Professors join tenured faculty
At their meeting on October 24, the trustees named six people to the tenured faculty: professors Yacine Ait-Sahalia in Economics, Jeanne Altmann in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Roberto Car in Chemistry and the Princeton Materials Institute, Fritz Graf in Classics and H. Mete Soner in Civil Engineering and Operations Research and Applied and Computational Mathematics; and Sanjeev Arora in Computer Science, who will become associate professor on February 1, 1999.
Ait-Sahalia, whose appointment began on July 1, is a specialist in finance and econometrics and director of the Bendheim Center for Finance.
A 1987 graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France, he received his master's degree in 1989 from the Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Economique in Paris and his PhD from MIT in 1993. He came to Princeton from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, where he was assistant professor from 1993 and became associate professor in 1996.
Winner of the University of Chicago's Emory Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching, Ait-Sahalia is an Alfred P. Sloan research fellow.
His research focuses on continuous-time financial models and their estimation. Recent publications include "Nonparametric Pricing of Interest Rate Derivative Securities" in Econometrica (1997) and "Nonparametric Estimation of State-Price-Densities Implicit in Financial Asset Prices" (with A.W. Lo) in the Journal of Finance (1998).
Altmann, who specializes in evolutionary biology and behavior, is to join the faculty December 1. Her research concerns life history approaches to behavioral ecology and nonexperimental research design.
She has been doing field work, mostly with baboons, in East Africa since 1963, including longitudinal studies at Amboseli National Park in Kenya since 1971. Her recent work includes studies at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, where she is curator of research and associate curator of primates. Author of Baboon Mothers and Infants (1980), she has also published many articles. "Mate choice and intra-sexual reproductive competition: Contributions to reproduction that go beyond acquiring more mates" appeared in Feminism and Evolutionary Biology: boundaries, intersections, and frontiers (1997).
Altmann received her bachelor's degree in math at the University of Alberta and a 1970 MAT from Emory University before going to the University of Chicago, where she earned her PhD in behavioral sciences in 1979. Named associate professor in Chicago's Department of Ecology and Evolution in 1985, she became a full professor in 1989, and since 1991 she has chaired the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. In 1996 she received the Animal Behavior Exemplar Award.
Car is a specialist in microscopic simulation of materials and electronic structure theory. His appointment begins May 1, 1999.
Since 1991 he has been professor and director of the Institute for Numerical Research in the Physics of Materials (IRRMA) at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. His research goal, he says, is "to understand how the interplay of electronic structure and atomic dynamics determines physical and chemical properties of materials." He is interested in expanding his work with computational approaches to biological systems, with the purpose of understanding "how atomistic processes and chemical reactions affect the molecular functions."
Car, who received his 1971 doctoral degree from the Milan Institute of Technology, became assistant professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1978 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in New York from 1981 to 1983 before being named professor at the International School for Advanced Studies, Italy, in 1984.
Author or coauthor of more than 170 journal articles, he received the American Physical Society's 1995 Aneesur Rahman Prize (with M. Parrinello) for the development of the Car-Parrinello method, an approach to computational physics that combines molecular dynamics and density functional theory. Car and Parrinello also received the 1990 Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize.
Graf, whose appointment begins September 1, 1999, is currently chair of the department of Latin Philology and Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean at the University of Basel in Switzerland.
A specialist in ancient Greek and Roman religions and literature, he is the author of Greek Mythology: An Introduction (published in German in 1985, revised and translated into English in 1993) and Magic in the Ancient World (published in French in 1994, revised and translated into English in 1997). He is at work on two manuscripts, "Signs for the Gods: Ritual and Communication in the Ancient World," and "Festivals in Augustan Rome."
At the University of Zurich, Graf earned his
licentiatus philosophiae in 1969 and his doctor
philosophiae in 1970 and became privatdozent in
1981. He joined the faculty of Basel University
Soner joined the faculty as Paul M. Wythes '55 Professor of Engineering and Applied Science on September 1. An expert in applied mathematics and financial engineering, he was previously a professor of mathematical sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.
Soner earned his BSc in math and electrical engineering at Bogaziçi University in Istanbul in 1981 and his PhD in applied mathematics at Brown University in 1985. After a year as a research associate at the University of Minnesota, he joined the mathematics faculty at Carnegie Mellon, where he became a full professor in 1992.
Among his research interests are asymptotic analysis of Ginzburg-Landau systems, and models for superconductivity and solidification, geometric flows, viscosity solutions, stochastic optimal control, mathematical finance, and option pricing. He coauthored Controlled Markov Processes and Viscosity Solutions (with W. Fleming, 1993) and is author or coauthor of articles on nonlinear partial differential equations, viscosity solutions, optimal control and mathematical finance.
Promoted to tenure
An expert in theoretical computer science, Arora studied for two years at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur before transferring to MIT, where he earned his BS in 1990. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1994, the same year in which he joined the Princeton faculty as assistant professor.
He won the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award and an NSF Career award for junior faculty in 1995, and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in 1996. In 1997, he was named a David and Lucile Packard Foundation fellow.
Arora's current research centers on "computational complexity and approximation algorithms for NP-hard optimization problems," he says. Recently, he designed "a new method to compute near-optimal solutions for the famous 'traveling salesman problem.'" He is on the editorial boards of Information and Computation and the Journal of Combinatorial Optimization.