Abstracts of Senior Honors Theses completed in 1995-96

Alexis Brunner, Chemistry

"The Temperature Dependence of Ultra Violet Sulfur Dioxide Absorption Cross Sections"

Advisor: Richard White

Atmospheric sulfur dioxide data became available in 1982 during and after the eruption of El Chichon, when the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer, TOMS, received increased absorption in the shortest wavelengthchannels of the instrument. TOMS was designed to map the daily global total ozone field. The increased absorption was later determined to be due to sulfur dioxide because it is a gaseous volcanic substituent that has corresponding absorption to that seen in the TOMS data. Currently there is no way to develop an algorithm that will accurately subtract the effects of sulfur dioxide from the TOMS data in order to obtain the correct ozone amounts because the temperature dependence of sulfur dioxide absorption cross sections is unknown.

The experimental design to find the temperature dependence involves getting the ultra violet absorption spectra of sulfur dioxide in the wavelength region of 290-340 nm at 298 K, 210K and at least one temperature in between. There is very little low temperature data currently available, so the data is very important to develop an accurate model and algorithm.

The most important factor in the temperature dependence is the affect temperature has on the population of rotational energy levels. At room temperature molecules are able to occupy levels other than ground state. As the temperature is dropped, however, the higher energy levels become less populated and the ground level becomes more populated according to the Boltzmann distribution. The values of cross sections were observed to increase with temperature if they corresponded to a transition that was originated from a ground energy level and to decrease with temperature if the transition originated from a higher energy level.

Anthony Bushard, Music

"Debussy, Bartok, and the Golden Section"

Advisor: Jerome Coller

The purpose of the thesis was to 1. Show how each of these composers used the Golden Section in their work and 2. That these composers were indeed conscious of the decision to use the Golden Section in their pieces. This was shown by an analysis of selected piano pieces from each composer. They were `Reflets dans l'eau' and `Clair de lune' by Claude Debussy and `Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion' by Bela Bartok. Each of these pieces used the Golden Section in such a way that the outcome of the piece, in each case, depended on how the composer used the Golden Section. The effect that dynamics, tonal structure, and thematic material had on the listener was, in each case, a direct result of the way in which the composer chose to use the Golden Section.

Margaret Cooper, Education

"A Study Of The Development Of Mathematical Problem Solving In Relation To Cognitive Development"

Advisor: Karin Levine

no abstract submitted

Michael Criswell, Computer Science

"Using Genetic Algorithms to Solve the Geometric Traveling Salesperson Problem "

Advisor: Michael Gass

Genetic Algorithms use life as their model to solve difficult problems in computer science. They use a collection of possible solutions to find an optimal solution in extremely large search spaces. They follow biological processes such as crossover and mutation and implement Darwinian natural selection to use the better solutions to create more possible solutions until an optimal solution has been found. The Traveling Salesperson Problem lies within a class of problems called NP. These problems are not solvable in a reasonable amount of time using classical methods. Genetic Algorithms are an alternative method for attempting to solve such problems. This paper explores a specific Genetic Algorithm package named, "DGENESIS" and how it is used to solve the Traveling Salesperson Problem. We tested several variables within DGENESIS to gain an understanding of how they could be adjusted to improve performance at solving the Traveling Salesperson Problem.

Sheila Eldred, English

"Contemporary Sports Writing in Creative Non-fiction: A Study of Madeleine Blais' In These Girls, HopeIs a Muscle, H.G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, and Tim Keown's Skyline."

Advisor: Marian Rengel

My thesis defines the role of contemporary sports writing in creative non-fiction. I found the three works I studied to be precendent-setting examples of the genre. In examining the historical aspects of creative non-fiction, I found a direct correlation withthe new journalism of the 1960s. My second chapter discusses these roots of creative non-fiction in-depth, involving the works of Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, and other 1960s authors. My third and fourth chapters are devoted to describing the journalistic techniques and fictional techniques that are used in creative non-fiction. The three works I studied are examined in detail. In my conclusion I touch on some of the social aspects that these authors make their readers aware of in their works, and the implications this has for the reader. My thesis could be described as a definition of sports creative non-fiction.

