[Currents headergraphic]

September 21, 1998


Sociologist Candace West honored for her work

By Jennifer McNulty

Candace West, a professor of sociology at UCSC, has been honored for her work by the Sex and Gender Section of the American Sociological Association. West received the annual "Distinguished Article in Gender Award" for her article, "Doing Difference," which she coauthored with Sarah Fenstermaker, a professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara.

The Sex and Gender Section is the largest of ASA's sections, reflecting the amount of interest in the topic. West's article was selected by a four-person committee, one member of which referred to the piece as "an instant 'classic.'"

Ronnie J. Steinberg, professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University and chair of the committee, said the article "raised standards of intellectual discourse about the intersection of gender, race, and class and moved scholarship on gender forward, offering innovative analytic possibilities. This article cannot be ignored."

The article appeared in the journal Gender and Society, and the response prompted the journal to hold a symposium with short reaction pieces written by some of the most influential writers on gender and race.

David Huffman and R. Michael Tanner receive information theory awards

By Tim Stephens

UCSC made a strong showing in the awards ceremonies at the 1998 International Symposium on Information Theory, held in August at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. Professor emeritus of computer science David Huffman and professor of computer science R. Michael Tanner both received special awards for contributions that have been instrumental in the development of important products and applications. Huffman was honored for the invention of the Huffman minimum-length lossless data-compression code, while Tanner was recognized for his 1981 paper "A Recursive Approach to Low-Complexity Codes," which established the profound connections between codes, graphs, and iterative decoding.

The meeting, sponsored by the Information Theory Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the field of information theory in the classic 1948 paper, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication," by Claude Shannon of Bell Laboratories. UCSC was surpassed only by MIT and Stanford in its representation among the recipients of the 17 special Golden Jubilee Awards for Technological Innovation.

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