Three Caltech Faculty Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

PASADENA, Calif. — The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has elected three California Institute of Technology faculty members as academy fellows. They are Fred C. Anson, Elizabeth Gilloon Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus; Joseph L. Kirschvink, professor of geobiology; and Colin F. Camerer, Rea A. and Lela G. Axline Professor of Business Economics.

The 2003 class of 187 fellows and 29 foreign honorary members includes four college presidents, three Nobel laureates, and four Pulitzer Prize winners.

Among this year's new fellows and foreign honorary members are Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; journalist Walter Cronkite; philanthropist William H. Gates, Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; novelist Michael Cunningham; recording industry pioneer Ray Dolby; artist Cindy Sherman; and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Donald Glaser.

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome these outstanding and influential individuals to the nation's oldest and most illustrious learned society. Election to the American Academy is an honor that acknowledges the best of all scholarly fields and professions. Newly elected fellows are selected through a highly competitive process that recognizes those who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines," said academy president Patricia Meyer Spacks.

Anson has carried out pioneering work on the electrochemistry of polymers, on the catalysis of electrode reactions, and on electrochemical reactions that involve ultrathin coating of molecules on electrode surfaces.

Kirschvink, who has been honored by students for his excellence in teaching, studies how biological evolution has influenced, and has been influenced by, major events on the surface of the earth. His most significant contributions include the "snowball" earth theory—the theory that the entire Earth may have actually frozen over several times in its history, possibly stimulating evolution. Another original concept concerns the Cambrian evolutionary explosion that he believes may have been precipitated in part by the earth's rotational axis having moved to the equator in a geologically short interval of time.

Camerer's research in experimental and behavioral economics, integrates psychology with economics to explore the impact on decision sciences and game theory. His research uses economics experiments and field studies to understand how people behave when making decisions. Such research is helpful in predicting economic trends and in understanding social policy. Poverty, war, cross-cultural interactions--most social issues are affected by decision psychology.

The total number of Caltech faculty named to the academy is now 82.

The academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." The academy has elected as fellows and foreign honorary members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, including George Washington and Ben Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of its membership, the academy conducts thoughtful, innovative, non-partisan studies on international security, social policy, education, and the humanities.

A full list of new members is available on the Academy website at

The academy will welcome this year's new fellows and foreign honorary members at the annual induction ceremony at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., in October.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Perry, Media Relations Director (626) 395-3226

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Voting: Where We Have Been, Where We Are Going

PASADENA, Calif. - Americans are proud of their democracy. But the controversy over the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election revealed profound flaws in the way we vote. The smooth transition of government, a hallmark of American democracy, seemed to hang on the workings of antiquated voting technology--the punch card and the chad.

"America is on the verge of a profound transformation in the way people vote," notes Michael Alvarez, a professor of political science at the California Institute of Technology. As computer literacy and information technology become universal, the momentum is developing for an entirely new voting system: the Internet.

On Wednesday, April 23, Alvarez will discuss the ongoing transformation in how we run elections in his talk, "Voting: Where We Have Been, Where We Are Going." It is one of the ongoing Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series that takes place on the Caltech campus.

The problems in the 2000 election were even deeper, and more difficult to resolve, than just old voting machines. "As many as six million votes may have been lost in that election," Alvarez notes, "mainly due to problems in voter registration files, long polling place lines, as well as the faulty voting machines." Some transitions have begun, as many states and counties are replacing their old punch-card and lever voting machines with newer technologies. And in the near future, most states will grapple with significant changes in how they register citizens to vote. But these changes are unlikely to be lasting. The transition to Internet voting is already under way in the United States. and elsewhere in the world, says Alvarez. The Department of Defense is expanding its program, initiated during the 2000 election, to provide for absentee balloting for military personnel. The United Kingdom and Switzerland have employed Internet voting in their local elections.

