Dr. David H. Hubel, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology, received another high honor yesterday, becoming Harvard's ninth University professor.
As the John Franklin Enders University Professor, Hubel, 56 years old, is no longer attached to any particular department. This special program, set up in 1935, is designed to allow "individuals working on the frontiers of knowledge to cross the conventional boundaries of the specialties."
In addition to greater academic freedom the position means more money. The University professors are the highest paid faculty members, receiving $80,000 a year. Only 51 professors have held such chairs in 47 years.
Since joining the Med School in 1959, Hubel has done extensive research on visual systems in mammals. He and another Med School professor shared the Nobel award with a professor from Cal Tech for discoveries of information processing in the visual system.
In the last two years, Hubel has shifted his research away from the visual system. He now spends half his time studying, the sleep portion of the brain, he said.
"I am absolutely delighted," Hubel said yesterday, adding that the promotion" makes me a bit more independent" He said that while he does not intend to expand his work beyond neurobiology, he may now offer a course to graduate students or to advanced undergraduates.
In announcing the decision, President Bok praised Hubel as "an outstanding scientist whose work is brilliant "His research" has resulted in disease prevention and new treatments for children," Bok added.
Bernard Bailyn, Adams University Professor, was the last person granted University professor status. He received the honor last year.