Stanford University

News Service


NEWS RELEASE

4/13/00

Diane Manuel, News Service (650) 725-1945; e-mail: dmanuel@leland.stanford.edu

Five Stanford scholars receive Guggenheim Fellowships

Five Stanford scholars Andrea Wilson Nightingale, Michael Bratman, James Sheehan, Stephen Orgel and Jennifer Widom have been chosen to receive year 2000 Guggenheim Fellowship Awards. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation will award 182 U.S. and Canadian scholars (out of 2,927 applicants) a total of $6,345,000. The average grant is $34,862.

This year's awards bring the total number of Stanford Guggenheim winners to 149 since 1974.

Andrea Wilson Nightingale, associate professor of classics and associate professor of comparative literature, is a specialist in ancient philosophy who studied classics as an undergraduate at Stanford and earned her master's degree and doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley.

Nightingale's research interests range from Greek literature and philosophy to Latin literature and culture and the philosophy of ecology. She has developed an ecology course that draws on humanist perspectives and she has lectured in the same Structured Liberal Education track of the former Culture, Ideas and Values program that she studied as a student, when she was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

Nightingale has done advanced research at the Goethe-Institute in Vienna, Magdalen College of Oxford University and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. She was a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center in the 1992-93 academic year, when she worked on her book Genres in Dialogue: Plato and the Construct of Philosophy, published by Cambridge University Press.

Michael Bratman is a summa cum laude graduate of Haverford College who earned his doctorate in philosophy at Rockefeller University. Past chair of the Faculty Senate and past chair of the Philosophy Department, Bratman has helped to develop such courses as Introduction to Ethics, Ethical Theories, History of Ethics and Philosophy of Action.

Bratman's research is concerned with the philosophy of action, moral philosophy and foundational issues of artificial intelligence. He has written extensively about the logical structure of practical reasoning and his 1987 book Intention, Plans and Practical Reason has set much of the agenda for action theory and has been described as an original contribution to a 2,000-year-old problem.

Bratman has served as associate dean in the School of Humanities and Sciences and has received a Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching. He also has served on the University Advisory Board. In 1994 he was the Olmsted Visiting Professor in Yale University's Program on Ethics, Politics and Economics.

James Sheehan, the Dickason Professor in the Humanities, graduated from Stanford and earned his doctorate in history at the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1964, he had taught at Northwestern University.

Sheehan's research focuses on modern German history. His first publications traced the transfer and transformation of western European liberalism in central Europe, and more recently he has worked on the problem of the nation in German history and historiography.

Former chair of the history department, Sheehan has served in the Faculty Senate and on the executive committee of the Humanities Center. Off campus, he has been a member of the editorial board of five scholarly journals, including the American Historical Review. He has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. In the 1973-74 academic year he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, and in 1981 he was a Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford University.

Stephen Orgel, professor of English, is a scholar and critic of Renaissance literature who has written widely on the political and historical aspects of Renaissance literature, theater and art history. His research concerns the patronage system, the nature of representation and performance practice of the period.

Orgel earned his doctorate at Harvard University. Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1985 he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Johns Hopkins University. Among his honors and awards are an honorary degree from Oxford University and a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Orgel's major publications include an edition of Shakespeare's The Tempest, The Illusion of Power, Inigo Jones: The Theatre of the Stuart Court, The Jonsonian Masque and Imagining Shakespeare. He also has played a major role as a member of the board of supervisors of the English Institute and as editor-in-chief of the Journal of English Literary History.

Jennifer Widom is an associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering. She received her bachelor's degree from the Indiana University School of Music in 1982 and her Ph.D. in computer science from Cornell in 1987. She spent five years as a computer scientist at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose before joining the Stanford faculty in 1993. Widom will use her fellowship to help bridge the gap between the "information retrieval" and "database" styles of finding information on the Internet, creating powerful new ways to query and search the Web.

By computer-science standards, information retrieval and database management are both mature fields. Web search engines support information-retrieval-style keyword search to rank potentially relevant text documents, while typical online databases support queries that pinpoint relevant items within a structured data set.

Over the past several years, Widom and others have considered an intermediate form of information called "semistructured data," which has become highly relevant recently with the advent of the Extensible Markup Language (XML), a new but widely embraced standard for data representation and exchange on the Web. Semistructured data and XML offer a hybrid between unstructured text documents and fully structured databases, and therefore warrant new query and search techniques that promise to combine the best of both worlds.

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