Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, professor of English and the Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of Biography, will be the 68th holder of the George Eastman Professorship at the University of Oxford for the 2009-2010 academic year. The chair is awarded annually to U.S. scholars of the highest distinction, and its ranks include classicists, philosophers, lawyers, historians, economists, and 13 Nobel Laureates. The residential position includes a professorship at Balliol College, one of Oxford's 39 colleges, and housing in the Eastman House. Gerzina, who is also chair of the English department, says she looks forward to pursuing her research on the Bloomsbury group and race, Black British studies, and-during side trips to Italy and France-on Josephine Baker. Gerzina is the author of seven books, including the Norton Annotated Secret Garden, and Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary 18th-Century Family Moved out of Slavery and Into Legend. She is the first member of the Dartmouth faculty to receive the award.
Annamaria Lusardi, professor of economics, was recognized by the Fidelity Research Institute for her efforts to help improve lifelong financial well-being for Americans. Lusardi was co- recipient of the institute's 2007 Pyramid Prize award along with Olivia Mitchell of the Wharton School. Together they wrote the paper, "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: The Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," which was published in the Journal of Monetary Economics in January 2007. Fidelity awards the prize to highlight thought-leading analyses that "inspire action through practical solutions to the financial challenges facing individuals, institutions, and governments." The prize includes $25,000, which Lusardi says she plans to save for retirement.
and Fabio Pellacini
, both assistant professors of computer science
, were honored with awards from the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award recognizes and supports the activities of teacher/scholars early in their careers, and the awardees are often considered emerging leaders in their respective fields. Recipients are selected for career development plans that integrate research and teaching. Pellacini
works on computer graphics, design, and animation. He is particularly interested in developing methods to make synthetic imagery accessible to novice computer users. For the education component of his funding, Pellacini says,
"My long-term goal is to stimulate and enable artists' creativity by developing intuitive user interfaces for creating digital art that are as simple as sketching on paper." Balkcom
is interested in building machines that sense, reason about, and act on the physical world. His CAREER award will support research into algorithms that will allow robots to navigate efficiently from one location to another, reliably assemble products in automatic factories, and even fold origami. Balkcom's NSF award will also support the development of undergraduate curriculum in robots and geometric-reasoning algorithms, and a summer robotics camp for K-12 students.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has granted a one-year fellowship to Associate Professor of Music Steve Swayne
. Swayne will use the support to complete a book about American composer William Schuman (1912-1992), the first person ever to receive a Pulitzer Prize for music in 1943. "William Schuman contributed so much to American music, not only through his many compositions but also through his leadership as president of the Juilliard School and as president of New York City's Lincoln Center," says Swayne. "A comprehensive book about his life and music is long overdue, and I'm grateful that the NEH recognizes the value of this project." NEH Fellowships support individuals pursuing scholarly projects that contribute to the public's understanding of the humanities.
Lawrence D. Kritzman
, professor of French and Italian
and of comparative literature
, is the recipient of the 15th annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies from the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). Kritzman was chosen for his work as editor of The Columbia History of Twentieth-Century French Thought
, published by Columbia University Press. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding book in its field-a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography. The selection committee described Kritzman's book as "A definitive compendium of the vibrant intellectual contributions made by French and Francophone thinkers over the last century," and "A major contribution to the field of French studies that promises to define the study of modern French thought for years to come."
Elizabeth F. Smith, associate professor of biological sciences, has been named a K.R. Porter Fellow of the Porter Endowment for Cell Biology. The award will support Smith's talks to groups of young scientists and sponsorship of young researchers to attend professional conferences. Smith studies the biochemical signals involved in the development and motility, or movement, of flagella and cilia. Their development and function have long been linked to hydrocephaly, infertility, and respiratory distress. Scientific interest in flagella and cilia has grown in response to findings in the past decade linking cilia development to such disorders as retinal degeneration and polycystic kidney disease.