Archive for the ‘Heard on Campus’ Category

Steven Chu, Stanford Nobel physicist, former U. S. energy secretary, elected to Royal Society

May 14th, 2014
Steven Chu (Photo: U.S. Department of Energy)

Steven Chu (Photo: U.S. Department of Energy)

Physicist STEVEN CHU, Stanford professor and Nobel laureate, has been elected as a foreign member of the Fellowship of the Royal Society, one of the world’s most prominent groups of scientists.

Chu is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences. He is a professor of physics and of molecular and cellular physiology. The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, and is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Past fellows and foreign members have included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Outstanding scientists, including pioneers in molecular biology, biomedicine and solar cell technology, make up the 50 new fellows and 10 new foreign members announced by the Royal Society. Chu shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics for the development of methods to use lasers to cool and trap atoms. From January 2009 to April 2013 he was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama and has sought new solutions to energy and climate challenges throughout his career.

During his first turn as a professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford, Chu helped launch the Stanford Bio-X program and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. Now, Chu plans to engage students and faculty from across campus to develop ways to facilitate addressing the country’s energy problems, with a focus on new pathways to sustainable, carbon dioxide-neutral energy. The Chu Group will also continue its efforts in applying new biophysical techniques to the study of biological systems, with an eye toward disease research.


Stanford community comes out for Cardinal Walk 2014

May 10th, 2014

Members of the Stanford community brought their walking shoes and good cheer to the eighth annual Cardinal Walk. Walkers gathered at Stanford Stadium before embarking on the 1.5-mile trek around campus. The event, which took place Friday, May 9, was sponsored by BeWell at Stanford. University Photographer LINDA A. CICERO captured the spirit in pictures.

George W. Bush shares presidential insights with Stanford students

May 6th, 2014
Former President George W. Bush (Photo by Rod Searcey)

Former President George W. Bush at Stanford May 5. (Photo by Rod Searcey)

On Monday, May 5, former President GEORGE W. BUSH met with Stanford students for an hour-long conversation that touched on many of the defining moments and policies of his presidency.

In a relaxed and sometimes self-deprecating exchange, Bush talked about the limits of congressional power and his relationships and personal diplomacy with other world leaders. His tone was more serious when discussing what he described as universal desires for freedom, his military strategies following 9/11, and his commitment to addressing Africa’s HIV/AIDS pandemic.

MARIANO-FLORENTINO CUÉLLAR, director of the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), moderated the session. Stanford President JOHN HENNESSY and CONDOLEEZZA RICE – Bush’s secretary of state and national security adviser who has returned to teaching political science and business at Stanford – joined the conversation.

“FSI has a terrific track record of convening leaders at Stanford, from the head of the International Monetary Fund to prime ministers and presidents,” Cuéllar said. “On this occasion, we wanted our students to have an opportunity for a candid conversation with one of the key policymakers of the early 21st century, and we think such experiences will further prepare them for leadership in a complex world.”

About 30 students were invited to the session at Encina Hall, but they didn’t know they were meeting Bush until the 43rd president walked into the room. The substance of the questions and Bush’s remarks were off the record.

“I suspect he misses this sort of engagement,” said GREGORY SCHWEIZER, a second-year law student who was part of the discussion that also covered immigration reform, national education policies and the Edward Snowden affair.

“The media always portrays him as being disengaged from current affairs,” Schweizer said. “But I’m impressed with how interested and engaged he still is.”

Along with representatives from Stanford Law School, other students were invited from the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies. Honors students from FSI’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law also joined the conversation.

Bush’s visit was arranged with the help of BRAD FREEMAN, a former university trustee, and RONALD SPOGLI, who is currently on Stanford’s Board of Trustees. Freeman and Spogli are longtime friends of the former president and philanthropists who donated a naming gift to FSI in 2005. Bush appointed Spogli as ambassador to Italy in 2005 and as ambassador to San Marino a year later.

Stanford has a tradition of hosting current and former heads of state, including German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL and former Russian President DMITRY MEDVEDEV – both of whom visited in 2010.

— BY ADAM GORLICK, communications manager for Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. The original story is published on the FSI website.





Stanford Humanities Center names 2014-15 Fellows

May 5th, 2014
Stanford Humanities Center (Photo credit: Steve Castillo)

Stanford Humanities Center (Photo credit: Steve Castillo)

The Stanford Humanities Center announced recently the winners of its competition for full-year residency research fellowships for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Humanities Center has selected 26 scholars from Stanford and other U.S. and international institutions who were chosen from a pool of nearly 400 applicants. Each fellow will pursue individual research and writing projects at the center and will have the opportunity to share ideas and foster collaborations with the Stanford community through workshops and the rich array of sponsored activities of the center.

The 2014-15 fellows will focus on a range of research topics including science in the Hellenistic age, medieval politics, modern philosophy, anthropology and linguistics.