Yet problems remain. There are, as yet, no standards for security--a problem made more difficult by the fact that the vote is secret and "receipt free"--and there is the prospect that the digital divide may create inequities in participation in America.

Alvarez's talk will focus on how much progress has been made in fixing the problems that were discovered following the 2000 presidential election, and then will consider how new information technologies like the Internet can be used to make voting more accessible and secure in the near future.

For over 81 years Caltech has offered the Watson Lecture Series, ever since it was conceived by the late Caltech physicist Earnest Watson as a way to explain science to the local community. The lecture will take place at 8 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium, which is located near Michigan Avenue south of Del Mar Boulevard, on Caltech's campus in Pasadena. Seating is available on a free, no-ticket-required, first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Parking is available in the lots south of Del Mar Boulevard between Wilson and Chester avenues, and in the parking structures at 341 and 405 South Wilson and 370 South Holliston Avenue.


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Physicist and Writer Alan Lightman to be Writer-in-Residence

PASADENA, Calif. - Merging science and art is a tricky task, but one well worth the effort, notes the physicist, science writer, essayist, and novelist Alan Lightman. As he wrote in a recent essay in the New York Times: "When the science is integrated so that it is part of the human drama, part of the beauty and mystery of human existence, then science and art have achieved a perfect harmony."

Lightman, who has taught both physics and writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will give two public presentations during the week of April 7 as writer-in-residence at the California Institute of Technology. He will begin the week as a panelist in a Science Writing Symposium on Monday, April 7, at 4 p.m. in Baxter Lecture Hall (free and open to the public).

On Tuesday, April 8, Lightman will give a seminar on "The Physicist as Novelist," in which he will consider similarities and differences between how scientists and artists understand the world. The seminar will take place at noon in 315 Baxter Hall on the Caltech campus. The event is free and open to the public, but is primarily aimed at faculty across academic disciplines.

Then on Thursday, April 10, Lightman will read from a selection of his writings, including his new novel, Reunion, to be published this July. The reading, also free and open to the public, will take place at 8 p.m. in Dabney Lounge.

Lightman earned his PhD in theoretical physics from Caltech in 1974, and focused his scientific research on gravitation theory, the structure and behavior of accretion disks, stellar dynamics, radiative processes, and relativistic plasmas. His research articles have appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals. For his contributions to physics, he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989 and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science the same year.

Lightman's novels include Einstein's Dreams (1993), Good Benito (1995), The Diagnosis (2000), and the forthcoming Reunion. He has also published six nonfiction books and many essays in magazines such as Harper's, the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Review of Books. In 1996 Lightman was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The writer-in-residence program is part of Caltech's Words Matter project, which is intended to foster appreciation of writing in its many forms and to offer undergraduates opportunities for close contact with accomplished writers. Words Matter is coordinated by Steven Youra, director of the Hixon Writing Center. For more information, go to

Contact: Mark Wheeler (626) 395-8733

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Author Reveals her "Gut Feelings"

PASADENA, Calif. – Merrill Joan Gerber, a lecturer in creative writing at the California Institute of Technology, maintains a prolific pace with her own writing. This month her 24th book will be published--Gut Feelings: A Writer's Truths and Minute Inventions, a collection of highly personal essays and powerful tales that verge on memoir. In these writings Gerber reveals the truths and inventions of a writer's vision, and the use of life as the raw material of art. Her personal essays range widely, from the mysteries of love and marriage to painful encounters with suicides and family deaths.

She writes of her apprenticeships with celebrated writing teachers Andrew Lytle and Wallace Stegner and recounts her ghostly (and ghastly) experiences during a month at Yaddo, the famous retreat for artists. Gerber includes three pieces in the book originally published as stories but which blur the line between fiction and memoir, demonstrating Gerber's contention that the deepest secrets in life beget the most passionate fictions.

About her fiction, Gerber says, "Most of my work comes from the close observation of family life. Of course, life is chaotic, and in fiction, you take control of the material and shape it, redesign it, to give it meaning."

