The University of MichiganNews Services
The University Record Online
Updated 5:30 PM January 20, 2005




view events

submit events

UM employment

police beat
regents round-up
research reporter


Advertise with Record

contact us
meet the staff
contact us
contact us
  Distinguished University Professors
Lecture dates set for four of University's best faculty

Four University experts in their fields will share some of the work that helped make them this year's Distinguished University Professors (DUP).

Professors chosen to receive one of the University's highest faculty honor will present lectures during the next few months as follows:

Martha L. Ludwig, the J. Lawrence Oncley Distinguished University Professor of Biological Chemistry, will lecture Feb. 1 on "Confrontational Changes in Catalysis: Enzymes as Molecular Acrobats."

Gerard M. Faeth, the Arthur B. Modine Distinguished University Professor of Aerospace Engineering, will speak about "The Physical, Optical and Reactive Properties of Pollutant Soot in Flame Environments" Feb. 8.

Joanne Leonard, the Diane M. Kirkpatrick and Griselda Pollock Distinguished University Professor of Art and Women's Studies, will deliver her lecture March 29.

Don B. Chafin, the Richard G. Snyder Distinguished University Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering, will speak April 5.

The lectures begin at 4 p.m. in the Rackham Amphitheatre. A reception will follow in the Rackham Assembly Hall.

Three additional DUPs—Pallab Bhattacharya (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), Melvin Hochster (Mathematics) and Charles Yocum (Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology)—will give their lectures during the next academic year.

DUPs earn an annual salary supplement of $5,000 and an annual research supplement of $5,000. The duration of the appointment is unlimited, and the title may be retained after retirement.

"The accomplishments of these members of our faculty are extraordinary, and we are pleased and proud to recognize them as Distinguished University Professors," Provost Paul N. Courant says. "These seven individuals come from a wide range of fields, a testament to the depth and breadth of our faculty. Our position as one of the great universities rests on the extremely high quality of our faculty. These faculty are the best of our outstanding group of scholars."

An eminent scholar and internationally recognized researcher in the field of protein X-ray crystallography, Ludwig has spearheaded the determination of the three-dimensional structures of proteins. Since joining the Medical School faculty in 1967, she not only has built her own scientific career but, through sustained collaborations, also contributed greatly to the scientific successes of many other faculty members.
Ludwig (Photo courtesy Martha Ludwig)

Ludwig's scientific contributions have appeared in top journals such as Science, Nature, Structural Biology and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She is much sought-after as an author of chapters for professional books and periodicals, with more than 40 such contributions to her credit. She has enjoyed independent and sustained funding of her research from National Institutes of Health; her grant "Enzymes in the Crystalline State" is in its 34th year.

Her honors include the American Chemical Society's Garvan Medal (1984) and a Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (1986), and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001) and the National Academy of Sciences (2003). She holds memberships in the American Chemical Society, the American Crystallographic Association, the American Society of Biological Chemists and the Biophysical Society.

"The Distinguished Professorship is a unique, special recognition. The appointment also carries the challenge to take a broader and more innovative view of one's scholarly activities," Ludwig says. "This recognition is a shared honor—my research has benefited enormously from the rich intellectual environment at this University, and has been enabled by collaborations and interactions with many colleagues and students from a variety of departments."

Oncley, the first director of the Biophysics Research Division, was Ludwig's postdoctoral mentor when he was at Harvard Medical School, Ludwig says.

"He supported my decision to learn protein crystallography in its early days, and was a key person among those who recruited me to a faculty position at Michigan. I also hope to honor Vincent Massey, the first Oncley Professor, who was my mentor and collaborator from the beginning of my time at Michigan."

