UC Berkeley News



18 April 2007

Karabel wins ASA's Distinguished Book Award

Sociology professor Jerome Karabel has won the American Sociological Association's highest award, the Distinguished Book Award, for The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (Houghton Mifflin).

The 2005 work, a co-winner of this year's award with Patricia Hill Collins' Black Sexual Politics, is an exhaustive investigation of how the Ivy League's "Big Three" colleges have selected their freshman classes over the past century, including the ways in which the notion of "merit" has varied from era to era. In a 2005 interview with the Berkeleyan, Karabel said the book was about "who was admitted, who was excluded, and why; how and why admissions policies changed over the course of the past 100 years; who won and who lost with each of these changes; and, most important of all, what this fierce battle over places in the freshman class at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton tells us about America."

In its award citation, the ASA put it this way: "With meticulous documentation, The Chosen shows how, over the first two-thirds of the 20th century, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton invented a selective admissions process that emphasized character over academic excellence as a way of defending the positions and pretensions of both their own institutions and those of an American elite. . At the same time exposť, history, and analysis, The Chosen has far-reaching implications for our understanding of education, racism, social mobility, and social change."

The Chosen has also been named the winner of the Pacific Sociological Association's 2007 Award for Distinguished Scholarship. Karabel, who was active in his opposition to the 1996 California ballot initiative Proposition 209, is currently working on The Rise and Fall of Affirmative Action at the University of California.

Trio in chemical sciences take top prizes

Paul Alivisatos, director of the Material Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been named co-winner of the Eni Italgas Prize from Premio Italgas Energia & Ambiente, the Italian gas company. The prize, worth 120,000 euros, honors Alivisato's research on nanotechnology-based solar cells.

Alexis Bell, professor of chemical engineering, has been selected for the 2007 Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis, a biennial recognition of individual contributions to the development of new methods that advance the understanding and practice of heterogeneous catalysis. Sponsored by the Haldor Topsoe Company, the prize is administered jointly by the North American Catalysis Society and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies.

Michael Marletta, the Joel H. Hildebrand Distinguished Professor and the Aldo DeBenedictus Distinguished Professor, is the winner of the American Chemical Society's 2007 Gustabus John Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest. The ACS cited his work and "communication of fundamental chemical research to non-science audiences." Marletta was also selected to receive the 2007 Emil Thomas Kaiser Award, sponsored by the Protein Society.

Brayton honored as computing innovator

Robert Brayton, the Cadence Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, has been named the winner of one of four prestigious awards bestowed for 2006 by the Association for Computing Machinery.

Brayton, who joined EECS in 1987, will receive the Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award at a ceremony in San Diego on June 9. The award, says the ACM, "honors specific theoretical accomplishments that have had a significant and demonstrable effect on the practice of computing," and is accompanied by a prize of $5,000.

Before coming to Berkeley, Brayton was a longtime member of the mathematical sciences department of the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. He is credited with making major contributions in the areas of design automation, circuit modeling, simulation, and logic synthesis, and has authored hundreds of scholarly papers and nine books.

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