Jan. 24, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 8

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    Seven on faculty receive named professorships, DSP appointments

    By Steve Koppes, Seth Sanders, Josh Schonwald, Peter Schuler and John Easton
    News Office

    Three University faculty members––Robert Sampson, the Lucy Flower Professor in Sociology and the College; Melvyn Shochet, the Elaine M. & Samuel D. Kersten Professor in Physical Sciences and the College; and Robert Wald, Professor in Physics and the College, have received distinguished service professorships, effective Tuesday, Jan. 1.

    Four other University professors have been appointed to endowed chairs, including new faculty member, Brian Popko, who has been named the first Jack Miller Professor in Peripheral Neuropathy.

    Current faculty members who received named chairs are: Julie Roin, Professor in the Law School; Robert von Hallberg, Professor in Germanic Studies, English Language & Literature and Comparative Literature and the College; and Linda Waite, Professor in Sociology and the College.

    Robert Sampson

    Robert Sampson has been named the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology and the College.

    One of the nation’s leading sociologists of crime and urban communities, Sampson has explored the sources and consequences of neighborhood social organization, the influences of parental resources and family discord on childhood delinquency and the pathways of crime across the life course.

    Currently, as the Scientific Director of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, Sampson is studying community-level dynamics and processes. The Chicago Project is tracking multiple cohorts of more than 6,000 children and adolescents, along with an intensive assessment of their neighborhood social contexts. Sampson also is writing a book integrating narrative life histories from 500 disadvantaged men born in Boston during the Depression with quantitative analyses of their adaptation from birth to age 70 across major life domains.

    Sampson joined the Chicago faculty in 1991 after serving on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. in 1983 from the School of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Albany.

    Melvyn Shochet

    Melvyn Shochet, whose work focuses on high-energy physics, is now the Elaine M. & Samuel D. Kersten Jr. Distinguished Service Professor in Physical Sciences and the College.

    Shochet is a member of the Collider Detector at Fermilab collaboration. He co-led, with Henry Frisch, Professor in Physics and the College, the Chicago team that helped build two critical components of the upgraded CDF experiment, which began operation last year.

    He served as scientific co-spokesman for the 439-member CDF collaboration that obtained the first direct experimental evidence for the top quark in 1994. The top quark was the sixth and final fundamental particle that completed the Standard Model, a theory explaining the behavior of matter and energy.

    Shochet also is a member of the ATLAS collaboration at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory. The ATLAS experiment will begin when construction is complete on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in 2006.

    Shochet received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1972. He came to the University as a Research Associate in 1972 and served as the Elaine and Samuel Kersten Professor in Physical Sciences from 1995 to 2001.

    His honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and a Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the University.

    Robert Wald

    Robert Wald, who specializes in general relativity and the theory of quantum phenomena in strong gravitational fields, especially black holes, has been named the Charles H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and the College.

    Wald is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Other honors include a Sloan Foundation Fellowship and a Graduate Teaching Award from the University.

    Wald earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1972 and came to the University as a Research Associate in 1974.

    He is the author of a standard graduate text in relativity titled General Relativity. He also wrote Space, Time and Gravity, which is based on the Arthur Compton Lectures he presented at the University in 1976.

    Neurobiologist Brian Popko has been appointed the first Jack Miller Professor in Peripheral Neuropathy.

    Popko, a new faculty member, is an authority on the role played by myelinating glial cells, the nervous system cells that produce myelin, the insulating substance that surrounds and protects neurons and allows them to function, and on interactions between the immune and nervous systems.

    His research has provided significant insights into how glial cells interact with neurons, how the myelinization process is regulated and how the myelin sheath––which is damaged by diseases such as multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathy––is maintained. Popko has developed several mouse models that allow his team to alter genes in glial cells and analyze how these changes affect the development and maintenance of the mammalian nervous system.

    Popko comes to Chicago from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a professor of biochemistry and biophysics and director of the functional genomes core facility. He earned his Ph.D. in microbiology in 1984 from the University of Miami School of Medicine. Before joining the faculty at UNC, he spent three years as a research fellow in Leroy Hood’s laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.

    Julie Roin

    Julie Roin, a Professor in the Law School since 1998 and a Visiting Professor in 1983, has been named the Seymour Logan Professor in the Law School.

    Roin is a tax specialist whose research focuses on federal income taxation issues, especially those involving international transactions. In Spring Quarter, she will be teaching International Taxation. Her most recent article, “Competition and Evasion: Another Perspective on International Tax Competition,” was recently published in the Georgetown Law Journal.

    Before joining the University faculty, Roin was at the University of Virginia. She also was an associate at the law firm of Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered, in Washington, D.C., from 1981 to 1984 and served as a clerk for the Hon. Patricia Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia from 1980 to 1981.

    Roin received her J.D. from Yale University Law School in 1980, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

    Robert von Hallberg

    Robert von Hallberg, Professor in Germanic Studies, English Language & Literature, Comparative Literature and the College, has been named the Helen A. Regenstein Professor.

    Von Hallberg’s work deals with the aesthetics and politics of 20th-century poetry in the United States and Germany. His teaching and research focus specifically on postwar American poetry, East German writing (1949 to 1989) and early literary modernism (1909 to 1925) in London, New York, Berlin and Munich.

    He earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in English. In addition to teaching at Chicago, he also has taught at Stanford University and at the Institut f¸r Englische Philologie at the University of W¸rzburg and the University of Munich. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim and the Alexander von Humboldt foundations as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also has served as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer.

    Von Hallberg has served as chairman of Germanic Studies, poetry editor for the University Press and co-editor of Critical Inquiry. Currently he is co-editor of the journal Modernism/Modernity and is writing a book on African-American poetry.

    Linda Waite

    Linda Waite, Professor in Sociology, has been named the Lucy Flower Professor in Urban Sociology.

    Waite, who also is Director of the Center for Aging at NORC at the University, is one of the nation’s leading demographers of aging, marriage and family life.

    Waite has conducted a pioneering study on marriage, which argues that marriage changes people’s behavior in ways that promote economic, emotional and physical well-being. She also has studied the decision to cohabit, the transition from cohabitation to marriage and the characteristics of cohabiting unions.Waite has examined the role of religious participation over the life course and the lives of working couples with children.

    Waite is currently working with researchers in the University’s Institute of Mind and Biology to study the social and community factors that influence the feelings and health effects of social isolation. She will seek to understand loneliness in a broader context by analyzing data from the next wave of the Health and Retirement Survey, a longitudinal study of 20,000 Americans over age 50.

    Waite joined the University in 1991 as Chair of the Committee on Demographic Training and as a Research Associate at the Population Research Center at NORC. Prior to coming to Chicago, she served as a director of The RAND Corp.’s Population Research Center.

    She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1976.