Below are profiles for Center Staff, Steering Committee Members, Advisory Board Members, and Postdoctoral Scholars. Please scroll down for affiliated and associated members listing.
Dr. Upmanu Lall is the Director of the Columbia Water Center and the Alan and Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering at Columbia University. He has broad interests in hydrology, climate dynamics, water resource systems analysis, risk management and sustainability. Dr. Lall has pioneered the application of techniques from nonlinear dynamical systems, nonparametric methods of function estimation and their application to spatio-temporal dynamical systems, Hierarchical Bayesian models, systems optimization and simulation and the study of multi-scale climate variability and change as an integral component of hydrologic systems. He has published in journals that focus on hydrology, water resources, climate, physics, applied mathematics and statistics, development, policy, and management science. He has been engaged in high level public and scientific discussion through the media, the World Economic Forum, and with governments, foundations, development banks, and corporations interested in sustainability. He has served on several national and international panels. He was one of the originators of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, and is currently the President of the Natural Hazards Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union.
Tillmann Taape spent many hours experimenting during his undergraduate studies in molecular biology. But not even his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge exposed him to the curious experiments and concoctions that fill the Making and Knowing Project’s laboratory. Tillmann first joined the Project as a paleographer, helping to transcribe and translate the manuscript from early modern French into contemporary French and English. Now a full-time team member, Tillmann unpacks the interwoven components of art and science by scrutinizing the materials, processes, and techniques used by 16th-century craftsmen and artisans and recovering their worldview. Outside his hours spent happily tinkering in the Project’s laboratory, Tillmann likes to moonlight as a classical singer.
Tianna Uchacz knew she wanted to be an art historian from the age of 16, but it wasn't love at first sight. An early encounter with an unimaginative art history component in high school nearly fizzled her interest, but an extraordinary teacher shattered her worldview and Tianna went on to earn a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Toronto in 2016. Pamela Smith and the Making and Knowing Project transformed her studies again, giving her the chance to consider art as not only as an end product but the result of the materials and processes wrapped up in its creation. Today she helps Making and Knowing students explore the uses and roles of plants, minerals, and animals in historical craft and art. She hopes the Project will provide a lasting model for connecting students, scholars, and practitioners from different disciplines as they work towards a common goal - one they might not have imagined they shared. Tianna hails from Woodstock, Canada - a city best known for its 10-foot statue of the Springbank Snow Countess, a cow who produced a record-breaking 9,080 pounds of butterfat during her lifetime.
Stuart Firestein and his colleagues at the Department of Biological Sciences study the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. His laboratory seeks to answer the fundamental human question: How do I smell? Dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience, Dr. Firestein seeks to reach broader audiences through nonscientific writing, public appearances, and his support of science in the arts. He also serves as an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the Public Understanding of Science. Recently he was awarded the 2011 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching. His book on the workings of science for a general audience, Ignorance: How it Drives Science (Oxford, 2012) has received esteemed praise from the public and critics and has even become integrated into the curricula as required readings among several high schools and colleges.
Stathis Gourgouris writes and teaches on a variety of subjects that ultimately come together around questions of the poetics and politics of modernity and democracy. He is the author of Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization, and the Institution of Modern Greece (Stanford, 1996); Does Literature Think? Literature as Theory for an Antimythical Era (Stanford, 2003); Lessons in Secular Criticism(Fordham 2013); and editor of Freud and Fundamentalism (Fordham, 2010). Outside these projects he has also published numerous articles on Ancient Greek philosophy, political theory, modern poetics, film, contemporary music, and psychoanalysis. He is currently completing work on two other book projects of secular criticism: The Perils of the One and Nothing Sacred. A collection of such essays on poetics and politics, written in Greek over a period of 25 years, is forthcoming with the title Contingent Disorders. He is also an internationally awarded poet, with four volumes of poetry published in Greek, most recent being Introduction to Physics (Athens, 2005).
