Oct. 14, 1993
Vol. 13, No. 4

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    Eight scholars from around world to be awarded honorary d

    President Hugo F. Sonnenschein will bestow honorary degrees upon eight scholars from around the world at a special inaugural convocation on Wednesday, Oct. 20, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

    Sonnenschein will confer the degrees following his installation as the University's 11th president and the presentation of his inaugural address.

    A description of the recipients' work follows. IHSAN ABBAS Doctor of Humane Letters

    Abbas, professor emeritus at the American University of Beirut, is considered the premier figure of this century in the field of Arabic and Islamic studies both in the East and in the West. His work includes the seminal contribution to the founding principles of the modern edited Arabic text and groundbreaking work on the Arabic literary legacy of Muslim Spain. Abbas is also known for his internationally acclaimed theoretical and applied works on Arabic literary criticism and for his translations of works of literature -- particularly American literature -- which have set new standards for translation into Arabic.

    Abbas has written, edited and translated close to 70 books and over 80 articles, displaying a wide range of expertise not only in Arabic literature but also in history, geography, political thought, law, science, civilization and religion. He is currently editor of the Encyclopaedia of Islamic Civilization. His open-minded approach to scholarship is part of his call for cooperation between Arabs, Muslims and Western Orientalists for the uncovering of the humanistic contribution of Islamic civilization to world civilization over the centuries.

    Abbas has been honored with memberships in several academies, including honorary membership in the German Oriental Society for his support of and close collaboration with the German Institute for Oriental Research in Beirut. He has received the Gold Medal for Education from the Lebanese Government and the King Faisal International Prize for Arabic literature from Saudi Arabia. Abbas received his B.A. in 1949, his M.A. in 1951 and his Ph.D. in 1954 from Cairo University. FRANCIS ALLEN Doctor of Laws

    Allen, professor of law and the Hubert C. Hurst Eminent Scholar at the University of Florida, is considered the pre-eminent scholar of criminal law of his generation. His contributions to the legal field have influenced both the theory and the practice of criminal law and procedure.

    The author of 11 books and more than 60 articles, Allen is regarded as having contributed greatly to illuminating the complex relationship between crime and punishment. Allen's paradigm-shifting work, "The Decline of the Rehabilitative Idea: Penal Policy and Public Purpose" (1981), first raised doubts about the assumptions that had dominated 20th-century penology. His work on the reform of the substantive law of crime -- a reform that won acceptance throughout the United States -- decisively influenced the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code.

    Between 1946 and 1978, Allen served in a variety of public positions, including that of chairman of the Attorney General's Committee on Poverty and the Administration of Federal Criminal Justice. His work on this committee led to the provision of counsel for those accused of serious crimes and was incorporated into legislation in the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 and the Bail Reform Act of 1966.

    Allen taught at Chicago from 1956 to 1962 and again from 1963 to 1966. He also served on the faculty at Michigan, Northwestern and Harvard. He received his A.B. in 1941 from Cornell College and his LL.B. in 1946 from Northwestern. YVES COPPENS Doctor of Science

    Coppens, who holds the Chaire de Paleoanthropologie et Prehistoire at the College de France, is France's premier paleoanthropologist. He is known for his groundbreaking research in the field of hominid evolution and for significant findings in a vast range of other areas, including prehistoric archaeology, geology and paleontology.

    Coppens' work has resulted in the discovery of several species of Hominidae and the development of a standard referent for the study of Plio-Pleistocene localities. His major contributions also include his critical "East Side Story" hypothesis, which explores the relationship between the geography of eastern Africa and the evolutionary development of Hominidae. He has written or edited more than 10 books on hominid evolution and produced numerous scientific papers spanning the scope of paleoanthropology, fossil hominids, paleontology, prehistoric archaeology and geology. Coppens also has conducted archaeological excavations at prehistoric and early historic sites in Europe and Tanzania, and he has led paleoanthropological expeditions to Chad, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Cameroon, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, the Philippines and Indonesia.

    From 1951 to 1957, Coppens studied at the Universite de Rennes, where he concentrated in zoology, geology and botany, and he went on to study paleontology at the Sorbonne. In addition to his position at the College de France, Coppens is director of the Centre de Recherches Anthropologiques at the Musee de l'Homme. RICHARD HOLM Doctor of Science

    Holm, the Higgins Professor of Chemistry at Harvard, is a pioneering researcher in inorganic chemistry and was a leading force behind the development of bioinorganic chemistry as an independent discipline.

    Holm's most influential work focused on the coordination chemistry of metalloproteins. In the 1970s, he demonstrated that the metal complexes in the active sites of iron-sulfur proteins could be recreated in a laboratory. By creating the coordination sites of these "ferredoxins" outside of the protein matrix, Holm's research put an end to speculation that the structure of metal complexes in proteins was controlled by the protein itself. His findings revitalized coordination chemistry as a discipline with applications to living systems.

