[Currents headergraphic]

March 10, 1997

Awards and Honors

[Photo of Harry Noller]

Harry Noller, Robert L. Sinsheimer Professor of Molecular Biology, received the 1997 Alumni Achievement Award in Chemistry from the University of Oregon, where he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1965. Noller joined the UCSC faculty in 1968 and now directs the Center for the Molecular Biology of RNA. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1992. Noller's citation from the University of Oregon reads, in part, "He has had a remarkable research career, and is widely considered to be the leading expert on the ribosome and its structure and function in catalyzing the translation and synthesis of proteins. . . . Much of our current understanding of ribosome structure is based on the models he developed using incisive chemical probing techniques combined with evolutionary and phylogenetic reasoning."

Seismologist Marino Protti, who received his Ph.D. from UCSC's Earth Sciences Department in 1994, won the National Prize in Science from the Ministry of Science and Technology in Costa Rica. Protti, a professor at the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI), shared the prize with a mathematician from the Costa Rican national university. Protti is the first earth scientist to receive the prize, which the government awards every other year. He was recognized for his work at OVSICORI and for a paper analyzing the subduction of the Cocos oceanic crustal plate beneath Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua, which causes major earthquakes. That paper, coauthored with OVSICORI's Federico Güendel (who earned his Ph.D. from UCSC in 1986) and UCSC professor of earth sciences Karen McNally, appeared in a special 1995 volume of the Geological Society of America.

Nicole "Coco" Medvitz has been named the recipient of the 1996-97 Priscilla Newton Undergraduate Scholarship in Theater Arts, given annually at UCSC. Medvitz, who has appeared in numerous campus and community productions, is a senior majoring in theater arts with a dual emphasis on drama and dance. The scholarship program, now in its sixth year, supports students who have shown outstanding talent and dedication to their work in theater arts. The scholarship fund was established by the late Bernard Oliver to honor his wife, Priscilla Newton, a respected Broadway actress. The $3,000 scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit and need.

This is the second year in a row that Medvitz has received the scholarship, which she shared last year with a senior theater arts student; this is the first time a student has received the award twice. "Coco has been an active and valued member of the Theater Arts Department since she came to campus," said theater arts chair Elaine Yokoyama Roos. "Her talent and her dedication are outstanding and we are delighted to be able to provide her with this deserved support."

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