Sophie Pitman first joined the Making and Knowing Project not as an employee, but as a student. While researching early modern clothing in London (c.1560-1660) for her Ph.D. (which she earned from the University of Cambridge in 2017), Sophie realized that before she could train her eyes, she would need to train her hands in the crafts of making and starching ruff collars, tailoring a man’s suit, and felting beaver hats. Inspired to work with other scholars who use reconstruction as a research methodology, Sophie came to Columbia as a Visiting Student with the Project in 2016, delving into the world of dyes and textiles. Now a Postdoctoral Scholar on the Making and Knowing Project, she guides current students through their own reconstructions. Outside the laboratory, Sophie spends her days in archives and museums, performing object-based research. She is currently turning her doctoral thesis into a book, while embarking upon new research projects about tailoring during and immediately after the English Civil War (1640s-1660s), and colors and dyes in the early modern period.
Skye C. Cleary is the Associate Director of the Center for New Narratives in Philosophy where she is responsible for programming and administrative support. She teaches at Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies, Columbia University School of Professional Studies, and the City College of New York. She also is the Lead Editor of the Blog of the American Philosophical Association, the author of Existentialism and Romantic Love (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and she writes for The Paris Review, TED-Ed, Los Angeles Review of Books, Aeon, Business Insider, and others. She received her Ph.D. and MBA from Macquarie University in Australia.
Shahid Naeem is Professor of Ecology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology and Director of the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability at Columbia University. He obtained his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, was a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College of London, the University of Copenhagen, and University of Michigan. He has served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, the University of Washington, and currently serves on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Recipient of the Ecological Society of America’s Buell and Mercer Awards and the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty award at Columbia University, he is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Aldo Leopold Leadership fellow. Considered among the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” in environmental and ecological science by Thompson Reuters in 2016, his teaching, research, and publications focus on the importance of biodiversity in the functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide humanity.
Sara Tjossem is a Senior Lecturer in the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, and Associate Director of Curriculum for the MPA Program in Environmental Science and Policy. At Columbia she teaches environmental policy and the history of science. Her training in both the natural sciences and the history of science informs her research and teaching on environmental policy and politics. Her most recent book, Fostering Marine Science and Internationalism: The Journey with PICES, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (Springer, 2017), describes the development and growth of a leading marine intergovernmental science organization.
Dr. Samuel Kelton Roberts, Jr., is Director of Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), Associate Professor of History (School of Arts & Sciences) and Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (Mailman School of Public Health). He writes, teaches, and lectures widely on African-American history, medical and public health history, urban history, issues of policing and criminal justice, and the history of social movements. His book, Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation (UNC Press, 2009), demonstrates the historical and continuing links between legal and de facto segregation and poor health outcomes. In 2013-14, Dr. Roberts served as the Policy Director of Columbia University’s Justice Initiative, where he coordinated the efforts of several partners to bring attention to the issue of aging and the growing incarcerated elderly population. This work led to the publication of the widely-read landmark report, Aging in Prison Reducing Elder Incarceration and Promoting Public Safety (New York: Columbia University Center for Justice. November 2015).
Dr. Roberts currently is researching a book project on the history of drug addiction policy and politics from the 1950s to the present, a period which encompasses the various heroin epidemics between the 1950s and the 1980s, therapeutic communities, radical recovery movements, methadone maintenance treatment, and harm reduction approaches.
Ruth DeFries is a professor of ecology and sustainable development at Columbia University in New York. She uses images from satellites and field surveys to examine how the world’s demands for food and other resources are changing land use throughout the tropics. Her research quantifies how these land use changes affect climate, biodiversity and other ecosystem services, as well as human development. She has also developed innovate education programs in sustainable development. DeFries was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, one of the country’s highest scientific honors, received a MacArthur “genius” award, and is the recipient of many other honors for her scientific research. In addition to over 100 scientific papers, she is committed to communicating the nuances and complexities of sustainable development to popular audiences, most recently through her book The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis.
