John F. Benton, a medieval scholar and professor of history at Caltech, has been named the Doris and Henry Dreyfuss Professor of History. The endowed professorship is named after an internationally known industrial designer and his wife who were Caltech supporters before their deaths in 1972.
Benton has received several scholastic honors. In 1985 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, and he has held Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships. He won wide recognition for using scientific techniques developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to read illegible ancient manuscripts. Recently, he studied the correspondence between the celebrated medieval lovers Heloise and Abelard and has argued that all the letters were written by Abelard as literature.