USC Team Earns Harvard Fellowships

Elaine Chew and Alexandre Francois are two of 51 scholars and scientists selected by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
By Eric Mankin
François and Chew at this month's Association for Computing Machinery Multimedia Program meeting in Holland

USC professors Elaine Chew and Alexandre François have been selected to serve as 2007-08 Radcliffe fellows by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

The fellows – including 18 humanists, 13 scientists, 12 creative artists and eight social scientists – work individually and across disciplines on projects chosen for both quality and long-term impact. Their projects range from a photographic series on 21st-century American workers to research on cardiovascular development.

Beginning in August, concert pianist/engineer Chew and computer science researcher François will spend the academic year in Cambridge working on musical interfaces, including a new one (Multimodal Interaction for Musical Improvisation) developed in collaboration with Dennis Thurmond, director of piano pedagogy in the USC Thornton School of Music.

Chew and her husband François have formed a thematic cluster studying the interactive visualization of musical structure, one of two such clusters hosted this year by the Radcliffe Institute. The second cluster will study Ethiopian music culture.

Chew is an associate professor in the Epstein Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. François, a USC Viterbi alumnus, is a research assistant professor in the USC Department of Computer Science Research.

“We are delighted to welcome these distinguished scholars, scientists and artists to Radcliffe,” said Barbara J. Grosz, dean of science at the Radcliffe Institute. “We look forward to seeing new friendships and collaborations form and to witnessing the ways the fellows’ interactions … influence their work.”

Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of the Radcliffe Institute and president-elect of Harvard, said, “In my years as dean, I have been privileged to watch the fellows interact with one another and with faculty members in various departments across Harvard.

“From the vantage point of the Harvard presidency, I will continue to watch and admire their path-breaking work and interdisciplinary approaches.”

Unique among the nation’s centers for advanced studies, the Radcliffe Institute hosts artists, musicians and fiction writers as well as academic researchers and professionals. Selected from a pool of more than 775 applicants, the 2007–08 fellows are a diverse group of distinguished and emerging scholars and artists from the United States and other countries.