Laurence H. Tribe '62, professor of Law, mathematician and artist whom Time Magazine named last week as one of Ten Teachers Who Shape the Future, said yesterday he turned to law as a career after he graduated because he "couldn't live with a blackboard" as a mathematician.
Time selected Tribe and nine other law professors from lists submitted by a nation-wide panel of judges, lawyers, students and teachers.
Tribe, currently studying the interaction of constitutional law with biomedical techniques in issues such as recombinant DNA research, "right to die" legislation and abortion, added that he is "very happy" to receive the award.
Tribe said he preferred law to mathematics because it had an "immediate dimension," and it had a "more obvious" impact on society.
"His unusual legal analysis and his diversified interests are extraordinary," Justice Mathew O. Tobriner, a California State Supreme Court judge for whom Tribe clerked, said yesterday. "He is an excellent writer," Tobriner added.
Tribe has written three books and numerous articles on various aspects of American law. He will publish "A Treatise on American Constitutional Law," a history of the relationship between constitutional power and individual rights, in November.
Next fall Tribe will deliver the Rose F. Kennedy Lectures dealing with either religion or ethics, at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He will lecture on "Constitutional Theory and Life Sciences."
Tribe will also exhibit 22 of his paintings at the Law School next month. The paintings are "surrealist and hyper-realist," with "a somewhat photographic look," he said.
"I recognized his quality when he was a student in a seminar of mine," Paul A. Freund, Loeb University Professor Emeritus, said yesterday. Freund was also a member of the committee that selected Tribe to serve as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in 1967.
"Without any doubt, his writing is the most creative about constitutional law in the seventies," Richard D. Parker, professor of Law, said yesterday. "It's also clear his teaching is among the best in the University," Parker added.
Another professor said yesterday Tribe is a popular teacher because he spends a great deal of time preparing for his classes so he can communicate difficult and sophisticated ideas clearly. "He is a very great success in teaching students and is very popular with students," the professor added.
Greg A. Rosenbaum '74, a joint Law School-Kennedy School student, said yesterday Tribe "has a fine lecture style."
"He establishes a rapport with the students from the very outset so that everyone gets encouraged to contribute to discussions--it's very clear teaching is important to him and it translates into a great deal of concern for his students," Rosenbaum said.