Duke Mag-Seated in Bass Chairs-Jul/Aug 2002-Gazette

August 1, 2002
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Billion Dollar Budget •  Business Moves Up  • Construction Ahead
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Seated in Bass Chairs
 • Student Scholars Teach Immigrants •  Not Only Nancy Drew
Recognizing Young Researchers • In Brief

Seated in Bass Chairs

Six Duke faculty members have been appointed to endowed chairs through the university's Bass Program for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, a $40-million initiative that recognizes faculty members who are gifted teachers as well as scholars.

The new chairs were endowed as part of a $10-million challenge gift to Duke by Anne and Robert Bass of Fort Worth, Texas, in September 1996. Under the challenge component, donors may endow a professorship with a gift of $1.125 million, with the Basses contributing the remaining $375,000 required by Duke. The initiative also established the Bass Society of Fellows, in which the chair holders meet regularly to discuss issues related to higher education. The newly appointed Bass Fellows in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, with terms effective July 1 through June 30, 2007, are:

  • Daniel J. Gauthier, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Associate Professor of Physics. Gauthier, who was educated at the University of Rochester, came to Duke in 1991. He teaches courses in optics and modern physics, classical mechanics, nonlinear and complex systems, quantum physics, and quantum optics. He conducts research in quantum objects, nonlinear dynamics, and dynamics of the heart.
  • Michael Hardt, Jack H. Neely Associate Professor of Literature. Hardt earned his doctorate at the University of Washington and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in modern comparative literature and literary and cultural theory. Co-author of Empire, the recently acclaimed book on globalization, he has research interests in modern Italian and comparative literature, literary theory, political theory, modern philosophy, and globalization.
  • Scott Lindroth, Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor of Music. Lindroth, who came to Duke in 1990, teaches courses in composition, computer music, and music theory. His interests are music composition for instrumental ensembles, music combining live musicians and electronic sound, and contemporary music performance and analysis.
  • Thomas Nechyba, Fuchsberg-Levine Family Associate Professor of Economics. Nechyba earned a doctorate at the University of Rochester and came to Duke in 1999. He teaches courses on competition, monopoly, and welfare; microeconomic analysis; public finance; and urban economics. His research interests lie in the field of public economics, with a particular focus on primary and secondary education, federalism and the functioning of local governments, and public policy issues relating to disadvantaged families and children.
  • H. Frederik Nijhout, Bishop-MacDermott Family Professor of Biology. Nijhout, who came to Duke in 1978, earned his doctorate at Harvard University. He teaches introductory biology, entomology, and computational genetics of complex traits. His main research interests are the role of hormones in development and genetics, and in development and evolution of complex traits.

Newly appointed at the Pratt School of Engineering is David J. Brady, Brian F. Addy Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who came to Duke in 2001 to lead the Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics and Communication Systems. He earned his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology and teaches courses in optical networks, optical imaging systems, coherence and quantum optics, and quantum mechanics for engineers. His research focuses on photonic systems, computational sensors for microscopy, communications and biometric applications, and sensor networks.

Nine new endowed professorships were created through gifts as part of the Bass challenge, three through anonymous gifts: The Bridges Family Associate Professorship, established by Robert E. Bridges '78 and Amy Bridges; the Eads Family Professorship, established by Ralph Eads '81; the Susan B. King Professorship, established by Susan Bennett King '62; the Kiser Family Associate Professorship, established by James J. Kiser '65 and Joy Kiser; the Marcello Lotti Professorship, established by Diane Britz Lotti '74 and her daughters, Ariane and Samantha, in memory of their husband and father, Marcello Lotti; and the Yoh Family Professorship, the second chair established by the Yoh Family in the Bass Challenge, this one in the area of social sciences. It is established by four members of the Yoh family in appreciation of their Trinity College education, with support from four other Yohs.