Roshana Nabi is the Center for Science and Society's Project Manager, responsible for supporting the Center's research clusters, events, development, and outreach. Roshana has worked with non-profit organizations in both New York City and Geneva, Switzerland that promote corporate social responsibility, youth education and civic participation, and refugee resettlement. She has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Robert Pollack, Professor of Biological Sciences, joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1978. His research focuses on the potential utility of stable reversion from the oncogenic phenotype. His teaching focuses on the application of knowledge of the natural world to problems that require decisions that cannot be based solely on such data-driven knowledge. He was a Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Green at NYU Medical Center from 1966-1969; a research scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1969-70; a senior scientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory from 1970 to 1975; and an associate professor of microbiology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1975 until he joined the faculty of our Department as a Professor in 1978. Until 1991 his NIH-supported laboratory research focused on elaboration of his discovery in 1968 that the clonal descendants of tumor cells include genetically stable revertant cells, capable of growing into normal populations in turn. Beginning in the late 1990s, after he had set aside lab work in order to write a series of books, he has been pleased to note that other laboratories have begun to apply his discovery to the development of novel forms of cancer chemotherapy. As a result, his early research continues to be referenced in current research articles.
Rebecca Jordan-Young is the author of Brain Storm: The flaws in the science of sex differences (Harvard University Press, 2010), and more than three dozen articles and book chapters at the intersection of science and social differences, especially gender, sexuality, and race. Jordan-Young holds a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. She teaches such courses as Science and Sexualities; Introduction to Women and Health; Pleasures and Power (an Introduction to Sexuality Studies); and the Senior Seminar in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Professor Jordan-Young directs the Science and Social Difference Working Group in the Center for Study of Social Differences at Columbia University, and co-directs the Columbia University Seminar on Sexuality, Gender, Health, and Human Rights. Before coming to Barnard College, Jordan-Young spent more than ten years conducting research on HIV/AIDS and urban health, and ran street outreach programs to prevent HIV among drug users and street-based sex workers. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation; the Tow Family Foundation; the Brocher Foundation; the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences; and a Presidential Research Award from Barnard College, among others.
Patricia Culligan’s principal fields of interest include geo-environmental engineering, porous media flow and transport, urban sustainability and geotechnical centrifuge modelling. Her current research focuses on experimental and theoretical modelling of problems involving subsurface non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) transport and remediation, colloid transport in porous media, unsaturated flows and alternative strategies for urban water and wastewater management. Dr. Culligan is the author or co-author of over 100 technical articles, including two books, three book chapters, and over 60 refereed journal and conference proceedings.
Pamela H. Smith is Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University and Founding Director of the Center for Science and Society. At Columbia, she teaches history of early modern Europe and the history of science. She is the author of The Business of Alchemy: Science and Culture in the Holy Roman Empire (Princeton 1994; 1995 Pfizer Prize), and The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution (Chicago 2004; 2005 Leo Gershoy Prize). Her work on alchemy, artisans, and the making of vernacular and scientific knowledge has been supported by fellowships at the Wissenschafts-Kolleg, as a Guggenheim Fellow, a Getty Scholar, a Samuel Kress Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts in Washington, DC, and by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.
Nori Jacoby studies how different cultures use music and sound to make sense of the world around them. He earned a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before accepting a postdoctoral position in computational audition at MIT. He then traveled the world to explore musical perception across cultures. Neuroscience has often struggled to quantify the non-verbal experience, but Nori is able to explore these complex representations by creating new paradigms for scientific analysis that incorporate techniques from anthropology and ethnomusicology. For example, after discovering that students from Bolivia to South Korea seem to hear music in various similar ways, presumably because many of them listen to the same Western artists and genres, Nori was surprised to find that residents of the same city often have different interpretations of rhythm that correspond to the styles of music they regularly practice.
Noam Zerubavel is a social and neural scientist. He is broadly interested in understanding the building blocks of human relationships and group life. As a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Noam investigates the organizing sociological principles, psychological processes, and neural mechanisms that engender social ties and shape their network structure. This line of research integrates theories and methods from sociology, social psychology, and cognitive neuroscience to investigate questions that keep him up at night. For example, How do our brains track group members’ status? Why is dyadic liking typically- but not always - reciprocated? How can we leverage neuroimaging techniques to better predict individuals’ unique patterns of interpersonal attraction? Noam completed his Ph.D. in psychology with Kevin Ochsner and postdoctoral training in social network analysis with Peter Bearman at Columbia University.