Jacqueline L. Friedrich, Chemistry

"Synthesis and Bioassay Determination of Two Enantiomers of Schwarz's Compound, A Juvenile Hormone Analog"

Advisor: John Klassen

Schwarz's Compound is a juvenile hormone (JH) analog similar to methoprene, a bioregulator with known JH activity on Orthoptera, Hymenoptera and Diptera. A novel organic synthesis of the two enantiomers of Schwarz's Compound (2-ethoxy-9-(p-isopropylphenyl)-2,6-dimethylnonane) was completed. The step in the synthesis which resulted in stereospecificity of the products was the addition of (R and S) citronellal through the Wittig reaction. Characterization and structure verification was completed using NMR, IR, GC-MS, and GC. Bioassays of the synthesized enantiomers were done on crickets, paper wasps, flesh flies, and mealworms to determine the level of activity and which enantiomer displays the most biological activity. Each target organism was treated with two different concentrations of each of the enantiomers. Effects were evaluated through morphological examination, timing of development, and dissection and measurement of the gonadal tissues to determine activity of the two enantiomers of Schwarz's Compound.

Kristy Greenwalt, Government

"Paying the Price: Inequality in Education"

Advisor: James Murphy

Education has long been regarded the great equalizer of the human condition, or as Horace Mann said, "the balance wheel of the social machinery." But for this to be true, we must first provide equality of educational opportunity. Why has equality of educational opportunity been such an elusive goal in this country? The answer largely comes down to the way we fund education. Heavy dependence on property taxes as a main source of revenue is inherently unfair. Wealthy suburbs have a much larger tax base from which to draw in proportion to its student population than a city occupied by thousands of poor people. Even if poor districts tax themselves at several times the rate of wealthy districts, they are still likely to end up with far less money per-pupil. State equalization efforts have proven largely ineffective in narrowing the gap. New or higher taxes as well as the redistribution of funds are politically unpalatable. As a result, policy makers are searching for different alternatives to deal with funding disparities. School choice is one such alternative. Proponents argue that the market mechanisms of choice and competition will engender school reform and improve student performance. Private school choice (also know as a "voucher" system) is in particular a way to extend educational opportunities to low-income families. But even if designed and implemented carefully, such a program really only has the potential of helping a small percentage of students. Where the worst funding disparities exist, "choice" is nothing but an empty promise. The bottom line is this: money matters. There are no quick and inexpensive solutions to the problems which exist in many of America's schools. We cannot escape the fact that it's going to be expensive. Conservative estimates for equalization hover around an additional $100 billion a year. What people need to understand, however, is that we either pay now or we pay more later.

Mitch L. Hamelau, Computer Science

"An Examination of Virtual Reality Modeling Language and its Implications for the Future of the World Wide Web "

Advisor: J. Andrew Holey

This project examines the current and future capabilities of Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). VRML is first looked at in terms of its own current capabilities and limitations and then in terms of the impact that it will have on the World Wide Web. Some examples of future changes to the World Wide Web that may come about due to VRML are examined. Then a specific application is used as an example of the advantages VRML provides for developers who use the World Wide Web.

Jennifer Kellen, Government

"Moving Beyond the Bureaucratization of AFDC: Helping Young Moms Help Themselves Achieve Self-Sufficiency."

Advisor: James Murphy

In response to some reforms being proposed in the U.S. House and Senate, I wanted to learn more about the circumstances that young,never-married moms on welfare face, and to learn what solutions would help them achieve self-sufficiency.

In my research I learned that young, never-married women were having sex, getting pregnant, choosing to parent for several reasons; further, when they choose to parent several negative consequences result. None of which had been addressed in the Congressional reforms.

I also learned that the circumstances that these young moms face often do not leave them any other choice than to collect public assistance, or aid to families with dependent children (AFDC), to support themselves and their children. However, this program has become bureaucratized (there is are rules, regulations, standard procedures, and policies for everything) and no longer adequately addresses the needs of young moms and their kids. Instead, bureaucratization leaves these families in poverty and creates dependency.

In conclusion, I suggest that a better alternative to assist these young moms and their children would be a comprehensive program delivered through nonprofit organizations.

