Honors & Awards
TIM ROUGHGARDEN, SUBHASISH MITRA and SANJAY LALL have won the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The PECASE award is the nation's highest honor for researchers at the outset of their careers, according to a White House press release. Sixty-seven researchers were selected by nine federal departments and agencies. Each honoree will receive up to five years of federal research funding. The Department of Defense nominated Roughgarden, assistant professor of computer science, for innovatively applying game theory to computer science applications, especially in large communication networks. The National Science Foundation nominated both Mitra, assistant professor of electrical engineering and of computer science, and Lall, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics. Mitra's research focuses on techniques to design and test microelectronic integrated circuit chips. Lall is interested in developing mathematical and computational tools for design and analysis of decentralized control algorithms for networked control systems. All three researchers were also recognized for their commitment to education through writings, mentoring or development of new teaching methods.
RUSSELL BERMAN, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, has been elected second vice president of the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). Berman will serve in this office through 2009. He will become first vice president in 2010 and MLA president in 2011. Berman is the director of the Introduction to the Humanities Program and a professor of comparative literature and of German studies. Several other Stanford humanists have served as MLA presidents, most recently Mary Pratt, the Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities, Emerita, and Marjorie Perloff, the Sadie Dernham Patek Professor in Humanities, Emerita.
RENÉ GIRARD, the Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French Language, Literature and Civilization, Emeritus, and one of the so-called immortels of the Académie Française, received a lifetime scholarly achievement award from the Modern Language Association of America on Dec. 28. This is the fifth time the honor, offered every three years, has been awarded. Girard's roots are in literary criticism, but his scholarship crosses into the fields of anthropology, religion, history, philosophy and theology. He is best known for having developed a theory based on the idea that people adopt the desires of other people. This "mimetic desire," he asserts, leads to competition, conflict and ultimately collective violence against a scapegoat to restore harmony among individuals or within a community. His recent books have expanded on the implications of this concept, focusing on fundamental anthropology, the Judeo-Christian scriptures and individual psychology. An international foundation, Imitatio, has been established to promote his ideas.