Around the CollegeRetired English professor Al David was appointed by publisher W.W. Norton to share his expertise on Beowulf with the Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, who has recently completed a new translation of the poem. The poem is being used by Norton in its latest anthology of English literature — the workhorse of survey courses — and is also being released separately by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.
Meanwhile, a poem translated by Willis Barnstone, Distinguished Professor emeritus of comparative literature, was posted last spring in subway cars and buses across the country as part of the “Poetry in Motion” project. The poem “I Am Yours,” by Frau Ava, is the oldest known poem in the German language. Barnstone’s translation reads: “I am yours,/you are mine./Of this we are certain.//You are lodged/in my heart,/the small key/is lost.//You must stay there/forever.”
Rudy Raff, professor of biology and director of the Indiana Molecular Biology Institute, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a national organization that recognizes excellence in the arts and sciences. Raff is a pioneer in the new field of evolutionary developmental biology.
The National Academy of Sciences has elected as a member Jeffrey Palmer, Distinguished Professor of biology and chair of the biology department at IU.
Rabi Bhattacharya, professor of mathematics, and Robert Orsi, professor of religious studies were recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships for the year 2000. Bhattacharya is using his grant to study Markov processes, a concept in the study of probability and statistics. Orsi is working on a study of American Catholics’ recollections of their childhoods in the church.
Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis has announced plans to retire on June 30, 2001, as vice president for academic affairs and chancellor of the Indiana University Bloomington campus, a position he has held since 1980. Gros Louis, a professor of English and of comparative literature, is former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and former chair of the English department. He plans to continue teaching after retirement.
Professor Albert Valdman, the Rudy Professor of French and Italian and linguistics, was decorated this fall with France’s highest academic award, the Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques. The order was established in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte as an award for devotion and accomplishment in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and research. Valdman is a world authority on pidgin and creole languages, especially Haitian and Louisiana Creole. He founded IU’s Creole Institute and is the senior author of several dictionaries on French Creoles.