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Two Illinois professors receive Guggenheim fellowships

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Photo courtesy
Anne D. Hedeman

Art historian Anne D. Hedeman was one of two Illinois faculty members to receive Guggenheim fellowships.

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4/7/2011 | Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor | 217-333-0568;; Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor | 217-244-1073;

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Two University of Illinois professors – Anne Dawson Hedeman, in medieval studies and art history, and Kenneth Suslick, in chemistry – have received Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships.

Ken Suslick
Chemist Kenneth Suslick is one of two Illinois professors to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. | Photo courtesy Ken Suslick

They are among 180 award recipients selected from the almost 3,000 scientists, artists and scholars who applied.

Hedeman specializes in medieval manuscripts and the history of books, focusing on the role of visual imagery, or “illuminations,” in translating past or distant cultures for 15th century French readers.

She is in the midst of writing a planned four-book series on the impact that French notaries and secretaries had in shaping the visual environment of the French court from 1365 to 1483. With the first book already published, Hedeman will use her fellowship to finish researching and writing a second, analyzing the impact of secretarial patronage on the visual culture of early 15th century France.

Hedeman also has worked with U. of I.’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications, where she had a faculty fellowship during the 2008-09 academic year. She collaborated with Peter Bajcsy, a specialist in pattern recognition and image analytics, to use computer analysis to examine the medieval French book trade. Their work resulted in three National Science Foundation grants.

Suslick, the Marvin T. Schmidt professor of chemistry, works at the forefront of chemical sensing. He developed an artificial “nose” capable of detecting harmful substances in the air.

He has built a small optoelectronic device to “sniff out” poisonous gases, toxins and explosives. The device uses dots of chemically sensitive pigment printed in an array. The pigments change color when they sense chemicals in the air, and can identify both composition and concentration. His team developed easy-to-use handheld prototype devices to sense industrial chemicals and the explosives used in shoe bombs.

Suslick also is a professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He previously has been honored with a research fellowship from the Sloan Foundation, and is a fellow of the American Chemical Society, the Materials Research Society, the Acousitical Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded annually on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise. More than $290 million has been granted to more than 17,000 individuals since the program’s inception in 1925.

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