Oct. 1, 1998
Vol. 18, No. 1

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    Faculty receive distinguished, endowed professorships

    Three University faculty members begin the 1998 fall quarter with newly awarded Distinguished Service Professorships: Elizabeth Helsinger in English Language & Literature, Robert Rosner in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Robert Townsend in Economics.

    Six faculty members have received named professorships, including two new professors (see related story this page), Alexander Beilinson in Mathematics and Elliott Gershon in Psychiatry. The other four faculty members, who have been at Chicago for a number of years, are Jeffrey Bluestone, Anthony Bryk, Jeffrey Harvey and Alan Kolata.

    Jeffrey Bluestone , Professor in Pathology, Director of the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research and Chairman of the Committee on Immunology, has been named the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research in the Division of the Biological Sciences.

    A member of the Chicago faculty since 1987, Bluestone is a recognized authority on the factors that regulate immune response and is particularly interested in finding new ways to suppress immune responses in autoimmune diabetes and transplanted organs and to enhance immune response to tumors.

    The author and co-author of more than 200 scientific publications concerning tumor immunology, immunosuppression in autoimmunity and in transplant recipients, and t-cell biology, Bluestone also serves as a deputy editor for the Journal of Immunology , associate editor of Immunity and Immunological Reviews and as a reviewer for several journals, including Nature, Cell, Science and the Journal of Experimental Medicine .

    Bluestone is a member of the National Council on Aging and a member of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Board of the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program. A recent recipient of a Guggenheim Senior Fellowship, Bluestone was also recognized with the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University Alumni Council Annual Award of Distinction.

    Anthony Bryk , a member of the Sociology and Education Departments, has been named the Marshall Field IV Professor in Urban Education. He is one of the nation's leading scholars on urban education, primarily focusing on the progress of Chicago school reform.

    Bryk's research also examines the application of complex models to education research and the social organization of teachers' work. In addition to studying public schools, he is also a leading authority on Catholic schools and was co-author of the book Catholic Schools and the Common Good (1993).

    As Director of the Center for School Improvement, Bryk has worked with local schools on improvement plans, training programs for principals and studies of local and system-wide policies. He is also the founding director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, a federation of Chicago-area research organizations that has pioneered studies on school reform. Researchers and policy-makers regularly refer to the federation's studies.

    Jeffrey Harvey, Professor in Physics, has been appointed a Louis Block Professor in the Physical Sciences.

    Harvey, a Chicago faculty member since 1990, specializes in string theory, which attempts to describe the forces and particles of physics in a single, unified theory. He also studies supersymmetry, which relates subatomic particles of different spin.

    Before coming to Chicago, he taught at Princeton University. Harvey was an A.P. Sloan Fellow from 1986 to 1990, a Presidential Young Investigator from 1987 to 1992 and he became an American Physical Society Fellow in 1992.

    Elizabeth Helsinger , Chair of English and Professor in English Language & Literature and Art History, is now the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor.

    Helsinger, an expert on Victorian literature and the work of John Ruskin, joined the Chicago faculty in 1972.

    She is Faculty Vice Chair of the Smart Museum Governing Board and a co-editor of Critical Inquiry . In 1997-98, she held fellowships from both the National Humanities Center and ACLS.

    Helsinger has written three books, Rural Scenes and National Representation: Britain 1815-1850 (1997), Ruskin and the Art of the Beholder (1982) and The Woman Question: Society and Literature in Britain and America, 1837-1883 (1983, co-authored with Robin Sheets and William Veeder). Alan Kolata , one of the world's leading authorities on ancient Andean culture, has been named the first Neukom Family Professor in the College. Ruth Neukom and members of her family established the professorship in 1996. A 1936 graduate of the College, Neukom is an active member of the University's Women's Board.

    Kolata has done path-breaking work on the development of the Bolivian Tiwanaku civilization in the high Andes near Lake Titicaca. His work demonstrates how the people of this area developed a sustainable agricultural system at an altitude of 13,000 feet. Kolata has worked with the contemporary Aymara people to re-establish the ancient, raised-bed farming method. He has also done research on the impact of climate change on ancient and modern American civilizations.

    He is the author of a number of books, including The Tiwanaku: Portrait of an Andean Civilization (1993), Valley of the Spirits: A Journey into the Lost Realm of the Aymara (1996) and T iwanaku and Its Hinterland: Archaeological and Paleoecological Investigations of an Andean Civilization, Volume 1 Agroecology (1996).

    Robert Rosner , Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, is now the William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor.

    Rosner is an expert on solar and stellar astronomy, plasma astrophysics and fluid dynamics and high-energy astronomy. Much of his recent work focuses on fluid dynamics problems, which are interesting for astronomical reasons, but can also be studied in terrestrial laboratories. He is pursuing this line of research within the University's Department of Energy-funded Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes, for which he serves as Director. Rosner is also involved with NASA's Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility, which is expected to be launched in January. The facility will use a telescope to study X-ray emissions from stars similar to the sun. The research is aimed at understanding why stars emit X-rays and may help answer questions about the sun's early interaction with the Earth's atmosphere. The research will also look at the possible biological effects of high levels of ionizing radiation during this epoch. A Chicago faculty member since 1987, Rosner was an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory from 1986 to 1990. From 1969 to 1986, he held a variety of research and faculty positions at Harvard University. He was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in 1969 and became a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1988.

    Robert Townsend , the Charles E. Merriam Professor in Economics, is now the Charles E. Merriam Distinguished Service Professor. A theorist and specialist on monetary and other risks, incentive systems and the methods societies use to protect against risk, Townsend has been particularly interested in Thailand and has done much of his field work there. He has also studied ways in which immigrants and other minority groups develop capital for business ventures in the U.S.

    Among his publications is the book Financial Structure and Economic Organization: Key Elements and Patterns in Theory and History (1990).