trip to the Charles L. Blockson Collection at Pattee Library the other day. Blockson ’56 H&HD has collected hundreds of thousands of

Sculptures in the collection. Photo by Carole Otypka.

Sculptures in the collection. Photo by Carole Otypka.

items documenting African-American history and the African Diaspora, and he’s donated more than 10,000 of them to Penn State. (He’s also given about 500,000 items to Temple University’s libraries.)

The Blockson collection at Penn State includes books spanning the past 400 years … sculpture … “ephemera” such as postcards and matchbook covers … sheet music. One of the most recent, and most heartbreaking, donations was a set of slave shackles.

Look for our photo essay in the Jan./Feb. issue.

Chas Brua, contributing editor

July 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

‘Street of Our Lady’ Wins National Award

Penn State filmmakers Judy Maltz, Barbara Bird, and Richie Sherman have shared some good news with us: Their documentary No. 4 Street of Our Lady won a Golden Eagle Award during the spring CINE competition.

Francisca Halamajowa

Francisca Halamajowa

The movie tells how Francisca Halamajowa, a Polish Catholic, hid Jewish families from the Nazis. The 15 people she saved—including Maltz’s father and grandparents—were among only 30 Jews who survived in the town of Sokal, out of an original 6,000.

Past winners of the CINE Golden Eagle have included Ken Burns, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese.

You can find out more about the film in Vicki Glembocki’s award-winning story from the Nov./Dec. 2008 Penn Stater (note: clicking on that link downloads a PDF) and at the film’s Web site.

—Chas Brua, contributing editor

June 29, 2009 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

On the Fast Track?

An old joke has it that State College is “equally inaccessible from everywhere,” but that situation might change someday if high-speed rail comes to town. President Obama has floated a plan for a high-speed rail program in the U.S., and Penn State is making a case for having State College included in a Pennsylvania high-speed line.

It’s premature to book your tickets, though. As the Penn State testimony before a state House subcommittee noted, people have been talking about bringing high-speed rail to central Pennsylvania since at least 1985.

—Chas Brua, contributing editor 

June 26, 2009 at 12:15 pm Leave a comment

Update on the Time Traveler

Yesterday, I mentioned that Good Morning, America, planned to air an interview with physics prof Ron Mallett ’69, ’70g, ’73g about his research on time travel—and his quest to go back in time to save his father’s life. Mallett dropped us a line this morning to say that the show has moved the interview to Sunday morning, for Father’s Day.

Chas Brua, contributing editor

June 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm 1 comment

Ron Mallett’s Time-Travel Quest

Physicist Ronald Mallett ’69, ’70g, ’73g has been obsessed with the idea of time travel for decades. He kept the motivation behind his research a secret for many years—he wanted to go back in time to save the life of his father, who died when Mallett was only 10.

The opening spread of The Penn Stater's July/August feature about Ronald Mallett.

The opening spread of The Penn Stater's July/August feature about Ronald Mallett.

Nowadays, Mallett is getting a lot of publicity for his work on the physics of time travel, and his poignant life story. Spike Lee is working on a movie about him, and Good Morning, America, is scheduled to broadcast an interview with Mallett this Saturday. (The show airs on ABC from 8 to 9 a.m.)

In our July/August issue, look for Vicki Glembockis feature story about Mallett and the hopes that have driven and haunted him.

Chas Brua, contributing editor

June 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm 1 comment

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