Georg Klaas, Music

"The History of the Clarinet"

Advisor: Jerome Coller

In my written thesis, I traced the evolution of the clarinet over roughly a three hundred year period (from c. 1700 to modern times). For the first 100 years of its existence, the clarinet received relatively little improvement, but it nonetheless (by the end of the 18th) century gained a prominent role in orchestras throughout Europe. The 19th century saw the most significant advances in clarinet design and construction. Through the efforts of innovators such as Iwan Muller, Carl Baermann, Hyacinth Klose, and Oskar Oehler, the clarinet was evolved to a form in which was little different from the clarinets used today. In concluding my research, I made several important observations. First the term evolution is appropriate in describing the development of the clarinet for that development represents an unbroken chain of improvements made by makers and players throughout the last 300 years. Second, there are four major factors which influenced the speed and direction of the clarinetÕs evolution:

1) the public's acceptance of the clarinet as an instrument worthy of sponsorship (a factor which held back the instrument's evolution for the first 80 years of its existence)

2) an ever increasing demand made by composers for an improvement in the technical capability of the instrument

3) the ingenuity of individual makers and the overall technological capability of their era

4) the willingness and and/or ability of clarinetists to adapt to the changes made by innovators.

Sarah Kropp, Music

"Creativity, Imagination and the Mind of the Musician"

Advisor: Robert Koopmann

no abstract submitted

Sarah Ann Langer, Government and Individualized Major in History

"Women and Politics in Japan: Flowers of the Home to Flowers of Politics"

Advisor: Gary Prevost and Richard Bohr

The study of women and politics in Japan provided many insights into women's activism as well as the changes women have brought in Japanese politics. Facing considerable odds when seeking positions within contemporary politics, women candidates often faced a variety of disadvantages as well. A man was assumed to inherit politics, but a woman was not. However, if a woman could conquer or ignore such societal pressures, she could then enter the world of politics. Women's positions will change as individual pioneers (such as the four I examined i.e. Tsuda Ume, Ichikawa Fusae, Yosano Akiko, Tanaka Makiko) work their way into higher positions and use their power to help other women.

If women's positions in Japan are going to change, women must spark the change and must raise future generations differently. Legislation cannot improve women's positions if they are not prepared to take advantage of the new opportunities. Japanese pioneers are not willing to let time stand still they want to see the pace of change quickened. It is this story of these women, these truly extraordinary women, that has helped to shape and to change Japanese society and politics. Today's women will hopefully now pick up the torch and carry it to fuller realizations, to higher heights, and to finally achieve equal status with men.

Ryan McGovern , Government

"The Future of Francophone Africa Without the Aid and Influence of its Former Colonial Power, France"

Advisor: Gary Prevost

French colonialism dramatically changed sub-Sahara Africa in the region now called Francophone Africa. In 1960 the French granted the francophone countries independence but French influence did not end. France's neo- colonial influence caused many problems for the newly independent countries including economic dependence, unwanted boundaries and the establishment of an elite class. The Africans themselves have been struggling withmismanagement, corruption and political and economic instability. Recent breaks in Franco-African relations has caused the French to take a step back from its high level of influence in Africa. In order for francophone Africa to prosper without the aid and influence of France, it must reform internally and providestability through education and constitutional reform. Then the francophone countries should bring trade to a regional level so that all the African states can develop together without the exploitation of, and dependency upon, the western powers.

Heidi Muller, Government

"The Role of Human Rights Organizations Case Study: Chiapas"

Advisor: Gary Prevost

no abstract submitted

Terra Ohlhauser, Management

"Motivation of Student Employees in the Financial Aid Office at the College of Saint Benedict"

Advisor: Wendy Klepetar

This thesis examines the effectiveness of the motivational practices used at the Financial Aid Office at the College of Saint Benedict and provides suggestions for ways to further motivate student employees. Information was gathered through interviews with the student employees and from the results of the Job Diagnostic Survey which was administered to the students. Positive factors in this workplace included the all-female environment, a feeling of group belonging, the amount of responsibility given to students, and the amount of appreciation shown and rewards given to the students. There are four primary areas that need to be examined or improved in this office: written notes should be given for specific positive behaviors in order to be most effective; performance appraisals must be more constructive by incorporating negative feedback and goal-setting; students must be disciplined if they display unacceptable behavior; and a training program must be implemented to establish general guidelines and provide necessary information.

Melissa J. Petrangelo, Government

"What About the Rural Poor?"

Advisor: Phil Kronebusch

The American public generally perceives poverty as an urban problem. However, the incidence of poverty is actually higher in rural areas. Current, AFDC and food stamp legislation reflects the American public's perception. What is overlooked in AFDC and food stamp legislation is the distinguishing characteristics of the rural poor. AFDC and food stamp legislation are less effective in reducing poverty in rural areas. Where you are poor makes a difference. Recognition of the diversity of poverty populations is crucial for the design of effective policies and programs.

