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Rubik’s Cube: Easier Than English?

Zeli “Jeff” Qian is a cubist — as in Rubik’s Cube. The Zhejiang Province native can finish the cube-shaped puzzle in 18.27 seconds, a time that’s listed in the World Cube Association’s record books. Qian brought that same determination to NC State, where he’s studying mechanical engineering. He’s also honing his English speaking, writing and research skills through Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures courses for non-native speakers of English.


Spirits Rejoice: Jazz, Religion and American Culture

How has religion shaped jazz and the way people think about it? Professor of religious studies and jazz musician Jason Bivins explores jazz, religion and American culture in "Spirits Rejoice!" And tune into the listening guide he created to serve as a chapter-by-chapter playlist.


On Fisheries, Society and Sustainability

Massive ecological changes are transpiring in the World Ocean. Environmental sociologist Stefano Longo worries that turning ocean resources -- like fish -- into commodities has led to the depletion of fisheries and the development of environmentally suspect means of aquaculture. He's co-authored "The Tragedy of the Commodity: Oceans, Fisheries, and Aquaculture" to turn our attention to the issues we face in our relationship with the oceanic ecological system.


As Go the Tropics ...

Alumna Sandra Harding (Ph.D., Sociology ’94) asks a deceptively simple question: “Is life in the Tropics getting better?” But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of that question: her quest for the answer, and her leadership as an economic sociologist, stand to change the world. Harding, vice chancellor and president of Australia’s James Cook University, chairs the State of the Tropics, a first-of-its-kind partnership with 12 research institutions around the globe.


Where Diplomats Are Concerned

Gentry Smith (Political Science ’83) speaks Arabic and has lived in Japan, Egypt and Burma — a long way from his hometown in Halifax County in eastern North Carolina, where both his parents were schoolteachers. Meet the director of the Office of Foreign Missions at the State Department.