The new crop of incoming Radcliffe Fellows includes political scientist Andrea Campbell (clockwise from top left), playwright Lydia Diamond, physicist Paul J. Steinhard, film director Romuald Karmakar, novelist Margot Livesey, professor of computer science Radhika Nagpal, and law professor I. Glenn Cohen. Mathematician Irit Dinur is not pictured.

Photos courtesy of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Campus & Community

From novel scientists to novel writers

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2012-13 Radcliffe Institute Fellows announced

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study announced the 51 women and men — from across the University and around the world — who will be convening as next year’s Radcliffe Institute Fellows.

A fellowship program is the defining feature of an institute for advanced study. Fellows are accomplished individuals in an array of fields who pursue independent projects within a rich, multidisciplinary environment.

Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen, herself a former fellow at the institute, spoke about the incoming group: “These extremely talented individuals will arrive at different stages of their work, but whether they start exploring big new ideas or whether they complete ambitious projects, we expect that all will enjoy a year of profound growth and great productivity.”

After a highly competitive, two-tier peer review process, only 5 percent of applicants were accepted to create a diverse incoming class that ranges from A to V: from anthropologists, chemical engineers, linguists, literature professors, molecular biologists, and musicologists, to visual artists. Fellows in 2012-13 include:

Political scientist Andrea Campbell, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will be exploring the different ways the states responded to the Great Recession. Her study will be not only of programs cut and taxes raised, but also of concurrent political factors such as party control of state government, voter inequality, and direct democracy.

Medical tourism will be the area of focus for I. Glenn Cohen, an assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School and the co-director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics. His focus will be on the legal and ethical issues related to travel of patients who are residents of one country to another country for medical treatment.

Playwright Lydia Diamond, who has written adaptations from the works of Nikki Giovanni, Harriet Jacobs, and Toni Morrison, and whose play “Stick Fly” was on Broadway in 2011, will be researching and completing a play about a West African princess raised in Queen Victoria’s court and revising a first draft of a play about a neuroscientist studying perceptions of race.

Israeli mathematician Irit Dinur is a professor of computer science at the Weizmann Institute of Science whose area of focus includes probabilistically checkable proofs and the difficulty of approximation. At the Radcliffe Institute, she will explore theorems that allow people to understand global behavior through observations of local and approximate behavior.

At Radcliffe, Romuald Karmakar, a film director and screenwriter from Germany who is acclaimed for his work in both fiction and documentary films, will work on a feature film about former German SS officer Walther Rauff, who developed gas vans during World War II.

Novelist Margot Livesey, whose books include “Eva Moves the Furniture” (2001), “The House on Fortune Street” (2008), and this year’s “The Flight of Gemma Hardy” — will be at the Radcliffe Institute working on her next novel.

Radhika Nagpal is a professor of computer science at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a faculty member of the Harvard Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering. At Radcliffe, she will bridge scientific divides by working with experimental biologists to develop a better understanding of collective intelligence in social insects through the application of computer science.

Paul J. Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein Professor in Science and director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University, where he is also on the faculty of both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences. He will pursue various projects as a fellow, including the development of the cyclic theory of the universe, which is a radical alternative to the big bang theory.

View the full list of incoming fellows.