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Kluge Center Welcomes New Chairs for Fall 2023

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Jacob Berkowitz

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the appointment of Jacob Berkowitz as Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, Exploration, and Scientific Innovation. Berkowitz will begin his time at the Kluge Center this October.

Berkowitz is the author of three science-based books, including “The Stardust Revolution: The New Story of Our Origin in the Stars” (Prometheus Books, 2012), and a recipient of the American Institute of Physics Book Award. His plays have won multiple Prix Rideau awards, including Outstanding New Creation (2022). Berkowitz writes about the intersection of science, story, and ideas of self, particularly from the vantage point of social and technological change. At the Kluge Center, Berkowitz will work on a biography of Paul W. Merrill, the 20th century American astronomer who discovered our stardust origins.

Berkowitz is recipient of the Paris Prix Audace, as science writer on the documentary film “The Quantum Tamers” (2009), and his media appearances include CBC Quirks and Quarks and NPR’s Science Friday. He has been Journalist-in-Residence at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California, and a Dibner Fellow in the History of Science (Huntington Library, Pasadena, California). He is the long-time Writer-in-Residence at the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. Berkowitz’s reporting and commentary appears in leading Canadian newspapers, including The Globe and Mail.

Founder of Quantum Writing, a boutique science writing agency, Berkowitz has turned complex facts into engaging stories for dozens of science-based organizations across the United States and Canada, from the (U.S.) National Inventors Hall of Fame to Canada’s futurist agency Policy Horizons. His science writing combines deep expertise in multidisciplinary knowledge synthesis, translation, and popularizing.


Peter Brannen

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Brannen as Distinguished Visiting Scholar. Brannen will begin his time at the Kluge Center this September.

Brannen is an award-winning science journalist and contributing writer at The Atlantic. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian among other publications. His book, “The Ends of the World,” about the five major mass extinctions in Earth’s history, was published in 2017 by Ecco.

Brannen is an affiliate at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He was formerly a 2018 Scripps Fellow at CU-Boulder, a 2015 journalist-in-residence at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center at Duke University, and a 2011 Ocean Science Journalism Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, MA. His essays have been featured in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series and in “The Climate Book” by Greta Thunberg. Brannen is particularly interested in geology, ocean science, deep time, and the carbon cycle.


Mark Leonard

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Leonard as Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations. Leonard will begin his time at the Kluge Center this November.

Mark Leonard is co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first pan-European think tank. His topics of focus include geopolitics and geoeconomics, China, and EU politics and institutions.

Leonard hosts the weekly podcast “Mark Leonards’s World in 30 Minutes” and writes a syndicated column on global affairs for Project Syndicate. Previously, he worked as director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform and as director of the Foreign Policy Centre, a think tank he founded at the age of 24 under the patronage of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the 1990s, Leonard worked for the think tank Demos where his Britain™ report was credited with launching Cool Britannia. Mark has spent time in Washington, D.C. as a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and in Beijing as a visiting scholar at the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences.

He was Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geoeconomics until 2016. He is a regular speaker and prolific writer and commentator on global issues, the future of Europe, China’s internal politics, and the practice of diplomacy and business in a networked world. His essays have appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, the New York Times, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, El Pais, Gazeta Wyborcza, Foreign Policy, the New Statesman, the Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Time, and Newsweek.

As well as writing and commenting frequently in the media on global affairs, Leonard is the author of best-selling books. His first book, “Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century,” was published in 2005 by Fourth Estate and translated into 19 languages. Leonard’s second book, “What Does China Think?” was published in 2008 by PublicAffairs and translated into 15 languages. He has also published the edited volume “Connectivity Wars” (European Council on Foreign Relations, 2016). In September 2021, his latest book on this topic “The Age of Unpeace. How Connectivity Causes Conflict” (Random House) was released.


James Miller

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the appointment of James Miller as Distinguished Visiting Scholar. Miller will begin his time at the Kluge Center this September.

Miller is the inaugural Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University (DKU), Chair of the Faculty Assembly, and co-director of the DKU Humanities Research Center. Prior to his appointment at Duke Kunshan, Miller served as the director of the interdisciplinary graduate program in cultural studies and as the director of the School of Religion, at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Miller’s research is based in the study of Chinese philosophy, theology, and religion, with an emphasis on philosophy of nature, environmental ethics, and the intersection of religion and ecology in China. He is known worldwide as a scholar of Daoism, China’s indigenous religion, and especially its relation to ecology. He has published seven books including, most notably, “China’s Green Religion: Daoism and the Quest for a Sustainable Future” (Columbia, 2017).

Miller serves as the editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Worldviews: Global Cultures, Religion, and Ecology, published by Brill. Miller holds a Ph.D. from Boston University.


Marcy Norton

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the appointment of Marcy Norton as Jay I. Kislak Chair for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas. Norton will begin her time at the Kluge Center this September.

Norton is a historian of the Atlantic World after 1492, specializing in the history of science, ecology, and interspecies relationships.  She is Associate Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEH. Her scholarship explores how on-going encounters between Indigenous and settler communities in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Amazonia transformed the modern world. She is interested in the way that recovering forgotten and suppressed histories can generate pathways to a better future.  Her prize-winning publications include “Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World” (Cornell University Press, 2008) and ground-breaking articles in the American Historical Review and Colonial Latin America Review. Her book, “The Tame and the Wild: People and Animals after 1492” is forthcoming this year with Harvard University Press. It details Indigenous and European ways of being with other animals and the consequences—some horrific, others joyful—of their colonial-era entanglement. Her current research investigates how Indigenous ecological concepts changed European natural history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.


Ainissa Ramirez

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the appointment of Ainissa Ramirez as Kluge Chair in Technology and Society. Ramirez will begin her time at the Kluge Center this September.

Ramirez is an award-winning scientist and science communicator, who is passionate about getting the general public excited about science. Ramirez started her career as a scientist at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and later worked as an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Yale. She authored the books “The Alchemy of Us” (MIT Press, 2020) and “Save Our Science” (TED Conferences, 2013) and co-authored “Newton’s Football” (with Allen St. John, Random House Publishing Group, 2013). She has written for Forbes, Time, The Atlantic, Scientific American, American Scientist, and Science and has explained science headlines on CBS, CNN, NPR, ESPN, and PBS.

Ramirez speaks widely on the topics of science and technology and gave a TED talk on the importance of science education. She has been awarded prizes from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the American Institute of Physics. She speaks internationally on the importance of making science fun and has served as a science advisor to the American Film Institute, WGBH/NOVA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and several science museums. She also hosts a science podcast called “Science Underground.” A graduate of Brown University, she earned her doctorate in materials science and engineering from Stanford.


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