David Gregory Seibert, Government

"A Critical Theory of Liberalism: a case for community"

Advisor: James Murphy no abstract submitted

Mason Vernon Sorenson, Economics

"The Economics of Wind Power: The World, the United States, and at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University"

Advisor: Ernie Diedrich

no abstract submitted

Jennifer Splan, Chemistry

"Effects of Radial Thermal Gradients in HPLC"

Advisor: Robert Fulton

Due to the widespread use of chromatography, improving efficiency in chromatography is continually an area of interest. Researchers have suggested that the method of column temperature control influences efficiency. To insure reproducible retention times, HPLC columns are often thermostated with a water jacket. Under such conditions, however, a radial thermal gradient may arise from the heat produced by friction between the stationary and mobile phases. If the core of the column is allowed to warm up while the walls are kept at a constant temperature, the solute in the core of the column will elute faster than will that at the walls. This phenomenon creates a wider band of solute leaving the column, which results in poorer efficiency. Insulating the column should eliminate the radial thermal gradient because the column is allowed to heat up uniformly, and air thermostating the column should reduce the gradient. Experiments indicate that the insulated and air thermostated columns yield better efficiencies than does the water thermostated column. A mathematical model generated to compare the efficiencies of columns that contain radial thermal gradients with those that do not shows that radial thermal gradients significantly reduce efficiency.

Glen Tautges, Philosophy

"Ethics and the Awareness of Complex Individuals: Reflections on Adolf Eichmann and Oskar Schindler"

Advisor: Steve Wagner

Like many philosophers who favor Aristotelian virtue ethics over more legalistic and impersonal theories like those of Kant and Mill, I claim that ethics is more a matter of cultivating the right character than of living by a set of rules based on abstract principles. True to this stance, I present a certain attitudetoward others as crucial to living well. This attitudeinvolves cultivating a powerful awareness of the intricate complexity of other people and a deep appreciation of the value of such complex beings. Also withthis attitude comes a sense of relation and community inspired by our understanding that other human beings, like us, as isolated within their own perspective. In support of these views, I examine the lives of two men, Adolf Eichmann and OskarSchindler, who help reveal the importance of this attitude and the moral tendencies it inspires.

Felicia Dawn Tibayan. Liberal Studies

"'Global Awareness' at CSB/SJU"

Advis no abstract submitted

David Weinandt, Computer Science

"Researching the Growing Technology of Virtual Reality"

Virtual reality is a fast growing technology within the computer science field. The current technologies using virtual reality are invading our everyday lives such as the medical applications of ultrasound and catscans. This technology is changing how we view data, as well as how common user applications are being constructed. The primary focus of the thesis is on the computer code necessary to compute the tracking of users. How the environment is generated, how users and objects are viewed by the computer, and how tracking codestructured on a basic level are some of the questions I cover in my thesis. Virtual reality is a technology well worth research, because it is the GUI of the future.

Andrea J. Williams, English

"Evidence for the Unseen: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Spiritualism, and the Quest for a Scientific Religion"

Nineteenth-century scientific discoveries changed forever the way that reality and truth were defined by placing empirical models foremost not only in the scientific community, but in society in general. This led to the questioning of traditional Christianity, and consequently to the development of spiritualism, a belief in the scientifically verifiable occurrence of communication with the spirits of the dead who provided guidance to those still embodied. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was deeply involved in spiritualism, and himself serves as an example of the controversy because he found his scientific training incompatible with Christianity. Spiritualism drew from both science and religion, and sought the endorsement of the scientific community by using scientific methods and prominent scientists in their investigations. Spiritualism, though it did not persuade either the scientific community or the Christian community, embodies the search for a religion which is compatible with the modern needs for both empirical proof and spirituality.

Margaret Zenk, German

"A Translation of Selected Short Stories by Helga M. Novak"

This project is a translation of twenty short stories by Helga Novak, a contemporary author born in eastern Berlin. The stories were all written between 1965 and 1980. They are divided into four sections: Fish Factory, Carpet Weaving, Traveling, and Sojourn in a Crazy House. The first three sections consist of very short stories, approximately one page long, taken from Novak's collection called Geselliges Beisammensein (Social Gathering). The last section is made up of three longer stories, each about 10 pages long, taken from Aufenthalt in einem irren Haus (Sojourn in a Crazy House), which represent some of Novak's later work. I have also included a translator's introduction, relating some of my experiences in translating a longer work and my position in the discourse of translation theory.