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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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Faculty Accolades October 2012


Professor of Physics and Chemistry Eugene Stanley was awarded the doctorate Honoris Causa by the Institute of Advanced Study in Lucca, Italy on October 22 for work initiating the subfield of “Econophysics”. Econophysics is an interdisciplinary research field that applies theories and methods originally developed by physicists to solve problems in economics, including uncertainty or stochastic processes and nonlinear dynamics.


CAS biophysicist Plamen Ivanov wrote the cover article in the September 22 edition of ScienceNews. The article covers his research on networks of networks, including ways in which the body’s independent networks, such as the nervous system and the cardiovascular system, heal independently during deep sleep. But during light sleep, they link together and work in coordination, becoming again a network of networks. Read more


This month, Professor of International Relations Vivien Schmidt gave testimony twice for different groups at the European Parliament on issues related to the Eurozone crisis and how to reform the European Union. On October 4, she provided testimony to the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee on European Governance and the Future of Europe. Her policy brief addressed specifically ‘Multi-tier Governance and EU Political Economy’. On Oct. 24, she gave a keynote speech to the European Parliament’s party grouping of social democrats, the second largest party in the EP, at a special session on ‘The Future of Europe.’


The Massachusetts Academy of Sciences (MAS) has named Paul Trunfio, senior research scientist at BU’s Center for Polymer Studies, a 2012 Fellow of the Academy. For more than two decades, Trunfio has focused on developing curricula and programs aimed at bridging the gap between the practice of interdisciplinary science research and the teaching of science at all levels.


Associate Professor of English Carrie Preston‘s book, Modernism’s Mythic Pose: Gender, Genre, Solo Performance (Oxford UP, 2011) was awarded the de la Torre Bueno Prize for exemplary scholarship in dance studies. The annual award is administered by the Society of Dance History Scholars and “recognizes the particular scholarly labor and outstanding achievement that demonstrate the best of dance historiography, regardless of the era, genre, or group of dancers under scrutiny.”


CAS Associate Professor of Sociology Peter Yeager, with his colleague Sally Simpson at the University of Maryland, has obtained funding from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), U.S. Department of Justice, to help BJS design and implement the country’s first ongoing data collection system for violations of federal laws by individuals and organizations in business and the professions. The two-year project will involve developing a classification system for white collar offenses, a framework of the stages of enforcement employed in pursuing them, and tools for consolidating federal agencies’ diverse accounting systems into standardized statistical files for use in research and public policy work. Yeager began his work on this prospect with a grant from the American Sociological Association’s Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline with which he interviewed legal and information technology officials at several federal agencies and collected information on their data management systems.


The American Physical Society elected CAS Visiting Scholar Marcia Barbosa to the position of International Councilor.


CAS Assistant Professor of History Brooke Blower is the recipient of the 2012 New England Historical Association Book Award for outstanding work in history for her book Becoming Americans in Paris. That makes nine book prizes for CAS history faculty in the past 18 months.


Professors Linda Heywood and John Thornton were among the six featured speakers who made presentations at the conference “1619: The Making of America,” held at Norfolk State University. The focus of the event was on the consequences of the Virginia Colony organizing the first representative legislature, developing an economy that would be based on tobacco, and witnessing the arrival of the first Africans (twenty individuals taken from Angola). Professor Heywood’s presentation was entitled “Queen Njinga a Mbandi: History, Gender, Memory and Nation in Angola and Brazil” and Professor Thornton’s was entitled “The Twenty and Odd Negars.”


On August 4, Professor of Romance Studies Jim Iffland was among several individuals honored by the Salvadoran-American community as part of the first-ever celebration of the Salvadoran presence in New England. Most recently, Iffland has been engaged with that community in his role as coordinator of the “Voces Hispánicas/Hispanic Voices” initiative, which is funded by the Santander Universities Global Division. The Boston area (particularly East Boston and Chelsea) is home to thousands of Salvadoran immigrants, most of whom arrived because of the civil war waged in El Salvador during the eighties and nineties.


The Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies, housed at Indiana University, has awarded Associate Professor of History James Johnson the Oscar Kenshur Book Prize for his 2011 book, Venice Incognito (the book has already won the Mosse Award of the American Historical Association). The Kenshur Prize is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph of interest to eighteenth-century scholars working in any discipline.


Professor of Computer Science Leonid Levin received the 2012 Knuth Prize for his visionary research in complexity, cryptography, and information theory, including the discovery of NP-completeness. The award was presented by the Association for Computing Machinery and the IEEE Computer Society.


CAS Professor of Economics Bob Margo has been selected as a Fellow of the Cliometric Society, an organization which promotes the use of economic theory and econometrics in the study of economic history. Bob has been elected in just the third class of fellows. The first class contained 12 scholars, including Robert Fogel and Douglass North, winners of the 1993 Nobel Prize in economics, while the second class had only two members.


Assistant Professor of Sociology Ashley Mears wrote an opinion piece, published in the New York Times‘ “Room for Debate” blog on September 13, on the role of youth in the fashion modeling industry. Read the article here.


Assistant Professor of Archaeology Bill Saturno has been awarded $475,745 from NASA for “An Archaeological Investigation into the Northern Peruvian Desert Region Using Landsat, Hyperion, Advanced Land Imager (ALI), and ASTER Data” through the Space Archaeology Program of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s Earth Science Division.


Professor of Physics Eugene Stanley’s work studying how networks interact with each other is featured in the September 22 edition of Science News. Read more


Assistant Professor of Computer Science Evimaria Terzi has won a $500K grant from the National Science Foundation to support her research project, “Entity Selection and Ranking for Data Mining Applications.” Apart from the development of new practical methods for exploring the solution space of combinatorial problems, this work influences a large spectrum of data-analysis tasks in applications related to expert management systems, management of online product reviews, and network analysis (including physical and social networks).