In Brief: Summer 2013

Stuart Firestein
Stuart Firestein (Susan Gerbic)
Great teachers

Stuart Firestein and Shih-Fu Chang won the 2013 Great Teacher Award, presented in June by the Society of Columbia Graduates. Firestein, a professor of biological sciences, studies olfactory neurons as a model for understanding how the nervous system delivers messages to the brain. Chang, the Richard Dicker Professor of Telecommunications and a professor of computer science at Columbia’s engineering school, has developed novel ways of extracting information from video content using machine-learning and computer-vision techniques.


Paris fest

Columbia is collaborating with the Bibliothèque nationale de France to hold an international literary festival in Paris this fall. The World Writers’ Festival is the first major project of Paul LeClerc ’69GSAS, the former president of the New York Public Library, in his position as director of Columbia’s Global Center in Paris.

The festival will feature some thirty high-profile writers and emerging authors from around the world, who will discuss their work and explore the role of literature in the twenty-first century. Events will take place across Paris, many of which will emphasize outreach to children in poorer neighborhoods. Some 7,500 to 10,000 people are expected to attend.

LeClerc intends for the festival to be an annual event, expanding beyond France by next year.

The World Writers’ Festival will run from September 20 to 22.


Brazilian horizons

The Lemann Foundation recently signed a multimillion-dollar agreement with Columbia to support initiatives that will recruit and fund scholars and students dedicated to civic engagement in Brazil. The gift, which is Columbia’s largest ever for Brazil-related efforts, establishes and endows the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies, the Lemann Professorship of Brazilian Studies, and a fellowship fund for graduate students at several Columbia schools. The gift will also fund projects initiated by the recently opened Columbia Global Center in Rio de Janeiro.


Two silvers for Auster profile

Columbia Magazine has won two CASE awards for “The Solitude of Invention,” the fall 2012 cover story on novelist Paul Auster ’69CC, ’70GSAS. Writer Stacey Kors earned a silver award in the best articles of the year category, and art director Eson Chan won a silver for editorial design of the profile, which featured paintings by Sam Messer. CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, is a professional organization with more than 3,600 member institutions.