With each Olympics, we are reminded of our own connections to Games and memorable events or openings we may have watched with terrific anticipation. Not only have there been Olympic athletes with ties to IU, but there are Hoosiers involved in other ways. Recently, IU’s Jesus Dapena retired from the Kinesthetics department and his papers were transferred to the University Archives. Over the years, his impressive work has contributed to Team USA in the Summer Olympics.
Dapena studies the biomechanics of human movement completing a variety of activities, from cello playing to hammer throwing. While sports had always been central to his work, Dapena’s studies became more focused when he received a 1982 commission as the biomechanics researcher in charge of the high jump and hammer throw events for two U.S. Olympic Committee projects. His involvement with the high jump in these projects (the Elite Athlete Project and the Scientific Support Services) has continued even into recent years.
Dapena’s interest in track and field events began when he was a high jumper a young man. As he worked on his technique and watched athletes attempt the new Fosbury Flop (debuted at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics), Dapena considered the physics involved. In the 1980s he turned his attention to high jumpers, and he and colleagues studied videos and animations of potential Olympic athletes. The researchers would then produce a full length report on the individual’s technique and give advice on how they might improve. Dapena says that high jumping is part genetics and part technique. Since parentage is not easily changed, he suggests that teaching athletes technique is the best way to improve their chances of winning.
To hear more about the high jump, the Fosbury flop, and Dapena’s work, check out his interview on NPR’s Science Friday during the 2012 Olympics.
The Indiana University Archives is pleased to announce that the finding aid for both the dean’s records and personal papers of Bernard M. Fry are now available!
Bernard M. Fry was born on October 24, 1915 in Bloomfield, Indiana. Fry was an alumnus of Indiana University, earning his Bachelors and first Masters degrees here in 1937 and 1939. He later went on to earn a second Masters from Catholic University and his Ph.D. from American University. Before his tenure at IU, he worked for the Library of Congress, the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Commerce. Additionally, Fry served as editor of two international research journals, Government Publications Review, and its successor, Information Processing and Management.
Much like the recent School of Library and Information Science merger with the School of Informatics, in 1967, the library and information program here at Indiana University also underwent a major change. The library program was then a part of the School of Education and was known as the Division of Library Science. The Division of Library Science split from the School of Education to become the Graduate Library School. Shortly thereafter, Fry was named Dean of the Graduate Library School, a position he held until 1980. The same year he retired, the school changed names again to become the School of Library and Information Science.
One of Fry’s crowning achievements during his time as dean was the establishment of the Research Center for Library and Information Science in 1968. The Research Center was responsible for major studies conducted for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the Library of Congress. From a NSF-funded project Fry co-authored a book with RCLIS director Herbert S. White, Publishers and Libraries: A Study of Scholarly and Research Journals. The book was awarded the “Best Information Science Book of the Year” for 1977.
In 1980, Fry retired as dean and spent nearly four years as the director of the RCLIS. Upon his retirement from IU in 1984, he was named Professor Emeritus of Library Science. Fry passed away in 1994 at the age of 78.