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Princeton NJ -- The National Science Foundation has awarded Advance Fellows Awards to Princeton scientists Elena Pierpaoli and Alison Williams. The awards are competitive grants designed to promote innovative science and to increase the participation of women in science and engineering.

Pierpaoli, a research staff member in physics, received a grant of $527,000 over three years to develop theoretical methods for analyzing upcoming surveys of clusters of galaxies. The study of galaxy clusters, the most massive objects bound together by gravity in the universe, is important for understanding the overall structure of the cosmos.

Williams, a lecturer in chemistry, received $465,292 to study the interactions between nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of DNA and RNA, and other ions. These interactions are important for a wide range of fields, from understanding the basic physical properties of nucleic acids to designing biotechnology and nanotechnology drugs and devices.


Stephen Kotkin, professor of history and director of the Program in Russian Studies, has been awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Kotkin was among 79 scholars in the humanities and social sciences to receive ACLS Fellowships for research periods of six months to one year. Kotkin will use the fellowship to help complete ''Lost in Siberia: Dreamworlds of Eurasia,'' his historical study of the Ob River basin, a Siberian water system. He also was awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation this year to support the project.

Kotkin's research interests include Eurasia from Japan to Britain in the modern period, and he examines topics such as empire and nation building, governance and political corruption, modernity and modernism, and urbanism.

The American Council of Learned Societies is a nonprofit federation of 68 scholarly associations devoted to the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning.


Religion professor Jeffrey Stout has won an American Academy of Religion award for his book, ''Democracy and Tradition.''

Published this year by Princeton University Press, the book won in the category of constructive-reflective studies. It examines religious and ethical dimensions of democratic culture.

The award, one of four announced by the academy, recognizes new scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion. Books are selected based on their distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity and importance as well as on how they affect the examination, understanding and interpretation of religion.

Stout, a member of the Princeton religion faculty since 1975, also has written ''Ethics After Babel: The Languages of Morals and Their Discontents'' and ''The Flight From Authority: Religion, Morality and the Quest for Autonomy.'' A contributing editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics, he currently is working on a book on religion and critical thought.

The award will be presented at the academy's annual meeting Nov. 20 in San Antonio, Texas. Founded in 1909, the learned society and professional association has 8,000 members.