In Brief: March-April 2006

March 31, 2006
  • Jo Rae Wright, professor of cell biology, medicine, and pediatrics at Duke, has been named dean of the Graduate School and vice provost, effective July 1. She succeeds the current dean, Lewis Siegel, who is retiring after fifteen years in the post. Wright has served as vice dean of basic science at the medical school since 2002.
  • The Society of Conservation Biology has named Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, as the recipient of the 2006 Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award. The LaRoe Award is given annually to an individual who has made major research contributions to conservation biology and also has been highly effective in working with policymakers on controversial issues.
  • William H. Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. The AGU confers fellowship to scientists who have attained acknowledged eminence in one or more branches of geophysics. Schlesinger, who holds the James B. Duke Chair in Biogeochemistry at Duke, was cited for his seminal work on the biogeochemistry of global climate change.
  • Gwynn T. Swinson J.D. '86, a cabinet secretary of North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and the state's chief administrative officer, has been selected as a vice president of government and community affairs and external relations for Duke's medical center and health system. Swinson has served Easley since 2001 as secretary for the Department of Administration.
  • Arlie O. Petters, professor of mathematics and physics, has been honored with inclusion in the National Academy of Sciences' "A Portrait Collection of The National Academies of African-Americans in Science, Engineering, and Medicine." Each year, the academy's Committee on African-American History adds photographs of notable black researchers to the collection. Petters has pioneered applications of gravitational lensing in physics, predicting effects that probe the nature of spacetime around black holes and developing tests for theories of gravity.