Frozen in Time

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

They came to Michigan Tech to freeze a 1978 Chevy Nova in a solid block of ice for Winter Carnival, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. So visiting artists Mary Carothers and Sue Wrbican decided to pull their own all-nighters—all week.

“We are reversing our sleeping schedules to comply with Mother Nature,” they explain on a blog tracking the progress of the unusual art project, at .

In the dead of night, you can find them standing there, spray nozzles in mittened hands, misting the slowly freezing bed of the box that contains the classic muscle car. Twenty minutes of misting, and then they give it 30 minutes to freeze while the artists warm themselves in the J. R. Van Pelt Library, whose big bay window overlooks the frozen car project.

Less hardy souls can catch the artists’ midnight misadventures from the comfort of their own computer screens. A live webcam is now broadcasting from the frozen car site. See .

It took longer than Wrbican and Carothers expected to build up a solid foundation of frozen slush inside the container, which was custom-built by volunteers from the Hancock High School industrial arts class. A few warm days saw them losing more than they were gaining. Then pocks and pockets appeared in the ice. The box sprang a couple of leaks.

But finally, last Friday morning before the sun came up, members of Michigan Tech’s grounds crew retrieved the Nova from Kevin’s Self Storage and lowered it into position in its ice box.

Carothers, an associate professor of fine arts at the University of Louisville, and Wrbican, who is an assistant professor of art and visual technology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., met in graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design. Since then, they’ve made a specialty of collaborative and unpredictable art. They have blown up a car, set a couch on fire, and created a colony of charmingly appropriate if fictitious road signs. For examples, see .

Wrbican and Carothers chose Michigan for their frozen car project because it is the birthplace of the automobile. They chose freezing as a way to stop time, to give us a chance to step back and examine how our choices today affect our world tomorrow. They chose to freeze a car, they explain, because the automobile is a metaphor for freedom and power. And they chose Michigan Tech because they heard it was cold enough.

A critic once described their art as an exploration of “the hidden mythology of everyday life and unexpected experience.” As always, the artists arrived with a goal in mind but no real road map for getting there. They take it as it comes and change course constantly in response to whatever happens.

Carothers and Wrbican fully expect to be navigating more unforeseen curves and slippery corners before the container drops away and the Nova named E.D. (for Ethyl’s Daughter) hangs frozen in space and time and ice. And that’s all right because, they say, “in our art, allowing for unpredictable twists, the wild card, becomes as important as the original concept.”

TV6 at the All-Nighter

As part of its extended coverage of Winter Carnival, TV6 News will broadcast live from Michigan Tech this evening. You can check the team's ice-and-snow set in front of the EERC or, if it's as cold as it was last year, from the comfort of your living room.

Tech-Talks Research: “Energy” Feb. 12

by Donna Michalek, assistant provost

The next Tech-Talks Research session will focus on energy and will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 4-5 p.m. in Memorial Union Ballroom A. There will be a cash bar, with the first pop, wine or beer on the house, and munchies will also be provided.

Energy is often defined as the ability to do work. While this may be accurate, it hardly articulates the vastness of this topic in its scientific, societal, engineering or human contexts. It is said that energy is transformed, produced, conserved, transmitted, derived, stored, traded, salvaged and released. There are also a variety of types of energy, including kinetic, green, renewable, spiritual, potential, solar, chemical, sustainable and psychological. One aspect of energy, which is becoming apparent worldwide, is that there may not be enough of it, and the only thing that may be able to solve an “energy crisis” is the energy of the human spirit. Possible topics of research, but certainly not an exhaustive list, that pertain to this focus include

• energy economics;
• alternative fuels;
• energy pricing models;
• fuel cell technologies;
• advanced engine research;
• energy policies and use;
• energy for sustainability;
• electrical power conversion and transmission; and
• storage and battery research.

All faculty and staff members who feel they can make a contribution to research conducted within this focus or who want to learn about the efforts of others are strongly encouraged to attend. In addition, if you are interested in giving a short presentation at this session, please send your two slides to Donna J. Michalek,, by Monday, Feb. 11.

The Tech-Talks Research series is sponsored by the Provost’s Office and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Save Your Juice Cartons for Youth Programs Get WISE Day

submitted by Youth Programs

Youth Programs needs to collect 60, two-quart paper cartons within the next two weeks.

Cartons should be rinsed thoroughly and can be dropped off on the third floor of the Alumni House, or you can arrange for their pick up by contacting us at or 487-2219.

We're collecting them for a hands-on project for Get WISE day. On Feb. 27, approximately 300 area middle school girls will come to campus for exciting, hands-on science and engineering projects and demonstrations, as well as interaction with role models. Yes, we'd be thrilled to have you volunteer that day. Please email Kristi Isaacson, our associate coordinator, at to sign up.

Poetry Slam Submission Deadline Extended to Feb. 18

Submissions of original poetry and open mic acts to be performed at the Poetry Slam on Saturday, March 1, are now being accepted. Submit your name, contact information and poetry submission to or at the Memorial Union Board Office, room 106, Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The submission deadline has been extended to Monday, Feb. 18.

