Peter and Rosemary Grant receive Royal Medal in Biology

PHOTO BY DENISE APPLEWHITE

Peter Grant, the Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology, Emeritus, and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, emeritus, and B. Rosemary Grant, senior research biologist, emeritus, and a senior biologist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, have been named recipients of the Royal Medal in Biology. The Grants’ legendary explorations of the group of 18 bird species known as Darwin’s finches that populate the Galápagos island of Daphne Major — which is in an entirely natural state unaffected by humans — over four decades have produced an array of dazzling insights into evolutionary theory.

The biologists are the first husband-and-wife team to be given the award and the first recipients in population biology.

The Royal Society of London stated that the Grants received the Royal Medal “for their research on the ecology and evolution of Darwin’s finches on the Galápagos, demonstrating that natural selection occurs frequently and that evolution is rapid as a result.”

Historian of religion Elaine Pagels awarded National Humanities Medal

PHOTO BY MARK CZAJKOWSKI

Elaine Pagels, an authority on the religions of late antiquity and the author of The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, received the 2015 National Humanities Medal. The announcement was made by the White House. The medal was conferred by President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the White House on Sept. 22, 2016.

The medal honors an individual or organization whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history and literature, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to cultural resources. Pa-gels was among 12 recipients of the award.

The official citation for the award honored Pagels, who is the Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion, “for her exploration of faith and its traditions. Through her study of ancient manuscripts and other scholarly work, she has generated new interest and dialogue about our contemporary search for knowledge and meaning.”

Eight win Guggenheim Fellowships

PHOTO CREDITS FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: TOP ROW: JOHN LUCAS, RICHARD SODEN, PETER HURLEY, HANNAH DUNPHY BOTTOM ROW: DAVID BROWN, NINA KATCHADOURIAN, DENISE APPLEWHITE, JILL DOLAN

Eight Princeton faculty members have received 2017 Guggenheim Fellowships — they are among 173 fellowships from a group of almost 3,000 applicants awarded on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

The recipients are (in order of the photos): Claudia Rankine, visiting professor of creative writing and the Lewis Center for the Arts, for poetry; B. Andrei Bernevig, professor of physics, who focuses on quantum condensed-matter physics; Linda Colley, the Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History, for a forthcoming book on how rising levels of conflict after 1750 fostered the world-wide spread of new constitutions; Phil Klay, lecturer in creative writing and the Lewis Center for the Arts, for fiction; Aaron Landsman, lecturer in theater and the Lewis Center for the Arts, for drama and performance art; Fiona Maazel, lecturer in creative writing and the Lewis Center for the Arts, for fiction; Mark Beissinger, the Henry W. Putnam Professor of Politics, for a project that concerns how revolution as a mode of regime change has evolved globally over the past century; and Stacy Wolf, professor of theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts, for her forthcoming book, Beyond Broadway: Four Seasons of Amateur Musical Theatre in the U.S.

Tracy K. Smith named U.S. Poet Laureate

PHOTO BY DENISE APPLEWHITE

Tracy K. Smith has been named the Library of Congress’s 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, for 2017-18. Smith is the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities and a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts.

Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Life on Mars (2011); Duende (2007), winner of the 2006 James Laughlin Award and the 2008 Essence Literary Award; and The Body’s Question (2003), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith is also the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in nonfiction and selected as a notable book by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1936. During their terms, poet laureates seek to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.

Charles Fefferman awarded 2017 Wolf Prize in Mathematics

PHOTO BY WILLIAM CROW

Charles Fefferman, the Herbert E. Jones, Jr ’43 University Professor of Mathematics, has been selected to receive the 2017 Wolf Prize in Mathematics awarded by the Wolf Foundation in Israel. Fefferman, whose focus is on mathematical analysis, was honored for his “major contributions to several fields, including several complex variables, partial differential equations and subelliptic problems,” according to the prize citation from the Wolf Foundation.

Bestowed annually since 1978, the Wolf Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics. Fefferman, who shares the prize with Richard Schoen of Stanford University, is one of numerous Princeton faculty and alumni to receive the prize. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1969 at the age of 20 and joined Princeton’s faculty in 1973.

Fefferman’s work earned him the Fields Medal in 1978, which honors outstanding mathematicians under the age of 40. In 1976, he was the inaugural recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award, the nation’s highest honorary award for early-career scientists and engineers.
PHOTO BY WILLIAM CROW