Pink elephants. It’s a silly image, but it’s one that Professor of History Mark Smith uses effectively to illustrate concepts in the otherwise dense material he translates. Dr. Smith works within a unique field, the history of science. There is a prominent duality in this work, as he translates medieval science into modern terms but also puts the work he translates into historical context. For the majority of his academic career, his research has concerned one single, massive editing project of The Book of Optics, which involved establishing a coherent, critical Latin text from several manuscript copies and translating it to English. The Book of Optics was written in Arabic in the eleventh century and translated to Latin in the very early thirteenth century. This work concerns not only the physical science of optics but also the philosophy behind it, which includes the process that happens when you hear or see the words “pink elephants.” Automatically, you call up a picture in your mind of a pink elephant, and that process is a key part of Dr. Smith’s work.
As publication became more prominent in the Renaissance, texts also became more trimmed down and broken into easily accessible portions. Dr. Smith addresses this shift and how it affected the medieval source material as well as publication today.
Only after encountering problems do many state and federal agencies call upon the expertise of social scientists for help, and Rikoon wishes they would ask for help while they set up a project—rather than afterward—to make sure the process fits with local norms.
Wu has published four books, all in the area of manufacturing and systems design, several of which have become internationally adopted as textbooks: Manufacturing Systems Design and Analysis (1992, 1994), Manufacturing and Supply Systems Management (2000), and Handbook of Manufacturing and Supply Systems Design (2001).