The eight internal faculty fellows represent Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences and School of Medicine, and the 10 external faculty fellows come from departments spanning the humanities.

The center also has awarded eight Geballe Dissertation Fellowships to outstanding current Stanford graduate students in the final stages of their dissertations who will spend their time at the center completing their dissertations.

CAROLINE WINTERER, professor of history and director of the Humanities Center, noted, “We’re delighted to be bringing a group of wonderful scholars to the Humanities Center who represent the whole array of humanistic approaches to the past and the present.”

In addition, a group of undergraduate seniors will be named Hume Honors Undergraduate Fellows in the fall and will have access to the center’s resources as they complete their honors theses.

In addition to the yearlong fellowships, the Humanities Center and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies will host four international visitors for four-week residencies. During their time at Stanford, these scholars will give lectures in conjunction with the departments and research centers that nominated them.

The full list of incoming fellows is posted on the Humanities Center website.


Stanford receives $5 million gift to endow a nuclear security professorship

May 1st, 2014

In a move intended to bolster Stanford’s already impressive cohort of global security experts, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) has received a gift of $5 million from the Stanton Foundation to establish a professorship in nuclear security.

The professorship, which will be housed at the institute’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), is the foundation’s second such gift within a year.

“Nuclear security continues to be one of the most critical issues facing our world,” said FSI Director MARIANO-FLORENTINO CUÉLLAR. “Both the promise and perils of nuclear technology must be managed with extreme care in the decades ahead, a task that will call for insights from different disciplines and perspectives across CISAC and the university.”

The endowed chair, named The Stanton Foundation Professorship in Nuclear Security, will allow Stanford to recruit an internationally recognized scholar for an appointment at FSI and one of the university’s seven schools.

“We have an invitation to think boldly and creatively about national security from an interdisciplinary approach, and that’s what makes this gift so exciting,” said AMY ZEGART, co-director of CISAC. “We can broaden our reach into issues in a dynamic international security environment while keeping a core focus on nuclear security.”

U.S. soldiers sponge off their protective suits after a simulated nuclear detonation scenario at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

U.S. soldiers sponge off their protective suits after a simulated nuclear detonation scenario at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

Today’s threats are changing faster and with greater uncertainty than ever before, and CISAC needs to stay on top of – and in front of – the security issues facing our nation, Zegart said.

The Stanton Foundation established its first endowed chair at CISAC in 2013 with a $5 million gift. It also funds CISAC’s Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowships for pre- and postdoctoral students and junior faculty who are studying policy-relevant issues related to nuclear security.

Former CBS president Frank Stanton, who established the foundation, became actively engaged in international security issues in 1954 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him to a committee to develop the first comprehensive national plan for surviving a nuclear attack. His connection to Stanford began when he served as a founding member and chair of Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1953 and a university trustee from 1953 to 1971.

“The Stanton Foundation recognizes that there needs to be a center of excellence in nuclear security outside of the Washington-Boston corridor, and Stanford is that place,” Zegart said.

Read the full announcement on the FSI website.

—MAY WONG, for the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies



Stanford historian Estelle Freedman wins national honor for book on rape, suffrage, segregation

April 24th, 2014
Estelle Freedman

Estelle Freedman

The Organization of American Historians (OAH) has awarded Stanford history Professor ESTELLE FREEDMAN with the 2014 Darlene Clark Hine Award for her book Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation.

Given annually, the award was established in honor of Hine, a pioneer in African American women’s and gender history and a former OAH president.

“This rigorously researched and beautifully written book transforms and deepens our understanding of how race, gender, class and sexuality shaped the harm of rape as experienced by women and as articulated by reformers and their adversaries,” noted an OAH press release.

The work also was applauded for featuring African American women as protagonists as well as subjects, working to exercise their rights in the face of formidable obstacles.

Citing legal documents, periodicals and political cartoons, Freedman argues in the book that the attitudes toward sexual violence as well as the prosecution of sexual offenses were influenced by gender and racial politics.

Freedman, the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in U.S. History, accepted the award at the OAH’s annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this month. She said she was “deeply honored” and “delighted” to receive it. She also noted that her former doctoral advisee KATHERINE MARINO, PhD ’13, won the organization’s prize for best dissertation on women’s history. “It was a joyful ceremony for both of us,” Freedman said.

Founded in 1907, the OAH is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past.


—TANU WAKEFIELD, the Humanities at Stanford


Verghese to receive Heinz Award

February 28th, 2014

verghese-150-13ABRAHAM VERGHESE, professor of medicine and best-selling author of the novel Cutting for Stone, has been selected to receive the $250,000 Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities.

“Dr. Verghese’s widely acclaimed writings touch the heart and inform the soul, giving people of all walks of life a true understanding of what it is to heal the whole person — not just physically, but emotionally,” TERESA HEINZ, chair of the Heinz Family Foundation, said in a news release announcing the annual Heinz Awards in five different categories: arts and humanities; the environment; the human condition; public policy and technology; and the economy and employment.

