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John Harvard's Journal

University People

November-December 2014

Photograph by Eliza Grinnell/SEAS

Cherry Murray

Innovation Honorand

Cherry Murray, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. President Barack Obama made the announcement on October 3. For details, see harvardmag.com/murray-14.

Humanities Honorands

Alumni recognized with the National Humanities Medal, conferred in July, include M.H. Abrams ’34, Ph.D. ’40, Cornell’s Class of 1916 professor emeritus, editor of the original Norton Anthology of English Literature; David Brion Davis, Ph.D. ’56, Yale’s Sterling Professor emeritus of American history, the leading historian of slavery; and Anne Firor Scott, Ph.D. ’58, Duke’s Boyd professor of history emerita, a pioneering historian of women and the South.

Seeding Scientists

Two of the three winners of the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists are Harvard faculty members: Rachel Wilson, professor of neurobiology at the Medical School, who studies how brain circuitry works; and Adam E. Cohen, professor of chemistry and chemical biology and of physics, who develops tools to probe molecular and cellular functions (see “Light-Up Neurons,” March-April 2012, page 10). Each receives a $250,000 unrestricted grant to pursue research. In his biography, Cohen cited his father, Joel E. Cohen ’65, Ph.D. ’70, JF ’71, D.P.H. ’73, Mauzé professor of populations at Rockefeller University, for inspiring his interest in science.

Fields First

Maryam Mirzakhani, Ph.D. ’04, now professor of mathematics at Stanford, became the first woman to win a Fields Medal, the most prestigious honor in mathematics. A native of Tehran, she won gold medals in the 1994 and 1995 International Math Olympiads, and earned her doctorate under Curtis McMullen, Harvard’s Cabot professor of the natural sciences—himself a Fields medalist. Manjul Bhargava ’96, now professor of mathematics at Princeton, was also awarded a Fields this year

Photograph courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation

Jacob Lurie

Math MacArthur, Et Alii

Professor of mathematics Jacob Lurie was named a MacArthur Foundation fellow, for work in derived algebraic geometry. Alumni honorands include Jennifer Eberhardt, Ph.D. ’93, a social psychologist; Joshua Oppenheimer ’97, maker of the documentary film The Act of Killing; and Craig Gentry, J.D. ’98, a computer scientist. Rick Lowe, a public artist who was a Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design, was also honored. For details, see harvardmag.com/macarthurs-14.

Library Comings and Goings

Tom Hyry became Fearrington librarian of Houghton Library—Harvard’s rare books and manuscripts collection—in September, succeeding William Stoneman, who took the post in 1997 and remains curator of early books and manuscripts. Hyry became director of special collections at UCLA in 2010; previously, he was head of manuscripts at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale, where he worked for 13 years.…Nancy F. Cott completed a dozen years of service as Pforzheimer Foundation director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America in June; she oversaw the building’s renovation, the processing of a backlog of accessions, and significant digital initiatives. She remains Trumbull professor of American history. During a search for her successor, library council member Susan Ware, Ph.D. ’78, will serve as senior adviser to the library, and Marilyn Dunn remains executive director.

Best Books

First-round (“long-list”) nominations for National Book Awards included, in nonfiction: New Yorker writer Evan Osnos ’98 (whose book on contemporary China was reviewed in the July-August Harvard Magazine); historian John Demos ’59, G ’68, RI ’07; Overseer Walter Isaacson ’74; and Pellegrino University Professor emeritus E. O. Wilson. Poetry nominees included Maureen N. McLane ’89; Spencer Reece, M.T.S. ’90; and Fred Moten ’84—who wrote 1,000 sonnets during a year off from the College, while he worked at the Nevada Nuclear Test site. Eliot Schrefer ’01 was nominated in young adult and children’s literature. Details are available at harvardmag.com/nba-14.

Miscellany

Professor of biology Brian D. Farrell, an entomologist, has become faculty director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, succeeding Merilee Grindle, the Kennedy School’s Mason professor of international development, now emerita. “Brian Farrell in Bugdom” (September-October 2003, page 66), describes his work in the Dominican Republic’s cloud forest.…Matthew M. Segneri ’04, M.B.A. ’10, has been appointed director of Harvard Business School’s social enterprise initiative, the 20-year-old program focusing on nonprofit strategy and governance, businesses with a social mission, and so on; most recently, he was an adviser to then-Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino, LL.D. ’13, and a government-innovation team leader at Bloomberg Philanthropies.…Robert D. Manfred Jr., J.D. ’83, has been elected commissioner of Major League Baseball; he had been the sport’s chief operating officer.…Thomas Sheehan has joined Memorial Church’s music staff, where he is assistant University organist and choirmaster.…Harvard Management Company has hired Michael Ryan as its new head of public equity; he previously worked at private investment-management and hedge funds, following service at Credit Suisse and diverse positions at Goldman Sachs Group—where he was a partner and co-head of global equity products—from 1989 to 2007.…Susan Chira ’80 has been appointed one of four deputy executive editors (a new position) at The New York Times. Joseph Kahn ’87, A.M. ’90, joined the masthead, too, as assistant editor for international.

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