News from the Aurora University community

The spotlight is on Dr. Hans Beck

Posted by on February 4, 2013

Dr. Hans Beck display in Phillips LibraryPhillips Library has invited Aurora University professors to share their unique books, publications, images, awards and other memorabilia in the exhibit case located in the library lobby in a new feature they are calling “The Spotlight.” The exhibits also will feature books that have been central to professors’ careers and disciplines.

“We are looking for inspiring materials and objects that visually demonstrate to students the love that AU professors have for their discipline, and that will tell students a bit more about professors and their chosen field,” said Lauren Jackson-Beck, Information Services Librarian. “We hope to inspire students with their stories.”

The spotlight is currently shining on Dr. Hans Beck, Associate Professor of Biology, who has shared items that represent his love of botany and his travels related to that passion. The exhibit features an Andean mask from Ecuador, an iguana ring and a portable plant press. It also includes equipment Beck used while collecting plants in the Galapagos Islands, including a field loop for looking at plants, secateurs (pruning shears), his machete and his straw hat, which was an item of interest to the local bird population. Finches would land on his hat while it was on his head and try to take the straw for nesting material, and a Galapagos hawk even tried to take it off while he was wearing it.

Influential books in the exhibit include an illustrated copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species, The Plant Hunters by Alice M. Coats, Land Above the Trees: A Guide to American Alpine Tundra by Ann H. Zwinger, and an inscribed copy of The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace, presented to Beck at his graduation by his college mentor. When Beck was 11 years old, he received science books through the mail from Doubleday’s Science Program. He learned new science vocabulary from these books by writing the words and their definitions in a notebook page. A page from this notebook is on display.

Stop by the exhibit case in Phillips Library to learn more about Dr. Hans Beck and his love of plants. His display will be up through Wednesday, February 6. The spotlight will then turn to Dr. Gerald Butters, professor of history, from Thursday, February 7 through Wednesday, February 20, and Heidi Schlumpf, Associate Professor of Communication, from Thursday, February 21 through Wednesday, March 6, 2013.