Bialek, Johnson named to endowed professorships
Princeton NJ -- Two faculty members have been named to endowed professor-ships by the Board of Trustees.
William Bialek was named the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor of Physics and Claudia L. Johnson was named the Murray Professor of English Literature, both effective July 1, 2003.
He works on a wide range of theoretical problems at the interface of physics and biology and often collaborates with experimental groups. He is particularly known for his work with colleagues discovering examples of neural coding and computation in which the brain finds optimal solutions to its processing problems.
A member of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Bialek is the first person named to the Wheeler/Battelle professorship, which was established in 2001 through a gift from the technology development company Battelle. It honors John Wheeler, who is Princeton's Joseph Henry Professor of Physics Emeritus. Wheeler was a member of the Princeton faculty from 1938 until his retirement in 1976 and continues to participate in the life of the University. Battelle established the professorship in honor of Wheeler's 90th birthday.
A specialist in 18th- and early 19th-century literature, Johnson has written extensively about Jane Austen. Her 1995 book, "Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender and Sentimentality in the 1790s: Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, Austen," was a finalist for the Modern Language Association's James Russell Lowell Prize for outstanding book that year. She also wrote "Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel," published by the University of Chicago Press in 1988.
Johnson is finishing a book titled "Jane Austen's Cults and Cultures," which explores how Austen became a figure who is venerated or despised with peculiar intensity. She started the book while on a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000 and 2001. Another book project, titled "Raising the Novel," traces various efforts to transform the novelistic canon into a keystone of high culture.
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