The National Academy of Sciences has awarded Princeton physicist David Wilkinson its James Craig Watson Medal in recognition of his major contributions to the field of astronomy.

Wilkinson, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, has been a central figure in measuring "cosmic background radiation," a faint after-glow of energy from the first moments after the Big Bang. Measuring and analyzing this radiation has become an important pursuit in astronomy and is expected to answer fundamental questions about the history and fate of the universe.

In its award citation, the academy recognized Wilkinson not only for his direct contributions, but also for his mentoring of generations of students who have made significant advances in the same area.

The award, which includes a cash prize of $25,000, will be presented April 30 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., during the academy's 138th annual meeting.

Alexander Nehamas, the Edmund Carpenter II Professor in the Humanities and director of Princeton's Program in Hellenic Studies, and Dimitri Gondicas, lecturer in modern Greek and the program's executive director, were honored by the Academy of Athens for their scholarly achievements and the broad range of activities of the Program in Hellenic Studies.

The award ceremony took place on Dec. 28 and was attended by the president of the Hellenic Republic, Kostis Stephanopoulos. The Academy of Athens, which has 65 permanent members, was founded in 1926 and is Greece's highest educational and scientific institution.

Four Princeton scholars have been honored by the American Historical Association.

Anthony Grafton, the Henry Putnam University Professor of History and director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, received the Helen and Howard Marraro Prize for "Cardano's Cosmos: The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer" (Harvard University Press, 2000). The prize is offered annually for the best work in any epoch of Italian history, Italian cultural history or Italian-American relations.

The association honored Nell Irvin Painter, the Edwards Professor of American History, with the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award, which recognizes the crucial importance of mentoring to the discipline of history. "The ideal mentor is forthright, supportive and constructively critical, committed to the student as a person, regardless of age or career goals," the association said.

Arno J. Mayer, the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History Emeritus, was selected as one of this year's three winners of the American Historical Association Award for Scholarly Distinction, a prize established by the Council of the American Historical Association in 1984.

Patrick Pautz, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, won the Franklin Jameson Award for "Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca: His Account, His Life and the Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez" (University of Nebraska, 1999). He and his adviser, Rolena Adorno, who is now at Yale University, co-edited the book. The prize is awarded every five years for outstanding achievement in the editing of historical sources.


February 5, 2001
Vol. 90, No. 15
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Page 1
Endowment growth supports initiatives
Tuition rate increase lowest in 34 years
Grants to replace loans
Grad student aid expands

Page 2
Rapkin was noted urban planner, professor of architecture
People / Spotlight
By the numbers: student organizations

Page 3
Taylor paints picture of future museum
U-store showcases authors

Page 4-5
Calendar of events

Page 8
Nassau Notes

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Editor: Ruth Stevens
Staff writer: Yvonne Chiu Hays
Calendar editor: Carolyn Geller
Contributing writers: Marilyn Marks, Steven Schultz
Photographer: Denise Applewhite
Design: Mahlon Lovett, Laurel Masten Cantor
Web edition: Mahlon Lovett