"These pieces move back and forth across the boundary between memoir and fiction," says Janet Handler Burstein, a professor of English at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. "They are vivid and gripping, with memorable characters and events. One narrative moves deeply into a marital relationship suggesting a kind of paradigm for the systole and diastole of marriage that I found profoundly moving. And troubling. And satisfying."

Gerber has taught at Caltech since 1989. Gut Feelings: A Writer's Truths and Minute Inventions is being published this month by the University of Wisconsin Press. Her books include Botticelli Blue Skies: An American in Florence (a travel memoir), the novels Anna in the Afterlife (which was chosen as a "best book of 2002" by the Los Angeles Times), and King of the World, which won the Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award as an "important and unusual book of literary distinction. Another novel, The Kingdom of Brooklyn, won Hadassah Magazine's Ribalow Prize for "the best English-language book of fiction on a Jewish theme." Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, Mademoiselle, and Redbook, and in many literary magazines. Her short story, "I Don't Believe This," was chosen for Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards 1986.

The author can be reached at or via her webpage at

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Caltech Historian Awarded Grant to Study Trust in Financial Markets

PASADENA, Calif. – If the social climate of France in the 1790s could be summed up in a phrase, it would be "tumultuous times." The French Revolution was winding down; Napoleon was winding up. Hyper-inflation was occurring, money had become worthless, and many financial institutions collapsed.

It would take 60 years before France's capital markets would recover, 60 years before enough trust could build up again between lender and borrower to help the country's economy start over.

Philip Hoffman studies trust. An economic historian at the California Institute of Technology, Hoffman, a colleague from UCLA, and one from the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes in France, have been awarded a $146,694 grant from the Russell Sage Foundation entitled "Trust Supporting Institutions and Economic Growth: Local Credit Markets in France, 1740-1899."

If this sounds like some arcane, dusty research, it is, laughs Hoffman. "We spend most of our time in damp archives, pouring over hand-written ledgers that are more than 200 years old." But his research into how trust evolves and its implications on long-term financial growth has an eerie resonance with today's times, he says, "due to such events as the violation of trust due to Enron, the Arthur Anderson auditing mess, and the like."

Hoffman and his colleagues chose France because of its excellent archived material, the fact its financial institutions are representative of much of Europe, and because its history provided a "natural experiment" when the French Revolution struck.

Hoffman is interested in learning how credit markets evolve, and where trust comes from, because, he says, "at the heart of our research lies a simple fact: in every financial transaction one party entrusts his or her wealth to another party.

"During the French Revolution, the government simply printed money which resulted in hyper-inflation during the 1790s," he says. "The result was to ruin many investors and cause a collapse of the lending market in Paris." Thus, post-revolution, there was no trust between lender and borrower. How then did trust come back? he asks. Are there differences from market to market? Can it be explained by the level of wealth on the part of an institution or individual?

While the research is just beginning, Hoffman says their preliminary work suggests there are striking differences in how trust evolves, and that it can't all be explained by economic factors. "We're finding regional variations, differences between northern and southern France in how quickly trust returned," says Hoffman. "Part of it, for example, was a distrust of outsiders in some regions, which meant there was no new infusion of capital."

Hoffman says they will be able to examine and hopefully explain the long-term consequences of trust as it pertains to France. And while there is a great tie-in to what's going on in today's financial markets, "we don't, of course, know the outcome and consequences." That remains to be seen.

The Russell Sage Foundation is the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences. Located in New York City, it is a research center, a funding source for studies by scholars at other academic and research institutions, and an active member of the nation's social science community. The foundation also publishes, under its own imprint, the books that derive from the work of its grantees and visiting scholars.

One of the oldest private foundations in the United States, the Russell Sage Foundation was established by Margaret Olivia Sage in 1907 for "the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States." In its early years, the foundation undertook major projects in low income housing, urban planning, social work, and labor reform. It now dedicates itself exclusively to strengthening the methods, data, and theoretical core of the social sciences as a means of improving social policies.

