April 1–July 31, 2015; Doheny Library Ground Floor
Velocity and Vulnerability: Baseball Pitchers and the Limits of Human Performance
In 1974, Nolan Ryan became the first baseball pitcher reliably measured to break the 100 miles-per-hour barrier, and it remains a difficult plateau for professional players to reach. At these speeds the stress on the musculoskeletal system becomes intense, and forces elite athletes to train endlessly in hopes of avoiding devastating injuries, like those that require Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (popularly known as Tommy John surgery, after the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who first underwent it). New research in biomechanics and surgical techniques raises the question of whether pitchers will ever throw a fastball 120 miles-per-hour—or have we reached the upper limits of human performance? Do these advancements add undo stress and pressure to younger players seeking to play at the national level? Through items from the USC Libraries and loans from private collections, Velocity and Vulnerability examines the evolution of the dangerous art of pitching and the complex science behind the fastball, curveball, slider, and more. In conjunction with the exhibition, the USC Libraries and USC Athletics present a panel discussion on the subject at USC's storied Dedeaux Field, featuring World Series Champion Robb Nen, baseball pitching legend Tom House, USC Professor of Biomechanics Jill McNitt-Gray, and USC Keck surgeon Seth Gamradt.
October 31, 2014–May 31, 2015; Doheny Library Treasure Room
What Makes a Monster?
What do nine-headed water serpents, microscopic pathogens, criminals, freak-show artists, and so many diverse communities of the other have in common? In various historical settings and contexts, they all have carried the label “monstrous,” sometimes as a result of unproven assumptions, a lack of scientific awareness, or purposeful demonization by figures of authority. What Makes A Monster?, held simultaneously in five library locations across the two USC campuses, examines preconceived notions about such monsters, and why they elicit responses across the emotional and physical, political and cultural spectrums.
The exhibition features rare items from the USC Libraries Special Collections, such as Swiss natural scientist Ulisse Aldrovandi’s 1642 Monstrorum Historia and Reginald Scot’s 1584 The Discoverie of Witchcraft, alongside recently produced works such as a deck of serial killer “trading cards” and a Mayan altar with accompanying hexes “for the wandering male.”
The multipart exhibition is centered in USC’s Doheny Memorial Library Treasure Room, with satellite displays on topically relevant themes in the USC Helen Topping Architecture & Fine Arts Library, Norris Medical Library, Science and Engineering Library, and the VKC Library for International and Public Affairs. Further information is available here.