CUNY Trustees Approve the Appointment of Five New Distinguished Professors

At its final meeting of the 2012–13 academic year on June 24, the board of trustees of the City University of New York approved the appointments of five new distinguished professors. Three are already members of the doctoral faculty: Joshua B. Freeman in history, Daniel M. Greenberger in physics, and Yunping Jiang. Two will be joining the Graduate Center as new members of the faculty in Fall 2013: Jeremy Kahn in mathematics and Megan Vaughan in history.

Joshua B. Freeman, who serves on the history doctoral faculty, has taught at Queens College and the Graduate Center since 1997 and was executive officer of the Ph.D. Program in History from 2003 to 2009. He also is affiliated with the Joseph S. Murphy Institute, School of Professional Studies. Prior to joining CUNY he taught at Columbia University and the College at Old Westbury, SUNY. After attending New York City public schools, he received a B.A. from Harvard University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Rutgers University. He has written extensively about the history of labor, New York, and modern America. His books include Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II; In Transit: The Transport Workers Union in New York City, 1933–1966; and Audacious Democracy: Labor, Intellectuals, and the Social Renewal of America (with Steve Fraser). His most recent book, American Empire: The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home, 1945–2000, was published last year by Viking and comes out in paperback in July. His articles have appeared in many scholarly journals, including Journal of Social History, Journal of American Ethnic History, Labor History, and Saothar (Dublin, Ireland). Among his honors are the Philip Taft Labor History Book Award, the New York Society Library Book Prize for History, the John Commerford Labor Education Award, fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a Queens College President’s Grant for Innovative Teaching Projects. He has appeared in a number of television documentaries, including Ric Burns’ New York, and has consulted for unions and the New York City Central Labor Council on strategy and internal education.

Daniel M. Greenberger, Mark W. Zemansky Professor of Physics at City College and a member of the doctoral faculty in physics, is internationally renowned for his research, lectures, and writings in the field. He is currently working on fundamental problems in quantum theory and entangled states in quantum mechanics, which may prove to have relevance to biology and chemistry and may shed light on some deep questions involving the nature of time in relativity theory. Greenberger has been collaborating with the quantum optics lab at the University of Vienna, where he works with the pioneer in quantum information Dr. Anton Zeilinger. In 1999, he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), which cited “his contributions to the foundations of quantum mechanics, particularly by proposing and explaining novel experiments in neutron interferometry and multi-particle quantum entanglement.” He was also elected a foreign member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Foundations of Physics, a leading journal in the field, honored him with a two-issue festschrift on his sixty-fifth birthday, and an international conference was convened in his honor on his seventy-fifth birthday. He is best known for the GHZ theorem (Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger), for which the scientists devised an amazing experiment in which, in theory, one can tell whether quantum or classical physics is correct by looking at a single event. He is managing editor of International Journal of Quantum Information and a member of the editorial boards of several other journals. With Zeilinger, he initiated the Quantum Information Topical Group of the APS; and he has organized meetings on quantum mechanics that honored Eugene Wigner and John Wheeler. A graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Greenberger earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. He came to City College in 1963 from Berkeley, and has been there and at the GC ever since.

Yunping Jiang, a member of the doctoral faculty in mathematics based at Queens College and internationally known, has been appointed distinguished professor of mathematics, effective Fall 2013. He has been working in one-dimensional dynamical systems, complex dynamical systems, thermodynamical formalism, quasiconformal mapping theory, and the Teichmuller theory. He has made a profound contribution to these fields and toward interdisciplinary studies between them. He is the author of more than seventy research papers, most of them published in prestigious peer-reviewed mathematical research journals; five of them are about his ongoing research. He is the author of one book and an editor of three conference proceedings, and has coauthored mathematical papers with thirty-three mathematicians, among them many distinguished mathematicians and mathematical physicists. Jiang also serves as editor of Transactions of the American Mathematical Society and Memoirs of the American Mathematical Society. He has presented more than 150 papers worldwide, traveling frequently to China to present his research as well as to France, England, Germany, Switzerland, India, Japan, Portugal, and Singapore, and throughout the United States. A committed teacher and mentor, Jiang has successfully guided six doctoral students toward completing their Ph.D.s; three are under his tutelage at this time. He has won numerous grants, including several NSF awards, and currently serves as principal investigator on a 2011–16 Simon Foundation collaborative grant. Jiang earned his B.S. and M.S. at Peking University, Beijing, China, and his Ph.D. at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He has been working as a member of the mathematics faculty at Queens College since 1992 and joined the doctoral faculty in 1998.

Jeremy Kahn, who has made a name for himself for his elegant and original solutions to several deep and long-standing problems, will join the Ph.D. Program in Mathematics as a distinguished professor, effective Fall 2013. One of Kahn’s fields is hyperbolic geometry, the whole idea of which, he said, “is that the parallel lines do not maintain a constant distance as they do in Euclidean geometry. The lines remain straight, but the space where the lines are is curved.” Kahn recently solved, with Vladimir Markovic of Caltech, the “Ehrenpreis conjecture,” which many mathematicians had worked on for decades. The first half of the solution also proved the “surface subgroup conjecture,” and led to proof of the topologist William Thurston’s “fibration conjecture.” For their work on the Ehrenpreis and the surface subgroup conjectures, Kahn and Markovic were honored with the 2012 Clay Research Award by the Clay Mathematics Institute. Kahn’s research in another field, complex dynamics, drew this statement from Curt McMullen of Harvard: “… his work with [Mikhail] Lyubich…represents one of the biggest breakthroughs in complex dynamics in the past decade.” Dennis Sullivan, the Graduate Center’s Einstein Professor, credits Kahn with having “invented powerful…tools allowing him to solve difficult problems in unexpected ways which are published in the arguably premier math journal on the planet…three consecutive papers in the Annals of Mathematics.” Other articles, authored or coauthored, have appeared in Geometric and Functional Analysis; Journal of Complexity; SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics; Annales scientifiques de l’École normale supérieure; and Journal of Difference Equations and Applications. A native New Yorker and a child of two CUNY graduates, Kahn graduated from Harvard with a degree in mathematics and earned his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley. He comes to the Graduate Center from Brown University, where he served as professor of mathematics.

Megan Vaughan has been appointed distinguished professor of history at the Graduate Center, effective Fall 2013. A fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society, she is a scholar of outstanding accomplishment and vision, one of the most productive and innovative historians of Africa and comparative colonialism. Her five books are classics that resonate both within and beyond the academic world. The first four, published between 1981 and 1994, examine British Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Women Farmers of Malawi, coauthored with David Hirschmann; The Story of an African Famine; Curing their Ills: Colonial Power and African Illness; and, coauthored with anthropologist Henrietta Moore, Cutting Down Trees, which won the Herskovits Prize from the African Studies Association. For Creating the Creole Island: Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Mauritius (2005), her fifth book, Vaughan ventured into the French West Indies. The book won the 2005 Heggoy Book Prize from the French Colonial Historical Society. Vaughan has published a prodigious number of journal articles and chapters in edited books, serves on the editorial boards of several journals, and has organized major international conferences in both England and Africa. President of the African Studies Association (UK), she played a key role in building the programs of African studies at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities and is highly respected for her contributions to the study of Africa in Africa itself. Vaughan earned her Ph.D. in African history at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and comes to the Graduate Center from the University of Cambridge, where she has been Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History, a fellow of King’s College, and director of the Centre of African Studies.

Submitted on: JUN 27, 2013

Category: Distinguished Professor Appointments, General GC News