Gutenberg Research College welcomes new fellows and bestows the Gutenberg Research Award

Award given to the internationally renowned linguist and cognitive science specialist Leonard Talmy


Five years after the foundation of the Gutenberg Research College (GRC) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany, the institution and its members could not only celebrate this anniversary but also came together to bestow the Gutenberg Research Award. In a celebratory evening event held on the university campus on Monday, the GRC also honored its nine new fellows who have taken up a fellowship within the last year or will shortly be doing so. "We are very pleased to welcome our new GRC fellows and have them join us at this ceremony in which we will also be presenting the Gutenberg Research Award. Tonight, it is a particular honor to welcome one of the most influential linguistic scholars in the world here in Mainz," said Professor Dr. Matthias Neubert, Director of the Gutenberg Research College and Head of the Theoretical High-Energy Physics group. This year's Gutenberg Research Award was given to the internationally renowned linguist and cognitive science specialist, Leonard Talmy.

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz established its Gutenberg Research College in 2007 to highlight the university’s academic strengths and to promote promising new research areas. For this, individual academics can be provided with support in the form of fellowships. By means of a fellowship, targeted financial sponsorship is awarded to outstanding academics with the aim of ensuring that they have the best preconditions in which to carry out their research. Over the past year, the GRC has expanded significantly and now has 17 fellows. The GRC officially welcomes its new fellows at an annual evening ceremony at which the new members are given their letters of appointment.

This was the first time the event was also used to bestow the Gutenberg Research Award. By honoring Leonard Talmy, the GRC is continuing the tradition of bestowing an annual prize on exceptional international researchers, a tradition that the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" initiated in 2006 for honoring outstanding researchers in the field of materials science. Within the context of the university's application in the German Federal Excellence Initiative for funding of its institutional strategy, the responsibility for the Gutenberg Research Award has been transferred to the GRC, which will in future be eliciting proposals from all faculties of the university.

Award for Leonard Talmy

Leonard Talmy is one of the world's most renowned linguists, co-founder of the influential school of 'cognitive linguistics,' and a leading expert in language typology who consistently works in an interdisciplinary research field where language and cognition meet. Leonard Talmy was born in Chicago and in 1963 he received his B.A. in Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley and his doctorate in 1972 for his pioneering work on the now-defunct Native American language Atsugewi, of which he is the last 'speaker.' Further academic posts followed at Stanford University and at the University of California, San Diego. Back in Berkeley, he became the first coordinator of the then newly established Program in Cognitive Sciences, in 1990 he became Professor of Linguistics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was also the director of the newly established Center of Cognitive Science up to his retirement in 2005. Leonard Talmy now lives in Berkeley once again and is still an active member of the local academic community.

In Talmy, the GRC is honoring one of the most innovative linguistic theorists of our time, an extraordinary pioneer in linguistics, and a creative analyst. Due to these attributes, Talmy was extraordinarily well received across all disciplines, not least in the so-called 'hard sciences.' Although he is a language typologist, he is also a founding member and fellow of the Cognitive Science Society. As one of the 'founding fathers' of cognitive linguistics, which was developed as a theoretical counterweight to Noam Chomsky's formal generative linguistics, he has had a massive influence on the world of linguistics.

Honoring the new GRC fellows

"We are today honored to officially welcome you as fellows of the GRC and are pleased to be able to award you these GRC fellowships in recognition of your work and to provide further support for your research projects," stated GRC director Matthias Neubert in his welcoming address to the new fellows. The award of GRC fellowships also serves to extend the university's network of contacts, particularly through the appointment of external members. Nine fellows received their letters of appointment on Monday.

  • Amparo Acker-Palmer is Professor of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology at Goethe University in Frankfurt and also a member of the Research Unit Translational Neurosciences (FTN) at JGU. In a very competitive scientific field, she uniquely combines fundamental research in the medical and biological sectors.
  • Kookheon Char teaches and researches at the College of Engineering at Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea. He already has a close relationship with JGU; in 2006 he received the Gutenberg Research Award of the Graduate School of Excellence Materials Science in Mainz (MAINZ).
  • Jürgen Gauß is one of the most renowned scientists at JGU and one of the leading international quantum chemists. In addition to numerous other awards, he also received the Leibniz Prize in 2005.
  • Among other aspects, Anu Korhonen researches and teaches cultural history with a special focus on body and gender in early modern England at the University of Turku. She was a research fellow of the Academy of Finland at the University of Helsinki.
  • William Marciano is a theoretical particle physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Yale University. He is the holder of the Sakurai Prize of the American Physical Society (together with A. Sirlin) for his pioneering work in calculating electroweak radiative corrections.
  • Axel Müller is Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry at the Bayreuth Center for Colloids and Interfaces. He was appointed a fellow of the Polymer Chemistry Division by the American Chemical Society in 2011 and only recently received the Hermann Staudinger Prize of the Society of German Chemists.
  • Vera Nünning is Professor of English Philology at the University of Heidelberg. Her publications on cultural science and narrative discourse have influenced research across both national and disciplinary boundaries.
  • Hugo ten Cate is a professor at Maastricht University and is internationally renowned as one of the most productive and successful researchers in the fields of hematology and vascular medicine.
  • Harco Willems is Professor of Egyptology at the Catholic University in Leuven in Belgium and has made very important contributions to both the fields of philology and archaeology.