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Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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UW professors win Guggenheim Fellowships for research

Two University of Wisconsin faculty members were awarded Guggenheim Fellowship Awards for “past work and exceptional promise” for future creative scholarship.

Alexander Kiselev, professor of mathematics, and Asifa Quraishi-Landes, assistant professor of law, were awarded the fellowships, which aim to allow talented people to work as freely as possible.

The two professors are among 181 new fellows chosen by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation of New York.

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“The idea of this fellowship is to let people focus on their research,” Kiselev said. “That is how they promote their fund. I will use it to reduce my teaching load and focus on research.”

Kiselev’s research in fluid mechanics and mathematical biology involves a class of equations called active scalars. These equations have a variety of applications, including fluid flow on a flat surface. Kiselev also studies the role of chemotaxis, the attraction of biological cells by concentration of a chemical, in ecology. His research suggests chemotaxis may play a crucial role in marine ecosystems, according to his Guggenheim biography.

Kiselev said his research plays an important role in the university, since if it is recognized internationally it benefits the university’s reputation.

“Successful research also makes it possible to attract outside funding,” he said.

Quraishi-Landes teaches courses in Islamic and American constitutional law. Her current research focus is Islamic constitutional law. 

Quraishi-Landes’ published work addresses comparative Islamic and American constitutional theory, as well as issues relating to Islamic law and women, according to her Guggenheim biography.

The fellowship will support progress on a book manuscript, “Islamic Constitutionalism for the 21st Century: Not Theocratic. Not Secular. Not Impossible.” The book attempts to navigate a way out of the current conflict between secularism and Islamism in Muslim-majority countries, according to Quraishi-Landes’ Statement of Plans.

Quraishi-Landes said professors’ research plays a crucial role in the progress of the university.

“From my perspective, I think it is useful to the university community whenever our faculty are working on a subject that has immediate relevance to the world, but address it in a careful and scholarly way,” she said.

After a competitive selection process, the two UW professors were chosen out of nearly 3,000 applicants. Kiselev said he was very pleased to hear the news, since the Guggenheim Foundation is highly selective.

Quraishi-Landes shared similar sentiments, especially because she was initially hesitant to apply for the fellowship.

“I was very honored, thrilled and a bit surprised. When Dean Alta Charo suggested I apply for it back in the fall, my initial reaction was skepticism, because it looked like such an art-specific grant, but she pointed out that they also support law and social science work and encouraged me to go ahead,” she said.

R. Alta Charo, associate dean for academic affairs, said awarding Quraishi-Landes with the fellowship was an affirmation of how the university benefits from her presence on campus.

“The Guggenheim is one of the most prestigious awards in academe. It is our own view that Professor Quraishi-Landes is an intellectual treasure. I am delighted to see that this view is shared by the world,” she said.

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