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Princeton Weekly Bulletin   September 25, 2006, Vol. 96, No. 3   prev   next   current

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Eugenides, Thompson among new faculty members approved

Princeton NJ — Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jeffrey Eugenides and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Emily Thompson are among the 13 new faculty members approved by the Board of Trustees.

Eugenides was named a professor of creative writing in the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, effective July 1, 2007, and Thompson was named a professor of history, effective July 1, 2006.

In addition, Melissa Harris-Lacewell was appointed an associate professor of politics with continuing tenure, effective July 1, 2006.

Ten new assistant professors also were approved: Matthew Botvinick in psychology, effective Feb. 1. 2007; Elizabeth Crist in music, effective Sept. 1, 2006; Bo’az Klartag in mathematics, effective July 1, 2006; Fei Fei Li in computer science, effective Jan. 1, 2007; Meridith Martin in English, effective July 1, 2006; Celeste Nelson in chemical engineering, effective Jan. 1, 2007; Serguei Oushakine in Slavic languages and literatures, effective July 1, 2006; Jason Petta in physics, effective Jan. 1, 2007; Birgit Rudloff in operations research and financial engineering, effective Sept. 1, 2006; and Anatoly Spitkovsky in astrophysical sciences, effective Sept. 1, 2006. Crist, Klartag, Martin, Oushakine, Rudloff and Spitkovsky have three-year appointments; Botvinick, Li, Nelson and Petta have appointments for three and a half years.

Eugenides, who won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel “Middlesex,” will rejoin Princeton’s creative writing program, where he taught from 1999 to 2000.

Translated into more than 30 languages, “Middlesex” was published nine years after Eugenides’ first novel, “The Virgin Suicides,” which was made into a major motion picture. His short stories, book reviews, journalism and literary essays have appeared in numerous publications around the world. Along with his many awards, he is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Foundation for the Arts. He also has been a fellow of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the Deutscher Akademisher Austauschdienst and of the American Academy in Berlin.

Eugenides earned a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree from Stanford University.

Thompson, who earned a Ph.D. in the history of science from Princeton in 1992, won a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2005. The award recognized her research on the history of sound in 20th-century America, citing her work in “charting the transformation of the elusive and ephemeral phenomenon of sound.”

Thompson arrived at Princeton from the University of California-San Diego, where she was an associate professor of history since 2005. Previously, she was a visiting scholar and a senior fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for two years. From 1995 to 2002, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania, and before that was on the faculty of Iowa State University for one year. A graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University from 1993 to 1994.

Currently, Thompson is studying the transition from silent to sound motion pictures, circa 1925 to 1933, for an upcoming book titled “Sound Effects.” She is also the author of the award-winning book, “The Soundscape of Modernity.”

Harris-Lacewell joined the Princeton faculty from the University of Chicago, where she was an assistant professor of political science since 1999. Her research and teaching focuses on African American politics. She is the author of “Barbershops, Bibles and B.E.T.: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought,” which won the 2005 W.E.B. DuBois book award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and the 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. In fall 2005, she was a visiting fellow in African American studies at Princeton. She received a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. from Duke University.

Botvinick, whose field is cognitive neuroscience, will come to Princeton from the University of Pennsylvania, where he is an assistant professor both in the psychiatry department at the school of medicine and in Penn’s psychology department. He also is a core faculty member with the university’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and is affiliated with its Institute of Neurological Sciences. From 1994 to 1999 he was an intern and then a resident at the University Health Center in Pittsburgh, followed by a two-year research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a year-long postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Neural Basis for Cognition in Pittsburgh. Botvinick has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree from Columbia University, an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Crist specializes in musicology. She has been a faculty member at the University of Texas-Austin since 2000. She received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Klartag, whose field is convex analysis, has a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University. Since 2004 he has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study and, since 2005, a research fellow at the Clay Mathematics Institute.

Li, who specializes in artificial intelligence, will come to Princeton from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, where she has been an assistant professor since 2005. A 1999 Princeton graduate, she earned a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology.

Martin, a specialist in British poetry, received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Nelson, whose field is bioengineering, will come to Princeton from her current position as a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She has two bachelor’s degrees — in biology and in chemical engineering — from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

Oushakine studies Soviet literature. He received a bachelor’s degree from Altai State University in Russia, an M.Phil. from Central European University in Hungary and an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Petta specializes in experimental condensed matter physics. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University since 2003, and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Rudloff, whose field of specialization is the hedging of financial risk, earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Martin-Luther-University in Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.

Spitkovsky, who studies high energy astrophysics, joined Princeton from Stanford University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow for three years. He received a bachelor’s degree from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.


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