May 15, 2008
Vol. 27 No. 16

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    Faculty, alumni elected to American Philosophical Society

    By William Harms and Josh Schonwald
    w-harms@uchicago.edu jschonwa@uchicago.edu
    News Office

    Three University faculty members and two members of the alumni community have been elected to the American Philosophical Society. Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, the Philadelphia-based APS is the nation’s oldest learned society.

    Philip Gossett, the William W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor in Music and the College, James Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, and Michael Silverstein, the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor in Anthropology, Linguistics and Psychology, are among the newly elected members of the APS.

    Alumna Francesca Rochberg (Ph.D.,’80), an ancient Near Eastern historian and the Catherine and William Magitretti distinguished professor of Near Eastern studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and alumnus John Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice (A.B.,’41), also have been selected as APS members.

    Philip Gossett

    Gossett, who is widely regarded as the world’s leading authority on 19th-century Italian opera, has been teaching at the University since 1968.

    He recently won the University Press’ Gordon J. Laing Prize for his 2006 book, Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera.

    A music historian, Gossett has specialized in the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi. He has authored two books on Donizetti, and he serves as general editor of The Works of Giuseppe Verdi and the Works of Gioachino Rossini.

    Gossett also has served as president of the American Musicological Society, as Dean of the Division of the Humanities, and as a lecturer and consultant at opera houses and festivals in America and Italy.

    Among the operas he has edited or co-edited are Rossini’s Tancredi, Ermione and Semiramide.

    Heckman is one of the nation’s leading researchers in the economics of human development.

    James Heckman

    His recent research deals with the evaluation of social programs, econometric models of discrete choice and longitudinal data, the economics of the labor market, and alternative models of the distribution of income.

    He is particularly interested in early investments in human development, as well as the development of cognitive and noncognitive skills. He has examined physical and mental health and develops theoretical models of parental choice and child preference formation as well as intergenerational models of family influence.

    Heckman has received numerous awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Award of the American Economic Association in 1983, and he shared the 2000 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with economist Daniel McFadden.

    Silverstein, a faculty member at Chicago since 1971, is an expert in the relationship between linguistic forms and their cultural functions, indigenous languages and cultures of North America and Australia, and linguistic anthropological analysis of communication in contemporary American society.

    He has made groundbreaking theoretical contributions to anthropology, linguistics and psychology, and is renowned for his long-term studies of the indigenous languages and cultures of North America and of Australia.

    Michael Silverstein

    Silverstein also examines the contemporary sociocultural forces on American English. The author of Talking Politics (2003), he is currently studying political communication in the 2008 presidential election.

    Rochberg, a scholar of ancient Near Eastern history and the history of science, focuses her research on ancient astronomy and astrology.

    Rochberg, who did her doctoral work at the Oriental Institute under Erica Reiner and Martha Roth, is a recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur fellowship (in the same 1982 class as Silverstein).

    She is the author of The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture (2004), Aspects of Babylonian Horoscopes, and historical and philological studies of Babylonian astrology, astronomy, cosmology and religion published in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, and Journal of the American Oriental Society, among others.

    Stevens (A.B. ’41) has served on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1975, when President Gerald Ford appointed him. Stevens graduated with honors for scholarship and extra-curricular activities as well as Phi Beta Kappa. He served as a naval officer assigned to breaking the Japanese code during World War II and was awarded a Bronze Star.

    Stevens formed his own law firm and taught antitrust law at the University and Northwestern law school. He served as associate counsel of a House of Representatives subcommittee studying monopoly power, as a member of the attorney general’s committee to study antitrust laws and as general counsel to an Illinois commission investigating the conduct of state Supreme Court justices.