Verghese is vice chair for the theory and practice of medicine. He is a strong advocate for the value of bedside manner and the physical exam — skills he sees as waning in an era of increasingly sophisticated medical technology.

“As a teacher and a caregiver, Dr. Verghese has shown how the best physicians are those who understand that healing is about more than medicine,” said LLOYD MINOR, dean of the medical school. “As a writer, he has shared this message broadly, reminding us all of the enduring power of the human touch.”

Cutting for Stone was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years. Verghese’s first book, My Own Country, a memoir about AIDS in rural Tennessee, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has been published extensively in the medical literature. His writing also has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, among other magazines.

“In my work as a writer, I have always tried to convey the notion that medicine is a uniquely human, person-to-person endeavor,” Verghese said. “In my view, it is a ministry with a calling.”

The Heinz Awards are given in memory of U.S. Sen. JOHN HEINZ, a Pennsylvania Republican who died in 1991.

The 19th annual awards will be presented April 3 during a private ceremony at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.


Help Stanford win the PAC-12 Fitness Challenge

February 24th, 2014


Whether you walk, bike, run, swim, spin, lift weights or do any other fitness-related activity, your exercise routine can put Stanford back on top!

By tracking your exercise this week as part of the PAC-12 Fitness Challenge, you can help Stanford beat our competitors.

Stanford won first place in each of the first three challenges, but lost the title in the last two years to Arizona State and UCLA.

The Pac-12 Fitness Challenge is open to all Stanford faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters. Participants may enter up to two hours of exercise each day and all forms of exercise are accepted.

To participate, visit, sign up, and enter your exercise minutes. 

Ethiopian lawyer receives human rights award from Stanford Law School

February 24th, 2014
Seife Ayalew Asfaw

Seife Ayalew Asfaw

Stanford Law School has selected prominent Ethiopian human rights activist SEIFE AYALEW ASFAW as the inaugural recipient of its Rubin Family International Human Rights Award. The new award recognizes young leaders in the international social justice movement by bringing one such individual to Stanford Law School as a practitioner-in-residence for two weeks every year.

During his stay on campus April 8-17,  Asfaw will collaborate with scholars throughout the school and the university, and share strategies with social justice leaders in the Bay Area.

Asfaw leads a network of legal aid centers in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.  His primary responsibilities include daily assessment and monitoring of the activity of legal aid centers there, mentoring and supervising legal aid service providers and paralegals, conducting human rights training, and building relationships with donors and collaborative partners.

Asfaw works within the framework of Ethiopian law to advance human rights, specifically by expanding citizens’ knowledge of and access to legal services. He plans to use his time at Stanford to study how public interest legal organizations in the United States combine legal services and impact litigation. He intends to establish an Impact Litigation Project in partnership with private law offices, nongovernmental organizations and law schools when he returns to Ethiopia. The project will allow Asfaw to challenge Ethiopian laws and practices that discriminate against women and children, limit freedoms of association and religion, and impair the economic rights of poor and vulnerable people.

The Rubin Family International Human Rights Award is designed to enhance the practitioner-in-residence’s capacity to influence policies, practices and laws that promote systems-changing responses to significant human rights problems. By uniting legal education with a spirit of application to the world’s most pressing human rights crises, this award will also create opportunities for Stanford law students to participate in globalized citizenship and advance a focus on the realization of human rights.

—ANJALI ABRAHAM, Stanford Law School

Law Professor Gould appointed to state labor board

February 20th, 2014


William B. Gould IV

William B. Gould IV (Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News)

WILLIAM B. GOULD IV, professor emeritus at Stanford Law School, has been appointed as a member and chair of California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The appointment, made this week by Gov. JERRY BROWN, is effective March 18.

“I welcome the challenge of the governor’s appointment,” Gould said. “In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to meeting other board members, the general counsel, ALRB staff throughout our state, stakeholders and elected officials, and members of the public. I shall do the best that I can to give back to California, which has given so much to my family and to me.”

A prolific scholar of labor and discrimination law, Gould has been a highly influential voice on worker-management relations for more than 40 years. Before arriving at Stanford Law School in 1972, Gould was an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board and the United Auto Workers. He served as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board from 1994 to 1998.

A member of the National Academy of Arbitrators since 1970, Gould has arbitrated and mediated more than 200 labor disputes, including the 1992 and 1993 salary disputes between the Major League Baseball Players Association and the Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee.

Gould is a critically acclaimed author of 10 books and more than 60 law review articles. His work includes a historical record of the experiences of his great-grandfather in Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor, and his own story, Labored Relations: Law, Politics and the NLRB: A Memoir. Gould’s most recent book is Bargaining with Baseball: Labor Relations in an Age of Prosperous Turmoil.

—ANJALI ABRAHAM, Stanford Law School