Autumn General Meeting, November 9, 2007
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The American Philosophical Society’s Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History is awarded to Fritz Stern in recognition of his book Five Germanys I Have Known, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2006. “We all seek traces of a tangible past,” Fritz Stern writes in Five Germanys I Have Known, “and we try to fill them with life.” This sentence describes the aspirations both of personal memory and of professional history, and in this incomparable book Stern brings them magisterially together. Because he is such a gifted and disciplined historian, his very memories acquire the quality of evidence, carefully weighed and sifted, never over-interpreted. And because the central thread of memories in the book is his own – from the destruction of the world of European Jewry to the reunification of Germany – history here takes on a discreetly compelling personal accent. When Stern tells us that “the German roads to perdition...were neither accidental nor inevitable,” and that he finally feels, returning as an honored son to his German birthplace now become a part of Poland, that he has been given back a part of his past, we know we are reading not only an elegant memoir and not only a distinguished work of history, but a unique evocation of a haunted and haunting culture, an intimate analysis of that enduring Germany that has so altered our world.
One of America's best known historians, Fritz Stern is University Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, where he has taught since receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1953. The author of books such as The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the German Ideology (1961), The Responsibility of Power (1967) and Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichroder and the Building of the German Empire (1977), Dr. Stern also served on the editorial board of Foreign Affairs for many years. He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1988.
The Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History is awarded annually to the author or authors whose book exhibits distinguished work in American or European cultural history. The prize is for books in English by U.S. citizens or permanent residents in this country, published in the United States. Books must be single-authored volumes, not collections of articles or edited texts.
The prize honors historian and cultural critic Jacques Barzun, University Professor Emeritus of Columbia University and a member of the American Philosophical Society since 1984. It was established by a gift from Roger Williams, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Wyoming, a former student of Professor Barzun.
The selection committee consisted of chairman Donald R. Kelley, James Westfall Thompson Professor of History Emeritus at Rutgers University; Glen W. Bowersock, Professor of Ancient History at the Institute for Advanced Study; and Michael Wood, Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English at Princeton University.
The 2007 recipient of the American Philosophical Society’s Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Patient-oriented Clinical Investigation is Victor Velculescu. The prize citation reads, “In recognition of his achievements in the identification of diagnostic and therapeutic targets through genomic analyses of human cancer.” Dr. Velculescu’s work is focused on genomic analyses of human cancer. He has pinpointed PIK3CA as one of the most frequently mutated oncogenes in human cancer and has obtained the first draft sequence of the breast and colorectal cancer genomes. These discoveries have identified a wealth of genes important in tumorigenesis and provide new opportunities for individualized diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in human cancer.
Dr. Velculescu is an associate professor of oncology at the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics, Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Cancer Center. He received his M.D. in medicine and his Ph.D. in human genetics and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins. Over the past decade he has developed several approaches to investigate genes important to neoplasia, and applied these approaches to systematic mutational analyses of cancer genomes. His genome-wide mutational analysis of breast and colorectal cancers suggested that the number of mutational events occurring during the evolution of human tumors is much larger and affects a wider variety of genes than previously imagined. Dr. Velculescu's studies have paved the way for similar genome-wide mutational analyses in other tumor types and provide a basis for personalized approaches to understanding and treating cancer.
Dr. Judson Daland, a prominent Philadelphia physician and outstanding figure in medical research, left the bulk of his estate to the Society as an endowment to be used to support research in clinical medicine. In 1938 the first Daland Fellowships for research in clinical medicine were awarded, a practice the Society continues to this day. With the growth of the fund, the Society was able to establish the Judson Daland Prize in 2001. The prize recognizes outstanding achievement in clinical investigation, particularly patient-oriented research.
The selection committee consisted of chairman Victor A. McKusick, University Professor of Medical Genetics, Johns Hopkins University; Clyde F. Barker, Donald Guthrie Professor, University of Pennsylvania; John N. Loeb, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Columbia University; Arno G. Motulsky, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Genome Sciences, University of Washington; Thomas E. Starzl, Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Jean D. Wilson, Charles Cameron Sprague Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science, Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Richard F. Thompson
The 2007 recipient of the American Philosophical Society’s Karl Spencer Lashley Award is Richard F. Thompson in recognition of his distinguished contributions to understanding the brain substrates of learning and memory. Specifically, through his meticulous and diligent application of the eyeblink classical conditioning paradigm, Dr. Thompson discovered the essential role of the deep cerebellar nuclei, as an essential component of classically conditioned procedural memory formation, and that plasticity within the synapses of these nuclei represent the long-elusive memory trace that Lashley had sought.