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Caltech Author Publishes Travel Memoir

PASADENA, Calif. – Merrill Joan Gerber admits she was not pleased when her husband, Joe, a history professor at Pasadena City College, was asked to take a group of American college students to study in Florence, Italy, for three months. Gerber, a lecturer in creative writing at the California Institute of Technology, simply was not interested in leaving the comforts of home, her friends, and her aged mother.

Still, she went, and in a classic case of turning a negative into a positive, Gerber has written a travel memoir as a result of her experiences in Florence. Botticelli Blue Skies: An American in Florence, to be published November 1, relates her slow conversion from reluctant traveler to intrepid explorer.

The key, it turns out, was the extended stay. "You can't get a sense of a country by staying only two weeks and doing tourist things," says Gerber. "It takes time just to learn the currency, learn the rudiments of language, and understand the acceptable modes of behavior."

She and her husband rented a four-room apartment on the outskirts of Florence, and almost instantly became engaged, learning to live like locals. They met the neighbors, shopped at the nearby supermarket, and teased out the confounding bus schedule. "You become privy to real life by living there," says Gerber, citing the requirement to wear surgical gloves before you can feel the tomatoes at the local store, having to pay for her grocery bags, and battling squadrons of mosquitoes each night.

Then there was the infamous underwear incident, in which Gerber, who was hanging laundry on a clothesline, dropped a pair of underpants which landed on the balcony below her own. Protocol required writing out a note--dictated by her husband in Italian: "A favor--I am sorry, a piece of clothing has fallen. Please return it to the apartment on the fourth floor. Grazie."

And "Lo and behold," as Gerber writes: "The next morning, the pair of underpants arrives, without fanfare, by an invisible messenger, at my front door. It is left neatly folded on the floor. To my dismay, when I retrieve it, I see it has a hole in it. What will the Italians think of me? Look what shame I have brought upon my country."

Instead of sticking to the conventional tourist path, Gerber soon followed her instincts, making discoveries without tour guides droning in her ear, taking time to shop in a thrift shop ("Italian designer dresses for $2!" she says), and making friends with her landlady who turns out to be a countess (and who invites Gerber to visit her farm in the country near Siena).

Through a U.S. writer-friend, she meets a University of Florence professor whose specialty is American Women Jewish writers. She speaks to his class, and one young woman decides to translate eight of Gerber's stories into Italian for her master's thesis. Tangentially, she becomes involved in the lives of the 30-odd students she and her husband are traveling with. "Love matches made and lost," says Gerber, "and much hitting the discos at night, and falling asleep in class the next morning."

Gerber earned her master's in English from Brandeis University and was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fiction Fellowship to Stanford University. She lives in Sierra Madre with her husband, who is retired from his job as history professor at Pasadena City College. Gerber has three daughters and two grandsons.

Botticelli Blue Skies is Gerber's twenty-third book; her novels include Anna in the Afterlife, and King of the World, which won the Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award for an "important and unusual book of literary distinction." The Kingdom of Brooklyn won the Ribalow Award from Hadassah Magazine for "the best English-language book of fiction on a Jewish theme." Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Mademoiselle, and Redbook, and in many literary magazines. Her short story, "I Don't Believe This," won an O. Henry Prize Award in l986. In spring of next year, University of Wisconsin Press will publish a book of her collected essays, Gut Feelings: A Writer's Truths and Minute Inventions.

