This is a corrected version of an article published in the June 6, 2012, issue. The correction appears at the end of the letter.
Professor Gerta Keller, the subject of PAW’s cover story, is a veteran paleontologist, one of only two female professors on Princeton’s 22-member geosciences faculty. Erez Lieberman Aiden ’02, profiled in this issue, is a rising star in math and genomics.
What do they have in common? A willingness to carve out their own paths, despite the substantial risks.
Aiden is at the beginning of his career, with a prestigious but untenured position at Harvard. Even while he was immersed in the study of the human genome, he has studied the humanities — taking on a linguistics project, for example. “It seems to be possible to study language change and these kinds of seemingly nutty subjects without completely wrecking one’s scientific career,” Aiden told PAW, though, to be fair, not every young scholar has the support he does.
Keller, too, has gone her own way. While most paleontologists believe that what’s known as the Chicxulub impact of an asteroid led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, Keller believes otherwise, arguing for her research at conferences despite opposition and even ridicule.
Keller is “the sort of person for whom universities were created,” the editor of the journal Geoscientist told PAW. One of Aiden’s advisers said exactly the same thing, about him.
Speaking of courage, few people had as much of it as Nicholas Katzenbach ’43, a key member of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and a towering figure in civil rights. He died May 8, at 90. In 2008, a faculty panel convened by PAW ranked him No. 16 on its list of the most influential alumni of all time.
A memorial service will be held at noon Thursday, June 21, in Richardson Auditorium.
For the record
This version of From the Editor corrects an error in the time of the memorial service for Nicholas Katzenbach ’43.