Nicholas Dames is a specialist in the novel, with particular attention to the novel of the nineteenth century in Britain and on the European continent. His interests include novel theory, the history of reading, and the aesthetics of prose fiction from the seventeenth century to the present. He is the author of Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870 (Oxford, 2001), which was awarded the Sonya Rudikoff Prize by the Northeast Victorian Studies Association; and The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction (Oxford, 2007). His scholarly articles have appeared in The Henry James Review, Representations, Nineteenth-Century Literature, and Victorian Studies, as well as edited volumes such as Oxford’s Encyclopedia of British Literature, and Cambridge’s History of Literary Criticism. He has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching (2013). From 2011-2014 he was Chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature. His current project is a history of the chapter, from the textual cultures of late antiquity, particularly the editorial and scribal practices of early Christianity, to the modern novel.
Naomi Rosenkranz joined the Making and Knowing Project in August 2015 as the Project Manager. She serves as the main administrative liaison, supports the historical reconstruction research, oversees the Project’s chemical laboratory, and maintains the digital collaboration systems. Naomi studied physics at Barnard College with minors in mathematics and Latin American/Iberian studies. She served as the inaugural Science Resident in Conservation with Columbia’s Ancient Ink Lab, identifying and characterizing ancient carbon-based inks. She continued her investigation of inks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, working with the departments of Scientific Research and Paper Conservation to examine medieval iron-tannate black inks through recipe reconstructions and spectral analysis of museum objects.
Melinda Miller is the Associate Director of the Center for Science and Society and Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program, where she oversees the development and administration of the Center and its research clusters, Scholars, grant programs, activities, and events. Melinda received a Ph.D. in life sciences (neuroscience concentration) from The Rockefeller University and a BS in neural science and psychology from New York University. Her research examined individual differences in the brain and behavior in response to stress, which she studied in both animal models and human populations. Prior to joining Columbia University in 2015, she worked as a senior program manager at the New York Academy of Sciences, where she helped to develop, organize, and raise funds for scientific conferences and cross-disciplinary public events.
Matthew L. Jones specializes in the history of science and technology, focused on early modern Europe and on recent information technologies. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2012-13 and a Mellon New Directions fellow in 2012-15. He is finishing two books, Great Exploitations: Data Mining, Legal Modernization, and the NSA and Data Mining: The Critique of Artificial Reason, 1963-2005, a study of "big data" and its growth as a new form of technical expertise in business and scientific research. Reckoning with Matter: Calculating Machines, Innovation, and Thinking about Thinking from Pascal to Babbage is appearing this fall from the University of Chicago Press. His first book The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2006) focused on the mathematical innovations of Descartes, Pascal, and Leibniz.
Matteo Farinella has been reading comics for as long as he can remember. He soon began to create his own, which he continued throughout his Ph.D. studies in neuroscience at University College London. Only later did Matteo combine his passions by investigating how visual narratives can be used to increase scientific literacy. Comics aren’t just for children - the medium’s combination of art and writing provides a new visual methodology for explaining and displaying complex scientific ideas. Matteo has focused on theories of storytelling, using insights from cognitive neuroscience and psychology to understand how visual narratives can benefit science education and communication. Matteo remains an accomplished artist; his first book, Neurocomic, was published in 2013 and his 9-foot drawings of neurons are on display in Center for Science and Society’s offices.
Marwa Elshakry, Associate Professor, teaches on a broad range of subjects in the history of science, technology, and medicine and modern Arabic intellectual history. Her first book, entitled, Reading Darwin in Arabic was published in 2013 with the University of Chicago Press. Among her other publications are: “Translation” in Blackwell Companion to the History of Science (Wiley Press, 2016); “Islam” in Michael Saler, ed., The Fin-de-Siècle World (Routledge, 2014; Elshakry and Sujit Sivasundaram, eds., Science, Race and Imperialism [Victorian Literature and Science series: vol. 6], (Pickering and Chatto, 2012); and ‘When Science became Western: historiographical reflections’, Isis, 101:1 (March 2010), 98-109. She is currently working on the idea of golden ages, universal histories and the history of science and orientalism from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries.
