A. M. Homes wins Women’s Prize for Fiction

A. M. Homes

A. M. Homes (Photo by Marion Ettinger)

The 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction was awarded to A.M. Homes, a lecturer in creative writing and the Lewis Center for the Arts, for her novel May We Be Forgiven. The £30,000 ($46,000) prize rewards excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing worldwide. Homes received the prize in London.

A contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Homes has written the novels This Book Will Save Your Life, Music For Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers and Jack. Her short-story collections include Things You Should Know and The Safety of Objects. Homes has also written for television: she helped write and produce the television show The L Word, and adapted her first novel, Jack, for Showtime


Alexander Polyakov wins Fundamental Physics Prize

Alexander Polyakov

Alexander Polyakov (Photo by Martin Rocek)

Alexander Polyakov, the Joseph Henry Professor of Physics, received the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize in 2013 for his work in field theory and string theory. His ideas have dominated work in these fields during the past decades, according to the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation. The award recognizes Polyakov’s influential work in string theory, which looks to find common ground between quantum mechanics and general relativity. In addition, he was honored for his work in quantum field theory, a framework for modeling the dynamics of particles.

The prize is awarded to researchers who have made transformative advances in physics. Polyakov, who received the prize during a ceremony in Geneva, was selected for the honor by the recipients of the 2012 Fundamental Physics Prize.

American Mathematical Society awards Steele Prizes to Yakov Sinai, Philip Holmes

Yakov Sinai

Yakov Sinai (Photo courtesy of the Princeton University Department of Mathematics)

Professor of Mathematics Yakov Sinai was awarded the American Mathematical Society (AMS)’s Leroy P. Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement, one of the highest distinctions in mathematics. Sinai was honored for his “pivotal role in shaping the theory of dynamical systems and for his groundbreaking contributions to ergodic theory, probability theory, statistical mechanics and mathematical physics,” according to the AMS. The prize recognizes the breadth and depth of the recipient’s mathematical work as well as the recipient’s influence on mathematics through Ph.D. student supervision.

Philip Holmes

Philip Holmes (Photo by James Phillips)

Philip Holmes, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was the co-winner of the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition along with John Guckenheimer for the book Nonlinear Oscillations, Dynamical Systems, and Bifurcations of Vector Fields. The publication helped bridge the various developments of different mathematicians working with dynamical systems in the 1960s and 1970s. According to the official citation for the prize, “Thirty years later this book remains in wide use as a standard text for graduate-level courses in mathematics departments and throughout the sciences and engineering, and Chinese and Russian translations have appeared.”

Three win Guggenheim Fellowships

D. Graham Burnett

D. Graham Burnett (Photo by D. Hong)

Three professors have received 2013 Guggenheim Fellowships for demonstrated excellence in scholarship or creative work.

D. Graham Burnett, professor of history; Deana Lawson, lecturer in visual arts and the Lewis Center for the Arts; and Colson Whitehead, lecturer in creative writing and the Lewis Center for the Arts, were selected by a network of former Guggenheim Fellows to receive grants that would provide them with the ability to work with significant creative freedom for six months to one year.

Deana Lawson

Deana Lawson, D. Graham Burnett, and Colson Whitehead win Guggenheim Fellowships (Photo by Dru Donovan)

Burnett focuses on the history of earth and oceanic science from the 17th through the 20th centuries. He has written about changing human conceptions of nature, art and technology, and serves as an editor at the Brooklyn-based art magazine Cabinet.

Lawson’s work uses photography to approach personal and social histories, particularly in black culture. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries throughout New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta, including the Museum of Modern Art, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Print Center and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. She has also displayed her photographs in the Helene Bailly Gallery in Paris and the KIT Museum in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead (Photo courtesy of Colson Whitehead)

Whitehead’s novel John Henry Days was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and his collection of essays The Colossus of New York was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Whitehead has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award.

Jeremiah Ostriker named White House Champion of Change

Jeremiah Ostriker

Jeremiah Ostriker (Photo by Denise Applewhite)

Jeremiah Ostriker, the Charles. A. Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation, Emeritus, was recognized as one of 13 White House Champions of Change during a ceremony at the White House for his contributions to theoretical astronomy, which include the use of large-scale numerical calculations to study interstellar medium, galaxies, quasars and cosmology. The honor celebrates those who use or develop technologies and tools to enhance open government and accelerate social progress.

Ostriker, who currently works in cosmology, was among the first to find evidence for dark matter in the universe. He also examines galaxy formation, black hole growth and quasars. In 2000, Ostriker was selected as a winner of the National Medal of Science — the nation’s highest scientific honor — by former President Bill Clinton.

Mung Chiang wins National Science Foundation Alan T. Waterman Award

Mung Chiang

Mung Chiang (Photo by Brian Wilson)

Mung Chiang, the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering, received the 2013 Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his work in designing wireless networks. The $1 million award recognizes researchers below the age of 35 for outstanding achievements in any NSF-supported science or engineering field.

Chiang, who received his award at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., founded Princeton’s EDGE Laboratory, a facility that uses a multidisciplinary approach to examine technological and human networks. Chiang’s research has applications in wireless network radio resource optimization, Internet congestion control, wireless signal traffic routing and cloud computing, according to the official citation of the award.

William G. Bowen and Natalie Davis receive National Humanities Medal

William Bowen (Photo by David Lubarsky)

William Bowen (Photo by David Lubarsky)

At a White House ceremony, William G. Bowen, Princeton’s 17th president, and Natalie Zemon Davis, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Emerita, were awarded the National Humanities Medal for 2012. The medal recognizes 12 individuals for their commitment to deepening the nation’s appreciation of, as well as access to, resources in the humanities.

The National Endowment for the Humanities nominated Bowen, a professor of economics and public affairs, emeritus, for the award in recognition of his contributions to higher education and economics research in America. According to the official citation for the medal, Bowen has “used his leadership to put theories into practice and strive for new heights of academic excellence.” Bowen served as Princeton University president from 1972 to 1988.

Natalie Zemon Davis

Natalie Zemon Davis (Photo by Michael van Leur)

Davis was honored for insights into historical research, which has allowed the public to engage with history and better understand what life might have looked like for previous generations. Davis, who focuses on the social and cultural history of early modern Europe, has worked as a consultant and scriptwriter for the 1982 film Le retour de Martin Guerre, which led to the publication of her book on historical events in France in the 16th century, The Return of Martin Guerre.

David Botstein wins Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

The 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences was awarded to David Botstein, the Anthony B. Evnin ’62 Professor of Genomics.

David Botstein

David Botstein (Photo by Denise Applewhite)

The $3 million prize acknowledges achievements in research aimed at “curing intractable diseases and extending human life,” according to the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation. Botstein was honored for his “linkage mapping of Mendelian disease in humans using DNA polymorphisms.”

Botstein’s current research focuses include cell metabolism and gene expression. He is perhaps best known for proposing a gene-mapping technique with three other researchers that laid the groundwork for the Human Genome Project, a technique that Princeton President Emerita Shirley M. Tilghman described as “the beginning of modern human genetics.”

Sponsors of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences include Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki and Yuri Milner.