UC Santa Barbara professors John Nathan and David W. Lea have been named recipients of prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced Monday.
The foundation annually awards fellowships to leading artists, scholars and scientists.
Nathan, the Takashima Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies in UCSB's Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, will use his award to support work on a book, tentatively titled "Japan's Quest for a Viable Role Today."
Lea, a professor of geological sciences who specializes in prehistoric oceans and climates, will use his fellowship to continue his research into how atmospheric carbon dioxide levels affect climate change.
Nathan said his book will deal with ambivalence in Japanese society over whether to pursue traditional or Western ways of life.
"It will be an analysis of the radical changes occurring today across Japanese society in family life, education, popular culture, business and government," said Nathan, who will spend most of the 2002-2003 academic year on sabbatical working on the project both in Japan and at home in Santa Barbara.
Well known as the translator of Japanese novelist Kenzaburo Oe and for his book, "Sony: The Private Life," on Sony Corporation founders Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, Nathan said he was "surprised, honored and delighted" to received the fellowship.
"John is internationally recognized as a translator, a film-maker, and an astute observer of Japanese culture," said David Marshall, Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at UCSB. "I'm very pleased, but not at all surprised, that he has received one of the most prestigious fellowships available to a scholar in the humanities."
Lea will investigate the influence of the tropical oceans on Ice Age climate cycles and how atmospheric carbon dioxide might have transmitted the changes in those cycles.
"By establishing the relationship between climate variations associated with Ice Age cycles, it should be possible to better predict the extent of global warming in response to rising carbon dioxide levels in our present-day atmosphere," Lea said.
Lea will conduct his research during the 2002-2003 academic year while on sabbatical at Cambridge University in England, where he will work with Nicholas Shackleton, a pioneer in the study of climate history.
"I am delighted to have been picked," Lea said. "I take it as a high compliment, especially given the competition."
Martin Moskovits, Dean of Science at UCSB, said Lea is a worthy recipient of such an honor.
"David Lea is one of the most inventive minds in the area of paleoclimatology working today," Moskovits said. "He represents the best example of someone asking fundamental questions that can only be answered by crossing traditional disciplines."
This year's 184 Guggenheim Fellows were chosen from among 2,845 applicants. The total amount given was $6,750,000.
The average award was $37,000.
According to the Foundation, Guggenheim Fellows are selected on the basis of unusually impressive achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.