June 8, 2006
Vol. 25 No. 18

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    Scholars in physics, music, neurology will receive honor reserved for few

    The University will confer honorary degrees on three distinguished scholars—Arthur McDonald, Richard Middleton and Marcus Raichle—in recognition of the significant contributions they have made to their fields of study through research and scholarship. The honorary degrees will be presented to the scholars at Session II of the University’s Friday, June 9 Convocation ceremony.

    Arthur McDonald, professor of physics at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and Project Director at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, will receive the Honorary Doctorate of Science for contributions to the study and understanding of the nature of solar neutrinos. James Pilcher, Professor in Physics and the College, and Director of the Enrico Fermi Institute, will present McDonald during the ceremony.

    Through his research experiments, McDonald has solved a 30-year-old scientific problem by demonstrating that the three known forms of solar neutrinos—subatomic particles that pass through matter—are not immutable as earlier experiments had indicated. Using a 1,000-ton detector in a deep mine in Sudbury, Ontario, McDonald and the team of scientists he assembled conclusively showed that the three forms of neutrinos can transform from one type to another as they travel through matter or space.

    The Sudbury detector was the first of its kind that was able to detect all three forms of neutrinos. Having secured the needed resources to construct the instrument, McDonald led his team through the construction process, the operation of the detector, and the subtle analysis of the data to obtain an incontrovertible result.

    Richard Middleton, emeritus professor of music at the International Centre for Music Studies, School of Arts and Cultures, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, U.K., will receive the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Travis Jackson, Associate Professor in Music and the College, will present Middleton during the ceremony.

    Over the course of nearly four decades, Middleton has become an internationally known music scholar, who, through his writings, has shown the value and necessity of understanding music historically, topographically, sonically, socially and critically—and he has done so without isolating music from its production and reception contexts.

    He has written on blues and rock music, as well as jazz and concert music and the relationships between these musical styles and race, gender, sexuality and class.

    Middleton’s careful attention to context and detail and his thorough engagement with scholarly literatures have informed his analyses of the connections between varied musical styles and political and psychic economies. His scholarship also has resulted in a new understanding of the roles, meanings and functions of repetition in music.

    In his latest work, Middleton will show how music and power are mutually involved in “voicing the popular.” Having brought the repertories of popular music to the attention of serious academic scholars, Middleton’s research has often been a first resource for those wanting to explore popular music.

    Marcus Raichle, professor of radiology and neurology at Washington University, St. Louis, School of Medicine, will receive the Honorary Doctorate of Science. John Cacioppo, the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology and the College, and Director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University, will present Raichle at the ceremony.

    Raichle, a pioneer in neuro-imaging and brain-behavior relationships, has revolutionized the fields of psychology, psychiatry and neurology through his studies of cognition and behavior using positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

    He discovered that contrasting cognitive operations produced localized changes in deoxygenated hemoglobin in the brain tissue underlying these cognitive operations. This led to an appreciation that localized moment-by-moment changes in the concentration of oxygen within the brain—detectable using a variation on magnetic resonance imaging—could be used to map when, where and how the brain processes information and implements cognition, emotion and behavior.

    Raichle is considered a founding father of cognitive neuroscience, as he has provided the theory, methods and findings that form the basis for modern metabolic brain imaging research.