Every year, the Office of International Affairs honors outstanding University of Maryland faculty with international awards for their service or innovation. Below are profiles on the 2010 winners, Dr. Rajarshi Roy and Dr. David A Crocker.
Dr. Rajarshi Roy was born in Calcutta, India, and grew up in Delhi, where he studied at St. Stephen’s College at Delhi University. He traveled to Rochester in upstate New York for graduate study in Physics. He met his thesis advisor, Leonard Mandel, and his desire to become a theoretical particle physicist fell by the wayside—he discovered what he had always wanted to do but had not figured out for himself—to design small scale table-top experiments and explore the nature of light and its interaction with atoms and molecules. Understanding order and randomness in light and matter has been a passion ever since.
After receiving his Ph.D. in 1981 from the University of Rochester, he went to Boulder, Colorado, as a postdoctoral research associate to work at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) and then moved to the School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology in 1982. He worked there for 17 years and was chair of the School when he was recruited by the University of Maryland to set up a laboratory for research on the nonlinear dynamics of optical devices and systems. Since 1999 he has worked in the Department of Physics, the Institute of Physical Science and Technology (serving as the director of IPST since 2003), and the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP). He has supervised, individually or jointly, the Ph.D. theses of 26 graduate students, including eight from the University of Maryland, and worked with many postdoctoral fellows and visiting faculty over a span of 30 years.
About five years ago, he attended a workshop in Trieste, at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, and thought about organizing a series of schools on Hands-on Research in Complex Systems, in partnership with Ken Showalter of West Virginia University, Harry Swinney of the University of Texas at Austin, and K. R. Sreenivasan who is now at New York University. Three such schools have occurred so far; in India (Ahmedabad, 2008), Brasil (Sao Paulo, 2009), and Cameroon (Buea, 2010). Three more are currently in the planning stages. The two-week long Hands-On Research in Complex Systems Schools are designed to introduce graduate students and young faculty from developing countries to table-top scientific research on problems at the frontiers of science. Experiments on physical, chemical, and biological systems are conducted with modern yet inexpensive analog and digital instrumentation, and the laboratory work is complemented by mathematical modeling and data analysis using Matlab. The participants are able to introduce new tools and demonstrations into the classroom and teaching laboratories and to use these new tools in their own research. Thus the Hands-On Schools foster the development of scientific leaders in less developed countries.
Dr. David A. Crocker is Senior Research Scholar at the University’s Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy and the School of Public Policy. Coming to UM in 1993, he specializes in international development ethics, sociopolitical philosophy, transitional justice, democracy, and democratization. Offering graduate courses in ethics, development, foreign aid, democracy, and human rights, Dr. Crocker helped establish and directs the School’s specialization in International Development—the School’s largest and fastest growing program. He also directs doctoral dissertations on ethics and global issues. In 1998, he started the Development Circle, a bi-weekly speaker-forum that addresses ethical issues in international development. In 2009, he shared with Herman Daly the School’s award for “outstanding faculty member.”
Since 2007, Dr. Crocker has been director of the College Park Scholars Public Leadership program, an undergraduate living-learning-service program for 150 freshmen and sophomores. In this program he treats global leadership, citizenship, and civic engagement as exemplified by people such as Nelson Mandela, Greg Mortenson, and Wangari Maathai. In January, he will direct his third study-abroad trip to Morocco, where the group studies “Culture and Human Rights—A Public Leadership Perspective.” In 2010, he led a study trip to Peru to study “Development, Democracy, and Human Rights in Peru.”
After three degrees from Yale University (M.Div., MA, and Ph.D.), Dr. Crocker taught philosophy for 25 years at Colorado State University, where he established one of the world’s first courses in ethics and international development. He was a visiting professor at the University of Munich, was twice a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Costa Rica, held the UNESCO Chair in Development at the University of Valencia (Spain), and taught at the National University of Honduras and the University of Chile. He was chair of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on International Cooperation, an officer of the Human Development and Capability Association, and a founder and president of the International Development Ethics Association. He has been a consultant with the Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, and the World Bank.
Dr. Crocker has given 250 invited lectures or conference papers in English or Spanish in 25 countries. His most recent publications are Ethics of Global Development: Agency, Capability, and Deliberative Democracy (Cambridge University Press) and “Comercio, reducción de pobreza, y democratización: Hacia un círculo virtuoso.” A study in progress, entitled “Reckoning with Past Wrongs: Ends, Means, and Cases,” evaluates the experiences of Chile, East Asia, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, and the United States.