Campus & Community

Radcliffe Institute appoints faculty leaders

5 min read

Program appointments to ‘spur new multidisciplinary collaborations’

In the Harvard community and worldwide, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study is known for interdisciplinary ventures and for providing an ideal environment for incubating creative ideas and discoveries. To enhance its programs, the Radcliffe Institute has appointed several faculty leaders who will help spur new multidisciplinary collaborations in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

“The most exciting, cutting-edge discoveries often take place when scholars, scientists, and artists from a variety of disciplines collaborate to address problems and issues of common interest. By appointing these new faculty leaders, we expect not only to augment work that is already being done at Radcliffe, but also to complement ongoing activities at other Harvard Schools,” said Barbara J. Grosz, dean of Radcliffe and Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Our faculty leadership will further strengthen Radcliffe’s links to Harvard faculties and help to shape new cross-disciplinary initiatives by taking advantage of Radcliffe’s neutral turf and convening powers.”

New leaders, programs, and opportunities at Radcliffe

Drawn from several of Harvard’s Schools, Radcliffe faculty leaders are experts in a broad array of fields and have many different interests. These faculty leaders will work with faculty members throughout the Harvard community and Radcliffe leadership to develop new efforts in policy studies, social sciences, arts, and humanities, in addition to continuing programs in the sciences.

Planning for new and expanded programming is currently under way; further details will be announced at a later date. Additional leadership appointments in the creative arts are likely to follow.

Current appointments:

Humanities leaders/Ann Blair and Ewa Lajer-Burcharth

Ann Blair is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at Harvard. She has served on the Harvard faculty for more than 14 years and was named a MacArthur Foundation fellow in 2002. Blair specializes in the intellectual and cultural history of early modern Europe, with an emphasis on the history of the book, the relations between science and religion, and early modern France. She has recently finished a book that explores how scholars managed information in an era that long predated search engines or databases. She is also the author of the book “The Theater of Nature: Jean Bodin and Renaissance Science” (Princeton University Press, 1997).

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth is a professor of the history of art and architecture at Harvard. With a focus on 18th and 19th century European art as well as contemporary art and critical theory, Lajer-Burcharth has taught a variety of courses about provocative issues in art during these periods. She is the author of “Necklines: The Art of Jacques-Louis David after the Terror” (Yale University Press, 1999). Lajer-Burcharth has a forthcoming book titled “A Touch of Self: Paint and Person in Eighteenth Century Art” and is currently working on “Interiority at Risks: Precarious Spaces in Contemporary Art.” She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

Social science leaders/Brigitte Madrian and Robert J. Sampson

Brigitte Madrian is the Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard Kennedy School and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Madrian’s current research focuses on household saving and investment behavior. Her work in this area has impacted the design of employer-sponsored savings plans in the United States and has influenced pension reform legislation both nationally and abroad. Madrian received the John Heinz Dissertation Award from the National Academy of Social Insurance and the TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund) Paul A. Samuelson Award.

Robert J. Sampson is chair of the Department of Sociology and the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard. He is engaged in a long-term study from birth to death of 1,000 disadvantaged men born in Boston during the Great Depression era, and has two books from this project, “Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70” (Harvard University Press, 2003) and “Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points through Life” (Harvard University Press, 1993). Sampson’s two books have been recognized with numerous scholarly awards. A former senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, he is now a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Science leaders/Dimitar D. Sasselov and Rosalind A. Segal

Dimitar D. Sasselov has taught at Harvard since 1998 and is currently a professor of astronomy and the director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative. He arrived at the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in 1990 as a Harvard-Smithsonian Center postdoctoral fellow. His research explores the many modes of interaction between radiation and matter, from the evolution of hydrogen and helium in the early universe to the study of the structure of stars. Most recently, his research has led him to explore the nature of planets orbiting other stars, and he has discovered a few planets using novel techniques. He hopes to use these techniques to find planets like Earth.

Rosalind A. Segal is a member of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Her laboratory research focuses on the biology of brain tumors by probing the complex molecular machinery of the developing brain. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert H. Ebert Clinical Professor award from the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, an award from the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research, and a National Institutes of Health Directors Pioneer Award.