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Johns Hopkins UniversityArts and Sciences Magazine

Faculty Awards

photoAstrophysicist Charles Bennett and two colleagues from Princeton University have been awarded this year’s $1 million Shaw Prize in astronomy for groundbreaking research that helped determine the precise age, composition, and curvature of the universe.

Bennett was cited for his accomplishments as principal investigator of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a spacecraft that in less than a decade has added significantly to our knowledge of the universe’s history and structure. WMAP, launched in 2001, observes and measures the cosmic background radiation, the oldest light in the universe.

Bennett and his colleagues, WMAP team members David Spergel and Lyman Page, accepted the award in a ceremony Sept. 28 in Hong Kong.

Sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of the East, the Shaw Prize was established by Run Run Shaw, a philanthropist and longtime leader in the Hong Kong film and television industry. It has been awarded annually since 2002 in three fields: astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences.

Bennett is the second Hopkins researcher to win a Shaw Prize. Adam Riess, like Bennett a member of the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences, was a co-winner in 2006 for the discovery of dark energy.

Frances Ferguson, the Mary Elizabeth Garrett Professor in the Department of English, is among 229 fellows elected to this year’s 230th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Ferguson joins a long line of Johns Hopkins faculty members who have been chosen by the academy, including President Ronald J. Daniels, who was among four faculty members inducted last fall.

The academy was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and others. Its dual role is to honor excellence in the arts and sciences and to provide independent, nonpartisan study of important societal issues. Since its inception, the academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Ferguson’s induction brings the number of Johns Hopkins fellows of the academy to 45.

Nathan Connolly, assistant professor of history, has received the Emerging Scholars Prize in the Humanities from his graduate alma mater, the University of Michigan. The prize, which carries an award of $25,000, celebrates rising scholars in the humanities whose work “pushes beyond old boundaries with its bold intervention, elegant conceptualization, convincing arguments, and mature style.” Winners are selected from candidates who teach at or graduated from Michigan.

Connolly, a scholar of the American city, is the author of A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press.

Faculty promotions

Joel Andreas (sociology): to associate professor with tenure

Samuel Chambers (political science): to associate professor with tenure

Stephen Drigotas (psychological and brain sciences): to teaching professor

Lisa Feigenson (psychological and brain sciences): to associate professor

Linda Gorman (psychological and brain sciences): to teaching professor

Justin Halberda (psychological and brain sciences): to associate professor

Yuki Johnson (Center for Language Education): to teaching professor

Patricia Kain (expository writing): to teaching professor

Nina Markovic (physics and astronomy): to associate professor

Deborah McGee Mifflin (German and Romance languages and literatures): to associate teaching professor

Yitzhak Melamed (philosophy): to associate professor with tenure

Kenneth Moss (history): to associate professor with tenure

Loreto Sánchez-Serrano (German and Romance languages and literatures): to associate teaching professor

Joel Tolman (chemistry): to associate professor with tenure

Alessandro Zannirato (German and Romance languages and literatures): to associate teaching professor