April Fools!

By Aileen Marshall

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1. This is the day when it’s common to pull pranks on friends and false news stories run rampant. However, the truth is always revealed later that day. While not an official holiday, the practice is commonly accepted.

No one really knows when the tradition started. Many cultures going back to ancient times have a spring rite of turning the social order upside down, when unacceptable behavior acceptable just for that day, as a way of celebrating winter’s end. In England, the tradition is that the prank must be pulled and then revealed by noon. Anyone who attempts a prank after noon is considered the fool.

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Doubly Distinguished

By George Barany, Jed Fisher, Micheel Hanko, and Marjorie Russel

GB is a Rockefeller alum (1977); JF is a native New Yorker transplanted to the mid-west, where at the University of Notre Dame he continues to read, think, and write about important minutiae at the interface between biology and chemistry; MH is a NYC voice teacher, writer, and performer; MR, a long-time member of the Laboratory of Genetics, is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at Rockefeller. For more puzzles by Barany and Friends and for the solution to this month’s puzzle, visit http://tinyurl.com/gbpuzzle

Click here to download this month’s puzzle in pdf!

Stopping to Smell the Rhododendron

by Jessica Phippard

Stop to admire the azaleas, but don’t take a bite! (Photograph by the author)

A sense of calm overcomes me as I enter campus each morning, the street sounds fading out as the stresses of the morning commute melt away. It is the landscaping on campus that does this to me. Despite any anxieties about what the day may bring, the flowers and trees in sharp contrast to the urban environment put my mind at ease. This concept of plant life improving mood is a popular study in the field of psychology, and I believe this is true regardless of whether or not we actively revere our surroundings. Whether this is a learned association or something more deeply rooted in our evolution, it matters not; my workday is more enjoyable due to the vibrant surroundings.

Winter or summer, it is the tall centenarian London Plane trees lining the main path up from 66th Street that best stand out to me. In the warm months it is their shade which I most readily embrace, but in the cooler months when their branches are bare, I simply admire Continue reading