Research Tracks

A publication of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University

March 27, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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Scholars Week Preview: Baylor student steps outside of the classroom to take a deeper look at Job

This is the third in a series of Scholars Week preview articles by Caleb Barfield, a student worker in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.  Caleb is a freshman from Denton majoring in journalism, new media and public relations.

Click here to check out more previews of the great research Baylor students will present at URSA Scholars Week 2014, March 31-April 4.

Questions surrounding the existence of suffering and pain in the world have plagued philosophers and scholars for generations. Although many of these questions will never have definitive answers, many philosophers and scholars look to religious texts for guidance.

Katherine Ellis will present her research on the Book of Job at URSA Scholars Week. Photo by Caleb Barfield.

Katherine Ellis will present her research on the Book of Job at URSA Scholars Week. Photo by Caleb Barfield.

Katherine Ellis, a junior religion major, has followed their example in her investigation into the Divine Speeches found in the Book of Job.

“I have always been fascinated with the Book of Job,” Ellis said. “The questions it raises and topics it brings up intrigue me, such as theodicy, suffering and how humanity and God meet in those moments. After studying the Book of Job in Dr. Bellinger’s class, I wanted to understand the book at a deeper level, and I became interested specifically in the Divine Speeches (Yahweh Speeches), which record God’s response to Job and come near the close of the book in chapters 38-41.”

The project started as a class assignment for Ellis and turned into something far greater once Dr. Bill Bellinger, professor and chair of the religion department, took notice of the insightfulness of her research paper.

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March 26, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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Scholars Week Preview: Increased exposure to toxicants may pose threat to Central American crocodiles

This is the second in a series of Scholars Week preview articles by Caleb Barfield, a student worker in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.  Caleb is a freshman from Denton majoring in journalism, new media and public relations.

Click here to check out more previews of the great research Baylor students will present at URSA Scholars Week 2014, March 31-April 4.

In recent years, scientists and law enforcement officials have documented increases in illegal dumping and hazardous waste pollution in Central America. This has led environmental scientists to question if an increase in exposure to these toxicants may be threatening Belizean and Costa Rican crocodile populations.

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Derek Newberger examines crocodile scutes, the spiny scales found on the crocodile’s tail. Photos by Caleb Barfield.

Senior biology major Derek Newberger and the chair of the Environmental Science department, Dr. George Cobb, are studying crocodile scutes (external scales on the crocodile’s tail) to determine if there has been a measurable increase in exposure to toxicants.

“Currently, I’m searching for the bioaccumulation of mercury and transition metals in American crocodile scutes from Belize and Costa Rica,” Newberger said.

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March 18, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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Scholars Week Preview: Baylor students study Roman coins

This is the first in a series of Scholars Week preview articles by Caleb Barfield, a student worker in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.  Caleb is a freshman from Denton majoring in journalism, new media and public relations.

Click here to check out more previews of the great research Baylor students will present at Scholars Week 2014, March 31-April 4.

As of Nerva struck at Rome, AD 97. Obverse: bust right of Nerva with imperial titles.  Reverse: Aequitas standing left holding cornucopia and scales, AEQVITAS AVGVST.

Copper as of Nerva struck at Rome, AD 97. Obverse: bust right of Nerva with imperial titles. Reverse: Aequitas standing left holding cornucopia and scales, AEQVITAS AVGVST. Image credit: NAC AG 51, no. 39

Sestertius of Nerva struck at Rome, AD 96.  Obverse: bust right of Nerva with imperial titles. Reverse: Libertas standing left holding scepter and the cap of a freed slave, LIBERTAS PVBLICA.

Bronze sestertius of Nerva struck at Rome, AD 96. Obverse: bust right of Nerva with imperial titles. Reverse: Libertas standing left holding scepter and the cap of a freed slave, LIBERTAS PVBLICA. Image courtesy of Dr. Nathan Elkins.

Sestertius of Nerva struck at Rome, AD 97. Obverse: bust right of Nerva with imperial titles.  Reverse: Two mules grazing  with a shaft and harnesses behind them, VEHICVLATIONE ITALIAE REMISSA.  The reverse type celebrates the forgiveness of the tax for the imperial post in Italy. Images courtesy of Dr. Nathan Elkins.

Bronze sestertius of Nerva struck at Rome, AD 97. Obverse: bust right of Nerva with imperial titles. Reverse: Two mules grazing with a shaft and harnesses behind them, VEHICVLATIONE ITALIAE REMISSA. The reverse type celebrates the forgiveness of the tax for the imperial post in Italy. Image credit: NAC AG 54, no. 39.

Looking back into Roman history, the reign of an emperor is often judged by the monuments he built, the battles he won or the impact he made on Roman society. While these contributions are important, many times the legacies emperors left in other areas are overlooked.  One such example is the coinage produced by Emperor Nerva.  Historically, Nerva is often considered merely a placeholder between better-known Domitian and Trajan. His brief reign lasted only from 96-98 CE.

The iconography and messaging displayed on Nerva’s coins is the subject of a research project by Dr. Nathan Elkins, assistant professor of art history in the College of Arts & Sciences, and two undergraduate students, Xander Gardere and Amy Welch.

“This started as Dr. Elkins’ project,” Welch said. “He wanted to see if Nerva’s coins had elements of propaganda; if he put images on the coins to convey a certain message to the populus. If so, then it could be attributed to the fact that in his 16 months of being in office he couldn’t accomplish many of the things emperors before him had, but he could leave a legacy through the release of money.”

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