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Five professors begin Center for Advanced Study appointments

Craig Chamberlain, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Five professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign begin their appointments this fall as professors in the Center for Advanced Study – one of the highest form of recognition the campus bestows on faculty members for outstanding scholarship.

The new CAS professors are Leon Dash, journalism; Thomas S. Huang, electrical and computer engineering; Marianne Kalinke, Germanic languages and literatures; Vijay Pandharipande, physics; and Abigail Salyers, microbiology. The permanent appointments, which took effect Aug. 21, were approved by the UI Board of Trustees during its May 15 meeting in Urbana.

(Kalinke will present the 13th Annual CAS Lecture, on the rise of vernacular fiction in Germany during the 12th century, at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Colwell Playhouse Theatre, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana.)

CAS professors, which number 18 with the recent additions, are drawn from throughout the campus. They continue to serve as full members of their home departments, while participating in a variety of formal and informal activities organized by the center, and also advising on the center’s future programs and direction.

Dash, already the holder of a Swanlund Chair, is known particularly for his work in immersion journalism, in which a reporter lives among the story’s subjects and gathers the story over a long period of time. As a reporter for the Washington Post, he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for an eight-part series about a family trapped in urban poverty, and also won several awards for the book that followed. An earlier book on the urban crisis in teenage childbearing, recently reprinted, won a PEN/Martha Albrand special citation for nonfiction work.

Dash’s reporting career has also taken him on extensive assignments abroad, including two in the mid 1970s in war-torn Angola, where he lived with and reported on guerrilla fighters there. He is a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and was a media fellow in 1995-96 at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Huang, the William L. Everitt Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been recognized for important contributions in the broad field of multidimensional signal processing, analysis, synthesis, visualization and understanding. Textbooks in the field include a description of “Huang’s Theorem,” related to his work on digital filters, and his pioneering work on the compression of images laid the groundwork for international image-compression standards.

Huang also is a research professor in the university’s Coordinated Science Laboratory and co-chair of the Human Computer Intelligent Interaction major research theme at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Kalinke is recognized as an international authority on cultural and literary relations between Scandinavia and the European continent during the medieval and early modern periods. Her study of the transmission of the Arthurian legend to Norway and Iceland led to a reconsideration of the impact of continental romance literature on the development of indigenous Icelandic saga genres. Her research also has demonstrated the important role played by Iceland in preserving medieval German literature that has otherwise been lost.

Kalinke is the author or editor of 10 books, and in addition to her work on literary history has done extensive work in editing and translating medieval sagas – including three volumes published in 1999 on medieval Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish Arthurian literature. She has been a Fulbright Fellow, has served as president of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, and is head of the department of Germanic languages and literatures.

Pandharipande has focused much of his research on developing a unified theory of all nuclear systems, ranging from the lightest nuclei to the heaviest neutron stars. With graduate students and collaborators, he has helped develop models of nuclear forces and methods to solve the quantum, nuclear many-body problem in physics.

In 1999, Pandharipande received the Bonner Prize from the American Physical Society, and has served as chair of the Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Nuclear Theory. He also is a member of the joint National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Science Advisory Committee.

Salyers began her academic career as a physicist, then made the transition, after nearly 10 years, to microbiology. Her research has focused on the bacteria normally found in the human intestinal tract, and in particular on the mechanisms by which these bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. She has published more than 150 scientific papers and two textbooks for undergraduate courses.

Salyers recently served as president of the American Society for Microbiology, and has provided expert testimony on genetically modified plants and antibiotic use in agriculture for a variety of regulatory agencies in Europe and the United States. She also has testified before a congressional subcommittee on genetically modified plants.