Below are profiles for Center Staff, Steering Committee Members, Advisory Board Members, and Postdoctoral Scholars. Please scroll down for affiliated and associated members listing.
Valerio Amoretti is a literary scholar who studies how reading and writing affect our mind and brain. In particular, Valerio draws from contemporary object-relations psychoanalysis to understand the role that literature and narrative play in enabling long-term psychic change and creativity. As a Presidential Scholar, Valerio will explore the neural basis for these processes.
Valerio’s background includes training in both science and the humanities. After studying chemistry and training in a molecular neuroscience lab at University College London, Valerio worked for the UK’s National Health Service in clinical research and outreach. He holds graduate degrees in Psychoanalytic Psychology from the Anna Freud Centre and in Literary Studies from the University of York. Valerio completed his doctorate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia in 2019, with a dissertation on the psychic work involved in reading modernist fiction.
Project Title: The Creative Self: Autofiction, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience
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.
Upmanu Lall serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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.
Stuart Firestein serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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).
Stathis Gourgouris serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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.
Samuel Roberts leads the Historical Study of Race, Inequality, and Health Research Cluster and serves as a Steering Committee Member.
Ruth DeFries 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.
Ruth DeFries serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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.
Robert Pollack leads the Research Cluster on Science and Subjectivity and serves as a Steering Committee Member.
Rhiannon Stephens is an Associate Professor of History at Columbia University. She specializes in the history of precolonial and early colonial East Africa from the first millennium CE through the twentieth century. Her research focuses in particular on gender, economic difference, and political organization. She has written on the history of motherhood and its intersection with politics and economics in precolonial Uganda. Her current research is a history of poverty and wealth as economic and social concepts in Uganda over the past two thousand years. Most recently, her research has turned to engaging with historical climate change and how East African communities responded to the challenges and opportunities it posed. She is a faculty affiliate at The Earth Institute, the Institute of African Studies, the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Her work has been published in the American Historical Review, the Journal of African History, Past and Present, and African Studies Review.
Rhiannon Stephens leads the Environmental Sciences and Humanities Research Cluster and serves as a Steering Committee Member..
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.
Rebecca Jordan-Young serves as an Advisory Board Member.
Raphaël Millière is a philosopher interested in the philosophy of artificial intelligence, mind, and cognitive science. Raphaël received his PhD in 2020 from the University of Oxford, where he worked on self-representation. As a Presidential Scholar, he investigates theoretical and empirical issues regarding spatial self-representation using virtual reality. He is also interested in assessing the capacities and limitations of deep artificial neural networks, with a particular focus on generative models capable of producing compelling text and images. Raphaël is the 2020 Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience
Project Title: The Self in Space: Spatial Content and Self-Representation in Philosophy and Neuroscience
Paul Linton is a neuroscientist and philosopher specializing in 3D vision. He received his PhD in 2021 from the Centre for Applied Vision Research, City, University of London, where his research challenged our understanding of distance perception by showing the visual system is unable to triangulate distance using the two eyes. He was also part of the DeepFocus team at Meta Reality Labs. Paul is the author of The Perception and Cognition of Visual Space (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Before vision science, he was a stipendiary lecturer in law at St Hilda’s College, Oxford University, and a teaching fellow in philosophy at University College London. As a Presidential Scholar, Paul will develop his new two-stage theory of 3D vision using the latest techniques in machine learning and fMRI in the hope of explaining how we experience the 3D world.
Paul Linton is a 2022-23 Fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University.
Project Title: What’s Special about Stereo Vision?
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.
Pamela Smith leads the Making and Knowing Research Cluster and serves as a Steering Committee and Advisory Board Member.
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.
Nicholas Dames serves as an Advisory Board Member.
Nedah Nemati researches the role of lived experience in neuroscientific experimentation and the influence of such experience in characterizing behavioral and cognitive concepts. Her doctoral work parlayed this interest into an examination of how behavioral neurobiologists have drawn from many kinds of experiences to develop and understand the concept of ‘sleep’. This scholarship is informed by Nedah’s prior laboratory research on the relationship between circadian rhythms and addiction in rodents at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), and on sleep deprivation and death in Drosophila melanogaster (common fruit fly) at Harvard Medical School. She received philosophical training at Millsaps College (BSc), earned her MSc in biological sciences at UMMC, and will defend her PhD in history and philosophy of science from the University of Pittsburgh in May 2022.
As a Presidential Scholar, Nedah will draw from historical and phenomenological traditions to characterize an account of lived experience in neuroscience and to develop a philosophy and science of behavior in neuroscience - one that includes what should count as a behavior. Her investigations reflect a longstanding interest in the potential and limitations of using neuroscience to impart information about the mind. By characterizing the role of lived experience in scientific practices, Nedah’s project will aim to impart greater clarity in scientific uses of behavioral concepts and their clinical translation. Her interests also include the use of AI in neuroscience, intersections of neuroscience and medicine, interrogating the aims of science, and the metaphysics of science.
