Faculty Named to Learned Society

Photograph: Jagdish Bhagwati.
Photograph: Caroline Bynum.
Photograph: Gilbert Stork.

Three Columbia scholars have been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the nation's oldest learned society.

They are Jagdish N. Bhagwati, Arthur Lehman Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science; Caroline Bynum, Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of History, and Gilbert Stork, Eugene Higgins Professor Emeritus of Chemistry.

They join 21 other Columbia faculty in the organization, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin and others, which recognizes extraordinary accomplishment in the sciences and humanities. Nearly 100 of its 750 members have won the Nobel Prize.

Among the 43 new members elected at the society's annual meeting in Philadelphia Apr. 21 were four Columbia alumni:

Val L. Fitch, Ph.D.'54, who won the Nobel Prize in 1980 and is James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics at Princeton; Loren R. Graham, Ph.D.'64, professor of the history of science at MIT; Donald Reed Kelley, Ph.D.'62, James Westfall Thompson Professor of History at Rutgers, and Judith Rodin, Ph.D.'70, president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Among other new members are Henry Louis Gates, W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard; William H. Gates, chief officer of the Microsoft Corp.; broadcast journalist Bill Moyers, Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan and violinist Isaac Stern.

Bhagwati is noted for combining important scientific contributions with an ability to dominate the public policy debate on trade questions of the day. He was economic policy advisor to the director general of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade from 1991 to 1993. Leading international economists met at Columbia in November for a symposium in honor of his 60th birthday.

He has published more than 35 volumes, some translated into several languages. Five volumes of his Collected Essays have been issued by MIT Press. His early work, especially India: Planning for Industrialization (written with his wife, Padma Desai, the Harriman Professor in Comparative Economic Systems at Columbia), provided the intellectual underpinnings for the major economic reforms now under way in India.

He joined Columbia in 1980, after 12 years as Ford International Professor of Economics at MIT. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometic Society. He graduated from Cambridge and holds a Ph.D. from MIT.

Medieval Women

Bynum is noted for path-breaking work in the cultural and religious history of the European Middle Ages and research on medieval women. The author of five books and the editor of three others, she is credited with creating the new field of the history of the body, with the publication of two prize-winning books, Holy Feast and Holy Fast (1987) and Fragmentation and Redemption (1991).

Her most recent work, The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 (1995) examines a core Christian belief in the context of changing attitudes toward death and burial, sex and gender.

Last fall she was elected president for 1996 of the American Historical Association, the oldest and largest historical society in the United States. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she was a MacArthur Fellow from 1986 to 1991. She is president-elect of the Medieval Academy of America, of which she is also a fellow.

A University of Michigan graduate, she earned the Ph.D. from Harvard. She joined the Columbia faculty in 1988 and was dean of the School of General Studies and associate vice president of arts and sciences in 1993- 94.

Stork, who won the National Medal of Science in 1983, changed fundamentally the entire field of modern organic chemistry. He devised methods to build complex molecules by putting atoms in the precise three-dimensional orientation that he wanted. His novel approach of "stereo-specific" synthesis altered the way chemists understood chemical reactions.

The Stork enamine reaction is named for the Columbia chemist. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1959 and the Arthur C. Cope Award from the American Chemical Society in 1980. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academie des Sciences of France.

In 1992, some 200 of the 368 doctoral and postdoctoral students Stork has taught over four decades gathered at Columbia to honor their mentor. Columbia awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1993. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and earned the Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1945.

He taught at Harvard before coming to Columbia in 1953. He was named Higgins Professor in 1967 and Higgins Professor Emeritus in 1992.


Columbia University Record -- May 17, 1995 -- Vol. 20, No. 29