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Press Release: New Stanford Faculty

Date Issued: February 9, 2005


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Editor's note: When new faculty arrive at the university—step off the bus, hoist their duffle bags over their shoulders and stare in wonder at the palm trees and short-sleeved shirts—the rest of the Stanford community may be forgiven for not noticing their presence; we are, after all, caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of our duties, and the regular ebb and flow of new faces on campus can go unheeded. Likewise for new faculty promoted through the ranks of Stanford instructors, adjunct professors and visiting fellows. Stanford Report, however, refuses to let these men and women set up shop anonymously (occasionally despite their best efforts). Therefore, without further ado: Introducing the newest appointments to the university's esteemed professoriate. (The following includes new faculty in Natural Sciences, Engineering & Mathematics only.)

Natural Sciences, Engineering & Mathematics

Tom Abel, associate professor of physics, came to the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology from Pennsylvania State University. His expertise is in computational cosmology, particularly the formation of the first stars.

Steve Ward Allen, assistant professor of physics, came to the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology from the University of Cambridge. Allen studies ordinary matter, dark matter and dark energy in the universe by employing X-ray observations of galaxy clusters.

Zhenan Bao, associate professor of chemical engineering, earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1995 and conducted research at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., from then until 2004. Her areas of expertise include organic semiconductor design and synthesis, nanotechnology and flexible electronics.

Wei Cai, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, came to Stanford after a postdoctoral fellowship at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Cai's interests include predicting material strength under diverse conditions, simulating defects, identifying mechanisms of interaction and dislocation across boundaries, and optimizing simulations of long-term processes.

Valdo Durrleman, Szegö Assistant Professor of Mathematics, received his doctorate in operations research and financial engineering from Princeton University in June 2004. His expertise is in mathematical finance (implied volatility, model calibration and computational finance) and stochastic processes (Malliavin calculus and rough paths).

Charbel Farhat, a professor who shares his time between the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, came to Stanford after 17 years at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where most recently he served as director of the Center for Aerospace Structures and chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. He is a leading figure in computational engineering and computational sciences, with a broad range of contributions running from fundamental scientific and mathematical developments to their implementation in software and their application to complex engineering problems.

Kelly Gaffney, assistant professor at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of California-Berkeley in 2001. Gaffney makes "movies" of chemical reactions using unique sources of femtosecond (one-quadrillionth of a second) X-ray pulses in conjunction with femtosecond lasers.

Soren Galatius, Szegö Assistant Professor of Mathematics, earned a doctorate in 2004 from Aarhus University in Denmark. He is an expert in topology, a subfield of geometry. While a torus ("doughnut"), for example, is a geometric object, so too is its surface, and Galatius studies the properties of "the space of surfaces."

Eleny Ionel, associate professor of mathematics, earned a doctorate from Michigan State University in 1996 and subsequently did postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She conducts research in the area of differential and symplectic topology.

Ramesh Johari, assistant professor of management science and engineering, earned a doctorate in June 2004 from MIT. Interested in the design and control of large-scale systems, particularly networks such as the Internet and the electric power grid, Johari focuses on the interplay between economic issues (such as incentives) and engineering issues (such as stability, reliability and scalability).

Steven A. Kivelson, professor of physics, was at UCLA prior to joining Stanford in 2004. A theoretical physicist, he studies the macroscopic electronic properties of solids, especially those in high-quality semiconductor devices and in novel "synthetic metals" including high-temperature superconductors.

Scott Klemmer, assistant professor of computer science, is an expert in human-computer interaction who received his doctorate from UC-Berkeley in December. His research focuses on tangible user interfaces—those that move beyond the mouse and keyboard to offer direct control of digital information through physical objects—and user interface software tools.

Vera Luth, professor (research) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, is an expert in particle physics. She studies the fundamental interactions of matter at the level of its constituents—quarks and leptons—and focuses her research on understanding the asymmetry between matter and antimatter in these interactions and in today's universe.

Stephen Quake, professor of bioengineering, came to Stanford from the California Institute of Technology, where he was a professor of applied physics and physics. His areas of expertise include biophysics and bioengineering, specifically single-molecule biophysics, microfluidics and biological automation.

Timothy Roughgarden, assistant professor of computer science, received his doctorate from Cornell University in 2002 and did postdoctoral work at Cornell and UC-Berkeley. His research interests include design and analysis of computer algorithms, optimization in networks and game theory, especially as it applies to networks.

Amin Saberi, an assistant professor who splits his time between the Management Science and Engineering Department and the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, earned his doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004. He is interested in algorithms and algorithmic game theory and their application in the context of the Internet and other large-scale complex networks.

Peter Storm, Szegö Assistant Professor of Mathematics, has a doctorate from the University of Michigan and was an instructor at the University of Chicago prior to coming to Stanford in September 2004. He studies and applies geometric principles to objects with many edges (such as crystals) or fractional properties (such as the air surrounding a snowflake), where traditional methods do not work well.

F. Nathaniel Thiem, Szegö Assistant Professor of Mathematics, earned his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004. He works with combinatorial representation theory, which studies algebraic structures via combinatorial objects.

By John Sanford, News Service, (650) 736-2151,

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