Office of Public Affairs
April 9, 2002
TWO PROFESSORS TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR OUTSTANDING RESEARCH
OSWEGO -- A physics professor who spreads the message that science is for everyone and a psychology professor who explores the mind's effects on cardiovascular health will be honored for their work at a ceremony during SUNY Oswego's Quest on April 24.
Dr. Alok Kumar, professor of physics, will receive the President's Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity, and Dr. Brooks Gump, assistant professor of psychology, will receive the Provost's Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity.
Each will give a brief presentation about their work during the ceremony that will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the formal lounge of Hewitt Union.
Gump said he plans to discuss unforeseen findings of his ongoing study of stress effects in children. For two months following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, 9-year-olds in the study were more reactive to stressors in the laboratory setting, he said. Further, his data indicate that girls were more depressed during this time, while boys were more vigilant.
The President's Award recognizes a body of work reflective of lifetime achievement. Kumar's scholarship has spanned atomic and chemical physics, the history of science, science education, cultural diversity in science and cross-disciplinary science-related research.
His work in atomic physics appears in Physical Review, "universally acknowledged to be the premier physics journal in the world," according to Dr. Ronald Brown, the professor of physics at Oswego who nominated Kumar for the award.
Kumar's work in the history of science includes the first English translation, produced with S.I. Salem, of a medieval Islamic text that catalogues the scientific advances of the time by nation. The British Journal for the History of Science called it "an invaluable reference work."
Kumar is active in educational reform as a faculty fellow in NASA's Opportunities for Visionary Academics program, which helps enhance the skills of future science teachers. He worked with Oswego colleagues on the Young Scholars program, funded by the National Science Foundation, to motivate middle school students in science.
He particularly credited his wife, Kiran Singh-Kumar, and three colleagues at SUNY Oswego -- Brown, Jack Narayan and Ivan Brady -- for their invaluable support. He previously was named an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Germany and received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
The Provost's Award honors junior faculty with notable achievements in research or creative activity while having been at Oswego only three to five years. Gump joined Oswego's psychology department in 1998.
Since then, he has been the lead author of two presentations at national conferences, co-authored six articles in highly respected scholarly journals and secured more than $800,000 in grants. His work has also attracted popular attention through coverage in such media as USA Today, National Public Radio, CNN and Time magazine.
He is currently principal investigator on a $637,000 grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to investigate children's reactivity to stress and its relationship to prenatal exposure to a common environmental contaminant.
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