Poems must be original and can be on any subject. No musical accompaniment or props are allowed, and the act cannot exceed three minutes. Entries are encouraged from students, faculty, staff and the community. The winning student will be sent to the National Collegiate Poetry Slam competition in April at the University of New Mexico. Other prizes will be awarded.

Open mic acts are being sought as warm-up and intermission entertainment. If you are interested, submit a description of your act, including its length, and your contact information to the same addresses listed above. Poetry Slam is cosponsored by the National Society of Black Engineers and the Memorial Union Board.

Listen to the Carillon at the All Nighter

Undergraduate Mike Maksimchuk (Biological Sciences) will play the carillon for a very special session during the All Nighter today, Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 11:45 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. Join the fun.

Submissions Now Accepted for Tech Arts Festival Art Show

Submissions of original artwork are being accepted for the Memorial Union Board's annual Tech Arts Festival art show, which will run from Feb. 25 through Feb. 29 in the Peninsula Room of the Memorial Union. Submissions will be accepted through Feb. 22.

Art may be submitted in the categories of Black and White Photography, Color Photography, Painting, Drawing, Mixed Media and Graphic Design. Bring art to Memorial Union 106 for entry in the show.

In addition to the week-long art show, the Tech Arts Festival will feature daily craft sessions at lunchtime in the Keweenaw Commons and a 5 p.m. workshop each day. The Friday, Feb. 29, workshop will be a Spoken Word workshop by international poetry artist Amir Sulaiman, who has performed on HBO's Def Poetry Jam and the national Breed Love tour. Amir will also emcee the Poetry Slam on Saturday, March 1.

Tech Arts festival is a program of the Memorial Union Board. If you have any questions, email or stop by Memorial Union 106.

Athletic Trainer Brewster Volunteers with US Sled Hockey Team

by Cynthia Hanifin, Portage Health System

For his work with the football and men’s basketball teams at Michigan Tech, Portage Health athletic trainer Brian Brewster jumps on the team bus. For his volunteer position as athletic trainer for the US National Sled Hockey Team, Brewster hops a cross-country or international flight.

The 16-man National Sled Hockey Team, which is comprised of athletes who face such physical challenges as leg amputations and spinal cord injuries, is part of the USA Hockey organization. Sled hockey, also called sledge hockey, became an official event of the US Paralympic Winter Games in 1994.

In mid-January, Brewster traveled with the team to Asahikawa, Japan, for an international tournament. Next up: a mid-February trip to Prince George, Canada, for a three-game exhibition series.

“When they play our national anthem in a different country, it really gives you goosebumps,” said Brewster, coordinator of sports medicine at the Portage Health Sports Medicine Institute.

Brewster began working with the National Sled Hockey Team this summer, when he volunteered at the United States Olympic Committee Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Brewster had no idea that his first experience working with disabled athletes would open up the world to him.

“I wanted to volunteer for the experience and learning opportunity, to see what it was like to work with Olympic athletes,” said Brewster.

Following the Colorado trip and a November stint with the National Sled Hockey Team during a series in Park City, Utah, Brewster was offered the position of athletic trainer. He travels with the team regularly and developed a strength and conditioning program that he updates each week.

After the February trip to Canada, Brewster will go to Marlborough, Mass., in late March for the 2008 International Paraplegic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship.

In the long term, Brewster’s eye is set on a trip to Vancouver, Canada. That’s where the 2010 Paralympics Winter Games will be held.

While training with the National Sled Hockey Team, Brewster has learned new skills that he uses in his local practice. Since the supplies he can bring on trips with the team are limited, he’s learned to rely more on using his hands for massage and other healing techniques.

“I’ve brought a more hands-on approach into the training room here at home,” Brewster said.

Working and traveling with the National Sled Hockey Team is an ongoing learning experience, Brewster said, and he’s grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m enjoying every minute of it,” he said.

Reminder: "A History of Winter Carnival" Feb. 9

submitted by the Keweenaw Chapter of Michigan Tech Alumni and Friends

Winter Carnival is a campus tradition that has been around forever. Or has it? Come learn some of the interesting details of this great Michigan Tech tradition at "A History of Winter Carnival," a special presentation by alumna Jane Nordberg (BS 2000, MS 2004), on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2-4 p.m. in Dow 641.

This event is hosted by the Keweenaw Alumni Chapter, in conjunction with COMPASS, and sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

RSVP at .

Environmental, Water Resources Engineering Graduate Seminar

Tyler A. Erickson, a research scientist at the Michigan Tech Research Institute, will present a seminar, “Water Resource Characterization and Remote Sensing Data Analysis using Geostatistical Techniques,” Monday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m. in Dow 642. A reception will follow in the eighth-floor atrium.

Job Posting

Staff job descriptions are available in the Human Resources Office or at . For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email .

Faculty job descriptions can be found at . For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Staff Job Postings


Director of the Isle Royale Institute
Part time—20 hours/week
School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Position duration dependent upon existing funding

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.