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June 23, 2003

Awards and Honors

Astronomer Donald Osterbrock receives honorary degree from Ohio University

By Tim Stephens

Donald Osterbrock, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics, was honored by Ohio University with an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the university's graduate commencement ceremonies last week.

Donald Osterbrock Photo: UCSC Photo Services

A native of Ohio, Osterbrock was honored for his distinguished contributions to the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. The citation for the honorary degree noted his groundbreaking research in astrophysics, his influence as a teacher, and his valuable work on the history of astronomy.

Osterbrock was a pioneer in the use of spectroscopic methods for the study of gaseous nebulae in the cosmos, and his textbooks on that subject have been regarded as standard references in the field for 30 years. He has also written five books on the history of American astronomy, including most recently a biography of Walter Baade (Walter Baade: A Life in Astrophysics, Princeton University, 2001).

Osterbrock came to UCSC in 1972 and served as director of Lick Observatory from 1973 to 1981. Before that, he was affiliated with Princeton University, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of Wisconsin. He holds degrees in physics and astronomy from the University of Chicago, and has been awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of Chicago, and Ohio State University.

His numerous awards and honors include lifetime acheivement awards from the American Astronomical Society and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, a Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Leroy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy from the American Astronomical Society. In 1996, an asteroid was named in his honor.

Osterbrock is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and is a foreign associate of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Molecular biologist Harry Noller elected to Russian Academy of Sciences

By Tim Stephens

Harry Noller Photo: UCSC Photo Services

Harry Noller, Sinsheimer Professor of Molecular Biology, has been elected a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Noller, who directs the Center for Molecular Biology of RNA at UCSC, was elected to the academy in May.

Noller is renowned for his research on the structure of the ribosome, a tiny molecular machine that carries out protein synthesis in all living cells. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, and his laboratory continues to make major advances in understanding how ribosomes work.

Nollers collaborators in his groundbreaking research on the ribosome include two Russian scientists--Marat Yusupov and Gulnara Yusupova--who worked in his laboratory as visiting researchers for several years.

Donors to environmental studies support UCSC students

By Jennifer McNulty

Thanks to several generous donors, four UCSC students recently received cash awards that support their research in environmental studies.

New this year is the Earthbound Farm Environmental Stewardship Award, funded by the founders of Earthbound Farm, the largest organic produce brand in North America. Drew Goodman (College Eight, '83) and Myra Goodman established Earthbound Farm on the Central Coast in 1984 and pioneered the company’s signature packaged salad mix. Earthbound Farm’s products are now available in more than 70 percent of all supermarkets in the United States.

The Earthbound Farm Environmental Stewardship Awards support students in the sustainable agriculture/agroecology concentration of the UCSC Environmental Studies Department. Two students received inaugural awards of $1,000 each: Robert Sirrine, a doctoral candidate in environmental studies, and Morpheus Anima, a senior majoring in environmental studies.

Sirrine, in his fifth year of graduate study, grew up in northern Michigan and worked in one of the region’s many cherry orchards, where the chemically intensive growing methods stimulated his interest in sustainable orchard management. He is interested in a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to agroecology that includes social, political, and economic pressures faced by growers. Sirrine is researching an interdisciplinary framework for sustainable tart cherry management in northern Michigan.

Anima is interested in land conservation and the creation and support of healthy agroecosystems and farm communities. Anima will use the award to support research on an agricultural land stewardship project.

The David Gaines Award is given each year to a graduate student conducting fieldwork that contributes to tangible environmental improvement. This year’s recipient, Hoyt Peckham, is a doctoral student in biology at UCSC and a research associate with the binational nonprofit WiLDCOAST. He received $1,000 to support his dissertation work on the ecology of endangered sea turtles. Peckham is working with fishers on the Pacific Coast of Mexico to reduce the "bykill" of turtles and other species.

The Surfrider/Skye Ksander Memorial Award is given to an environmental studies undergraduate interested in coastal and marine issues. Jamie Wine, who graduated this month with a degree in environmental studies and biology, received this year’s $500 award. Wine said his experiences exploring the ocean as a college student have deepened his understanding of the complex problems facing the world’s oceans and his commitment to increasing their well-being.

The awards, administered by the Environmental Studies Department, are funded by private donations. A committee reviews applications and selects recipients each spring.


Student employees honored for outstanding service to the university

UCSC Photo Services

The ninth annual Student Employee Recognition Award Ceremony was held on May 29 to honor 200 student employees. Employers rewarded outstanding student service with a certificate of appreciation as well as a minimum $100 cash award. The event, which was held on the lawn of the University House, is organized each year by the Career Center.

Entertainment was provided by the UCSC Dance Team. Food and beverages were also served. Student employees were able to invite their families and friends to attend. Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood was the special guest speaker. Student speakers were Tameisha Rose from the African American Resource and Cultural Center and Gerardo Palafox from the Educational Partnership Center.

For a listing of honorees, go to the SERAP web site.

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