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Blue ribbons, gold stars, honorable mentions

02 October 2009

Two Berkeley researchers are among 10 recipients being recognized for their environmental achievements by the Heinz Family Foundation. Ashok Gadgil, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and faculty senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Kirk Smith, a professor of environmental health sciences, will each receive $100,000 for the strides they have made toward a cleaner and more sustainable environment.

Gadgil was recognized for his work as a researcher, inventor, and humanitarian. The foundation cited Gadgil's efforts to understand airflow and pollutant transport in buildings, which helps to reduce health risks, improve energy efficiency, and enhance the quality of life in developing countries. Smith was honored for his research exposing the relationships among air pollution, household fuel use, climate, and health. The foundation noted that he was the first to recognize and quantify the magnitude of the pollution exposure resulting from cooking indoors with solid fuels, such as wood and other biomass.

The National Building Museum will present its Vincent Scully Prize to Professor Emeritus Christopher Alexander, who taught architecture at Berkeley from 1963 until 2001 and who, over the course of his career as an author, architect, and educator, "challenged the architectural establishment to pay more attention to the human element of design." In its announcement, the museum lauded Alexander for such "seminal books" as A Pattern Language and The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, as well as "his efforts toward inspiring students to be more thoughtful design practitioners." Alexander is scheduled to present an original lecture and take part in a panel discussion when he receives the award at the museum in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5.

Ruzena Bajcsy, professor of electrical engineering, is this year's winner of the Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award, presented annually to "a woman who has inspired the women's technology community through outstanding technological and social contributions." Bajcsy, who is also director emerita of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), has done groundbreaking work over the past four decades, pioneering new research fields and leading the computing community in addressing social issues.

In announcing her award, the Borg Institute said Bajcsy "has broken barriers and opened up access for women as a role model, mentor, and advocate."

Eric Stover, faculty director of the campus Human Rights Center, has been named a 2009-10 fellow by the Open Society Institute, founded by financier and philanthropist George Soros to "build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens" through grants and fellowships to scholars, researchers and organizations. As an Open Society Fellow, Stover plans to conduct research to evaluate how well war--crimes tribunals serve the needs of victims of mass violence. His project will focus on the work of tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and East Timor, as well as the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

For more on Stover's work, see