Five from Bloomington receive IU's most prestigious academic appointment

  • Dec. 17, 2013

EDITOR'S NOTE: A complete list of Indiana University Distinguished Professors, along with titled professors and additional information, is available online.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Five professors from Indiana University Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences have been promoted to the distinguished rank: John Bodnar, Chancellor’s Professor of History; David E. Clemmer, Robert and Marjorie Mann Chair in Chemistry; Krishnan Raghavachari, professor of chemistry; Olaf Sporns, Provost Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; and Roger Temam, College Professor of Mathematics.

The rank of distinguished professor, the most prestigious academic appointment Indiana University can bestow upon its faculty, was created by the IU Board of Trustees in 1967. The title is conferred by the university president with approval of the board.

"To earn the rank of distinguished professor at Indiana University one must not only reflect an outstanding record of sustained, high-quality contributions to the areas of research, instruction and service, but to have also demonstrated the lasting and transformative impact of their work,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “These five faculty members have exceeded those expectations, reflecting upon the university and their fields the highest standards of academic leadership and integrity. They are to be commended, not only by all of us here at Indiana University but by their peers around the world.”

The distinguished professorship typically recognizes faculty who have pioneered or substantially transformed their field, garnering international recognition for their work. Nominations are made each year by faculty, alumni and students, among others, identifying outstanding scholarship, artistic or literary distinction, or other achievements that have won significant recognition by peers.

Nomination materials are reviewed by the University Distinguished Ranks Committee, whose members forward up to five candidates to the president. Upon review and agreement, the president sends the names to the trustees for official action.

The new distinguished professors will be recognized formally at an event in April -- along with other university teaching award winners yet to be announced -- as part of the festivities marking the anniversary of IU's founding in 1820. McRobbie will preside over the faculty recognition banquet, which includes a reception, musical entertainment and a dinner for honored faculty and their guests.

Brief biographies of IU's new distinguished professors follow. Longer versions will be available online in April, along with those of the university's teaching award winners.

John Bodnar, Chancellor’s Professor of History

Described as “one of the most important and influential scholars in the field of United States history,” Bodnar is credited with pioneering and helping to establish at least three key subfields of historical research: new social history (the study of everyday individuals and groups through often-neglected textual resources and quantitative social data), public memory studies (“unofficial” narratives about the past given by otherwise unrepresented voiced in the historical record), and cultural history (the use of everyday cultural productions like films to reveal personal, social and political identity).

Bodnar’s six single-authored books, along with his co-authored books, scholarly articles, essays and commentaries, have earned him a reputation as “one of the most influential historians of his generation.” His first book, “Immigration and Industrialization,” is considered at the cutting edge of the New Social History subfield; “The Transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban America” is in its ninth English printing and considered a standard reference in both Europe and the U.S.; and his 1992 work “Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

A recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Arts and Sciences and a Teaching Excellence Award from the Department of History, Bodnar serves as co-director of the Center for the Study of History and Memory; has served on the History Jury for the Pulitzer Prize; was a member of the American Delegation to the International Historical Congress; and was elected as president of the Immigration History Society.

David E. Clemmer, Robert and Marjorie Mann Chair in Chemistry

Clemmer has been called an “international star” and the “leading figure” in commercial and academic ion mobility spectrometry in the physical, analytical and biological chemistry communities. Inventor and developer of nested ion mobility/mass spectrometry instrumentation and methodology, his inventions have been applied toward pioneering research on the conformational structure of protein ions in the absence of solvent.

Clemmer’s research has diverse applications in the life sciences and have been used to probe deeply into the proteome of plasma as a new dimension for imaging of tissues, to understand how post-translational modifications influence conformation, to assess structures of large protein complexes, and to understand the fundamental characteristics of disease including neurodegenerative diseases. He has published over 190 widely cited articles and chapters, delivered over 225 presentations and holds over 40 patents, including worldwide filings.

A fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Clemmer in 2000 received the National Fresenius award -- a singular honor given to the nation’s pre-eminent chemist under the age of 35. In 2002 he was named to Popular Science magazine’s Brilliant 10 list. In recognition of his teaching, he has received the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from IU, the Teaching Excellence Recognition Award, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award.

