Say Goodbye to the Big K

Or Le Grande K, if you will.

For years the kilogram was defined by the weight of a metal cylinder kept under the strictest lock and key in Versailles, France. That little cylinder is affectionately called ‘Le Grande K’. However, despite the cylinder’s vacuum sealed climate control storage and the six clones kept in other parts of the world, the weight of this metal cylinder always varied ever so slightly, to the dismay of the scientists. This meant the kilogram measurement itself, one of the base SI units, was not entirely dependable. In fact, before recently, all other SI units are based on fundamental constants of nature, which means they are unchanging. But now, as of Friday, 11/16/2018, the Conference of Weights and Measures met in Versailles to agree, the kilogram will not be defined by the Big K any more.

After years of research and work, scientists have agreed base the kilogram on a fixed Planck’s constant, rather than basing Planck’s Constant on the kilogram. The kilogram now joins the other SI units as independent of any real world object.

As Confucius would say, “If I was made governor, the first thing I would do is rectify names.” Now we have rectified the kilogram and there is no more uncertainty in all our scientific modes of measurements.

Farewell Big K, you’ve served us well.

P.S. If you’re wondering what the pound is based on; fundamentally, it’s a ratio of the kilogram. So in one way we do use the metric system!

Color in Ancient Sculpture

To complement our current study of the Parthenon and trips to the MFA, here are a few videos on the coloring of ancient sculptures. For more information on this topic, visit the Tracking Color: Ploychromy of the ancient world website here.

Ancient Greek Music

Since we’ll be looking at the Ancient Greek Acropolis in our next CC101 lecture, we thought you might be interested inlearning more about music from the time.



Postcards to the Core: from Rethymno, September 2018

Our Core alumna, Kat Monahan, sent us a postcard all the way from Greece! Here’s what she reflects on during her time in Rethymno:

Sept. 12, 2018

Γεία σου, Κωρ! Hi Core!put me on blog_Page_1put me on blog_Page_2
Wishing everyone an auspicious start to the 2018-2019 school year. I’d like to propose a Classics alumni trip to Crete so I can return here sans toddler; drinks on me! (raki is complementary after meals 🙂 )
με αγάπη,
Kat Monahan, Core ’10, CAS ’11, Questrom ’18

* Corelovespostcards. Whether you’re at home or abroad now, wed love to get one from you. Our address is easy: Core Curriculum, Boston University, Boston MA 02215.

Hard-Core Pumpkin Carving takes a Curatorial Turn

What masterpiece would be complete without an authentic curatorial text? Luckily, Core alumni Jonathan Han and Kassandra Round refused to lettheir viewers confront their pumpkin art alone, and provided us with insights into their imaginations.

Jon's Curatorial 2

“Anguish”- A Self Portrait by Jonathan Han, 2019

“Like all pains, this was unintended, but still pretty funky”

Perhaps best known for his other pumpkin-related work, namely “Cream Of…” and “Latte,” Jonathan Han takes pumpkin art to the next level. The emotional turmoil is best encapsulated by the taped-up cap/root, suggesting a mind not only unhinged, but broken. The crudeness of this work, in extreme contrast of his other portraits and sculptures, is considered a representative of the new movement Jonathan Han found: Pumpkin Brutalism.

Kassandra's Curatorial 2

“Unicorn Love”- by Kassandra Round, 2018

“The Unicorn is a Picasso Unicorn. The heart is French.”

Done at the same time as Jonathan Han’s seminal work, “Anguish,” Kassandra Round tries to capture the remnants of her childhood imagination, only to find a hollow caricature. The unicorn, so illegible that it has to be labeled, perhaps demonstrates perfectly the bastardized innocence, innocence now lost.

Upcoming in CC 201: Don Quixote

This upcoming week, our CC 201 students will take on the seemingly daunting novelwritten by Miguel de Cervantes:Don Quixote. This door stopper of a book details the adventures of haphazard knight and his bumbling squire as they traverse a Spain that has moved on from the world of knights and chivalry.

Though this book is centuries old, it continues to influence our modern scholars including members of the Herald Sun who have recently released a podcast about the famous Spanish Epic. Andrew Bolt calls it, “as fresh and innovative as a post-modernist work, and much funnier.” Listen to the podcast here.

As always, our lectures are open to all! They are formatted much like a TED talk, with experts in the field giving an in depth discussion on this week’s topic. Come join us this week to learn more about Don Quixote.

Image result for don quixote

Wear your Core shirt this Friday for a $25 gift certificate!

button-without-maskThe Core Curriculum invites you to fly your Core flag this Friday for #IheartCore Day. Since folks will be visiting BU for Friends & Family Weekend, we want them to see how large and fashionable the BU Core community is.

Here’s how to participate. Wear your Core teeshirt this Friday, October 19th, and make sure you’re photographed in it. Then, get your photo to us!

We’ll be doing a drawing of all photo submissions, and one winner will receive a $25 gift certicate to Whole Foods. (That’s a lot of pumpkin! Or, a lot of kale if that’s more your jam. It’s also a lot of jam, which is another product Whole Foods carries.)

To submit your photo, email it to; or tag it on social media with the #iheartcore hashtag, making sure we can see it on one of our Core social media accounts. Find us on Facebook at, with username Core Curriculum; on Twitter, as; and on Instagram as @bucore.

All current and former students of Core classes are eligible to win. Please note that faculty and staff are not eligible to win the Whole Foods gift certificate. However, all members of the Core community are encouraged to recognize and celebrate Core faculty and staff that show their Core Pride by wearing a Core Shirt this Core Friday.

Everyone’s Favorite Villain Returns

Depending on your idea of a good time, he could be your angel or your devil. The original sexy bad boy is back. This time, he’s a woman: Ellen Lauren is Dionysus in the Getty Villa’s newest production of Euripides’ Bacchae. To refresh your memory, the boys are back in town. Well, Dionysus is back, at least, in Thebes, and he’s stirring up some trouble in the forest and driving the ladies wild. The drama is, shall we say,wild,and the final speech of this Ancient Greek play is given in, surprise!Japanese! (what?)

Postcards from the Core: From Hydra, September 2018

A postcard from Hydra, Greece, written to Prof. Murphy from Core sophomore William Denton, marking the start of the semester. How coincidental considering this fall we’ll be going back to Ancient Greece in CC101 and 211!

Postcard 2


* Core loves postcards. Whether youre at home or abroad now, wed love to get one from you. Our address is easy: Core Curriculum, Boston University, Boston MA 02215.

Postcards to the Core: From Bari, August 2018

Michelli Postcard 1_Page_1









Oh boy, more mail! We’ve just heard from BU and Core alum Peter Michelli, currently doing research in southern Italy.

Dear Stephanie, Cliff, Rose and Zach,Michelli Postcard 1_Page_2

Sending Regards from Bari where I’m on my first (!) archival trip! (And they let me in!)


Peter Michelli


*Core loves postcards. Whether you’re at home or abroad now, wed love to get one from you. Our address is easy: Core Curriculum, Boston University, Boston MA 02215.