    In his distinguished career, Holm has co-authored more than 300 scientific articles and has served on the editorial boards of seven chemistry journals. He received his B.S. in 1955 from the University of Massachusetts and his Ph.D. in 1959 from MIT. He taught at Harvard, Wisconsin, MIT and Stanford before returning to Harvard as professor of chemistry in 1980. He has received numerous awards for his work, and he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1975. LEONID HURWICZ Doctor of Laws

    Hurwicz, the Regents' Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Minnesota, is a pioneer in the field of economics. His early interest in econometrics -- the application of statistical methods to the study of economic data and problems -- not only brought econometrics to the forefront of economic research but led to a deeper understanding of the theory of demand. He launched substantial new research on the foundations of economics.

    In a path-breaking paper in 1960, Hurwicz drew out parallels with the theory of computation and viewed the market as a kind of parallel computer, an idea that is still at the frontier of research today. In 1971, he answered a classical problem within the theory of demand with his definitive analysis of the derivation of utility functions from demand functions. His other groundbreaking work centers on the notion of "incentive compatibility," which emphasizes informational decentralization and respect for individual privacy while providing incentives for the public revelation of information necessary to produce efficient outcomes. This work has caused a dramatic transformation in how economic theorists examine the informational efficiency of competition, the provision of public goods, the design of auctions and the internal organization of large firms.

    Hurwicz received his LL.M. from the University of Warsaw in 1938 before attending the London School of Economics in 1938-39. He then studied at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva in 1939-40, at Harvard in 1941 and at Chicago from 1940 to 1942. BRUNO NETTL Doctor of Humane Letters

    Nettl, professor of music and anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has made far-reaching and diverse contributions to the field of ethnomusicology. He is a prolific author whose work focuses on the methodologies of ethnomusicology, Native American music, European and North American folk music, Persian music and the modernization of world music cultures. He has conducted fieldwork in the United States among the Blackfoot people of Montana and with ethnic groups in the Midwest, Europe, Israel, Iran and India.

    Nettl's work is marked by an interdisciplinary character that has generated intellectual debate within and among all disciplines of musical scholarship. Nettl has broadened the global discourse of ethnomusicology and has opened entirely new subject areas for musical scholars. His current research projects on the institutions of music education in the United States and on the intellectual history of ethnomusicology will continue to have an impact on musical scholarship for many years.

    He has authored, co-authored or edited 17 books and has written more than 50 major research articles, more than 40 short articles and pamphlets and more than 100 book and record reviews and essays. He is currently co-editor of the University of Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology and is chair of the International Society for Music Education's Panel on World Music.

    Nettl received his A.B. in 1950, his M.A. in musicology in 1951 and his Ph.D. in 1953 from Indiana, and an M.A. in library science in 1960 from Michigan. I.M. SINGER (S.M.'48, Ph.D.'50) Doctor of Science

    Singer, Institute Professor at MIT, has made significant contributions to modern mathematics and has been a pioneer in the application of modern mathematics to mathematical physics.

    Singer played a critical role in modernizing the subject of differential geometry. His most influential contribution to the field of mathematics has been the development of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem, considered to be one of the seminal developments in modern mathematics. In addition to his mathematical research, Singer has made major public contributions to mathematics and science through his work with the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council and the President's Science Advisory Council.

    Singer taught at MIT, UCLA and Berkeley before returning to MIT in 1983. In 1985, he was awarded the National Medal of Science. He received his B.S. in 1944 from Michigan and his S.M. in 1948 and his Ph.D. in 1950 from Chicago. ROMILA THAPAR Doctor of Humane Letters

    Thapar, professor of ancient Indian history at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, is India's most distinguished historian. She is the author of definitive historical accounts and pioneering investigations on the ancient Indian world, and her work both reflects and advanced the historiographic revolution in ancient Indian history of the last 30 years.

    Thapar has made her major contribution to the field in going beyond classical texts by utilizing numismatics, paleography and archaeological findings in constructing images of ancient Indian history. Her works include "Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas" (1963), which attracted critical acclaim for its meticulous research and its thoughtful re-evaluation of one of India's early kings, who was then thought to be one of the most important political figures of the ancient period. She also wrote "History of India, Volume I" (1966), which became a standard work. The book displays the awareness of anthropological and sociological theory that has distinguished Thapar's scholarship. Her more recent studies on the relationship between culture and power and on the role of countercultures led to "Exile and Kingdom: Some Thoughts on the Ramayana" (1978), "Cultural Transaction and Early India" (1987) and "Interpreting Early India" (1992).

    Thapar received her Ph.D. in 1958 from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, where she then taught. She also taught at the universities of Kurukshetra and Delhi before joining the faculty of Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1970.