HONORS & Other Things
As the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Crumb turns 70, Penn colleagues and friends are invited to celebrate at a free concert Tuesday, October 12, at the Curtis Institute of Music. The performance, part of the Penn Contemporary Music series, begins at 8 p.m., at 1726 Locust Street.
Dr. Crumb, the Annenberg Professor Emeritus of Music and composer in residence at Penn, will give one of his rare performances in the local premiere of his Mundis Canis, with the noted guitarist David Starobin. In New York two years ago their rendering of the droll piece--A Dog's World, in English--had the audience in stitches, according to one reviewer, as it portrayed in music five dogs that have owned Dr. Crumb over the years.
The program will open with Dr. Crumb's noted piano work Makrokosmos, Volume I, performed by Dr. James Primosch, chair of the music department, followed by works of Dr. Richard Wernick--a fellow holder of the Pulitzer, now Mangin Professor Emeritus here--and of two other faculty colleagues, Jay Reise and Anna Weesner. A new work by Melinda Wagner, an alumna who won the Pulitzer last year, will complete the program.
Two other events in the area celebrate Dr. Crumb this month: A concert at 8 p.m. October 23 at Swarthmore, and one at 7:30 p.m. October 24 at Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce Street. For information call the music department at (215) 898-7544.
Dr. Chung-Pei Ma, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, has been named a Cottrell Scholar--one of 18 in the nation so honored because they excel in both teaching and research. Dr. Ma, who won both a Lindback Award for her teaching and a Sloan Fellowship for her research during 1998-99, is the first member of the Penn faculty to win a Cottrell. The award, which carries an unrestricted grant of $50,000, is given in a program created by the chemist Frederick Gardner Cottrell, who assigned to the nonprofit Research Corporation the patent rights to his Cottrell precipitator in order to offer young scientists "greater freedom to experiment in teaching and research." Dr. Ma's work focuses on the formation and evolution of galaxies, and on the computation of temperature variations imprinted on the cosmic microwave background radiation that may produce a "snapshot of the infant Universe."
Dr. Craig B. Thompson, who joined Penn this summer as scientific director of the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, has been named chair of a new basic science department in the School of Medicine. Dean William N. Kelley said the new department is expected to have between five and ten primary faculty, with opportunities for secondary appointments for faculty in existing departments, including clinical faculty.
Predicting that in the next several decades cancer will become the leading cause of death for Americans, Dr. Kelley said biomedical researchers "recognize cancer as an important model system through which to study a broad spectrum of basic biological issues. At the same time, a department focused on research would complement the excellent clinical care provided by our Cancer Center, while serving as a way to centralize and coordinate teaching efforts in cancer biology. And we cannot ignore the fact that several of our peer institutions have already created comparable departments. To remain competitive, to recruit the best researchers, and to attract students interested in obtaining Ph.D. degrees in cancer biology, our School of Medicine needed a department.
Dr. Thompson, a 1977 PennMed alumnus, was professor of medicine and molecular
biology at Chicago until he joined Penn as scientific director of the Leonard
and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. Dean Kelley described
Dr. Thompson as an oncologist whose expertise on the interactions between
the immune system and cancers--particularly lymphomas and leukemias--marks
him as one of the leading researchers in this area. "Even before relocating
to Penn this summer, he was busy recruiting some of the nation's finest
scientists for the new institute," he added. "I have no doubt
that he will be equally adept at building a world-class faculty for our
newest department." Dr. Thompson has also been a Howard Hughes Medical
Investigator, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and
Dr. Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, professor of physics, has been chosen (along with MIT's Dr. Mildred Dresselhause) to receive the American Physical Society's 1999 Nicholson Medal for Humanitarian Service. Dr. Ajzenberg-Selove is cited for mentoring and friendship of young scientists, for high standards in research, teaching and citizenship, and for promoting international ties in science. She also received an honorary doctorate from Haverford College in May.
Dr. Anthony Garito and Dr. Arjun Yodh, both professors of physics, were elected Fellows of the American Physical Society this year.
