The Catholic University of America

April 29, 2010

Awards Given for Big and Very, Very Small Research

Professors of Philosophy and Nanotechnology Receive Research Honors 

  Assistant Professor Holger Zaborowski receives the research award from Provost James Brennan.

For their impressive research into the big questions of philosophy and into creating infinitesimally small machines, a professor of philosophy and a professor of nanotechnology received CUA awards at a faculty reception on April 28. Each awardee also received $2,500.

Four university administrators who are stepping down from their positions were also honored at the reception, held in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Holger Zaborowski, an expert on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, has “a research track record that is amazing,” said CUA Provost James Brennan, the reception’s master of ceremonies.

Though still in his 30s, Zaborowski has published three books, more than 60 academic articles and numerous short articles and topical publications. He has also co-edited six volumes of writings by and about Heidegger, edited a collection of essays in English that is being prepared for publication, and is editor or co-editor of more than a dozen other books in German.

For all this and more, he was given CUA’s Faculty Award for Achievement in Research.

As noted by Rev. Kurt Pritzl, O.P., dean of the School of Philosophy, “Dr. Zaborowski is an amazing case, for his scholarly productivity, success as both an undergraduate and graduate teacher, a director of graduate students in one of the most important philosophical areas of the school (modern and contemporary German philosophy), service to the university (including serving as a resident faculty member in one of our residence halls), and being one of the most genial and collegial persons imaginable.”


Assistant Professor John Philip receives his award.


At the reception, the spotlight was also on the mind-bogglingly tiny world of nanotechnology. Assistant Professor of Physics John Philip was given CUA’s Young Faculty Award for Achievement in Research for his efforts to manipulate the spin direction of electrons as a new way to process information in computer microprocessors. The research, if successful, has the potential to tremendously increase the speed of computers and decrease the amount of energy needed to run them.

Last year Philip also received one of the nation’s leading awards for young scientists, the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant, worth $400,000.

Results of his research have been published in the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology and the Journal of Applied Physics. He’s also known for his accessibility, interactive style, enthusiasm and service as a mentor, said Brennan.

The four CUA administrators who were honored as they step down from their leadership positions were:

  • Nalini Jairath, dean of the School of Nursing from 2004 to 2010.
  • David McGonagle, director of the CUA Press for the past 25 years (and previously serving as registrar, Greek and Latin professor, and executive assistant to the university’s executive vice president and provost).
  • Murry Sidlin, dean of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music from 2002 to 2010.
  • Shavaun Wall, associate vice president for academic planning from 2008 to 2010 and vice provost for undergraduate studies from 2006 to 2008.  She is also a professor of education.

All of the administrators except McGonagle, who is retiring from university, will continue as CUA professors.