Marguerite Holloway has written about science—including natural history, environmental issues, public health, physics, neuroscience and women in science—for publications including the New York Times, Discover, Natural History, Wired and Scientific American, where she was a long-time writer and editor. She is the author of The Measure of Manhattan, the story of John Randel Jr., the surveyor and inventor who laid the grid plan on New York City, and of the researchers who use his data today (W.W. Norton, 2013); she recently wrote the new introduction to Manhattan in Maps (Dover, 2014). Holloway is currently working on several innovative digital projects, including the Metropolis of Science project, website, and smartphone app.
Lan Li barely passed her high school history classes. But after playing Thomas Huxley - Darwin’s “bulldog” who fiercely defended natural selection - in a role-playing history seminar, she was hooked on the history of science. Years later, Lan received her Ph.D. in Science, Technology, and Society Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on visualizing the body across cultures and forms of medical exchange across Asia and Europe. Lan helps rethink how we understand the nervous system in the skin and in the body beyond the brain. As a PSSN scholar, her collaborations include projects on nerve damage, aging, and pain. Lan is also a filmmaker, producing short films about medicine and health among immigrant communities in the United States. During her free time, Lan plays the guzheng, a 21-stringed Chinese zither.
Kavita Sivaramakrishnan is a public health historian with a focus on the history of medical global health concerns. Her most recent research is on the cultural politics of aging in South Asia. Prior to joining the Mailman School faculty as assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Kavita was a David Bell Research Fellow at the Center for Population Studies and Development Studies at Harvard University and also was awarded the Balzan Fellowship for her work on social inequalities and health by University College London. Her training in history at Trinity College, Cambridge University and experience in archival work, policy debates and public health practice in developing settings brings together a rich interdisciplinary perspective anchored in rigorous historical method.
Julianne Catherine Kim is a work-study student at the Center for Science and Society. Her main interests lie in the intersection of biology, philosophy, and economics. She is a first-year undergraduate student who is passionate about making a positive impact on society through ethical, innovative technology and interdisciplinary thinking. She has done research in a variety of fields including protein engineering, the ethics of organ donation, population genetics, and cognitive hardiness and cannot be more excited to explore new fields while at Columbia.
Julia Hyland Bruno is an ethologist interested in behavioral development, in particular that of social animals -- such as songbirds, or humans -- that learn how to communicate from one another. In 2017, she received her PhD in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience from the City University of New York, where she studied the rhythmic patterning of zebra finch vocal learning. Her present and planned research is focused on the social dynamics of this developmental process. How is a learned communication system transmitted across generations? How do competitive or accommodating social interactions affect the vocal culture of a group? As a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Julia will develop an interdisciplinary research program, incorporating social science and computer music, that will open these questions to experimental study.
Julia Hirschberg was among the first to combine Natural Language Processing approaches to discourse and dialogue with speech research. She pioneered techniques in text analysis for prosody assignment in Text-to-Speech synthesis at Bell Laboratories in the 1980s and 1990s, developing corpus-based statistical models based upon syntactic and discourse information which are in general use today in text-to-speech (TTS) systems. She joined the Columbia faculty as a Professor in the Department of Computer Science in 2002. She and her students have continued and extended research on spoken dialogue systems; on the automatic classification of trust, charisma, deception and emotion from speech; on speech summarization; prosody translation, hedging behavior in text and speech, text-to-speech synthesis, and speech search in low resource languages. She also holds several patents in TTS and in speech search. She now serves on the IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee, the Executive Board of the CRA, the AAAI Council, the Executive Board of the NAACL, and the board of the CRA-W. She was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2014 and as an Honorary Member of the Association for Laboratory Phonology in the same year.
