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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

May 3, 2005
CONTACT: Amy Cowles

American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Elects Irwin and Olson

Johns Hopkins University professors John Irwin and Peter Olson are among the 196 fellows elected to the 225th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The academy made its announcement April 26.

Irwin is a professor of poetry in the Writing Seminars, and Olson is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Both departments are within the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

"Being inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is the highest recognition a scholar can receive in this country," said Daniel Weiss, James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and a professor in the Department of the History of Art. "This recognition honors their individual achievements, but by extension it is a testament to the strength of our school."

Irwin is the Decker Professor in the Humanities and chair of the writing program in the Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins. He is author of Just Let me Say This About That, Doubling and Incest/Repetition and Revenge, The Heisenberg Variations, American Hieroglyphics, and The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story. He was formerly editor of The Georgia Review and is presently general editor of The Johns Hopkins University Press Fiction and Poetry Series. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1991, he won the Christian Gauss Prize in 1994 and the Scaglione Prize in 1994 for The Mystery to a Solution.

The focus of Olson's research is to understand the dynamics of Earth's interior, including both the mantle and the core. He is especially interested in how these two major parts of the Earth interact to produce plate tectonics, deep mantle plumes, and the geomagnetic field. He combines theory, numerical models, and laboratory fluid dynamics models to interpret global geophysical data pertaining to the deep interior. Olson is currently collaborating with graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at Johns Hopkins to study the dynamics of Earth's core, particularly the magnetohydrodynamic processes by which the geomagnetic field is generated in the fluid outer core, and how and why it reverses its polarity. He is also investigating magnetic dynamos in other planets.

"This is wonderful news for professors Olson and Irwin, each of whom is richly deserving of this recognition," said Adam Falk, interim dean of the Krieger School. "It is also a great source of pride for the Krieger School to have faculty honored simultaneously in two such different disciplines. We are indebted to them for everything they have contributed to Arts and Sciences over the years."

The 213 fellows and foreign honorary members were nominated and elected to the academy by current members. A broad-based membership of scholars and practitioners from mathematics, physics, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts, public affairs and business, allows the academy to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary studies and public policy research. Irwin and Olson will be inducted on Oct. 8 in Cambridge, Mass., alongside other fellows including Academy Award-winning actor and director Sidney Poitier; choreographers Mark Morris and Judith Jamison; journalist Tom Brokaw; Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page; architect, sculptor, and designer of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, Maya Lin; and four Pulitzer Prize winners — dramatist Horton Foote; playwright Tony Kushner; novelist Alison Lurie, and cartoonist Art Spiegelman. A press release and a list of the new fellows is available online at www.amacad.org/news/new2005.aspx.

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