In March, Susan Hockfield ’73, the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dennis Curran ’80 (PhD), a Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, were two of eight scientists worldwide to receive honorary doctorates from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris, the leading scientific and medical research institution in France. Prior to becoming the president of MIT in 2004, Hockfield, a neurobiologist, conducted groundbreaking research on brain development, including the discovery of a gene linked to the spread of cancer in the brain. Curran, who holds over 30 patents and is the founder of Fluorous Technologies, is noted for developing a process by which complex molecules can be developed from simple organic materials, allowing for faster generation of new chemical compounds. The process, known as fluorous synthesis, has led to several anticancer agents, including one undergoing clinical trials.
Michael Spivey ’96 (PhD), a professor of cognitive science at the University of California at Merced, has been awarded the 2010 William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement by Sigma Xi, an international honor society for research scientists that provides grants, publishes American Scientist magazine, and whose past and present membership includes over 200 Nobel Prize winners. Spivey won the Proctor Prize, the society’s highest award, for his research on the link between spoken language and visual perception, which is considered pathbreaking across the fields of psychology, linguistics, and cognitive science.
Bruce Pauley ’67 (PhD), professor emeritus of history at the University of Central Florida, has received the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class. The award, established in 1955, is bestowed by the Austrian president on both Austrians and non-Austrians who have made extraordinary contributions in the arts and sciences. Pauley is a recognized authority on Austrian history and the author of five scholarly books, including Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini: Totalitarianism in the Twentieth Century (Harlan Davidson, 2009), From Prejudice to Persecution: A History of Austrian Anti-Semitism (University of North Carolina, 1998), and The Hapsburg Legacy, 1867-1939 (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972).
Sol Solomon ’62M (MD) has won the Southern Society of Clinical Investigators’ 2010 Founders’ Award. The society is a regional affiliate of a national professional organization, and the award is the society’s highest honor for research and academic accomplishments. Solomon, a professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and the chief of endocrinology and metabolism at Memphis’s Veterans Administration Medical Center, has made several notable contributions to diabetes research, including an explanation of the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening complication in diabetic patients caused by insulin shortage.