By Ilene Dube 

Images courtesy of Michael Graves Architecture and Design 

In the weeks before his death, Michael Graves gave one of his last interviews to Princeton Magazine for the article that is printed here as written, with some modifications. He was still reporting to work every day, painting, making travel plans, seeking new building projects and looking forward to another year of teaching.

In this world there are numerous entities titled Michael Graves. There’s the Hotel Michael in Singapore, a luxury facility named for and featuring everything designed by the Princeton-based architect. The rooms are a sort of Michael Graves catalog, filled with his hallmark shapes that evoke roots in classical architecture. Even the paintings and murals come from the hand of Graves. more

By Linda Arntzenius

Photo illustration by Jorge Naranjo

Mathematical logic seems an unlikely field for a national hero. And yet, Winston Churchill described Alan Turing as having “made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany.” Churchill was referring to Turing’s code-breaking for the British intelligence service. As astounding as that was, Turing’s impact goes far beyond his efforts to break the German “Enigma” at Bletchley Park. To computer scientists he’s venerated as a pioneer whose theoretical “Universal Turing Machine” laid the groundwork for today’s digital revolution.

So why did it take so long for Turing to become a household name?

The answer to that question can now be quite simply stated. Turing was a practicing homosexual at a time when homosexual acts were subject to criminal prosecution in the U.K. Not only that, in the paranoid post-war period, homosexuals in Britain, as in the United States, were highly suspect, assumed to be vulnerable to blackmail during the spy-games of the Cold War.

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By Ellen Gilbert

Screenwriters and movie producers take note: here is a great story that takes place on a remote island: the true-life adventures of Rosemary Grant and Peter Grant, the British-born, Princeton University-based evolutionary biologists.

That said, their new book, 40 Years of Evolution is unlikely to be optioned for a movie. Published by Princeton University Press, it teems with statistics, graphs, charts, references, and technical details that document their remarkable study of fi nches on Daphne Major, a small volcanic island in the Galápagos. Although the Grants say that they “have designed this book for students, educators, and others to read for enjoyment and inspiration,” the Princeton Public Library does not yet own a copy; Princeton University’s Lewis Science Library does. Moviemakers would be well advised, instead, to consult with science writer Jonathan Weiner, whose 1994 book, The Beak of the Finch, visits the Grants mid-career. More recently, Weiner’s New York Times essay, “In Darwin’s Footsteps and Beyond,” uses the publication of 40 Years of Evolution as an opportunity to bring their story upto- date. more

By Linda Arntzenius

Photography by Nicholas Babladelis, NJB Photography

There was a time when the words science and religion rarely appeared in a sentence without the word versus holding them apart. This adversarial attitude can still be found in high-profile sword fencing between media personalities. But at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton you are more likely to find scientists sitting down with theologians, among other scholars in the sciences and humanities. Part of this change in the intellectual landscape is due to the inescapable importance of religion across the globe. Center Director William Storrar (“Will” to friends and colleagues) is fond of quoting the scientist who, when asked if he believed in God, responded: “I believe in humanity and humanity believes in God.” As Storrar puts it: “if you are going to deal with the problems of humanity, you need to deal with the question of God.” more

By Linda Arntzenius

The late Michael Graves, the subject of this issue’s cover story, was Newark Museum’s master planner, architect and interior designer since the late 1960s. As such, his firm has worked on dozens of projects there, including a 175,000 square foot renovation that garnered an AIA National Honor Award and a new master plan in honor of the Museum’s centennial in 2009.

There is so much to see in the state’s largest museum that a visit always yields some surprises. In addition to mounting new exhibitions, Newark Museum has fine collections of American, decorative and contemporary art, as well as artwork from Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the ancient world. Its Tibetan galleries are considered among the best and it has paintings by such American masters as Hiram Powers, Thomas Cole, John Singer Sargent, Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Church, Childe Hassam, Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Joseph Stella, Tony Smith and Frank Stella. And it’s not just for art lovers. The museum boasts a planetarium and regular displays from its 70,000 natural science collection in the Victoria Hall of Science. more

By Stuart Mitchner

We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden…

That line from Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock” has been singing in my mind ever since I began thinking about books on gardens for the spring issue. The sound that haunts me, however, isn’t from the composer’s version, but the one sung by Ian Matthews and backed by Gordon Huntley’s eloquent pedal steel guitar on the album Later That Same Year by Matthews’ Southern Comfort. Huntley weaves a spell of such beauty, no place but an earthly paradise could live up to it.

