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The Edward A. Dickson Emeritus/a Professorship


2014-15 The Edward A. Dickson Emeritus/a Professorship Award: Irwin Wall

Irwin M. Wall

Irwin M. Wall
Professor Emeritus
History

Emeritus Professor of History, will be continuing as a Visiting Scholar in the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at New York University to continue work on a research project for a book on European-American relations during the era of détente in the cold war, from the late 1960s through 1980.

The book focuses on how the major European nations and the United States conceived of and practiced détente diplomacy. The era of détente in the cold war actually began with the Johnson administration in the U.S. but was pursued most vigorously by the Nixon administration, with the aim of securing Soviet help in pressuring North Vietnam to end the Vietnam War. Détente, however, became an end in itself, and was viewed as a necessary policy to defuse tensions that at any moment might lead to a nuclear war. Henry Kissinger conceived of détente more broadly, assuming that the USSR had become a conservative power, and that a lasting peace, even if characterized by ideological competition, might be achieved if the United States and the Soviet Union achieved mutual recognition of each other's spheres of influence based on the existing frontiers and the status quo of the 1970s.

Professor Wall's eventual aim is to look also at American-French relations in the 1970s, and the role of the British in the era of détente, which came to an end in 1979, during the Carter administration. By that time détente was under furious attack by a conservative wing of the Democratic Party behind Senator Henry Jackson of Washington state and by the some democrats in alliance with the new Republican right in a movement that later coalesced into today's "neo-conservatism". Carter's human rights policy greatly perturbed the USSR, and the Carter administration was infuriated by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which seemed a unilateral repudiation of the recognition of spheres of interest implicit in détente. With the election of Ronald Reagan the cold war resumed with new vigor, yet its end was to occur with the coming of Gorbachev only a few years later. Détente ended in Europe with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, but its foundations had become shaky because both the Ostpolitik and Euro communism proved destabilizing for East and West.

2014-15 The Edward A. Dickson Emeritus/a Professorship Award: Michael Pollak

Michael Pollak

Michael Pollak
Professor Emeritus
Physics and Astronomy

Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy, will be conducting research on the glassiness of cytoskeleton to construct a realistic microscopic model that hopefully will lead to providing physical justification for heuristic theories.

There are many references in the literature which refer to its glassy properties. What is important in glasses is a very wide distribution of inter-state transition rates that are involved in relaxation towards equilibrium, and that some of those are so slow that they exceed the duration of any feasible experiment. The very wide distribution can be a result of random energy barriers between states. To have a distribution of barrier energies one must have a disordered system. The transition rates then differ exponentially from each other. The slowness of the rates is a consequence of interactions between the constituents of the system, which mandate collective transitions. These processes are very slow, in analogy to getting a large group of people perform a collective action. Professor Pollak intends to understand the relation of the cytoskeleton glassiness to the non-biological glasses. Relation between different types of glasses has been an active interest of Professor Pollak for some time. There appear to be a number of different theories and approaches - the closest to the approach in other glasses is a successive jumps of the system to lower energy but long living states. This is akin to the so called hierarchical relaxation in a variety of glasses hence the most likely to be relevant. These theories of the glassiness of the cytoskeleton are however strictly heuristic, with virtually no relation to specific microscopic processes, such as specific disorder or interaction between actin filaments.

2014-15 The Edward A. Dickson Emeritus/a Professorship Award: Ronald H. Chilcote

Ronald H. Chilcote

Ronald H. Chilcote
Professor Emeritus
Economics

Emeritus Professor of Economics, will be conducting fieldwork involving historical research and photography of the Santa Margarita River, the only free-flowing river in California.

Professor Chilcote will draw on his experience as a social scientist and editor, as well as professional photographer to produce an art book of text and images not only to depict the story of this stream, the struggles to protect it, but to raise awareness, especially in Southern California of the need to ensure its future conservation.

The book will comprise some 120 images and several chapters around the history of the river system, the Native American legacy, and the efforts to preserve pristine open space lands, in particular the Temecula Escarpment, through which run the streams that converge into the Santa Margarita River and its preserve. Laguna Wilderness Press will publish the work.

Several organizations are interested in this project, including the Western Rivers Conservancy, which has committed to expansion of the ecological preserves. It is known for its remarkable conservation efforts in the upper and lower Klamath River in Northern California and its work in river systems throughout the Western United States. Professor Chilcote and Doug McCulloh, a Riverside photographer, have made contacts with the Riverside Land Conservancy and conservationists in Temecula. Together they plan to build a network of organizations through which the results of the work can be disseminated, the purpose being to enhance public awareness of these pristine lands and their legacy.


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