Project Title: Moving from Flies to Frogs: Understanding Behavior through Lived Experience
Natalia Pasternak is a microbiologist, with a PhD and post-doctorate in Microbiology, in the field of Bacterial Genetics at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She is the former director in Brazil of the international festival of scientific communication “Pint of Science” (UK), columnist for the Brazilian national newspaper "O Globo", for The Skeptic magazine (UK), and Medscape (WebMD). She also hosts two weekly radio shows “The hour of Science” at Brazil's CBN national radio station. She contributes as a visiting professor at the Public Administration School at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, São Paulo, and as a research collaborator at the University of São Paulo. She is currently the publisher of Question of Science magazine and president of Question of Science Institute, the first Brazilian Institute for the promotion of skepticism and rational thinking. She is the first Brazilian to become a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) – USA, in recognition of outstanding work in the promotion of science, skepticism and critical thinking. In 2020, and again in 2021, she was chosen Brazilian of the year in Science by IstoE Magazine. She was chosen Personality of the year by the Group of Latin America Daily Newspapers, and received the Ockham Award from The Skeptic magazine, for the promotion of skepticism and rational thinking in Brazil.
She has written two books on popularization of science, Science in our daily lives, which won Brazil's National Literature prize for best science book in 2021 (Prêmio Jabuti), and Against Reality: science denialism, its causes and consequences. She was the only Brazilian listed by BBC as the 100 most influential women of 2021, and she is currently an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University, at the Center for Science and Society, by invitation of Professor Stuart Firestein. Her research focuses on how to improve science communication and combat denialism and misinformation, bringing scientific thinking for future policy makers, and helping to create an international collaboration for science-based global policies.
Naomi Rosenkranz joined the Making and Knowing Project in August 2015 as the Project Manager before becoming Assistant Director in 2019. 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.
Mike Petriello is an interdisciplinary conservation social scientist interested in the many connections and feedbacks between human cultures and the environment. In particular, his work centers on the recognition, inclusion, and maintenance of Indigenous and local knowledge in conservation and natural resource management, empowerment, and transdisciplinary approaches to collaborations such as knowledge co-production. He received his PhD in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences and Applied Biodiversity Science in 2020 from Texas A&M University, where he worked with small-scale farmers (campesinos) in Nicaragua to explore the cultural significance and boundaries of local knowledge tied to wildlife hunting. Mike continues to work with many past and present research partners, including Labrador Inuit collaborators from his previous knowledge co-production work as a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University with the Sustainable Nunatsiavut Futures Project. As a postdoctoral research scholar in the Center for Science and Society, Mike will build on his experience to explore good practices for the ethical co-production of knowledge in climate change research while co-developing research with diverse groups at Columbia University and beyond.
This postdoctoral position is supported by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Melinda Miller is the Senior 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 PhD in life sciences (neuroscience concentration) from 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.
Matthew Jones leads the Big Data and Science Studies Research Cluster and serves as a Steering Committee Member.
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.
Marwa Elshakry co-leads the Global Histories of Science Research Cluster and serves as a Steering Committee Member.
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 website and smartphone app.
Marguerite Holloway serves as an Advisory Board Member.
Madi Whitman is a postdoctoral research scholar and assistant director of co-teaching in the Center for Science and Society. As a sociocultural anthropologist and science and technology studies (STS) researcher, Madi studies how technologies, institutions, and subjectivities are made together. This research is currently animated by questions about surveillance and marginality in changing regimes of data collection in higher education in the United States.
Madi’s pedagogical work includes supporting interdisciplinary co-teaching at Columbia, developing curricula in science and society, and investigating the landscape of STS education in the U.S. Prior to coming to Columbia, Madi was involved in collaborations with the National Science Foundation Center for Science of Information in creating critical data modules for students. Madi earned a PhD in anthropology from Purdue University in 2020, completed a BA in anthropology at the University of North Dakota, and was previously a Visiting Research Fellow in the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Lydia Gibson is an anthropologist and ecologist exploring forest use, ritual practices, and traditional knowledge of Jamaican Maroons and how these are affected by geopolitical shifts, climate change, and colonial legacies. Lydia is also interested in the technical arrangements of environmental sciences and how these are disrupted by the particular conditions of island tropical montane cloud forests (in the Caribbean), which render many technologies and methodological approaches untenable. As well as working with local communities and knowledge-holders to monitor environmental conditions, countermap large areas of the forest, observe population changes, and position their expertise as central to forest ecology, Lydia also collaborates with other stakeholders and international experts to establish baseline data of local bird populations through satellite telemetry and banding efforts. Lydia is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission and contributes to the monitoring and assessment of endemic parrots. Lydia holds a PhD in Environmental Anthropology from University College London, a Masters in Anthropology from UCL, and a Bachelors in Mathematics and Biology from the University of Bristol. Prior to this current postdoctoral role, Lydia was an Economic and Social Research Council postdoctoral research fellow at University College London. Lydia remains an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London's Anthropology Department.
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.
Kavita Sivaramakrishnan co-leads the Global Histories of Science Research Cluster and sits as a Steering Committee Member. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Kavita also served as the Center's Interim Director.
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.
Julia Hirschberg serves as an Advisory Board Member.
