Four Stanford professors are among 173 artists, scholars and scientists awarded prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships this year.
The recipients are Margaret Cohen, Andrew B. Hammond Professor in French Language, Literature and Civilization, Bissera Pentcheva, associate professor of art and art history, Jesse Rodin, associate professor of music and Tim Roughgarden ’97 M.S. ’98, professor of computer science.
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation recognizes awardees for both their achievements and promising potential, according to the foundation’s press release. This year’s recipients were selected from nearly 3,000 applicants.
Guggenheim Fellowships aim to give talented “advanced professionals” support to pursue their work. Fellows will receive six to 12 months grants of varying amounts that they can use however they please.
“The Guggenheim is one of the highest recognitions in the field,” Pentcheva told Stanford News, echoing other recipients’ reactions. “I am deeply honored.”
Cohen, who won in the field of intellectual and cultural history, will use her fellowship to finish a book, “Spectacles of the Underwater Frontier,” that she hopes will increase awareness about a unique environment and humans’ impact on it. The work explores the underwater environment — how people imagine it and how scientific advances such as aquariums and TV have shaped their views.
“When the modern aquarium was invented in 1853, it was completely mind-blowing for the general public,” Cohen said. “It really shifted how people saw underwater life. It was no longer just this dark abyss.”
Pentcheva, who studies Byzantium and the medieval Mediterranean, won her fellowship for research in the fine arts. Her Guggenheim award will help her use both digital technology and traditional text-based methods to look at animation in medieval art. The project will investigate the technique in Byzantium, Islamic civilizations and the western world.
Rodin, honored for music research, will be studying how developments in musical form and culture overlap with his project entitled “Giving Form to 15th-Century Music.” Rodin edits the Journal of Musicology and has diverse academic interests ranging from Renaissance Rome to Jewish music to the digital humanities.
“I’m interested in examining how this music happens in time — in approaching music as a time-bound experience,” Rodin said.
Rodin will defer his fellowship in order to first live in Florence for the 2017-18 school year with the support of a Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars. His Guggenheim project will continue the work he does in Florence.
Stanford alum Roughgarden, finally, plans to pursue research linking economics and computer science while taking a sabbatical next school year.
His latest academic focus is in the applications of complexity theory, a field of computer science concerned the resources needed to solve problems. He will build on prior findings connecting complexity theory with economics.