School of Humanities and Sciences
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Current Research and Scholarly InterestsInterested in new forms of foreign correspondence, how stories go viral, the intersection between technology/social media and national security. Middle East/Israel is my main area of reporting expertise.
BioAfter spending my youth on worthy but often hopeless political causes and despairing about philosophy in Belgium, in my earlier thirties I discovered Linguistics and went to get my Ph.D at Harvard in 1980 on a dissertation on Extraction Rules in Icelandic. With Joan Maling I focused the attention of the syntax community on phenomena such as Icelandic quirky case proving that the subject of a sentence is not always in the nominative case, notwithstanding pronouncements of some of the Harvard faculty, and showed that Chomsky's ill-advised that-trace filter was certainly not a universal, although there still seem to be syntacticians that live under the illusion that it is. With many others, I turned Perlmutter's pleasantly simple unaccusative hypothesis into the mess that it now is.
On the constructive side, I have contributed to the theory of Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) in the development of notions such as long-distance dependencies, functional uncertainty and the difference between subsumption and equality. As a frustrated early adopter of Lauri Karttunen's development tools for two-level morphology at Xerox PARC, I managed to create, with help from Carol Neidle, a morphological analyzer for French that, after some revisions, became an Inxight product.
After an adventurous stint as an area manager at the Xerox European Research Center near Grenoble, France, in the 1990s, I have been back in the Bay Area doing research since 2001. I retired from PARC in 2011 and I am now once in a while working at CSLI and teaching Linguistics at Stanford. In 2011, Lauri Karttunen and I taught a course on From Syntax to Natural Logic at the LSA Summer Institute in Boulder. The slides can be found here.
I am the editor of an online CSLI journal, LiLT (Linguistic Issues in Language Technology)
Associate Professor of Psychology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research focuses on the cognitive and neural bases of social behavior, and in particular on how people respond to each other's emotions (empathy), why they conform to each other (social influence), and why they choose to help each other (prosociality).
Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science and Professor, by courtesy, of Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research group is exploring a variety of topics that range from the basic understanding of chemical reaction dynamics to the nature of the chemical contents of single cells.
Under thermal conditions nature seems to hide the details of how elementary reactions occur through a series of averages over reagent velocity, internal energy, impact parameter, and orientation. To discover the effects of these variables on reactivity, it is necessary to carry out studies of chemical reactions far from equilibrium in which the states of the reactants are more sharply restricted and can be varied in a controlled manner. My research group is attempting to meet this tough experimental challenge through a number of laser techniques that prepare reactants in specific quantum states and probe the quantum state distributions of the resulting products. It is our belief that such state-to-state information gives the deepest insight into the forces that operate in the breaking of old bonds and the making of new ones.
Space does not permit a full description of these projects, and I earnestly invite correspondence. The following examples are representative:
The simplest of all neutral bimolecular reactions is the exchange reaction H H2 -> H2 H. We are studying this system and various isotopic cousins using a tunable UV laser pulse to photodissociate HBr (DBr) and hence create fast H (D) atoms of known translational energy in the presence of H2 and/or D2 and using a laser multiphoton ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer to detect the nascent molecular products in a quantum-state-specific manner by means of an imaging technique. It is expected that these product state distributions will provide a key test of the adequacy of various advanced theoretical schemes for modeling this reaction.
Analytical efforts involve the use of capillary zone electrophoresis, two-step laser desorption laser multiphoton ionization mass spectrometry, cavity ring-down spectroscopy, and Hadamard transform time-of-flight mass spectrometry. We believe these methods can revolutionize trace analysis, particularly of biomolecules in cells.