Potsdam Academy

Relive the student experience at Potsdam Academy, on Thursday, July 10th.  The Academy is a full day of exciting, hands-on arts and sciences classes taught by SUNY Potsdam professors.

The Potsdam Academy is open to community members, friends of the college and alumni.  

Registration Fee: $50

  • Breakfast
  • Full day of classes
  • Class materials
  • Lunch on Campus

You don’t need to attend the full Reunion Weekend to enroll in Potsdam Academy. 

Potsdam Academy Schedule

Thursday, July 10, 2014

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

Check-in at Becky's Place in Raymond Hall
Coffee and muffins will be available

9:00 – 10:15 a.m.
(Choose one class)

How X-rays Reveal Molecular Structure

Arguably, one of the most significant achievements in human history is the discovery of the structure of DNA, deduced from the analysis of X-ray diffraction patterns.  Join Professor Larry Brehm as he explains how this was done by showing you some of the algebra, geometry, and physics underlying the effort (some of which was at first thought to have utterly no practical use whatever). One of the relevant mathematical properties will be demonstrated in your construction of a clever little 3-D paper puzzle and others with some vivid optical demonstrations. 

Photograms: Cameraless Photography

A photogram is the making of a photographic image without the use of a camera by placing objects onto light sensitive paper, exposing it to light, and then developing it in chemistry. Some of the first photographs ever made were photograms. In the 20th century, the artist Man Ray took the process to a whole new level in terms of beauty and abstraction. This class is a hands-on workshop making photograms with Iggy Beerbower of the Art Department.Participants will be able to take their creations with them at the end of the class.


10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
(Choose one class)

The History of Bakistry: Chemistry and Baking

Learning chemistry can be as easy as pie, or cake! Explore the chemistry of baking cookies, bread, pie, and cake, and investigate the science that's behind the ingredients in your cupboard with John Proetta of the Chemistry Department.

Introduction to Performance Studies

All the world's a stage. Everyday life is full of performances complete with costumes, props and dialogue. April Vasher-Dean, Director of the Art Museum, will help participants explore their own roles in everyday performance through a brief lecture, slideshow and in-class exercises.


Noon – 1:00 p.m.  

Lunch on Campus (included with registration) or lunch on your own.  

1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
(Choose one class)

Bubonic Plague, Syphilis, and Lyme Disease: How Bacteria Have Shaped Human History

Throughout human history, more people have died from bacterial infections than from all bullets and bombs combined. Not surprisingly, therefore, bacteria have profoundly affected the course of human history. Come join Dr. Gordon Plague (yes, that's his real name!) from the Biology Department to explore the biology of some of these bacteria, and the roles they have played in shaping human history.

It Was 50 Years Ago Today: How the Beatles Conquered America

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first visit to the United States. Beatles expert and Crane School of Music professor Dr. Douglas Rubio will talk about their historic Ed Sullivan Show appearances, and the summer tour that followed. The class will also explore some of their best songs from those early years. "Yeah, yeah, yeah!"  

2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Art is the Science of Expression: Quantum Theory

In Quantum Theory, probabilities can be calculated but only when an observation is made can any certainty be established. In the book, The Quantum Dice, L.I. Ponomarev examines some interesting topics: Truth and Completeness of the Scientific Picture of the World, Science and Humanity, Science and Art. Join, Dr. Linghong (Lily) Li of the Physics Department and explore this interplay of physical reality, life, human thought, and artistic expression through hands-on activities.  

4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Graduation and Happy Hour in Becky's Place
This is also the Reunion Weekend "Early Bird" gathering.