Honored Faculty - Honored Books Program 2010

Ceremony  |  Baskin School of Engineering Honorees | Sciences Physical and Biological HonoreesAbout the Program

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2010 Honored Faculty / Honored Books

March 3, 2010
2:00 p.m.
Science and Engineering Library

Welcome, Opening Remarks, and Introductions
  Associate University Librarian Elizabeth Cowell
Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger

Recognition of Faculty
Dean Arthur P. Ramirez, Baskin School of Engineering
Dean Stephen E. Thorsett , Division of Physical and Biological Sciences

Celebrating Baskin School of Engineering faculty and Physical and Biological Sciences Division faculty who have received promotion and/or tenure during the 2008-09 academic year.

Baskin School of Engineering - 2010 Honorees

Nicholas Brummell Professor, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability” by S. Chandrasekhar,

This book, by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, noble laureate in Physics and Professor at the University of Chicago from 1937 until his death in 1995, was the fi rst book I ever opened for research use rather than educational use. Whilst doing a senior undergraduate research project in Applied Mathematics at Imperial College, University of London, England I needed to fi gure out how convection worked and this book had the answer. In fact this book has the answer for almost all basic fl uid instabilities and therefore is an essential resource for all fl uid dynamicists , which is what I eventually became.

Gabriel Elkaim Associate Professor, Computer Engineering

  Quaternions and Rotation Sequences” by Jack B. Kuipers

Attitude Estimation--determining the orientation of a body in all three dimensions--is a mind-bending blend of theory, electronics, software, and quite a bit of practical “art.” It is a key area of my research, and is an enabling technology in pushing the down the cost of autonomy: nothing can guide itself without knowing where it is and which direction it is facing. Kuipers ' book is a wonderful reference to some of the arcane math that is central to the theory, and I consider it essential reading for anyone interested in this fi eld .

Cormac Flanagan Professor, Computer Science

  Types and Programming Languages” by Benjamin C. Pierce

An excellent overview of the current state-of-the-art in typed programming languages.

Todd Lowe
Associate Professor, Biomolecular Engineering

A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson

This book infuses any reader with a fascination for the scientifi c process -- not a simple task. It reinforced my belief that new discoveries are all around us; the key is to bring together ideas and colleagues from different disciplines to question, then re-examine “common knowledge” with a fresh perspective.

Neoklis Polyzotis Associate Professor, Computer Science

A Wizard of Earthsea ” by Ursula Le Guin

The book describes a journey from apprenticeship to accomplishment that has inspired me as a researcher. The apprentice is eager to excel, toils to become a master of his art, but also has to face his self-doubt before completing the journey. And then, a new journey begins.

Holger Schmidt Professor, Electrical Engineering

  Optical waves in layered media” by P. Yeh

This book focuses on the interaction of light with structured materials. It represents the scientifi c framework on which my development of hollow-core waveguide photonics here at UCSC is built. In addition, the book is also an excellent example for teaching advanced concepts in a rigorous and concise manner.

Joshua Stuart Associate Professor, Biomolecular Engineering

    “Molecular Biology of the Cell”  by Bruce Alberts, Dennis Bray, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, and James D. Watson.

I was a Philosophy major when I enrolled in a Molecular Biology class
to fulfill a science elective. That semester I drove my roommate crazy
because I interrupted him every five minutes whenever I was reading the required 'Alberts' textbook. I found myself reading past the assignments and even into topics the course wouldn't cover. That was bizarre because I hated reading anything other than Sci-Fi. I was amazed at the inner-workings of cells and even more amazed by the elegantly constructed experiments. More than any other single influence, the book convinced me to switch to a Molecular Biology major; a decision that completely changed my life. 'Alberts' is a masterpiece; an opus. To top it off, it even has the coolest back cover of any textbook. Most biologists know this book is a gem. I hope more engineers pick it up and get hooked like I did.

Hongyun Wang Professor, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

   Random Walks in Biology” by Howard C. Berg

Diffusion is fundamentally important in all biological processes. Study of diffusion spans mathematics, statistics , physics and chemistry. This book explains diffusion and diffusion driven processes in a way accessible to undergraduate students. It serves as an example of how complicated mathematical concepts and analysis can be taught to a broad audience.

