The University Record, February 1, 1999

Three faculty members to receive Henry Russel Award

By Wono Lee
News and Information Services


Three faculty members--Thomas C. Hales, Alexander J. Ninfa and Ann Marie Sastry--will receive the University's Henry Russel Award next month.

The annual award is given to young faculty members for scholarly achievement and promise. The award will be presented March 9, followed by the annual Henry Russel Lecture given by a senior member of the faculty. This year's lecturer is Jack E. Dixon, the Minor J. Coon Professor of Biological Chemistry.

Hales joined the U-M in 1993 as associate professor of mathematics. Last August, he announced the solution to the oldest outstanding problem in mathematics, affirming the longstanding conjecture of Kepler regarding the densest possible packing of equal solid spheres in the three-dimensional space. In 1609, Kepler stated that the densest packing is achieved if the centers of the spheres form a face-centered cubic lattice.


Ninfa joined the faculty in 1993 as associate professor of biological chemistry. His research on the regulation of nitrogen metabolism in Escherichia coli is considered to be classic work. These studies have uncovered many important details of gene regulation in bacteria and many of the findings are applicable to higher organisms.

Sastry joined the U-M in 1995 as assistant professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics. Her research is answering fundamental questions about the way the fibrous materials behave in various applications. Her work has allowed investigation of the behavior of fibrous materials using a novel, theoretical framework that incorporates material variability in a computationally efficient methodology for prediction of performance.


Both the Henry Russel Award and the Henry Russel Lectureship were established in 1925 with a bequest from Henry Russel of Detroit, who received three degrees from the University.