Clemmer is also the scientific co-founder of Beyond Genomics (now BG-Medicine), a systems biology company in Boston that currently employs more than 50 scientists.

Krishnan Raghavachari, Professor of Chemistry

Raghavachari is recognized as “one of a top handful of quantum chemists in America” due to his pioneering work in the development and application of quantum chemical calculations. His work covers a broad spectrum of problems including chemical bonding in small clusters, computational investigations of semiconductor and nanoscale materials, and his methods and algorithms have been instrumental for the widespread use of computational chemistry by non-experts.

Raghavachari’s analysis of the nature of three electron correlation effects (triple excitations) led to the development of a new method in 1989, termed CCSD(T), that still stands as the method of choice for accurate evaluation of bond energies and properties of molecules -- termed the “gold standard of quantum chemistry.” Raghavachari’s second major contribution to quantum chemical methods has been the collaborative development of the so-called Gaussian-2, 3, 4  methods, which are hybrid quantum chemical theories that aim to yield relative reaction energies to a precision of approximately one kilocalorie/mole.

He has published over 320 scientific papers in chemistry, physics and materials science, and his more than 50,000 citations have yielded an Institute for Scientific Information Highly Cited Researcher notation. He has served as chair of the Theoretical Chemistry Subdivision of the American Chemical Society; has been elected to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science; and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Physical Society, Chemical Physics Division. In 2009, he received the Davisson-Germer Prize in Surface Physics from the American Physical Society.

Olaf Sporns, Provost Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Sporns has been described by his peers as a cognitive and computational neuroscientist whose theoretical advances have “played foundational roles in robotics and artificial life and who has defined the agenda for the next decade in neuroscience.” His theoretical advances in neuroscience are credited with making the Human Connectome Project possible.

A founding member of the first International Conference on Development and Learning that brings robotocists, artificial life researchers, neuroscientists and human developmentalists together, Sporns is recognized for the discovery of how to systematically and progressively map the wiring diagram; and his computational analyses are the foundation for understanding how the entire brain works as a system. The National Institutes of Health later adopted Sporns’ formulation of the computational problem of how to understand the complexity of the human brain, and his proposed agenda for solving that problem, in the Human Connectome Project.

The author of five books and over 150 research articles, Sporns has previously received IU’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, the Trustees Teaching Award and the Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. One peer said his paper "Theoretical Neuroanatomy" “changed the field of neuroscience,” and another described his book, "Networks of the Brain," as a “landmark synthesis of our knowledge of this field.”

Roger Temam, College Professor of Mathematics

Described as “among the five best and most influential applied mathematicians alive today,” Temam is credited with defining the domain of discourse in several large areas of applied mathematics, including numerical computation of fluid flows, slow dynamics and inertial manifolds, turbulence theory, and climate modeling. He is regarded as one of the top experts in mathematical models for climatology and a leading expert worldwide in nonlinear partial differential equations and their applications.

Temam’s publication record is ranked 24th overall in field strength by Microsoft Academic Search, among all mathematicians in all fields, and according to the Harzing’s counting, Temam has been cited over 25,000 times. He is considered the “most prolific advisor in mathematics,” according to the Mathematics Genealogy Project, with 112 Ph.D. students and 407 mathematical descendants, including distinguished mathematicians around the world.

Temam has received the College de France Prix Peccot Award and the Seymour Cray Prize in Numerical Simulation, and in 2012 he was knighted with a Légion d’Honneur in France. He has been named Honorary Professor by Fudan University, Xi’an Jiaotong University and Lanzhou University in China; and has been elected Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Mathematical Society. The French Academy of Sciences has recognized Temam’s work four times: with the Prix Carriére in 1977, with the Grand Prix Alexandre Joannidés in 1993 and 2003, and by naming him a Fellow of the French Academy in 2007. 

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David E. Clemmer

David E. Clemmer

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Krishnan Raghavachari

Krishnan Raghavachari

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