Sciences Physical and Biological - 2010 Honorees

Rebecca Braslau Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

An Unspoken Hunger : Stories From the Field ” by Terry Tempest Williams

I came to UCSC in 1991 as a young, idealistic chemist, with an enthusiasm and love for organic chemistry that I looked forward to sharing with my students and colleagues. Eighteen years later, I am grateful to still be as excited about organic chemistry as I was as a sophomore undergrad when I discovered organic chemistry “by mistake.” I have selected Terry Tempest-Williams' book “An Unspoken Hunger” to remind myself that in addition to being an educator, researcher, and scientist, to be whole one must take the time to enjoy the beauty, emptiness, complexity and absolute power of the Natural World. It is through the land that we derive food, shelter, and take part in a complex interplay with all other living beings, from fungal mycelium to redwoods to mountain lions. I spend many hours in front of a computer screen, but I take the time every day to walk through the forest, peering at mushrooms or majestic remnants of burned-out trees, slowly decaying back into rich soil. To be reminded that each of us is a human, an animal, a spiritual being, makes one a cohesive part of the larger whole. The concept of “chemical” has been tarnished in the popular lexicon by years of profit-seeking ventures blind to the moral issues of the environment. However “ chemicals ” are responsible for much of the best of modern life: improved materials for everyday items, from computers, hiking boots, sports equipment, and computers. King of the chemical advances has been pharmaceuticals: antibiotics would not exist without synthetic chemistry; minor injuries would be life -threatening without the wonders of chemistry. Yet, as a practitioner of molecular design, it would be remiss to focus on a single goal without regarding the consequences to the whole. Tempest-Williams conveys a love for the wild, and a love for the earth that transcends the particulars of modern life. I cherish her vision while seeking to improve the world through teaching, research and living a conscious life.

Donald Croll Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Grant Hartzog Professor, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

   Arrowsmith ” by Sinclair Lewis

Arrowsmith is a novel written by Sinclair Lewis in 1925. It tells the life story of an idealistic young physician scientist, Martin Arrowsmith , who is born in a small town and goes on to train and work at the highest levels of medicine and science. This is one of the books which inspires me when I ponder what it means to be a scientist. Although it was written 85 years ago, this book is remarkable in that it vividly and accurately captures many of the motivations, personalities, and difficult issues faced by physicians and scientists today.

Lindsay Hinck Professor, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology


Rafael Kudela Professor, Ocean Sciences


Bruce Lyon Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

   The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins

This book changed the way a whole generation of biologists, including myself, think about natural selection, adaptation and evolution. I not only use these ideas regularly in my own research, but they are also invaluable to me for teaching our graduate students how to think about natural selection and evolution.

Karen Ottemann Professor, Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology

Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf

Grant Pogson Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

   The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change” by R.C. Lewontin

Lewontin's classic book provides a comprehensive review of the outstanding questions and controversies in the field of evolutionary genetics. It had a major impact on my thinking as a graduate student and continues to have influence to this day. The issues raised in Lewontin's book still resonate despite the spectacular advances recently made in DNA sequencing technologies and burgeoning field of population genomics .

J. Xavier Prochaska Professor, Astronomy and Astrophysics

The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy” by Frank Shu

As an undergraduate, this text provided the first integration of my theoretical physics knowledge applied to the astrophysical universe. It remains an excellent resource for developing an intuitive understanding of astronomy .

Michael Rexach Professor, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology


About the Program

In celebration of the bond between the written word and the achievement of scholars, the UCSC Library, the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, and the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences are proud to sponsor the Honored Faculty, Honored Books Program. This joint initiative recognizes the achievements of faculty who have attained tenure and/or received promotion. To mark the occasion, we celebrate both the scholar and a book they select as having most influenced them as a scientist and educator. The faculty and their books are celebrated with a gala reception held in the Science & Engineering Library. The book is added to the library collection and inscribed with a personalized bookplate in their honor. This commemorative Web site showcases the significance of the book to their lives and careers.