B R I E F S
Princeton economics professor Ben Bernanke took
the oath of office as a member of the Board of Governors of
the Federal Reserve System on Aug. 5.
He was nominated by President Bush to
fill the seat vacated by Edward Kelley Jr., who resigned
last year. The term expires January 31, 2004.
Bernanke is the Howard Harrison and
Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public
Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and chair of the
Department of Economics.
A macroeconomist with interests in
monetary policy and macroeconomic history, he has been
director of the Program in Monetary Economics of the
National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the
bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee. He also has served
as editor of the American Economic Review.
Sara McLanahan, professor of sociology and public
affairs, has been elected president of the Population
Association of America.
She will serve as president-elect during
2003 and as president in 2004. Part of her responsibilities
will include organizing the program and presenting a
presidential address at the spring meetings in 2004.
The Population Association of America is
a nonprofit, scientific, professional organization
established to promote the improvement, advancement and
progress of the human race through research of problems
related to human population. Its 3,000 members include
demographers, sociologists, economists, public health
professionals and other individuals interested in research
and education in the population field.
McLanahan, who previously served on the
board of the Population Association of America, directs the
Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and
is an associate of the Office of Population Research at
Princeton. Her research interests include family demography,
stratification and social policy. She teaches courses on
poverty and family policy.
The National Science Foundation has awarded Uros
Seljak, assistant professor of physics, a $400,000 grant
to support work in theoretical cosmology as part of the
foundation's prestigious early-career grant program.
The five-year grant is designated as a
CAREER award, which supports young, tenure-track faculty
members "who are most likely to become the academic leaders
of the 21st century," according to the National Science
Seljak, who joined the physics department
in 1999, plans to develop a comprehensive theoretical system
for analyzing the diverse aspects of a phenomenon called
weak gravitational lensing. Gravitational lensing occurs
when dense clusters of matter bend light that passes by. The
effect can be seen, for example, when light from a distant
galaxy passes a large, but otherwise unobservable object,
such as a dim star. The gravitational field of the large
object acts like a lens, distorting and magnifying the
Seljak plans to make extensive
comparisons between his theoretical predictions and actual
observations from several ongoing sky surveys. The work
could provide more accurate descriptions of several
fundamental aspects of the universe, such as the role of
dark matter in galaxy formation and the nature of dark
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