College of Arts & Sciences


Famed Faculty

By Andrew Thurston, Illustrations by Jenna Talbott

To be ranked alongside Albert Einstein must be thrilling—and perhaps slightly daunting. For Professor Nancy Kopell, it's a reality; she's been made an honorary member of the London Mathematical Society, which conferred the same select honor on the father of relativity in 1924. Kopell isn't the only College of Arts & Sciences professor celebrating a prestigious award. Three of her colleagues also received honors: a PEN literary lifetime achievement award, a fellowship from the organization behind Science magazine, and a prize reserved for BU's brightest young academics.

Michael Hasselmo

Professor of Psychology

“I'm very interested in understanding how it is that biological circuits of neurons can mediate our day-to-day thought processes, and memory is one aspect of that. I'm not working directly on development of drugs, but the research I did previously on the role of acetylcholine in regulating synaptic transmission is relevant to understanding how a new class of drugs might help in Alzheimer's disease.”

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Nancy Kopell

Professor of Mathematics; Codirector, Center for Biodynamics

“I find the questions I'm working on about brain dynamics and their role in normal cognition and disease to be completely fascinating. The topping, the extra bit of excitement comes from the fact that this kind of research may, at some point, lead to new approaches or interventions for disease. It's exciting to me to be working with clinicians.”

more at BU Today

Robert Pinsky

Professor of English

“I guess there is something a bit geriatric-sounding, or even mortuary, about the word 'Lifetime,' but the party and ceremony were sparkly, and things like jazz performances make me feel at the beginning of various things, too. This spring, I'll do a visiting performance and talk at our Boston neighbor, the Berklee College of Music. Now, with the great pianist Laurence Hobgood, I've had a chance to go into the studio and create our CD, POEMJAZZ.”

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Johannes Schmieder

Assistant Professor of Economics

“I'm focusing on evaluating the effect of unemployment insurance, in particular the type of extensions that are very common in recessions. The major concern that people have had for a long time is that there's a trade-off: On the one hand, we would like to help people weather their bad luck, but on the other hand, providing unemployment insurance makes people look less hard for jobs. We found that there seems to be a good justification for extending benefits in a recession.”

more at BU Today