VOLUME 30, NUMBER 30 THURSDAY, April 29, 1999

Faculty members to receive Norton Medal
Eli Ruckenstein, Robert Creeley to be honored with university's highest tribute

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Reporter Editor

Eli Ruckenstein and Robert Creeley, University at Buffalo faculty members honored this year with top national awards in their fields, will receive the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, UB's highest tribute, at the university's 153rd commencement ceremony May 16.

Ruckenstein, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was presented the National Medal of Science, the highest honor awarded in the U.S. for scientific achievement, by President Clinton on Tuesday in a ceremony at the White House.

Creeley, pioneering American poet and Samuel P. Capen Chair in Poetry and the Humanities in the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of the 1999 Bollingen Prize in Poetry, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world.

The Norton medal is presented annually in public recognition of a person who has, in Norton's words, "performed some great thing which is identified with BuffaloŠa great civic or political act, a great book, a great work of art, a great scientific achievement, or any other thing which in itself is truly great and ennobling and which dignifies the performer and Buffalo in the eyes of the world."

President William R. Greiner noted, "This year, two UB professors are eminently deserving candidates, reflecting the national and international breadth and stature that Chancellor Norton had in mind."

He added: "The achievements of Professors Creeley and Ruckenstein boost the value of our UB stock, enhance our morale, embrace science and the arts as central to our purpose as an institution, and remind us that truly great faculty members are this university's most valuable asset.

"The Chancellor Norton Medal signifies excellence in our community; this year's recipients are particularly worthy and make us proud to be members of their extended UB family."

Ruckenstein, a UB faculty member since 1973, is the first UB professor to receive the coveted National Medal of Science.

Considered the U.S. equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the medal is bestowed on individuals who have made outstanding contributions to knowledge in the chemical, physical, biological, mathematical, engineering or social sciences.

Ruckenstein's research interests have covered nearly every aspect of chemical engineering, a breadth rarely seen in the work of a single scientist.

He conducts both theoretical and experimental research that not only has changed scientists' understanding of the fundamental phenomena of chemical processes, but also has led to the development of enhanced research methods and new materials.

Ruckenstein has performed groundbreaking work on the theory of transfer phenomena, the chemistry of supported metal catalysts, catalytic combustion,detergents and the thermodynamics of microemulsions and other complex fluids. He pioneered thermodynamic theories of microemulsions and liquid crystals that explain their stability and was one of the first to propose models for the aggregation of surfactant molecules in solution, which he later extended to other complex fluids.

Ruckenstein is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, the highest professional distinction an engineer can achieve in the United States. In 1996, he received the American Chemical Society's prestigious E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. The award, sponsored by the Exxon Research & Engineering Co. and Exxon Chemical Co., is given to "stimulate fundamental research in industrial and engineering chemistry, the development of chemical engineering principles and their application to industrial processes."

One of the most influential poets of his time, Creeley was an originator of the "Black Mountain" school of poetry, which established a new and anti-academic poetic tradition that has been reflected in the work of many poets who have come to occupy significant places in the 20th-century literary canon.

He co-directs the UB Poetics Program, which he and his colleagues Charles Bernstein, Raymond Federman, Leslie Fiedler, Dennis Tedlock and Susan Howe developed to encourage the exploration of language and its capacity to express and represent human experience.

As the 1999 recipient of the Bollingen Prize in Poetry from the Yale University Library, Creeley joins an elite group that includes W.H. Auden, e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, Robert Penn Warren, James Merrill and John Ashbery. The Bollingen is presented biennially to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry.

Creeley, who has served on the UB English department faculty for more than 30 years, recently was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the American Academy of Poetry (AAP) along with several other pioneering writers who represent minority forms, themes and approaches to fin de siecle American life. He has received a number of prestigious fellowships and awards, including the Robert Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America in 1987, the year he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1988 he received the Walt Whitman Citation from the New York State Writers' Institute and, in accordance with the citation, was named New York State Poet Laureate for 1989-91.

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