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Guggenheim Fellowships awarded to four university faculty members

Four faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin have been appointed Guggenheim Fellows on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Four faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin have been appointed Guggenheim Fellows on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

Mitko Panov and Ellen Spiro of the College of Communication, Martha Ann Selby of the College of Liberal Arts and David Zuckerman of the College of Natural Sciences each received one of the awards. They are among 185 artists, scholars and scientists selected from more than 3,200 applicants for awards totaling $6,912,000.

Decisions are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisers and are approved by the foundation’s Board of Trustees, which includes seven members who are themselves past fellows of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Panov, an award-winning filmmaker who has taught film production at The University of Texas at Austin since 1998, was selected for his work “Texas Weeds,” a fictional film detailing the demise of an American farming family struggling with globalization. The fellowship will enable him to produce the film through his film company, Kamera 300, and to incorporate his students into the production process to provide hands-on experience. Panov has received multiple film awards, including the Sundance Documentary Film Fund and The Golden Palm.

Spiro, an internationally recognized filmmaker whose documentaries have been broadcast around the world, has taught filmmaking at the university since 1998. She was awarded the Guggenheim based on her documentary, “Atomic Ed and the Black Hole,” about an ex-atomic bomb laboratory worker and his views on the history of government nuclear waste. The fellowship will enable her to develop the feature film version of her PBS documentary, “Troop 1500 — Girl Scouts Beyond Bars.” Spiro’s sometimes-unconventional film techniques have earned her awards, including two Rockefeller Fellowships and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, among many others.

Selby is an associate professor of South Asian studies in the Department of Asian Studies, where she teaches courses on Indian literature, Hindu and Buddhist religions, history of Indian medicine and gender formations in India in the classical and modern periods. Selby joined the Texas faculty in 1999. She is a scholar of classical Indian languages and works on texts composed in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Old Tamil. She works primarily on anthologies of poetry, but is also an expert on classical medical literature in Sanskrit. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Institute of Indian Studies. She is the author of” Grow Long, Blessed Night: Love Poems from Classical India” and “The Circle of Six Seasons: A Selection from Old Tamil, Prakrit, and Sanskrit Poetry.” She is completing a book titled “Sanskrit Gynecologies: The Semiotics of Gender and Femininity in Sanskrit Medical Texts.” During her tenure as a Guggenheim fellow, she will complete an annotated translation of a fourth-century anthology of Tamil romantic poetry. Selby has just finished a two-year term as chair of the South Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies and recently served on the association’s board of directors.

Zuckerman, a professor in the university’s Department of Computer Sciences, submitted an entry titled “Randomness and Computation.” He will use the Guggenheim to develop mathematically rigorous ways of improving the randomness used in computer programs. Many computer programs involve random numbers so that his theoretical work can have broad applications, such as in predicting changes in the economy or providing security for on-line purchases. His previous awards include a Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. He joined the university faculty in 1994, and became a full professor in 2003.

For more information contact: Robin Gerrow, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-2145.