January 26, 1999
Volume 45
Number 18

Mary Amanda Wood Chair: Dr. Tom Lubensky

Dean Samuel H. Preston has announced the selection of Dr. Tom C. Lubensky, a longtime member of the faculty who is an international leader in condensed-matter physics, as the Mary Amanda Wood Professor in Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Lubensky is a 1964 alumnus of CalTech who took his M.A. from Harvard in 1965 and his Ph.D. there in 1969. After an NSF postdoctoral fellowship to the University of Paris, and another at Brown, he joined the Penn physics department in 1971 as assistant professor of physics. Promoted to associate professor in 1975 and to full professor in 1980, Dr. Lubensky was named to the Patricia M. Williams Term Chair in 1995.

Dr. Lubensky's research in condensed-matter physics focuses on "soft" materials such as liquid crystals, membranes, vesicles, Langmuir films, and the many realizations of complex fluids such as microemulsions. Among other honors for his work, he has been named a Sloan Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow; a visiting professor at the École Normale Supérieure; coordinator of institutes in his field at Santa Barbara and Aspen; and member of several editorial boards. Since 1993 he has also been on the executive committee of Penn's Laboratory for Research in the Structure of Matter.

In addition to publishing numerous articles in his field, he coauthored with P. M. Chaikin the textbook Principles of Condensed Matter Physics.

The Wood chair in physics was established in 1947 through a bequest from James L. Wood, a 1887 alumnus who became a well-known landscape artist and who named the chair in memory of his mother. Initially held by Dr. Gaylord Harnwell, who was president of the University from 1953-1970, the chair was then held by Dr. Keith Brueckner, Dr. Robert Schrieffer, Dr. Elias Burstein and, most recently, Dr. Paul Steinhardt.

Change at Federal Relations

In a reorganization of the Office of Federal Relations at Penn, Carol Scheman, Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs, has assumed direct oversight and responsibility for the Federal Relations office.

Dr. Ed Abrahams, who has been Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations, has left his position to pursue other interests. He continues to teach Public Policy in U.S. Higher Education for the Penn in Washington Semester Program.

Ms. Scheman expressed appreciation for Dr. Abraham's work on behalf of the University and his leadership to increase federal funding for research. "The University will miss his service and his colleagues all wish him well."

In addition to Ms. Scheman, the Office of Federal Relations (which can be reached at 898-1532) has an Associate Executive Vice President, Russ Molloy, who focuses on Health System issues; two Associate Directors--Micheline Murphy-McManus and one to be named; and an Administrative Coordinator, Franca Jenkins.

Relocating Redwoods

How do you move a 20-foot redwood tree? In the case of seven hefty young trees at the Morris Arboretum, it's done with a "tree spade," an enormous tree-moving machine with giant digging arms. In December, arborists at the Penn arboretum in Chestnut Hill supervised the replanting of the young dawn redwoods--a tree once believed to have been extinct for 20 million years--to a memorial grove below the Arboretum's popular Sculpture Garden.

The young trees were scooped up from their homes in the Arboretum's research facility, Bloomfield Farm, and moved to an existing grove of dawn redwoods, or Metasequoia. The mechanical arms of the tree spade dug up each tree along with seven feet of surrounding soil and roots. Each tree was then deposited into a six-foot-deep hole joining twelve older dawn redwoods from China. (Please click here for more details.)

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 18, January 26, 1999