Jozef Sulik is the Project Manager for the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program at the Center for Science and Society. Jozef provides administrative support and guidance to the Presidental Scholars, while also organizing the program's event and seed grants. Over the past decade, Jozef has worked in higher education as well as talent management in the UK and the US. Previously, Jozef worked in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at Harvard College, helping students navigate the University's landscape of research and fellowships. He also worked as a talent agent in the UK, managing careers of news anchors, journalists, reporters, historians, economists, and other television and radio personalities.
Jonathan R. Cole is the John Mitchell Mason Professor of Columbia University where he has spent his academic career. From 1987 to 1989 he was Vice President of Arts and Sciences, and from 1989 to 2003, he was Provost and Dean of Faculties of Columbia University—the second longest tenure as Provost in the University's 258-year history. His scholarly work focused principally on the development of the sociology of science as a research specialty. This is seen in early published papers and in his 1973 book with Stephen Cole, Social Stratification in Science (University of Chicago Press). Among his other published works on science are: Fair Science: Women in the Scientific Community (1987); The Outer Circle: Women in the Scientific Community (1991). In recent years, his scholarly attention has focused on issues in higher education, particularly problems facing the great American research universities. His edited book The Research University in a Time of Discontent (Johns Hopkins University Press 1994), contains essays by prominent educators, including his own opening chapter.
John Mutter is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Department of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. His research focuses on the role of natural disasters in constraining development opportunities for poor and emerging societies. Meteorological extremes are expected to increase as a result of human-induced climate change, and his work attempts to assess who are most vulnerable to disasters such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina. John Mutter directs the Earth Institute’s postdoctoral Fellows Program and is director of graduate studies for the Ph.D. in Sustainable development. Mutter is also one of the principal investigators on the Earth Institute’s National Science Foundation-funded ADVANCE program, which is designed to create institutional change that will improve the opportunities for women in earth science and engineering at Columbia. Mutter has authored or co-authored more than 80 articles in scientific journals in the natural and social sciences and many popular publications. His fieldwork included over three years at sea in all parts of the world’s oceans.
Jeremy K. Kessler is a legal historian whose scholarship focuses on First Amendment law, administrative law, and constitutional law generally. He joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 2015. His forthcoming book, Fortress of Liberty: The Rise and Fall of the Draft and the Remaking of American Law (Harvard) explores how legal and political contests over the military draft transformed the relationship between civil liberties law and the American administrative state. Kessler also writes about law and history for non-academic publications including The New Republic, n+1, The Boston Review, and Jacobin. Prior to joining Columbia Law School, Kessler clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. He previously served as the David Berg Foundation Fellow at the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at New York University, as a graduate fellow at Cardozo School of Law, and as the Harry Middleton Fellow in Presidential Studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. He currently sits on the board of the American Society for Legal History.
James Yardley served as Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana from 1967 until 1977 where he received the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and the Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. He directed research at Honeywell International from 1977 until 1991, where he served in a number of research and management positions before becoming Vice President of Technology for the Electronic Materials Business. At Columbia, he has served as director of the Center for Integrated Science and Engineering, and has been Managing Director of the Columbia Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, a National Science Foundation program to understand fundamentals for Nanotechnology. This program has opened new vistas in understanding charge transport in molecular systems and has pioneered explorations of the unique properties of graphene. He also is Managing Director for the Columbia Energy Frontier Research Center sponsored by the Department of Energy to develop fundamental understanding of solar cell technology. In his scientific career spanning academia and industrial research, Prof. Yardley has been involved in a wide range of activities including scientific research, technical development, and new business development. In 2014 he was appointed as Acting Executive Director of the Columbia Nano Initiative, a new initiative at Columbia University to develop, support, and foster new research at Columbia in Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
Jim Neal served as the Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University during 2001-2014, providing leadership for university academic computing and a system of twenty-two libraries. Previously, he served as the Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University, and held administrative positions in the libraries at Penn State, Notre Dame, and the City University of New York, and recently completed a three-year term as ALA Treasurer. He has served on the Board and as President of the Association of Research Libraries, on the Board and as Chair of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), on the Board and as Chair of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and on the Board of the Digital Preservation Network. He has represented the American library community in testimony on copyright matters before Congressional committees, was an advisor to the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference on copyright, has worked on copyright policy and advisory groups for universities and for professional and higher education associations, and during 2005-08 was a member of the U.S. Copyright Office Section 108 Study Group. He is chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2017 National Conference, and is coordinating the fundraising for the IFLA 2016 scholarship program. In 2010, he received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta. And in 2015, he received the ALA Joseph W. Lippincott Award for “distinguished service to the profession of librarianship”, and the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award.
