Hamilton Book Awards Winners at UT Austin Announced

Oct. 18, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — Psychology Department Chair James Pennebaker this week was named the Grand Prize winner of the University Co-op Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards for his work, “The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us.”

The Hamilton Award is one of the highest honors of literary achievement given to published authors at The University of Texas at Austin. This year’s winners were announced Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The Hamilton Awards are named in honor of Professor Robert W. Hamilton, the Minerva House Drysdale Regent Chair-Emeritus in Law. Hamilton was chair of the Co-op Board from 1989 to 2001 and was in large measure responsible for the Co-op’s uncommon growth and profitability during that period.

This year’s winners are:

$10,000 Grand Prize winner of the Hamilton Book Award:

“The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us”
Author: James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Publisher: Bloomsbury Press

In “The Secret Life of Pronouns,” social psychologist and language expert Pennebaker uses his groundbreaking research in computational linguistics — in essence, counting the frequency of words we use — to show that our language carries secrets about our feelings, our self-concept and our social intelligence. Our most forgettable words, such as pronouns and prepositions, can be the most revealing; their patterns are as distinctive as fingerprints.

There were also four winners who took home $3,000 runner-up prizes:

John C. Abbott, Ph.D. — Department of Integrative Biology, College of Natural Sciences
Damselflies of Texas: A Field Guide”; Published by the University of Texas Press

Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Ph.D. — Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?: Abortion, Neonatal Care, Assisted Dying, and Capital Punishment”; Published by Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group

Raymond L. Neubauer, Ph.D. — School of Biological Sciences, College of Natural Sciences
Evolution and the Emergent Self: The Rise of Complexity and Behavioral Versatility in Nature”; Published by Columbia University Press

Circe D. Sturm, Ph.D. — Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Becoming Indian: The Struggle over Cherokee Identity in the Twenty-first Century”; Published by SAR Press (School for Advanced Research)

Another highly regarded award presented at this event was the University Co-operative Society’s
Career Research Excellence Award.

Steven Weinberg, Ph.D. — Professor of Physics and Astronomy and the Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Chair in Science, was awarded the $10,000 Career Research Excellence Award for maintaining a superior research program over many years at the university.

Weinberg is regarded as one of the most productive and innovative physicists in the world and is known for his seminal contributions to high-energy theoretical physics. Working on an extraordinary range of topics that includes quantum field theory, elementary particle physics phenomenology, cosmology, string theory and quantum gravity,Weinberg writes in a style that is both compelling to the most learned specialists and accessible to nonphysicists. The depth and breadth of his achievements has been remarkable, and he is considered by many to be the preeminent living theoretical physicist.

Elizabeth J. Mueller, Ph.D., associate professor of Community and Regional Planning and Social Work, School of Architecture; and Sarah Dooling, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Architecture, were awarded the $5,000 Best Research Paper Award for “Sustainability and Vulnerability: Integrating Equity into Plans for Central City Redevelopment" (Journal of Urbanism Vol. 4, No. 3, Nov. 2011).

Andrew S. Garrison of the Department of Radio-Television-Film, College of Communication, won the $5,000 Creative Research Award for outstanding achievement by a faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin. The University Co-op Creative Research Award recognizes outstanding creative achievement throughout the university. Faculty members in the colleges of Liberal Arts, Fine Arts, Communication and the School of Architecture are eligible for consideration.

About University Co-operative Society:
The University Co-op is a not-for-profit corporation owned by the students, faculty members and staffers of The University of Texas at Austin. Since the year 2000, the University Co-op has given more than $32 million to the university in the form of gifts, grants and rebates.

For more information, contact: Tim Green, Office of the Vice President for Research; Hulan Swain, hswain@universitycoop.com, 512-476-7211, 2094