UC Berkeley News


Blue ribbons, gold stars, and honorable mentions

30 April 2008

Five faculty members have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy-research centers.

Joining 222 Berkeley faculty who have previously won election to the academy — and 207 other scholars, scientists, artists, and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders to become members this year — are Ruzena Bajcsy, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences; John Kuriyan, Chancellor’s Professor in the departments of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry and an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at Berkeley; James Powell, professor of economics; Jasper Rine, professor of molecular and cell biology, director of the Center for Computational Biology and an HHMI investigator; and history professor Yuri Slezkine.

•The 2007-08 Berkeley Faculty Service Award will be presented to archaeology professor Meg Conkey and chemistry professor (and associate dean) Herbert Strauss at a reception on May 9. In honoring the two veteran faculty members, the Academic Senate awards committee praised their ongoing efforts “to uphold the ideals of shared governance through their unstinting dedication to service.” Conkey, who joined the faculty in 1987, was lauded for “extensive” service to her department and to the Senate, as well as for chairing the Committee on the Status of Women and Ethnic Minorities. Strauss, whose Berkeley career began some 45 years ago, has served numerous terms as an elected representative to the Academic Assembly and Senate, and recently served on the Committee for Educational Policy. “Professor Strauss,” the committee wrote, “exemplifies the model of dedication to the central principles of the university.”

• Led by Conkey, their faculty coach, a team of four graduate students in anthropology has won the highly competitive Ethics Bowl at the annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver. Darren Modzelewski, Brandon Nida, Kim Christensen, and Di Hu outperformed eight other teams in an intellectual duel over such ethical issues in archaeology as looted cultural materials, cultural patrimony and repatriation, and the challenges of being embedded as an archaeologist with the American military in Iraq.

• The Bernácer Prize, awarded annually to the best European economist working in macroeconomics and finance under the age of 40, has been awarded to Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, an assistant professor of economics. The announcement of the 2007 prize cited Gourinchas’ “important research on explaining recent (puzzling) facts in global macroeconomics and finance, evaluating the gains of financial integration, and analyzing the importance of precautionary saving in optimal life-cycle models of consumption expenditure in the presence of uncertain labor income.”

The honor, which brings a cash prize of 30,000 euros, will be awarded at a ceremony in Madrid on May 27.

• The Cal Climate Action Partnership (CalCAP) program has been selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a 2008 Environmental Award in recognition of its “exceptional work and commitment to protecting the environment.” In April 2007, based on recommendations from a CalCAP study, Chancellor Birgeneau committed the campus to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2014. Since the target adoption, CalCAP has paved paths for implementation and achieved results in target accounting, project implementation, and curriculum integration.