Jozef Sulik is the Senior Project Manager for the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program and the Center for Science and Society. Jozef works closely with the Presidential Scholars and provides administrative support for their interdisciplinary research projects. In addition, Jozef handles event logistics for the Seminars in Society and Neuroscience series and manages financial transactions and budgets for the program. Before joining the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program, Jozef worked in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at Harvard College and spent several years working as an agent in talent management in the UK. Jozef earned his BA in government from Harvard University Extension School.
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.
Jonathan R. Coles serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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.
John Mutter serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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.
Jeremy Kessler serves as an Advisory Board Member.
Jennifer Wenzel is jointly appointed in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies.
Her book, Bulletproof: Afterlives of Anticolonial Prophecy in South Africa and Beyond, published by Chicago and KwaZulu-Natal in 2009, was awarded Honorable Mention for the Perkins Prize by the International Society for the Study of Narrative. With Imre Szeman and Patricia Yaeger, she co-edited Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (Fordham 2017). A new monograph, The Disposition of Nature: Environmental Crisis and World Literature, is forthcoming from Fordham in late 2019.
Jennifer Wenzel serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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.
James Yardley serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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.
Jim Neal serves as an Advisory Board Member.
Jacqueline Gottlieb studies the mechanisms that underlie the brain's higher cognitive functions, including decision making, memory, and attention. Her interest is in how the brain gathers the evidence it needs - and ignores what it doesn’t - during everyday tasks and during special states such as curiosity. Her research could offer insight into disorders that involve deficits of attention, such as attention deficit disorder, depression, and drug addiction.
Jacqueline completed her undergraduate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her PhD in Neurobiology at Yale University, and her postdoctoral training at the National Eye Institute. She joined the neuroscience faculty at Columbia University in 2001.
Jacqueline Gottlieb leads the Research Cluster on Curiosity.
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.
Harriet Zuckerman serves as an Advisory Board Member.
Hadeel Assali is an anthropologist and former engineer whose work looks at the ongoing colonial legacies of the discipline of geology as well as anti-colonial ways of knowing and relating to the earth in southern Palestine. She received her PhD in Anthropology in 2021 from Columbia University, where her research looked specifically at the development of geology in Britain and how it was exported to the colonies for extraction, mapping, and eventual state-making technologies. More broadly, she examines the narratives deployed to produce space(s) and how they become imbued with the authority to do so. She will be running the “Race, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice” seminar, which was founded by earth science graduate students, with the goal of exploring ways of decolonizing the earth sciences. She is also a filmmaker and writer whose work draws heavily from her family stories based in Gaza, Palestine. Her new research seeks to focus on waterways and the colonial legacies access to, relations with, and knowledge of them.
Prior to her anthropological training, Hadeel was trained as a chemical engineer at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and in a joint MS program with the National University of Singapore. Her nearly ten years of experience with a major oil company, several of which were as a project manager for environmental remediation projects, have largely informed the direction of her research. After receiving her PhD from Columbia, she was an ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania (2021-2022), where she worked on developing her dissertation into a book manuscript, which she plan to continue developing while back at Columbia University.
This postdoctoral position is supported by a grant from the Arts & Sciences’ Graduate Equity Initiative.
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.
Eugenia Lean co-leads the Global Histories of Science Research Cluster and serves as a Steering Committee Member.
Dilshanie Perera is a cultural anthropologist and ethnographer whose work examines the politics of the climate crisis and its relationship to pervasive and durable forms of inequality and dispossession. Dilshanie’s research takes a broad view of risk temporalities, emphasizing the multiple histories and enduring inequities that structure hazard and vulnerability in particular places. Their doctoral dissertation, titled Barometer Falling: Weather, Risk, and the Meteorological Imagination, examined changing perceptions of risk in Bangladesh — a postcolonial context grappling with the present-day effects of climate change, where weather and landscape have historically been construed as problems of governance.
Dilshanie holds a PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University, an MA from the New School for Social Research, and a BA from the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to Columbia, Dilshanie was the Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Climate and Inequality at the Climate Museum, the first museum in the U.S. dedicated to inspiring action on the climate crisis.
This fellowship is supported by a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies.
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 Rosner serves as a Steering Committee Member.
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.
David Freedberg serves as an Advisory Board Member.
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.
Christia Mercer leads the Center for New Narratives in Philosophy and serves as a Steering Committee Member.
Caroline Surman is the Project and Communications Coordinator 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), and oversees communications and social media. She is also responsible for training and overseeing the Center's Work Study Administrative Assistants. Caroline studied Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Science at Barnard College. Previously, she worked for Bank Street School for Children and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Ariana Novo is an undergraduate work-study student at the Center for Science and Society, studying civil engineering with a minor in sustainability studies. Although she's entering a technical field, she is interested in politics and journalism, finding ways to get involved with the Columbia community through Engineering Student Council, Hall Council, and Spectator. She’s also very active in her New Jersey hometown, having volunteered at local hospitals, libraries, and various service organizations. She is fluent in both Spanish and English. In her free time, Ariana likes to watch and discuss movies with friends and attend social events to meet new people.