Gerber will read from Botticelli Blue Skies on November 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Distant Lands Bookstore, 56 S. Raymond in Pasadena. Please RSVP at (626) 449-3220. The author can be reached at or via her Web page at

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Grant awarded to Caltech to study the neural wiring of moral and economic choices

PASADENA, Calif.—Steven Quartz, an associate professor of philosophy and member of the Computation and Neural Systems program at the California Institute of Technology, will lead a new program to examine the neural basis of economic and moral decision-making. The program is made possible by a $1 million grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The three-year program will have as its primary goal the creation of a new interdisciplinary field of research, a brain-based approach to the humanities and social sciences. It will be the largest effort yet at Caltech to bring humanists, social scientists, and neuroscientists together to help shape a newly emerging "social cognitive neuroscience." The new discipline will be aimed at understanding the neural and cognitive capacities that distinguish humans from other primates, says Quartz, who will be principal investigator of the project.

"We have devised experiments to probe the brain changes during evolution which allow humans to have the complex social life that we have," Quartz explains. "We're looking at essentially our ability to create a sense of self and to reason about ourselves and others symbolically in ways other animals seem unable to. These capacities appear to be the critical ones that allow us to create a moral and social order."

The coinvestigator will be John Allman, who is the Hixon Professor of Neurobiology at Caltech. Allman, an anthropologist by training, plans to research the neurobiology of decision-making in elderly people. Past studies have shown that the healthy elderly may be more accurate than younger people in calibrating the validity of their knowledge—which can be conventionally described as "wisdom"—though the studies have not addressed the neural differences that occur over time.

The research will focus on economics and moral choices because these are the areas in which a human being is able to make decisions with abstract future goals in mind, such as providing for a healthy retirement income in 25 years, or making early educational decisions that will allow a person to eventually pursue socially valuable work. By contrast, even anthropoids such as chimpanzees and gorillas seem limited to planning for near-term gratification.

"We are particularly interested in looking at the brain structures that allow humans to create symbolic value," Quartz says. "A piece of paper or an idea can be immensely valuable to us because it possesses symbolic value, whether as a piece of currency, or an ideology. For over 2,000 years, moral philosophers have speculated about how this capacity underlies our moral life, but did very little about translating speculation into verifiable experiments."

The experiments Quartz and his colleagues have in mind will take place while test subjects are asked to make moral and economic choices while being scanned by a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI). Because fMRI is capable of showing levels of local brain activity during these decision-making experiments, the results will essentially show the brain basis of moral and economic decisions.

Quartz and his colleagues will begin by investigating how our brains represent information about ourselves. "One of the greatest scientific mysteries concerns how a brain can create a sense of self," notes Quartz. "This ability is crucial to our capacity to reason about the future, as we need to project ourselves into the future as the recipient of future hypothetical consequences. Patients who have lost this ability through injury are literally blind to tomorrow. Our social life, and the institutions we have created, depends on it."

Another element of this project will involve examining the role of emotions in reasoning about ourselves and others. "There's been a longstanding debate about the role of emotion in moral decision-making," Quartz says. "We will examine brain activity while a person is making a decision on an emotionally charged moral dilemma to see how emotion and our sense of self are intertwined."

The project will also involve faculty from Caltech who are interested in economic decision-making and game theory. "The framework of experimental economics, much of which was developed right here at Caltech, is ideally suited to the new experimental methods of fMRI. It is a tremendously exciting potential merging of social science and neuroscience," Quartz says. "fMRI scans of subjects making economic decisions and playing economic games with others provides a way to probe the brain basis of reasoning about others, cooperation, competition, guilt, envy, and reciprocity."

A long-term goal of this research is to better understand how our behavior can be influenced by social context. "Making group membership salient can have an enormous impact on individual behavior. Our 'groupishness,' for better and worse, is at the core of being human," says Quartz. "Hopefully, understanding how group influences alter the brain might lead to a better understanding of the social problems confronting us."

The funding will be used for purchasing time on the functional MRIs, which will be housed in Caltech's new Brain Imaging Center, and for postdoctoral scholar salaries and graduate student support. The research will be computer-intensive due to the large amount of processing involved in producing the 3-D datasets showing brain activity during the tests.

