Two ‘Promising’ Faculty Members Are Awarded Guggenheim Fellowships

Priyamvada Natarajan, associate professor of astronomy and physics, and Jaime Lara, a lecturer at Yale Institute of Sacred Music, have been named 2009 fellows by the Guggenheim Foundation.

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed not only on the basis of distinguished achievements, but also on the promise of exceptional future accomplishments. According to Edward Hirsch, president of the foundation, diversity is a hallmark of the Guggenheim Fellows whose ages this year range from 29 to 70. Their residences span the world, and their fellowship projects will carry them to every continent.

Natarajan, whose research has been seminal for mapping dark matter of the universe and helping to understand the dynamics of black hole and galaxy formation, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to continue research on “Black hole formation at high redshift.”

“I feel very honored and privileged to have been awarded a Guggenheim. It gives me the intellectual freedom to pursue this very exciting project of understanding the formation of the earliest black holes in the Universe,” said Natarajan.

Until recently, Lara’s primary field of research was the art, architecture and religious customs of central Mexico in the 16th century, with a focus on native converts to Christianity. He produced two books and many scholarly articles on the subject. Now his research has led him to the Andes, to the ancient empire of the Incas, where he is studying the unique iconography of St. Francis that developed there in the early 16th century. The Guggenheim Fellowship will help him complete the synthesis of his multidisciplinary study and write a book on the subject .

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was established in 1925 by former United States Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife in memory of their son. The foundation supports individuals in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and creative arts.

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Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345