Harriet Zuckerman’s research has focused on the social organization of science and scholarship. She is the author of Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States (1979). This book, in addition to being a study of the scientific elite, constitutes a fascinating introduction to the phenomenon of multiple discovery, particularly in science and technology. Its findings, particularly in relation to “accumulation of advantage”, are relevant to the question of eminence, exceptional achievement, and greatness.
Federica Coppola will study how psychological and neuroscientific knowledge about the role of emotions in moral decision-making and social behavior might impact how people accused of violent crimes are judged and punished by the court of law. Her ultimate goal is to use scientific findings to reform the current restrictive and retributive approaches to criminal violence, and help create a more humane justice system by focusing on social rehabilitation. Working alongside lawyers, psychologists, neuroscientists, and psychiatrists, Federica will also explore how restorative justice-based programs, along with social and emotional training programs can be effective correctional interventions. Before earning her Ph.D. in Law from the European University Institute in 2017, Federica was a practicing attorney; in her first trial, the victim was a cat. Federica is the first Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar; the position honors the late PSSN co-founder Robert A. Burt.
Eugenia Lean received her BA from Stanford University (1990), and her MA (1996) and PhD (2001) from UCLA. She is interested in a broad range of topics in late imperial and modern Chinese history with a particular focus on the history of science and industry, mass media, consumer culture, emotions and gender, as well as law and urban society. She is also interested in issues of historiography and critical theory in the study of East Asia. She is the author of Public Passions: the Trial of Shi Jianqiao and the Rise of Popular Sympathy in Republican China (UC Press, 2007), which was awarded the 2007 John K. Fairbank prize for the best book in modern East Asian history, given by the American Historical Association. Professor Lean is currently researching a project titled “Manufacturing Knowledge: Chen Diexian, a Chinese Man-of-Letters in an Age of Industrial Capitalism,” which examines the practices and writings of polymath Chen Diexian, a professional writer/editor, science enthusiast, and pharmaceutical industrialist. The project aims to explore the intersection among vernacular science, global commerce, and ways of authenticating knowledge and things in an era of mass communication. A third book project focuses on China’s involvement in shaping twentieth-century global regimes of intellectual property rights from trademark infringement to patenting science. It investigates the local vibrant cultures of copying and authenticating in China, as well as enquires into how China emerged as the “quintessential copycat” in the modern world. She was featured in “Top Young Historians,” History News Network (fall 2008) and received the 2013-2014 Faculty Mentoring Award for faculty in Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is the Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.
David Rosner, PhD, MPH, focuses on research at the intersection of public health and social history and the politics of occupational disease and industrial pollution. He has been actively involved in lawsuits on behalf of cities, states and communities around the nation who are trying to hold the lead industry accountable for past acts that have resulted in tremendous damage to America's children. Cases aimed at removing lead from children's environments and compensating parents and governmental agencies for the costs of care and abatement of hazards in the home environment have grown out of his academic work. His work on the history of industry understanding the harms done by their industrial toxins has been part of lawsuits on behalf of asbestos workers and silicosis victims as well. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty in 1998, Dr. Rosner was University Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York. In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences' National Academy of Medicine. In addition to numerous grants, he has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and a Josiah Macy Fellow. He has been awarded the Distinguished Scholar's Prize from the City University and the Viseltear Prize for Outstanding Work in the History of Public Health from the APHA, among others. Dr. Rosner has also been honored by the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health and, with Gerald Markowitz, was awarded the Upton Sinclair Memorial Lectureship "For Outstanding Occupational Health, Safety, and Environmental Journalism by the American Industrial Hygiene Association." Dr. Rosner is an author of many books on occupational disease, epidemics, and public health. Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children, (University of California Press/Milbank Fund, 2013) details the recent conflicts at Johns Hopkins over studies of children placed in homes with low-level lead exposure and what it says about public health research.
