BU Professors Nancy Kopell & Laurence Kotlikoff Win Distinguished Faculty Award
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(Boston)- College of Arts & Sciences professors Nancy J. Kopell and Laurence Kotlikoff were named William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professors for their outstanding contributions to teaching and research, announced Robert A. Brown, BU president.
Instituted in 2008 and named for BU’s first president (1873-1903), each appointee receives an endowed chair supported by the William Fairfield Warren fund. The Warren Professorships were established on the recommendation of an ad hoc committee of the Faculty Council as a way of recognizing BU’s most pre-eminent faculty. In making their recommendations to President Brown, the committee took into consideration the research, scholarship, teaching, and service of each of the nominees.
“The Warren Professorships were established as a mechanism for recognizing the university’s most distinguished faculty,” said Brown. “I am pleased to announce the appointments of Professors Kopell and Kotlikoff.”
Kopell is the William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Mathematics and Science in the College of Arts & Sciences and co-founder and co-director of the Center for Biodynamics at the College of Engineering. She earned an A.B. from Cornell University and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where she focused on dynamical systems. She joined the BU faculty in 1986 and has applied her knowledge of nonlinear dynamics to fundamental problems in biology, chemistry and neuroscience. Based on her pioneering work, mathematical biology has developed into a fertile and well-recognized field of research.
Her major current interest is the dynamics of the nervous system, where she has made seminal contributions to the understanding of coupled oscillators and the generation of rhythms in the brain.
Kopell has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been named a Guggenheim fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan fellow, and in 1990 she received a MacArthur Foundation “genius award.”
“I’m delighted with this recognition and grateful that I’ve been chosen,” said Kopell. “The award comes with some financial assistance, which I’m sure I’ll be able to use to further my research aims, and so I’m very grateful for that as well.”
Kotlikoff is a professor of economics in the College of Arts & Sciences, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the Econometric Society. He earned a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973 and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1977. From 1977 to 1983 he served on the respective Economics faculties of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Yale University. He was a senior economist with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1981 to 1982. He has been a consultant to numerous corporations and government authorities around the world, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Kotlikoff is the author or co-author of 13 books and hundreds of professional journal articles. He also publishes extensively in newspapers and magazines on issues of deficits, generational accounting, tax structure, Social Security, Medicare, health reform, pensions, saving, insurance, and personal finance.
“I’m deeply honored,” said Kotlikoff. “I’ve been at BU for 25 years; it’s been a joy the whole time and this is icing on the cake. I told my colleagues that what you do academically is part luck, part environment, and I’ve got great colleagues, students and staff to work with, so this is as much an honor to the economics department as to me.”
Kopell and Kotlikoff are the third and fourth professors chosen, respectively, to receive the award. They join George Annas, the Edward R. Utley Professor of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights and chair of the School of Public Health department of health law, bioethics, and human rights, and James Collins, a College of Engineering professor of biomedical engineering, whose awards were announced in May.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.