May 25, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 18

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    Five distinguished scholars to receive honorary degrees

    Honorary degrees will be awarded to five distinguished scholars -- statistician Bradley Efron, linguist Thomas Gamkrelidze, music theorist David Lewin, cluster-science pioneer Richard Smalley and economist Robert Wilson -- at Convocation ceremonies on Friday afternoon, June 9, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. President Sonnenschein will confer the degrees.

    The degrees will be awarded at the second session of Convocation, at 3 p.m. Friday, when degrees will also be presented to graduating students in the Divisions and the Pritzker School of Medicine as well as students receiving the Master of Liberal Arts degree. The first session of Convocation -- for the Law School, the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and the School of Social Service Administration -- will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, and the third session, for the Graduate School of Business, will be held at 7 p.m. The College Convocation will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 10.

    Bradley Efron

    Efron, widely regarded as the most original and innovative statistician of his generation, will receive the Doctor of Science degree. He is a professor in the department of statistics and the department of health research and policy at Stanford.

    Efron is regarded as the inventor of the bootstrap form of computer-intensive re-sampling for solving distributional problems connected with statistical inference, and his article on the topic is among the most influential papers on statistics in the 20th century. His work on the relationship between scientific inference and statistical models has set the research agenda for much of current statistics and has had a significant impact on a wide variety of sciences, from astronomy and paleontology to demography and medicine.

    A faculty member at Stanford since 1966, Efron received his B.S. in 1960 from Caltech and his M.S. in 1962 and his Ph.D. in 1964 from Stanford. He has received numerous honors and awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 1983 and the American Statistical Association's Wilks Medal in 1990. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

    Thomas Gamkrelidze

    Gamkrelidze, best known for his contributions to the study of historical linguistics, will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Gamkrelidze is an academician at the Georgian Academy of Sciences and a professor at Tbilisi State University, Republic of Georgia.

    Together with Givi Machavariani, he produced the groundbreaking, definitive reconstruction of the phonology and morphophonology of Kartvelian (South Caucasian), the family to which the Georgian language belongs. This reconstruction has served as the basis for all subsequent work on the history of the Kartvelian languages and as a model of the structural-typological reconstruction of languages.

    Gamkrelidze later went on to produce, with V.V. Ivanov, a monumental reanalysis of the Indo-European protolanguage that fundamentally revised the phonological system of the protolanguage and presented a radical new hypothesis on the original homeland of the Indo-Europeans. As with the earlier reconstruction of Kartvelian, all subsequent research on the history of Indo-European has had to take into account the results of this work.

    Gamkrelidze has been a linguistics professor since 1964 at Tbilisi State University, where he received his candidate degree in 1956 and his doctorate in 1962. He was the editor of Voprosy jazykoznanija (Questions of Linguistics), and he is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    David Lewin

    Lewin, whose work has fundamentally transformed the field of music theory over the past 35 years, will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Lewin is professor of music at Harvard.

    Lewin's development of transformational networks as models for 20th-century atonal repertories has given scholars a means to explore how atonal composers engage musical time and how their music acquires power to "move" listeners. His work has forged links between the studies of tonal and atonal repertories, of harmony and rhythm, demonstrating the permeability of long-standing boundaries in music theory.

    He is the author of Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations (1987), considered by many to be the pre-eminent book of creative scholarship in the field of music theory in the last half-century.

    A former president of the Society for Music Theory and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Lewin was a faculty member at Berkeley, SUNY at Stony Brook and Yale before joining the Harvard faculty in 1985. He received his B.A. in 1954 from Harvard and his M.F.A. in 1958 from Princeton.

    Richard Smalley

    Smalley, whose research in physical chemistry established the field of cluster science, will receive the Doctor of Science degree. Smalley is the Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry at Rice University.

    Most of the techniques used in cluster science -- the study of aggregates of tens to hundreds of atoms or molecules -- had their origins in Smalley's laboratory. His most spectacular and well-known work is the discovery of C60 (popularly known as Buckyball), the first of a new family of carbon compounds. His insight and definitive experiments have been the basis for scientists' current understanding of this third form of carbon.

    Because of Smalley's pioneering work, cluster science has grown to an active international field of scientific research. The field is large enough that it has generated its own subfields: the study of metallic clusters, semiconductor clusters, inorganic clusters and carbon clusters.

    Smalley received his B.S. in 1965 from the University of Michigan and his M.A. in 1971 and his Ph.D. in 1973 from Princeton. He was a Research Associate at Chicago, working with Donald Levy, the Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor in the James Franck Institute, before joining the faculty at Rice University. He has received many awards and prizes for his work, including the APS International Prize for New Materials and the Welch Award in Chemistry, both in 1992. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

    Robert Wilson

    Wilson, a pre-eminent economist who has made fundamental contributions to some of the most important areas of economics and decision sciences, will receive the Doctor of Laws degree. He is the Atholl McBean Professor of Economics at Stanford.

    Wilson has made significant contributions in the areas of auctions and price formation, the theory of the firm, the behavior of syndicates, game theory, incentive problems and information economics. Although his work has been in a variety of areas, the motivation has been the same: an interest in understanding why individuals and groups behave the way they do, how institutional arrangements affect that behavior, and whether some arrangements lead to better behavior and better outcomes.

    His work demonstrates the power of abstract economic theory for describing and understanding important real-world phenomena and is considered a model of how economic science can contribute to answering questions about how individual incentives and social institutions interact to form the world we see.

    Wilson received his A.B. in 1959, his M.B.A. in 1961 and his D.B.A. in 1963 from Harvard. He has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1964. He is a member and has been on the nominating committees of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.