Richard Thompson received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He was a professor at the University of Oregon School of Medicine from 1959-67 and a professor at the University of California, Irvine from 1967-73 and 1975-80. He was then professor, Karl Lashley's Chair, at Harvard University from 1973-75 and the Bing Professor of Human Biology and Psychology at Stanford University from 1980-87. Dr. Thompson is currently the Keck Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California. For many years he was Director of the Neuroscience Program (Program in Neural, Informational and Behavioral Sciences) at the University of Southern California and is currently Senior Scientific Advisor to the Neuroscience Program. He is the author of Foundations of Physiological Psychology (1967); (with others) Psychology (1971); and Introduction to Physiological Psychology (1975). Dr. Thompson has served on the council of the Society for Neuroscience. He was recently elected president of the Western Psychological Association and president of the Pavlovian Society and was previous president of the American Psychological Society. He has devoted his life to the study of brain substrates of behavior. His text, Foundations of Physiological Psychology, was a landmark in the development of modern behavioral neuroscience, as was his later founding and editing of the APA journal, Behavioral Neuroscience. Inspired by Karl Lashley's "search for the engram," his research has focused on neural mechanisms of learning and memory, initially in the now classic work with W.A. Spencer on habituation. More recently, Dr. Thompson and his students utilized basic associative learning in mammals, characterizing processes of memory formation in two brain structures: hippocampus and cerebellum. They appear to have localized one form of memory trace to the cerebellum, thus coming full circle to Lashley's initial quest. Dr. Thompson was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1999.
Established in 1957 by Dr. Lashley, a distinguished neuroscientist and neuropsychologist, the award is made in recognition of work on the integrative neuroscience of behavior. Lashley's entire scientific career was spent in the study of behavior and its neural basis. His famous experiments on the brain mechanisms of learning, memory and intelligence helped inaugurate the modern era of integrative neuroscience.
The selection committee consisted of chairman Floyd E. Bloom, Professor Emeritus, Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute; John E. Dowling, Harvard College Professor and Llura and Gordon Gund Professor of Neurosciences, Harvard University; Carla J. Shatz, Director, BioX, Stanford University; and Larry R. Squire, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Neurosciences, and Psychology, University of California, San Diego.
The 2007 recipient of the American Philosophical Society’s John Frederick Lewis Award is Lionel Gossman for his monograph The Making of a Romantic Icon: The Religious Context of Friedrich Overbeck's “Italia und Germania” published in the Society’s Transactions, volume 97, part 5. The book is a captivating study of a once-famous German painting’s genesis and context and of the unexpectedly numerous layers of esthetic and religious meanings Dr. Gossman has cleverly shown it to contain. It is a most pleasurable read.
Born in Scotland, Lionel Gossman earned an M.A. at the University of Glasgow in 1951, a diplome d'études supérieures at the University of Paris in 1952, and a D. Phil. at the University of Oxford in 1957. After teaching at the University of Lille and at Glasgow, he came to the United States in 1958 and joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, where he taught for seventeen years. He moved to Princeton University as professor of Romance languages and literatures in 1976. Dr. Gossman was appointed the M. Taylor Pyne Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures in 1983, and became professor emeritus in 1999. Dr. Gossman’s interests focus on the relationship between history and literature in 17th through 19th century Europe.
Dr. Gossman's other publications include Men and Masks: A Study of Molière (1963), Medievalism and the Ideologies of the Enlightenment (1968), The Empire Unpossess'd (1981), Between History and Literature (1990), Geneva-Zurich-Basel: History, Culture and National Identity (with N. Bouvier et al, 1994) and Basel in the Age of Burckhardt: A Study in Unseasonable Ideas (2000). He received the Behrman Award in 1990 and was named an Officier des Palmes Académiques in 1991. He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1996.
In 1935 the American Philosophical Society established the John Frederick Lewis Award, with funds donated by his widow, to honor this outstanding maritime lawyer who played a major role in various cultural institutions in Philadelphia. The award recognizes the best book or monograph published by the Society in a given year.
The selection committee consisted of chairman Eugene F. Rice, Jr., William R. Shepherd Professor Emeritus, Columbia University; Glen W. Bowersock, Professor of Ancient History, Institute for Advanced Study; and Noel M. Swerdlow, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and of History, University of Chicago.