Yale College prizes celebrate outstanding junior faculty

Yale College Dean Mary Miller will host an annual dinner on Nov. 27 to celebrate the recipients of three annual awards for outstanding junior faculty: the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize, the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize, and the Poorvu Family Award. Each prize carries an award of funding to support further research.

Arthur Greer Memorial Prize

The Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research is awarded to a junior faculty member in the natural or social sciences.

June Gruber, assistant professor of psychology and associate professor of psychiatry, was awarded the prize in support of her research on the potentially negative consequences of positive emotion.

Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication

The Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research is conferred upon outstanding junior faculty members in the humanities. This year there were five recipients.

Jacqueline Jung, assistant professor of history of art, was awarded the prize for her decade of work on a book to be published by the end of the year, “The Gothic Screen: Sculpture, Space, and Community in French and German Cathedrals, ca. 1200-1400.” In it, she considers the role of the screen as an instrument in the negotiation between the divine, the clergy, and the laity.

Pauline LeVen, assistant professor of classics, was awarded the prize for her article, “New Music and its Myths,” published in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, and for her book “The Many-Headed Muse: Tradition and Innovation in Late-Classical Greek Lyric Poetry,” which challenges longstanding interpretations of the genre of solo and choral songs in Greek literary history.

Birgit Brander Rasmussen, assistant professor of American studies and of ethnicity, race, and migration, was awarded the prize for her forthcoming book, “Queequeg’s Coffin: Indigenous Literacies and the Making of Early American Literature,” which examines Native American and Euroamerican literary exchanges in early America.

Eliyahu Stern, assistant professor of religious studies, was awarded the prize for his book, “The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism,” which seeks to explain the best known and most understudied figure in modern Jewish history and also sheds light on the core social experiences and intellectual expressions that animate modern Jews.

R. John Williams, assistant professor of English, was awarded the prize for his book under contract with Yale University Press, “Buddha/Machine: Art, Technology, and the Meeting of East and West,” which concentrates on the cultural tensions in the West and East as both compete for technological leadership.

Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching

The Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching was established to recognize and enhance Yale’s strength in interdisciplinary teaching. It provides the means for distinguished junior faculty in interdisciplinary fields to conduct essential summer research. This year there are two recipients.

Paola Bertucci, assistant professor of history of science, history of medicine, was awarded the prize for the “interdisciplinary perspective…at the heart of…everything that Paola does in the classroom.” Her teaching, which covers a range of subjects, includes spectacle and secrecy; travel and industrial espionage; the human body in experimental practice; collections of scientific instruments and the material culture of science; and meteorology and natural catastrophes.

Sarah Demers, assistant professor of physics, was awarded the prize for embodying “the best of Yale undergraduate teaching and interdisciplinary focus.” Her classes “The Physics of Dance” and “The Physics of Music”, her work at the Whitney Humanities Center, and her travels with Yale undergraduates to the Large Hadron Collider, in Geneva, have created opportunities in science for students who are not scientists.

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