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From the Publisher

Dear Readers,

Welcome to your Spring issue of Princeton Magazine.

Experience Princeton, the new nonprofit group that is promoting Princeton and its merchants as a visitors’ destination, has “Bloom Local” as the theme for this season, and its logo is marked by some flowers. The same could be said for this issue of Princeton Magazine, for you will find that our writers have uncovered a wonderful array of new things to do and know about from our wonderful location in the middle of the Garden State. The other aspect of these discoveries is the uncovering of some unknown heroes and heroines related to each.

Since we see spring as being marked by new blooms, you will enjoy Ilene Dube’s story “Mad About Tulips,” which takes you all the way back to 1554 when tulips were introduced to Europe by the emperor to the sultan of Turkey, who sent the first bulbs to Vienna. It turns out that tulips have no scent, no taste, and the most beautiful ones are that way because of diseases, yet for centuries  the tulip was a marker for wealth and today it is a critical component in the economy of the Netherlands.

Speaking of unknown heroes, I’ll bet you never heard of George Antheil from Trenton. He went through the Trenton school system but never completed high school, and went off to Paris in early 1920, where he happened to rent an apartment above the bookstore of Sylvia Beach. It was there that he became part of the art and intellectual momentum of the period.

Antheil was a very versatile musician, producing some 300 musical compositions, but his most radical composition, Ballet Mecanique, broke all the rules with its sirens, bells, player pianos, and even airplane propellors! When it was played, riots actually broke out in the audience. On April 20, the Trenton-based Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey will perform Ballet Mecanique at the Roebling Machine Shop. Read Anne Levin’s fascinating story, and I hope to see you at the concert.

Note in the above paragraph the names Trenton and Roebling, and you are probably aware of that connection because, in its industrial heyday, Trenton was home to the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company and, of course, you know that its most famous work was the Brooklyn Bridge.

In fact, as one of my personal development projects, I bought the Roebling Estate in Lawrence Township, known as Land Fall. In the living room, there was a fireplace so big that I could almost walk into it. The mantel piece was a slab of limestone and into it was carved an image of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The bridge had been designed by John A. Roebling as “the Eighth Wonder of the World,” but he died early, and it fell to his son Washington to get it built. The unsung heroine of that bridge was Washington’s wife, Emily, who oversaw the construction of the bridge when he became ill.

Wendy Greenberg’s story goes on to tell how Emily Warren Roebling later became a leader in the women’s rights movement. Princeton’s favorite historian, Clifford W. Zink, who wrote The Roebling Legacy, described Emily as a very accomplished woman in her time, but her standing has increased in the last 15 years.

Meet Sam Wang, another unsung hero that we discovered, who was interviewed by Editor-in-Chief Lynn Adams Smith. Sam is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton, as well as the director of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and the Electoral Innovation Lab.

Sam points out that gerrymandering has been with us for over 200 years but has worsened in the last few decades. You can only imagine how bad it is today! Wang identifies himself as a “criminal investigator” who can identify means, motive, and opportunity. He describes the human brain as one of the most complex systems we know of, and he uses the same computational tools used in neuroscience to study the product of many brains: political outcomes.

I also have to put fancy chickens in the category of unsung heroes. According to Taylor Smith, they can be wonderful pets for children and come in a host of varieties with each having not only a different look, but also a different personality. Just looking at the photos will bring a smile to your face.

Perhaps the most dramatic discovery in putting this issue of your magazine together was that there is a huge fossil park in Mantua Township, 25 miles inland from the ocean. Through the generosity of Jean and Ric Edelman, Rowan University will open their Fossil Park Museum this summer. The Edelmans are the unsung heroes of what Kenneth Lacovara, Ph.D., its founding director, describes as “not like any other place in the world.”

The new 44,000-square-foot museum itself is a stunning piece of architecture created by the New York firm Ennead. As an architect, I was absolutely enthralled by its design. But an even more amazing piece is the adjoining fossil park where, notes writer Donald H. Sanborn III, visitors can dig for fossils and take them home. The unlimited supply of 66-million-year-old marine and terrestrial fossils record the very last moments of the dinosaur world.

Along with all of our interesting stories, you will find that Stuart Mitchner has assembled an awesome collection of children’s books about science, and Laurie Pellichero has gathered an array of prestigious summer programs for students with an affinity for the performing arts which, as parents or grandparents, you might want to consider as a special camp experience.

Lynn Adams Smith’s “A Well-Designed Life” is a special feature each issue. This month’s images are aimed at summer living — hold on to your wallet while viewing. Lynn and I hope that you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you. We also want you to note the wonderful graphics that accompany each story created by our Art Director, Jeff Tryon.

Enjoy the spring as it comes into bloom.

Respectfully yours,
J.Robert Hillier, Lh.D., FAIA

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