Two Penn professors named Guggenheim Fellows

University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Charles L. Bosk and Charles Yang, professor of linguistics and computer science, have been awarded 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships.  They are among 173 scholars, artists, and scientists selected from nearly 3,000 applicants in the United States and Canada, chosen on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Bosk, of the School of Arts and Sciences, who is also a professor of anesthesiology and critical care in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, researches the social and cultural dimensions of health care. He will use his Guggenheim to work on his forthcoming book, “Mistakes Were Changed: An Ethnographic History of Medical Failure.” It explores the tension between professional and managerial definitions of “error,” analyzes why improvements in patient safety and the quality of care have been elusive, and suggests new strategies for reducing harm to patients beyond the vague conception of reducing “system error.”

Bosk is author of “Forgive and Remember: Managing Medical Failure,” “All God’s Mistakes: Genetic Counseling in a Pediatric Hospital,” and “What Would You Do? Juggling Bioethics and Ethnography.” He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2013, is an elected fellow of The Hastings Center, and received the Leo G. Reeder Award from the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association for distinguished contributions to medical sociology.

Yang will use his Guggenheim Fellowship to support a new line of research exploring how children learn to count and how they develop the conceptual understanding of numbers.

He plans to study children’s counting in several languages with varying degrees of numerical complexity, including American Sign Language where counting is done by hands but also follows linguistic rules.

Yang, of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, who directs the Cognitive Science Program at Penn, is the author of several books, most recently “The Price of Linguistic Productivity: How Children Learn to Break the Rules of Language,” which won the Linguistic Society of America’s Leonard Bloomfield Award.