David Freedberg is best known for his work on psychological responses to art, and particularly for his studies on iconoclasm and censorship (Iconoclasts and their Motives (1984), The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response (1989) ). His more traditional art historical writing originally centered on Dutch and Flemish art, specializing in the history of Dutch printmaking. His recent work focusses on the history of science and on the importance of the new cognitive neurosciences for the study of art and its history. Following a series of important discoveries in Windsor Castle, the Institut de France and the archives of the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, he has for long been concerned with the intersection of art and science in the age of Galileo. While much of his work in this area has been published in articles and catalogs, his chief publication in this area is The Eye of the Lynx: Galileo, his Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History (2002). Although Freedberg continues to teach in the fields of Dutch, Flemish, French, and Italian seventeenth-century art, as well as in historiographical and theoretical areas, his primary research now concentrates on the relations between art, history, and cognitive neuroscience. Taking up the psychological dimensions of the work outlined in The Power of Images (1989), he has been engaged in research and experiments on the relations between vision, embodiment, movement, and emotion.
Darwin Eng is the Business Manager for the Center for Science and Society, where he is responsible for maintaining the Center’s finances and budgets, and serves as the primary HR point of contact. Darwin received his MA in English, and BA in English and Anthropology, both from CUNY Queens College. His research centered on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in Asian American literature—in particular, the development of queer Asian American female identities in Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats. Prior to joining the Center, he was Operations Manager at Global Risk Advisors, a consultancy firm focusing on cybersecurity and military and law enforcement training.
Clare McCormack is a researcher whose work focuses on women's psychological health in pregnancy and the peri-partum, and how these experiences are affected by maternal stress and trauma. She received her PhD in Public Health in 2016 from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where she studied alcohol use during pregnancy and infant cognitive development. Clare is the second Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.
Christia Mercer is the Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, editor of Oxford Philosophical Concepts and co-editor of Oxford New Histories of Philosophy. Her recent work in the history of philosophy has been supported by support from the Guggenheim Foundation, American Academy in Rome, Folger Library, American Council of Learned Studies, Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti Library, Florence, Italy.
Caroline Surman is the Project Assistant with the Center for Science and Society and the Making and Knowing Project. She assists in planning events and programming - fulfilling her love of organization. Caroline studied Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Science at Barnard College. Her research explored the ecological and social effects of New York City brownfield development for the Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation and she completed her thesis on the role and goals of interfaith organizations in post-9/11 America. Internationally, Caroline has conducted ethnographic research across Denmark, Sweden, and Turkey. Previously, she worked for Bank Street School for Children and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Alondra Nelson is Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, where she has served as director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is Chair-elect of the American Sociological Association Section on Science, Knowledge, and Technology. Her most recent book, The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome (Beacon Press, 2016), traces how claims about ancestry are marshaled together with genetic analysis in a range of social ventures. She also takes up these themes in several publications that are among the earliest empirical scholarly investigations of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Nelson is also the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), which was recognized with four scholarly awards, including the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award from the Eastern Sociological Society and the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the American Sociological Association (Section on Race, Gender and Class). Nelson’s research focuses on how science and its applications may shape the social world, including aspects of personal identification, racial formation, and collective action. In turn, she also explores the ways in which social groups reject, challenge, engage and, in some instances, adopt and mobilize conceptualizations of race, ethnicity, and gender derived from scientific and technical domains. In 2014, she began new ethnographic research that examines grassroots responses to the STEM-field crisis.
Alice Tang is a work-study student with the Center for Science and Society, where she helps manage the Center's websites, social media platforms, and communications. She is a first-year student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science studying biomedical engineering. She also participates in research with the Biology Department at Columbia, and is interested in exploring how to innovate solutions for a healthier, happier society.