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Oct. 14, 2002
: Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166 or e-mail gibsona@ohio.edu
Attention Editors, Reporters: Photos of the Presidential Research Scholars are available. Contact Andrea Gibson at gibsona@ohio.edu or Becky Gill at gillr@ohio.edu.

Ohio University names 2002 Presidential Research Scholars

ATHENS, Ohio -- A philosopher, journalist, physicist and biologist have been named Presidential Research Scholars by Ohio University President Robert Glidden, an honor that recognizes achievement in research and creative endeavors and potential for future research successes.

The recipients of the 2002 awards are Professor of Philosophy Philip Ehrlich, Professor of Physics and Astronomy David Drabold and Professor of Biological Sciences Anne Loucks, all in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Journalism Daniel Riffe in the College of Communication. The five-year award includes the title of Presidential Research Scholar and $4,000 a year to further the recipients' work.

"The Presidential Research Scholar Awards provide a way for us to recognize some of our most outstanding university researchers," Glidden said. "I'm sorry we don't have the resources to offer more such awards because the number of nominations grows each year, and each year the quality and diversity of the applications increases as well."

The university received a record number of applications for the award this year; 24 faculty members submitted proposals, up from 17 in 2001. Awardees are selected by the president based on recommendations from the university's Council for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (CRSCA), a 14-member group of faculty members from various disciplines that includes past Presidential Research Scholar Award recipients. Subcommittees comprised of university faculty, including CRSCA members, and external reviewers evaluate proposals in four areas: arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and life and biomedical studies.

"The council selection committees had a difficult time choosing the top candidate among excellent nominees," said Sergio Ulloa, chair of the council and a professor of physics. "The council is pleased that the awards have an increasing profile on campus. I believe that the high quality of recipients in past years has contributed greatly to this development."

Drabold, who joined Ohio University in 1993, is a condensed matter theorist who is developing computer simulations of materials that could be used for technological applications. His primary focus has been on amorphous materials and glasses, as well as basic contributions to the methods for modeling materials. He is currently funded by three awards from the National Science Foundation and a small grant from Axon Technologies to model a glass-based alternative computer memory device.

Ehrlich, who joined the university in 1993, is a logician and philosopher of science who has redefined standard concepts in the field of mathematics, such as the theories of the infinite, the infinitesimal and the continuum. He also has written histories of the late 19th and early 20th century non-Archimedean mathematics. In the upcoming years, Ehrlich will compile his mathematical, historical and philosophical work in a volume titled From the Arithmetic Continuum to All Numbers Great and Small: Issues in the History, Philosophy and Foundations of Non-Archimedean Mathematics and a two-volume Source Book in Non-Archimedean Mathematics and a volume devoted to his theory of continua.

Loucks, a faculty member since 1988, studies the effect of diet and exercise on women's reproductive systems, including what role hormones play in the regulation of the menstrual cycle and skeletal health. Her work suggests that physically active women can prevent or reverse reproductive disorders such as infertility and bone mineral loss by improving their diets. Loucks, whose research has been funded by the U.S. Department of the Army, will use the new award for further studies on the neuro-endocrine regulation of the reproductive system and to develop prevention, intervention and treatment strategies for women with reproductive disorders.

Riffe, a faculty member since 1995, explores communication problems and social issues in Appalachia. He is examining the current and potential role of newspapers, radio, television, the Internet and public health campaigns in impacting regional issues such as poor schools, environmental health hazards, gaps in health care access and delivery, unemployment and economic development. His research includes a forthcoming field survey on the "digital divide," or lack of access to new technology in Appalachian Ohio.

"The Presidential Research Scholars program definitely encourages faculty to excel in their research and acknowledges that success in a tangible way," said John A. Bantle, vice president of research.

All Group I, tenured, full-time faculty are eligible for the Presidential Research Scholar Awards, which were created in 1999. Applicants must be nominated by May 30, 2003, for the next round of awards.

For more information about the Presidential Research Scholar Awards, visit the Web at www.ohiou.edu/research/prsguide.htm or e-mail Program Coordinator Roxanne Male-Brune at male-bru@ohio.edu.

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