According to David Baltimore, president of Caltech, the new project "will be an integral part of an extensive effort at Caltech, representing the full range of disciplines at the Institute, to understand not only the brain, but also the idealized notion of the 'mind.'" The research will also provide new interdisciplinary avenues linking the natural sciences with the humanities and social sciences, he added.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation was created in 1964 to support and encourage nonprofit organizations dependent on private funding and volunteer leadership. The foundation awards grants in six main program areas: conservation; population; science; children, families, and communities; the arts; and organizational effectiveness and philanthropy.

Robert Tindol

Anti-Semitism, Revolution and Relativity:New Einstein Volume Released Worldwide

PASADENA, Calif. - Student protests in Albert Einstein's classroom? Who would have thought the world-renowned genius would have to deal with such disrespect? But according to a new publication coming out of the California Institute of Technology, the protest was very real and very political.

It was anti-Semitism. His students were protesting the presence of poor, refugee Eastern European students who were auditing his relativity lecture in Berlin in 1920. So he dealt with the protest by offering free classes. Six months later, reporters, students, and scientists leveled more serious attacks at Einstein and his work.

In fact, politics had become a very large part of Einstein's life. The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: Volume 7, The Berlin Years: Writings, 1918-1921, published by Princeton University Press, was released worldwide this month. It includes many political articles and drafts by Einstein – many of them previously unknown.

The volume includes his course notebook from November 9, 1918, the date Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated, which contains a remarkable and probably unprecedented entry in the annals of professorial documents: Einstein cancelled his lecture on relativity that day "due to revolution."

"Soon after, he met with the new head of the German interim government and secured the release of several University of Berlin professors and its rector, detained by revolutionary students," says Diana Kormos-Buchwald, associate professor of history at Caltech, and director of the Einstein Papers Project.

"Four days later, Einstein addressed a crowd of over 1,000 and, emphasizing the rights of the individual, declared that 'all true democrats must stand guard lest the old class tyranny of the right be replaced by a class tyranny of the left,' and expressed support and a willingness to work for the new post-World War I democratic Germany," Kormos-Buchwald added.

The new book is the first volume in a series coming out of the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech. The volume covers the period of Einstein's rise to international fame, and includes, in more than 70 documents, his lectures, notes, and articles on the general theory of relativity, material relating to his first trip to the United States in 1921, as well as his first publications on political, social, and humanitarian issues.

The volume, under the general editorship of Kormos-Buchwald, was edited by an international group of Einstein scholars: Michel Janssen, Robert Schulmann, József Illy, and Christoph Lehner. Daniel J. Kennefick, a 1999 Caltech PhD, was associate editor. Osik Moses and Rudy Hirschmann were editorial assistants.

"This volume is the first in the series to present a mixture of Einstein's scientific, pedagogical, political, and humanitarian writings," says Kormos-Buchwald. "Here we can see the complexity of his personal and public life, in an almost day by day record of work and public activities – the thoughts and actions of the mature, successful, world-famous, and often controversial Einstein around the age of 40."

After his rise to international fame in late 1919, Einstein's publications changed markedly. He faced an increasing demand for popular articles and lectures on relativity, and its development and meaning.

He completed his general theory of relativity in 1916 after 10 years of intensive and exhausting work. Two years later, in a paper that is now particularly well known, Einstein begins by announcing that he needs to correct a "regrettable error in calculation" and derives the famous quadrupole formula for the flux of energy radiated by a source of gravitational waves. Today, Caltech/MIT Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory scientists are hoping to be able to detect these gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein's work almost exactly 85 years ago.

Also, during this period, Einstein responded to a host of commentators, ranging from skeptical physicists to philosophers trying to reconcile his revolutionary theory with their views. For the first time, he also responded in print to outspoken anti-relativists, some of them fueled by cultural conservatism and, frequently, anti-Semitism. He assisted Central Europeans in the grip of starvation and economic collapse, praised the support of individuals and groups such as the Quakers, and championed the cause of Eastern European Jews. His rejection of assimilation, combined with a fierce defense of the right of Jews to higher education, led him to campaign for the establishment of a university in Palestine, the land that he conceived of as a cultural center for all Jews.

