Archived entries for Senyo Agawu

things overlap

So, one of my first blog entries here was about how Senyo Agawu ’13 is the son of Princeton-affiliated Kofi Agawu, a music scholar who Ani has previously cited (and, I found out today, is currently reading). Here is another, much larger coincidence.

I have been amassing loads of articles on about twenty different topics. Usually I exaggerate when estimating, but there are actually three binders, among which twenty topics are covered. They include fetal and neonatal responses to music, heart beat variability in neonates, circadian rhythms in neonatal cortisol, and long-term consequences of NICU stays and neonatal surgery. One of the articles is called “Long-term effects of neonatal surgery on adulthood pain behavior.” Published in Pain in 2005, the first author on this paper is Haverford’s very own Wendy Sternberg. (When typing “Wendy,” I almost typed “Wednesday.” I should go to sleep.) I found this out last month when I first came across the article. It was one of the first I found in my search because it addresses one of the more pressing issues relevant to the study: how does the process of getting surgery affect subsequent development, sensations, and life outcomes of these patients?

When reading the authors, I stopped at Sternberg. I e-mailed her about my little discovery, and when I returned to read the paper, I started with the abstract and skipped past the other four authors, all of whom were in the same thesis group several years ago. Two days ago, I zoned out for a few seconds when looking at the paper (not for lack of interest but for, quelle surprise, lack of sleep) and when I came to, I see “Lauren D. Smith.”

I am living with Smiths: Penny and Jay ’73. I found them because their daughter Lauren graduated from Haverford relatively recently in ’04. Penny’s mother went by Doe, and I remembered vaguely that Lauren’s middle name was Dorothy or Dorothea or something. Could it be? Could I be living with the parents of one of the co-authors on one of the most relevant papers for this study?

To find out, I called Penny. I feel like whenever I call Penny, she automatically thinks something is wrong because I call her so infrequently. As usual with phone conversations, I started it as awkwardly as possible.

Me: “What is Lauren’s middle name?
Penny: “…Dorothy” [I don't know how they spell it.]
Me: “Yadda yadda yadda wow she wrote this blah blah blah.”

The world can be pretty absurd sometimes.

Finishing Up

Patel, Reich, Agawu

I’m sitting here finishing up my paper on the role of music and language in the memories conveyed by Steve Reich’s speech-melody tape works like It’s Gonna Rain, and I realized that the primary theorist around whom I’m framing my argument is the father of one of my very close Haverfriends, Senyo Agawu ’13. Senyo and I share relentless interest in music and psychology, so I should have figured that the Agawu (Kofi) that authored “The Challenge of Semiotics” about the interrelations between music and language was related to the Agawu that I know. It never crossed my mind.

Speaking of my mind, it is pretty one-track these days. Luckily, that track is music, so it is kind of hard to get sick of it. In my struggle to finish my Reich paper, I needed to find something relevant (obviously) and interesting (also obvious, but at this point, I needed something interesting to keep myself awake) to bolster my argument. What else but the neuroscience of music and language, and memory encoding? In my search for appropriate articles, I came across one by none other than Dr. Aniruddh Patel, for whom I will be working this summer, called “Language, Music, Syntax, and the Brain.” So, here I am, sitting in a computer lab across from Senyo, listening to the birds chirp and wishing they’d stop, but getting through, still, with thoughts of my summer.

Side note: the linguistic study of syntax looks pretty wild, judging from my Google image search of syntax diagrams.

Wish i were.

Wish this could be true.

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