Dr. Garito was chosen for contributions to the understanding of enhancement mechanisms for second and third order non-linear optical processes in organic and polymer structures, and Dr. Yodh for work on the use of diffusing light fields and studies of the structural, dynamical, and spectroscopic properties of highly scattering materials.
Dr. Robin Hochstrasser, professor of chemistry, has received the American Chemical Society's E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy, sponsored by Rohn & Haas Company, in recognition of his pioneering spectroscopic experiments and insights involving dynamic processes in crystals, solutions, and proteins. Dr. Hochstrasser, who is also director of Penn's regional laser laboratory, has made key contributions to mechanisms of ultrafast isomerism reactions in isolated molecules, and he initiated the use of femtosecond infrared methods for the study of reactions in solutions and in biological systems such as hemoglobin and myoglobin.
The ACS also gave new honors to Dr. Madeleine Joullié, professor of chemistry, this time the Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, sponsored by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.
The award recognizes her as a professional who for 40 years has taught and performed research in chemistry, while encouraging and stimulating women to elect careers in chemical sciences and engineering.
In Dr. Judith Rodin's speech rededicating the Faculty Club in its new quarters at the Inn at Penn, she took as metaphor the Club's logo, an hourglass, symbol of the noble use of leisure and, in her words "an appropriate metaphor for a Penn institution that has withstood the test of time, proving year after year its value to the University community." Lauding the handsome new decor and the many who helped redesign and relocate the Club in its new setting, she ended, "...So I ask all of you to join me today in flipping the hourglass again, ringing in a new era for the Faculty Club."
The ceremony also rededicated the Club's Burrison Art Gallery, with a tribute to the Gallery's volunteer director Maurice Burrison, delivered by Club President Elsa Ramsden. It said in part:
"On this, the occasion of your 90th birthday, the members of the
University of Pennsylvania Faculty Club Board of Governors publicly proclaim
the very high esteem in which you are held. Both to the members of the Faculty
Club and to the larger body of the entire University you are known as a
person of great good humor and abundant good taste. You bring joy and loyalty
to the Club and to Penn. The Burrison Art Gallery is a testament to the
many talents which you posses. The gallery speaks of the intelligence, broadly
based knowledge and discerning insight, which are the Burrison trademarks.
Many thanks, Maurie for all the good that has flowed from you to the Club.
In 1995, the University announced a strategy "to ensure that minority and women-owned businesses, local residents and local businesses would be among those who benefit from Penn's construction, procurement, and employment opportunities," as Executive Vice President John Fry and others said at the time. To put the strategy into effect, when Penn embarked on two of the largest building programs in its history-the medical research facility known as BRB II/III, and the Walnut Street complex called Sansom Common, the University created a set of advisory committees of community leaders, elected officials, and area religious leaders to help guide and shape a framework--and to be in place for future projects.
Last Monday, September 27, President Rodin gave a reception at the newly opened Inn at Penn, to honor the members of the Community Advisory Boards for the Biomedical Research Building II/III and Sansom Common Project for their contributions. "Today is about making sure that when we view these buildings, we don't just see bricks and mortar, we see the community woven into their very fabric and that we thank the individuals who made this happen," said Dr. Rodin as she presented each committee member with a plaque.
"Through the efforts and dedication of these community members," the President said, "the projects...accomplished unprecedented success in achieving community and minority and female participation, formed a model that can be used for future projects, and taught us invaluable lessons on how to institute a culture change for Penn." Among other things:
Dr. Richard Tannen, Senior Vice President at the School of Medicine, described an innovative 13-week BRBII/III training program designed to help minority workers find jobs in construction-which 34 participants completed. "I am proud of the fact that the BRB II/III project was a model the University could follow in the construction of Sansom Common--and indeed, it appears that in the matter of community participation, Sansom Common has raised the bar."
The honorees at last week's reception were a mix of Penn staff, community members, and contractors. They included:
BRB II/III Community Advisory Committee
Sansom Common Project Advisory Committee
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 6, October 5, 1999