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Updated 8:30 AM April 16, 2007




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Guggenheim fellowships awarded to five faculty

Five U-M faculty members have been awarded Guggenheim Fellowships, given annually for distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishments.

Flynn (Photo by File Photo/U-M Photo Services)
García Santo-Tomás (Photo by Joyce Lee)
Lupia (Photo by Adam Seth Levine)
Merlin (Photo by Jens Zorn)
Michalowski (Photo by File Photo/Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)

The faculty are Michael Flynn, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science; Enrique García Santo-Tomás, associate professor of Spanish; Arthur Lupia, Hal R. Varian Collegiate Professor of Political Science; Roberto Merlin, professor of physics and of electrical engineering and computer science; and Piotr Michalowski, George G. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations.

Since 1925 the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted more than $256 million in Fellowships to more than 16,250 individuals in the United States and Canada. The 2007 fellowship winners include 189 artists, scholars and scientists selected from nearly 2,800 applicants for awards totaling $7.6 million.

"I am really thrilled and grateful to be named a Guggenheim Fellow," says Flynn, who is working with students to create and improve circuits that convert signals between analog and digital representations.

These circuits, he explains, are key parts to every cell phone, computer and camcorder, but also are important in applications as diverse as medical imaging and seismic sensing. "The Guggenheim Fellowship will allow me to consider the fundamental limitations of these circuits, and help guide future research," he says.

García Santo-TomÁs will spend this upcoming year on a new book, "Fictions by War Veterans in Early Modern Spanish Literature, 1550-1680." He will examine a number of little-known texts written by Spanish soldiers at the end of their military careers.

"It is a project that will shed new light on Spain's imperial image at a time when the European battlefield defined the individual and collective identity of the early modern Spaniard," García Santo-TomÁs says.

Many people are interested in improving voter competence, but few succeed, Lupia says. His book documents the mistakes advocates, scholars, journalists and other experts regularly make when assessing or trying to improve what citizens know about politics. Lupia will describe more effective means for educating voters.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to convert new and exciting findings in the social sciences into concrete advice for people who seek to improve the legitimacy of democratic decision making," he says.

Merlin says the fellowship will allow him to work at research laboratories in the United States and Switzerland, participating in experiments aimed at developing time-domain x-ray spectroscopy for studies of complex systems. These methods uniquely are positioned to probe, for the first time, distances and times in the scales of nanometers and femtoseconds, where many important physical and chemical phenomena occur, he says.

"I'm excited and appreciative about being selected as a Guggenheim Fellow," Merlin says. "This is truly a wonderful opportunity to further my research."

Michalowski says he hopes to complete a book entitled, "The Birth of Literature and the Death of Kings."

"This is a study of the earliest phases of the development of ancient Mesopotamian literature, the earliest poetry we have, which was created in the land that is now Iraq more than four thousand years ago, linking this process with social and historical movements of the time," Michalowski says.

In addition, he wants to finish manuscripts on early Mesopotamian magic, on law, and make progress on an anthology of translations of ancient Sumerian poetry.

"I am most grateful for this recognition," Michalowski says. "It provides me with a marvelous opportunity for concentrated research. I am also thrilled that such a prestigious foundation still recognizes the value of the study of the ancient world."

The full list of 2007 Fellows may be viewed at

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