Henry Russel lecturer, awardees named for 2012

October 13, 2011
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Rebecca Scott, considered one of the foremost Latin American historians in the country, has been selected as the Henry Russel Lecturer for 2012?one of the University of Michigan’s highest honors for a senior member of its active faculty.

Scott joined U-M in 1984 as an assistant professor in the Department of History, LSA, and was later promoted to associate professor then professor. She also is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; professor of law, Law School; and the Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History.

Scott’s selection as the Henry Russel Lecturer, approved Oct. 13 by the U-M Board of Regents, recognizes her work examining the intersection of law and history in the study of slavery and emancipation, and her commitment to fostering the scholarship of others.

In addition, three faculty researchers will receive the Henry Russel Award, one of the highest honors the university bestows upon junior faculty. They are:

  • Lada Adamic, associate professor, School of Information; assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, College of Engineering; and associate professor of complex systems, Center for the Study of Complex Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
  • Aaron Pierce, assistant professor of physics, LSA.
  • Haoxing Xu, assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, LSA.

The honorees are selected by the Russel Awards Faculty Advisory Committee, chaired by Janet Weiss, dean of the Horace Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

The Henry Russel Lectureship, established in 1925, is awarded each year to a U-M professor in recognition of exceptional achievements in research, scholarship and/or creative endeavors, and an outstanding record of teaching, mentoring and service. Scott will present the Russel Lecture at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 in Rackham Amphitheatre.

Scott is the author of numerous books and articles on slavery and emancipation, including her groundbreaking first book “Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor” (1987). She also organized a collaborative international research and teaching project, “The Law in Slavery and Freedom,” which involves scholars from Michigan and other universities in the United States and throughout Latin America, Africa and Europe. U-M honored Scott with a Thurnau Professorship in 1994 and a John H. D’Arms Faculty Award for Distinguished Graduate Mentoring in the Humanities this year.

The Russel award recognizes mid-career faculty who have demonstrated an impressive record of accomplishment in scholarship and/or creativity, and in teaching.

Adamic, who came to U-M in 2005, is an expert in the analysis of online communities, social networks and expertise networks, and also has done substantial work on issues of basic network theory. So far, she has published 46 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications, the majority of which have appeared since her move to U-M.

Her course offerings include networks, data manipulation and statistics. She has supervised doctoral and master’s students, as well as postdoctoral fellows. She also has chaired or co-chaired five doctoral dissertation committees.

Pierce, at U-M since 2006, is an internationally recognized theoretical physicist, working mainly in the area of phenomenological particle theory. Pierce has written about half of his 44 publications since he came to Michigan. Courses he teaches include quantum theory and physics.

In the Department of Physics, he organized and ran the High Energy Physics seminar for three years, and served on multiple committees. At the university level, Pierce has organized eight workshops at the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics (MCTP), served on the MCTP Executive Board, and also served on four LSA panels advising post-docs.

Xu, who came to U-M in 2007, is known for his research in biomedical science and cellular membranes. His research has earned him an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (2009) and he was nominated by the National Institutes of Health and selected by the White House as a winner of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

He teaches undergraduate and senior level courses including animal physiology and molecular biology of pain and sensation. Xu published six papers in 2010 alone, and both undergraduate and doctoral students are coauthors on one or more of his papers.

The Russel Award and the Henry Russel Lectureship were established in 1925 with a bequest from Henry Russel of Detroit who received three degrees from U-M.