Balandin Named a UC Presidential Chair Professor

Alexander A. Balandin

Alexander A. Balandin

Alexander A. Balandin, a professor of electrical engineering and founding chair of Materials Science and Engineering Program, has been named a University of California Presidential Chair Professor.

The purpose of the title is to encourage new or interdisciplinary program development or to enhance quality in existing academic programs of the university. Recipients receive annual funding to support instructional activities, research, or other creative activities of the chair holder.

The title and extra funding will allow Balandin to elevate phononics and graphene thermal research at UC Riverside to a new level. The university is already recognized as the leading institution in fundamental studies of thermal transport in graphene and two-dimensional materials. He now plans to move the research in a more applied and practical direction.

Balandin is recognized internationally for his discovery of the unusual thermal properties of graphene and two-dimensional crystals, development of new experimental technique for the investigation of thermal properties of samples with atomic-layer thickness and theoretical explanation of the unique features of the thermal transport in graphene.

CNAS Names New Chief Financial Officer

Dean Marylynn Yates announced that Jennifer Farias has been named the new chief financial and administrative officer for the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, effective July 1. She replaces Millie Garrison, who will be retiring on June 27.

Farias has been CNAS’s manager of financial operations for nearly five years.Previously she was the financial and administrative officer for the Department of Entomology.

Herrera Delivers Commencement Address at UCLA

California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, professor of creative writing, delivered the commencement address for the UCLA Department of Anthropology on June 14.

Herrera earned a B.A. in social anthropology from UCLA, an M.A. in social anthropology from Stanford University, and an M.F. A. in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

History Ph.D. Graduate Wins Prestigious Fellowship

Carlos Dimas, who completed his Ph.D. in history this month, has won the prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Americas for Latin American Studies.

The fellowship, for which approximately 250 scholars of Latin America applied, provides a stipend for living expenses and a budget for research and travel to conferences. It will support Dimas as he turns his dissertation about the impact of cholera epidemics in 19th century Argentina into a book.

Dimas’ research is poised to profoundly influence scholarship in the emerging field of the history of disease and medicine in Latin America, said James Brennan, professor and chair of the UCR Department of History.

Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Book Prize Announced

The Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies (SFTS) program at the University of California, Riverside announces that the second annual SFTS book award has been won by David Wittenberg, professor of English, comparative literature, and cinematic arts at the University of Iowa, for “Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative” (Fordham UP, 2013).

The prize honors an outstanding scholarly monograph that explores the intersections between popular culture, particularly science fiction, and the discourses and cultures of technoscience. The award is designed to recognize groundbreaking and exceptional contributions to the field. Books published in English between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013, were eligible for the award.

Wittenberg’s book argues that time travel fiction “is a laboratory in which the most fundamental theoretical questions of narratology, history, and subjectivity are rehearsed,” said Sherryl Vint, co-director of the SFTS program and jury chair. “It is discerning in its critical insights, disciplined in its case studies, and broadly inclusive across media in its examples. ‘Time Travel’ shows Wittenberg to be one of the most astute among contemporary sf critics.”

Jury members were Vint, Anindita Bannerjee of Cornell University, and Pawel Frelik of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Poland.

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