Lectures to celebrate 2015 McCoy, Bement, Research and Scholarship recipients

November 2, 2015  

Renowned Purdue faculty members Ronnie Wilbur, Wojciech Szpankowski and Arun K. Ghosh will give free public lectures on Nov. 9 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall to commemorate their selection as the 2015 recipients of Purdue's most prestigious awards for research and scholarship.

Wilbur, 2015 recipient of the Research and Scholarship Distinction Award, will give the lecture "Demystifying and Demythologizing Sign Language Research" at 10:30 a.m. Drawing on her four decades of pioneering research on the linguistic structures and innate universal properties of the world's numerous signed languages, she will demonstrate how the field has grown from prior misconceptions to a much fuller -- if not yet complete -- understanding of manual languages of the deaf as fully formed human language systems equivalent to any spoken human language. Wilbur is professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences and professor of linguistics.

Szpankowski, recipient of the inaugural Arden L. Bement Jr. Award, will speak on "Shannon Information Theory and Beyond" at 1:30 p.m. In his talk, after reviewing two main results of Claude Shannon's work concerning compression and reliable communication, Szpankowski will show how modifying the underlying model to bring it closer to modern-day applications may render these problems almost intractable. He also will present models and methods for quantifying information embodied in structures. Szpankowski is the Saul Rosen Professor of Computer Science.

Ghosh, recipient of the 2015 Herbert Newby McCoy Award, will discuss "Harnessing Nature's Insight: Molecules and Molecular Design in Today's Medicine" at 3:30 p.m. Molecular design guided by high-resolution X-ray structures of proteins involved in the pathogenesis of human disease has had a dramatic impact on drug design in modern medicine. Ghosh will highlight the evolution of his team's design strategies, drawing inspiration from nature, including the "backbone binding" strategy for combating drug-resistance in people with HIV/AIDS and selective B-secretase inhibitors for possible treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Ghosh is the Ian P. Rothwell Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology.

"The annual McCoy and Research and Scholarship Distinction awards, as well as the new Arden L. Bement Jr. Award, celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of our dedicated and talented faculty," says Suresh Garimella, Purdue executive vice president for research and partnerships. "We are exceptionally proud of the work that Ghosh, Wilbur and Szpankowski have done to advance not only their respective fields but also the University."

Receptions will follow each lecture in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery in Stewart Center.  

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