January 7, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 7

current issue
archive / search


    Leo Kadanoff, the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and Mathematics, has received the 1998 Grande Medaille d’Or from the Academie des Sciences de L’Institut de France during a formal ceremony in Paris, complete with academicians in uniform and an honor guard. The Academie awarded the medal, which is given annually in any field of science, to Kadanoff for his work on critical phenomena and his contributions to modeling in the physical sciences.

    Research in critical phenomena applies to matter that often can exist in several different phases. Water, for example, may be vapor, dense liquid or solid. Critical phenomena arise when a material vacillates between different phases and depends upon the cooperative behavior of many different atoms and molecules. Kadanoff introduced a new conceptual view of the cooperation.

    In collaboration with various co-workers, Kadanoff also has constructed computer models that are simplified models of various physical situations, including fluid flow in a channel, urban growth and decay, turbulence, the form and structure of bacterial colonies, the flow of granular materials and the separation of a drop from a larger fluid mass.

    The French Academie, established in 1666, corresponds to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

    Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor in Law and Ethics, was recently given the Ness Book Award, which is named in honor of the late Frederic W. Ness, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities from 1969 to 1978.

    Presented by the association, the Ness Book Award is given annually to an author whose book has made the most significant contribution to studies on liberal education. Nussbaum received the honor for her book Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education (Harvard University Press, 1997).

    A $1,000 cash prize, a plaque and recognition at the association’s annual meeting in January are given to the winner. The award committee cited Nussbaum’s book as “thoughtful, eloquent and on the edge of what is happening” to facilitate “community building” within higher education.

    Katie Trumpener, Associate Professor at the University, has been awarded the fifth annual Prize for a First Book by the Modern Language Association of America.

    Trumpener, a Chicago faculty member since 1990, teaches in several Chicago programs, including Germanic studies, comparative literature, English and American literature, cinema and media studies, and general studies in the humanities. She was given the award for her book Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire.

    Established in 1993, the MLA gives the prize annually for an outstanding book—a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work or a critical biography—that is the first book-length publication of a member of the association.

    Trumpener, who is co-editor of the journal Modern Philology, holds a B.A. in English from the University of Alberta, an A.M. in English and American literature from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University. In addition to her prizewinning book, Trumpener has published numerous scholarly articles and reviews. Her book Bardic Nationalism was also awarded this year the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize by the British Academy.

    The MLA committee’s citation for the prizewinning book reads as follows:

    “Stunningly researched, elegantly written, and brilliantly argued, Bardic Nationalism rewrites the literary history of Great Britain at one of its key moments of imperial aspiration. Trumpener studies the oral and literary construction of indigeneity in the colonies-cum-nations internal to English hegemony, then shows how these competing literary nationalisms both aided and contested Britain’s imperial rule abroad. Huge in scope, far-reaching in its implications, Bardic Nationalism is a major contribution to studies in the novel, British literature and cultures of empire.”

    Trumpener received a $1,000 cash award and certificate.

    George Steiner (A.B.’48), a literary critic and the comparative literature chairman at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, was named this month the winner of the 1998 Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, which will be presented next spring, carries a cash prize of $100,000.