in Research — 2005
The Award for Excellence in Research
recognizes outstanding research and scholarship
by members of the faculty over a sustained number
Professor Gordon G. Gallup joined the University
at Albany in 1975 as professor and chair
of the Department of Psychology. He served as
chair from 1975 to 1984, and since that time
been a professor in biopsychology. His scholarly
activity has made a significant impact on the
discipline of psychology and continues to bring
national and international recognition to the
Gallup has made a mark on psychology and related
areas, and is a nationally and
internationally recognized leader in the study
of the evolutionary basis of behavior. Over his
career, he has written more than 220 scholarly
articles, many of which have appeared in leading
Gallup pioneered the "mirror test" technique
to determine whether primates possess self-
awareness by recognizing their reflection in a mirror. He is also known for
an extensive series of
interdisciplinary studies on tonic immobility in chickens. Tonic immobility,
a reaction of the
autonomic nervous system to extreme threat, leads to freezing or paralysis,
often the mechanism behind the inability to run or fight back.
Gallup has extended this research to instances
extreme behavioral inhibition in humans, including victims of sexual or physical
catatonic schizophrenics, and airline disaster survivors. He has studied
and has written extensively on the use of animals in psychological research.
The main but not
sole focus of his research involves the study of human reproductive competition
Professor Max Lifchitz of the Department of Music has a long record of distinguished
achievement as a composer, pianist, and conductor of international repute. His
work has consistently helped to foster cultural connections, especially between
the American hemispheres. As a performer, he has demonstrated a career-long commitment
to contemporary concert music of the Americas. In yearly concerts and recordings
of works by living composers, he presents to the public an admirable portrait
of musical diversity. He was born in Mexico, and trained at Juilliard and Harvard.
Lifchitz's primary production vehicle is North/South
Consonance, the New York City-based contemporary
music group he founded and has directed for 25
years. The North/South reference highlights the
shared cultural roots of North and South American
concert music, and celebrates the differences
among nations embodied in the artistic expression
of their citizens. His stewardship of the creative
estate of the Mexican master Carlos Chávez,
for which he has produced a performing edition
of Chávez's opera "The Visitor," is
further testament to Lifchitz's commitment to
the tradition to which North/ South is heir.
Lifchitz is a "fearless and principled
musical dynamo" who has been reviewed for
more than 30 years by the likes of Gramophone,
American Record Guide, and The
New York Times.
Distinguished Teaching Professor Steven Messner of the Department of Sociology
is one of
the country's leading criminologists. His many contributions to the advancement
criminological theory and methodology have led to his being named a Fellow of
Society of Criminology – the highest research honor in the field. Messner's
book Crime and the
American Dream (written with co-author Richard Rosenfeld), first published in
1994, is a classic.
Its thesis, that the unusually high levels of crime in the United States are
a direct result of the
normal functioning of American society, has generated a decade of empirical work
by a broad
array of researchers. The book is required reading in most criminal justice curricula
stimulated vigorous interest in cross-national crime comparisons. Messner has
rates, and in particular homicide rates, at every level of aggregation, from
city block to nation.
He is funded by the National Consortium on Violence
Research to convene a workshop aimed
at developing a framework for integrating crime data across many levels.
He has published 15 articles in Criminology, the top journal in the field,
as well as many
articles in the top sociology journals.
Recognized for Excellence in Teaching in 1992
and Excellence in Academic Service in 1996,
Messner has also published an impressive body of work with great impact on
study of crime and deviance. The Social Science Citation
Index counts more
than 600 citations to
his name as sole or first-listed author over his career.
Professor Bonnie Steinbock of the Department of Philosophy is an internationally
recognized expert on biomedical ethics. Her research joins
diverse fields of study, including philosophy,
public policy, law, and medicine. She approaches her work with a commitment to
accessibility for non-specialists.
In Bioethics, a review of her book Life
Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of
Embryos (Oxford, 1992) noted, "One of the book's
major successes is its simultaneous address
of both philosophical and lay audiences." The
book also received strong reviews from the two
leading medical journals, the New
England Journal of Medicine and The
Steinbock's 1988 paper, "Surrogate Motherhood as Prenatal Adoption," is
a classic which has
been reprinted at least 10 times.
She has written some 60 articles, a large number
for a philosopher. They cover a wide range
of topics, including physician-assisted suicide, abortion, cloning, surrogate
testing, and drunk driving.
Her ability to explain technically difficult
topics to the general public has resulted in
appearances. She was interviewed for a 2003 cover story on fetal rights
in Newsweek, and
appeared on a panel discussing human cloning on The
NewsHour with Jim
Lehrer in 1997.