The Einstein Papers Project is a 25-year effort that will result in 29 volumes of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. It has been described as the most ambitious publishing venture in the history of 20th-century science.

The project requires research into more than 60,000 documents, including correspondence, scientific writings, speeches on science and social issues, notebooks, diagrams, photos, as well as various contemporary materials and letters about Einstein penned by family members, colleagues, and the press. The collection of photocopies is housed in seven large, fireproof filing cabinets, each the weight of a baby grand piano.

The cabinets contain copies because most of the originals are located at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the beneficiary of Einstein's literary estate. The Caltech collection also includes thousands of copied documents from other collections and archives.

The Einstein Papers Project began in 1971 when Princeton University Press agreed to take on the monumental task of the chronological publication of Einstein's annotated writings. The first volume in the series, edited by a team of experts at Boston University, appeared in 1987.

The Caltech connection to Einstein goes back much further than the arrival of the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech in August 2000. Einstein was a visiting scientist on the campus for the winter terms of 1931, '32, and '33. He might have become a full-time faculty member, had it not been for miscommunication between the Institute and Einstein. Because he could not return to Nazi Germany, he joined the new Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he remained from 1933 until his death in 1955.

The publication comes out at an opportune time because the most comprehensive presentation ever mounted on Einstein's life and work will open in New York's American Museum of Natural History on November 15. The show will then arrive at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in September 2004. The exhibit was coordinated by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Skirball.

When Kormos-Buchwald was appointed to the project, she was offered the option to work at Boston University, where the Project was located for 15 years, or move the collection to Caltech – she chose the latter. Her staff is bilingual because the majority of Einstein's writings are in German.

Copies of the documents in the Albert Einstein Archive are available in microfilm in the Caltech Archives, open to the public by appointment only; call (626) 395-2700.

The Einstein Papers Project web site is at

MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Perry, Media Relations Director (626) 395-3226

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Caltech Historian Accepts Joint Humanities Appointments

"We had hard times here. 'Course it'll be all different out there -- plenty work, an' ever'thing nice an' green, an' little white houses an' oranges growin' aroun'."

PASADENA, Calif.- Pa Joad's words refer to California in John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath. It tells the story of the Joad family, which loses its farm in 1930s Oklahoma, then heads west to the promised land of California in the hope of finding a better life. It is a story that still resonates today, says William Deverell, an associate professor of history at the California Institute of Technology, who has been elected chair of the California Council for the Humanities (CCH).

It will be a busy year for Deverell. This month the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation also named him the 2002-03 Haynes Fellow. The Haynes Foundation is a leading supporter of social science research for Los Angeles and also the oldest private foundation in the city.

As the new chair of the CCH, Deverell will be working to ensure the success of a new three-year project the Council will launch this June. Titled "California Stories," it is a initiative to refresh the story of California with the stories of today's Californians, and strengthen the sense of community across the state. The first project is called "Reading The Grapes of Wrath," Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

The CCH hopes its initiative will create opportunities for people to read and discuss the book, then consider the parallels between the book and the contemporary California experience. The conversations and the stories that spring from them will hopefully lead to increased understanding and tolerance among Californians, and stronger community bonds.

"I'm particularly excited about the opportunities provided by this unprecedented statewide effort," says Deverell. "The story of the Joad family still resonates powerfully in a state where 50 percent of the residents are immigrants. Through this project, we will be giving Californians a chance to reflect on their own family experiences, the dreams and disappointments shared by immigrants then and now, and a chance to consider the place of their own stories in the larger story of California."

In addition to his work with the CCH, as the newly appointed Haynes Fellow, Deverell will help to guide the Haynes Foundation and keep its trustees "attuned to developments in the social sciences research community," says Foundation president Donn B. Miller.

