Home       People       Ideas       Progress       News       Publications       Stats   

University Research Professor

University Research Professors have acquired a designation above the rank of professor. The title is the most prestigious award the university gives for research, and goes to faculty who have demonstrated a consistently high level of scholarship and whose research is of truly international stature. The designation carries with it a $4,000 research grant each year for five years and a reduced teaching schedule. Named University Research Professors this year are Dr. Yuri Bahturin, Mathematics and Statistics, and Dr. Gerald Pocius, Folkore.

Dr. Yuri Bahturin

{Dr. Yuri Bahturin}
Dr. Yuri Bahturin

Since coming to Memorial in 1999 as a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Dr. Yuri Bahturin has continued to make his mark in the field of algebra. His research has given him international recognition and the respect of imminent mathematicians worldwide. So it should come as no surprise that he has just been awarded the title of University Research Professor.

Dr. Bahturin began his study of algebra in Russia where he received an M.Sc. and a PhD from the Moscow State University. After receiving his PhD, he worked at Moscow State University until 1999 when he accepted a position as visiting professor at the University of Southern California.

He was attracted to the study of mathematics because of its clearness and rigorousness. "It is not like something can be true and false at the same time, in mathematics it has to be one or the other," he said. "What attracted me to mathematics was trying to find some absolute truth in science."

According to Dr. Bahturin, algebra is one of the most abstract areas of mathematics, yet an area with many immediate applications,— for instance, group theory is widely used in crystallography, chemistry and physics. "If you want to describe complicated processes in nature, numbers are not sufficient. What you need is the representation of groups, which can be found using algebra."

Dr. Bahturin has been hard at work researching Groups, Rings, Lie and Hopf algebras. His research has attracted graduate students to the program, and led to the organization of two international workshops.

Dr. Herb Gaskill, head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, said Dr. Bahturin is an outstanding scholar with a worldwide reputation for excellence.

"He not only brings his ability to perform fundamental research to Memorial, but also his ability to attract other outstanding mathematicians to Memorial as a place to find excellence."

When asked how he feels about receiving such an award, Dr. Bahturin says, "This award will allow me to spend more time on my research, attract more graduate students, two of whom will join our PhD program in January 2003, and also give me support to travel and invite people here. I am very pleased."

Aside from this not a lot has changed for Dr. Bahturin. He will continue to do what he does best - research.

"I have a lot of work to continue to do. I have already written five books and some people are telling me that I need to write another on the research that I am doing now. But I plan to continue my research for now. As long as I am able, I have to do more research. Maybe sometime later there will be quiet time to write about it."

Dr. Gerald Pocius

{Dr. Gerald Pocius}
Dr. Gerald Pocius

By the time he had finished his MA at Memorial University, Gerald Pocius had already published four articles, two in respected journals in the field. Within two years, he had been invited to join the editorial board of the Material History Bulletin and to become the bibliographer for the monumental Modern Languages Association International Bibliography. This was the auspicious beginning to what has been an exceptionally productive and wide-ranging scholarly career. Dr. Pocius has published five books, 60 articles and given over 100 papers at national and international conferences. He has moved the scope of folklore at Memorial beyond its beginnings in lore and language to include material culture and is considered Canada's leading scholar in that field.

While probably best known for his work in vernacular architecture, Dr. Pocius has also worked on textile traditions, folk medicine, cemetery art, religious iconography, furniture, popular music and, most importantly, theories of material culture and space.

A member of the editorial board of Newfoundland Studies since its inception, he was appointed associate editor of the Journal of American Folklore — the principal journal in his discipline - in 1990 and offered the editor's chair in 1999.

Major awards followed inevitably from such work. In 1985, he was made a Research Fellow by the National Endowment for the Humanities in the United States. In 1988, Memorial gave him the President's Award for Outstanding Research and in 1990 he was made Bell Lecturer by Mount Allison University.

When A Place to Belong, a study of the Southern Shore community of Calvert, was published in 1991, it met with widespread acclaim from within and outside the academic community, receiving three major book awards. Its importance to folklore was recognized when it won the Chicago Folklore Prize, the major accolade of that discipline and one that has marked its major contributions since 1928.

{Memorial University of Newfoundland}