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Three Professors Recognized By SIUE Graduate School

Two SIUE Professors Awarded Distinguished Research Recognition

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Margaret A. "Peg" Simons, professor of philosophy and chair of that department, and Leah C. O'Brien, professor of chemistry, are each recipients of the 2009 Distinguished Research Professor Award from the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Graduate School. The award is an academic rank awarded to SIUE faculty members to recognize outstanding and sustained contributions to research and creative activities.

Simons has sustained an extraordinary record of research activities since her promotion to professor in 1990 and brings national and international recognition to her department. She has maintained the highest level of professional development and has steadfastly pursued her scholarly research independently and through internally and externally funded projects, including two from the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities.

She has been acclaimed one of the most important scholars writing about the philosophy and life of Simone de Beauvoir. Since 1990 she has given 15 international, 35 national, 10 regional and eight local presentations. Simons' academic record clearly demonstrates that her research and publications have had a tremendous impact on the field, her students and the public. External reviewers of Simons' credentials have provided unequivocally strong evidence of the high quality of her work. These reviewers stated that "Beauvoir scholarship in the United States owes more to Peg Simons than to any other individual."

Carlin Romano, writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer, refers to Simons as "America's leading Beauvoir scholar." Many of these reviewers say she is a "pioneer … to whose writings over the past 20 years all philosophers taking part in the current [Beauvoir] renaissance are deeply indebted." Her work is called "pathbreaking" and "fundamental" in Feminist Studies, a highly respected interdisciplinary journal in the broad areas of theory, philosophy, culture, history and literature.

Simons continues to publish, most recently a 2008 article appearing in France and a 2009 book publication, her edition of Beauvoir's Wartime Diary. Her continuing enthusiastic commitment to her research on Beauvoir's philosophy promises to continue to bring advances in knowledge within the discipline of philosophy and international recognition for SIUE.

O'Brien was promoted to professor in 2001 and has brought broad acclaim to her department. Like Simons, O'Brien has pursued her independent research activities through both internally and externally funded projects that have earned her national and international recognition. She has received research funding from two of the most prestigious research agencies in the field of Chemistry: the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Chemical Society. She is highly respected in the international field of gas-phase spectroscopy and her work has relevance to many broader areas of science. O'Brien also regularly publishes in mainstream international journals.

Since 2001, O'Brien has published 15 articles, all in pre-eminent journals in her field, and presented at the most prestigious conferences in all of chemistry. She has been asked to use her expertise in chemistry and science in general to review articles submitted to the Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy, the Journal of Physical Chemistry and to review proposals submitted to the NSF. Her academic record clearly demonstrates her research and publications have had a tremendous impact on the field, her students and the public.

External reviewers of O'Brien's credentials have provided unequivocally strong evidence of the high quality of her work. One reviewer stated, for example, that "she has become one of the leading experts in the spectroscopy of small metal containing molecules and has made many important contributions to the field. She has maintained a steady and consistently high level of quality research and is widely known and respected in the international spectroscopy community."

Another review stated that "her research is on the cutting edge of her profession." Noting the exceptionally outstanding NSF panel reviews of her proposals, another reviewer stated: "this level of commendation is the highest praise a scientist in this country can hope to achieve."

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G. Pelekanos Wins Annual Hoppe Research Professorship


(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) George Pelekanos, associate professor of mathematics and statistics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is this year's winner of the Hoppe Research Professor Awards made annually to SIUE faculty members to recognize and support individual programs of research or creative activities. These awards recognize faculty members whose research or creative activities have the promise of making significant contributions to their fields of study.

Pelekanos, who has been with SIUE since 1998, received the Hoppe Award for his research project in the area of computational electromagnetics, "On the Development of a Fast and Efficient Reconstruction Algorithm in Computational Electromagnetics." Computational Electromagnetics is the science of numerically solving a complex set of Maxwell's equations using limited computer resources. These solutions describe the physical interactions and phenomena between charged particles and materials. A fundamental understanding of these phenomena are critical in the design of many devices such as radar, computer chips, optical fiber systems, and mobile phone systems.

The Hoppe project will lay the foundation for long-term research that will result in the development of fast and efficient codes capable of resolving many of the current and future computational electromagnetic problems faced by the U. S. Air Force. Overall, this interdisciplinary work brings together computer science, applied mathematics and electromagnetic theory, and it portends the creation of a new and important technology not previously available.

Pelekanos earned a doctorate in Applied Mathematics at the University of Delaware in 1997. During the following year, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center of Computational Electromagnetics in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has published more than 20 articles in the areas of inverse scattering, computational electromagnetics and mathematics education. His research has appeared in leading journals in his field. His main research interests include solving forward and inverse problems in elastodynamics, electromagnetics and acoustics, and he is currently working on fast algorithms for solving electromagnetic scattering and inverse problems.

SIUE's Hoppe Research Professorship Awards, administered through the SIUE Graduate School, are designed to support a significant and discrete portion of a faculty member's larger research agenda. The Hoppe Research Professor is appointed for a two-year period, during which he or she receive 50 percent assigned time for research each academic year, the services of a one-quarter time graduate assistant and $1,000 in support.

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