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Two More Warren Distinguished Professors Announced

Nancy Kopell and Laurence Kotlikoff celebrated for outstanding careers


Nancy Kopell (above) and Laurence Kotlikoff. Photos by Fred Sway and Kalman Zabarsky

Nancy Kopell and Laurence Kotlikoff have been chosen as the University’s newest William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professors, Boston University President Robert A. Brown announced yesterday.

Kopell is the William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Mathematics and Science in the College of Arts & Sciences and cofounder and codirector 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 in 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,” says 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 was on the 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 coauthor 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,” says 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.”

The Warren professorships were established last year on the recommendation of an ad hoc committee of the Faculty Council as a way of recognizing the University’s most distinguished faculty. Brown says the award is intended to be the highest honor bestowed upon senior faculty members who will continue to be involved in research, scholarship, and teaching, as well as the University’s civic life.

Kopell and Kotlikoff are the third and fourth professors chosen 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, an ENG professor of biomedical engineering, whose awards were announced in May.

Seth Rolbein can be reached at srolbein@bu.edu.


2 Comments on Two More Warren Distinguished Professors Announced

  • Daryl Graves : Undergraduate Academic Adviser BU Dept. of Ec on 06.25.2009 at 8:52 am

    Warren Distinguished Professor Award

    Larry Kotlikoff is an outstanding scholar, and his contributions to both the Economics Dept. and Boston University are outstanding. He is a very caring and generous man, who gives much of himself to his students, his colleagues, and his profession This is a well deserved honor to an outstanding educator and individual.

  • anon on 06.25.2009 at 9:32 am

    Lasting legacy

    It’s true that Prof Kopell is a major contributor to our field of neuroscience; few would dispute that. What many might not realize is that her excellent mentorship of graduate students and postdocs easily matches the former accomplishment in scope and importance.

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