Faeth is known internationally for his numerous, diverse and lasting contributions to aerospace and mechanical engineering. His work in spray phenomena, pollutant soot formation, the properties and suppression of unwanted fires, and the effects of gravity on transport processes is characterized by its excellence and originality and has been of great importance to both researchers and practicing engineers.
Faeth (Photo by Bill Wood, U-M Photo Services)

Faeth has made important contributions in research that cross several disciplines—physics, chemistry, and aerospace and mechanical engineering—an extremely rare achievement. His ability to bridge disciplines is reflected in his election to the rank of fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1983), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (1998), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1990), and the American Physical Society (2003). He also is a member and National Associate of the National Academy of Engineering (1991).

One colleague says Faeth "is surely the most productive and most highly recognized faculty member that I have encountered at any institution of higher education, and his impact on his research field is unmatched by anyone I know." Another says, "He is a jewel in Michigan's crown."

Leonard has had a distinguished record of achievement as an artist-scholar, a teacher and educator, and a leader in academic development within the University. With a recognized international reputation for a singularly important, profound and daring body of artwork, she is a major thinker within her practice and beyond in the larger field of women's studies and visual culture.
Leonard (Photo courtesy Joanne Leonard)

Widely considered to be one of the era's most important and influential visual artists, Leonard is internationally celebrated for her groundbreaking work using photo-collage, which combines text, visual images and technology. She is renowned for using this technique to bring visibility to personal and familial themes that once were invisible or taboo. What distinguishes her work from that of many other successful photographers is its engagement with pressing social issues. Her work is not only beautiful and technically accomplished, but it also grapples with intimate themes of women's lives.

She has received numerous grants and international awards and residencies, including grants from the National Endowment of the Arts (1975 and 1998), the Michigan Council for the Arts Award (1989), and a residency as visiting artist and scholar at the American Academy in Rome (2004). Her awards from Michigan include the prestigious John H. D'Arms Faculty Award for Distinguished Graduate Mentoring in the Humanities in 2002.

"I'm deeply thrilled and honored by the award," Leonard says. "So many people have paved the way for me, supported me, given me pleasure in what I do, and thus, I think of the award as shared with my colleagues. I hope they feel my gratitude and that my success is theirs as well."

Leonard says she chose to name her professorship after two colleagues whose work bridges the fields in which she works and teaches. "Diane Kirkpatrick, emeritus history of art professor, has been a mentor and support to me throughout my entire career at the University of Michigan. Griselda Pollock, author and professor at University of Leeds, England, has been someone I've admired from afar, and whose writings in visual culture theorize the importance of women's art and scholarship. She has been deeply nurturing and supportive.

"Carrying these women's names is a great honor for me."

Chaffin is one of the most distinguished investigators in the field of occupational biomechanics and work physiology. A world-class scientist and educator, whose outstanding lifetime achievements have had an impact nationally and internationally, Chaffin has done groundbreaking and pioneering research in areas of ergonomics, biomechanics and occupational health.
Chaffin (Photo by Eyvind Claxton)

He is widely recognized as the originator of detailed musculoskeletal models of the effects of human work on the back, and he has been the pre-eminent leader in the development of biomechanical models for ergonomics. His work has had a positive impact on the work environment of millions of people throughout the world.

Chaffin's numerous peer-reviewed publications, presentations and texts essentially have led the field for the past 25 years, and have consistently established new standards, approaches and paradigms supporting methods to prevent or reduce occupational injuries. He is the author of "Occupational Biomechanics," a textbook now in its third printing and used by more than 200 universities around the world. For his contributions, the American Society of Biomechanics honored him with its most prestigious award, the Giovanni Borelli Award.

"Having been at this wonderful University for almost my entire academic career, it is a very special honor to have your colleagues recognize your work with this honor," Chaffin says.

Snyder is a professor emeritus who established and directed the Life Science Division of the Transportation Research Institute. He is highly regarded for research which has improved the scientific basis for many different national safety standards, such as regulations related to crib slat spacing, the amount of force required to pull apart small parts of children's toys, aircraft and automotive restraint systems, Chaffin says.

"I had the honor of working with Snyder in the 70s, and learned a great deal about how one must combine large field studies with laboratory and analytical modeling to make a strong case for changing public safety policies and regulations."

More Stories