November 18, 2004
Vol. 24 No. 5

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    The University’s Nicholson Center for British Studies has received from the Mellon Foundation a joint grant with the University of California at Berkeley. The $487,000 grant will be split between both schools to fund a series of conferences exploring the history of Britain’s political economy that will take place over the next three academic years.

    Specifically, the grant will support visiting faculty appointments, an annual two-day regional conference at both institutions and one Berkeley-Chicago consortium conference per year. By uniting Chicago’s expertise in the history of early modern Britain with Berkeley’s in the late modern period, the creators of the program wish to promote ongoing discussion between scholars of diverse disciplines and periods who are not ordinarily in communication with each other. By combining the strengths of both institutions, the hope is that graduate students at both schools will have a broader intellectual and institutional framework for their studies.

    The Berkeley-Chicago consortium will focus on three sub-themes of the history of Britain’s political economy: economic modernization, political culture, and the emergence of the social sciences and welfare state in Britain.

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced that it will award David Mao, Visiting Professor in Geophysical Sciences, the Gregori Aminoff Prize in Crystallography 2005 “for pioneering research at ultrahigh pressures and temperatures.” The prize is given annually to recognize scientists of international distinction who have made a major contribution to crystallography, the study of the arrangement of atoms in solids.

    Mao developed the diamond anvil cell, a device that can exert extreme pressure conditions on materials that radically change their properties. Studies of such varied states of matter have been applied to a wide range of problems, from chemistry and materials science, to fundamental physics and Earth and planetary sciences.

    Hamza Walker, Director of Education and Associate Curator for the University’s Renaissance Society, has been honored with the Walter Hopps Curatorial Award. The $15,000 prize—given by the Menil Collection, the Houston museum that is esteemed for its collection of 20th-century art—was established to recognize significant contributions by curators in early- to mid-career.

    Walker is the second winner ever of the biannual prize and was selected by jurors Elizabeth Smith of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Vicente Todoli, director of Tate Modern (London), and Okwui Enwezor of Columbia University.