"Dr. Deverell's research continues to enhance our understanding of the events and relationships that have helped to shape California," says Miller; "we are delighted to welcome him to the Foundation."

"I'm deeply honored by the appointment," says Deverell. "The Haynes Foundation is an extraordinary regional institution with a rich and important history. I look forward to the challenges of this position with great personal and professional excitement."

The Haynes Foundation, founded in 1926, supports social science research into policy issues of the Southern California region.

The California Council for the Humanities was established in 1975. It is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and an independent, nonprofit funder and creator of programs that seek to enrich California's cultural life, while strengthening the state's communities through public use of the humanities.


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Grant Gives Undergraduates Access to One of the World's Great Archives of Literature

PASADENA, Calif.- The California Institute of Technology and the Huntington Library share an intertwined past, one that has ranged from common and lofty intellectual pursuits to nuts-and-bolts concerns about bookworms and possible nuclear attacks.

Now, thanks to a $197,500 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the two institutions continue their collaboration, this time to further invigorate Caltech's undergraduate curriculum in the humanities. The three-year grant, titled "Building Partnerships, Building Knowledge," will enrich the undergraduate learning experience in several ways: making the library's extensive collections in the humanities available for undergraduate research projects; providing for team-teaching by Caltech faculty and curatorial staff from the Huntington; presenting humanities seminars at the library; and providing fellowships for minority students to pursue research topics in the Huntington collections.

The grant will further enhance Caltech's determination, as stated by its president David Baltimore, to provide its students, who are mostly science or engineering majors, with the resources to emerge as "expansive thinkers rather than merely gifted technicians."

The Caltech Huntington Committee for the Humanities (CHCH) will oversee the grant. Established in 1988, the committee is an "intellectual partnership," says William Deverell, an associate professor of history at Caltech who chairs the committee. The CHCH designs and implements collaborative research, teaching, and scholarly programs between the two institutions.

"For the humanities at Caltech, the Huntington is our laboratory," says Deverell. "And thanks to the generosity and vision of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, we will be able to offer our students the same kind of hands-on research opportunities in the humanities that they receive as young scientists at Caltech."

Through its Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, which sponsors original undergraduate research supervised by Institute faculty, Caltech will use the Foundations' support to introduce students to the archives of the Huntington Library. Student research work will later be showcased in an annual humanities research conference. In addition, the grant will support the appointments of visiting faculty and the development of additional collaborative teaching and research programs.

Caltech and the Huntington share a rich and complementary history. In the early twentieth century, astronomer George Ellery Hale, the prime mover in the establishment of Caltech, urged railroad magnate, bibliophile, and philanthropist Henry E. Huntington to "think big" regarding the extraordinary library and art collection he and his wife Arabella had amassed. Huntington founded his library, art gallery, and botanical gardens in 1919; it was opened to the public in 1928. In the ensuing years, the two institutions have collaborated intellectually, and in surprising ways. In the 1930s, Arnold Beckman helped the Huntington eradicate a bookworm infestation by inventing a fumigation tube, and during the tense years of the Cold War, Caltech physicist Charles Lauritsen advised the library on the creation of a vault that would withstand nuclear attack.

Hale's observance that the Huntington—home to such renowned works as the illuminated manuscripts of William Blake, one of the two earliest surviving manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, and a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, circa 1455—was a veritable laboratory for the historian or literature scholar was exactly right: the institution has emerged as one of the world's great archives of Anglo American Art, literature, rare books, photographs, and manuscripts. "Working with our colleagues at the Huntington," Deverell notes, "we can offer our students as rich and exciting an undergraduate education as they can find anywhere in the nation."

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Florida, are national philanthropic organizations established through the generosity of the late American industrialist Arthur Vining Davis. The purpose of the Foundations is to provide financial assistance to certain educational, cultural, scientific, and religious institutions within the United States, with the goal of strengthening our nation's future.

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