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Scientists climb UChicago buildings to study air quality and pollution

The bell tower of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel is normally populated by tourists and the University’s carillonneur. But scientists recently scaled its 271 stone steps to the highest point on campus in order to study air quality and pollution across Chicago.

At Rockefeller, researchers from UChicago and Harvard University ran a long tube down the stone tower to a humming machine, which analyzed air for methane as it blew past the tower. Across campus, another instrument atop the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery allowed UChicago scientists to test isotopes in water vapor.

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Maurice Charles named dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

The Rev. Dr. Maurice Charles has been named dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago, effective July 1, 2019. Charles has deep ties to UChicago, having earned his MDiv and PhD from the Divinity School. He was most recently the dean for spiritual engagement and chaplain at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, having previously served as associate dean for religious life at Stanford University.

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Carillon my wayward song

If you’re going to play the carillon, you need to think about your shoes. The 100-ton, 72-bell instrument at the top of Rockefeller Chapel has 31 foot pedals and 71 batons, which you strike with your fists. The batons operate the smaller bells, the pedals the larger ones.

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Keep Calm and Carillon

Does the name Joey Brink ring a bell? While an undergraduate student majoring in mechanical engineering, Brink was not only a star carillonneur on campus, his senior project focused on modernizing the centuries-old art of bell-ringing.

Today, he ranks among the top carillonneurs in the world (in 2014, he won the International Queen Fabiola Carillon Competition, considered the most prestigious honor in the field). And he continues to apply his engineering skills to the craft, expanding what carillon music can be and who can play it.

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You Can Hear One Of The World’s Largest Instruments In Action This Week — And It’ll Be Festive, Of Course

On Thursday [December 6], University of Chicago carillonneur Joey Brink and other student musicians will climb 271 steps in the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel to perform the annual Sleigh Bells concert — offering the public a chance to hear the second largest instrument in the world.

“A lot of people associate bells with Christmas time and the holiday season,” Brink said. “It’s natural to play holiday music on the carillon.”

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Heavy metal

Brink, 29, brings a youthful edge to an instrument with medieval origins. Since his arrival at the University in 2015, the campus soundscape has included Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Prince’s “Purple Rain,” alongside more traditional selections. Brink, a past winner of the prestigious International Queen Fabiola Carillon Competition, also offers private lessons to 20 graduate and undergraduate students at the University each year and composes and commissions new works for carillon.

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