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 Foundation.
    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 light.
    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 energy.

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