Of real world here-and-now gardens in my experience, I think of Hidcote near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, which I visited with my wife and 10-year-old son at the time of his all-consuming fascination with plants and flowers, particularly exotic deadly ones (a year later it was electric guitars and exotic, deadly music). As it happens, Hidcote was the creation of an American expatriate named Lawrence Johnston, who settled in England in 1900 and began laying out the garden ten years later. During the same UK summer, we visited Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden, which shared the Arts and Crafts style of Hidcote, with its sequence of outdoor “rooms.” I was always the semi-reluctant hanger-on, for these visits took place when my wife was reading her way through the letters and journals of Sackville-West’s soulmate Virginia Woolf and my son was doing the same with field guides and botanical esoterica. more

By Linda Arntzenius

Michael Blumenthal has made his home in Princeton since 1951 when he was a graduate student at the University. He has a fondness for the place, which he finds has retained its essential character even after six decades. “It hasn’t changed significantly in the last 30 years and even though there are new buildings, it isn’t overwhelmed by the franchises that have made this country so ugly,” he says. Besides, he has good friends here and it’s convenient to New York, Philadelphia and even Washington, D.C more

By Ellen Gilbert

Taking note of an important new resource: Einstein papers go digital

The December 2014 announcement of the launch of the Digital Einstein Papers (einsteinpapers.press.princeton.edu) was greeted with huzzas from scientific circles as well as the popular media. “They have been called the Dead Sea Scrolls of physics,” began one article about the project by New York Times science writer Dennis Overbye. They will, he said, enable readers to “dance among Einstein’s love letters, his divorce file, his high school transcript, the notebook in which he worked out his general theory of relativity and letters to his lifelong best friend, Michele Besso, among many other possibilities.” more

By Ilene Dube

When sculptors want to make something large, and they want it fast, they go to The Digital Atelier.

Last year, visitors lined up at the former Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to view A Subtlety, Kara Walker’s homage to the African American slaves who built the sugar industry. Her giant white sphinx coated in 40 tons of sugar towered over its visitors at 75 feet tall. This was the first sculpture for the artist, a 1997 MacArthur Fellow previously known for two-dimensional silhouettes. The sphinx, with exaggerated African features, was accompanied by 15 “sugar babies” – molasses boys bearing baskets of bounty.

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By Anne Levin

Photography Courtesy of Princeton in Asia

If a college student is lucky, he or she might be able to spend a semester in a foreign country. Those who have the opportunity to bunk in with a family are even luckier, getting a close-up look at how those in different cultures live, work, and play.

A program based out of a small suite of offices on Princeton’s Nassau Street takes the concept even further. Princeton in Asia, which has been sending young people to Asian countries since 1898, awards fellowships to some 150 people a year, sending them to such far-flung locations as East Timor, Kazakhstan and Myanmar. Settling in for a year or more, they teach, study, and work in fields including education, media, public health, environmental conservation, and international development. more

By Anne Levin

Photographs courtesy of Kelly Ingram

Every time I go to my friend Kelly Ingram’s house in Trenton’s Cadwalader Heights, something is different. At a “Downton Abbey” party last year, the living room and dining room had switched places. On another visit, a wall had been primed and was awaiting repainting. Visiting the powder room at a recent dinner party held by Ingram and her husband Ray, I noticed that the floor had been turned into an artful mosaic of pennies, lined end to end. more

Interview by Anne Levin 

When Brandon Waddles speaks, his deep baritone is an immediate giveaway to what he does for a living. The Detroit native is the interim director of Westminster Choir College’s Jubilee Singers, who specialize in stirring African-American spirituals, hymn arrangements, and gospel songs as well as other forms of vocal music. more

By Linda Arntzenius

If ever there was an art show to shake off the doldrums of winter with thoughts of the gentler seasons to come, it’s The Artist in the Garden at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown.

Curator Kirsten M. Jensen has mined the museum’s permanent collection for gems by regional artists such as Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield, John Folinsbee, Violet Oakley, Rockwell Kent, Max Weber, Arthur Bowen Davies, Jennifer Bartlett, Elizabeth Osborne, Elsie Driggs, and Peter Paone. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Most of us grow up with an innate sensitivity to architecture and design. This primal design sense no doubt comes to life as soon as your parents hang a pretty mobile above your crib. As you grow up, you’re likely to develop an attachment to familiar objects, as I did, for one example, to the curtains that can be seen in photos of the duplex my parents were renting when I was born. The curtains moved with us from home to home and when we transitioned to a bigger house after I entered seventh grade, I asked that the surviving remnants be hung in my room, even though they were starting to show their age. The colors were warm and cozy, gold and a faded red, with fi ligree and medallions and knights on horseback; it was the design equivalent of comfort food. It was also a reminder of a happy, secure childhood. more