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Christopher Ober and Trevor Pinch named to department chairs at Cornell

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Two new departments chairs have been announced at Cornell University.

Christopher Ober, professor of materials science and engineering, has been named chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for a three-year term starting Jan. 1, 2000.

Trevor J. Pinch has been named chair of the Department of Science and Technology Studies for a five-year term that began July 1.

Making the announcement of Ober's appointment, John Hopcroft, dean of the College of Engineering, noted that Ober has established world-class eminence in polymer research at Cornell, has established himself as a principal player in polymer research and has played a leadership role in polymer outreach. "I am confident Chris will provide the strong leadership necessary to maintain the excellence of the department," Hopcroft said.

Before coming to Cornell in 1986, Ober worked for several years at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada, investigating dispersion polymerization and liquid-crystalline polymers. In 1993, he spent a sabbatical year at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, where he was recipient of a von Humboldt fellowship. Ober is an associate editor of Macromolecules and the 2000 chair of the Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering division of the American Chemical Society.

His research is focused on carrying out fundamental studies of self-organization in liquid crystalline polymers and functional block copolymers, and the creation of new materials for electronic packaging and microelectronics.

Pinch, a native of Lisnaskea, Northern Ireland, came to Cornell in 1990 as an associate professor of science and technology studies following appointments at the University of Bath and the University of York, England. In 1994 he was named a full professor at Cornell.

He has held visiting appointments at the University of Twente and at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands; Cambridge University; the University of California at San Diego; the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and at the Science Center, both in Berlin; and the Danish Technical University.

Pinch is a well-known lecturer and author. Among his many books are The Golem: What Everyone Should Know About Science (Cambridge University Press, 1993) and The Golem at Large (Cambridge University Press, 1998), both co-authored with Harry Collins, professor of sociology at Cardiff University. The first of these has been translated into Bulgarian, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish and Turkish. It won the Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association in 1994 and "Book of the Year" prize at Emory and Henry College, Virginia, 1994. Currently, Pinch is writing a book, Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer.

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